Top Ten Maritime News Stories 22/09/2017

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 22/09/2017

1. Suspect Tanker Arrested 
The scandal surrounding the sunken Greek product tanker "Agia Zoni II" took on new dimensions this week when Greek authorities found undocumented petroleum aboard the vessel that had been contracted to pump out the Zoni’s fuel tanks.  Prosecutors contend that the response tanker, the Lassea, had significant quantities of a “petroleum mixture” on board without the correct documentation. The suspect petroleum was found in her ballast tanks when she arrived at a refinery to deliver the oil recovered from the wreck of the Zoni. The Lassea also had expired government certificates of seaworthiness.

2. Trump Extends Sanctions
President Donald Trump Thursday ordered new sanctions on individuals, companies and banks doing business with North Korea as he sought to further isolate Pyongyang and increase economic pressure on the regime to curb its weapons programs. He also said China’s central bank is ordering its financial institutions to stop dealing with Kim Jong-Un’s regime, a crucial step by North Korea’s largest trading partner. It isn’t clear what impact the heightened sanctions will have on North Korea, which has been economically isolated for years. But it suggests that Trump is continuing to pursue economic and diplomatic attacks.

3. Greenpeace Anti Car Protest
Greenpeace protesters have boarded K-Line’s 23,498-tonne Elbe Highway car carrier as it arrived in the Thames Estuary in the U.K on Thursday. They hung a banner from 27-meter high unloading door calling on Volkswagen to take its "toxic cars" back to Germany. Additionally, over 40 volunteers scaled the fences at Sheerness Port in Kent – the intended destination of the ship – and gained access to the vehicle park, where several thousand VW cars are awaiting distribution. They are attempting to remove the cars’ keys and posting labels on the engines calling on Volkswagen to ditch diesel.

4. Venture Fund Swoops In
A Singapore venture fund has swooped to pick over the carcass of bust Swissco Holdings. Swissco’s judicial managers have approved a $28.5m offer Asian Strategic Turnaround Ventures to take over Swissco’s OSV business. The fund will take on 26 OSVs plus three Swissco companies Swissco entered into judicial management last November after the listed company registered a $296m quarterly loss. A number of other Singapore firms in the offshore sector have also sought judicial management, the Asian republic’s version of chapter 11.
5. Rotterdam Blockchain Trials
The Municipality of Rotterdam and the Port of Rotterdam Authority are jointly launching a field lab for the development of blockchain technology. The new applied research lab has been christened BlockLab. Blockchain is seen as one of the most crucial fields of innovation today. The basic idea behind the technology is that users can conduct transactions without involving a third party. Data technology guarantees the necessary checks and balances and ensures that the transaction is processed automatically. 
6. New ICS Appointment
The Board of Directors of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has appointed Martin Cresswell, Technical Director of the Hong Kong Shipowners Association, as the new Chairman of the ICS Marine Committee. He succeeds Peter Bond (Cyprus Shipping Chamber) who recently stood down following four years of service as Chairman of ICS’s principal technical committee. “The Marine Committee is very much the engine room of ICS, overseeing the work of the many ICS technical committees” said ICS Secretary General, Peter Hinchliffe. 
7. MSC Playing Catch Up
On the heels of CMA CGM’s order for nine record-breaking 22,000 TEU containerships, Mediterranean Shipping Company has confirmed it has placed its own order for eleven new vessels each with a capacity of 22,000 TEU. Although the newbuilding order has not been officially announced, a spokesperson for MSC has confirmed the order in a statement to gCaptain. The order was placed at the Daewoo Marine & Engineering shipyard in South Korea. Additional details of the terms of the agreement, including the order value and delivery dates, have not been disclosed.

8. Hitting Hijackers Hard
Malaysian authorities have come down hard on the hijacking gang took a Thai-flagged tanker earlier this month. Local reports said the mastermind behind the hijacking was given 16 years in jail for conspiracy to hijack while the 10 other Indonesians that were actually caught onboard in the hijack attempt were also jailed for 16 years each after they admitted to their crimes. Six of the pirates were also sentenced to five strokes of the cane.  Three others are still at large.

9. West Africa Ramps Up Security
Armed and stony-faced, six black-clothed members of Senegal’s marine special forces board the Chinese fishing boat, alerted by radio that it may be operating illegally. Identity papers are demanded and the cargo is inspected: one of the crew members is not on the manifest of the “Casimir”, which departed from Hong Kong, and their fishing licence has expired. The scene is a simulation, but for the Senegalese inspectors and commandos the reality is all too familiar, as west Africa battles flagrant poaching in its waters and the threat of piracy on the high seas.
10. Sulphur Anxiety Reigns
A sense of anxiety is gripping the shipping industry as it looks toward the imposition of more stringent sulphur restrictions on marine fuel on January 1, 2020. Many shipowners have yet to make up their minds on what fuel to use: will they pay more for diesel fuel? Burn hi-sulphur fuel and invest in expensive scrubbers? How about LNG? Ultimately it will be a mix of approaches, but with most players likely to choose diesel in the short run. As a result, many foresee a spike in diesel prices as the IMO’s 2020 deadline nears.

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


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