Top Ten Maritime News Stories 07/04/2017

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 07/04/2017

1. More Giant Bulker Woes
Another very large ore carrier (VLOC) belonging to Polaris Shipping has reportedly run into difficulty off South Africa. The South Korean owner is coming under enormous scrutiny following the disappearance – and presumed sinking – of the 266,000 dwt "Stellar Daisy" on Friday night. A multinational assortment of search and rescue teams have since been scouring the South Atlantic off Uruguay in a vain attempt to find survivors. Meanwhile, another elderly VLOC, the "Stellar Unicorn", also built in 1993, was making its way from Brazil with a cargo of iron ore when it was forced to reroute for repair work.
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2. Vessel Seizure Battle
Magnolia Shipping, a Singapore offshoot of Greece’s Sea World, has taken the Philippines’ Bureau of Customs to court over a vessel seizure. The shipowner claims customs officials carried out an “unwarranted seizure and detention” of the Alpine Magnolia, a bunker tanker that is on charter to Glencore. The ship was arrested at the port of Limay, across Manila Bay from the capital, on charges that it was carrying smuggled bunker fuel. Magnolia maintains the arrest was wrong, carried out on an “unfounded allegation” and “without due process”.
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3. Titanic Problem in North Atlantic
More than 400 icebergs have drifted into the North Atlantic shipping lanes over the past week in an unusually large swarm for this early in the season, forcing vessels to slow to a crawl or take detours of hundreds of miles. Experts are attributing it to uncommonly strong counter-clockwise winds that are drawing the icebergs south, and perhaps also global warming, which is accelerating the process by which chunks of the Greenland ice sheet break off and float away. As of Monday, there were about 450 icebergs near the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, up from 37 a week earlier, according to the USCG International Ice Patrol.
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4. Funding for Ship Tunnel Confirmed
The Norwegian Coastal Administration has formally announced that construction of the Stad Ship Tunnel is part of the Norwegian National Transport Plan for the period 2018 to 2029. The tunnel will be the world’s first full-scale ship tunnel, and it is anticipated to ensure safe passenger and cargo ship voyages in the Stadhavet Sea, the most exposed and dangerous part of the Norwegian coast. Construction is estimated to cost NOK 2.7 billion ($314 million). Funding of NOK 1.5 billion ($175 million) is included in the first six years of the plan.
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5. Was Q1 The Start of Goodtimes
With Q1 2017 now well behind us, it is easy to conclude that the Dry Bulk shipping industry has delivered a substantially better market than previously expected. The end of last year showed considerable improvement from the previous quarters, and we were quietly confident the trend would continue through 2017, including the usual seasonal downturn during the first quarter. With the full facts at hand, however, we can firmly say Q1 overshot projections. Market expectations have now shifted from a gradual recovery to a substantially more optimistic scenario.
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6. Somali Pirates Sent Home
With a seeming resurgence in Somali piracy, it may seem like rather unfortunate timing that India is releasing 118 prisoners and sending them back home. The 118 were among 120 Somali pirates apprehended by the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard in four separate anti-piracy operations between January and March 2011 near the Lakshwadeep coast; two died of tuberculosis. Six years later, the trial against them is ending at a Mumbai court with the men having agreed to plead guilty, some to murder charges. Whether they may be tempted to return to piracy remains to be seen.
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7. Shipping’s Sulphur Stink
Little more than 2 1/2 years from now, the global fleet of merchant ships will have to reduce drastically how much sulfur their engines belch into the atmosphere. While that will do good things – like diminishing the threat of acid rain and helping asthma sufferers – there’s a $60-billion sting in the tail. That’s how much more seaborne vessels may be forced to spend each year on higher-quality fuel to comply with new emission rules that start in 2020. Higher operating costs will compound the financial strain on cash-strapped ship owners, whose vessels earn an average of 70 percent less than they did just before the 2008 recession.
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8. Seafarers Complain on Security
A group pushing for the protection of Filipino seafarers has expressed concerns on the state of maritime security in the country, citing the long list of sea mishaps that need government attention. Association of Marine Officers and Rating, Inc. (AMOR) Seaman President Crescenciano “Butch” Elaba Jr. raised the possibility of another sea tragedy bound to happen, with the government inaction to address maritime security. “Have we learned from the past accidents that transpired in Philippine waters? Did the government never learn in the accidents, mishaps in the past? Elaba said in statement.
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9. Big BC Bill for Spill
A Canadian Federal Court judge has rejected an application for judicial review filed by a Greece-based company facing charges in a 2015 fuel spill in Vancouver’s English Bay, saying it must make its case in British Columbia Supreme Court. The bulk-grain carrier "MV Marathassa" and Alassia NewShips Management Inc. each face 10 charges, including discharge of a pollutant and failure to implement an oil-pollution emergency plan and are scheduled to appear in B.C. Provincial Court on Wednesday. Alassia had asked the Federal Court to set aside summonses and declare attempts to serve the documents were invalid.
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10. Sewol Set to Shift to Shore
Salvors are preparing to move the wreck of the ferry Sewol from the deck of a heavy lift ship onto the pier at Mokpo, South Korea, the final step in a multi-year effort to recover the vessel and the bodies of nine missing victims. The record-breaking salvage operation took months longer than expected due to difficult conditions below the surface. Divers with Shanghai Salvage Company prepared the Sewol for hoisting by placing 33 massive lifting beams beneath the hull, an operation that required partially lifting the vessel twice, once at the stern and once at the bow.
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Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions  www.seacurus.com

 

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