Top Ten Maritime News Stories 15/03/2017

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 15/03/2017

1. Owners Accused of Tax Evasion
The Norwegian Shipowners’ Association has rejected claims by the Offshore Marine Services Association (OMSA) in the US that Norwegian owners of offshore construction vessels operating in the Gulf of Mexico are engaged in tax evasion. US Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) recently announced its intent to revoke several letter rulings that were said to be ‘inconsistent’ with the Jones Act. OMSA claims earlier rulings “allowed foreign vessels using cheaper foreign labour” that pay “little or no taxes in the US or in their home jurisdictions” to stifle US maritime investment and job creation.
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2. Hopes Fade for Crew
Hopes are fading over the fate of three crew members of an Irish Coast Guard helicopter that went missing off the west of Ireland, the head of the rescue service has said. One crew member was pulled from the Atlantic, in a critical condition, as an intense search continued for three others off the Co Mayo coast – around six miles (10km) west of Blacksod. The Dublin-based Sikorsky S92, which was providing cover for another helicopter involved in an early-morning rescue operation, lost contact at around 1am on Tuesday. The Irish Coast Guard, confirmed the crew member found in the water is fighting for their life.
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3. Dirty Bottom No Joke
It seemed a bit of a joke in the press, as they reported that a bulk carrier had been asked to leave New Zealand waters because of a dirty bottom. Then she was banned from Fijian waters too, which became a bit more serious, leaving the ship operators obviously wondering where they could take their vessel for a legal scrub of the barnacles and tube worms that had so alarmed the New Zealand authorities. It is a salutary reminder that this is yet another environmental issue which has been boiling away for hard-pressed ship operators, to add to the hard decisions on ballast water systems and how to control emissions.
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4. Hold Off On Ballast
Shipowners have been advised to hold off on installing expensive new ballast water treatment systems, despite a new standard being introduced later this year. Under the new convention, ships trading in international waters will need to ensure they are fitted with a ship-specific ballast water management systems, costing the industry as a whole billions of dollars. But speaking at last week’s Marine Money event in Dubai, Svein Eloff Pedersen, ceo of Noah Ship Management warned against owners rushing into costly installations. So, for those that haven’t installed, the advice is to wait.
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5. Plotting the Route Ahead
Wärtsilä is launching its latest innovation SmartPredict at this year’s Seatrade Cruise Global. Developed by the company’s Dynamic Positioning unit, SmartPredict is designed to provide safer and more efficient vessel operations by reducing the risks associated with manoeuvring. The system displays the vessel’s predicted future position and heading, and uses proven dynamic positioning (DP) analysis algorithms to evaluate forces affecting the vessel, thereby providing advanced motion prediction. SmartPredict also features a configurable prediction time display.
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6. US Finds Future Hackers
The US Navy took a major step toward recruiting cyber technology talent from beyond its service members by hosting a Hack-Our-Ship event last month that challenged hacking experts from across the country to infiltrate a simulated Navy fleet software system. Hack-Our-Ship, also called “Hack-the-Machine,” was the result of the joint efforts of Booz Allen Hamilton, U.S. Navy’s Naval Post Graduate School (NPS), Defense Innovation Unit Experimental. The challenge: to hack into Booz Allen’s “Boat in a Box,” a complex software system designed to simulate the systems that are used to control Navy fleets.
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7. New Drone Detection Radar
Kelvin Hughes is delighted to announce the launch of its new drone detection system at the Home Office Security & Policing exhibition, which was held in London from 7-9 March. The SMS-D is the first integrated, medium-range, radar-based surveillance system designed for the detection and tracking of small aerial targets. Whether used maliciously or just irresponsibly, drones represent a new threat to our security – cruise ships seem to be particularly popular targets – just search YouTube. It is based on the solid-state SharpEye X-Band solid-state radar transceiver technology, and can detect drones up to 1.5kms away.
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8. Offshore Merger Beckons
The merger of three Norwegian OSV owners Deep Sea Supply, Farstad Shipping and Solstad Offshore is expected to be completed during the first half of this year. The three OSV companies first announced the proposed merger plan in February this year. “The companies are finalizing the proposal for the merger and plan that their board of directors shall resolve on the merger proposal and the statutory merger plan by the end of March 2017. Subject to agreement on final transaction documentation and other closing conditions, the proposed combination is expected to be completed during the first half of 2017,” the companies said.
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9. Clarksons Seeking Investments
Shipping firm Clarksons is “keeping an eye out” for potential acquisitions as it sees signs of an end to one of the biggest downturns in the industry’s history. The FTSE 250 firm, which is the world’s largest shipbroker, lifted revenues from £302 million to £306 million last year as underlying pre-tax profits dipped from £50.5 million to £44.8 million with freight rates continuing to dive. Analysts attributed the strong performance to Clarksons’ $440 million takeover of RS Platou. “This demonstrates the importance of the Platou acquisition to turning the business around and positioning it for the future,” Panmure Gordon’s Colin Smith said.
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10. Stubborn Seafarer Beaten
A crew member aboard a ship docked in Bali’s Benoa Harbor got jumped by five other crew because his colleagues apparently didn’t like how he was conducting himself. The violent incident was reported to the Harbour Police. The seafarer known as "M", 45, was attacked by his mates, beaten with their bare hands and kicked on the ground. “The victim was slapped, punched, and kicked repeatedly until he suffered a number of contusions,” police stated. After the report was filed five alleged attackers were arrested and claimed "M" was "too stubborn". The attackers could face seven years behind bars under Indonesian law.
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Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions  www.seacurus.com

 

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