NAT rides rate rise

Nordic American Tankers (NAT) has reported much higher profits for its first quarter as spot rates for its Suezmax fleet surged.
NYSE-listed NAT reported net income of USD30.3 million in 1Q15 compared with USD4 million in 1Q14. Average time charter equivalent rates in the latest quarter averaged

Crew Satisfaction Still Has Room for Improvement

By MarEx 2015-05-11 11:02:21

A new survey released today by Crewtoo, a social media platform for seafarers, indicates there are still major issues that need to be addressed to ensure overall crew satisfaction. Crewtoo surveyed members of its approximately 110,000 members for a three month period beginning January 2015 and asked them to rate their satisfaction working at sea according to a 10 point scale. The overall result of the seafarer’s surveyed indicated that overall happiness came in at mediocre 6.42, with 10 representing the highest degree of satisfaction.

“It is all well and good to talk about seafarers and the realities of life at sea, but until now there has been very little confirmation as to how seafarers actually feel about their jobs”, says Anneley Pickles, head of Crewtoo business development.

The biggest seafarer complaints included a lack of shore leave and stress and fatigue from increasing workloads. Also, at the forefront for many crew members was access to reliable internet. Seafarers stated that onboard internet “makes life at sea easier”, due mainly to increased communication with family and friends back at home. They also noted concern that the industry might have difficulty attracting new talent if internet connectivity does not become more commonplace aboard vessels.

In article published earlier this year in Alert! 38 Bob Iverson, Project Manager of Seafarer’s Mental Health indicated an alarming trend of depression among seafarers. Among 17,026 reported seafarer’s deaths in the period between 1960-2009 roughly 5.9% of all deaths were a result of suicide. This figure is nearly four times higher than suicide averages of 1.6% in Australia and 1.2% in the United Kingdom for 2011.

According to the Seafarer’s Mental Health website primary causes of depression include separation from family and reduced shore leave – two of the main issues brought up by seafarers in today’s study.

Speaking on the results of the survey Ms. Pickles stated, “Happy people stick around, happy people work well, they embrace challenges, they look to excel and share with others. In short, happiness matters and it needs to be measured, assessed, and understood. The lessons then need to be applied to ensure that we are looking after seafarers properly and responding to their wants and needs”.

The results of the Crewtoo study contrast with findings from a joint BIMCO/ICS survey conducted in April. The previous study indicated that the majority of seafarers were content with life at sea, while today’s study indicates that seafarers have numerous concerns that still need to be addressed.


Dry Bulk Scrapping Approaches Record Numbers

By MarEx 2015-05-11 09:34:42

The dry bulk market is scrapping vessels at near-record rates, according to a BIMCO report released late last week.

Bimco said 52 Capesizes with a total dead weight tons (DWT) of around 8.7 million were sold for demolition in the first four months of 2015. This is already double the number of ships that were scrapped for all of 2014. The numbers are fast approaching 2012 levels when a record 70 Capesizes where scrapped.

Capesize is the largest dry bulk vessel carrying goods such as grain, iron ore and timber.

“The increase in Capesize scrapping comes at a much needed time for the market,” Sand wrote, adding: “Looking at the development so far this year the fleet growth has actually been negative, with a reduction of 0.8 percent.”

The shipping analyst further added that the 2015 numbers have exceeded BIMCO’s expectations but overall could prove positive for the industry. Owners are looking to scrap their vessels amid long-standing trends of oversupplies of vessels and falling dry bulk demand.

Demolition of Panamax ships, the second largest dry bulk segment, has also been on the rise this year as has it for the two smallest segments, Handymax and Handysize.

Overall demand for steel coupled with a flood of cheap Chinese steel has reduced the market price for the material. The increase has taken place despite falling prices for vessels that are sold for scrap.