Top Ten Maritime News Stories 02/02/2017

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 02/02/2017

1. Iran on Notice After Vessel Attack
The Trump administration has said it was “officially putting Iran on notice” in reaction to a Iranian missile test and an attack on a Saudi warship by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, but gave no details about how Washington intended to respond. The threat was made on Wednesday by the national security adviser, Michael Flynn, in his first public statement since taking office. Ali Vaez, an Iran expert at the International Crisis Group in Washington, said: “It’s either an empty threat or a clear statement of intent to go to war with Iran. Both are reckless and dangerous".  
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2. Bad Time to Buy
Analysts Alphabulk have run the numbers on insolvent Giuseppe Bottiglieri Shipping (GBS) and shown how badly the Italian firm read the dry bulk market. GBS filed for court protection in Italy on December 29. Its fleet today stands at 11 bulkers and four MR product tankers. “GBS went on a buying spree nearly at the peak of the market”.  The Italian owner bought six post-panamaxes in January 2007 at $45m per ship, plus two options. It then bought two more in September of the same year for $50m each. Worse still, in April 2008 – just months ahead of the dramatic bulk crash – it ordered a cape with a “lofty” $85m price tag.
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3. MSC Swoops on Hanjin Interest
Terminal Investment Limited (TIL), a subsidiary of Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), today confirmed the acquisition of Hanjin’s interests in Total Terminals International, a firm with interests in two US west coast ports. The acquisition includes all of Hanjin’s equity interests and shareholder loans, in both TTI and the associated terminal equipment leasing company, Hanjin TEC Inc. TIL has completed the acquisition in conjunction with Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM). The new ownership structure sees TIL assume an 80% stake, with HMM having the remaining 20%.
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4. More Scrapping Needed
Up to one hundred further panamax containerships will need to be scrapped before the segment can regain its footing again, analysts Alphaliner report in its latest weekly report. The sector has been the victim of what some have described as the greatest value destruction seen for a generation in the past year. Ultra low charter rates, currently below operating expenses, have have failed to revive demand for this ship type. Charter rates dropped below $5,000 per day in July last year and currently stand at only $4,000-$4,350.
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5. US Navy Runs Aground
The U.S. Navy’s guided missile cruiser USS Antietam ran aground off the coast of Yokosuka, Japan on Tuesday, damaging the ship’s props and causing hydraulic oil to spill into the water. The incident was first reported by the Navy Times. The report, citing two Navy officials familiar with the incident, says the ship grounded after dragging anchor in high winds near its home port of Yokosuka. The grounding caused the ship to dump some 1,100 gallons of oil into the water, the officials said. The extent of the damage and grounding is unclear, but the U.S. Navy did confirm that the ship was damaged during anchoring.
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6. Flipping Ships for Profits
German bulker giant Oldendorff is proving very adept at flipping vessels for a fast buck as dry bulk assets climb in price. Tthe company had made a tidy $3m in three months from the sale of Cathrin Oldendorff post-panama. This time round it has made a quick $2.5m profit in just two and a half months from another post-panamax. At the end of last October Oldendorff bought the 2013-built Oriental Angel from Japan’s Toyo Sangyo for $16.5m. It has now sold the 95,711 dwt ship to Belgium’s Cobelfret for $19m. Shipping database Equasis shows the ship has now been renamed Lowlands Rise.
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7. Chao Named as Transport Chief
In a 93 to 6 vote, the U.S. Senate on Tuesday confirmed Elaine Chao as head of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the Trump Administration. Chao is former U.S. Labor secretary under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2009 and was the first Asian-American woman to hold a Cabinet position. She was deputy secretary of transportation under President George H. W. Bush. Chao will likely be a key player in Trump’s “bold vision” for a 10-year, $1 trillion infrastructure plan. She has been a strong proponent of the Jones Act, so that appears safe.
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8. Seadrill Looks to Raise Capital
Oil rig firm Seadrill is looking to raise at least $1 billion in new capital as it warned talks to restructure debt and liabilities worth $14 billion are taking longer than expected, wiping a quarter off its market value. Once the crown jewel in the empire of shipping tycoon John Fredriksen, Oslo-listed Seadrill’s shares have fallen 90 percent in the past three years as plunging crude prices and drastic spending cuts among oil companies have pushed daily rig rates for oil drillers down towards breakeven. Seadrill’s heavy debt and repeated delays to its refinancing plan have also spooked investors.
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9. People Smugglers Attack Vessel
The Libyan Coast Guard says that human smugglers opened fire on one of its vessels during a mission to intercept 700 migrants off the coast of western Libya. The assailants reportedly shot at the coast guard vessel from shore, and Libyan servicemembers returned fire, forcing the smugglers to retreat. The coast guard crew proceeded to intercept two wooden boats loaded with hundreds of migrants. No casualties were reported in the incident. It is not the first report of gunfire in a confrontation between security forces and human smugglers off Libya.
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10. Bibby Seeks Arbritration
Bibby Offshore has filed a case in the US against Emas Chiyoda Subsea, the subsea entity controlled by Singapore’s Ezra Holdings. Bibby Offshore says it is owed around $14.7m from $18.1m worth of contracts performed in Trinidad in 2016. It has requested a demand for arbitration after it said Emas Chiyoda withdrew an agreement to mediate which was scheduled for January 12. A spokesperson for Emas Chiyoda Subsea said: “Emas Chiyoda Subsea have investigated the facts surrounding the case and believe the case has no legal merit. ECS have also engaged outside legal counsel to challenge it in court.”
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Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions  www.seacurus.com

 

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