Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 18/08/2015
1. Blast Exposes Box Costs
The recent warehouse explosion in Tianjin, China has highlighted the risks of accumulating cargo values in port storage and on larger containerships, the International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI) has said. "This extremely sad and regrettable incident demonstrates the persistent growth of accumulation of values in port and storage areas, particularly in highly industrialised regions," said IUMI President Dieter Berg IUMI says that in the marine sector, the continuous growth of this type of large-scale risk is being driven by the trend for bigger container ships, along with the construction of extensive freight handling and storage facilities.
2. QM2 Alcohol Ban
Crew members on-board the Queen Mary 2 have reportedly been banned from drinking alcohol after a Chilean chef was suspected of throwing himself overboard. The ship was on its way from Southampton to New York when the chef, named as Favio Onate Ordenes, disappeared in the early hours of Saturday morning. Testimonies of crew members quoted in The Telegraph suggest he had been drinking the night before. “He was crying and screaming that he wanted to throw himself off,” one said. “None of his friends believed him or took him seriously.” 4 people from the 1,200-strong crew are understood to have resigned.
3. Maersk Regains Upperhand
Brokers have said that Maersk Line has successfully reclaimed their share of the global container freight shipping market by aggressively lowering its rates to win a price war. During the first quarter of 2015, Maersk Line is said to have lost market shares as freight rates dipped 1.6 percent. "Our reading is that Maersk Line did win the price war, as they aggressively cut prices to recapture market share and is now in a much better footing with utilisation back to ‘normal.’ Nils Smedegaard Andersen, CEO for Maersk Group, said "we have performed slight adjustments to our targets for Maersk Line".
4. Nigerian Navy Back on Track
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Ibok-Ette Ibas, said that oil thieves will no longer have the capacity to transport stolen petroleum products. Ibas said that troops will now be strategically positioned at “choke points” to prevent transportation of stolen petroleum products. According to him, navy is also putting in place other tactical strategies to curb oil theft, piracy and attacks on oil and gas installations on the waterways and maritime environment. “We are recapitalising our fleet and building capacities by way of getting our docks, yards and shipyards to be operational, so that we will be in a position to perform better.
5. Piracy Legal Battle Shifts Court
A Houston ship captain kidnapped by pirates off the Nigerian coast has moved his lawsuit against his employer to federal court in New Orleans after it was dismissed from court in Texas. Wren Thomas filed a lawsuit against Edison Chouest Offshore in New Orleans after District Judge dismissed his claims without prejudice late last month. The judge ruled that the lawsuit, could be reintroduced but should not be heard in Texas because Chouest’s home base is in Louisiana. Thomas claims the vessel was threatened before the attack and that he was concerned that the vessel was too old and slow and not properly equipped to handle a pirate attack.
6. Sewol Set to be Salvaged
Over a year after a ferry sank off of the coast of South Korea, the government is planning on launching a multimillion dollar project to recover the remains of the boat. The news comes almost 10 months after the search to recover the bodies of nine people still missing was abandoned. The April 2014 crash killed 304 people when the Sewol ferry sunk off of Jindo island near the southwest corner of the South Korean peninsula. The main objective of the newly approved recovery is to recover the nine bodies. A contract for 85.1 billion Won, or about $71.73 million, has been awarded to a consortium led by a state-run Chinese company.
7. Sticky Mess for Molasses Spill
A settlement between Matson Navigation and the State of Hawaii has been agreed following the discharge of molasses into harbour waters. One of the largest environmental settlements in Hawaiian history Matson Navigation Company and Matson Terminals (Matson) have settled an environmental claim resulting from the discharge of 233,000 gallons (1,400 tons) of molasses into Honolulu Harbour during September 2013. Allegedly the pipeline used to transfer molasses between the terminal and ship was leaking for before the spill occurred. The USD 15.4 million is in addition to USD 600,000 already paid in restitution.
8. OW Bunkers Arrest Fears
German law firm, Dabelstein & Passehl, says that the risk of vessel arrest in Germany for unpaid bunkers as a result of the collapse of OW Bunker is "limited." Dabelstein & Passehl has explored the contractual relationships around bunker supply under time charterparties, as well as the relevance of maritime liens in Germany and arrest risks that may arise due to unpaid bunker bills. "The insolvency of the Danish-based and other OW Bunker entities has affected vessel owners, charterers, banks and other bunker suppliers worldwide," said the firm. "In particular, vessel owners fear that their vessels will be arrested due to unpaid bunker supplies."
9. Hamburg Reassess Port Figures
The Port of Hamburg Marketing Association has slashed its forecast for container volumes at Hamburg’s port, a hub for eastern European trade, due to weakening growth in China and shrinking trade with Russia. The association said it now expects container volumes to fall 7 percent to 9 million TEUs this year, compared with a previous forecast for 3 percent growth to 10 million TEUs. China is by far the biggest trade partner for the Hamburg port, accounting for almost 3 million TEUs in 2014. Russia is the second biggest with 0.66 million TEUs in 2014. In the first half of 2015, container volume at Hamburg’s port, fell 7 percent to 4.5 million TEUs.
10. MLC Medical Demands Cause Headaches
MLC requires that all vessels carrying 15 or more crew and engaged in a voyage of more than three days must provide a dedicated medical space on board. Furthermore it outlines “the competent authority [on these ships] shall ensure that the accommodation will, in all weathers, be easy of access, provide comfortable housing for the occupants and be conducive to their receiving prompt and proper attention.” Superyachts are particularly struggling to meet this requirements, and flag States are set to act. According to a survey Superyachts carry an average of 29 crew, and medical requirements have to be in place.
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