Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 29/11/2018
1. Iranian Port Hackers
Two Iranian computer hackers were charged Wednesday in connection with a multimillion-dollar cybercrime and extortion scheme that targeted government agencies, cities and businesses, including the port of San Diego. Faramarz Shahi Savandi, 34, and Mohammad Mehdi Shah Mansouri, 27, are accused by the Justice Department of creating ransomware known as SamSam that encrypted data on the computers of more than 200 victims, starting in January 2016, demanding a ransom in bitcoin to get their data back. The Justice Department stressed that the hackers were not connected to the Iranian government.
2. China Eyes Panama Canal
Panama the new flashpoint in China’s growing presence in Latin America. A spat over the site of China’s embassy has underlined the strategic value of the canal – through which two-thirds of ships to or from the US pass. Linked to the mainland by a slender causeway, these strategic outcrops are home to a handful of derelict buildings once used to house US military personnel. But they have become a new flashpoint in the global rivalry between Beijing and Washington, as China’s plans to build a new embassy on the islands were derailed after US officials pressured the government of Panama’s president.
3. End of Risk Data
January will see the end of open access to port state control data collected by the Paris MoU. The decision to do this poses a serious threat to maritime safety and security. It’s nothing to cheer, because I know how important this data is for maritime safety and security. Port state control is designed to ensure that only seaworthy ships that comply with international law are able to sail and visit ports. Vessels are inspected in port, creating a safety record for each one. Companies, governments and insurers will no longer be able to do is download the data into their risk models.
4. HMM Feeling Upbeat
In a remarkably bullish two-page press release issued today South Korean flagship HMM has claimed it will have a 7% market share on the main east-west container tradelanes by 2021. HMM said it has rebuilt trust with customers after restructuring two years ago and is on course to have a fleet of 1m slots, more than twice the size of its existing fleet. In September HMM ordered twelve 23,000 teu ships and eight 15,000 teu vessels due for delivery in 2020. HMM stated today that its average utilisation level for round trips has grown from 75% in 2016 to more than 80% in the second half of this year.
5. EU Avoids Russian Sanctions
The European Union’s member nations have elected not to threaten Russia with new sanctions over the seizure of three Ukrainian Navy vessels near Kerch Strait last weekend. In a statement, top EU diplomat Federica Mogherini said only that the European Union was “dismayed” by Russia’s use of force to seize Ukrainian military vessels, and described it as “unacceptable.” The statement indicated that the EU will “act appropriately, in close coordination with its international partners” in formulating its response.
6. Ship Cannot Buy Fuel
The Sevastopol, a freighter that has been blacklisted by the United States because of her owner’s alleged sanctions violations, is stuck at the port of Busan because no one will sell her fuel. “Korean companies are refusing to supply fuel to us,” said a spokesperson for owner Gudzon Shipping, speaking to Radio Free Asia. “It’s a huge problem . . . The big [South] Korean oil companies like GS Caltex and Hyundai Oil won’t deal with us because of the U.S. sanctions on all our vessels.” Vladivostok-based Gudzon is listed on the U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Asset Control’s blacklist of firms suspected of violating sanctions.
7. Ferry Successful Sailing
Wärtsilä has successfully completed a test procedures of its autonomous shipping system. The system was tested on the ferry Folgefonn with full dock-to-dock autonomous operation for the entire route, visiting all three ports serviced by the ship. Selecting “Sail” authorizes the autonomous controller to take control of the vessel. The ferry was able to leave the dock, maneuver out of the harbor, sail to the next port of call, maneuver through the harbor entrance, and dock alongside the terminal – all without human intervention.
8. Iran Payments Plunge
Claim payouts to shipowners using the protection and indemnity insurance cover for their Iranian oil shipping may get restricted to liabilities of up to $100 million per tanker because of the US reimposed sanctions, compared with the maximum $8.2 billion earlier, P&I club sources told S&P Global Platts. “For the 2018/19 policy year, individual International Group (IG) Clubs retain the first $10 million of liabilities arising from an incident. Between $10 million and $100 million, liabilities are shared between all 13 International Group Clubs, or the Pool,” the International Group of P&I Clubs said in a circular late Monday.
9. Cruise Crew Medevaced
The U.S. Coast Guard medevaced two crewmembers of the cruise ship Norwegian Escape who reportedly suffered second-degree burns in an engine room accident. The accident occurred Monday afternoon as the cruise ship was off the coast of Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. According to the Coast Guard, a crewmember aboard the vessel contacted watchstanders at the Fifth District command center at 3:50 p.m. reporting that the two Filipino crewmen, aged 25 and 26, suffered burns due to an accident in the engine room and needed medical attention.
10. Tanker Hits Dock
An LNG carrier laden with 145 cubic meters of gas struck a dock at the Sakhalin Energy project on the far eastern end of Russia on Tuesday, causing damage but no gas leaks or injuries. The departure of the tanker, Grand Elena, has been delayed. A spokesperson for the project said the vessel struck a loading dock at the terminal after loading LNG bound for Japan. Media reports said the vessel suffered a hole on its port side. Divers were expected to survey the damage Wednesday morning.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com