Top Ten Maritime News Stories 09/06/2017

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 09/06/2017

1. Masters Targeted in Scam
Law firm Reed Smith is reporting on a growing email scam being circulated amongst owners and charterers and, in particular, being sent to ships. These emails are being sent by scammers posing as law firms in order to distribute malware, including the latest ransom-ware. The email scam claims that legal steps in arresting a vessel are ongoing, and Masters are invited to click an document. Anyone receiving these unsolicited emails should be very careful and, if in doubt as to their authenticity, should send them to their IT support team before opening any attachments or links contained therein.

2. Union Alliance for DP World Ports
A new global union alliance formed of unions based in DP World terminals has vowed to raise standards in health and safety, automation and contract labour. The ITF DP World global union alliance is setting out its first series of objectives during a major ITF dockers’ conference in Cape Town, South Africa this week.
ITF president Paddy Crumlin said: “This alliance is part of our ongoing response to global multinationals that behave differently depending on whey are operating in the world. We can’t and won’t accept that. We are striving for minimum standards across the board on health and safety, automation and contract labour.
3. Tanker Disruption Ensues
The ongoing political tension between Qatar and its neighboring countries in the Gulf region is causing disruptions in the tanker and container segments. However, Egyptian authorities, despite severing ties with Qatar, have said Qatari ships can continue to transit the Suez Canal, a relief for a number of European countries reliant on Qatari gas including the UK and Poland. The Suez Canal Authority has advised that vessels flying the Qatari flag transiting the Suez Canal will not face restrictions, as the Suez Canal is an international water passage.
4. MLC Campaign Finds Satisfaction
A port state control inspection campaign on compliance with the Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) 2006 has produced a satisfactory overall result, according to Richard Schiferli, Secretary General of the Paris MOU on Port State Control. Port State Control Officers in the Paris MoU region carried out the Concentrated Inspection Campaign (CIC) between September 1 and November 30, 2016. The aim was to verify that the minimum standards for working and living conditions were being implemented on board and to thereby creating more awareness.
5. Flag Rejects Lawsuit
Tanker firm DHT Holdings said a court in the Marshall Islands rejected Frontline Ltd’s lawsuit against DHT selling a major stake to BW Group. DHT last month rejected a fifth takeover proposal from shipping tycoon John Fredriksen’s Frontline, calling the $500 million all-share bid “woefully inadequate”. DHT said on Wednesday that the court cited Frontline’s “failure to demonstrate” a probability of success on the merits of its claims. Frontline, which holds a 14.5 percent stake in DHT, has been trying for the past year to take over its New York-listed rival.
6. Mining Giant Embraces Autonomy
BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest mining company, is studying the introduction of giant, automated cargo ships to carry everything from iron ore to coal as part of a strategic shift that may disrupt the $334 billion global shipping industry. “Safe and efficient autonomous vessels carrying BHP cargo, powered by BHP gas, is our vision for the future of dry bulk shipping,” Vice President, Freight Rashpal Bhatti, wrote in a posting on its website. The company, also one of the world’s largest dry bulk charterers, is seeking partners to work on technological changes in the sector, he said.

7. Bulker Goes Hard Aground
The Bahamas-flagged bulk carrier St. Gregory ran aground on the south-eastern coast of Peloponnese, Greece in the morning hours of June 7. The 32,688 dwt vessel, which grounded on the Kokkala beach, was carrying a crew of 19 seafarers, none of whom were injured in the incident, according to the Hellenic Coast Guard. The coast guard added that there were no reports of water pollution at the site. Divers inspected the vessel, finding breaches to the hull, and the coast guard informed that there were reports of water ingress.
8. EU Maritime Transport Policy
European Transport Ministers adopted today conclusions on the priorities for the EU’s maritime transport policy until 2020, the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) informed. The conclusions endorse the content of the so-called ‘Valletta Declaration’ adopted at the informal ministerial conference organised by the Maltese Presidency at the end of March. “With the current EU strategy for maritime transport policy 2009-2018 coming to an end in less than two years’ time, we are pleased that the Council is identifying what to prioritise next,” Patrick Verhoeven, ECSA Secretary General, commented.
9. Ferry Operator Back to Business
German-Danish ferry operator Scandlines resumed ferry traffic between Germany and Denmark after it was briefly suspended on June 7 following a bomb threat received over the telephone. “Yesterday around noon Scandlines suspended all departures due to a threat. All ferries stopped sailing and were emptied as soon as the police allowed the ferries to return to port,” Scandlines’ spokesperson told World Maritime News. After searching ferries in Denmark first, with no suspicious objects found, the Danish police allowed them to return to service. The German side also searched vessels and found nothing on board them.
10. Huge New Gas Find
Spanish energy giant Repsol says a huge gas find offshore Trinidad is the biggest it has made in five years and the biggest ever off the Caribbean island. The discovery, made at the Savannah and Macadamia wells in the East Block of the Columbus Basin, is estimated to contain 2 trillion cubic feet (2T cf). The wells lie to the east of Trinidad in a depth of around 150m of water. Repsol is the junior partner (at 30%) in the exploration consortium BPTT, while British supermajor BP holds the other 70%. Drilling is expected to begin in the second half of 2018.

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