Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 18/02/2019
1. Stellar Daisy VDR Found
The voyage data recorder (VDR) of the sunken Stellar Daisy very large ore carrier has been located and recovered from deep down on the ocean floor of the south Atlantic. Relieved family members of the bereaved in both South Korea and the Philippines have reacted to the news released today by Korea’s Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, expressing hope that the successful operation will now ensure justice is served in what has become of the most high profile and deadly bulker accidents seen this century. Twenty-two of the 24 crew onboard the 1993-built converted ore carrier perished.
2. Significant Suez Growth
The Suez Canal is experiencing significant growth in freight transport, according to a report by SRM Study and Research Centre for Southern Italy and the Intesa San Paolo Group, presented during a conference in Naples. The report said the Suez Canal set a double record in 2018, both for the number of transiting ships (over 18,000, +3.6%) and for cargo transported (983.4 million tons, +8.2%). It highlighted how the enlargement of the Suez Canal led to a 12% growth in the median size of ships passing through in 2018 compared to 2014, the year prior to the expansion.
3. Chopped Up Vessel Plan
Maersk has issued photos of the chopped up Maersk Honam which is now bound from Dubai to be rebuilt at Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea. The giant 15,262 teu ship was hit by a severe fire in March last year in the Arabian Sea, which killed five crew. The sound part of the vessel has now been cut away from the burnt aft and is being hauled to South Korea on the Xin Guang Hua heavylift ship. Its latest position, is reportedly off Sri Lanka.
4. Renewables Set to Boom
BP has published the 2019 edition of its Energy Outlook, exploring the need for more energy to support continued global economic growth and rising prosperity and the need for a more rapid transition to a lower-carbon future. The Outlook also considers the possible impact of an escalation in trade disputes and the implications of a significant tightening in the regulation of plastics. Much of the narrative in the Outlook is based on its evolving transition scenario which assumes that government policies, technologies and societal preferences evolve in a manner and speed similar to the recent past.
5. Nepal Eyes Shipping Line
Landlocked Nepal is pushing ahead with plans to create a national shipping line. Prime minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli this week opened the Nepal Ship Office in Ekantakuna just to the south of the capital, Katmandu, near the banks of the 600 km-long Bagmati river. If Oli’s vision becomes reality the world’s only non-quadrilateral flag could eventually be seen in oceans around the globe. Oli, a communist in his second term as prime minister, has long championed the creation of a national shipping line.
6. Laid Up Vessel Fire
A team from the US Coast Guard spent Saturday night fighting a big fire aboard the self-discharging bulk carrier St Clair in Oregon, Ohio, just outside Toledo. The fire was reported in the evening at the port of Toledo, and the coast guard and firefighters from eight local departments responded to the blaze. The laker, which regularly hauls taconite, coal and limestone from the Twin Ports, was moored at the CSX Torco terminal for winter layup and repairs. No one was aboard, and the ship had no cargo on it. No signs of pollution have been detected and the fire was out by Sunday morning.
7. Massive Atlantic Drug Seizure
Authorities seized more than three tonnes of cocaine and arrested 11 people off Portugal’s Atlantic coast, dismantling a drug smuggling gang that operated across international waters from a cargo vessel, police said on Friday. The seizure of the 3.3 tonnes of cocaine – thought to be worth around $148 million at European street prices – took place on the high seas when security forces boarded the smuggling ship 150 nautical miles off the country’s coast. The investigation into the gang, which started in 2017, was led by Spanish authorities.
8. Oil Pollution Fine
Vessel operator Interorient Marine Services was convicted and sentenced to pay a $2 million fine and probation in the Western District of Louisiana for maintaining false and incomplete records relating to the discharge of oil from the tank vessel Ridgebury Alexandra Z, the U.S. Justice Department announced Thursday. Interorient Marine Services admitted that oil cargo residues and oily bilge water were illegally dumped from the Ridgebury Alexandra Z directly into the ocean without being properly processed through required pollution prevention equipment.
9. Cyprus Attracting Shipping Firms
The growing appeal of Cyprus as a shipping hub is apparent when one looks at the numbers. The shipping industry in and around Limassol is experiencing fast growth, and the Cyprus government plans to take further steps to boost business, Deputy Minister of Shipping, Natasa Pilides, said on 14 February. She recapped developments in the year since the standalone junior Ministry for shipping was established, Pilides said more and more shipping companies are choosing Cyprus as their base of operations as the country can “offer a stable business environment and clear tax and legal frameworks”.
10. Blackout Blocks Canal
A tanker transiting the Suez Canal suffered a blackout on February 15, at about 10:34 hours local time, impeding southbound convoys. The 52,579 dwt tanker was part of a northbound convoy of 21 vessels. The 14 vessels transiting in front of the tanker were unaffected. Gulf Agency Company (GAC) confirmed that the vessel had been escorted by three tugs to anchor at Great Bitter Lake, Ismailia, adding that traffic was expected to return to normal shortly. GAC did not reveal the name of the vessel, however, AIS data indicates to the possibility that the vessel in question is the Croatia-flagged tanker Pomer.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com