Top Ten Maritime News Stories 21/07/2017

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 21/07/2017

1. Sat Company Blames Client
Cobham, the UK satellite communications provider, at the centre of an embarrassing ship hack, has laid the blame on a client. A Cobham spokesperson said, “An individual claimed they achieved unauthorized access to our VSAT system by using default administrative credentials. Our terminals, as is customary with most communications hardware, are delivered with default administrative credentials such as passwords which we strongly advise VSAT users change during technology installation and frequently afterwards in accordance with general password-best-practice processes. Cobham stressed it is standard practice.
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2. DryShip Share Meltdown
Shares in George Economou’s DryShips plunged 40% yesterday as investors abandoned the stock on the back of its announcement on Tuesday that it was undertaking its fifth reverse stock split this year. DryShips shares fell 33 cents in trading on the Nasdaq to close on just $0.50, adding to recent losses which have seen the stock drop 90% in the last month alone. Tomorrow is likely to see further losses, with previous reverse splits resulting in drops of over 30% once the split comes into effect. Compounding negativity surrounding the stock is the growing amount of legal action against the company.
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3. Stowaways Found in Boxes
Canadian authorities are treating the discoveryof four men hiding in a shipping container at the Port of Montreal as a case of illegal entry, officials told Reuters. The men, in their 30s, suffered dehydration but no severe injuries and were taken to hospital, said Stephane Smith, a spokesman for Urgences Sante emergency services. Local media and a source familiar with the matter said the men were from the former Soviet republic of Georgia. The men were hiding in a container found on the "OOCL Montreal" vessel, which arrived at the port after making stops in Hamburg and Antwerp.
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4. Iron Ore Landmark Reached
China is on track to hit the 1bn ton mark of iron ore imports much earlier this year than in 2016. Analysts Alphabulk note that China imported 1.024bn tons of iron ore last year, a figure it is on course to easily surpass. China took 539m tons of imports in the first six months of this year alone, 9.3% higher than the 493m tons seen at the same point in 2016. “Longer term, imports will depend on the continued profitability of the steel industry, which is currently enjoying a golden period due to the government-led rationalisation of mills,” Alphabulk noted in its most recent weekly report.
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5. Anyone Can Suffer Cyber Attack
William Doyle, a Federal Maritime Commissioner based in Washington DC, has warned shipping lines to be on alert for cyber attacks, saying that if Maersk can be hit, anyone can. Maersk was hit hard by the Petya ransomware attack three and a half weeks ago, and is still not able to operate 100% normally. In a statement Doyle said that Petya should serve as a “teachable moment” for all entities in the maritime and logistics transportation chain. “This cyber attack happened to Maersk, the largest ocean carrier in the world. If it can happen to them, it can happen to anyone".
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6. Rotterdam Port on the Rise
With an increase in throughput of 3.9%, the port of Rotterdam can look back a good first half year. There was growth in eight of the ten market segments. The only falls were in the volumes of mineral oil products and other liquid bulk.  In particular, the volume of containers handled (9.3% in TEU, 10.4% in tonnes) was the determining factor for the overall growth in throughput. Dry bulk increased (5.2%), liquid bulk decreased slightly (-1.0%) and break bulk was very much on the rise (10.8%). A total of 238.0 million tonnes of goods were handled in the first half of the year. 
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7. MSC Reaches Somali Agreement
The Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has reached an agreement with the Somali government over the accidental internet cable outage, that created a large disruption of web connectivity in the region.  Followingdetention in Mogadishu port, the company-operated container ship “MSC Alice” was released. The ship was alleged to have dragged her anchor through the main fibre-optic cable, on 24 June. The 1,730-TEU ship will now continue to operate a dedicated feeder service in the Red Sea, the company announced. The exact terms of the final agreement were not disclosed, but compensation is likely to have been paid.
goo.gl/9KLFm3
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8. China Shipbuilding on Slide
China’s ailing shipbuilding sector has seen a near one-third year-on-year decline in newbuilding orders over the first half of this year, leaving work-hungry Chinese yards still struggling to stay afloat in the troubled sector. New shipbuilding orders received from January to June this year came up to 11.51m dwt, down 29% compared to the same period of 2016, according to data from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). With China being a huge shipbuilding market accounting for 42.4% of the world’s new ship orders, the decline reflects slowing interests by shipowners on buying new ships.
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9. IMO on Migrant Issues
IMO has noted that the loss of life of migrants at sea needs to be addressed through action at the UN. During a workshop in Geneva, IMO’s Julian Abril underlined that the number of merchant ships involved in rescue operations has remained relatively constant since 2015.  The role of government and NGOs is vital in search and rescue operations, as well as the part played by merchant ships. The average number of persons rescued by each merchant ship remains over 110. In 2016, a total of 381 merchant ships were diverted from their routes and 121 ships were involved in the rescue of 13,888 people. 
goo.gl/SEFssq
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10. Dealing with Death at Sea
Linda Wright, claims executive at UK P&I Club, advises on what to do when death occurs at sea: “Death in a workplace environment is not any easy issue to broach but having a regimented, step-by-step plan in place to deal with such tragic circumstances is integral both from a humane and logistical standpoint, especially whilst at sea. UK P&I Club has the following advice regarding handling of the body: Don’t place the body in the freezer, store the body in the refrigerator, make sure family and crew concerns are dealt with. It is necessary to ensure dignity for the seafarer in question.
goo.gl/NJAKP1
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Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions  www.seacurus.com

 

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