Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 01/07/2015
1. Korean Candidate to Lead IMO
Lim Ki-tack, president of Busan Port Authority (BPA), has been elected as the next secretary general of the IMO. Lim beat five rivals from Denmark, Russia, Cyprus, The Philippines and Kenya in a vote at the 40-member IMO Council today; the council’s decision will be put to the IMO Assembly for approval in November this year.
“IMO has been the backbone of my professional career,” Lim told Seatrade Maritime as he announced he was standing in the election, adding that he has been attending various IMO meetings since 1986. Lim’s career includes various posts at the South Korean embassy in London, and has chaired IMO panels on Flag State Implementation.
2. Ships Taking Somali Risks
A study from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre says that shipping patterns in the region have returned to what they were before the height of pirate attacks. The paper, which is set to be published in the September’s Marine Policy, reportedly shows that vessels have increasingly returned to sailing along the shortest route, closer to the Somali coast along which pirates had been based, at slower and more-efficient speeds, thereby lowering fuel consumption and cutting transport costs. The study is said to be based on analysis of data gathered between 2009 and 2014 from the international Long-Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) system.
3. Panama Eases Greek Payment Woes
With Greek shipowners facing the closure of the countries banks until 7 July as the country’s debt problems reach crisis point Panama has extended the payment peirod for its shipowners. The Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) through the Directorate General of Merchant Marine, not being alien to the present Greek economic situation and willing to support “all our operators, owners, landlords, Greek economic groups with Panama-flagged vessels that have to pay taxes and fees [which are next to expire] at the Panama Consulate of Piraeus, Greece, has decided to extend the payment thereof without surcharges and interest until next 31 August 2015”, the AMP said.
4. Ferry Strike Rocks Greece
Ferry services in Greece are being disrupted today as the result of a 24-hour strike called by the Pan-Hellenic Seamen’s Federation (PNO). The union claims that some shipping firms have violated collective labour agreements. PNO has called on seafarers aboard Greek-flagged ferries to take industrial action in protest against these alleged violations. At the height of the summer holiday season the strike will particularly hit the tourist industry on which the troubled Greek economy depends for much of its revenue. Greek seafarers claim that certain shipping firms are employing uninsured crew members adding to unemployment in their sector, which they said was over 50%.
5. ASEAN Navies Joint Action
The navies of ASEAN member countries are to join forces and hold a joint operation to uncover the masterminds behind incidents of piracy in the Malacca Strait. “We will work together with ASEAN member countries to track the masterminds of crimes in the Malacca Strait. One of the masterminds is believed to be outside Indonesia but in a nearby country,” The Indonesian Navy’s Western Fleet (Armabar) commander Rear Admiral Taufiqurrahman said at the Western Fleet Sea Security Unit in Batam, Riau Islands, on Tuesday.He said the Indonesia Navy would deploy two armed BO helicopters in Batam during the operation to secure the Malacca Strait against criminal acts.
6. Shipping Executives in the Dock
Two former senior employees of ST Marine were charged in the State Courts of Singapore on Wednesday for corruption, the company announced. The charges followed a length investigation carried out by Singapore’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) on the company since September 2011. Han Yew Kwang, the chief operating officer of ST Marine from June 2002 to 2007, before leaving in June 2014 as executive vice president (shipbuilding), was charged with eight counts of corruption. Tan Mong Seng, the president (commercial business) of ST Marine was charged with one count of corruption.
7. COSCO Gets Scrapping Incentives
China COSCO Holdings received CNY4 billion (USD644 million) from the government to scrap old tonnage and fleet renewal on 30 June, a stock filing of the company said. The subsidies will have a certain degree of positive impact on the company’s financial result for 2015, the company said. In April, China COSCO pushed ahead with its fleet scrapping plan by dismantling two container ships and two bulk carriers. The ship breaking in April brought the total scrapping in the first four months to eight container ships and 18 bulk carriers. The subsidies will be doubled if the shipowners order new tonnage at Chinese shipyards to match the retired tonnage.
8. Environmental Monitoring Enters Force
The European Commission’s Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) rules to collect emissions data officially entered into force on July 1, 2015. MRV Regulation 2015/757 is a first step towards cutting CO2 emissions from maritime transport and requires operators of ships exceeding 5,000 gross tons to monitor and report their carbon emissions on all voyages to, from and between E.U. ports from 2018. The MRV system is expected to cut CO2 emissions from the journeys covered by up to two percent, according to the Commission’s impact assessment. The system is also anticipated to reduce net costs to shipowners by up to €1.2 billion per year in 2030.
9. Suez Plugs into Silk Road
Egypt is keen on tapping into the potential offered by China’s Silk Road Economic Belt trade union especially in the context of linking the project to the Suez Canal. The country officially joined the initiative last week and will be represented by the Egyptian Businessmen Association (EBA), Daily News Egypt reports. According to EBA executive director Mohamed Youssef, cited by the newspapers, China aims to raise $2.5tn in trade volume to the Silk Road trade union in 10 years and has already offered to link the project to the Suez Canal. The move comes as Egypt gears up to attract more cargo with the opening of the New Suez Canal set for August 6th, 2015.
10. One Year till New Box Rules
On July 1, 2016, global containerized maritime commerce will need to comply with new international regulations that require every packed container to have a verified container weight as a condition for vessel loading. The regulations place a requirement on the shipper of a packed container, regardless of who packed the container, to provide the container’s gross verified weight to the ocean carrier and port terminal representative sufficiently in advance of vessel loading to be used in the preparation of the ship stowage plan. A verified container weight will be a condition for loading a packed container on board a vessel for export.
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