Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 02/07/2015
1. Piracy On The Rise Again
Global piracy on the high seas is on the rise once again and a small coastal tanker is hijacked by pirates in South East Asia every two weeks, according to a new report. The joint report by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and International Maritime Bureau (IMB) found that South East Asia accounted for 55 per cent of the world’s 54 piracy and armed robbery incidents since the start of 2015. The report also found that after a steady drop in global piracy over the last few years, attacks rose 10 per cent in the first quarter of 2015. Worldwide, pirates took 140 hostages in the first three months of 2015, three times as many as during the same period in 2014.
2. Shipping’s Seven Year Itch
Overall confidence levels in the shipping industry fell during the three months to May 2015 to a level equal to the lowest rating recorded in the past seven years, according to our latest Shipping Confidence Survey. Respondents complained predominantly about low freight rates and overtonnaging, while some expressed continuing doubts about private equity funding. In May 2015, the average confidence level expressed by respondents in the markets in which they operate was 5.3 on a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high), down from 5.5 in February 2015. This equals the lowest figure recorded in the life of the survey, previously reached in August 2011 and August 2012.
3. Ship Widening Success
After a successful sea trial, the ship of German ship manager REEDEREI NSB on July 1st reentered liner service for MSC, sailing between China and South America. The MSC GENEVA is the first of altogether three NSB ships that has been converted under the WIDENING project. The conversion will enhance the competitive edge of panmax container freighters, increase their operational efficiency and improve their carbon footprint. This service is also offered to other ship owners and ship managers by NSB’s subsidiary NSB Marine Solutions, and the demand for future WIDENING projects has been rising.
4. Crisis Response for Seafarers
Sailors’ Society, one of the largest seafarer support charities operating internationally, has launched a Crisis Response Centre to support seafarers in need throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The Centre offers a rapid response service to assist traumatized seafarers after piracy attacks and other crisis-at-sea situations. A comprehensive network of trained port chaplains, drawn from a range of maritime welfare agencies, will provide a 24-hour service in South Africa, Ghana, Madagascar, Mozambique and Reunion. Revd Boet van Schalkwyk will head up the Centre, which was launched alongside the Sailors’ Society Wellness at Sea program.
5. Guard Crew to Face Trial Again
The crew of the Seaman Guard Ohio are to stand trial in India, despite the High Court dropping all charges against them almost a year ago. While details remain sparse, members of the crew have stated that the Indian Supreme Court believe the men have a case to answer. The crew of 25 privately contracted armed security personnel and 10 seafarers are accused of bringing weapons into Indian territory without proper paperwork in October 2013. The latest development comes as the anniversary nears of the High Court quashing charges against the crew. Their return home was blocked however, as police in Tamil Nadu kept hold of the crews’ passports ahead of an appeal.
6. Getting Stuck into GoG Security
ECSA, the European Community Shipowners’ Associations, recently held a workshop on the ways in which the shipping industry can get involved in the Gulf of Guinea Strategy and Action Plan. “The shipping industry is not only directly affected by pirate attacks in the area, but it is also an integral part of the long term solution as a vector of trade and, by extension, prosperity and growth. Regional specificities and different pirate practices mean that the solutions that have worked well in East Africa cannot simply be exported to the new piracy hotbed in the Gulf of Guinea” pointed out Mr Patrick Verhoeven, ECSA Secretary-General.
7. Shipping Shown Up on Social Media
Last week shipping made it to the top spot of Reddit, and took a hammering on its environmental credentials…or lack of them. Old articles resurfaced and scaremongering about the scale and scope of pollution from ships was knocked around. For those of us within the shipping industry, the flaws and sensationalism in the article are readily apparent…but it highlighted the lack of a communications and PR plan for the industry. Shipping does not care, or know what to do with the general public. While they may not normally care about ships, when they do – it is either massively positive (Cunard’s 3 Queens) or extremely negative – but no-one is dealing centrally with either.
8. New Fuel Engine Success
Japan’s Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd (MOL) has confirmed the successful testing of the world’s first low-speed methanol dual-fuel engine, which will be used in a series of newbuildings. MOL announced that engine building has already been completed and the manufacturer, Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd has test-operated the unit using methanol fuel and confirmed that it met expected performance. The new engines will be added to a fleet of new builds for Vancouver-based Waterfront Shipping Company Ltd. (WFS). The 50,000 dwt methanol flex-fuel carriers will be the first to utilize the new MAN Diesel & Turbo ME-LGI engine design.
9. Search for Missing Crewman
Search and rescue workers are searching in Lyttelton Harbour, NZ for a 52-year-old seafarer who fell overboard containership Madinah (4,258 teu, built 2010). The incident occurred around 1pm local time as the vessel entered the harbour. Local coast guard, a rescue helicopter and 16 other vessels took up a search for the man, while the vessel halted its journey immediately. By 4:30pm local time the search was scaled back with no sign of the man, however a hard hat and gloves were found in the vicinity of the incident. The Madinah is owned by Seaspan, and currently on charter to OOCL, who run the vessel on their China – New Zealand service.
10. New Safety Hopes for Box Ships
Damage to ships and injuries or deaths involving seafarers are expected to be greatly reduced once new overweight container regulations come into force in July 2016. On 1 July, the World Shipping Council (WSC) published guidelines that shippers, carriers, and terminal operators can use to meet the SOLAS weight verification scheme.
The WSC emphasised that starting next year, shippers will be required to verify the gross weight of a packed export container before the container is loaded aboard ship. The rules stipulate that packed containers received at a port for export without a verified gross weight shall not be loaded on a vessel until weight verification is obtained.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com
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