Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 02/01/2018

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 02/01/2018

Happy New Year – Hope 2018 is a happy, healthy and successful one for you all. 

1. Industry Looking Ahead
Such is the nature of shipping predicting a year ahead is nigh on impossible. As a general rule of thumb when it comes to market realities in shipping, if one sector is heavily touted by the majority as a likely winner that often tends to be its kiss of
death. Bookies’ favourites in shipping rarely pay out. Charles De Trenck, one of the world’s most famous shipping analysts, believes dry bulk has better exposure than containers or tankers in the months ahead. While one of shipping’s wisest heads, Mark Williams,
managing partner at Affinity Research, is quietly confident about dry bulk, but also thinks India is the place to watch.
2. Shoreleave Rights Boost
Seafarers’ rights to shore leave have been strengthened through amendments which entered into force globally on 01/01/2018.  The amendment to the international standard on shore leave in the FAL Convention adds a new provision, on top of the requirement to
allow crew ashore while their ship is in port. It says there should be no discrimination on grounds of nationality, race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion or social origin. Shore leave should be granted irrespective of the flag State, if turned down,
the relevant public authorities must provide an explanation.
3. Shipowner Signs Are Good
Shipowners who had managed to survive the tumult of the past decade dared to peer out of the gloom during 2017. The bruised and battered owning community prayed that the end of the downturn was in sight. And for most sectors it does look hopeful, albeit market
fundamentals are more brittle than an icicle this Christmas. Restraint, not something in the DNA of most owners, will be required to make any recovery a meaningful one.

4. Penalties for Bribery
Singapore-based Keppel Offshore & Marine has disciplined 17 employees with punishments including dismissals, demotions and big financial penalties, according to Reuters citing US court documents. The papers pertain to the recent US Department of Justice (DOJ)
case in which Keppel agreed to pay a $422 million settlement over bribes it paid to Brazilian firms Petrobras and Sete Brasil. Seven employees were let go, seven were demoted and or received written warnings, 12 (including some of the dismissed) were hit with
financial sanctions totalling $8.9m and six had to undergo anti-corruption and compliance training.
5. Tanker Hits Rig
On New Year’s Eve, the product tanker "Elsa Essberger" allided with an offshore production platform about 15 miles southwest of Den Helder, the Netherlands.  The Dutch Coast Guard vessel Guardian arrived on scene shortly after the accident. Her crew found significant
damage to the platform and to the Essberger’s bow. However, the tanker’s cargo is intact and her crewmembers are unharmed, and the Coast Guard assessed that the vessel is not in further danger. No pollution has been reported.

6. Shanghai Sets New Record
The port of Shanghai has set a new world record by handling over 40 million TEUs on Friday, local media reports. Last month, Shanghai Yangshan Deep Water Port, the world’s biggest automated container terminal, started trial operations. Shanghai Port started
container handling in 1978 with a capacity of 7,951 TEUs. In 2010, the port overtook the Port of Singapore to become the world’s busiest container port, and in 2011 throughput exceeded 30 million TEUs. In 2016, Shanghai set a record by handling over 37 million
TEUs. Shanghai aims to become China’s leading international shipping, aviation and railway hub by 2040.
7. Divers Suffer Brain Damage
Several divers have reported suffering symptoms potentially indicative of brain damage after undertaking Australia’s deepest commercial dive off Western Australia. On board the "Skandi Singapore", the men dived to depths of 273 meters (896 feet) working
on the Inpex-operated Ichthys LNG project. During the dives, they lived in saturation chambers pressurized to match the conditions on the ocean floor. Once under pressure, the divers suffered hallucinations, nausea, tremors and cognitive impairment as they
worked on a pipeline on the sea floor, and some have reported that symptoms have continued since then.
8. Seizing Sanctions Ships
South Korea has seized a second ship suspected of the ship-to-ship transfer of oil to a North Korean vessel, in violation of international sanctions. The Panama-flagged tanker, Koti, was seized at Pyeongkaek-Dangjin port, on South Korea’s west coast. The
ship has capacity for 5,100 tons of oil and has a crew mostly from China and Myanmar, according to local media reports. The move follows news on Friday, that South Korea had seized a Hong Kong-flagged vessel in November which was also believed to have conducted
a ship-to-ship transfer of oil to a North Korea-flagged vessel.
9. Strong Surge in Trade
It has been quite awhile since the global bulk carrier market has had much to cheer about, but U.S. dry bulk shippers are set to post strong revenue growth thanks to soaring Chinese demand for high-grade iron ore from Brazil and Australia. To combat severe
winter smog, China has slashed iron ore output, pushing steel mills in the world’s second biggest economy to import more high-grade ore. China also wants to make pollution control a priority for the next three years. China’s increasing demand for higher quality
iron ore, along with greater supply from Brazil, has boded well for capesize rates in recent months.
10. Trauma for Seafarers
Working at sea has always been dangerous, but this is especially true for the men and women who experience piracy, often in hot spots near Somalia and, increasingly, West Africa. From 1984 to 2016 there were 7,567 incidents of reported piracy or armed robbery,
according to the International Maritime Organization, and 221 incidents in 2016 alone. Seafarers caught by pirates and especially those taken hostage for an extended period of time may be shot at, threatened and beaten or witness their colleagues being killed
– and a growing body of research documents the lasting mental health effects of these experiences.

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


Best regards,

S Jones
Seacurus Ltd


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