Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 01/11/2018
1. Soaring West Africa Attacks
Details are emerging of further West African hijackings, this time further south than other recent incidents. The tanker Anuket Amber was bunkering LPG tanker BW Frigg on October 30 when pirates attacked both ships just off Pointe-Noire in the republic of Congo. While the BW ship was able to escape, the Anuket Amber was hijacked and its crew taken hostage. On the same day in a similar area the offshore supply vessel Ark Tze was also taken by pirates and four crew kidnapped and transferred to the held Anuket Amber. Pirate attacks in West Africa have soared in recent months, principally off Nigeria.
2. Ro-Ro Crane Allision
Firefighters rushed to the port of Barcelona this morning as a ferry operated by Italy’s Grandi Navi Veloci (GNV) slammed into a gantry crane. The crane collapsed and fell on four containers, sparking a large fire that could be seen from many kilometres away. The Excellent was docking in very inclement weather with strong winds and heavy rain. Much of the port has been closed as authorities try to get the fire under control. No injuries have been reported. Another GNV ship, the Fantastic, was involved in an incident earlier this year at Barcelona, colliding with the Viking Star cruise ship.
3. CMA CGM Completes Swoop
France’s CMA CGM has completed the acquisition of Finnish containership owner and logistics firm Container Finance. The deal with sees Containerships, Multi-link Terminals and CD Holding all integrate CMA CGM’s intra-regional market offering in Europe. Containerships is active in the intra-European market offering logistics solutions by ship, truck, rail and barges. The acquisition, first announced in June, will add 19 more vessels to the CMA CGM fleet.
4. VLCCs Smash Worldscale Highs
Rates for VLCCs out of the Middle East to Asia have reached the Worldscale 100 mark, pushing earnings close to $50,000 a day, levels not seen for a number of years. “Strong volumes over time combined with a typhoon or two has worked wonders for the sentiment in the VLCC market,” brokers Fearnleys reported in its latest weekly report, adding: “Owners firmly in the driving seat as volumes for virtually all the major VLCC routes continue active whilst tonnage availability in the near term appears thinner than for a long time.”
5. Panama Canal Record Tonnage
The Panama Canal closed its 2018 fiscal year with a record tonnage of 442.1 million Panama Canal tons (PC/UMS), a 9.5 percent increase from the previous year. This results, for the year ending September 30, surpassed the cargo projections for the year of 429.4 million PC/UMS tons. The container segment continued to serve as the leading market segment for tonnage through the Canal, accounting for 159 million PC/UMS tons of the total cargo, of which 112.6 million PC/UMS tons transited the Expanded Canal.
6. World’s Largest LNG Bunker Barge
The world’s largest LNG bunker supply vessel, M.V. Kairos, has been delivered to Babcock Schulte Energy, a 50:50 joint venture between Babcock and Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement. The 7,500 cubic meter vessel features Wärtsilä four-stroke dual-fuel engines and was built by Hyundai Mipo Dockyard in South Korea. She will be deployed to the Baltic region servicing a number of clients including the Linde/AGA terminal in Nynäshamn and the Klaipaida LNG fuelling station in Lithuania. The vessel is capable of performing both ship-to-ship bunkering and transhipment operations.
7. Shift to Pacific Arena
Two of the largest ships to ever ply the transpacific will shortly set off as the tradelane continues to experience boom times ahead of US tariffs on certain Chinese imports due to kick on January 1 next year. Maersk is redeploying the 17,816 teu sister ships Eleonora Maersk and Eugen Maersk on to the TP-6/Pearl service it operates with MSC. The E class ships will replace the 13,102 teu Maersk Ensenada and 13,568 teu Maersk Essen for the duration of one round voyage, according to Alphaliner. The two huge ships fall just short of the 17,859 teu CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin in 2016.
8. Piracy Causing Spike in Concerns
Sailors’ Society’s Crisis Response Network (CRN) provided support to its 100th case this week, with piracy, death at sea and abandonment accounting for almost two-thirds of those supported. More than a quarter of seafarers seeking crisis response are affected by piracy, says the charity. The high level of piracy cases reflects the rise in piracy reported by the International Maritime Bureau for the first six months of this year, which saw 107 actual or attempted attacks, up from 87 in the same period of last year, with Nigeria and Indonesia the main piracy hotspots.
9. Voyage at the Top of the World
The LNG-fuelled Aframax tanker Lomonosov Prospect has successfully completed its first commercial voyage along the Northern Sea Route (NSR) to deliver a cargo of oil from the Republic of Korea to Northern Europe. The voyage across the NSR took the Arc4 ice-class vessel 7.8 days to complete, during which the tanker covered a distance of 2,194 nautical miles, finishing on October 30. The vessel is now proceeding towards her destination port in Rotterdam. During the voyage, the crew tested the operation of the ship engines and control of the fuel systems using LNG, in ice conditions and sub-zero temperatures.
10. Anchor Problems and Unpreparedness
Insufficient anchor cable and an unprepared crew have led to a collision between three ships on the River Humber, according to a report by UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB). The UK-registered general cargo vessel Celtic Spirit dragged its anchor in heavy weather on the River Humber in the early morning hours of March 1, 2018. The vessel subsequently collided with the research and survey vessel Atlantic Explorer and the 4,100-dwt general cargo vessel Celtic Warrior, which were also at anchor. All three vessels sustained shell plate damage, but there were no injuries and no pollution.
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