Top Ten Maritime News Stories 05/09/2017

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 05/09/2017

1. Crew Wages Suppressed
Despite a recovery in the shipping markets, ship manning costs will remain suppressed as shipowners and operators continue to be financially challenged and the officer shortfall recedes, according to shipping consultancy Drewry. The lack of confidence in the industry has seen wage increases almost at a standstill since 2009, and over the past year average officer rates have slid into reverse, Drewry states. While there remains an overall shortfall in officer numbers, this has reduced markedly over the past year and the poor financial state of the industry has forced employers to limit labour costs to affordable levels.
2. Denmark Abolishes Fees
The Danish government plans to abolish the registration fee for merchant ships as part of the government’s new measures to boost the growth of the Danish economy. The government also plans to abolish the special fee on second-hand ships, which are registered in the Danish International Ship Register. Shipowner organization Danish Shipping says these measures will remove serious obstacles to the growth of vessels flying the Danish flag. As of April 1, 2017, there were 683 merchant vessels flying the Danish flag. Container vessels make up more than 10 million of the gross tonne registered in Denmark. 

3. Famous PR Firm Shuts
One of the most famous names in maritime public relations will shut up shop next month. Dunelm Public Relations is set to close on October 14 after 36 years in business. Managing director Judy Cheslin commented: “It is with a certain amount of emotion that I have decided to retire after 36 years with this business. At the age of 68 it is time to concentrate on retirement and look forward to the many adventures ahead.” Dunelm was founded in 1981 by David Cheslin. David passed away four years ago. Among Dunelm’s most famous clients through the years were Evergreen and Rickmers Group.
4. Watertight Door Focus
Watertight doors are mandatory, as ships need watertight compartments in case of an emergency, but also need access for crew and maybe passengers to freely move around the ship. However, their ability to close quickly, and crush, amputate limbs and even kill unlucky passers-by, are horrific. But is there a simple solution to solve this fatal problem? These doors can be operated from both the bridge control and local control. According to the MAIB, most accidents happen when the doors have been closed from the bridge and crew members then have to use local controls to open or close the doors.
5. White Knight Investor Revealed
Emas Offshore, part of Singapore’s Ezra Holdings, has revealed the identity of white knights who are injecting cash into the company, part of its restructuring application earlier in the week to the High Court of Singapore. BT Investment, a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore design and construction firm Baker Technology, and private equity firm Point Hope have entered into a term sheet Emas Offshore regarding the cash investment as part of a restructuring that Emas said will substantially deleverage its balance sheet and strengthen its working capital position.
6. Hurricane Spooks Cruises
Multiple cruise lines are altering their sailings as Hurricane Irma approaches the Caribbean. The current forecast predicts that the hurricane will reach Anguilla on Wednesday at Category Four, with sustained winds of 125 knots and gusts to 150 knots. The islands in the storm’s path include many popular cruise destinations. Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis and Anguilla are under a hurricane watch. The British Virgin Islands, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St. Barthelemy, Guadeloupe, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Vieques and Culebra are under a hurricane warning.
7. Cruise Passenger Robber Ban
Two cruise ship passengers from the Norwegian Breakaway have been arrested in Bermuda after a violent altercation that the authorities described as a failed robbery. Police claim three passengers encountered two local teenagers in the Royal Navy Dockyard, in an incident that centered "around the theft of jewelry," two of these passengers severely beat the alleged robbers, who had to be taken to the hospital for injuries to the face and the head.  The incident was captured on video and circulated on social media, now a campaign to free the two passengers is circulating under the hashtag #freethetourists.
8. Grounded Ferry Refloating
The effort to refloat the grounded passenger vessel Blue Sky Patmos continues near the island of Ios, Greece. Three salvage tugs from Spanopoulos Group have pulled her stern about fifty yards off the rocks, but her bow remains stuck.  Over the weekend, salvors pumped her bunkers off in order to reduce her weight and to limit the risk of a spill. No pollution has been reported. Attica SA Holdings, the Patmos’ owner, said in a regulatory filing that the grounding is not expected to have a significant impact on the firm’s earnings. The Patmos was arriving at the Greek island of Ios when she struck a shoal at a speed of about 15 knots.
9. Latest UK Port Data
Overall total freight tonnage handled by UK ports declined by 3% in 2016. This decline is attributable to a large reduction in demand for coal imports. Despite this, steady growth has been experienced in unitised traffic, which saw its fourth consecutive year of growth in 2016. 484.0 million tonnes were handled by UK ports in 2016, down 3% from 2015. The vast majority of this freight, 472.8 million tonnes, was through major ports. Major port coal tonnage handled fell 53% from 2015, to 12.0 million tonnes in 2016, reflecting reduced demand. 24.1 million units of traffic passed through UK ports in 2016, a rise of 2%.

10. OOCL on Right Track
Hong Kong shipping line Orient Overseas Container Line, is trotting out its fleet of megaships at a steady pace, and at the same time setting world records and looking set once again to time the market correctly. OOCL Japan, the third in its series of six 21,000-teu class containerships, was named at the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard on Friday. “Samsung Heavy Industries is one of leading shipbuilders in the world, and we have always valued their level of commitment to quality and the versatility to tackle on new challenges, just as we are doing now to build these incredible 21,000 teu class vessels" said OOCL ceo Andy Tung.

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


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