Top Ten Maritime News Stories 08/06/2017

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 08/06/2017

1. Ferry Phoned Bomb Threat
Scandlines’ ferry operations between Sweden, Denmark and Germany were briefly interrupted Wednesday after a telephoned bomb threat forced police to search multiple vessels. The threat was reportedly not specific about which vessel or route might be affected, and as a precaution, Scandlines temporarily suspended voyages between Denmark and Germany and evacuated vessels in the Danish port town of Roedby. "All ferry operations have been suspended, and the ferries will be emptied as soon as the police allows them to go to port," the firm said in a statement early Wednesday.

2. Qatar Response Ramps Up
Taiwan’s Evergreen and Hong Kong’s OOCL said on Wednesday they had suspended shipping services to Qatar after Arab countries severed diplomatic ties with the Gulf state and imposed port restrictions this week. Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are among those to have cut ties with Qatar over its alleged support for terrorism, an accusation Qatar vehemently denies. Qatar is dependent on imports for its basic needs, which are transported by land and sea. Container ships carry vital consumer supplies, including food. Fewer container services will also hurt Qatar’s ability to trade.
3. String of Attacks Causes Concern
A string of fresh piracy attacks off the coast of Somalia spells uncertainty for commodity dealers and consumers in East Africa. The shock hijacking of a commercial oil tanker, the MT Aris 13, in March ended a five-year lull in piracy on the key Indian Ocean route around the Gulf of Aden. In early April, it is suspected Somali pirates seized an Indian dhow, Al–Kausar, on its way to the port of Bosaso in northern Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region, while another bulk carrier, OS 35, was hijacked a few days later. It has sparked fears of a return of the menace the caused global concern at its peak between 2011 and 2013.
4. International Group Accounts
The International Group of P&I Clubs has published its Annual Review which provides an overview of the Group, key activities and areas of engagement. One of the key objectives and strengths of the mutual and Group system is the development and delivery of solutions for shipowners’ liability insurance needs. This objective was once again tested in 2016/17, and once again the Group clubs successfully stepped up to the plate to deliver a solution for shipowners. An increase in tonnage, a reduction in reported pool claims, and a fourth year of significant savings on reinsurance purchase were among the notable features.

5. SeafarerHelp Nominated for Praise
Safety at Sea has announced the shortlist for its 2017 Awards, and SeafarerHelp has been shortlisted for ‘Shoreside Team of the Year’. Seafarers rely on shoreside support, and the Shoreside Team of the Year category recognises the efforts of the shoreside team whose actions or intervention has gone beyond the call of duty. ISWAN is delighted that the SeafarerHelp team has been shortlisted for this award, as they regularly go above and beyond their call of duty to assist seafarers and their families in distress, responding effectively and appropriately to diverse situations of varying severity.
6. Turkish Drug Swoop
Turkish security forces have seized more than a tonne of heroin hidden in a Democratic Republic of Congo-flagged cargo ship in a raid in international waters, the largest such seizure in recent Turkish history. The operation was launched after the narcotics squad received a tip-off that the ship, "Commander Tide", was heading towards Turkey with a major drugs consignment. Turkish naval forces, the coastguard and special forces from the eastern Mediterranean province of Mersin took part in the raid, seizing 40 sacks containing 1,071 kg (2,361 lb) of heroin hidden in secret compartments on the ship, police said.
7. Polaris Looks to More VLOC
Polaris Shipping has ordered three very large ore carriers at compatriot South Korean yard Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) as it sets about rejuvenating its heavily criticized fleet. Polaris has opted for 325,000 dwt designs at HHI. No price has been revealed for the new ships. At the end of March the Stellar Daisy, an old converted ore carrier belonging to Polaris, sank in the South Atlantic with the loss of 22 lives. Since then a number of faults have been found on other elderly ships belonging to the Korean carrier.

8. North Korea Anti Ship Trials
North Korea has fired several anti-ship cruise missiles off its east coast, South Korea’s military says. Authorities said the weapons, launched on Thursday morning near the city of Wonsan, appeared to be short-range "surface-to-ship" missiles. They flew about 200km (125 miles) before landing in the water.
Repeated ballistic missile tests by the North this year – not all successful but all a breach of UN sanctions – have sparked international alarm. Experts fear the tests indicate progress towards Pyongyang’s ultimate goal of putting a nuclear warhead on a missile.
9. New BIMCO President Elected
Anastasios Papagiannopoulos, CEO of the Greek shipping company Common Progress, has been elected President of BIMCO, the world’s largest international shipping association, with 2,100 members in more than 120 countries. Papagiannopoulos has set three clear themes for his two-year presidential term. The first is to promote digitization across the industry. BIMCO will be working on a range of projects using convergent technologies to pursue this objective, including applying new advances in software capability to develop a brand new contract editing tool.
10. Decade Since Pasha Bulker
Ten years ago Newcastle made international headlines when the coal ship Pasha Bulker ran aground on Nobbys Beach during a deadly east coast low. The storm killed nine people, including a family of five on the New South Wales Central Coast, and significantly damaged thousands of homes across the region.
Early on the morning of June 8, 2007 the Newcastle Port Corporation radioed the 56 ships waiting off the coast and warned them to move out to sea. The Pasha Bulker was one of the last to do so and by the time the storm hit, the bulk carrier could not clear the coast.

Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions


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S Jones
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