Top Ten Maritime News Stories 15/05/2017

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 15/05/2017

1. New Seafarer Magna Carta
The Philippines’ House of Representatives committee on overseas workers has approved the “Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers” bill. If passed into law, it will be applied to Filipino seafarers engaged, employed or working on board Philippines-registered ships operating domestically or internationally, as well as those on board foreign-registered ships. The Magna Carta states that seafarers have the right to safe and secure workplace that complies with safety standards; decent working and living conditions on board a ship; medical care, welfare measures and other forms of health and social protection; and fair terms and conditions of employment including salary commensurate to their rank, minimum number of working hours, and rest periods consistent with Philippine or international maritime conventions.
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2. Owners Want CO2 Action
At its AGM in Istanbul, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has agreed to urge the IMO to adopt what it described in a release as “dramatic” CO2 reduction objectives in order to match the ambition of the Paris Agreement on climate change. In a submission to IMO member states, being made in conjunction with other shipping organisations, ICS will propose that IMO should adopt three aspirational objectives, namely: to maintain international shipping’s annual total CO2 emissions below 2008 levels; to reduce CO2 emissions per tonne-km, as an average across international shipping, by at least 50% by 2050, compared to 2008; and to reduce international shipping’s total annual CO2 emissions by an agreed percentage by 2050, compared to 2008, as a point on a continuing trajectory of CO2 emissions reduction.
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3. Costa Skipper Mulls Appeal
Francesco Schettino lost his final appeal last week and is now in jail. However, Schettino’s defense lawyer Saverio Senese maintains he was “made a scapegoat and is the only one paying a price,” and has said they will consider an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.  Additionally, former captain and accident investigator, Arne Sagen, of Norway’s Skagerrak Foundation said on Sunday that he will lobby the industry for changes to the International Safety Management code, because he believes Italian authorities  breached the code by allowing Costa Cruises to enter into a plea bargain and pay a $1.1 million fine in exchange for not facing trial. “They paid themselves free of any management and operational responsibility,” leaving the court no option but to find the captain solely responsible,” Sagen told the Telegraph.
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4. Seafarer Killed in Fire
An Indian seafarer has died after a fire broke out on a product tanker, identified as Ebrahim 1 (AIS name Rojean), on Saturday morning at Al Hamriyah port in Sharjah, UAE. An explosion occurred, starting the fire and causing the vessel to break in two. There were 21 crew onboard at the time, and 16 managed to evacuate unharmed. Sharjah Civil Defence responded to the fire, and found one crew member deceased and four suffering from burns. Firefighters managed to put out the fire within 40 minutes of the explosion and have controlled the diesel spill which occurred. India’s Consulate General in Dubai confirmed the deceased seafarer was Indian, as were three of the four injured crew. All of the injured are reported to be in a stable condition.
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5. Crisis Comms Failings
Journalists at Splash247 have been lamenting the crisis communications response after CCTV footage of the May 4 collapse of a crane at DP World’s flagship Jebel Ali terminal in Dubai came to light. The incident (which sources say is likely to cost DP World and its insurers north of $35m) saw a delayed reaction from the corp comms team. The accident happened on a Thursday but it was not until the following Monday – four days later emerged. Naturally the journalist chased the PR folk at DP World HQ straight away. It was only at this prodding that a statement went out. The lesson for companies is that it is better to be on the front foot and straight up about accidents like this, as with social media, etc sooner or later we, the press, will always be on to these big stories.
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6. Investor Scrambles to Halt Sale
Rickmers Maritime has revealed that on Friday it was served with a summons from individual noteholder Mr. Kwok Kian Tow Peter, who holds S$250,000 worth of Rickmer’s S$100m 8.45% notes, seeking an injunction to stop the sale of the Rickmers fleet to Greek owner Navios. Rickmers announced the deal with Navios last month, which will see its entire fleet of 14 vessels sold for $113m. According to Rickmers, the noteholder has not previously communicated with the trust and the trust is of the view the “injunction application is wrongful and seriously jeopardises the unsecured creditors’ partial recovery of their investment.” Rickmers insists the sale needs to be pushed through as soon as possible to avoid liens and vessel arrests which it says would be highly damaging to both secured and unsecured parties.
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7. Bulkers Struggle with Ballast
Industry body Intercargo has highlighted some of the technical and operational difficulties faced by bulk carrier owners in meeting the requirements of the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention and U.S. legislation. As a result of these concerns, Intercargo has submitted two papers to the 71st session of the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 71) to be held in July. The organization’s proposals include a revision be made so that: "A bulk carrier constructed before 8 September [2017] conducts two sequential regulation D-1 ballast water exchanges for its topside tanks only, as an alternative to the standards described in regulation D-2 which shall be accepted as complying with the Ballast Water Management requirements of regulation B-3."
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8. Canada Tanker Moratorium
On May 12, the Government of Canada introduced C-48, the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act in Parliament, seeking to formalize an oil tanker moratorium on British Columbia’s north coast. The proposed Act would prohibit oil tankers carrying more than 12,500 metric tons of crude or persistent oils as cargo from stopping, loading or unloading at ports or marine installations in northern British Columbia. The proposed moratorium area extends from the Canada/U.S. border in the north down to the point on British Columbia’s mainland adjacent to the northern tip of Vancouver Island, and also includes Haida Gwaii. Once the legislation is passed, it will provide a high level of protection for the Canadian coastline around Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound. It will complement the existing voluntary Tanker Exclusion Zone.
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9. Latest Box Giant Christened
The OOCL Hong Kong was christened at Samsung Heavy Industries on Friday. The Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) vessel will be a titan among container ships with a carrying capacity at 21,413 TEU. “While our industry seems to have the knack to ‘out do’ one another in building larger container ships relatively quickly these days, this project is nonetheless an important moment for us,” said C. C. Tung, Chairman of Orient Overseas (International) Limited. “Faced with increasing competition and un-ending pressure on costs, we need to take the bold step in operating larger size ships of quality and high efficiency in order to stay relevant and compete effectively as a major container shipping company.” The last time that OOCL set the world record for the largest container ship was back in April 2003 with the OOCL Shenzhen, an 8,063 TEU.
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10. Offshore Giant Files Chapter 11
New Orleans-based oil services company Tidewater Inc. has entered into a prepackaged restructuring agreement with certain lenders that will require the company to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. On Friday, Tidewater announced the restructuring and said it expects the pre-packaged plan to substantially deleverage its balance sheet and better position the company as it continues to weather the extended downturn in the offshore energy industry. As part of the deal, the company and certain of its subsidiaries are expected to file chapter 11 cases in Delaware by May 17, 2017. It said the plan is expected to eliminate approximately $1.6 billion in principal of Tidewater’s outstanding debt. Tidewater, with more than 300 vessels, is one of the biggest OSV operators in the offshore oil and gas industry.
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Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions  www.seacurus.com

 

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