Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 21/02/2019
1. Lines Could Face Bankruptcy
Against a backdrop of a gloomy outlook for container trades Bimco analyst Peter Sand warns a failure by lines to pass increased fuel costs from the IMO 2020 sulphur cap could result in bankruptcies. In his latest outlook report for container shipping Sand warned of a tough year for the mainline container trades with a number of pitfalls ahead including the impact of the US – China trade war and signs that the Europe containerised market is “saturated”.
2. Rallying Call to Industry
International Maritime Organization (IMO) secretary-general Kitack Lim has called on all sectors of the maritime industry to be involved in achieving the ambitious Greenhouse Gas (GHG) cuts set for the industry last year. Last year the IMO set a target to reduce CO2 emissions from shipping by at least 50% in 2050. This means that the not just shipping companies need to be involved but also related businesses such as ports.
3. Legitimising Scrubbers
The tit-for-tat battle on the legitimacy of scrubbers has ratcheted up in recent days as member states of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) meet in London to discuss the technology while a batch of scientific evidence supporting exhaust gas cleaning systems is set to be unveiled today. The pro-scrubber lobbying group Clean Shipping Alliance 2020 (CSA 2020) yesterday hit out at a proposal submitted by the European Commission (EC) which urges the IMO to change its scrubber guidelines. The proposal calls for “evaluation and harmonization” of scrubber discharges across all ports, worldwide.
4. Slow Easing of Qatar Sanctions
The UAE has partially lifted a ban on Qatari shipping, easing the sanctions imposed as part of the Saudi-led pressure campaign on Qatar that began in 2017. According to Abu Dhabi Ports, Qatari-origin cargoes can now enter the UAE’s ports and vice versa. However, Qatari-owned or -flagged vessels are still banned from the UAE, and UAE-flagged vessels are still not permitted to visit Qatar. The broader boycott shows no signs of ending soon. On February 18, UAE foreign minister Dr. Anwar Gargash asserted that “the crisis has turned Qatar into an orphaned state,” and that “Doha is still floundering.”
5. Arrests for Illegal Bunkers
Singapore’s Police Coast Guard (PCG) has arrested 11 men for their suspected involvement in an illegal transaction of marine gas oil (MGO). In a joint operation with the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) on Tuesday, the PCG arrested six crew members of a craft owned by a marine service provider, and another five crew members of a foreign-registered tugboat at the sea off Jurong Island.
6. Major Renewal Landmark
North P&I Club has successfully concluded its 2019 renewal and, for the first time in the Club’s 159-year history, is projecting total entered tonnage to exceed 200 million gross tonnes. This landmark achievement further consolidates North’s position as one of the leading members of the International Group of P&I Clubs. Paul Jennings, North P&I Club’s Chief Executive Officer said, “Our 2019 renewal strategy was very clear. We provided ongoing support to Members dealing with persistently challenging trading conditions through our decision not to declare a general increase.
7. Hedge Funds Seek Shipping Debt
A growing number of hedge funds are moving into shipping debt, an asset class few have invested in before, looking to buy up loans and bonds as banks cut their exposure to the troubled sector. World economy worries and cost pressures are dampening prospects for a proper recovery in many segments of the shipping sector, which has struggled with tough markets for a decade. Meanwhile European banks, particularly German lenders, are trying to offload distressed and performing loans to the industry which attracts high capital requirements.
8. P&O Bought Back
DP World has bought back British ferry and shipping freight operator P&O Ferries for 322 million pounds ($421 million), more than a decade after it sold it. DP World acquired the British shipping and logistics company in 2006 but soon sold off some assets, including P&O Ferries to its major shareholder, state holding company Dubai World. DP World announced on Wednesday it was buying the company, and a spokeswoman later told Reuters it had bought it back from Dubai World.
9. Importance of Seafarer Mental Health
ISWAN (International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network), explains why industry has increased its focus on seafarers’ mental health lately, referring to the major human and financial risks that could arise in case a seafarer had a mental health crisis while on duty. The industry has made significant progress on raising awareness about seafarers’ health, especially with reference to their physical health while their mental health issues need to be further addressed. Taking positive steps to reduce the number of factors that have a direct effect on the mental health of seafarers, could be the next challenge.
10. Tunnel Between India and UAE
The National Advisor Bureau in the UAE has proposed a futuristic project to build a subsea rail connection to India. The Fujairah-Mumbai Subsea Tunnel Project would involve an ultra speed subsea railway, with the aim of improving the bilateral trade between the two nations. Future expansion may include China’s One Belt One Road Initiative, linking the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor at Gwadar Port with the UAE (and other Gulf countries) via Fujairah Port to complement the Chinese silk road. Future train stations could include the port city of Karachi in Pakistan and Muscat, the capital city of Oman.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com