Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 27/02/2018

Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 27/02/2018

1. Canal Plan Doesn’t Hold Water
Nicaragua’s ambitious dream of building a canal to rival Panama’s famous waterway looks in peril as doubts pile up over whether its Chinese investor can cough up the $50 billion needed, analysts say. The project “has remained
completely unfinanced because it doesn’t meet reliability requirements,” said Eliseo Nunez, a former opposition lawmaker who is now a university professor. 
The Chinese billionaire who came forward to bankroll the project
is Wang Jing, through his HKND (HK Nicaragua Canal Development) Group.

2. Crew Situation Worsens 
The master of the chemical tanker "Qaaswa" has contacted the media with details of another shocking case of crew abandonment. The ship has been anchored off Tunisia since last May. It has now run out of power with the last generator recently running out
of fuel. The vessel is in full darkness and at night is now a dangerous hindrance, anchored at the mouth of the port of Sfax. What little food is left is beginning to spoil with the end of the
power supply while fresh water supplies have run out. Moreover, there is no more medicine onboard and five crewmembers are reported as sick and in need of an urgent visit to a doctor.
3. Canada Set for Growth
Maersk Line’s latest North America Trade Report, released last week, predicts that Canada’s imports and exports will grow by seven percent in 2018, higher than that of the U.S. which the company predicts will grow by up to
four percent. 
Canada is expected to benefit from its first full year of free trade with the European Union after securing the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) at the end of last September. Added to that,
Canada is moving closer to signing the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) involving 11 nations and 15.8 percent of the world’s GDP.

4. Bulker Suffers Explosion
Panama-flagged bulk carrier "Federal Iris" suffered an explosion on Thursday, February 22, some 120 miles west of the Columbia River entrance after main diesel engine components malfunctioned onboard. No crew members, of the
21 sailors onboard, were injured in the localized blast, but the damage rendered the main propulsion system inoperable, the US Coast Guard said. 
Before the explosion occurred, the vessel was experiencing some operational
difficulties due to a reduction of propulsion issue and an inoperable ballast water treatment system.

5. New Head at Masterbulk
Former V.Ships exec Lars Modin has taken over as CEO of Singapore owner Masterbulk this month, replacing Nicholas Fisher. Fisher left Masterbulk last June, leaving chairman Stephen Fordham to run the company in the interim.
Modin, who started this month, spent over eleven years with V.Ships and International Tanker Management. He started his career ashore with Stolt Nielsen. 
Masterbulk is the shipowning vehicle for Westfal-Larsen, running a
fleet of 20 open hatch gantry crane vessels.

6. Coal Imports Rise
Global seaborne coal imports in 2017 totalled 1.25 billion tonnes, a new all-time high, up 6.1% from 2016. Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Hong Kong are grouped together as Stable Asia. Coal imports into these economies
have been growing a stable pace in the last 10 years. Grouped together these economies represents the biggest market for coal imports. Imports to Stable Asia totaled 442Mt* in 2017, up 4.5% from 2016 as new coal plants came on stream in line with our projections
from 2016. This was the highest YoY growth in at least 11 years.
7. Gas Running Low
The global liquefied natural gas (LNG) market has continued to defy expectations of many market observers, with demand growing by 29 million tonnes to 293 million tonnes in 2017, according to Shell’s annual LNG Outlook. Such
strong growth in demand is consistent with Shell’s first LNG Outlook, published in 2017. Based on current demand projections, Shell sees potential for a supply shortage developing in mid-2020s, unless new LNG production project commitments are made soon.
8. Otto Files for Bankruptcy
Singapore-based offshore shipbuilder Otto Marine has filed for protection in the Singapore High Court, according to Bloomberg. The company, which has debts of $877m, plans to go into judicial management just 16 months after
a takeover by executive chairman and controlling shareholder Datuk Seri Yaw Chee Siew which saw the company delisted from the Singapore Exchange.
9. Small Ports Could Shine
As the container port industry in Asia develops rapidly, some of the opportunities may be in unexpected places and some port operators could benefit from a refocussing of their ambitions. Ince & Co’s global head of ports &
terminals Ton van den Bosch says that while the liner alliance realignment will tend to favour the larger transhipment hubs, there is a niche for smaller port operators too. 
In addition, changes in the regulatory environment
in some key Southeast Asian markets such as the Philippines could help to accelerate this process.
10. Grounding Off Suez
Container ship "RIO BRAVO" has reportedly ran aground approaching Port Said, en route from Mersin Turkey. The ship was refloated at around 21 39 UTC same day and docked at Port Said at around 2200 UTC, with the help of at least 3 tugs. As of 3030 UTC Feb
26, RIO BRAVO was berthed at Port Said, no information has been given on possible damages.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions
S. Jones
Seacurus Ltd
Seacurus Ltd.,
Barbican Group,  
33 Gracechurch Street,
London EC3V 0BT,
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