Top Ten Maritime News Stories 21/02/2017

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 21/02/2017

1. Philippine Pirates Hit Again
On Sunday evening, pirates attached the frieghter "Giang Hai" near Tawi-Tawi, Philippines, killing one seafarer and kidnapping seven.  According to the Vietnam Coast Guard, the abductees included the master, chief mate, third mate, second engineer and one oiler. Philippine coast guard and military forces responded to the scene and rescued the Giang Hai’s remaining 17 crewmembers, and the Philippine armed forces pursued the attackers. The Vietnamese-flagged geared bulker is operated by a Da Nang-based shipping firm. AIS data shows that she was under way from Makassar, Indonesia to Iloilo, Philippines.
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2. Terror Attack Was Drone
The U.S. Navy has determined that the bomb boat that struck the Saudi frigate "Al-Madinah" last month was a remotely controlled device and not a suicide attack craft. The technological sophistication of the unmanned vessel raises questions about its source, and the Navy suspects that Iran was involved. Vice Adm. Kevin Donegan, commander of the Fifth Fleet and head of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, told Defense News that the attack on the Al-Madinah is the first confirmed use of a remote-controlled attack boat by an insurgent force like Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
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3. Book to the Future
Lars Jensen from SeaIntelligence Consulting, has published a new book – Liner Shipping 2025 – How to survive and thrive – will be essential reading for top brass at most box shipping firms around the world. “Global liner shipping is undergoing the largest transformation since the invention of the container itself. The core business models and business cultures which made the shipping lines successful are now failing. Shipping lines are facing a critical few years in which to begin their transformation, otherwise they will likely not be part of the landscape in 2025,” Jensen noted in a release promoting the book.
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4. Testing Time for Crude
Maritime Strategies International (MSI) has forecast a testing time for the crude tanker market over the next six months – and perhaps longer if OPEC is successful in extending production cuts beyond the first half of 2017. In its latest Tanker Freight Forecaster MSI notes that the VLCC and Suezmax markets moved unequivocally downwards in January, with spot rates sliding rapidly from a seasonally strong December. Pressure has persisted in these sectors in February leaving the crude tanker spot market under increasing strain.
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5. K Line Goes Indian
A subsidiary of Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line) has become a member of the Indian National Shipower’s Association (INSA) as the Japanese outfit looks to ramp up business in the world’s largest democracy. K Line (India) Shipping Private Ltd (KLISP) was established in 2014 and has actively participated in the Indian coastal trade as well as ocean shipping as an Indian shipping company. In the same year, KLISP successfully entered into a long-term CVC contract with an Indian charterer. In December last year, KLISP acquired ownership of an Indian flagged bulker, the 58,000 dwt "Ganga K", for this contract.
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6. Punished for Prices
China’s Ministry of Transport has announced today that it has decided to punish 14 container lines for either not reporting their freight rates to the ministry or not carrying out the freight rates as reported. The total fines dished out to the 14 companies amounts to RMB2.39m ($347,212). The ministry has talked with the China representatives of eight container lines that have severely breached the regulations. Hamburg Süd, Gold Star Line, Wan Hai Lines, Wan Hai Lines (Singapore), Heung-A Shipping, KMTC, Evergreen and CMA CGM have been asked to submit rectification reports to the ministry.
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7. Rescuers Stand Accused
In a seemingly bizarre case, the chief prosecutor of a Sicilian court has said a task force is looking into whether people smugglers may be financing rescue boats run by humanitarian groups that operate off the coast of Libya. A court task force is conducting “an analysis” – not a criminal investigation – into concerns that some boats may be working with smugglers, Carmelo Zuccaro, Catania’s chief prosecutor said. “Last summer we saw something we’d never seen before: At times there were 13 boats operated by NGOs working at once,” he said. “Do these NGOs all have the same motivations? And who is financing them?”
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8. Rogue Union Slammed
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has condemned an offer by a coalition of Ukrainian trade unions to cut minimum wages for the country’s seafarers. The Ukrainian National Platform of Maritime Trade Unions is publicly offering shipowners the chance to evade the agreed ITF monthly minimum wage for ABs of $1,806, cutting it by $801. ITF seafarers’ section chair David Heindel explained: “There is no indication that any shipowner has fallen for this offer yet. They will be aware that a union proposing to reduce negotiated conditions for seafarers is unacceptable and will not be tolerated by the ITF.
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9. Japan Gears for LNG Bunkering
Japan, the world’s largest LNG importer and accounting for about 35% of global demand, is set to play a significant role in LNG bunkering as the marine industry turns to cleaner fuel options to comply with stricter environmental regulations. In October 2016, the International Maritime Organization decided to cut global sulfur emission limits for marine fuels from 3.5% to 0.5% by 2020. Currently, the demand for heavy fuel oils as marine fuel is about 250 million mt/year. Ship operators will have to switch to cleaner, more expensive fuels or invest in emissions cleaning systems. LNG is another option.
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10. NORTH Emerges Stronger
North P&I Club is stronger after its annual renewal on 20 February 2017, further consolidating its position as one of the leading members of the International Group of P&I Clubs. According to joint managing director, Paul Jennings, ‘As part of North’s ongoing strategy to refine its membership, coupled with the very challenging trading environment for our members, it was inevitably going to be a tough renewal. The decision to keep our 2017/18 policy year rates unchanged for both P&I and FD&D cover reflected the relatively benign claims environment.’
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Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions  www.seacurus.com

 

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S Jones
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