Top Ten Maritime News Stories 05/01/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 05/01/2016

1. Maersk Embraces Alibaba Online
Maersk has teamed up with Alibaba to allow customers to reserve space on its vessels through the Chinese company, illustrating growing cooperation between e-commerce and logistics firms. Maersk, a unit of Denmark’s A.P. Moller-Maersk (MAERSKb.CO), began offering the service to Chinese shippers on Alibaba’s OneTouch booking website on Dec. 22, a spokeswoman for the shipping line said on Wednesday. Shippers traditionally go through freight forwarders to book space for goods on container vessels, but lines such as Maersk are allowing cargo owners to book directly via the internet.
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2. Box Train from East to West
China has launched a direct rail freight service to London, as part of its drive to develop trade and investment ties with Europe. China Railway already runs services between China and other European cities, including Madrid and Hamburg. The train will take about two weeks to cover the 12,000 mile journey and is carrying a cargo of clothes, bags and other household items. It has the advantage of being cheaper than air freight and faster than sea. The first China-Europe Block Train for Madrid left Yiwu Railway Freight Station in November 2014
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3. Gloomy News from BIMCO
BIMCO, in a report published Tuesday, said 2017 will be another tough year for major shipping sectors, including tankers. "The shipping industry has its work cut out going forward in 2017 as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast the lowest level of global GDP growth since 2009. 2017 will see another year of die-hard competition, which now includes tankers," stated BIMCO. While the tanker market had a strong 2015, BIMCO says "fortune faded" for crude oil and oil product tankers in 2016. The full restoration of shipping markets will need several years of solid improvements to lift fleet utilisation rates
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4. Companies Address Staff Fears
The heads of Japan’s three largest shipping lines addressed their employees today as the nation headed back to work. The mood among the three was decidedly sombre, albeit with a grim determination to transform their giant corporate structures to better serve a changed world economy. All three also spent much time outlining the rationale for the shock move announced last October to merge their boxship divisions to compete with other global liners. “In no sense can we be optimistic about the coming year,” Eizo Murakami, president and CEO of Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line) warned in his address.
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5. Generator Leads to Collision
The failure of a generator on a Wan Hai ship led to the collision two days ago that created a serious bunker spill, the Johor Port Authority has revealed. The "Wan Hai 301" collided with the APL Denver in Malaysian waters near midnight on January 3, sparking Malaysian and Singaporean authorities into oil spill protection mode as 300 tons of bunker fuel spilled out of the "APL Denver". Johor Port is now back operating normally.
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6. Drug Smuggling Steward
A P&O ship steward allegedly bragged about making £100,000 from drug smuggling as he plotted to take cocaine off his ship hidden in a hi-vis vest, a court has heard. Edward Tron, 51, was secretly filmed explaining to an undercover police officer how he planned to sew drugs into jackets so he could sneak cocaine on and off the Pride of Hull from Rotterdam. At the time, Tron – who earned £20,000 a year as P&O night steward – was found to have banked £138,000 over a four-year period, which the prosecution say was from drug smuggling.
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7. Cruise Ship Hit by Smog
A cruise ship was stuck at sea on New Year’s Eve as it was unable to dock in the heavy smog enveloping China’s Port of Tianjin. Local media report that the vessel, with over 2,000 people on board, was finally able to dock on Monday afternoon after two days’ delay. While the cruise ship was stuck at sea, over 1,000 other passengers were stranded at Tianjin waiting to board their South Korea-bound vessel. The latest round of smog, which started on New Year’s Eve, saw roads closed and flights out of the city cancelled.
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8. Another Panama Landmark
Since the inauguration of the Expanded Panama Canal in June, more than 600 ships have transited the waterway, and the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) says that bookings for future traffic is strong. Container ships have made up more than half the volume, including Hapag-Lloyd’s new 10,500 TEU "Valparaiso Express", the largest vessel to pass through to date. She is the first in a class of five built specifically to take advantage of the dimensions of the new locks: the Expanded Canal can accommodate ships of up to 160 feet wide, 1,200 feet long and 50 feet of draft, which will allow 14,000 TEU boxships.
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9. Mastering Obesity Debate
Concerns are rising that seafarers, particularly Masters will need to think differently on the big picture surrounding global obesity challenges. Writing in Splash247 one correspondent imagines a future with possibly several thousand obese passengers onboard a mega cruise liner in an abandon ship and mass evacuation scenario. The question is whether issues surrounding the strict liability for the captain should be addressed and whether the captain can limit his/her liability in proven obesity cases? Fair and reasonable legislation is truly needed as our ships, crew and passengers are growing!
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10. The Polar Code is in Force
Polar Code entered into force on January 1, 2017. The IMO adopted a code of operating in polar waters of ships (Polar Code) of the 94th session of the Maritime Safety Committee. At the same session were adopted also the amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and amendments to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). IMO notes that the adoption of Polas Code marks a historic milestone in its work to ensure the safety of seafarers and ships in polar waters, which became preferred marine way for merchant shipping.
 https://goo.gl/7hF4tO
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