Top Ten Maritime News Stories 25/01/2017

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 25/01/2017

1. Greeks Want Recognition
European politicians and legislators both in the European Union and in Greece have to realise shipping is a pillar of the European economy and Greek shipping is a pillar of European shipping and is vital to the economic welfare of all of Europe. "At the highest political level we must make Europeans understand Greek shipping is not only Greek but is a proven European asset and we will do all we can to make Europeans understand this," the country’s Shipping & Island Policy Minister, Panagiotis Kouroumblis, has once again vowed,
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2. Aggressive on New Build Prices
Some cash-rich ship owners are starting to become enticed by aggressive pricing for newbuilding contracting. As such, “on the back of softer prices being quoted for tanker vessels, we were seeing an improved inflow of fresh activity this week. The product tankers have started to gain some traction with a number of buyers picking up slots for both MR and smaller product/Chemical units. We were also seeing a continuation in activity for more specialized units, with major S. Korean yards reportedly managing to secure contracts for high spec FSRU units from Norway’s HOEGH LNG, something that will boost shipbuilders.
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3. Steel and Iron Rally
Chinese steel and iron ore futures rallied on Tuesday as investors chased prices higher after a four-day retreat, betting demand will pick up following the Lunar New Year break as Beijing moves to spur economic activity. Traders and end-users are likely to replenish steel inventories from next month on hopes the government will lift infrastructure spending. But trading activity in physical markets was extremely slow ahead of the week-long holiday that starts on Friday. The most-active rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was up 4.1 percent at 3,304 yuan ($482) a tonne by 0317 GMT. It earlier climbed as high as 3,344 yuan.
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4. IMO on Sulphur Limits
The IMO Sub-Committee began work to ensure the consistent and effective implementation of the 2020 0.50% m/m sulphur limit, which was decided by MEPC 70. The proposed work would be aimed at exploring what actions may be taken to ensure consistent and effective implementation of the 0.50% sulphur limit for fuel oil used by ships operating outside designated SOx Emission Control Areas or not making use of an equivalent such as an Exhaust Gas Cleaning System, as well as actions that may facilitate effective policies by IMO Member States. MEPC 71 will be invited to approve a new sulphur output.
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5. Online Platform for Vessel Data
Idwal Marine has launched the shipping industry’s first cloud-based online platform to provide instant quotations and deliver reporting for complete vessel condition, pre-purchase and pre-charter inspection services. The online platform www.inspectmyship.com provides 24-hour access to a global network of ISO-certified ship inspectors worldwide and comprehensive vessel condition reports to help banks, shipowners, brokers, charterers and financial organisations assess the condition of shipping assets. The market is driving shipowners, charterers and financial organisations to commission more vessel inspections.
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6. Yang Ming Government Lifeline
The indebted Taiwanese container carrier Yang Ming told investors that the Taiwanese government is planning to substantially increase its 33 percent ownership stake, and that the line expects significant state support for a recapitalization plan. "The first stage of this injection of capital will be from various government and private entities, including banks and financial institutions," the firm said in a note to shareholders. "Yang Ming will issue new stock to these investors, and with the new capital Yang Ming expects immediate benefits to its balance sheets.
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7. Legal Shipments from Cuba Start
The first legal exports from Cuba to the U.S. in more than 50 years have arrived at Port Everglades in Florida. The shipment of two containers, 40-ton, of artisanal charcoal, produced by private worker-owned cooperatives, is legal under a rule change by the former Obama administration which allows the import of some products produced by independent Cuban entrepreneurs. The hardwood charcoal is likely to be used as fuel in pizza and bread ovens. The shipment was delivered by Crowley’s container ship "K Storm" and marks the first truly commercial shipment from a Cuban cooperative to a private U.S. business in 50 years ago.
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8. OSG Settles Tax Issues
Tanker owner OSG went bankrupt in 2012 after disclosing that it had $500 million in previously unreported tax liabilities. On Tuesday, OSG announced that it has settled charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission for failing to recognize these liabilities in its financial statements. The settlement brings the SEC investigation to a close and resolves the final claim in OSG’s bankruptcy proceedings. Subject to bankruptcy court approval, OSG will pay a $5 million civil penalty. OSG neither admits nor denies the SEC’s charges that it violated several securities laws.
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9. Robots Replace Roughnecks
The robot on an oil drillship in the Gulf of Mexico made it easier for Mark Rodgers to do his job stringing together heavy, dirty pipes. It could also be a reason he’s not working there today. The Iron Roughneck, made by National Oilwell Varco Inc., automates the repetitive and dangerous task of connecting hundreds of segments of drill pipe as they’re shoved through miles of ocean water and oil-bearing rock. The machine has also cut to two from three the need for roustabouts, estimates Rodgers, who took a job repairing appliances after being laid off from Transocean Ltd.
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10. Owners Look to LNG
Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has entered into an agreement to launch a joint study of a LNG-fueled capesize bulker with five other companies – BHP Billiton, DNV GL, Rio Tinto, Shanghai Merchant Ship Design and Research Institute (SDARI) and Woodside Energy. The six parties have signed the letter of agreement at a ceremony held in Singapore. The joint research project, called ‘Green Corridor’, aims to reduce merchant vessels’ emissions of NOX and SOX in advance of international treaties calling for stricter emissions standards, such as the 0.5% fuel sulphur content cap from 2020.
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Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions  www.seacurus.com

 

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