Top Ten Maritime News Stories 16/06/2017

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 16/06/2017

1. FBI Investigates Bomb Hoax
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said on Thursday it is investigating the false threat of a so-called “dirty bomb” allegedly aboard the Maersk Memphis containership in the Port of Charleston, according to Reuters. The false alarm caused the shutdown and evacuation of the South Carolina port on Wednesday night into Thursday morning until a thorough inspection of four suspect containers on the ship established there was no threat. FBI involvement stems from the fact that it is a federal crime to make threats against a US-flagged ship such as the "Maersk Memphis".
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2. Rocket Attack Injures Crew
One crew member was wounded when Yemen’s Houthis fired a missile at a United Arab Emirates ship in the Red Sea, the Saudi state news agency SPA reported on Thursday, in the latest in a series of attacks on ships in the area. SPA said the ship came under attack as it was leaving the port of al-Mokha. The ship itself was not damaged. “One crew member was injured,” SPA said, citing a statement by a Saudi-led military coalition, without giving further details.
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3. Seafarers Battle Abandonment
The NGO Human Rights At Sea (HRAS) has issued a shocking 18-page report on the plight of the suicidal former crew of a platform supply vessel detained in Angola since March. The former crew of the "Sutton Tide" are currently facing a criminal trial in Soyo, Angola for allegedly being complicit in the theft of fuel despite not being arrested. The report contains powerful images of the desperate men, some of whom have admitted suicidal tendencies while being held captive. The Sutton Tide is owned by Sonatide, a joint venture between Tidewater and Sonangol, the national oil company of Angola.
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4. Chinese Box Giant Launched
The first Chinese-built 20,000 teu ship is set to launch. The giant Cosco ship will launch from Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding on Friday becoming both the largest boxship ever built in China as well as the largest boxship owned by any Chinese line. The ship, 400 m long and 60 m wide, sports the new blue livery of the merged Cosco Shipping. Cosco Shipping has the largest orderbook of any containerline, according to Alphaliner, with 32 ships equating to 533,612 teu still set to deliver. Up until this month, all 20,000 teu-plus ships had been constructed in South Korea.
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5. Green Port Awards
The Port of Buenos Aires has joined  the network of Green Award ports by launching a 10 percent discount on port fees for all types of Green Award certified sea-going ships. The Green Award offers certification of ships that apply best practices and exceed the industry statutory regulations in terms of safety, quality and environmental stewardship. Buenos Aires Port is the leading transshipment point for the foreign trade of Argentina. It is considered the fourth-best port in Latin America and the Caribbean, due to the scale of its facilities and the volumes it handles on annual basis.
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6. Philippine Port Clampdown
Seafarers and passengers of commercial ships approaching seaports in the Philippines should not be surprised when they see armed government personnel. The Philippine government through the Department of Transportation has ordered the Philippine Coast Guard to take over security operations in all 1,600 public and private ports throughout the country. The ports were previously under the control of the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), and the Coast Guard now has the power to arrest and detain people, cargo and vessels violating Philippine laws and can file the charges in court.
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7. Last Ships Auctioned
Taizhou Shipping, the bankrupt subsidiary of Zhejiang Shipping Group, has sold the last four ships in its fleet via auction at Zhejiang Shipping Exchange. The four bulkers Zhe Hai 351, Zhe Hai 352, Zhe Hai 353 and Zhe Hai 354 have been sold to unnamed Chinese domestic buyers for RMB63.89m ($9.38m) in total.
Taizhou Shipping, along with its sister firm Wenzhou Shipping, went into a liquidation process in a debt restructuring by parent Zhejiang Shipping Group in 2016. In February, Zhejiang Shipping received a capital replenishment of RMB2bn from its parent Zhejiang Communications Investment Group for debt restructure.
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8. Bankruptcy for Survey Ships
French geophysical services company CGG has moved to implement a pre-arranged restructuring, with the company filing for Sauvegarde (safeguard) proceedings in France and certain subsidiaries filing for Chapter 11 in the US. The company says it will now seek a restructuring agreement with the required majority of creditors subject to approval by shareholders. The restructuring will result in a group with pro-forma leverage below 2x, no debt maturing before 2022 and a $1bn liquidity improvement.
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9. Integration No Problem
Hapag-Lloyd’s integration of Arab peer UASC is on track and has so far not been affected by Qatar’s rift with its neighbours, the CEO of the German shipping company told Reuters. Hapag-Lloyd completed the merger with UASC last month, resulting in Qatar owning a 14 percent stake in the combined business and Saudi Arabia a 10 percent stake. Since then, a dispute between Qatar and four Arab nations including Saudi Arabia has led to a break-off in diplomatic ties and transport disruptions. “The tie-up with UASC is going to plan,” Hapag-Lloyd CEO Rolf Habben Jansen said in an interview.
“The blockade of Qatar (by neighbouring countries) has so far not caused any significant problems in our business. Operationally speaking, everything is under control.”
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10. New Tool for Port Checks
The Polytechnic University of Catalonia in Spain has developed a tool for the identification and implementation of environmental indicators in ports. The computer-based tool has been designed for port environmental managers as part of the E.U. PORTOPIA project. PORTOPIA aims to create an integrated knowledge base and management system of port performance to improve the sustainability and competitiveness of European ports. The new system can be accessed freely via www.eports.cat/teip. After answering a set of questions, users obtain a final list of environmental performance indicators to be used in their port.
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Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions  www.seacurus.com

 

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