Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 29/10/2018
1. Crew Freed From Pirates
Twelve crewmembers of a Swiss ship seized off Nigeria last month have been freed, Swiss judicial officials said on Sunday. Negotiations between the owner Massoel Shipping and the kidnappers of the Glarus bulk carrier led to the release of seven Filipinos, a Bosnian, a Croatian, a Romanian, a Slovenian and a Ukrainian, all of whom were then flown to Switzerland. The bulk carrier and its cargo of wheat are still in the hands of pirates who captured the ship on September 22 in the Gulf of Guinea off Nigeria’s Bonny Island and destroyed most of its communications equipment.
2. Limit on Fuel Carriage
An amendment to support consistent implementation of the forthcoming 0.50% limit on sulphur in ships fuel oil was adopted by the IMO. The new 0.50% limit (reduced from 3.50% currently) on sulphur in ships’ fuel oil will be in force from January 1 2020. The complementary MARPOL amendment will prohibit the carriage of non-compliant fuel oil for combustion purposes for propulsion or operation on board a ship – unless the ship has an scrubber fitted, and is expected to enter into force on March 1 2020.
3. The Race for the Arctic
Russia has already – literally – staked its claim to vast tracts of the Arctic, and now China is looking northward too. Can other countries catch up when they are already so far behind? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently reminded the world that rising temperatures mean we will all be in very deep trouble this century. But perhaps some will be in less trouble than others. The northern ice is melting faster than previously thought, and the Arctic could even be ice-free by 2040, meaning the scramble for the top of the globe may accelerate.
4. Grain Giants Mobilise
Four of the largest grain traders in the world are partnering to seek ways to digitise shipping transactions. Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Bunge, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus said in a release they are investigating ways to standardise and digitise global agricultural shipping transactions for the benefit of the entire industry, citing the benefits of blockchain and artificial intelligence. Initially, the four companies will focus on technologies to automate grain and oilseed post-trade execution processes. Longer term, the companies said they want to drive greater reliability, efficiency and transparency.
5. COSCO Eyes Sovcomflot
China’s state run shipping conglomerate China Cosco Shipping Corporation is in talks to take a stake of up to 49% in Russia’s largest state run shipping firm, Sovcomflot, according to reports published in Russian newspaper Nakanune. Cosco has tabled a bid to take an initial 30% stake, rising to 49% in the future.
Russian authorities have tried and failed for a number of years to seek a way to get Sovcomflot to list. Last month top management at Russia’s largest line admitted that the latest IPO plans had been put on hold again. It is thought this failure to list frustrated Moscow authorities, ushering in Cosco’s bid.
6. Emas Seeks Rescue Bids
Offshore vessel operator Emas Offshore, part of Singapore’s Ezra Holdings, has entered into a non-binding term sheet with Udenna Corporation as part of the financial restructuring of the group. Dennis Uy-led Udenna, based in the Philippines, is the parent company of Pheonix Petroleum and Chelsea Logistics Holdings. Chelsea controls a number of shipping and logistics companies including Chelsea Shipping and Trans-Asia Shipping. Now under a five-week exclusivity period to push the deal through, a definitive agreement would see Udenna would inject $73.29m into Emas Offshore.
7. Ferry Fears Around Europe
Two ferry incidents occurred in European waters on Saturday. The ro-ro Nearchos ran aground in the Aegean Sea off Greece on Saturday morning. The ferry suffered damage to the hull and water ingress, but local media reports that the 13 crew and five passengers on board are safe. The 87-meter (285-foot) vessel was en route from Mykonos to Thira and is now anchored awaiting an underwater survey. Separately, a fire reportedly broke out in the engineroom of the 200-meter (656-foot) Grimaldi Lines ro-pax ferry Cruise Ausonia off Italy on Saturday evening.
8. Gulf’s 2020 Position
Gulf Oil Marine has released its 2020 position paper. The document explores the various compliance options and challenges ship operators are preparing for to switch to low Sulphur fuel or scrubbers. It presents a range of Gulf Oil Marine’s engine lubricants to give ship operators the widest choice of products to suit their fleet regardless of the engine type, fuel type and sphere of operation and outlines Gulf Oil Marine’s plans to ensure a smooth, hassle free and cost effective transition.
9. Time to Embrace Tech
The UK has always been a trading nation. For centuries, our ability to trade with other nations around the world has been a key driver of our economic success. By now, everyone knows that digital transformation is changing the game, not just in shipping, but in every industry. Although the maritime sector has been slow to change, innovation is gathering pace. The promise of technology transforming maritime trade is not merely a distant pipedream. Around the world startups, equipment manufacturers, ports and ship operators are leading the charge in digitalisation.
10. Mandatory Speed Proposals
Mandatory speed limits could be shipping lines’ best hope of achieving the IMO’s 2030 emissions reduction targets. Shipping officer for lobby group Transport & Environment Faig Abbasov told The Loadstar slow-steaming could “single-handedly” achieve the target. “We’re proposing mandatory limits, based on ship type,” said Mr Abbasov, speaking on the sidelines of the Marine and Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 73) in London. “Furthermore, our slow-steaming initiative is based on an annual average rather than per individual journey, meaning priority shipments could travel at a faster rate.”
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com