Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 06/10/2015
1. Mechanical Failure Doomed Vessel
The captain of the 241-metre El Faro planned to bypass Hurricane Joaquin, but some kind of mechanical failure left the U.S. container ship with 33 people aboard helplessly — and tragically — adrift in the path of the powerful storm, the vessel’s owners say. Four days after the ship vanished, the U.S. Coast Guard concluded it sank near the Bahamas in about 4,570 metres of water. One unidentified body in a survival suit was spotted, and the search went on for any trace of the other crew members. A heavily damaged lifeboat from the El Faro was discovered, no one aboard, Fedor said. The ship had two lifeboats capable of holding 43 people each.
2. Pulling Industries SOx Up
A senior official from Maersk has echoed comments made last week by the Danish Shipowners’ Association, calling for greater enforcement of new SOx rules in northern Europe. Niels Bjorn Mortensen, head of regulatory affairs at Maersk, warned: “We are not yet convinced that the enforcement regime is robust enough to detect all non-compliant ships.” He said non-compliant ships create a non-level playing field, noting how Maersk is paying $200m a year to comply with new SOx rules. “There is significant financial incentive in circumventing the new rules,” Mortensen said.
3. Massive Marshall Islands Growth
The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Registry has exceeded the 125 million gross ton mark. As of 30 September the Registry stood at 125.5 million gross tons and over 3,640 vessels. This growth marks a 25% increase in tonnage since the Registry’s 100 million gross ton celebration in January of 2014. International Registries, Inc. and its affiliates (IRI), who provide administrative and technical support to the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Registry, has been increasing the technical experts available to owners and operators worldwide and is also opening its 27th worldwide office in Manila, the Philippines.
4. Rolls Royce Slashes Marine Jobs
Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc said it will cut another 400 jobs at its marine-engines arm as the oil-price decline continues to weigh on demand for the specialist offshore vessels that the business helps power. The cutbacks will save 40 million pounds ($61 million) a year, with incremental benefits from 2016 onwards, the London- based company said in a statement Monday. Most of the early savings will be invested in increased research and development, the company said. Profit and revenue guidance for the marine unit remains unchanged, according to Rolls-Royce, which is cutting more than 3,000 jobs across its entire business.
5. US Looks at Port Cyber Security
The US Homeland Security Committee is planning to hold a hearing to access the vulnerability of U.S. ports to potential cyber-attacks. Officials with the panel’s Border and Maritime Security subcommittee said the hearing will "provide an overview of the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts and authority for ensuring cyber security at sea ports. "This hearing will examine the current maritime related cyber threat landscape and the Department’s initiatives to counter that threat," the panel said. Ports have increasing the amount of automation which has raised fears about potential cyber-attacks.
6. Box Rates Tumbling
The downward trend in container ship period rates worsened considerably last week with leading market indices posting their sharpest drops in a long time. Excess spot availability and plummeting fixture rate levels especially for large gearless cellular vessels saw the Hamburg ConTex slip by 3.3% and the Howe Robinson Containership Index by 3.9% last week. CMA CGM is reported to have extended the 4,330 teu Bermuda at USD10,000 per day for six to eight months for its Far East/West Africa service but the 4,256 teu Hammonia Granada is reported to have only achieved USD9,250 for four to five weeks with Cosco.
7. Ship Recycling Remains Elusive
Methods ship-recycling remain a major area of controversy for shipowners as the ratification of the Hong Kong Convention continues to be an elusive goal. Anne Steffensen, ceo of the Danish Shipowners Association, stated: “It is just not good enough that France, Norway and Congo have ratified the Hong Kong Convention. I am not very proud that Denmark has not ratified yet.” Speaking from a shipowner perspective Thomas Martinussen, head of legal for Clipper Group said, “We are very much looking forward to the Hong Kong Convention being ratified as it will level the playing field and make the responsibilities of the shipowner clearer.”
8. Learning from Formula One
Diane Gilpin from the Smart Green Shipping Alliance suggests shipping can learn from Formula One. The law is an ass. Sometimes, maybe. Governments regulate for the wider good so we all enjoy a better quality of life. Breaking laws is endemic in our culture – avoiding taxes, breaking speed limits, trespassing – we’ve all done it. We believe we know better than regulators, and that ‘red tape’ is there to inhibit our personal and corporate growth. That’s where Volkswagen badly misjudged the pettiness of their crime, and the mood of the public. It wasn’t just ‘green wash’, VW broke the law, a law that saves lives.
9. Rewriting Rules on Ballast
A federal appeals court has ordered the US government to rewrite rules regulating the discharge of ballast water by ships, in a victory for environmental groups that said the rules were too lenient. A Court said the Environmental Protection Agency acted "arbitrarily and capriciously" when it decided to follow an international standard governing the discharge of harmful organisms, though technology was available to adopt a higher standard. The rules should have considered onshore facilities to treat ballast water rather than focus on pollution controls aboard ships, where their effectiveness may be limited.
10. IMO White List Shame
What country wouldn’t want to be on the IMO White List? Inclusion in the roster is supposed to be a badge of honour — a sign that a member state has given “full and complete effect” to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). But is it really? Fifteen years after it was first issued in 2000, the IMO White List has lost its purported lustre. It is like coffee gone stale. Those who think that it serves any useful purpose — as a guidepost for national maritime administrations, for example — are deceiving themselves. At best, the IMO White list is superfluous.
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