Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 01/10/2018
1. Class on Cyber
The International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) has published nine of its 12 recommendations on cyber safety for ships. IACS initially addressed the subject of software quality with the publication of UR E22 in 2006. Recognizing the huge increase in the use of onboard cyber-systems, IACS has developed this new series of recommendations with a view to reflecting the resilience requirements of a ship with many more interdependencies. They address the need for: understanding of the interplay between ship’s systems, Protection, response and ultimately recovery and means of detection.
2. Operating Costs Fall Again
International accountant and shipping consultant Moore Stephens says total annual operating costs in the shipping industry fell by 1.3 percent in 2017. This compares with the 1.1 percent average fall in costs recorded for 2016. For the third successive year, all categories of expenditure in 2017 were down on those for the previous 12-month period, most notably for insurance costs and stores. Operating costs for the tanker, bulker and container ship sectors were all down in 2017. On a year-on-year basis, the tanker index was down by three points, or 1.7 percent, while the bulker index also fell by three points.
3. Bulker Orders Surge
The ratio of dry bulk orders placed compared to vessels scrapped has risen to its highest level this year since 2010, according to analysis from Alphabulk. Bulker orders placed this year are now in excess of 33m dwt, on track to surpass last year’s total. By contrast, demolition activity has almost ground to a halt, Alphabulk reported, as owners hold on to ships in the hope of rates improving. Just 3.4m dwt (38 ships) has been scrapped so far this year, of which 40% were torched in the first two months of 2018. 225 ships were scrapped in 2017.
4. Korean Company to be Sold
SK Shipping, the fourth largest shipping company in South Korea, is to be sold off. The subsidiary of energy conglomerate SK Group is to be sold to local private equity firm Hahn & Co. Hahn & Co already owns H-Line Shipping, a fast growing bulk operation founded in 2014. H-Line has taken on many assets from other struggling local lines in recent years. Hahn & Co is understood to be paying $1.35bn to take a 90% stake in SK Shipping.
5. Big Day for Big Carrier
Pilots Royal Navy Commander Nathan Gray and RAF Squadron Leader Andy Edgell have made history by landing their F-35 Lightning stealth jets on the flight deck of Britain’s newest carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth. The flying operations mark the start of more than 500 take-offs and landings set to take place from the warship over the next 11 weeks. The jets will be tested in a range of sea and weather conditions. Having then completed the trials, which are taking place off the east coast of the U.S., the giant aircraft carrier is expected to visit New York.
6. Very Cold War Begins
The U.K. will send Royal Marines to Norway’s Arctic training program because of the growing threat of Russian aggression in the area as the polar cap melts. Some 800 marines will be deployed to Norway and four Royal Air Force Typhoon fighter planes will patrol Icelandic Skies, Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson told the Conservative Party conference on Sunday. He also said he’ll boost training to tackle the threat of Kremlin-sanctioned cyber attacks. The defense secretary is responding to British analysis which shows Russian submarine activity in the north Atlantic Ocean has almost reached Cold War levels.
7. Aegean President Steps Down
Marine fuel logistics company Aegean Marine Petroleum Network (AMPNI) has announced that its president Jonathan McIlroy will leave the company effective November 15. Kostas Polydakis, who was appointed to the position of chief operating officer in August, will assume McIlroy’s duties. Aegean also announced that it has appointed Mecuria executive David Gallagher to the board of directors, part of a $1bn deal announced in July and completed in August which gives Mercuria a 30% stake in Aegean.
8. Ammonia As Ship Fuel
Ammonia has so far been a little-considered future fuel for shipping, but it’s proponents say it’s one that does not suffer from the “which comes first, the chicken or the egg” dilemma that has plagued the adoption of LNG as bunker fuel. For LNG, the dilemma has been that shipowners have been reluctant to make the switch to LNG as bunker fuel in the absence of ports around the world able to supply it. Yet, the development of the required infrastructure is dependent on such demand. As ammonia is already produced and transported in large quantities, bunker supplies could be readily accommodated.
9. Tough Time for Box Ships
The container shipping sector has been faced with numerous challenges, the most recent being hikes of oil prices. Market headwinds have seen numerous analysts question the ability of major carriers to deliver profit in the first half of 2018 and the full year despite buoyant demand. “Higher oil prices are the principal reason why so few carriers have achieved profitability so far this year. However, since many also reported lower average freight rates than in 2017, which is doubly underwhelming given that there has been at least some success in passing on bunker costs, bunker prices are not the whole story.
10. Seafarers Will Be Needed
Kongsberg, the Norwegian company leading the world in autonomous shipping, has sought to allay fears that technological advancements will lead to widespread job losses in the industry. “Sailors fear for their jobs when they hear about what we are doing, but autonomous does not mean unmanned,” said Peter Due, director autonomy, global sales and marketing at Kongsberg Maritime. Kongsberg is developing the world’s first electric, fully autonomous containership, named the Yara Birkeland. Due to be delivered in early 2020, the zero-emission vessel has been hailed a game changer for the maritime industry.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com