Mission to Seafarers Launches Woolly Hat Day 2015

By MarEx 2015-09-11 17:33:45

Robert Goodwill, U.K. Parliamentary Under Secretary of State with responsibility for shipping, helped launch Mission to Seafarers Woolly Hat Day 2015 at an event organized by Red Ensign Group at London International Shipping Week this week.

The U.K. Shipping Minister signalled his support for seafarers in need by wearing a woolly hat to launch the maritime charity’s annual fundraising initiative.

Woolly Hat Day 2015 will take place on Friday 9th October, 2015. Mission to Seafarers is challenging the maritime industry to wear a woolly hat in support of seafarers in need around the world. The maritime charity is encouraging supporters to donate money, and get others involved by wearing a woolly hat, taking a photo and sharing via Facebook and other social media.

This year’s campaign is supported by Old Pulteney, the maritime malt, and the Campaign for Wool which will release five bespoke knitting patterns to raise funds for Mission to Seafarers.

“I want to acknowledge the great work of the Mission to Seafarers and its dedication in supporting mariners worldwide,” said Goodwin. “The Mission does a great and often unsung job and very much deserves our support.”

Andrew Wright, Secretary General of Mission to Seafarers, commented: “I am looking forward to our exciting Woolly Hat Day campaign 2015 which is taking place on 9 October and I would like to ask as many of our supporters as possible to ‘Join the Crew!’ this year. It is vital that our welfare work with seafarers is promoted across the maritime community and further afield.

“This year we are taking our campaign to a far wider audience through our highly valued partners Old Pulteney Maritime Malt Whisky and The Campaign for Wool. We have new videos and lots of interactive fun planned via social media via #WHD. Please download our new fundraising pack filled with ideas and promote the Mission’s Woolly Hat Day to all your friends.”

Missing Vessel and Crew Located

By MarEx 2015-09-11 16:05:38

The missing M/V Sah Lian and its 14 crewmembers were found drifting 25 nautical miles off Tanjong Baram in Malaysia. The vessel, which had been reported missing September 7, sustained engine trouble while transporting cargo to the eastern Malaysian district of Limbang. The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has towed the vessel to Limbang.

The Sah Lian left from Malaysia’s Kuching district on September 2 and was transporting 500 tons of general cargo. It was reported missing when it did not arrive at the Port of Limbang on schedule Saturday. Kian Lian Shipping, the vessel’s owner, was last in contact with the crew captain on September 3.

Prior to its discovery, there was speculation that the Sah Lian was the South China Sea’s latest piracy victim. MMEA deployed seven ships and one C-130 aircraft in the search-and-rescue mission.

Nigeria, Togo Partner to Combat Piracy

By MarEx 2015-09-11 15:49:10

Nigeria and the Republic of Togo are partnering to combat rising piracy and oil theft off West Africa. Togolese President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe met Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari this week to discuss increasing security measures in the region. Gnassingbe also extended an invitation to a maritime security and development summit to be hosted in Togo in November. Nigeria and Togo both abut the Gulf of Guinea, a hotbed of pirate activity recently.

“The summit will deal with issues of piracy, and we know that one of the problems of Nigeria is the theft of oil through the sea,” President Gnassingbe said in a statement. “The summit will also deal with illicit trafficking in the sea like drug trafficking, human trafficking and also with the issues of pollution of our water.”

Piracy has spiked in the region since 2008, and Nigeria claims losses of about $2 billion per year. The Nigerian government says it loses $800 million to illegal fishing activities and $9 million to piracy attacks. Another $16 million is squandered through oil thefts, and hundreds of millions of dollars are paid out in ransoms.

The Togo President says that the Gulf of Guinea loses $7 billion annually due to piracy. He added that his country and others in the region cannot afford to lose such exorbitant amounts of money to piracy given their current financial states, and that coordinated efforts among African nations are the only solution to a growing problem.

“If all the African countries are on the same page, it would be easy to tackle the security challenges,” he added. “So we have to keep holding summits because individual countries cannot combat piracy effectively without cooperation.”

Nigeria has destroyed 200 illegal oil refineries and 58 oil barges and arrested more than 80 pirate vessels in the past year.

Algoma to Build Three Self-Unloading Freighters

By MarEx 2015-09-11 15:18:46

Algoma Central Corporation announced that it is has signed conditional contracts to build three 740-foot Seaway Max self-unloading bulk freighters to join the Company’s Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Waterway dry-bulk fleet.

These contracts, which are with Uljanik d.d. of Croatia, replace three of the contracts with a Chinese shipyard that were cancelled earlier this year. The agreements are contingent upon delivery by the shipyard of acceptable security for the construction instalments required under the contracts.

“Our experience with the Uljanik Group on the Equinox 650 Class project has given us confidence in the Shipyard’s ability to deliver high quality vessels on the agreed timelines”, said Ken Bloch Soerensen, President and CEO of Algoma. “Our Equinox project has faced significant delays as a result of the financial problems encountered by Nantong Mingde shipyard. Working closely with Uljanik, we are confident in the continuation of Algoma’s fleet renewal project.”

These new Equinox Class ships will feature a boom forward configuration designed to provide greater flexibility in certain delivery situations. The vessels will have an overall length of 225.55 metres (740 feet) and a beam of 23.77 metres (78 feet), qualifying as Seaway Max size ships. The vessels will carry 29,300 tonnes at maximum Seaway draft.

The new Equinox vessels will have all of the features of the existing Equinox design, including the exhaust gas scrubber technology pioneered by Algoma on the Great Lakes in its first Equinox Class gearless bulk carriers. The first vessel is scheduled for delivery in early 2018 with the balance of the ships delivered by the end of that year. Algoma is continuing discussions with other parties on further fleet renewal opportunities.

Competiviveness, Investment Keys To London’s Shipping Future

By MarEx 2015-09-11 14:35:38

A new survey by The Shipping Professional Network in London (SPNL) has identified key ways in which London can remain competitive as a relevant maritime global centre, and revealed a broad consensus that London’s credentials in this respect would be strengthened by the UK remaining part of the EU.

The survey, organised in conjunction with international accountant and shipping adviser Moore Stephens, canvassed the opinions of young professionals working primarily in the shipowning, shipbroking, ship management, chartering, advisory and associated industries in London. Respondents were asked for their views of the current state of the market, and how they believed it would perform over the next 12 months.

Respondents recorded an overall confidence level of 6.2, out of a maximum possible score of 10, in the markets in which they operate. This compares with the rating of 6.4 recorded when the survey was run previously, in September 2013.

On a scale of one to 10, respondents expressed an overall expectation of 5.8 when asked to gauge the likelihood of their business making a major investment or significant development over the next 12 months. This compares with the 6.4 recorded two years ago.

Demand trends, competition, and the cost and availability of finance were identified by respondents as the three leading factors most likely to affect their business performance over the next 12 months, as they were in 2013 too.

48% of respondents expected finance costs to increase over the coming year, compared to the 44% who thought likewise in 2013.

Respondents were also asked for their opinion of likely rate movements in the tanker, dry bulk and container ship markets over the course of the next year. 35 percent overall thought that tanker rates were likely to increase, as against 50% in the 2013 survey. In the dry bulk sector, 35 percent of respondents overall expected rates to increase, down on the 45 percent recorded in 2013. 29 percent of respondents overall expected rates to rise during the next 12 months in the container ship market, compared to 31 percent in 2013.

Respondents identified competitiveness, taxation and the ability to adapt to a fast-changing environment as the three leading challenges for London to remain a relevant global maritime centre, as they were in the 2013 survey. Some urged London to establish stronger partnerships with Asian maritime hubs such as Singapore and Hong Kong, and to use this as a springboard to the rest of Asia. At the same time, London was cautioned not to let its best, most experienced people migrate to Asian maritime centres, and to be aware of the effect on its competiveness of operating and employment costs. London was acknowledged as one of the few European centres not in decline.

The cost of office space, staff and services was identified by a number of respondents as the biggest challenge to London remaining competitive. It was also acknowledged that more needs to be done in respect of stimulating shipping investment and providing ship finance, as well as supporting smaller start-ups. Improvements in transport infrastructure were also deemed to be vital to maintaining London’s competitiveness.

No fewer than 80 percent of respondents felt that it was in the best interests of London’s standing as a global centre for maritime commerce for the UK to remain a member of the European Union.

Claudio Chistè, chairman of SPNL, says, “The past two years have been extremely difficult for the international shipping industry, with world economies generally struggling to climb out of recession. But shipping is a resilient and robust industry which has a history of finding solutions to problems. Today, those solutions are provided by a combination of vastly experienced professionals and by new, young talent coming into the industry.

“The level of confidence expressed by young shipping professionals working in the London market has declined over the past two years, since SPNL first canvassed their views. This is disappointing, although not surprising given the events of the past two years. But it is still a result which would please a lot of other industries.

“Shipping faces serious challenges on a wide variety of fronts – from overcapacity, competitive pressure and environmental concerns, to political unrest and strict regulatory oversight. The industry has responded well, with its traditional blend of practicality and entrepreneurialism, and will doubtless continue to do so. This is one of the things which continues to attract talented young professionals into the industry.

“There are reasons to be cheerful. The net sentiment gleaned from our survey in terms of the prospects for rate improvements over the next 12 months is positive in the three main tonnage categories. Over 45 percent of the young professionals who responded rated the prospect of their business making a major investment over the next 12 months at seven out of 10, or higher. That is not an indicator of a moribund industry; rather it is a vote of confidence.

“Shipping needs confident, young professionals willing to learn their trade at the ‘coal-face’. The question remains of where the coal-face should be located; the answer is that the industry needs more than one coal-face! It needs a number, in strategic parts of the world, with the ability to act both independently and in concert with each other.

“London has always been a leading centre of maritime commerce and expertise. In recent years, with the growth in technological innovation and the determination of other regional centres of expertise to expand their remit, London has had to face challenges to its pre-eminence as a global maritime centre, and our survey has helped to identify what are the most important of those challenges.

“Costs, on a number of different levels, must be addressed, and a global view taken at all times. In identifying these issues, SPNL hopes to help the UK address them. London’s maritime community needs a group of young professionals, and those professionals testify by their very presence in London that they want to be here. But they need to be in a London which is properly connected to the rest of the world, able to compete on a global stage and, moreover, in a London which is part of the EU.”