Top Ten Maritime News Stories 19/04/2017

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 19/04/2017

1. Grounded VLCC Still Stuck
Euronav’s 299,446 dwt VLCC "Alex", which grounded in Indonesian waters a week ago, remains stuck, but the Belgian owner has contracted SMIT Singapore and Samudera to refloat the tanker. As first reported by Splash, the ship will need to be lightened and a ship to ship transfer is being planned. Euronav said there has been no breach of hull, cargo containment, or mechanical failures. Since April 14th the Owners have contracted SMIT Singapore Pte Ltd. and PT Samudera Indonesia to undertake the refloating operation which will include lightening of the vessel by ship to ship transfer of cargo.
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2. Philippine Attack Foiled
On Tuesday morning, the Philippine Coast Guard foiled an attempted pirate attack on the cargo vessel "Doña Anabelle". The attempted boarding occurred off Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte – over 50 nm to the north of the Sulu archipelago, the epicentre of recent pirate attacks in the region. Regional police chief Billy Beltran told the Inquirer that armed fighters on two motorboats fired at the vessel off the village of Santa Maria, Siocon. Zamboanga Coast Guard Station Commander Alvin Dagale said the attackers fled when military patrol vessels approached. None of the crew were injured.
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3. Trump Strike Group
When U.S. President Donald Trump boasted early last week that he had sent an “armada” as a warning to North Korea, the aircraft carrier strike group he spoke of was still far from the Korean peninsula, and headed in the opposite direction. It was even farther away over the weekend, moving through the Sunda Strait and then into the Indian Ocean, as North Korea displayed what appeared to be new missiles at a parade and staged a failed missile test. The U.S. military’s Pacific Command explained on Tuesday that the strike group first had to complete a shorter-than-initially planned period of training with Australia.
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4. Repairs Taking Longer
When the Polaris Shipping-controlled Stellar Unicorn broke its course and made for Cape Town seeking repairs at the start of the month it was originally slated to leave South African waters on April 13. However, repair work to the cracked hull of the 25-year old converted ore carrier has not gone according to plan. The ship, built originally at the same yard in Japan as the sunken Stellar Daisy, was then given an April 18 departure date from Cape Town. As of today it remains anchored off the coast of South Africa’s most visited city, with a salvage vessel, Smit Amandla, standing by just in case of any disaster.
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5. Bahri Flies Saudi Flag
Tanker giant Bahri is reflagging its 37-strong VLCC fleet to the Saudi Arabian registry. The entire fleet switch will take place before the end of this year, the Saudi tanker firm said in a statement. Ibrahim Al-Omar, Bahri Group CEO, said, “Bahri is committed to contributing to the enrichment and diversification of the national economy and the enhancement of the kingdom’s position on the transportation and logistics industry map, regionally and globally. The registration of 37 VLCCs by the end of 2017 under the Saudi flag will enhance the flag’s global ranking and will increase the size and efficiency of the Saudi maritime fleet.
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6. Complaints on Bailout
Japan and the European Union have filed a complaint with the OECD, maintaining that the Korean state-run banks’ bailout of Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) violates World Trade Organization regulations. The Korea Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of Korea have recently vowed to pump another KRW2.9trn ($254m) into the struggling shipbuilding giant, which has been hit by a drop in new orders as well as a multi-billion dollar accounting fraud. International shipbuilding spats aimed at South Korea are nothing new and there have been many concerns about Seoul’s propping up of its yards sector.
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7. Unclear on Box Giants
"Madrid Maersk" has been hailed as the largest container ship in operation, stealing the title from "MOL Triumph" just days after she entered operation. Now, "OOCL Hong Kong" is next in line for the title, but consultant Dynamar has highlighted that measuring container ship size is not just a TEU consideration.
While the 21,100 TEU "OOCL Hong Kong" will have the greatest number of slots available for containers, her actual deadweight will be 197,500 tons, less than 20,600 TEU Madrid Maersk’s 206,000 tons, says the analyst in a recent Dynaliners report.
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8. Dirty VLCC Pariahs
In the scorching heat of the Caribbean Sea, workers in scuba suits scrub crude oil by hand from the hull of the Caspian Galaxy, a tanker so filthy it can’t set sail in international waters. The vessel is among many that are constantly contaminated at two major export terminals where they load crude from Venezuela’s state-run oil company, PDVSA. The water here has an oily sheen from leaks in the rusty pipelines under the surface. That means the tankers have to be cleaned before traveling to many foreign ports, which won’t admit crude-stained ships for fear of environmental damage to their harbors, port facilities or other vessels.
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9. ILO Piracy Wage Discussions
A meeting of the ILO Working Group of the Special Tripartite Committee (STC) was held in Geneva, Switzerland, from April 3 to 5, to examine issues related to the protection of seafarers’ wages when they are held captive on or off the ship as a result of piracy of armed robbery against ships. The meeting of the STC, established under the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) which covers minimum working and living standards for seafarers, brought together over 150 representatives from governments, employers’ organisations and seafarers’ associations, officials from ILO, the IMO and civil society organisations.
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10. Cruise Ship Race Track
Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Lines announced Monday that its newbuild "Norwegian Joy" will feature a two-deck race track, with enough room to accommodate 10 electric go-karts at one time.  It will be the world’s first race track on an oceangoing vessel, and Norwegian says that it will carry the brand of a prominent builder of supercars. Passengers on the ship’s high-end Haven and Concierge class decks will have free access included in their fare. In addition to the track, the Joy will be equipped with an outdoor laser tag arena, water slides, bumper cars and an upscale shopping "district" – Norwegian’s largest shipboard mall.
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Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions  www.seacurus.com

 

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