Top Ten Maritime News Stories 08/05/2017

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 08/05/2017

1. More VLOC Cracks
FleetMon, a vessel tracking service, is reporting that another ore carrier belonging to under pressure Polaris Shipping has a couple of cracks in its hull. The "Stellar Queen", a 1994-built VLCC that was converted into an ore carrier in 2012, is reported to have two cracks on its upper deck. The ship was en route from China to Brazil when the cracks were found. The ship is now docked in Sao Luis according to multiple vessel tracking services. A spokeperson for Polaris could not confirm the news. If the FleetMon report proves correct it will likely prove a hammer blow to Polaris’s plans to list this summer. Polaris is the world’s largest owner of very large ore carriers. However, its reputation has been hit hard following the sinking with the likely loss of 22 lives of the Stellar Daisy, another elderly converted ore carrier.
2. Support for Port States
Shipping leaders from around the world signed a declaration aimed at protecting ocean environments and advancing international ship safety at the Third Joint Ministerial Conference on Port State Control in Vancouver, Canada, this week. The declaration was signed by 29 countries from the Paris MoU and the Tokyo MoU as a commitment by European and Pacific Rim countries to continue to eliminate substandard shipping practices. The declaration included consideration of enforcement of sulfur regulations and the Polar Code as well as a commitment to the acceptance of electronic certificates. The IMO Secretary General attended the conference which was themed “Safeguarding Responsible and Sustainable Shipping.” Lim stressed the vital importance of collaborative efforts to leave “no hiding place” for substandard shipping.
3. Pirates Handed to Somalis
A Chinese navy ship handed over three suspected pirates to Somali authorities on Friday, police said, underscoring the determination of international naval forces to stamp out a resurgence of piracy this year. The pirates were involved in the attempted hijacking in April of the OS35, a Tuvalu-flagged cargo ship that was rescued by the Chinese navy after the crew sent a distress call. “A Chinese navy ship handed over three pirates to Puntland today,” said Ahmed Saiid, the deputy director of maritime police forces in the semi-autonomous northern region of Puntland. The pirates handed to the Puntland authorities included a local pirate leader known as Aw Kombe, he said.
4. Frontline Bid Rejected
The Board of Directors of tanker owner DHT Holdings has unanimously rejected Frontline’s April 25 latest takeover bid on Sunday. Frontline offered to acquire all of the outstanding shares of common stock of DHT at a ratio of 0.8 Frontline shares for each DHT share. The Board reviewed the proposal, and in writing to Robert Hvide Macleod, Principal Executive Officer of Frontline, they said: “We have unanimously concluded that your proposal continues to be wholly inadequate for DHT and its shareholders.” DHT says that charter rates, asset values and other conditions are changing constantly and its fleet has evolved significantly since February. However, Frontline’s proposal is the same as the one made at that time.
5. Teenage Kicks from Data
Big data, observed the chair of the ShipServ Smart Procurement KD Adamson, is a little like teenage sex. “Everybody claims they are doing it, most people don’t know how to do it, but think everyone else is doing it. The people who are doing it, aren’t doing it well enough to get any satisfaction from it.” It was a fitting way to frame a debate that had gone back and forth during the ShipServ Smart Procurement event in Hamburg; does data equal procurement Nirvana? Adamson acknowledged the buzzword issue for big data and opened her panel by suggesting that data is more of a means to an end than a thing in itself, not an IT transformation but a business one. Tero Marine’s Erik Staubo pointed out his satisfaction that the subject was getting more attention.
6. Vessel Sinks of Philippines
General cargo vessel "Fortuner" sank off the shoreline of Barangay Cansojong, Talisay City in the Philippines yesterday. The Philippine Coast Guard rescued all 22 crew members from the vessel, however the vessel left some oil residue at the wreckage site and it still carries nearly 4,000 liters of fuel, raising environmental concerns from local authorities. According to Dionlett Ampil, commander of Cebu station for Philippine Coast Guard, the vessel sank only about 90 feet from the water surface, which could endanger navigation safety in the area. The coast guard has already issued a warning to nearby vessels. “Although we have contained the oil sheen as of this time but we also need to make sure that there will be no further environmental damage in the future,” Ampil told local media.
7. Boxes Floating in Harbour
Around 10 shipping containers are floating in Suva Harbour, Fiji, after the general cargo ship they were being loaded on to sank. The Panama-flagged MV Southern Phoenix listed and sank during loading operations in the early hours of Saturday morning. The crew had to evacuate as the vessel took on water. Mooring lines were cut and the vessel was towed away from berth where she sank. The contents of the containers have not been reported, but some have now been secured. Investigations are underway.

8. Flights of Future Fancy
Nobu Su, the failed Taiwanese shipowner turned maritime inventor, has been making bold claims. Speaking in a recent interview, he says he’s patented what he reckons could become the “Google Car of shipping”. Since exiting shipowning Su, the boss of Taiwan’s TMT, has focused on inventions as well as fighting a host of court cases relating to his fall from grace as an owner. OceanNet is Su’s bid to be part of the future of shipping debate raging through the industry at the moment on what the next generation of vessels will look like. Essentially the patented concept uses ship’s antennae to connect vessels across the world, rather than using satellites. Su has no intention of returning to shipowning any time soon, hinting he might do once a number of his products become adopted by class and at yards.

9. Pretty Green Ocean Clean
At a garbage dump about 80 miles west of London, Adrian Griffiths is testing an invention he’s confident will save the world’s oceans from choking in plastic waste. And earn him millions. His machine, about the size of a tennis court, churns all sorts of petroleum-based products — cling wrap, polyester clothing, carpets, electronics — back into oil. It takes less than a second and the resulting fuel, called Plaxx, can be used to make plastic again or power ship engines. “We want to change the history of plastic in the world,” said Griffiths, the chief executive officer of Recycling Technologies in Swindon, a town in southwest England where 2.4 tons of plastic waste can get transformed in this way daily as part of a pilot project.

10. Tackling New Pollution
While the number of oil spills has declined in recent years, there is a higher incidence of what experts call the “new pollution,” which needs to be tackled, and is also a business opportunity for marine insurance companies, sources said during Singapore Maritime Week late April. According to industry estimates, maritime oil spills at the beginning of this decade averaged 2.5/year, down from 24.5 in the 1970s, 7.8/year in the 1990s and 3.3/year in the 2000s. “Oil spills are decreasing while the non-oil related pollution incidents are on the rise,” a senior insurance executive said at one of the seminars during Singapore Maritime Week. According to data from The International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation, or ITOPF, there are currently more non-tanker pollution related incidents in international waters than those related to tankers.

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