Top Ten Maritime News Stories 17/02/2017

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 17/02/2017

1. More Sign Up to Alibaba
Two container shipping lines, France’s CMA CGM and Israel’s Zim, have signed up with Alibaba to allow customers to book space on their vessels through the Chinese e-commerce giant, in a bid to boost sales as the sector battles a severe downturn. Container lines, facing their worst ever downturn due to a glut of ships and weaker demand, are pursuing several measures such as vessel-sharing arrangements or mergers and acquisitions to ride out the current slump. A growing number of logistics firms are going online to buoy their business. In December, Maersk started offering online booking services to Chinese shippers on Alibaba’s OneTouch. 
2. Rickmers on the Ropes
Struggling Rickmers Maritime Trust (RMT) posted a full year loss of $180m, red ink spiraling 39% more than in 2015 and has once again voiced concerns that the boxship leasor might struggle to survive unless creditors accept its restructuring plan. The CEO of the endangered firm admitted in a release that fixing his ships had become difficult given all the bad press surrounding the company, which suspended trading on the Singapore Exchange last year. “Our efforts to secure customers for the vessels in the spot market have been hampered by the public attention on the need for the trust’s debts to be restructured,” Soeren Andersen said.

3. Hanjin Finally Put to Down
Hanjin Shipping will be declared bankrupt today, after suffering from snowballing debt amid a slowdown in the global shipping market. Seoul Central District Court is expected to declare bankruptcy of the shipper, following a two-week period for appeals. Following the declaration, a bankruptcy trustee will be appointed to lead the sale of Hanjin Shipping’s remaining assets to pay off debts to creditors. The declaration would be the end of the 40-year history of the world’s former No. 7 shipper, which once boasted more than 1,300 employees and a massive fleet of 97 container ships and 44 bulk carriers.
4. Second Hand Market Intensifies
As the dry bulk market could be in for a rebound, the demand for second hand bulkers is intensifying. Shipbroker Intermodal noted that “looking at the state of the Dry Bulk market exactly a year ago, there is no doubt that there is a significant improvement and despite the fact that there are still many challenges, there is now also more hope that things are finally moving towards the right direction. On 11 February 2016 the BDI was at its historical lows, touching 290 points, while during that first quarter many vessels remained unfixed for long periods as in most cases below OPEX rates made no sense even for repositioning. 
5. Ukrainians Undercut Crewing
Undercutting the crewing market in a big way, Ukrainian seafarer unions have struck a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) which will send shockwaves to the Philippines and India, the traditional manning. powerhouses Major Ukrainian trade unions have joined forces and developed a new CBA with the lowest recommended wage for ratings starting from $1,085 a month. “The main aim of the new CBA is to find working places for Ukrainian seafarers, provide shipowners with skilled seamen and break the monopoly established in the Ukrainian maritime labour market,” a release from the unions read.
6. Dearth of Big Data Experts
In a new survey released by Sea Asia 2017, maritime leaders have revealed that a severe skills shortage is preventing the industry from effectively harnessing Big Data and ultimately negating performance and cost-saving potential. 63% of the leaders believe the lack of access to Big Data is holding back their ability to utilise it, with only 12 % saying they are currently compiling, analysing and storing Big Data. The leaders also identified that the key areas where they see potential benefits from the use of Big Data are real time information on vessel performance (77 %) and cost savings for their respective companies (70 %).
7. Mapping Extreme Weather
Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) are building a greater understanding of extreme waves in conjunction with climate forecasts. Using decades of global climate data generated at a spatial resolution of about 25 square kilometers (10 square miles), the researchers were able to capture the formation of tropical cyclones (hurricanes and typhoons) and the extreme waves that they generate. Those same models, when run at resolutions of about 100 kilometers (60 miles), missed the tropical cyclones and the big waves up to 30 meters (100 feet) high.

8. Mopping Up the Mess
The salvage of the "APL Austria" has entered the mop-up phase after a major fire broke out in one of the vessel’s cargo holds as it was off Port Elizabeth in South Africa. The fire started in one of the cargo holds of Liberian-flagged vessel on Sunday while the ship was some 30 miles off the coast of South Africa, headed west to the Indian Ocean. Overnight on Sunday the vessel was brought to the nearby port of Ngqura where firefighting continued for several days. The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) said on Thursday that the fire had been extinguished.
9. EU Emissions Opposition
After the European Parliament voted to include CO2 emissions from shipping in the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) voiced their opposition to the move.  Along with the inclusion of shipping in the ETS, the parliament also voted in favor of the establishment of a maritime climate fund “in the absence of progress at international level” as from 2023. The proposal will see shipowners buy ETS allowances from 2023 onwards or pay an equivalent amount into the new maritime climate fund. The fund will reinvesting revenues to make ships and ports cleaner. 
10. Pilot Guide to Whales
Pilots boarding ships in British Columbian waters will hand out booklets identifying where whales are likely to be in the latest move by authorities to protect the mammals. Marine researchers in conjunction with the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert have put together the Mariner’s Guide to Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises of Western Canada in a bid to cut the number of mammal deaths from ship collisions. The BC Cetacean Sighting Network has gathered data on the location of whales since 2001, information that researchers hope is beneficial in cutting down collisions. 

Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions


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