Top Ten Maritime News Stories 02/05/2017

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 02/05/2017

1. DryShips Under Investigation
George Economou’s DryShips is the focus of an investigation by several US national securities law firms, looking into potential securities fraud. Bronstein, Gewirtz & Grossman, Faruqi & Faruqi, Rosen Law Firm, and Scott+Scott said investigations focus on whether DryShips and its executives violated federal securities laws by failing to disclose material non-public information. The law firms cite an article in The Wall Street Journal which reported that Nasdaq-listed DryShips began to make a series of stock sales worth more than $500m the day after DryShips shares peaked between in November 2016 from $163 to $2,336 per share. The report also cited DryShips selling its stock to Kalani Investments, which then sold the stock to “small investors” and how the chain of events could have potentially yielded Economou tens of millions in profit.
2. Bulker Player Folds
The end appears near for Fuzhou-based bulker player Fujian Guanhai Shipping with sources saying it has sold its last handymax. The China-flagged 48,000 dwt Guan Hai 308 has been sold for RMB82.58m ($12m) to local owner, Zhongchang Marine. The sale comes six weeks after it was listed as selling another five-year old Hong Kong flagged panamax bulker for $10m to a fellow Chinese owner. Guanhai, whose history dates back four decades, is now left with two small Chinese-flagged elderly boxships.

3. Daniela Out of Action
It is likely to be months before the fire-struck MSC Daniela returns to service, locals on the ground in Sri Lanka have reported. The 13,800 teu boxship suffered a fire on April 4 in its aft section. The ship was en route to the Suez Canal from Singapore when a fire broke out in one container before spreading quickly to others, forcing the master to reroute to Colombo where a combined force of Sri Lankan and Indian vessels then spent more than 12 hours extinguishing the blaze. Some of the boxes on the deck continued to smoulder for more than two weeks after the initial fire leading Sri Lankan authorities to worry about some chemicals in the air making their way onland and harming the local population. MSC suspects shippers misdeclaring hazardous cargoes was the most likely reason for the blaze.

4. Drowning Nations Fight Back
The prime minister of one of the countries most at risk from climate change has hit out at shipping’s carbon footprint. Enele Sopoaga, the political leader of the tiny archipelago of Tuvalu in the South Pacific, has demanded that shipping does more to cut its emissions. Sopoaga was speaking at a regional transport forum in Tonga last week where he called for a global accountability model to be created by the International Maritime Organization. “It’s still not yet clear how we can account for the greenhouse gas emissions from shipping. For example, is it the maker of the ships, is it the charters of the cargo, or is it the registry or the flag under which the ships are operating? I mean, these are issues that need to be properly accounted for,” Sopoaga said.
5. OBP Report on Latest Piracy
Despite reduced pirate activity off the western Indian Ocean in recent years, the pirate networks responsible for the original Somali piracy crisis have sustained themselves through small-scale attacks and involvement in an various maritime crimes, the piracy watchdog Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP) said in its annual report released Monday. A recent spate of attacks in recent few months off the Horn of Africa, apparently triggered by perceived vulnerability in vessels transiting the area, may point to an elevated risk for the return of Somali piracy, which cost an estimated $7 billion during its peak in 2011. The return of Somali piracy is among key issues raised in the OBP’s State of Maritime Piracy 2016, an annual report analyzing the human and economic impacts of maritime piracy and robbery at sea around the globe.
6. Boss Man Steps Down
Chinese owner Shandong Shipping has announced that the board of the company has received a resignation letter from its president Bao Jianying. Bao, 55, had been the president of Shandong Shipping since 2010 and he will not serve any positions and leave the company after the resignation. Shandong Shipping said the resignation is to meet the requirements from the contract reforms of state-owned enterprises (SOEs), a move that the central government is pushing forward to switch the life contracts of senior officials at SOEs to fixed term contracts. The board has elected Fan Chenghai, president of the Shandong Offshore, to be the new president of Shandong Shipping.

7. Grounded Refloating Efforts
Lightening operations for a laden very large crude oil carrier (VLCC) which ran aground on soft mud in the Java Sea last month were expected to kick off Monday as part of the ongoing effort to refloat the ship. Euronav Ship Mamangement, which manages the 299,446 dwt, Belgian-flagged MT Alex, said over the weekend that preparations had been made to begin the lightening operation on Monday and the ship could be refloated as soon as Thursday (May 4). Euronav has contracted SMIT Singapore and PT Samudera Indonesia to carry out the salvage. The refloating operating will include lightening of the vessel by ship to ship transfer of its crude oil cargo.
8. Disney Does Panama
The MS Disney Wonder transits the Agua Clara locks of the Expanded Panama Canal, April 29, 2017. Photo: Panama Canal Authority The Panama Canal over the welcomed its first passenger vessel, the Disney Wonder, through the new and larger locks of the expanded canal. The milestone is the latest ‘first’ since the opening of Expanded Panama Canal in 2016. The Disney Wonder’s transit on Saturday, April 29, marks the first time a passenger vessel has used the new locks. During the 2016-2017 cruising season, which ends in May, other lines such as Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line all sent passenger vessels through the original locks.
9. Carbon War Chief Appointed
Carbon War Room (CWR), the global NGO that promotes profitable solutions for decarbonisation has announced the appointment of Maurice Meehan as the director of its Shipping Operation. Meehan, formerly of Maersk, will assume the leadership of the Shipping Operation, which has been working to accelerate and promote a profitable low-carbon shipping industry since 2009. Meehan’s leadership will be informed by 12 years of experience within the shipping and transport sectors. He joins CWR from Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), where he led work in the European, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Transport and Logistics sector. In this role, he focused on developing innovative approaches for the corporate sector to address climate change, responsible supply chains, and ethics and compliance.

10. Antarctic Tourist Season
The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) has announced its tourism figures for the 2016-2017 noting that most Antarctic visitors originate from the U.S., but China has moved up to second place ahead of Australia. The number of visitors travelling to Antarctica with IAATO members was 44,367, an increase of 15 percent compared to the previous season. Overall, visitation levels, particularly in the cruise sector of the industry, have been increasing steadily since 2011-2012. IAATO’s estimate for next season, 2017-2018, shows continued growth in line with global trends with 46,385 visitors expected, an increase of five percent. American visitors remained the most numerous, increasing by seven percent in 2016-2017 and accounting for 33 percent of the total number.

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