Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 15/06/2015
1. Sister Act of Piracy
The sister ship of a product tanker hijacked by pirates less than two weeks ago has been reported missing off the coast of Malaysia. The 7,301 dwt Orkim Harmony fell out of communication June 11 as it passed approximately 17 nautical miles southwest of Pulau Aur, Malaysia. All subsequent attempts to contact the tanker proved unsuccessful. Both the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and the Indonesian Navy have deployed patrol boats to search for the tanker. The Orkim Harmony was reportedly carrying 6,000 metric tons of petrol when it disappeared and was comprised crew members from Indonesia, Malaysia and Myanmar.
2. New Suez Set to Open Soon
Egypt’s New Suez Canal will open on Aug. 6, its overseer said on Saturday, a project President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi sees as a potent symbol of national pride and a major chance to stimulate an economy suffering double-digit unemployment. The army began work 10 months ago on the $8 billion canal, flanking the existing, historic 145-year-old waterway and part of a larger undertaking to expand trade along the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia.“The digging and dredging works will conclude on July 15. The new canal would reduce navigation time for ships by half dropping to 11 hours from about 22.
3. Illegal Bunkering Claims Made
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Nigeria says that on Wednesday it arraigned 14 foreigners, who along with Monjasa DMCC and Glencore Energy UK Limited, and the vessel MT Anuket Emerald, have been charged with illegal bunkering. The Nigerian Federal High Court in Lagos reportedly issued a four-count charge of conspiracy and illegal dealing in petroleum products. Count one was said to be for "dealing in petroleum products without lawful authority or appropriate licence", while count two was for dealing with 1,738.087 metric tonnes of petroleum products "without lawful authority or appropriate licence".
4. BMP4 for SE Asian Waters
As a result of more and increasingly intensive attacks on tankers in Southeast Asia, International Marine Transportation (IMT), Exxon Mobil’s UK-based shipping affiliate, is to start conducting Best Management Practices 4 (BMP4) audits for vessels transiting through the area. BMP4 has been effective in hardening vessels transiting through the Indian Ocean so that even an unarmed vessel is now much harder to capture. BMP4 been designed for the Indian Ocean and long distance ocean passages, therefore it needs to be tailored to the conditions of Southeast Asia, which involve voyages with short sea legs between ports.
5. Most Efficient Tanker Ever
Canada-based Teekay Corporation (Teekay) says last month in South Korea, it launched a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) carrier that is "the most efficient LNG ship on the water with the lowest unit freight cost in the world fleet." The Creole Spirit was floated out on May 29 at the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) shipyard, where it will spend the next eight months being outfitted in order to transport up to 174,000 cubic metres of LNG. Creole Spirit is Teekay’s first M-type electronically controlled gas injection (MEGI)-powered vessel. The vessel is on charter contract with Cheniere and is expected to enter service early 2016.
6. OPEC Decision Boosts Market
OPEC’s decision to maintain current output levels, with the announcement made last week by Saudi Arabia following the meet in Geneva, comes as good news for the tanker market in the Middle East says Morgan Stanley. The US-based financial group in a report following the meeting said that the lack of desire among OPEC’s 12 member states to create balance in the oil market will ensure a strong freight market and help keep oil prices down. These two factors will then drive demand for oil further, in turn creating greater demand for VLCC supertankers, the rates for which are seeing sustained record levels.
7. Cunning Stunt Causes Distress
Revered author Rose George has been on the maritime speaking circuit for a while now and proudly boasts that she got container shipping "into Vogue magazine.” But when faced with body painted women in Norshipping as Orskov shiprepair yard of Fredrikshavn decided to advertise its one-stop service by body-painting some half-naked women, she has decided that sexism is rife in shipping and it must be stopped. She launched a Twitter storm, which resulted in Nor-Shipping berating Orskov…but which also gave them more exposure than they could possibly ever hoped for. Read what Rose thinks on sexism and shipping…
8. Innovations for Old and New Ships
Nor-Shipping saw a number of innovations for improving the energy efficiency of container ship designs, but with low fuel prices and the latest spending spree on mega-container ships, the industry is undergoing a shift that may see a stall in the benefits shipowners will gain for their efficiency dollar. “The difference between elderly ships without the latest energy efficiency features and the new ships is still definitely there, but the effects, in dollars, have become less,” says Dirk Visser, Senior Shipping Consultant at consultants Dynamar B.V. of the Netherlands.
9. Worrying Times for Offshore Players
Norway’s major state-owned lender to the country’s offshore vessel sector, Giek, is worried that the crisis in the oil service industry lead to serious problems for the Norwegian offshore carriers, reports Dagens Næringsliv. Giek – Garantiinistiuttet for eksportkreditt – is a Norwegian state-owned guarantor that mainly finances offshore vessels. Following the sliding oil price, resulting in dire consequences for Norway’s offshore companies, Giek fears that the country’s offshore carriers could be hit even harder. "I am worried on behalf of the oil service companies and the exporters" Giek CEO Wenche Nistad stated.
10. Titanic Experience Goes Down Badly
Titanic theme park which simulates the disaster in which more than 1,500 people died has been criticised by a Seafarers’ Charity. Work has started on a visitor attraction in China which features a life-size replica of the Titanic and will allow tourists to relive the moment the doomed ocean liner hit an iceberg. The £100m project will let people experience water coming in by using sound and light effects. But John Wilson, chief executive of the Liverpool Seafarers’ Centre, said, “I definitely think it’s in bad taste…having an attraction where it replicates what it’s like to sink is out of order and disrespectful to those who did lose their lives.
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