Top Ten Maritime News Stories 18/05/2017

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 18/05/2017

1. India Thwarts Pirates
The Indian Navy has thwarted a piracy attempt on the 17,025-tonne bulk-carrier "MV Lord Mountbatten" in the Gulf of Aden. The Navy’s warship "INS Sharda", deployed in Gulf of Aden for anti-piracy mission, swung into action after it received a distress call from MV Lord Mountbatten around 4:45 pm on Tuesday. After reaching out to the vessel, the Navy’s ‘Marcos’ commandos with support from the helicopter on board the ship, carried out a ‘board and search’ operation on two dhows and five skiffs which had shown "malicious intent". Three skiffs fled the area at high speeds on sighting the Indian warship. "The ship received a distress call from "MV Lord Mountbatten", in position 230 nm South-West in the Gulf of Aden.
goo.gl/qz1X5f
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2. Baltic on the Slide
The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index, tracking rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, fell for the third straight day on Wednesday on lower rates across all vessel segments. The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize shipping vessels, was down 20 points, or 2.04 percent, at 960 points. The capesize index fell 42 points, or 2.57 percent, to 1,590 points.
Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, were down $377 at $11,737. The panamax index dropped 31 points, or 3.24 percent, to 925 points. Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes, decreased $248 to $7,445.
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3. Europeans on BREXIT Desires
European shipowners have published their priorities when it comes to Brexit negotiations outcome. The shipping community embodies a fundamental acquis of the EU: Free movement of goods and persons. ECSA believes that the current operating climate should be preserved as much as possible even after the Brexit. “European shipowners strongly believe that to the extent possible, EU and UK should aim for conformity in legislation relating to maritime affairs”, said ECSA Secretary General Patrick Verhoeven, “It should really be recognised as a guiding objective for the Brexit negotiations”, he added. An overall concern of EU shipowners relates to their competitiveness, among others in the fiscal area. With a possible new, attractive shipping centre just across the Channel, there is ever more reason to look at the EU’s shipping policy. 
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4. More Cracks Showing
The very large ore carrier (VLOC) Stellar Queen has been delayed from departing Ponta da Madeira, Brazil, after two hull cracks were discovered on the upper deck. South Korean shipping firm Polaris owns the vessel, which is a conversion from a very large crude carrier (VLCC) like the Stellar Daisy. The latter vessel sank on 31 March off the coast of Uruguay. The cracks were discovered on the Stellar Queen before loading and a survey was carried out by the Korean Register of Shipping, which is responsible for the vessel along with the Stellar Daisy. The vessel was cleared to proceed and loaded 296,302t of iron ore belonging to Brazilian producer Vale at Ponta Da Madeira on 3-7 May. But Polaris decided to delay the voyage and wait for a more detailed survey that will be carried out on 11 May in conjunction with the Korean Register of Shipping.
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5. Samsung Yard Fire
A fire broke out at Samsung Heavy Industries’s Geoje shipyard on Wednesday morning, only 18 days after a major crane collapse accident which killed six workers and injured more than 20 others. According to the local firefighting department, the fire began in some air conditioning equipment at the shipyard around 10am and was put out in about half an hour. No casualties were reported. South Korea’s labour ministry has ordered Samsung Heavy Industry to partially suspend operations after the fire incident and the shipyard has been told to improve safety conditions and seek approval from authorities to resume operations. Authorities have started investigations into the cause of the fire.
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6. Box Ship Orders Down
The boxship orderbook-to-fleet ratio has fallen to its lowest level ever recorded, according to a new report from Alphaliner. As of May 1, the orderbook stood at just 14.1% of the extant fleet, a far cry from its 2007 peak when it hit a staggering 64.2%. The previous low was recorded in January 1999, when it hit 14.6%. “The current slump is expected to be a deeper and more prolonged one, as the ratio looks set to shrink even further over the coming months, with no major new orders expected to be placed until the end of the year,” Alphaliner stated. Industry heavyweights have gone on record in recent months suggesting container shipping’s supply demand imbalance will remain in place for years to come, negating the need for any rush of new orders.
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7. Antarctic Terror Alert
The U.K.’s Foreign Office has issued a terrorism-related travel advisory for its Antarctic territory. “Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in the British Antarctic Territory, attacks can’t be ruled out,” says the advisory. “There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against U.K. interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria.” Increasingly, terrorists look for targets that aren’t well-protected where westerners can be found, says the government. These include places like bars, restaurants, shops, places of worship, tourist sites and transport networks. Significant dates, anniversaries, public holidays, religious festivals and political events have been targeted.
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8. IMO Polar Code Film
A new IMO film shows how the IMO Polar Code supports safe and environmentally-friendly shipping in Arctic and Antarctic waters. To make the new film, an IMO team visited the Ocean Diamond en voyage in the Antarctic, to find out at first-hand what the Code means for ships like this. As Ocean Diamond’s Captain Oleg Klaptenko confirmed, operating in Polar waters is the ultimate test of his ship and his skills as a professional seafarer. “There are several sources of danger. Low temperature, bad visibility, very long polar night and polar day. Remoteness from our home and from human facility that can help you. It is also lack of good, accurate and complete hydrographic service,” says Klaptenko.
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9. US Oil Enroute to Asia
Oil tankers carrying roughly 2.5 million barrels of U.S. crude are currently en route to Asia, trade sources said on Wednesday, as U.S. producers take advantage of favorable prices to ship to Asia while OPEC ponders further supply cuts next week. At least three vessels capable of moving 1 million barrels of crude each are sending domestic oil to Asian refiners, as well as some Mexican crude, several sources said. OPEC members meet next week to discuss extending a global supply cut, but the possibility of U.S. supply eating into their market share will be a challenge. While member countries have largely restrained their supply, they have remained intensely focused on keeping market share with Asian refiners. But relatively cheap U.S. crude has buoyed exports to Asia.
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10. Container Merger on Track
Everything is on track for the merger between Germany’s shipping line Hapag-Lloyd and United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) to be finalized by the end of May, Hapag-Lloyd’s Spokesperson reported. The statement was given on the back of media reports that the merger has already been signed off and that the official confirmation will be released before Hapag-Lloyd’s annual general meeting scheduled for May 29.
“Currently we are preparing the integration within legal boundaries. We will issue a more extensive statement within the next two weeks,” the statement added. The merger deal was signed in July, 2016, creating a combined company with a fleet of 237 vessels with a total transport capacity of around 1.6 million TEU. The new company is expected to handle an annual transport volume of 10 million TEU.
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Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions  www.seacurus.com

 

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