Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 07/12/2018
1. Tariffs Sums Not Adding Up
China may be girding itself to buy more U.S. gas and soybeans amid easing trade tensions, but the sums just don’t add up right now. American supplies would be uncompetitive or unneeded when shipped to China, based on current prices, shipping costs and other variables. So any resumption in purchases by the world’s biggest gas importer and America’s top soy buyer is unlikely to be for economic reasons and may be a political gesture by Beijing to smooth relations with Washington.
2. ONE Sulphur Response
Ocean Network Express (ONE), the new Japanese liner, has revealed how it intends to get clients to pay for its compliance to the 2020 global sulphur cap. In a release yesterday, ONE said that the majority of its fleet would sail with 0.5% sulphur fuel when the cap kicks in in 13 months’ time, rather than using scrubbers or LNG. The ONE Bunker Surcharge will start on January 1, 2019. Separately ONE has implemented a low sulphur fuel charge for ships calling at the newly created Yangtze Delta emission control area in China. ONE is slapping a $15 per teu surcharge on all boxes leaving Shanghai, Ningbo and Nanjing.
3. Danes Continue Piracy Fight
The Danish Government announced their upcoming priorities regarding the fight against piracy and other criminal activity at sea. From 2019 to 2022, the priorities in the fight against piracy and other maritime crimes will replace the current Government strategy of 2015-2018. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Defense, the Minister of Justice and the Minister for Industry, Business and Financial Affairs presented the priorities together today.
4. Bank Looks to Gas Boom
Nordea Bank aims to increase shipping finance activities to the growing liquefied natural gas (LNG)industry, executives at one of the world’s biggest shipping financiers said. China’s crackdown on pollution and its growing demand for more environmentally friendly sources of power, such as LNG, are boosting demand for ships to transport the fuel. “We would like to expand the portfolio and there are certain segments that we would like to expand in. One of them is on the LNG side,” Geir Atle Lerkerod, Nordea’s head of shipping for the Nordic region, told Reuters.
5. Rethinking Security
Unconscious biases relating to cost, conformity and compliance are undermining effective security argues James Wilkes from Gray Page. Security that is effective – security that works in actually protecting seafarers – is security that has been really well thought through in the first place. If you accept that premise, then we have to ask why so much of what we’re trying to achieve security-wise is often wrapped up in biblical-length procedures where the original intent gets lost in the inclination toward quantity over quality.
6. Owner Sentence Passed
An Athens court on 4 December passed down a 10-year prison sentence to Greek shipowner Victor Restis after finding him guilty of making a false statement, but he was released as the term was suspended, however a travel ban has been imposed on him. According to Greek media, the court found Restis and four other people guilty of using false statements to appropriate 30 hectares of state forest land near Athens. The offense had come to light in the context of a trial-fixing investigation. His term was suspended after judges accepted his appeal for leniency due to a lack of previous offenses and his remorse.
7. Emissions Slap on Wrist
Swiss container shipping company Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) paid USD 630,625 in penalties to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for violating the Ocean-Going Vessel At-Berth Regulation. The violations were discovered during a routine audit of the company’s 2014 visits to the Port of Oakland and the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The investigation by CARB revealed more than 2,500 violations for both the Oakland and LA/LB fleets for failing to reduce auxiliary engine power generation by at least 50% and for exceeding limits for auxiliary engine run time At-Berth Regulation.
8. More and More Autonomous Ships
Like London buses, shipping has waited for autonomous ships for years and in the space of a week there’s news of three landmark voyages, all on Scandinavian ferries. Swiss tech firm ABB became the latest to highlight its pioneering efforts towards automated shipping, joining the likes of Wärtsilä and Rolls-Royce in groundbreaking new trials for shipping. The ice-class passenger ferry Suomenlinna II remotely piloted through a test area near Helsinki harbour last week, which ABB stated in a release proves that human oversight of vessels from anywhere is achievable with today’s technologies.
9. Germany Embracing Sea Wind
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is bowing to industry pressure to boost Germany’s offshore wind capacity, already among the biggest in Europe. The government will assess how to boost offshore capacity to 20 gigawatts by 2030 from a planned 15 gigawatts, according to details in an energy law passed by the parliament on Friday. The administration has steadfastly blocked pressure to raise its current target from 2015, saying extra grid capacity is needed on land to take more power generated at sea. But the details show it’s now relenting and open to increasing the size of tenders.
10. Keep Calm and Carry On
There is a subject, however, we don’t talk much about, not amongst professional mariners, panic. There aren’t any courses at the academy on the subject, nor do many training institutions that cover it. However, it plays a key role in most events that occur on the water whether minor or major. One could argue it’s the unknown factor, the wild card in every single unfolding maritime event that may lead to an accident. No matter how smart, how good or how experienced, professional mariners will eventually face serious marine events that can quickly go awry.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com