Top Ten Maritime News Stories 19/12/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 19/12/2016

1. Talk if you are in Trouble
The head of International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) Stephen Cotton urges owners with difficulties in paying their seafarers due to financial problems to sit down talk with the unions to find a “structured solution”. Cotton general-secretary of the ITF, said that the global union had “always been very active in ensuring seafarers get their payments” and that the issue was “probably heating up a little bit”. “We’re also concerned that the market is kind of reflecting the global economic situation and there’s been a downturn and a lot ships are struggling to get viable freight rates and unions will try and “take positive steps".
2. Ultra Large Collision
The ultra large container ship MSC Regulus has collided with a fishing vessel off the coast of Peru, killing five. The container ship was en route from Callao, Peru, to Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico, when she collided with the fishing boat, the Don Gerardo II. Of the 23 people on board the fishing vessel, five have been confirmed dead, another 12 rescued, some with injuries, and six remain missing. An investigation is underway.
3. China US Provocation
Washington has protested to Beijing over a US Navy underwater drone being seized by the Chinese navy in the South China Sea, marking a sharp escalation in already rising tensions between the two countries. A US defence official said the device was grabbed as it was being operated by the USNS Bowditch, a survey vessel. The Obama administration issued a formal démarche after the incident, the most dramatic recent flashpoint between the US and China in the South China Sea, where disputes over islands and resources have become a geopolitical faultline and have prompted persistent friction between the two countries’ navies.
4. Maersk Set for Scrapping Spree
Ship recyclers in India and China will recycle eight vessels owned by Maersk Line. The ship recyclers have agreed in full to the A.P. Moller – Maersk Responsible Ship Recycling Standard. The deal gives Maersk Line greater fleet flexibility and vessels will be transferred to the recycling yards within coming months. In the coming years, Maersk Line expects to recycle a larger number of vessels than in previous years as more vessels are coming to their economical end of life. With Maersk Line’s fleet of more than 600 vessels, owned and chartered, any decision to recycle depends on a broad set of variables – not least the market.
5. North Korean Ship Sanctions End
The United Nations Security Council has lifted sanctions on five ships that were blacklisted in March for ties to North Korea’s arms trade. The ships were among 31 vessels sanctioned by the 15-member council on March 2 because they were linked to Ocean Maritime Management (OMM), a North Korean shipping firm known to transport arms and other illicit goods for the secretive state. The 15-member Security Council sanctions committee for North Korea decided the five vessels ‘are not economic resources controlled or operated by Ocean Maritime Management Company, Limited and therefore not subject to the asset freeze.’
6. Mass Flow Meters Mandated
As a top bunkering port, Singapore will, from 1 January 2017, implement the mandatory use of the Mass Flow Metering (MFM) system which involve devices installed on all bunker vessels licensed by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) to deliver Marine Fuel Oil (MFO) to vessels bunkering within the Singapore port waters. The automated MFM system is meant to dispense with conventional sounding of the MFO in bunker tanks as the quantity of oil transferred from the bunker vessel to the receiving vessel will be automatically measured by the MFM device as the oil passes through the device.
7. Manning Concerns in US
As the US offshore industry wrestles with manning issues, one proposal under consideration would require that any exemption granted to a foreign flag vessel that is more than 50 percent foreign-owned should limit the foreign citizen crew members to the nationality of the flag state of the vessel and would limit the number of foreign citizens that could be exempted. Such a provision would be in direct conflict with longstanding international law. The U.S. does not have the authority to dictate citizenship requirements for foreign nationals working aboard a foreign-flag vessel if U.S. citizens are not required.

8. Ransomwear and Shipping
The maritime industry is increasingly being targeted by ransomware hackers. However, it is not only commercial goods and trade that are in danger from ransomware. The threat is much greater than that. It is believed that, in an attempt to procure nuclear weapons without being traced, North Korea has been using ransomware to try to disable the automation identification system (AIS) tracking devices shipping companies use to track vessels.
9. In Awe of Ore Project
Brazil’s Vale has inaugurated its biggest mining project ever, lowering costs in a cut-throat market and reasserting its place as the world’s biggest iron ore producer. The S11D mine in the Amazonian state of Para will add 75 million tons of production when it reaches peak output in four years, lifting Vale over Australia’s Rio Tinto, which had rivaled its output after years of stagnation. Vale Chief Executive Murilo Ferreira said at the inaugural ceremony that the company had staked its future on the giant mining project even as iron ore prices plunged in recent years.
10. Crew Set to Head Home
The crew of an Italian cargo ship detained in Hamilton Harbour, Bermuda during a lengthy legal dispute over its ownership are expected to finally begin heading home. About a dozen members of the crew of the "Ardita" from Italy and the Philippines are set to disembark and fly home, Ronda Ploughman, a chaplain with the Mission of Seafarers in Hamilton said. The ordeal started when the Ardita arrived in late April and underwent repairs. A legal dispute over its ownership ensued not long afterward. That dispute has been resolved, the new owners said.

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