Migrants from Deadliest Med Shipwreck Given Funeral

By Reuters 2015-07-07 13:59:49

Italy held a funeral service on Tuesday for 13 migrants who died in the worst shipwreck in the Mediterranean in recent history, while the navy continued its search for other victims of the disaster.

More than 700 people, most of them locked below deck, were believed to have drowned in April. Their overloaded fishing boat capsized after colliding with a ship that had come to their aid some 70 nautical miles off the coast of Libya.

The Italian navy last week retrieved the first bodies from the wreck, which is lying at a depth of about 370 meters (1,200 feet), using remote-controlled vehicles and a submersible basket to haul up the remains.

With the recovery mission still in full swing, simple wooden coffins carrying the bodies of 13 unidentified migrants were carried into the Palazzo della Cultura in Catania, in eastern Sicily, for an inter-religious service.

“Today, we are gathering here to mark the loss of the lives of other human beings, taken away by the sea. Every time it happens we think it is the last time, but unfortunately that is not the case,” said Ismail Bouchafa, the imam of Catania.

The bodies were later taken to Catania cemetery but were not immediately buried. The authorities are still deciding where all the victims should be interred.

Tens of thousands of migrants have crossed the Mediterranean so far this year in the hope of reaching Italy or Greece. An estimated 2,000 have drowned.


Carnival Gets Green Light for Cuban Cruises

By MarEx 2015-07-07 12:21:26

The U.S. Government has authorized Carnival Corporation to operate between U.S. ports and Cuba beginning in 2016. Currently, the U.S. Department of Treasury allows licensed travel companies to transport approved travelers to Cuba provided they engage in activities that support the Cuban people.

Carnival is expected to begin service May 2016 using its Fathom brand. Fathom provides travelers the experience of working with nationals to assist in the development of regional areas. The Fathom brand is expected to about 40,000 travelers annually that will volunteer and engage in educational and cultural exchanges in local Cuban communities.

In April 2016 Carnival will inaugural voyages to the Dominican Republic as well, and Fathom will offer both Dominican and Cuban itineraries on a regular basis.

“We’re very interested in exploring the prospects of expanding our partnership with Fathom to now include Cuba,’ said David Luther, founder and executive director of Dominican International Integal Development (IDDI). act programs and lending our assistance to strengthen existing initiatives that will help educational, cultural and humanitarian efforts already going on in Cuba,” said David Luther, founder and executive director of IDDI, a non-profit organization with the mission to help alleviate poverty in rural and urban areas in the Caribbean.

Over the last year, the Obama administration has taken major steps to improve relations with Cuba. It eliminated the need for US travelers to obtain a license from the Treasury Department to travel to the island nation. And, last week the administration announced it would restore diplomatic ties between the two countries by reopening the U.S. embassy in Havana and a Cuban embassy in Washington D.C.

The cruise industry has welcomed the possibilityt for U.S. tourism in Cuba. Arnold Donald president and CEO of Carnival Corp said in a press release taht Fathom represents Carnival’s first efforts in Cuba, which will pave the way for the company when the embargo is lifted. Fathom’s seven day Cuba cruises will accommodate 710 passengers.


US authorises cruises to Cuba

Carnival has become the first cruise line to receive approval to operate cruises directly between the United States and Cuba in more than 50 years.
The cruise giant announced on 7 July that the licences, granted by the US Treasury and Commerce departments, authorise travel itineraries to Cuba “for

Maersk to Sell Esvagt for $610m

By MarEx 2015-07-07 11:18:54

A.P. Moller-Maersk announced it will be selling its stake in Danish shipping company ESVAGT, an offshore support company involved in emergency response and rescue, oil spill response and escort services, to 3i Investments and AMP Capital. The sale will be valued at DKK 4.1 billion ($610 million). Moller-Maersk owns 75% and ESE Holding has the remaining 25%. ESVAGT operates 43 vessels and works primarily in and around the North Sea and the Barents Sea.

Maersk Group CFO and Chairman in ESVAGT, Trond Westlie commented, ”ESVAGT is a sound, well-run company with an exceptional operational excellence, and we have assessed how we best serve ESVAGT’s long-term interest, as they are not part of the Maersk Group’s core business. The sale to 3i Infrastructure plc and AMP Capital has proven to be the best way of ensuring that ESVAGT can continue its development based on a strong culture and heritage, while at the same time creating value for the shareholders,”

Since 2010, Esvagt has been servicing the Bligh Bank Offshore Wind Farm for Danish wind turbine maker Vestas. This year, it has put two specially built service operation vessels for offshore wind turbine farms into operation for Siemens Wind Power.

A.P. Moller-Maersk has offloaded a string of companies and stakes in subsidiaries in recent years to focus on container shipping, oil, port operations and drilling. It has booked more than $11 billion from divestments since 2009.


Container Shipping Lucky to Break Even in 2015

By MarEx 2015-07-07 09:20:43

A toxic mixture of overcapacity and weak demand as well as aggressive commercial pricing is threatening liner shipping industry profitability for the remainder of 2015 says the Container Forecaster report published by global shipping consultancy Drewry.

Earlier this year, Drewry forecast that container shipping carriers would collectively generate profits of up to $8 billion, but it has revised its view that containerized shipping will be lucky to break even in 2015. Drewry believes some lines will fall back into red by the end of year. Liner operators need to seriously address the overcapacity, which is plaguing virtually all major trade routes.

Despite Q1 operating margins of 8%, falling oil price savings were passed onto shippers by the lines, which provided lower freight rates. In the near future, liners will continue to struggle as freight rates continue to erode. But, one good sign is that bunkering costs have stabilized.

2015 global freight rates averages are expected to decline at their fastest pace since 2011, when unit revenue dropped as much as 10%. The outlook for liner freight rates has not been helped by second quarter spot-market rates for East-West hauls, which fell by 32%.

Recently, the Ocean Three Alliance, which is made up of CMA CGM, China Container Shipping Lines and United Arab Shipping Corp, agreed to remove approximately 4% of container capacity on its Asia-North Europe trade, which help the Alliance in July and August GRI initiatives to push rates up. But, more decisive action, because 129 ships of 8,000 TEU capacity still need to establish lucrative routes during the rest of 2015.

Today, another 10-15 ULCV’s are entering the market each quarter, which is exected to have an impact on liners in the Transpacific, Latin American and Asia-Middle East trade lanes.

Neil Dekker, Drewry’s director of container shipping research said: “There are not enough good routes for box-ships over 8,000 TEUs where they can be placed without doing some damage to the supply-demand balance. Ocean carriers do not want to idle these expensive assets. The orderbook is starting to get out of control with another 1.14 million TEUs added since January. Carriers’ emphasis on ordering so many big ships is starting to backfire and virtually all major trades are plagued with overcapacity. We are entering a new era, which will be dominated by mega ships. But, lines cannot keep adding capacity and expect there will be no substantial impact on unit revenues.”

This analysis is provided by an outside consultancy and does not necessarily represent opinions of The Maritime Executive.