Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 26/09/2018
1. Cabotage Around the World
Seafarers’ Rights International (SRI) has published a new report that explores the nature and extent of cabotage laws around the world. The report, Cabotage Laws of the World, has identified 91 member states of the United Nations that have cabotage laws restricting foreign activity in their domestic coastal trades. The report describes the history of maritime cabotage and traces a number of early rudimentary legal principles. It sets out examples of the many different definitions of cabotage that exist today at the national, regional and international levels as well as examples of the restrictions of foreign activity.
2. Crew Still Suffering
Eight crew stranded onboard the 1992-built OSV Topman have gone public with their plight, claiming their employers abandoned them in Dubai without pay ten months ago. European shipping database Equasis lists the Panama-flagged Topman as owned by Bhambhani Shipping and managed by Halani Shipping from Mumbai. The crew claim they now have very limited food and fuel onboard. They have had supplies sent over by the local branch of the Nautical Institute with reports of dramatic weight loss among crewmembers. With fuel scarce, they are now sleeping outside.
3. Going for Scrubbers
US tanker owner International Seaways has entered into contracts with Clean Marine of Norway and a qualified system installer for the purchase and installation of scrubbers on seven of its modern VLCCs, with an option to install the system on further three VLCCs. The seven scrubbers are expected to be installed before January 1, 2020, when the new IMO sulfur emission cap goes into effect. International Seaways will fund the installation through available liquidity.
4. Trouble for Offshore
With the OSV sector still oversupplied by some 1,550 vessels, 34 out of 38 OSV operators face going bankrupt in the next 12 months. A new report says, “Companies counting on a return to stability in the OSV sector are in for a rude awakening; industry must act quickly to reduce costs and debt levels to survive,” the study stated in its introduction. Despite the rise in oil prices, AlixPartners maintained that companies hoping for a dramatic rebound in OSV vessel demand are playing a “dangerous waiting game”, as their existing financial resources are likely not enough to sustain them through the current environment.
5. Polish Want Canal
Polish leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski as promised to move forward with a plan to build a canal between the Baltic and the Vistula Lagoon, circumventing the current access route through Russian waters. Polish traffic departing the port of Elblag currently has to pass through the Russian side of the lagoon. The new canal would bisect the Polish side of the Vistula Spit, a thin strip of land that separates the lagoon from the sea, and would give Polish vessels direct access to and from the port. At just over one kilometer in length and 16 feet of depth, the canal’s scale is small, but its political symbolism is much larger.
6. Owner Caught Again
For the second time, the ITF has helped a crew anchored in Denmark. After months of wrangling, $324,370 in unpaid wages have now been paid to the crew from the Turkish/Russian tanker Natig Aliyev. Danish authorities have now released the ship which had been at anchor for around eight months. The owed wages were paid by the new charterer of the ship. “This is the second time within six months that ITF has had to put its foot down to ensure payment of the ship’s crew, and it is the third time within a year that the same Turkish/Russian shipping company, Palmali Shipping, has been caught red-handed”.
7. Murder at Sea
A crewmember of the fishing boat Captain Billy Haver stands accused of killing one of his crewmates and injuring another in an attack off the coast of New England. The crewmember, Franklin Freddy Meave Vazquez, 27, allegedly attacked three of his crewmates with a hammer and a knife while the Haver was under way about 50 nm off Nantucket. He then attempted to escape capture by climbing the ship’s mast, according to prosecutors. Coast Guard received a distress call from the vessel on Sunday afternoon. The cruise ship Mein Schiff 6 also heard the call, and she diverted to assist.
8. US Not Welcome in Hong Kong
In a sign of the increasing tensions between Beijing and Washington, China has turned down a U.S. Navy request for an upcoming port call in Hong Kong. According to Reuters, the amphib USS Wasp had planned to call Hong Kong this October but has been denied permission. China’s foreign ministry declined to provide the details behind the decision. “The Chinese side reviews and approves such request in accordance with the principle of sovereignty and specific situation on a case-by-case basis,” said ministry spokesperson Geng Shuangin at a press briefing in Beijing.
9. Rallying for Migrants
France, Portugal, Spain and Germany struck a deal on Tuesday to take in migrants from the Mediterranean rescue ship Aquarius sailing off the coast of Malta, the French government said, after Italy refused to let the vessel dock. The agreement marks the second such co-operation between European countries since Italy’s new anti-establishment coalition started turning away from Italian ports ships carrying migrants rescued in the Mediterranean earlier this year.
10. Liberia Wants Early Reporting
Liberia has submitted a paper to the IMO calling for early reporting on the availability of fuel oil that is compliant with the new 0.50 percent global fuel oil sulphur limit well in advance of 1 January 2020, the effective date the new fuel oil must be used on board ships. LISCR, the US-based manager of the Liberian Registry, says, “Shipowners and operators hold a disproportionate responsibility in meeting the challenges associated with implementation of the 0.50 percent m/m global fuel oil sulphur limit and should not need to guess where or whether compliant fuel will be available”.
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