Top Ten Maritime News Stories 21/12/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 21/12/2016

1. Maersk Credit Downgrade
Moody’s downgraded A.P. Moller-Maersk’s credit rating on Tuesday, piling pressure on the world’s biggest container shipper as it juggles a major restructuring with a multi-billion dollar acquisition of a German rival. Moody’s said the downgrade from Baa1 to Baa2 with a negative outlook "reflects Maersk’s deteriorating credit profile". The credit rating firm put the Danish shipping company under review in September, when it announced a split-up to focus on the shipping business and spin off its energy assets. Last month, Standard & Poor’s lowered the company’s credit rating to BBB from BBB+ with a negative outlook.
2. Shipping Confidence Climbing
Shipping confidence improved for the third successive quarter in the three months to end-November 2016, according to the latest Shipping Confidence Survey from international accountant and shipping adviser Moore Stephens.  In November 2016, the average confidence level expressed by respondents was 5.6 out of 10, equaling the highest rating since August 2015. All main categories of respondent were more confident than in August 2016, when the overall rating was 5.4. Charterers’ confidence this time increased by 2 points, to 6.8, the highest figure in the life of the survey for such respondents.
3. No Agreement on Rickmers Deal
Rickmers Trust Management has revealed that holders of the trust’s S$100m 8.45% notes due next year have not agreed to a revised restructuring plan, ratcheting up the pressure on the Singapore-based shipping trust. The revised plan had included a partial redemption of S$60m of the principal in exchange for 60% of the enlarged units of the trust, which will reduce the outstanding principal amount under the notes to S$40m repayable in November 2023. Rickmers also proposed to issue 1.32bn new units representing 150% of the current number of units outstanding of the trust.
4. China Gives Drone Back
China on Tuesday returned a U.S. naval drone seized in the South China Sea last week, a peaceful resolution to a military standoff that threatened to inflame maritime tensions ahead of President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration. The Chinese Defense Ministry said in a statement that the drone was transferred to the United States after “friendly negotiation.” In a separate statement, the Pentagon confirmed the drone’s return but offered a less friendly-sounding account. The incident was “inconsistent with both international law and standards of professionalism for conduct between navies at sea,” the Pentagon statement said.
5. Prestige Pollution Claim Impact
Marine liability insurers, represented by IUMI, have been reviewing the Spanish Supreme Court’s judgement on the liabilities arising from the oil spill from the "Prestige", and the subsequent statement from the distinguished delegation from Spain at the previous meeting of IOPC Funds. Insurers are extremely concerned by what they have read and are now considering the impact this will have on the business models and assumptions that underpin the writing of long tail pollution liability arising from the worldwide shipping industry.
6. Promotions at OSG
Overseas Shipholding Group, Inc. has announced that Samuel H. Norton will become president and CEO of OSG on December 29, 2016. Mr. Norton will succeed Ian T. Blackley, current president and CEO, who will retire from the role of president, CEO and director of OSG as of December 29, 2016. “We are pleased to have someone of Sam’s caliber assume the leadership of OSG” In addition, Patrick J. O’Halloran has been appointed to serve as VP and chief operations officer with oversight of all operations, maintenance, SQE and commercial operations for the fleet of the Company.

7. ULCS in Engine Scare
The ultra large container ship "Millau Bridge" lost propulsion power after engine failure northwest off Antimilos island, Greece. The vessel was en route from Piraeus to Port Said in Egypt, but suffered mechanical failure in main engine. The ship remained adrift, but due to severe weather conditions and heavy winds, the crew requested assistance from the local authorities. At the scene of the troubled vessel was dispatched Coast Guard rescue boat and towing tug, which assisted of the troubled mega container ship. The vessel was towed back to the anchorage of Piraeus, where will be repaired and inspected before return in service.
8. Tanker in Channel Fire
The product tanker "Cape Bon" caught fire in English Canal on 10 nautical miles night off Calais, France. The tanker loaded with 32,000 tons of hazardous cargo suffered fire at electric panel after short circuit. The flames were quickly extinguished by the crew, but caused blackout and loss of propulsion power. The ship was forced to anchor in a dense traffic area to prevent grounding or collision. The accident was reported to the local authorities and on board was transferred French emergency team, who assessed the situation and condition of the vessel. The tanker was unable to resume voyage and requested towage.
9. Euro Agreement on Money Laundering
European governments have agreed on proposed rules aimed at fighting terror financing. The proposals are part an effort by the European Commission to expand current anti-money-laundering regulation to cover virtual currencies and prepaid cards. However, national governments have watered down a requirement to set up central registers of information on the owners of corporate and other legal entities, including trusts that often hide the ultimate owner of assets. The step was intended to crack down on tax evasion as revealed by the Panama Paper disclosures in July.
10. Concerns Over Offshore Safety
Over half of offshore workers claim that health and safety standards have plummeted in the last six months, according to a survey by union Unite. The report reveals that 58 per cent of offshore workers believe standards dropped considerably between June and November. Some 38.5 per cent of workers also said they felt unable to report their concerns about safety risks for fear of victimisation. Fewer skilled personnel was also flagged up as an issue by 82.8 per cent of workers who said this had driven down productivity and hindered their ability to perform work tasks.

Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions


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S Jones
Seacurus Ltd


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