Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 06/02/2019
1. World Fleet Values
The fleets have been valued and the results are in. Still at #1. Greece. The Greek fleet has increased its total value by over USD 5 billion in one year. Elswhere we have 2. Japan, 3. China, 4. Singapore, 5. Norway, 6. United States of America, 7. Germany, 8. South Korea, at 9. United Kingdom slips down a notch from its 2018 slot, with 10. Denmark.
2. Shell Takes Heavy Fine
Shell Offshore, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, has agreed to pay a $2.2 million civil fine to settle charges it violated the Clean Water Act after a subsea pipeline crack at the Green Canyon field saw 1,900 barrels of oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico in May 2016. The fine will be paid after the expiration of a 30-day comment period and deposited in the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. The fine is in addition to $3.9m Shell Offshore agreed to pay last year to US state and federal agencies.
3. Major Boxship Fire
The Vietnamese Coast Guard and salvage teams are continuing to respond to a cargo fire onboard the 9,326 TEU containership APL Vancouver in the South China Sea off the coast of Vietnam. Operator APL reported that the fire broke out in one of the cargo holds as the vessel was underway from Shekou, China to Singapore last Thursday, 31 January, at approximately 0430hrs. All 24 crew members on board are reported safe. It was not immediately clear on Monday if some of the crew had been evacuated or if they remain on board fighting the fire.
4. Libya Back into Action
Libya is gearing up to welcome fully laden VLCCs again after a five-year hiatus. Brokers Gibson report the war-torn North African nation has plans to build a port in the eastern city of Susah capable of handling VLCCs. The Libyan Seaport Authority is joining forces with US-based Guidry Group to develop the port, which has a projected cost of $1.5bn. The harbour itself already has a natural depth of 18 metres, only a few metres short of what’s needed for a fully loaded VLCC. Gibson stated in its latest weekly report that Libya’s neighbours Sudan and Chad have welcomed the project stating their desire to use it.
5. Great News for Greeks
The Greek maritime cluster is on track to enjoy an improving 2019, according to the head of the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping (HCS), a government advisory body. Dr George Pateras, president of the chamber since 2016, tells readers that sign ups to Maritime Hellas, the online directory covering the Greek maritime cluster, are growing fast, on track to surpass 100,000 people this year. Maritime Hellas was launched in 2016. Its membership today stands at more than 93,000. Commendably, any profits from the directory are being channelled towards maritime education.
6. Magnetic North Shifting Fast
Earth’s north magnetic pole has been drifting so fast in recent decades that scientists say that past estimates are no longer accurate enough for precise navigation. On Monday, they released an update of where magnetic north really was, nearly a year ahead of schedule. The magnetic north pole is moving about 34 miles (55 kilometres) a year. It crossed the international date line in 2017, and is leaving the Canadian Arctic on its way to Siberia.
7. New Help for Crews
The problems which can affect members of a ship’s crew at sea can be manifold. Mental health issues can spring unbidden from a multitude of sources; loneliness, concerns over a family’s welfare etc. No matter one’s religious beliefs, if any, sometimes what’s needed is help, advice or simply a conversation with a willing listener in a foreign port. Seafarers’ charity, Stella Maris-Apostleship of the Sea (AoS), has launched a new version of its global port chaplains’ directory which helps seafarers get access to pastoral, practical and emotional support wherever they are in the world.
8. Sinokor Spending Big
The fleet rejuvenation project at Sinokor proceeds at speed. The South Korean line has ordered 20 feeder boxships, split between three yards controlled China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC). Huangpu Wenchong and Chengxi Shipyard will build eight 1,100 teu ships each for delivery from late next year and throughout 2021. Jiangnan Shipyard has also received a contract from Sinokor to build four 2,400 teu ships for delivery in 2021. No price has been revealed for this bumper boxship order. Sinokor has placed many of its oldest ships for sale over the past 18 months.
9. Ports Not Prepared
Prepared or not prepared? That’s quite a question. According to a survey on preparedness for Brexit only 16% of about 100 UK ports and harbour authorities have made any ‘significant or practical’ plans for Brexit, but 59% expect a negative or strongly negative impact. The survey also reports that only 25% of UK port leaders think they are currently in a position to handle Brexit well; one-third believe they could cope but ideally with further investment. And that, of course, is the sticking point.
10. Ballast Boost for Shipyards
The entry into force of the Ballast Water Treatment Convention and the upcoming 2020 IMO Regulations for the use of low-sulphur fuels by the existing fleet, are expected to trigger a mass influx of clients for ship repair yards. However, this increased business of retrofits hasn’t started to materialize yet, which could lead to fewer available yard spots for late-comers. In any case, retrofits of ballast water systems and scrubbers are about to take over the ship repair market until, at least, the end of 2019.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com