Top Ten Maritime News Stories 10/05/2017

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 10/05/2017

1. Internet Driving Crew Decisions
North P&I Club is encouraging its shipowner members to consider the importance of internet access on their ships to ensure they continue to attract, recruit and retain high quality crews. The issue of internet access, part of a campaign by North to help its members get the right crew. “Like most other people today, seafarers expect to have 24-hour, seven-day-a-week access to a good quality internet service,” commented head of loss prevention Tony Baker. “Engaging with friends and family and maintaining relationships via social media is now seen as the norm. In a competitive market for officers and crew, shipowners therefore need to do everything they can to provide good connectivity at sea.”
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2. Disruption to Iron Ore
The Singapore Exchange (SGX) has sent a note to clients on key takeaways from last month’s Singapore Iron Ore Week in which disruptive technology was very much to the fore. “The shipping industry is riding high seas of disruption from digitalization and automation,” SGX noted. Anglo American amongst others saw a huge opportunity for automated dry bulk ships, as experienced in mining with automated trucks. Fellow miner BHP shared the early success of its innovative e-procurement platform for capesize vessels chartered for carrying iron ore. “Some industry observers saw this as a herald of disruption to spot pricing and e-trading of other traditional phone-broked vessel routes which are less standardised than capesizes,” SGX reported.
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3. Uber Eyes Shipping
The supply chain industry is digesting news that Uber, the giant ride-hailing phenomenon, will shortly debut a trucking business. The company’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, posted a photo over the weekend of a truck emblazoned with the logo Uber Freight on its side. Last year, Uber bought Otto, a self-driving truck start-up, for $680m. It has since been ensnared in a legal battle with Google over patents for self-driving vehicles. However, Kalanick’s Twitter post is his biggest hint yet that Uber is ready to enter the trucking business. The Uber development follows on from February’s news that German logistics giant DB Schenker had bought a $25m stake in Texas-based uShip, an online platform that links shippers with truckers.
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4. 20/20 Autonomous Vision
Norwegian fertilizer company Yara has teamed up with Kongsberg to build the world’s first autonomous and zero emissions ship. Named Yara Birkeland, the vessel will be the world’s first fully electric container feeder. Initial manned operation is planned to start in the latter half of 2018, shipping products from Yara’s Porsgrunn production plant to Brevik and Larvik in Norway. Remote operation will commence in 2019, with the vessel expected to be capable of performing fully autonomous operations from 2020. Under the partnership, Kongsberg will be in charge of development and delivery of all key enabling technologies on Yara Birkeland including the sensors and integration required for remote and autonomous operations, in addition to the electric drive, battery and propulsion control systems.
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5. Get Cash Off Ships
Global maritime financial services company ShipMoney has advised maritime leaders that reducing the amount of cash onboard can help in the industry’s drive towards sustainability. ShipMoney President Stuart Ostrow said: “Why are seafarers incurring extra costs just from receiving their wages in cash? Sending money back home and exchanging money at port all add up to unnecessary costs for seafarers, in an age when wire-transfers and card payments are as regular as clockwork. He added, “Absorbing exchange rates and the cost of sending money can make a huge difference in their monthly pay packet. Using an online porthole and reducing these costs, will give seafarers more power over how much money they send home, and how they spend it. This doesn’t mean to say that vessels should be cashless, rather just have less cash.”
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6. Tighter Rules Dirty Fuels
Even as the owners of ships spend billions of dollars to meet tighter clean-air rules, demand to buy the dirtiest fuel will still hold out in some parts of the world. In two and a half years, the International Maritime Organization will slash by 86 percent the amount of sulfur allowed in the fuel burned by the world’s cargo ships and oil tankers as they sail around the globe. Meeting the new standards will cost the world shipping industry $60 billion a year, according to consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd. The IMO’s new standards that require ships to use fuel with 0.5 percent sulfur or less — versus the current 3.5 percent — as of Jan. 1, 2020 should reduce heavy fuel demand by 2.3 million barrels a day, according to industry consultant FGE. Changing fuels completely across the world will be difficult, as refiners will need to build units such as cokers.
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7. Yemen War Woes
Yemen’s worsening conflict is contributing to a spike in piracy in the region, with Somali pirates taking advantage of a reduced international naval presence and more readily available weaponry to carry out attacks. “The regional instability caused by Yemen is important,” Colonel Richard Cantrill, chief of staff with the European Union’s counter piracy mission EU NAVFOR, told Reuters last week. Fighting between Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi rebels and a Saudi-led coalition has spilled over into the shipping lanes through which much of the world’s oil passes. And attacks on merchant ships in recent weeks by Somali gangs around the Gulf of Aden, the first since 2012, have raised fears of a return to hijackings and crews being taken hostage for long periods.
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8. Eagle Bulk on Slide
Eagle Bulk Shipping reported a loss of $11.1 million in its first quarter. It posted revenue of $45.9 million in the period. Gary Vogel, Eagle Bulk’s CEO, commented, “During the first quarter, Eagle finalized the acquisition of 9 Crown-63 Ultramax dry bulk sister vessels – a transaction that will significantly increase our operating scale and provide meaningful exposure to the Ultramax segment." Gary added: "In total over the past year, we have acquired 11 modern Ultramax vessels as part of our fleet renewal and growth strategy which, in conjunction with the continued build-out of our active operator business model and charter-in fleet, is beginning to drive increased revenue."
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9. Mammoth Euro Wind Farm
A plan by three European transmission system operators (TSO) aims to develop mammoth offshore wind farm infrastructure in the North Sea supported by at least one manmade island. First unveiled in June 2016, plans for the North Sea Wind Power Hub project will develop a large offshore renewable European electricity system. Central to the plan is the construction of one or more islands in the shallow water Dogger Bank section of the North Sea where wind conditions are optimal. The so-called Power Link Islands would be linked to many wind farms (potentially up to 70,000 MW to 100,000 MW) and distribute generated wind energy transmitted over direct current lines to the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, Norway and Belgium.
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10. Floating Cities for Future
Researchers from Norway and Singapore are working together to build new cities floating at sea and six stories underneath the ground. Lack of space has provoked this initiative from Asian developers, and the technological experience with floating constructions in Norway comes in handy. “Norway has a leading edge in floating constructions, but also in underground technology. It’s been a long time since we started storing oil and gas below the ground,” says Øyvind Hellan, research manager for SINTEF Ocean. The cooperation with Singapore goes back to 2004, when SINTEF and NTNU were contacted about underground storage of oil and gas. Gradually, the cooperation has developed to include floating constructions, where the idea is to exploit the sea surface for a number of purposes, from manufacturing industry to housing.
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Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions  www.seacurus.com

 

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