Top Ten Maritime News Stories 22/12/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 22/12/2016

1. InterManager on the Annus Horribilis
There is no shying away from the fact that 2016 has been a difficult year for our industry. The frighteningly low freight markets domino effect on the whole industry has tested even the most seasoned of maritime professionals. As owners began to tighten their belts, managers were being squeezed even tighter they had to make decisions based purely on cash flows rather than investment potential. The overall effect being on the quality of service managers can offer not only owners but also seafarers. The decline in the offshore industry has added yet another layer of uncertainty which has removed the cyclical predictability.
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2. Crew Plight Prompts Letter
The plight of the Indian crew stranded in Great Yarmouth has prompted a scathing open letter to a government shipping minister. Mark Dickinson, general secretary of maritime trade union Nautilus International (NI), has written to John Hayes, minister of state for transport, expressing “immense frustration” at the situation the crew are in. The Malaviya Twenty, an off-shore supply vessel, was arrested by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency last week, after months of failing to pay its crew and port fees. Its crew have been stranded in the town since June. Now, NI is calling for an urgent review of regulations.
The vessel was operated by Mumbai-based company GOL Offshore, and owned by Indian bank ICICI.
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3. Ship Visitors Bringing Hope
A team of ship visitors from Sailors’ Society has reached out to 9,488 seafarers in the ports of Southampton and Fawley this year. Bill McCrea, Barbara Kidd and Mark Warner have been joined on their Southampton ship visits by volunteers Brian and Angela Benford and Sanjay Sanil. The port of Fawley has been supported by Reverend Edward Symmons, who has volunteered for the charity for five years. The team provides practical and emotional support to the men and women who dock at the ports. The team has also recently been delivering Christmas presents such as woolly hats, puzzles and sweets to seafarers at the port.
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4. Agreement on Maritime Security
Japan and Indonesia agreed Wednesday to cooperate on maritime security at a time when both countries are embroiled in sea rows with China. Beijing asserts sovereignty over almost all of the resource-rich South China Sea, despite rival claims from Southeast Asian neighbours. Indonesia has no dispute with China over ownership of reefs or islets. But China’s expansive claims overlap with Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone — waters where a state has the right to exploit resources — around the Natunas, a remote scattering of islands with rich fishing grounds.
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5. Europe Names Recycling Facilities
The European Commission (EC) has issued its first list of approved ship recycling facilities. It does not include any sites outside of Europe, and leaves the hotly debated question of beaching for a later date. Maersk Group and the European Community Shipowners’ Association support the inclusion of several South Asian beaching yards, while labor and environmental groups have pressed the EC to restrict the list to more developed facilities in the EU, Turkey and China. "The first 18 shipyards included in the List are all located in the EU," the commission said in a statement.
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6. Box Scrapping Accelerates
Latest statistics from brokers Braemar ACM show that container scrapping has accelerated dramatically in recent weeks with the 700,000 container slot mark likely to have been broken before the end of the year. As of December 20, a total of 699,000 teu (201 ships) had been sent for scrap, smashing all records. By comparison, 187,500 slots were sold for recycling in 2015. German companies have been the most keen to scrap ships, especially given their strong share of panamax boxships – a subsector that has dropped in value dramatically this year. From November 21 to December 20 32 ships equating to 102,000 teu were sold.
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7. Fighting to Repatriate Crew
Pakistani authorities are working to get 17 crew, suffering awful conditions in Egypt, repatriated. The men, working on the Kuwaiti-flagged general cargo ship Akkaz, have been stranded in Egypt for the past four months with conditions onboard declining, supplies running out and four of them needing urgent medical attention. A YouTube video of their plight appeared over the weekend prompting the Pakistani government into action. The crew are also owed thousands of dollars in back pay. The ship is at anchor at the south entrance to the Suez Canal, according to MarineTraffic..
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8. Denmark Easing Certification
From 2 January 2017, Notices to Mariners will be available via a new and improved online system that also presents navigation warnings and shooting warnings. In the future, Notices to Mariners will be issued and made available on an ongoing basis and not only on Fridays. It will become possible to view the information graphically in a chart as well as in a new improved list format. Christian Kopp Pedersen, Manager of Navigation and Information in the Danish Maritime Authority:
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9. RBS Clearing Loan Portfolio
Royal Bank of Scotland is close to selling at least $600 million worth of shipping loans from its portfolio, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. RBS, which is more than 70 percent state-owned, is still in the throes of a restructuring, which includes asset sales, job cuts and tackling multi-billion dollar charges to settle litigation and pay regulatory fines for past misconduct. The sources said buyers of the various shipping loan tranches included Japanese financial services firm Orix Corp , Germany’s Berenberg Bank, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and asset manager Davidson Kempner.
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10. Vendee Sailor Hits Container
A French sailor participating in the Vendée Globe around the world race is in serious trouble after his boat collided with what is believed to be shipping container while sailing a few hundred miles south of New Zealand. According to race organizers, skipper Thomas Ruyant, of team Le Souffle du Nord pour Le Projet Imagine, is in good health but his boat is on the verge of splitting in two. Ruyant is now optimistic about saving his boat after two New Zealand Coast Guardsmen boarded his boat with a pump. It shows the dangers posed at sea by lost containers.
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Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions  www.seacurus.com

 

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S Jones
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