Things are shaking up in the dry bulk market. Shipbroker Intermodal said that “after an admittedly challenging 2016, the Dry Bulk market kicked off this year on a much more positive note, with all indices steadily increasing until the end of March market peak. During the second quarter and until the beginning of this month, the freight market witnessed pressure, which was more evident in Capesizes, with the BDI nonetheless resisting to break below 800 points. During the past couple of weeks, we have seen rates across the board steading and the Dry Bulk Index once again moving towards 1,000 points.
The world’s first automated container ship is currently being developed by shipping company Yara in partnership with Kongsberg, and their ship ‘Yara Birkeland’ is set to launch in 2018 with a capacity exceeding 100 containers. Although the project is scheduled to be completed in 2018, a phased period of a partially crew-operated service will continue until 2019. By 2020, the ship will be entirely automated and the bridge will be brought on land. Once the vessel enters this phase, it is expected that it will save 90% in costs through salary savings. It also has the potential to deliver substantial environmental costs.
Kimberly Karlshoej, head of the ITF’s (International Transport Workers’ Federation) charity arm, the ITF Seafarers Trust, is to step down from her post and take on a consultancy role there. ITF general secretary Steve Cotton commented: “Kimberly came to the Trust at the end of 2014, after having worked for a number of years as director and programme officer of the TK Foundation and as a consultant to maritime charities. According to the Trust, her presentations have challenged and inspired many industry players to work towards improving the lives of seafarers wherever they are in the world.
The European Commission (EC) has adopted a proposal for a Directive which aims at improving the working conditions of seafarers on board EU-flagged vessels. The proposal transposes an agreement between social partners in the maritime transport sector into EU law. This agreement in turn takes account of changes to the Maritime Labour Convention. Seafarers will in the future be better protected against abandonment by shipowners. The new rules strengthen the right to compensation in the event of death or long-term disability due to an occupational injury, illness or hazard.
A ship chartered by far-Right activists intending to highlight the threat of people-smuggling in the Mediterranean was detained in northern Cyprus on Thursday amid allegations that some of its Sri Lankan crew had paid smugglers to help them escape to Europe. The allegations, which were strongly denied by the Defend Europe group which chartered the C-Star vessel, were the subject of a court hearing after five of the Sri Lankan crew claimed political asylum on the island. The row, saw the C-star’s captain arrested and detained on suspicion of forging documents after it was alleged the crew were travelling on false papers.
The events of July 6, 2011, and the bizarre "piracy" case of the "Brillante Virtuoso" set in motion a tangle of lawsuits and criminal investigations that are still nowhere near conclusion. Six years after it was abandoned, the case is an epithet among shipping veterans, one that reveals their industry’s capacity for lawlessness, financial complexity, and violence. This account is based on court evidence, private and government records, and more than 60 interviews with people involved, citing the sensitivities of nine-figure litigation and, in some cases, concern for their own safety.
The Indian Government has taken steps as part of various preventive/mitigating security measures to deal with sea-piracy. An Inter-Ministerial Group (IMGO) has been set up to deal with the hostage situation arising out of hijacking at sea of merchant vessels with Indian crew. In addition the following initiatives have also been taken, including new guidelines for anti-piracy measures on Indian Ships, a ban on vessels in waters south or west of the line joining Salalah and Male, a new Advisory and plans for Naval escorts, as well as renewed mandates for dealing with the IMO and other agencies.
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