Top Ten Maritime News Stories 20/02/2017

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 20/02/2017

1. Losses From Hanjin Mount
Plenty of companies and individuals are set to suffer large losses from their investments in South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping, a carrier that was finally declared bankrupt by a court in Seoul on Friday. Yonhap, South Korea’s top newswire, warns bondholders face up to KRW1.2trn ($1.05bn) in losses with lead creditor state-backed Korea Development Bank (KDB) likely to shoulder the biggest losses. Hanjin Shipping sought court protection at the end of last August with debts of more than $5bn. Its end marks the largest bankruptcy in container shipping history. Since August most of its assets have been put up for sale.
2. Ferry Collision Deaths
Four people were critically injured on Saturday night when a ferry collided with a barge in the Philippines. Over 45 others others sustained injuries when the fast ferry MV St. Braquiel, which was heading towards port in Cebu City, hit a 1,300-gross ton, 80 meter (260 foot) barge being towed by a tug. Initially the Philippine Coast Guard was reported as saying that the ferry had suffered engine trouble and was being towed when it collided with the barge. However, that does not seem to be the case, and they are now investigating whether the ferry was exceeding the five knot speed limit set for the Mactan Channel.

3. Jones Act Scrutiny
With the Jones Act again coming under scrutiny, it is timely to remember that those most directly affected by the act are seafarers.  Over the years, lawmakers and presidents have proposed making somewhat controversial changes to the Jones Act. Some have gone so far as to recommend repealing it entirely as Senator John McCain did in 2015. He described the law as archaic and claimed that it restricts economic growth and drives up prices for consumers by limiting the extent to which foreign-flagged ships can move goods through the U.S.

4. Offshore Industry Review
Expectations at the start of the year that 2016 would be a tough one for the oil industry, and in particular for offshore, were on the whole fulfilled. Overall upstream E&P spending globally fell for the second successive year, and was down by in the region of 27% year-on-year in 2016. Cost-cutting has been a key focus, whether that be through pressure on the supply chain, M&A activity, job cuts or other means. Offshore spending has been particularly reined back on exploration activity such as seismic survey and exploration drilling, although 2016 saw weakness spread further to areas such as the subsea or mobile production sectors.

5. Piracy Contained, Terror Grows
With piracy seemingly contained in the Indian Ocean in 2016, the civil war in Yemen poses a danger to shipping in the area, with several attacks against ships last year. An effect of the Yemeni Civil war has been an increase in local activity in the waterways surrounding the country. Threats to shipping have been reported in the Bab el Mandeb and southern Red Sea, when merchant vessels have been suspiciously approached. There are also concerns in the Strait of Hormuz, and while a return to the ‘tanker wars’ of the 1980’s is unlikely, maritime security experts are watching Iran’s next steps with interest.
6. US Begins South China Patrols
U.S. Navy Carrier Strike Group 1 has begun patrols in the South China Sea amid growing tensions with China. China has yet to officially comment on the move that the U.S. Navy says is “routine,” but some observers have indicated that the patrols demonstrate that tensions between China and the U.S. could intensify under the Trump administration. Nations competing with China for claims to parts of the South China Sea include Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Taiwan also claims part of the area.
7. Vessel to be Frozen In
It is being billed as the biggest single Arctic research expedition ever planned. Germany is going to sail its 120m-long research vessel, the "Polarstern", into the sea-ice at the top of the world and just let it get stuck so it can drift across the north pole. The 2,500km (1,550-mile) trip, to begin in 2019, is likely to take a year. Researchers hope to gather valuable new insights on the region where Earth’s climate is changing fastest. Last month the extent of Arctic sea-ice was the lowest ever recorded for a January (during the satellite era), with temperatures several degrees above the long-term average.
8. Crane Collapses on Ship
A large crane collapsed onto a ship docked in the southern port of Ashdod on Sunday, causing damage but no injuries. The incident was the second crane collapse in as many weeks, amid heightened concerns over worker safety. It was not immediately clear what caused the crane to collapse on the cargo ship at the Ashdod port a little after 6 p.m. Sunday evening. Emergency crews were rushed to the scene, but no workers were hurt. An investigation was launched into the incident. The Ashdod facility, south of Tel Aviv, is one of two major ports on Israel’s Mediterranean coast, servicing some dozen ships at any given time.
9. Agreeing on Small Tanker Spills
The Small Tanker Oil Pollution Indemnification Agreement (STOPIA) and the Tanker Oil Pollution Indemnification Agreement (TOPIA) were agreed in 2006 to reflect the desire of shipowner entered Members in International Group Clubs to ensure the continuing success of the international oil pollution compensation regime. More particularly, with the 2003 Supplementary Fund Protocol having been recently introduced at that time, there was a desire to ensure that the costs of responding to spills of persistent oil from tankers should be more equitably borne by shipowners and the receivers of oil.

10. Woman Falls Overboard
A woman who fell overboard from the Sun Princess has been rescued after around 45 minutes in the water. Local New Zealand media reports that the woman went overboard on Friday while the cruise ship was voyaging from Brisbane to New Caledonia. Life rings were deployed, and the ship returned to the location. A life boat was then used to search for the woman who was eventually returned to safety. It was not clear how she came to go overboard.

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


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