Top Ten Maritime News Stories 23/01/2016

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 23/01/2016

1. Abandoned Seafarers Grab Headlines
The Guardian has featured the tale of the crew, abandoned onboard offshore supply vessel "Malaviya Twenty" at Great Yarmouth. It is unusual for such cases to break through to the mainstream media, and the paper focuses on the fact that the crews who have been separated from their families in India for seven months are effectively imprisoned on the ship moored off the coast of Norfolk. Unwilling to desert the ship without getting paid, its crew have been left abandoned in the Norfolk port. Their fate offers a stark example of what an unfettered liberalised market does to a workforce – globalisation at its most raw.
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2. Killer Ship Crew Captured
Two crew members from the Greenlandic trawler Polar Nanoq were arrested off Iceland on January 19. Icelandic special forces were flown out to the trawler by helicopter to make the arrests. The men have been charged with killing a 20-year-old Icelandic woman, Birna Bjránsdóttir. They have pleaded not guilty, but police believe they have evidence to warrant their arrest. Her blood was found in a car rented by the two suspects, and the woman’s mobile phone rang shortly before she disappeared from a pier where the trawler was moored. One of her shoes was also found in the area.
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3. RBS Sells Ship Loan Book
Royal Bank of Scotland has concluded agreements to sell at least $600 million worth of shipping loans from its portfolio as part of efforts to exit the sector, sources with direct knowledge of the deal told Reuters. RBS, which is more than 70 percent state owned, is in the middle 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 Japanese financial services firm Orix Corp has agreed to buy $290 million worth of shipping loans from RBS, while Germany’s Berenberg Bank would purchase around $300 million.
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4. Bottigleri Heads to Bankruptcy
Italian cargo shipowner Giuseppe Bottiglieri Shipping Co. SpA is seeking protection from creditors as it works to restructure its business, the latest casualty of an industrywide slump. In a statement, the closely held Naples company cited “the unprecedented world freight market crisis” that has weighed on profits across the industry. Giuseppe Bottiglieri said it has prepared a new business and financial plan that is now under discussion with creditors. Giuseppe Bottiglieri operates 11 dry-bulk carriers and four petroleum product tankers with an estimated value of $190 million.
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5. Dozen Crew Held Hostage
A surge in piracy to the west of the Philippines is forcing shipowners to divert vessels through other waters, stoking their costs and extending the time it takes to transport goods such as Australian iron ore to key Asian destinations. There have been 16 attacks since last March on ships in the Sulu and Celebes Seas, through which about $40 billion worth of cargo passes each year, according to ReCAAP. It is claimed over a dozen crew are currently being held hostage by Filipino Abu Sayyaf militants, all from ships sailing through the Sulu and Celebes Seas.
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6. New Seafarer Report Welcomed
Maritime union RMT welcomed a new report on UK seafarer jobs which reveals that existing employment practices in the UK shipping industry need to be changed. Carried out for the Department for Transport by Oxford Economics, the report says that the existing practices in the UK shipping industry could see more foreign seafarers working in the country over the next decade. “This report reinforces RMT’s SOS 2020 campaign for the Government to tackle the shipping industry’s pay discrimination and other aggressive employment practices against UK and non-UK seafarers", Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said.
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7. Vessels Divert to Avoid Pirates
"The Sulu/Celebes area is the world’s fastest growing piracy hotspot, with violent attacks on commercial vessels and their crews, and an increasingly successful kidnap and ransom business model," said Gerry Northwood, chief operating officer at armed guard company Maritime Asset Security and Training (MAST). Shipping data in Thomson Reuters Eikon shows several large vessels carrying iron ore from Australia to northern Asia, which used to take the route through the Sulu Sea, are now sailing east of the Philippines, through the open Pacific Ocean. At least six shipping companies are diverting vessels via this route.
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8. New Guide to Fuel Sampling
The IMO has published a recommended method for sampling of liquid fuel oil used on board ships to assist with effective control and enforcement of the sulphur content requirements under MARPOL Annex VI. IMO’s “Guidelines for Onboard Sampling for the Verification of the Sulphur Content of the Fuel Oil used on board ships” was approved in October 2016 at the Maritime Environment Protection Committee’s 70th session (MEPC70) and has been issued as MEPC.1/Circ.864. Although the guidelines are a recommendation only, they set forth an acceptable sampling method for inspectors to determine the sulphur content of fuel.
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9. Steamship Tackles Cyber Risks
As part of Steamship Mutual’s loss prevention initiatives, the Club has released their latest DVD ‘Cyber Security: Smart, Safe Shipping’ highlighting the implications of a potential cyber security breach for a shipping company. All businesses rely heavily upon computer systems to sustain their operations. These systems improve operational efficiency and capability, but they can be vulnerable to the risk of being compromised by cyber-attack. Such attacks can take various forms, and if that risk of attack materialises, operational effectiveness can be seriously compromised.
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10. Giving ECDIS For Free
Industry regulation for ECDIS is not something we’re going to see a reduction of anytime soon, and we just have to make the best of the situation. There is a major change to the standard coming into effect in eight months which will see a large percentage of the ECDIS equipped fleet requiring a software upgrade and a visit from an engineer. It is one of the changes that if not done your ECDSIS will stop being and ECDIS! Finally, any new technology, regardless of sector or operational environment faces the same hurdles – a user’s lack of knowledge, potentially complicated systems and training requirements.
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Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions  www.seacurus.com

 

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