Top Ten Maritime News Stories 06/06/2017

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 06/06/2017

1. Staggering Level of Deficiencies
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has banned the Papua New Guinea-flagged cargo ship "Kiunga Chief" from entering or using Australian ports for three months after the ship was detained for a third time in less than 18 months. "Kiunga Chief" has been issued a total of 79 deficiencies by AMSA between 14 August 14, 2015 and May 29, 2017. The deficiencies include failure to maintain critical equipment such as the ship’s engines and fire extinguishing systems, inadequate food provisions, unsanitary living conditions, inadequate training and crew exceeding 72 hours of work in seven days and being underpaid.
2. Arabian Feud Hit Ports
Ports in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates’ barred ships flying Qatari flags after the two countries broke off diplomatic ties with Doha, in a move that raised fears of disruption to oil and gas shipments from the Gulf OPEC member. The Saudi Ports Authority has notified shipping agents not to accept vessels flying Qatari flags or ships owned by Qatari companies or individuals, it said on its Twitter account on Monday, adding that Qatari goods would not be allowed to be unloaded in Saudi ports.
3. Kidnap Figures on Rise
A new report by U.S.-based One Earth Future Foundation Inc.’s Oceans Beyond Piracy program found that seafaring incidents involving kidnap for ransom jumped in 2016. Asia led the way with 125 instances of piracy, while West Africa had 95. Incidents of kidnap for ransom rose in West Africa and in Asia (in the Sulu and Celebes Seas specifically) from 2015 to 2016. 2016 saw a 57% rise in the number of seafarers affected by piracy in West Africa. The total cost of counter-piracy operations in the Western Indian Ocean has steadied out at around $1.5 billion.

4. Owners Honouring Paris Accord
In the wake of President Donald Trump’s announcement that the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has released a CO2 emissions proposal that is intended to bring shipping into line with the spirit of the accord. ICS suggests that as an “aspirational objective,” shipping’s total CO2 emissions should be kept below 2008 levels, then further reduced by an IMO-determined percentage by 2050. ICS acknowledged the existence of anthropogenic climate change and the role that shipping plays in that.
5. Sulphur Stink Rolls On
The change in the sulphur content of marine fuel oil is likely to have a significant impact on transport costs by the end of this decade. The shipping industry burns the dirtiest of fuel types. Marine bunker fuel is produced from the waste leftover in refineries when more volatile and valuable fractions are extracted from crude oil. As a result, current levels of sulphur in maritime fuels can be as high as 3.5%, representing a major source of pollution, as anyone who has seen a large tanker or cruise ship fire up prior to departure — spewing out dirty, unscrubbed funnel fumes in vast plumes — can attest.
6. Pirates Have Shipping in Sights
Across the world, pirates are setting sail on the high seas again, costing shippers and insurers hundreds of millions of dollars, after declining since the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama off Horn of Africa. Once contained by international policing efforts, piracy appears to be staging a comeback. Overall, Asia led the way with 125 instances of piracy, while West Africa had 95: Those figures included armed robbery, hijackings, kidnappings and ship boardings.
7. Singapore Getting Smarter
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has launched the first Smart Port Challenge 2017 (SPC 2017) on Monday as part of the port authority’s wider effort to develop innovation and push ahead with digital transformation. MPA said SPC 2017 is built upon the last two Smart Port Hackathons in 2014 and 2015, which brought together maritime people and other professionals to develop innovative solutions to enhance productivity and sustainability in Singapore port. SPC 2017 is now conceived to further encourage collaboration between organisations, start-ups and the venture capital community to push digital transformation in the maritime industry.
8. Dock Strike Kicks Off
Shipping lines are having to reroute calls in the Mediterranean area as dockers in Spain yesterday kicked off a fortnight of intermittent strikes. The Spanish government, under pressure from the EU, has been trying to push through port reforms, something that dockworkers have protested against. Dockworkers will stop working every other hour on Monday, Wednesday and Friday this week. Five further days of industrial action have also been called for next week The ports reform aims to crack down on closed-shop hiring in a heavily unionised sector.
9. Supply Side Readjustments
The continued pressures in the shipping markets have triggered significant supply side adjustments; the slowdown of ordering activities and strong demolition has seen fleet growth fall to its lowest level in more than a decade Over the past 12 months, we have seen boxships as young as just seven sold for scrap and the average age of ships sent for demolition dropped to 23.4 years old in 2016, from 29.6 years old in 2011. Could this protracted downturn – and some grim growth forecasts coming out lately – lead to permanently shorter lifespans for ships?

10. Backing Battery Approach
Many shipowners are dealing with the decision whether to adopt MGO, LNG or scrubbers for their ships in order to be compliant with the emission reductions introduced by IMO but there are also other ideas, such as Italy’s Grimaldi Group, which is finding a different and unexplored way to date. The owner of some 120 roro vessels, is betting on dual-fuel electric propulsion as an alternative to gas considered by Emanuele Grimaldi aa a “potential risk for lack of product availability on the market, furthermore subject to price instability”, and for “a likely inadequate infrastructure system for bunkering”, mainly in Italy.

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