Top Ten Maritime News Stories 01/03/2017

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 01/03/2017

1. Frontline’s New Red Line
John Fredriksen’s Frontline has revealed via its latest quarterly results that the tanker firm has picked up two VLCC resales for what it claims are “historically low prices”. Frontline did not reveal who they bought the pair of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering tankers from, but did state they are costing $77.5m each and will deliver in the third quarter of this year. Robert Hvide Macleod, ceo of Frontline Management, commented in the quarterly results: “We remain of the opinion that 2017 will see pressure on freight rates as further newbuildings are delivered.”
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2. Charities Are Migrant Taxi
NGOs which rescue people in the sea off Libya are working ineffectively with security agencies and encouraging traffickers. That’s the opinion of the head of the EU border agency Frontex. The comments have sparked a bitter row with charities who say the alternative is to rescue operations is to leave people to their deaths. Frontex chief Fabrice Leggeri has called for such operations to be re-evaluated in an interview with the conservative daily German newspaper Die Welt. Leggeri was quoted saying under maritime law everyone at sea had a duty to rescue vessels, “But we must avoid supporting criminal networks.”
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3. Seadrill Could File
Seadrill has announced better than expected financial results for Q4 of 2016, but the company could still face chapter 11 proceedings as it runs out of time to renegotiate its sizeable debts. The company posted earnings before interest, taxes, debt and amortisation in the fourth quarter of $354m, slightly beating expectations for $345m, and down from $513m in the year-ago period. But the offshore drilling contractor is still beleaguered some $14bn of debt, largely caused by project cancellations driven by the oil price crash and a rapid decline in day rates. Since 2014, the Oslo-listed organisation’s share price has tumbled 92%.
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4. Ports Welcome New Secretary
The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) – the voice of America’s ports – was pleased to learn this evening that the U.S. Senate has confirmed Wilbur Ross as the nation’s new Secretary of Commerce.  As commerce secretary, Mr. Ross has oversight over a number of agencies important to ports, including the International Trade Administration, which promotes U.S. trade and investment, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is vital to maritime commerce since its weather service and aids to navigation divisions provide important safety and efficiency programs for mariners.
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5. Improving Medical Support
A company which specialises in medical support for ships is urging improvements to facilities available at sea which protect and safeguard seafarers’ health. The call for increased safety comes after new research showing that almost 125,000 seafarers, around 7% of the total, are evacuated while at sea each year due to ill health. Additionally, around one in every five ships is forced to divert due to a medical emergency according to the International Maritime Health Association. This issue is compounded by MLC as ships with less than 100 crew members do not require an on board doctor, often forcing drastic action.
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6. Nigerians Tackle Crude Theft 
The Federal Nigerian Government has commissioned a project to check crude oil theft, illegal transfer at sea and piracy. The National Security Adviser, commissioning the project called Nigerian Security Element Project 2 (NICEP) said: “It is an attestation that the Federal Government is determined to stop illegalities in our waterways.” The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ete Ekwe Ibas said: “The need for this infrastructure became expedient because of high rate of crime at sea, and the decision to implement the ‘Falcon Eye’ system is to present detailed picture of Nigeria’s maritime domain.”
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7. Cyber Risks Grow Again
While IMB figures generally refer to “traditional” piracy risks, emerging technologies could result in more successful future attacks, thereby increasing the risk to the industry. Pirates are more technologically aware than you might think. With rapidly advancing shipping-industry technology, pirates could hack a shipping company’s information system, enabling them to target, track, and board specific cargo ships. They would then offload a ship’s cargo and escape before authorities can stop them. Shipping has long been contemplating what would happen if pirates were to use technology to their advantage, now they might.
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8. Gulf of Concern Rises
‘The Gulf of Guinea, which has been Africa’s main maritime piracy hotspot since 2011, could become the world’s most piracy-affected area.’ This was a key observation made by American and African experts at a workshop organised by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies in Abidjan from 14 to 17 February. This finding and others depicted a rather disheartening picture of maritime security in Africa. Indeed, the Gulf saw a significant rise in violence at sea in 2016. In contrast, global figures of piracy and armed robbery had declined significantly to 191 cases, the lowest level since 1998 (which saw 203 incidents).
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9. Pac Basin on Slide
Pacific Basin Shipping saw its 2016 net loss widen to $86.5m from $18.5m previously as record low dry bulk market conditions significantly undermined its ability to generate satisfactory results and revenue slid 14% to $1.09bn from $1.26bn previously. The company’s core dry bulk business generated a net loss of US$87.6m compared to a net loss of $34.7m in 2015. "2016 was an extremely poor year for dry bulk shipping. Average market rates were even weaker than in 2015, dragged down in the first quarter by rates not seen for 45 years," chairman David Turnbull said in a stock market statement.
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10. Thames Welcomes Dolphin
A small dolphin was spotted swimming along the River Thames in the centre of London for what is thought to be only the third time in nine years. The marine mammal spent around two hours bobbing above and below the surface close to the Palace of Westminster on Sunday. Charlotte McGlinchey, director at Thames RIB Experience, said: “Our staff were at Embankment Pier when they saw the fin of the dolphin, but when a boat came near it, it wouldn’t come up. “This is probably the third time we’ve had this in nine years.
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Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions  www.seacurus.com

 

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