Top Ten Maritime News Stories 23/03/2017

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 23/03/2017

1. Shipowners in Rich List
Among the top 500 in the annual Hurun Global Rich List published earlier this month there’s a solid smattering of shipping-related personalities. The list, created by China-based Hurun Report, details all of the world’s billionaires – 2,257 in total who together are worth $8trn, more than the GDPs of France and Germany. In terms of shipping-related people within the top 500, in joint 32nd position with $25bn to his name is Hong Kong’s Li Ka-shing, whose range of interests include retail, property, telecoms and terminals in the form of Hutchison Port Holdings.
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2. Box Club Busted
The FBI busted into a meeting of the Box Club in San Francisco last week and issued a number of the world’s top containerlines with subpoenas over a US price fixing probe, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). The Box Club, formerly known as the International Council of Containership Operators, is an annual gathering of the world’s top liners. Among those handed subpoenas, according to report from Reuters and the WSJ, were Maersk Line, Hapag-Lloyd and OOCL.
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3. All the Gear No Idea
Results from a survey carried out by Futurenautics Maritime in association with Ericsson, make plain the digital revolution sweeping shipping – and the confusion surrounding this rapid transformation. Anecdotally the global shipping industry and its suppliers have been considered ‘conservative’ in their approach to digitisation but according to more than 700 respondents to the Waypoint Digital 2017 survey 85% of ship operators, suppliers and industry stakeholders globally believe that digital initiatives are of the most, or highest importance to the financial or market success of their organisations.
goo.gl/HeXs0m
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4. Merger Delayed
The delay in the merger between Hapag-Lloyd and UASC is due to some of the Gulf carrier’s creditor banks “seeking additional security” from UASC’s sovereign backers, according to an Alphaliner report. UASC’s current primary shareholders are Qatar Holding and the Public Investment Fund Saudi Arabia, which after the merger will own 14.3% and 10.1% respectively of Hapag-Lloyd. Hapag-Lloyd advised on Friday that the closing date of the merger had been pushed back from 31 March to 31 May.
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5. Nigeria Security Slammed
About 31 ports, jetties and terminals in Nigeria are currently not yet compliant with the International Ships and Facilities Security (ISPS) Code, thereby making them unsafe for marine operations. Disclosing this at a world press conference yesterday, director-general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside revealed that Nigeria currently has ISPS Code compliance level of almost 80 per cent.
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6. Somali Piracy Message
The recent Somali piracy hijack was evidence for those who argue piracy off the Somali shores isn’t over yet despite it being the first major pirate attack since 2012. For such people, it also showed some of the motives that led to its piracy’s original emergence still persist. Ship hijacks and attacks in Somali waters were a very regular occurrence between 2009 to 2011 but have been out of the news for several years. Yet they were seared into global public consciousness in 2013 by the Tom Hanks’ Hollywood movie, Captain Phillips, which dramatized a traumatic ship hijack by Somali pirates.
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7. Malaysia Naval Spend
Malaysia is gunning for a revamp of its ageing naval fleet, as countries in the region prepare to face threats from the influx of ISIS militants fleeing Middle East battlefields and from rising tensions in the South China Sea. Defence spending in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to hit US$250 billion (S$350 billion) from 2016 to 2020, IHS Janes Defence Weekly said last December, and Malaysia intends to improve on its capabilities alongside other states in the hotly contested South China Sea, even as its defence budget narrows.
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8. Marigold’s Bottom Scrubbed
The bulk carrier DL Marigold was ordered from both New Zealand and Fijian waters earlier this month for being an invasive species threat. The vessel’s hull is now being cleaned by a team of divers from New Zealand in international waters off Fiji. “Offshore locations are not ideal,” says Dr Rob Hilliard, biofouling consultant and principle at Intermarine Consulting. “Presumably it was considered the best option in this case by DL Marigold’s operators given its cargo constraints and distance to alternative ports where the fouling poses a lower, acceptable biosecurity threat.” 
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9. Errant Owners Pursued
The Murmansk Region has a new message for ship owners that have littered parts of the Kola Peninsula’s coast and waters with the hulks of abandoned and sunken boats and ships: We will find you. To track down who is responsible for any of the 97 ships that lay listing on beaches or sunken in the waters off Murmansk, the area is forming a broad working group among prosecutors, environmental oversight agencies, port authorities, emergency officials and radioactive waste handlers.
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10. Missing Passenger Hunt
A search and rescue operation was launched on Wednesday for a 23-year-old passenger who fell off the cruise ship Carnival Victory some 33 miles northwest of Pinar Del Rio, Cuba. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) informed that the missing person is Brandon Paul from Floral City, Florida resident, who reportedly went overboard from the eighth deck of the cruise ship at around 3 a.m. The 272-meter-long cruise ship launched a search boat and contacted watch standers at the Seventh Coast Guard District Command Center.
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