Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 30/06/2015
1. COSCO Falsely Inflated Profits
China’s shipping conglomerate Cosco Group has ended up on the list of companies found to have falsified revenue and profits, according to the country’s National Audit Office. Cosco, together with 13 other state-run companies, falsified a total of USD 4.8 bln in revenue and USD 3.1 bln in profits, the Audit office said in a report for 2014 released on Sunday, June 28th. The falsifications in particular relate to the period from 2008 to 2013 when Cosco failed to report USD 48 mln in revenue and a total net profit of around USD 20.7 mln. The Audit Office found that some of Cosco’s subsidiaries, including Cosco Dalian Shipyard, were involved in illegal activities.
2. Deepwater Claims Adjuster Frauds
Charlie English III has pleaded guilty to fraud worth $257,400 in the U.S. after his actions in the of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. English, 33, helped claimants submit false statements regarding lost earnings for non-existent fishing companies. In return, he received some of the compensation money paid. English worked as an adjuster for the Gulf Coast Claims Facility. He is now required to repay $257,400 and is on probation for three years. Other fraud cases have involved a Massachusetts man who faked his death, a Detroit mayoral candidate who concocted owning a boat and a Mississippi man who claimed to own a shrimping and fishing business that didn’t exist.
3. Bunker Tanker Arrested
The bunker tanker Sophie 9 last Thursday was arrested in Singapore following action by local law firm Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP., according to records from the Supreme Court of Singapore. Information from online fleet valuation service VesselsValue.com indicate the 2011 Chinese built vessel has a capacity of 6,100 metric tonnes (mt).
The Singapore flagged bunker tanker’s registered owner is listed as DH Marine Pte. The exact reasons for the arrest are not known at this time, but such action is typical in instances of payment dispute. In January ship arrest activity in 2014 was reported as being down almost 50 percent over the previous two years.
4. US Protectionist Approach Feared
The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), has voiced serious concern about the potentially protectionist approach being taken by the U.S. with respect to the future transport of energy exports. U.S. energy exports by sea are predicted to expand massively as a consequence of the shale revolution. International ship operators, represented by ICS, are particularly anxious that a regime currently being developed to promote the carriage of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) exports on U.S. flag ships may set an undesirable precedent should the U.S. decide to lift the current ban on crude oil exports (as is being considered by Congress at the moment).
5. Italy Seek Arbitration for Marines
Italy has tired of delays in bringing to trial in India two Italian marines accused of firing on and killing two fishermen while guarding an oil tanker against piracy attack. On 26 June, the Italian foreign ministry announced that it had invoked an international arbitration procedure under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
A statement said the procedure had been invoked at the conclusion of direct negotiations with the Indian authorities and because of an inability to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion to the standoff. The immediate motive for the Italian decision was an announcement by the Supreme Court in New Delhi that the trial was again being postponed.
6. Panama Rush for Positions
Carriers are rushing to start new Asia to US East Coast services ahead of the opening of the wider Panama Canal, but unless carefully managed, they risk losing more of the East Coast freight rate premium, according to UK-based Drewry Shipping Consultants. The USD 5.2 billion project to widen the Panama Canal is nearing completion – to be precise, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) stated it was 89.8% done as of the end of May – with another important milestone reached earlier this month, the filling of the Atlantic side locks. Filling of the Pacific side locks is now underway, at a rate of 37,000 gallons of water per minute. It is expected to take 90 days.
7. More Mega Ship Orders Expected
Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. expects mega- sized container ships to lead global orders until early next year as shipping companies seek ways to cut costs. The company and its Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries Co. unit could win orders for as many as 11 vessels in July, said Ka Sam Hyun, a senior executive vice president in charge of ship sales at Hyundai Heavy, the world’s biggest shipbuilder. The South Korean company is in talks with a few shipping lines that may soon lead to agreements, he said. “Shipping lines won’t be able to survive if they can’t bring down their unit costs,” Ka said June 26 in an interview in Seoul.
8. Greek Ship Stocks Slide
With the current chaos surrounding a Greek default and possible exit from the Eurozone, Greek shipowning stocks have taken a beating in US markets this morning. Compounding the misery, a higher tonnage tax has been demanded by Greece’s creditors as is the phasing-out of special tax allowances for Greek owners. Within an hour of the markets opening, most Greek shopwning stocks are being outperformed by the market (down 1.2%) with a few exceptions including Eagle Bulk, Box Ships and Baltic Trading all down less than a percent. The biggest loser is NewLead Holdings, down an astonishing 20%, while Globus Maritime was down 14.5%, and FreeSeas down 8.3%.
9. India Grants P&I Extension
India has granted a one-year extension to its approval of two Iranian P&I clubs covering boxships and tankers calling at Indian ports. Kish P&I Club and Qeshm International Trust Alliance P&I (formerly Qita P&I Club) will have their approval periods extended, which should pave the way for more imports of Iranian crude into India, Reuters reports. In May this year, India imported 66% more crude from Iran than in the same month last year. Europe’s International Group (IG) of Protection and Indemnity (P&I) are prevented from insuring Iranian oil tankers and other vessels by EU sanctions.
10. Cement Carrier Runs Aground
Swedish-flagged cement carrier Sunnanvik (9,060 dwt, built 1978) ran aground late last night around 3 nm off Holmsund, Sweden. According to local reports the vessel was laden with 2,500 tons of cement, and ran aground at Lillbådans lighthouse due to a technical failure. The vessel suffered damage to a ballast tank and was taking on water when rescue crews arrived at 10:30pm last night. The 17 crew members were unharmed in the incident, and there was no oil leak reported. The vessel, owned by SMT Shipping in Cyprus, is expected to be refloated by a salvage team today.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com
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