Top Ten Maritime News Stories 27/03/2017

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 27/03/2017

1. Lloyd’s Looks To Future
The governing board of Lloyd’s of London, the world’s largest insurance market, is to approve the establishment of a new base in Europe on the same day that Theresa May triggers the Brexit process. Sky News has learnt that the council‎ of Lloyd’s will gather next Wednesday to decide whether to set up an operation in Belgium or Luxembourg in order to protect revenues generated within the European Union (EU). Sources said that Lloyd’s was likely to announce its decision shortly after the council meeting and has been examining a number of locations for a new EU base, including Germany and Malta.
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2. Pirates Get Mother Ship
In an advisory notice issued Friday, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) warned that pirates had hijacked a dhow in the vicinity of Eyl, a city in northern Somalia that was once a hub for maritime piracy. Local authorities suggest that they may intend to use the small vessel for hijacking a merchant ship further offshore. "Some crew have been put ashore and the [dhow] is now proceeding to sea; course, speed and destination unknown. Vessels are advised to exercise extreme caution," UKMTO warned.
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3. Hostage Seafarer Escapes
A seafarer captured by Abu Sayyaf has reportedly escaped capture with the help of military intervention. Captain Aurelio Agac-ac is free after a military push into a terrorist stronghold in Basilan in the southern Philippines. Agacac and chief engineer Laurencio Tiro were abducted by terrorists, believed to belong to the Abu Sayyaf group, last Thursday. Some local reports indicate that Agac-ac escaped while his captors slept. Others indicate that the abductors abandoned Agac-ac to delay pursuing troops and evade a firefight.
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4. US Crude Goes Further
Following the removal of restrictions on U.S. crude oil exports in December 2015, the U.S. exported crude oil to 26 different countries in 2016, compared with 10 the previous year. In 2015, 92 percent of U.S. crude oil exports went to Canada, which was exempt from U.S. crude oil export restrictions. After the lifting of restrictions, Canada remained the top destination, but on average in 2016 received only 61 percent of U.S. crude exports.
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5. New Battery for Oceans
A pressure tolerant lithium sulfur battery pack for marine autonomous systems is being readied for sea trials. The MAS project, a two-year program, supported by Innovate UK and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, is developing a pressure tolerant battery pack capable of powering autonomous vehicles to ocean depths of 6,000 meters using next-generation lithium sulfur cells. The project is being led by Steatite and includes participants OXIS Energy, MSubs and the National Oceanography Centre (NOC).
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6. Shipbuilders in Load Fraud
Bohai Shipbuilding Heavy Industry, an affiliate yard of state-run China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), has been involved in a loan fraud case which is currently under a court trial in Liaoning. Xu Guohong, former president of Bohai Shipbuilding’s ship repair subsidiary, and another two senior officials of the company are alleged to have made a series of fake sales contracts with the yard’s affiliate companies between 2011 and 2014 in order to secure loans of up to RMB3.9bn ($567m) from two local commercial banks.
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7. Bids in for Greek Port
Greece has received three binding bids for a majority stake in its second-largest port in Thessaloniki, the state privatizations agency said on Saturday, as the country tries to privatize parts of its infrastructure to meet bailout terms. The offers came from Philippines-based International Container Terminal Services (ICTS); Dubai-based Peninsular and Oriental Stream Navigation Company (DP World); and a consortium comprising German private-equity firm Deutsche Invest Equity Partners, Terminal Link (a subsidiary of CMA CGM) and Russian-Greek investor Ivan Savvidis’s group.
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8. Arctic Control Conference
Leaders representing eight coast guards of Arctic nations signed a joint statement on Friday, adopting doctrine, tactics, procedures and information-sharing protocols for emergency maritime response and combined operations in the Arctic. Additionally, the Chairmanship for the Forum was officially transferred from the U.S. Coast Guard to the Finnish Border Guard. Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Russia and the United States are members of the Forum.
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9. North Korea Seeks Investment
Fresh from provoking global outrage by launching a volley of missiles into the Sea of Japan, cash-strapped North Korea is inviting foreign investors to fund an international cruise liner to boost maritime tourism. The Mount Kumgang tourist region, a special development zone and port near the reclusive totalitarian nation’s border with South Korea, is seeking overseas entities to invest up to $20m to run a 30,000 tonne casino-equipped ship to Southeast Asia and Vladivostok, in eastern Russia. “We are trying to diversify international tourism at the world-renowned Mount Kumgang by using cruise ship services,” they claim.
goo.gl/930pXw
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10. Maritime Student Visa Success
The UK Chamber has welcomed an announcement by the Home Office to reform immigration rules for international students, extending the time limit to three years for educational courses which are below degree level but subject to MCA regulations that the applicant must spend 12 months at sea. Until now, international students within the Tier 4 (general) visa route are subject to restrictions on the maximum period of time they can study at a specific level.  The time limit for those studying at below UK bachelor’s degree level was reduced from three years to two in 2015.
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Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions  www.seacurus.com

 

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