Top Ten Maritime News Stories 12/01/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 12/01/2016

1. New Record Breaking Scrap
The seven-year-old "Hammonia Grenada", delivered in 2010, has taken pole position as the youngest container ship ever sold for scrap. The previous record-holder, the Panamax "Rickmers India", was delivered in 2009 and sold to shipbreakers last month. A brokerage data firm reported a sale price for the Grenada of $315 per LDT, or about $5.5 million. Brokers say that the demolition is a confirmation of the plummeting value of Panamax ships after the opening of the expanded Panama Canal. Vessels of up to twice the capacity of the India and Grenada can now carry containers on trans-Pacific routes.
2. Demolition Market Picks Up
It seems that the demolition market picked up where it left of in 2016, but with a positive twist, in the fact that, as per GMS, the world’s leading cash buyers of ships, “the first week of 2017 has certainly commenced on an optimistic note with some of the highest prices seen across all sectors for nearly a year”. According to the latest weekly report from GMS, “containers continue to dominate the headlines as another two large LDT panamax-sized units were fixed at increasingly bullish numbers. GMS also noted signs of an imminent market correction in India as local steel plate prices continued a "volatile dance".
3. New Regime on Cyber Risk
As cybersecurity risks to the nation’s critical infrastructure – including those parts in the transportation and maritime sectors – continue to grow, the incoming Trump Administration has made it clear that cybersecurity is one of its top priorities. The administration’s new Cyber Review Team has been tasked with conducting an immediate review of all U.S. cyber defenses and vulnerabilities, including “vital” infrastructure in the transportation and maritime sectors. President-Elect Donald Trump also has publicly discussed focusing on a more offensive approach to cybersecurity around the world as well as a more proactive deterrence strategy.
4. Further Uncertainty Ahead
Market analyst Xeneta is forecasting further uncertainty for the global container shipping market in 2017. Although rates have risen significantly from the historic lows of early 2016, giving battered shipowners some reprieve, structural problems continue to undermine stability, while macro-economic and political factors are casting long shadows on the horizon. 2016 was a tumultuous year for carriers, defined by low rates, overcapacity and the subsequent collapse of Hanjin Shipping. However, the final months of the year saw generally higher short-term rates.
5. New Box Line Emerges
Korean construction firm SM Group has officially launched the world’s newest container carrier, SM Line, based almost like a phoenix on the carrier business of Hanjin Shipping. In a ceremony January 6 at a former Hanjin Shipping office in Seoul, 200 employees – many of them Hanjin alumni – joined SM Line president Kim Chil-bong to celebrate the launch of the new liner service. SM, or Samra Midas Group, has acquired the business operations of Hanjin’s Pacific and Asian routes, and it is in the process of buying 21 ships of 4,000-6,500 TEU to operate it according to Business Korea.

6. Anti Piracy Contact Meeting
The inaugural Meeting of Anti-Piracy Contact Points and Workshop on Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships involving participants from Africa, Asia and Europe was held in Singapore. Organised by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and ReCAAP, the two-day meeting gathered about 20 participants to foster closer linkages amongst anti-piracy contact points to enable more effective information sharing and communication. Timely sharing and dissemination of information can often play a decisive role in deterring incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships.
7. NGOs Slam IMO Approach
The Clean Shipping Coalition, an international group of environmental NGOs, issued a statement Wednesday criticizing IMO’s position on EU measures to regulate shipping’s CO2 emissions. "There is nothing that says action can only take place at IMO and indeed it would be counterproductive to concentrate only on the development of IMO measures, when processes there are often subject to delay," said CSC president John Maggs. "The IMO’s criticism of EU action is unfortunate and we call on Secretary-General [Kitack Lim] to take stock and press IMO members to urgently agree targets and measures at a global level.”
8. India Seafarers Plea for Help
Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday said that India will help out its sailors stuck in merchant ships at Ajman in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Abandoned by their employer in leaking ships, at least 41 Indian sailors found support from the External Affairs Minister, who stepped in to help them following a SOS. Taking to Twitter, Swaraj said, “We have contacted the Captains of the two vessels, Ship owners, port authorities and the Government.” “They have essential supplies of for next two weeks. We are helping in the settlement of their dues and release of the crew,” she tweeted.
9. Ezra In Trouble
Singapore offshore services company Ezra Holdings has today sought permission from the Singapore Exchange and ACRA to further delay its full year financials by a further 90 days. Back in October, Ezra applied to delay the results release and AGM until March 2017, citing delays related to Perisai Petroleum Teknologi, which Ezra owns a 19.47% stake in, after the Malaysian company defaulted on a S$125m bond. Ezra has since sorted an issue with subsidiary Emas Offshore and its obligations for a $40m put option held by Perisai in relation to SJR Marine, which owns pipelaying barge Enterprise 3.
10. Financial Suicide Warning
While key backers are walking away from Gener8 Maritime, Peter Georgiopoulos has pushed ahead with what has been described as a “suicidal” move to sell $500m worth of securities. As three shareholders, Oaktree, Avenue Capital and Navig8, who together hold a 28.7% stake in the tanker owner, look to cash in their stakes, speculation is once again mounting that Gener8 Maritime is readying to be taken over. J Mintzmyer, lead researcher at New York’s Value Investor’s Edge, said an organised institutional exit could open the door for a bid from another party.

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