Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 11/01/2019
1. US Slowing Down
Imports at major retail container ports in the U.S. have slowed down after a months-long rush to beat increased tariffs on goods from China, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates. Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett is projecting declining volumes in the coming months and an overall weakness in imports for the first half of the year.
2. Oceans Heating Up
The oceans are warming faster than previously estimated, setting a new temperature record in 2018 in a trend that is damaging marine life, scientists said on Thursday. New measurements, aided by an international network of 3,900 floats deployed in the oceans since 2000, showed more warming since 1971 than calculated by the latest U.N. assessment of climate change in 2013, they said.
3. Tales of Bravery
The officers and crew of the MV GREEN LAKE saved seven members of the crew of the SINCERITY ACE, a car carrier which caught fire in extreme weather conditions some 1,800 nm from Oahu. The GREEN LAKE was the first vessel to respond to a Coast Guard alert that went out in the pre-dawn hours of Dec. 31: the master of the SINCERITY ACE, a 2009-built car carrier sailing from Yokohama to Oahu, had reported a serious vessel fire, ongoing firefighting efforts and the intent to abandon ship.
4. Already Under Investigation
Hongkong International Terminals, Modern Terminals, COSCO-HIT Terminals (Hong Kong) and Asia Container Terminals formed the Hong Kong Seaport Alliance on January 8 – a move already under investigation by local authorities. The Alliance is a joint operating agreement designed to deliver more efficient service offerings to carriers that call Hong Kong and to therefore enhance the competitiveness of the Port of Hong Kong. The Seaport Alliance will offer 23 berths using a common terminal operating system across Terminals 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 of Kwai Tsing, New Territories, Hong Kong.
5. The Green Paradox
In fewer than 12 monthsâ time, thousands of merchant ships are going to start burning fuel containing higher concentrations of sulfur. Thatâs a quirky outcome of rules that are supposed to cut emissions of the pollutant.
How and why will this happen? The rules, set out by the International Maritime Organization back in October 2016, allow owners to fit exhaust-cleaning kit called scrubbers, which stop sulfur oxide from being released into the air.
6. Making Most of Humans
With the shipping technological landscape changing how some areas of work in the maritime industry are carried out, it is imperative that the existing workforce is future-proofed and upskilled to ensure they can work well in an environment centred around technology. That is the sentiment highlighted in the second Sea Asia industry insights report, âTechnology in Maritime: Dehumanising the Industry or Creating New Job Opportunities?â launched today, ahead of the biennial Sea Asia conference and exhibition.
7. Hooking to Shore
Stena Line became the first ferry company to connect to shore power in the Port of Oslo on Tuesday, when Stena Saga began connecting to the electricity grid during calls into port. Stena Line, with 38 vessels and 21 routes in Northern Europe, has been working with shore power supply connections since 1989. With Stena Saga, 14 of Stena Line’s vessels can now connect to green electricity when in port.
8. Bad Start to Year
The year has not started off well or the shipping industry and the cause of marine safety. The fatal fire aboard the vehicle carrier Sincerity Ace cost the lives of five seafarers and will have destroyed 3,600 cars and most probably the vessel herself. Meanwhile the ongoing fire aboard the containership Yantian Express demonstrates the vulnerability of these vessels to even a single box catching alight, with the ship having to be abandoned as the stormy North Atlantic weather helped to spread the inferno.
9. Single Window, Many Ideas
On January 10, the Transport Committee of the European Parliament (TRAN) adopted its position on the Commission proposal for a regulation establishing a European Maritime Single Window Environment. While largely supported by the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO), concerns remain. The single window concept, also being promoted by the IMO in the context of the Convention on the Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic, aims to enable all the information required by public authorities in connection with the arrival, stay and departure of ships, people and cargo, to be submitted via a single portal, without duplication.
10. Ship Loss Investigated
The US Coast Guard is investigating the capsizing of the commercial fishing vessel Mary B II, which led to the death of three fishermen at the entrance of Yaquina Bay in Newport, Oregon. At about 2200 hours Tuesday night, the Mary B was preparing to cross the Yaquina Bay bar, the notoriously hazardous entrance to Newport’s harbor. The surface conditions were rough, with waves of 14-16 feet and occasional waves of up to 20 feet near the bar.