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Friday, 19 December 2014

Unique crane launch for OSD-IMT PSV

 The new shipyard facility of Honghua Offshore Oil & Gas Equipment Company in Jiangsu, China, has launched its first ship, an IMT982 Platform Supply Vessel.  The vessel was launched in a unique way, using the yard’s new gantry crane.  At 22,000 tonnes SWL the Honghai crane is the largest moving gantry crane in the world. It was the first time the giant crane has been used.

The 83.2 m LOA PSV, designed by Offshore Ship Designers UK arm OSD-IMT, has a deck area of 900 m² and can carry 1,360 m³ of fuel oil, 770 m³ of potable fresh water, 1,010 m³ of liquid mud/brine, 1,350 m³ of drill water/water ballast, 278 m³ of dry bulk and 170 m³ of base oil. It has a maximum deadweight of about 3,900 tonnes at 5.95 m draught.
A diesel electric propulsion system provides fuel economy and efficiency. It comprises four main diesel generators, 2 x 1900 kW frequency controlled electric motor-driven azimuth thrusters for main propulsion and 2 x 800 kW frequency controlled, electric motor driven, tunnel thrusters fitted forward. The vessel is classed with Lloyds Register and is fitted with a DP2 system. It has accommodation for a crew of 27 persons and has a trial speed of 14.0 knots.
The vessel, named Nordic Trym, is expected to be delivered to its new owners, Nordic Offshore Supply Limited, in April 2015.

Artist impression
 Offshore Ship Designers Group (OSD) is a global one-stop resource delivering naval architecture and marine engineering skills to the shipping and offshore energy industries. It draws on an experienced global workforce to provide high quality feasibility studies, conceptual and detailed designs for tugs and offshore support vessels of all types. OSD is based in IJmuiden, The Netherlands, and has offices in Dundee, York, Appledore, Shanghai and Singapore. www.offshoreshipdesigners.com

For more information:
Merijn Brusselers
Offshore Ship Designers
+31 (0)255 54 50 70

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Thursday, 18 December 2014

Multraship and Damen agree deals for three more ASD Tugs

 Leading towage and salvage specialist Multraship and Damen Shipyards Group have confirmed an agreement for three new ASD (Azimuth Stern Drive) Tugs, all for delivery in 2015.

After delivery in Vietnam, scheduled for the end of first-quarter 2015, two state-of-the-art ASD Tugs 3212 will operate for Multraship as sister vessels to the 83-tonne bollard pull Multratug 19, which was built by Damen in Romania and delivered in 2012. The tugs will have excellent sea-keeping behaviour, superb manoeuvrability and outstanding towing characteristics.

As part of Multraship’s continuing fleet expansion an ASD Tug 2810 Hybrid is scheduled to be delivered in Romania in first-quarter 2015. With an expected bollard pull of 61 tonnes, it will be the second vessel of its type built by Damen to come into operation. The ASD Tug 2810 Hybrid has a diesel-direct, diesel-electric and battery-powered propulsion system, resulting in reported fuel savings of between 10 and 30 percent and reduced emissions of about 60 percent, depending on how the vessel is used.

Leendert Muller, managing director of Multraship, says, “Multraship continues to expand its client base in the offshore energy sector as well as in its harbour towage operations. All three ASD tugs are highly suitable for these markets whilst their FIFI 1 fire-fighting equipment makes them especially valuable for emergency response. We are delighted to have collaborated with Damen on our fleet expansion programme. We are both family-owned companies with a Dutch heritage and an international outlook, so we make a good fit.”

Multraship is a leading Dutch towage and salvage company. It is a division of the Muller Maritime Group, which has been engaged in the shipping industry for more than 230 years. The company's core activities include harbour towage, salvage & wreck removal, ocean towage and support to offshore energy & dredging industries. Multraship operates and manages a large fleet of tugs, salvage vessels, floating sheerlegs and other craft equipped with modern towage, salvage and fire-fighting equipment and manned by experienced and highly-trained masters and crew. www.multraship.com

Damen Shipyards Group operates 32 shipyards and ship repair yards around the world, employing 8,000 people. It has delivered more than 5,000 vessels in more than 100 countries and delivers approximately 160 vessels annually to customers worldwide. www.damen.com

For more information contact:  
Eline Muller                                        
Multraship B.V.                                  
+31 (0) 115 645 000                          

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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

S&P affirms London P&I Club rating on an interactive basis

Following S&P’s recent announcement that it would soon be withdrawing public information ratings for insurance companies in Western Europe, the London P&I Club took the decision to proceed to an interactive rating. The process has just completed, and S&P has confirmed the Club’s rating at BBB; Outlook Stable.

Ian Gooch, CEO of the Club’s management team comments, “A key and pleasing element in the interactive rating is S&P’s positive assessment of the Club’s financial strength, with capitalisation to remain extremely strong according to their capital model. At the same time – and as in S&P’s previous pi based ratings – the levels of our recent combined ratios are highlighted as constraining the rating. This is an aspect of the Club’s performance which we are focused on improving so it is therefore also pleasing to note S&P’s views on the measured and achievable planning that we have in place to strengthen technical results.”



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Liberia is number one flag of choice for Greek owners and operators

LIBERIA has become the flag of choice for Greek ship owners and operators, securing the leading position for the first time in more than forty years since the early seventies.

Figures produced by the Greek publication Shipping & Finance, which bases its findings on data from the Marine Information Services database for Greek and Cypriot shipping companies, confirm that the Greek merchant fleet now includes 800 Liberian-flag ships, ten more than registered under the Greek flag, and 300 more than are registered under the flag of Panama.

Scott Bergeron, CEO of the Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry (LISCR), the US-based manager of the Liberian Registry, says, “This news is testament to the strong links which have existed between Greek shipping and the Liberian flag, dating back to the day in 1949 when the Stavros Niarchos-owned oil tanker World Peace became the first ship to be registered under the Liberian flag. From that time until the present day, the Greek shipping community has supported the Liberian Registry, and vice-versa, through good times and bad.

“Liberia’s dominant presence in the Greek shipping sector owes much most recently to the efforts of Michalis Pantazopoulos, Senior Vice-President of LISCR (Hellas) SA in Piraeus, and to the continuing support of Capt Nick Soutos, President of the Soutos Group of Companies and Consul-General of Liberia in Greece since 1971.

“The shipping ties between Greece and Liberia have become even stronger during the extremely difficult economic climate of the past six years, and it is gratifying to see that the Liberian flag is now the number one choice of Greek owners and operators.

“Greece remains the undisputed number one shipping nation in the world, and it is appreciable that it has demonstrated its continuing faith in the world’s leading open ship registry in such a transparent way."

The Liberian Registry is one of the world’s largest and most active shipping registers, and has long been considered the world’s most technologically advanced maritime administration. It has a long-established track record of combining the highest standards of safety for vessels and crews with the highest levels of responsive service to owners.



Monday, 15 December 2014

RINA expands into Canada with Hayes Stuart acquisition

Italy’s growing engineering, testing, marine services and ship classification group RINA has acquired a majority stake in Montreal-based marine survey company Hayes Stuart. The move gives RINA Services a platform for further expansion into the growing market in Canada.

Stefano Socci, General Manager Americas, RINA Services, says, “Hayes Stuart is a well-established Canadian marine survey company with expertise that complements ours. We see the marine market growing in Canada and Hayes Stuart together with RINA will be well placed to expand with it.”

Hayes Stuart has offices in Montreal, Toronto, Quebec City and Halifax and employs fifteen full-time marine experts. It provides a range of commercial marine services including hull and machinery surveys, condition surveys, bunker and cargo surveys, loss prevention surveys.

Hayes Stuart will maintain its brand and operate as a RINA group company. The acquisition reflects RINA’s strategy of growing by acquiring high quality companies with complementary expertise which also provide access to new markets.
Richard Breton, President, Hayes Stuart Inc, says, “I am very excited to join forces with the RINA Group as this marks a new chapter in Hayes Stuart’s marine history. I am confident that this strategic move will prove to be very successful in expanding RINA’s wide range of services throughout Canada and worldwide.”

RINA Services S.p.A. is the RINA group company active in classification, certification, inspection and testing services. RINA is a multi-national group which delivers verification, certification, conformity assessment, marine classification, environmental enhancement, product testing, site and vendor supervision, training and engineering consultancy across a wide range of industries and services. RINA operates through a network of companies covering Marine, Energy, Infrastructures & Construction, Transport & Logistics, Food & Agriculture, Environment & Sustainability, Finance & Public Institutions and Business Governance. With a turnover of over 294 million Euros in 2013, over 2,500 employees, and 163 offices in 57 countries worldwide, RINA is recognized as an authoritative member of key international organizations and an important contributor to the development of new legislative standards.

For more information:
Giulia Faravelli
Media Relations Manager RINA
+39 010 5385505

Victoria Silvestri
Media Relations RINA
+39 010 5385555

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Friday, 12 December 2014

IACS Council meeting

The International Association of Classification Societies chaired by Philippe Donche-Gay of BV held its December Council meeting yesterday in London.

The flagship Common Structural Rules project for Bulk Carriers and Oil Tankers was discussed and a presentation delivered to industry representatives who attended the closing session. The Rules will enter into force on 1 July 2015.

The IACS expert group on structural safety of container ships reported on a post “MOL Comfort” review which it has carried out. This work has resulted in the development of two new IACS Unified Requirements (URs): UR S11A which is a longitudinal strength standard for container ships and URS34 dealing with functional requirements and load cases for direct analysis of container ships. These two important URs will be delivered during the first quarter of 2015.

Unified Requirements (URs) are minimum technical requirements adopted by all IACS members that refer to specific class rules requirements. URs are not intended to address all strength aspects of hull structures as that is the function of the class rules of individual members.

Two new IACS initiatives were also discussed: the first one on LNG bunkering guidelines and the second dealing with complex on-board systems.

LNG Bunkering Guidelines are presently being considered by a number of organisations and the IACS initiative will seek to build on what has already been introduced.

Complex systems is a topic of crucial importance for the industry as on-board systems develop rapidly in complexity. IACS is currently focussing on this subject with the formation of a dedicated Expert Group.

At the last tripartite meeting (Shipowners, Shipbuilders and Classification Societies) in Shanghai in October steps were taken to publicise these items to the industry participants and this continued at the Council meeting where plans for future cooperation were discussed with industry representatives.

For more information contact:
Derek Hodgson
Permanent Secretary
+44 20 7976 0660

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Thursday, 11 December 2014

Shipping confidence drops to two-year low as concern mounts over cost of regulation

Overall confidence levels in the shipping industry fell during the three months to November 2014 to their lowest level for two years, according to the latest Shipping Confidence Survey from international accountant and shipping adviser Moore Stephens. The survey revealed increasing concern about the high cost of achieving compliance with new regulations, and ongoing doubts about overtonnaging. But it was not all bad news, with charterers, managers and brokers all more confident than they were three months previously of making a new investment over the coming year.

In November 2014, the average confidence level expressed by respondents in the markets in which they operate was 5.7 on a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high), down from the 6.1 recorded in August 2014. This compares to the record high of 6.8 when the survey was launched in May 2008.

All categories of respondent recorded a fall in confidence this time, most notably charterers (down to 5.4 from a record high of 6.7 three months ago) and owners (down from 6.2 to 5.5). Confidence on the part of managers, meanwhile, fell marginally from 6.2 to 6.1, while for brokers it was down from 5.3 to 5.0. Geographically, confidence was down in Asia and Europe to 5.8 and 5.6 respectively from the levels of 6.0 and 6.1 recorded three months previously. Confidence in North America, however, held steady at 6.2.

A number of respondents referred to continuing uncertainty in the markets, resulting from a variety of factors. One said, “The market remains directionless. It needs accelerated scrapping, which would make economic sense for owners of older tonnage. But, given the recent drop in fuel costs, such owners could elect to hold on to their ships for the time being.”

One respondent predicted, “Most sectors will continue to struggle along the bottom, kept alive by low interest rates,” while another felt, “There is still too much capacity and an unreasonable expectation of performance levels, given all the new ordering that is taking place.”

Not everybody was quite so pessimistic, however. One respondent said, “The global markets are expected to pick up around mid-2015,” but warned that the viability of shipping depended on the scrapping of 60 percent of all vessels over 20 years’ old and on a drastic reduction in the number of new vessels being built.

One respondent predicted, “The shipping market will improve slightly over the next few months as it mirrors the slow improvement in global markets.” But not everybody agreed. “The road to recovery is very long and very hard,” said one respondent. “Europe is still struggling and it seems unlikely that things will improve soon, even if demand for shipping increases in other parts of the world where the economy is faring better.” Another noted, “The world economy is not as healthy as expected. China has changed its growth model, while Europe is struggling under austerity measures and a lack of investment. The US may be in better health, but it is not able to drag shipping out of the doldrums in the short term.”

Elsewhere it was noted, “We are heading for a low level of activity in all markets. With sanctions on Russia and Iran, and fighting in Iraq and Syria and elsewhere, people are spending less money, which results in fewer cargo movements.”

The cost of meeting the growing regulatory burden in the shipping industry was high on the list of concerns expressed by respondents, one of whom noted, “The ballast water treatment legislation hangs like a dark cloud over all technical ship managers. This represents a huge investment accompanied by a high level of risk.” Another observed, “Regulation is becoming stricter, and now accounts for a greater slice of operational expenses than it did a few years ago. This is bad. But it is the only way to push older tonnage out of the market.”

Another respondent emphasised, “There seems to be a lack of willingness to acknowledge the negligible level of pollution caused by shipping in relation to the volume of merchandise which is shipped globally.” Other comments included, “New EU environmental regulations will have a knock-on effect beyond the primary maritime industries,” and, “Freight rates will not compensate completely for the additional cost involved in operating on low-sulphur fuel.”

Responses to the survey were completed before the announcement of the bankruptcy filing of OW Bunker, the industry’s largest fuel supplier. But a number of comments referred to the significant role played by fuel costs in the fortunes of the shipping industry, such as the respondents who noted, “High fuel costs and operating costs kill small shipowners,” and, “Bunker rates will fall still further.” Another pointed out, “Bunker prices are currently low but, with new sulphur regulations coming in, customers are receiving a very mixed message. Nobody knows what the fuel price will be in six months’ time.”

Elsewhere it was noted, “New fuel types developed to achieve environmental compliance will have a major impact on vessel operations, but there is great uncertainty about how many incompatible variants will be available on the market. Vessels operating on a worldwide basis will face fuel compatibility challenges.”

Meanwhile, a number of respondents warned that there were still too many ships available for the cargoes on offer. “As long as an insufficient level of old tonnage is being scrapped,” said one, “and until investors in newbuildings get a grip, the situation will continue to get worse.” Another observed, “It is already six years since the downturn in the freight markets and, despite there being no ground for a sustained upturn, new tonnage continues to be ordered. We have no explanation for this.”

Elsewhere it was pointed out, “Over-ordering will continue to slow the rate of recovery for the foreseeable future, but this will not stop owners buying while vessels are so cheap.” Another respondent said, “Given the overarching fundamental problem of overcapacity, every new ship entering the market will add to the lingering fear of a collapse in freight rates.”

The likelihood of respondents making a major investment or significant development over the next twelve months was down marginally on the previous survey, on a scale of 1 to 10, from 5.4 to 5.3, the lowest figure recorded in this respect since August 2012. Despite this, the figures for brokers, managers and charterers were all up, in the case of the first two by two points to 4.7 and 5.8 respectively, and in the case of the latter by one point, from 5.5 to 5.6. Expectations on the part of owners in this regard, meanwhile, were down from 5.6 to 5.1.

Forty percent of managers, as opposed to 38 per cent last time, rated the likelihood of making a new investment over the next twelve months at 7.0 out of 10.0 or higher, while 38 percent of charterers (up from 21 percent in August 2014) were of like mind. Meanwhile, the 36 percent of owners anticipating making a new investment over the coming year this time was down on the previous figure of 41 percent.

Geographically, expectation levels of major investments were unchanged in Asia at 5.2, but down in Europe, from 5.4 to 5.2, and from 5.6 to 5.3 in North America, where 33 percent of respondents rated the likelihood of making a new investment over the next twelve months at 7.0 out of 10.0 or higher, as opposed to 22 percent in the previous survey.

Comments from respondents in this regard focused largely on the growth of private equity funding in shipping. One said, “The ongoing attack on shipping by private equity investors and outsiders is still active. Until this stops, shipping does not stand a chance of producing decent returns for the historic shipowner who invests in shipping for the long term. With low yields still in place around the world, returns required by public companies and private equity investors are tragically low, so they invest in projects they really shouldn't be investing in. In addition, the new Master Limited Partnership structure is reducing required returns still further. Shipping has no place in the MLP world.”

Demand trends, competition and finance costs, in that order, once again featured as the top three factors cited by respondents overall as those likely to influence performance most significantly over the coming twelve months. The overall numbers for demand trends were up from last time from 23 percent to 25 percent, while those for competition and finance costs were unchanged at 20 percent and 14 percent respectively. Tonnage supply (down one percentage point to 13 percent) featured in fourth place, while operating costs (unchanged at 10 percent) and fuel costs (down 2 percentage points to a four-year low of 7 percent) featured in fifth and sixth places respectively.

Demand trends, up 4 percentage points to 27 percent, remained the number one performance-affecting factor for owners. Tonnage supply (unchanged at 18 percent) and competition (down one percentage point to 17 percent) featured in second and third places respectively. For managers, meanwhile, competition (down 3 percentage points to 18 percent) remained in first place, while demand trends (up 2 percentage points to 17 percent) replaced finance costs (down 2 percentage points to 15 percent) in second place. For charterers, competition (up 15 percentage points to 31 percent) pushed demand trends (up by 5 percentage points to 30 percent) into second place, with finance costs (unchanged at 16 percent) in third position.

Geographically, demand trends were the most significant factor for respondents in Asia (unchanged at 20 percent), Europe (up 3 percentage point to 27 percent) and North America (up 9 percentage points to 37 percent). Competition was the second most significant performance-affecting factor in Asia (down 2 percentage points to 19 percent), Europe (up one percentage point to 20 percent) and in North America (unchanged at 20 percent). In both Asia (up by one percentage point to 14 percent) and North America (down by 2 percentage points to 13 percent), finance costs featured in third position, while in Europe it was tonnage supply (unchanged at 15 percent) which occupied third place.

One respondent noted succinctly, “There is too much competition, too many ships, and not enough cargo.” Another observed, “If continued access to low-cost ship finance persists and encourages still more owners to order additional tonnage - especially in the tramp shipping sector - the prospect of a sustained freight market recovery taking hold will recede even further into the distance.”

The number of respondents overall who expected finance costs to increase over the next twelve months was up by one percentage point to 40 percent. For both charterers and managers, the increase was 9 percentage points to 38 percent and 45 percent respectively, while for owners there was a one percentage point increase to 40 percent. Brokers (down from 44 percent to 36 percent) were the only category of main respondent to record a lower expectation of higher finance costs.

The number of respondents in Asia anticipating an increase in the cost of finance was up by 3 percentage points to 48 percent, Europe was unchanged at 35 percent, and in North America there was an 11 percentage-point fall to 56 percent.

One respondent said, “In some cases, little if any of the financing loan will have been paid off against ships which are now approaching their first special survey and which will have suffered a huge depreciation in value due to age and the current low market.” Another noted, “There is concern about the influence wielded by irresponsible hedge funds which do not understand the nature of the business and the risks involved.”

Turning to the freight markets, there was a fall in the number of respondents anticipating higher rates in the tanker, dry bulk and container ship trades.

The number of respondents overall expecting higher rates in the tanker sector over the next twelve months fell by one percentage point to 40 percent. The views of owners (up 10 percentage points to 51 percent) differed greatly in this regard from those of managers (down 7 percentage points to 36 percent), charterers (down 5 percentage points to 33 percent) and brokers (down by 28 percentage points to 30 percent).

Geographically, the prospects for increased tanker rates were up in Asia (by one percentage point to 41 percent) and in North America (from 29 percent to 44 percent) but down in Europe, from 42 percent to 38 percent.

One respondent said, “Overtonnaging in the tanker sector will greatly affect rates for years to come, even if there is real economic growth of the sort we need. The market is ever more unpredictable.”

In the dry bulk sector, meanwhile, there was a 12 percentage-point fall, to 35 percent, in the overall numbers anticipating rate increases. Just 36 percent of charterers, compared to 64 percent last time, thought that dry bulk rates would go up over the coming year. The numbers for all other main respondents were also down, in the case of brokers by 24 percent to 19 percent, and in the case of managers by 10 percent to 33 percent. Fifty percent of owners, compared to 55 percent last time, expected rates to increase.

Geographically, the prospects for increased dry bulk rates were down in Asia by 17 percentage points to 38 percent, and in Europe, from 47 percent to 35 percent. Such prospects in North America, meanwhile, were unchanged at 14 per cent.

“There is oversupply in the world bulker fleet for the available cargo supply,” noted one respondent. “If demand for raw and or semi-raw materials does not increase, we can write off another year.”

In the container ship market, meanwhile, the number of respondents expecting rates to increase over the coming twelve months was down by 6 percentage points to 25 percent. The number of charterers anticipating higher rates was down by 15 percentage points on last time to 25 percent, while for owners the drop was from 42 percent to 40 percent. Managers (up from 18 percent to 22 percent) were the only category of main respondent more confident this time than in August 2014 of higher container ship rates over the coming year. Geographically, expectations of improved container ship rates were unchanged in Asia at 32 percent, but down in in Europe from 34 percent to 23 percent.

Moore Stephens shipping partner, Richard Greiner, says, “Confidence in the shipping industry is at its lowest level for two years, just nine months after reaching a six-year high. A rating of 5.7 out of 10.0 may still be reasonably good in comparison with many other industries, but shipping’s failure to build on the growth in confidence reported in 2013 and early 2014 is undeniably a disappointment.

“The main reason for this may well be the one advanced by the respondent to our survey who complained of ‘too much competition, too many ships, and not enough cargo.’ Add to that the adverse effect which those three factors have on freight rates, and you have some measure of the problems currently facing the industry.

“Meanwhile, shipping continues to pay for the very international nature of the business which, perversely, is also its strength. Ongoing political unrest involving the Middle East and Ukraine does nothing to encourage growth in seaborne trade, while the global economic recovery which appeared to be under way at the beginning of the year seems to have stalled in a number of countries. The Japanese economy is in recession, France has been cast in some circles in the unfamiliar role of the sick man of Europe, and even the newly prosperous economies of China and India are currently performing below expectation.

“The cost of existing and impending regulation in shipping is another problem which is international in nature. Such costs were a recurring theme in the responses to our survey. Sulphur emissions regulations will make shipping an even cleaner and greener industry than it already is, and will encourage the development of more eco-friendly tonnage, but they come at a hefty price. Even that, however, may be small change compared to achieving compliance with the BWT convention which is now very close to ratification. To all this must be added a predicted rise in operating costs of almost three percent this year and next. But it is not all bad news.

“Shipping is still attracting investment. It may not be the type of investment which die-hard traditionalists would prefer, but private equity investors are not known for throwing their money away on lost causes. Oil (and therefore bunker) prices continue to fall, which should have a positive effect on voyage expenses for as long as it lasts. Meanwhile, cargo continues to move, if not always in the volumes and at the rates the industry would like.

“Shipping confidence began 2014 on a high. It is evident that, for now, some of that confidence has been rendered fragile and replaced by a degree of uncertainty. Some of that uncertainty may be resolved in 2015 as the extent of regulatory costs becomes clearer, and the success of recent attempts to reduce overtonnaging can be reassessed. Nevertheless, the market is likely to remain volatile in 2015 as shipping attempts to meet the challenge of finding the right balance between risk and reward.”

The Moore Stephens Shipping Confidence Survey includes responses from key players worldwide in the international shipping industry to a targeted, web-based survey by the Moore Stephens Shipping Industry Group. Responses were received from owners, charterers, brokers, advisers, managers and others. Editors can apply for a copy of the survey by emailing chris@merlinco.com

Moore Stephens LLP is noted for a number of industry specialisations and is widely acknowledged as a leading shipping and insurance adviser. Moore Stephens LLP is a member firm of Moore Stephens International Limited, one of the world's leading accounting and consulting associations, with 667 offices of independent member firms in 105 countries, employing 27,081 people and generating revenues in 2013 of $2.7 billion. www.moorestephens.co.uk

For more information:
Richard Greiner
Moore Stephens LLP
Tel: +44 (0)20 7334 9191

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Friday, 5 December 2014

Concern persists over unpaid wages despite positive MLC enforcement

Specialist marine insurance intermediary Seacurus says that overall confidence in the successful implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC) should not conceal the fact that there is continuing concern over the risk of abandonment and the timely payment of crew wages.

Thomas Brown, managing director of Seacurus, says, “Recent figures from the Paris Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Port State Control indicate that the MLC Convention is being well-enforced, with 113 ship detentions relating to MLC deficiencies recorded since MLC 2006 entered into force on 20 August, 2013.

“Overall, it seems that progress is being made and that MLC can deliver on its promises. But the Paris MoU figures also show that detainable MLC-related deficiencies were most frequently recorded in the areas of ‘payment of wages’ (39.5 percent) and ‘manning levels for the ship’ (28.6 percent).

“Moreover, a survey earlier this year by seafarer website and employment agency Crewtoo appears to bear out the Paris MoU data. Almost half the respondents to the survey, which gathered the views of over 1,000 seafarers, said they had had to wait at some point for delayed wage payments to be made by their employer. The same survey also revealed that 36 per cent of seafarers had been forced to work without pay, while 17 percent had been abandoned.

“Overdue salaries are one of the red-flag indicators of financial distress for shipping companies, and many seafarers are being subjected to undue stress, frustration and uncertainty over wage payments. MLC 2006 states that wages should be paid at least every month, so it is disappointing to see that so many seafarers have experienced delays. There are clearly reasons for concern in this regard.

“It seems that seafarers feel positive about the effect that MLC 2006 is having on their day-to-day existence, reflecting both the spirit and the letter of the convention. Seafarers are aware of the protective systems in place, such as the Seacurus CrewSeacure cover, and are willing to research the subject before sailing. This could be something of a tipping point for the industry. But it is not quite time for pats on the back and high-fives. There are still problems which need to be addressed.”

The latest issue of the monthly ‘Seacurus Bulletin’ can now be accessed on the Seacurus website at http://goo.gl/mxnXFu . In addition to MLC 2006 enforcement news, it includes articles on piracy, the OW Bunker & Trading collapse, and the ban on ransom payments for terrorism.

Seacurus Ltd is an FCA-regulated insurance broker, founded in 2004, specialising in bespoke revenue protection cover for the maritime industry. It is a market leader in the design and implementation of solutions to protect companies from unforecasted balance-sheet impacts, including credit default, charter party cancellations, hijackings and voyage disruptions caused by political events. Seacurus established the first delegated underwriting binding authority for marine kidnap insurance and is an approved Lloyd’s Coverholder. www.seacurus.com

Formed in 2007, Barbican Group Holdings is an insurance group writing business predominantly through its syndicates at Lloyd’s. It also has a non-Lloyd’s financial solutions business based in Guernsey which offers insurance and reinsurance programmes to the global market. Barbican Syndicates 1955 and 6113 at Lloyd’s has a stamp capacity of £227.5m for the 2013 year of account and underwrites cyber liability, financial and professional lines, healthcare liability, international casualty reinsurance, marine insurance, marine reinsurance, North American casualty reinsurance, property, property reinsurance and corporate, middle market and scheme/affinity group clients in the UK and Ireland. www.barbicaninsurance.com

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RINA certifies Technomar to ISO environmental and energy standards

Greece’s Technomar Shipping has been certified to ISO 14001 Environmental Management and ISO 50001 Energy Management standards by RINA Services.

George Youroukos, Chairman, Technomar Shipping says, “Technomar is committed to minimising our impact on the environment and reducing energy consumption. Going through the rigorous process to reach these standards underlines how important this is to us. We hope that the certification will underline the quality of service we provide to our charterers and the care we give to the global community.”

Michele Francioni, CEO, RINA Services, says, “Managing environmental impact and energy consumption gives companies a competitive edge. We are very proud to help Technomar to achieve these high standards.”

Theo Baltatzis, General Manager, Technomar Shipping, says, “RINA helps us take a disciplined approach to energy and the environment, and that helps us to perform better.”

Technomar is the second Greek shipmanagement company to achieve ISO 50001 certification by RINA, following IASON Hellenic Shipping last year. RINA Services is currently working with other leading Greek companies to help them improve their environmental performance.

Technomar operates a fleet of thirty-seven container vessels and bulkers and is based in Athens.
ISO 14001 sets out the criteria for an environmental management system and maps out a framework that a company can follow to set up an effective environmental management system. It provides assurance to company management and employees as well as external stakeholders that environmental impact is being measured and improved. The benefits of using ISO 14001:2004 can include: reduced cost of waste management, savings in consumption of energy and materials, lower distribution costs and improved corporate image among regulators, customers and the public.

ISO 50001 specifies requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining and improving an energy management system, whose purpose is to enable an organization to follow a systematic approach in achieving continual improvement of energy performance, including energy efficiency, energy use and consumption.

RINA Services S.p.A. is the RINA group company active in classification, certification, inspection and testing services. RINA is a multi-national group which delivers verification, certification, conformity assessment, marine classification, environmental enhancement, product testing, site and vendor supervision, training and engineering consultancy across a wide range of industries and services. RINA operates through a network of companies covering Marine, Energy, Infrastructures & Construction, Transport & Logistics, Food & Agriculture, Environment & Sustainability, Finance & Public Institutions and Business Governance. With a turnover of over 294 million Euros in 2013, over 2,500 employees, and 163 offices in 57 countries worldwide, RINA is recognized as an authoritative member of key international organizations and an important contributor to the development of new legislative standards.

For more information and photos of the certificate presentation:

Giulia Faravelli
Media Relations Manager RINA
+39 010 5385505

Victoria Silvestri
Media Relations RINA
+39 010 5385555

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Thursday, 4 December 2014

ITIC says careless errors result in claims against ship agents

Careless errors by ship agents are resulting in costly claims, according to ITIC.

In the latest issue of its Claims Review, ITIC cites the case of a ship agent which incorrectly calculated two pro-forma invoices in respect of port dues, using the cheaper rate for a cargo of malt, rather than the rate for the cargo of wheat booked for discharge from two ships. The wheat cargoes had been discharged, and the final invoices for port dues sent out, before the error was discovered.

The difference between the invoiced port dues and the correct port dues totalled Euros 14,000. But the owner refused to make up the shortfall because, relying on what it had been told, it had in turn charged the lower amount to the charterer. The claim was settled by ITIC.

Another case referenced by ITIC involved the submission by a port agent of all relevant cargo declarations in respect of a ship which had tendered notice of readiness in a Middle East port. These declarations included a document which the agent had translated into Arabic and English, and which described the cargo and the names of the consignees.

When the ship arrived, the only berth at which it could discharge was not available for a further ten days. The mistakes in the translation of the cargo declarations were subsequently noticed, resulting in a three-day delay in clearing the ship for berthing, which coincided with the last three days of the overall ten-day delay.

The owner claimed against the port agent for the full ten-day period of delay, arguing that the ship had not legally been able to berth due to the documentary error. ITIC helped the agent negotiate a settlement based on 50 per cent of the overall delay of $110,000, which ITIC paid.

ITIC says, “Errors such as these put pressure on commercial relationships. Attention to detail is important.”

ITIC is managed by Thomas Miller. More details about the club and the services it offers can be found on ITIC’s website at www.itic-insure.com

For more information:
Charlotte Kirk
Tel. +44 (0)20 7338 0150
Fax. +44 (0)20 7338 0151

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London P&I Club helps owners counter the cappuccino effect

The London P&I Club has advised its members on precautions to adopt to detect the presence of cappuccino bunkers.

In the latest issue of its StopLoss Bulletin, the club explains that the cappuccino effect is essentially the frothing or bubbling effect caused by compressed air blown through the delivery hose. The aerated bunkers when sounded will give the impression that the fuel is delivered as ordered. In fact, after some time, when the entrapped air in suspension settles out of the fuel oil, the oil level drops and a shortfall is discovered.

The club says, “There are a number of ways in which cappuccino bunkers may be identified. These include signs of froth/foam on the surface of the fuel in the barge tanks when opening the gauge, and excessive bubbles on the sounding tape prior to, during and after bunkering. The bunker hose may also jerk or whip around, delivery rates may be slower than those agreed, and there may be a gurgling sound in the vicinity of the bunker manifold. There may also be fluctuations in pressure on the manifold pressure gauge, and unusual noises from the bunker barge.”

Outlining precautions that should be taken before fuel transfer takes place, the club explains, “During usual gauging of bunker barge tanks, fuel oil from ullage hatches should be visually checked for any foam on the surface. Foam may also be detected on the ullage tape. If entrained air is suspected on the tape or fuel surface, obtain a sample and pour it into a clean glass jar and observe carefully for signs of foam or bubbles. If the suspicion is confirmed, the chief engineer should not start bunkering and should notify the owners/charterers immediately.”

With regard to precautions during and after fuel transfer, the club notes, “Air can also be introduced in the fuel during the pumping period, so it is important to continue gauging the ship’s tanks, as air bubbles would be readily seen on the sounding tape. As stripping and line blowing can also introduce air, stripping should only be performed at the end of the delivery for a short period of time, and line blowing kept to a minimum. The ship’s bunker manifold valve should be checked shut before gauging of the ship’s tanks.”


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Wednesday, 3 December 2014

UK government Autumn Statement is generally helpful for the shipping sector

International accountant and shipping adviser Moore Stephens says the UK Chancellor’s Autumn Statement 2014, issued on 3 December, is generally helpful for the shipping and offshore sectors.

Moore Stephens tax partner Sue Bill notes, “While there is nothing in the Autumn Statement 2014 which is of fundamental importance to the maritime sector, there are some changes which may be of interest to the shipping and offshore industries.

“For example, the remittance basis charge will increase for some non-UK domiciled individuals. For individuals who have been UK-resident for 12 out of the last 14 years, the charge will increase from £50,000 to £60,000. A new charge, of £90,000, will be introduced for individuals who have been UK-resident for 17 out of the last 20 years. In addition, the government will consult on making the election apply for a minimum of three years.

“As expected, the UK government will introduce legislation giving it the power to implement the OECD model for country-by-country reporting. These rules will require multinational enterprises to provide high-level information to Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs on their global allocation of profits and taxes paid, as well as indicators of economic activity in each country.”

Meanwhile, a number of measures have been introduced of relevance to the oil and gas sector. Sue Bill explains, “The government will introduce an immediate 2 percent reduction in the rate of the Supplementary Charge from 32 percent to 30 percent, with effect from 1 January 2015, and will aim to reduce the rate further in the future. The ring-fence expenditure supplement will also be extended from 6 to 10 accounting periods for all ring-fence oil and gas losses and qualifying pre-commencement expenditure incurred on or before 5 December 2013. The government is also introducing an allowance to support the development of high-pressure, high-temperature projects. From 3 December 2014, an amount of profits equal to 62.5 percent of the qualifying capital expenditure a company incurs will be exempt from the Supplementary Charge. “

A new exemption from withholding tax on interest on qualifying private placements (a type of unlisted debt) has also been announced to help the provision of new finance for businesses and infrastructure projects.

Finally, as part of further measures to minimise aggressive tax planning by multinational enterprises, a new tax will apply where such enterprises divert profits from the UK. The Diverted Profits Tax will be 25 percent and will apply from 1 April 2015.

Sue Bill says, “Overall, setting aside the changes for non-UK-domiciled individuals, this is generally a helpful budget for the shipping and offshore sectors. The new exemption from withholding tax on interest on qualifying private placements, while subject to further details, could make it easier for companies to raise finance without incurring withholding tax liabilities of up to 20 percent on interest payments. The continuing government clampdown on aggressive tax avoidance by multinational enterprises is not unexpected. Meanwhile, the new high-pressure, high-temperature cluster area allowance taking effect from 3 December 2014 is among a number of encouraging measures for the oil and gas sector.”

Moore Stephens LLP is noted for a number of industry specialisations and is widely acknowledged as a leading shipping and insurance adviser. Moore Stephens LLP is a member firm of Moore Stephens International Limited, one of the world's leading accounting and consulting associations, with 667 offices of independent member firms in 105 countries, employing 27,081 people and generating revenues in 2013 of $2.7 billion. www.moorestephens.co.uk

For more information:
Sue Bill
Moore Stephens LLP
Tel: +44 (0)20 7334 9191

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Liberia releases mandatory MLC compliance report

The Liberian Maritime Authority has just released the mandatory MLC Annual Report for 2013. This report confirms that Liberia’s proactive approach to enforcement of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006 has resulted in an extremely low deficiency rate for Liberian-flag ships.

LISCR CEO Scott Bergeron says, “Liberia has consistently led the way on MLC. It was the first flag state to ratify MLC 2006 and has been tireless in applying its training and implementation procedures. Liberia’s first MLC Annual Report confirms this. Prior to the MLC implementation date of August 20th, 2013, a total of 2,238 ships were inspected and issued MLC certificates by the Liberian Administration and its Recognised Organisations.”

The Annual Report further confirms that for the reporting period of 20 August 2013 to 31 December 2013 an additional 613 Liberian-flag ships have undergone MLC inspection, 54 per cent by Liberia’s own MLC inspectors and the remainder by classification societies authorised as Recognised Organisations. Moreover, a total of 85 per cent of these inspections resulted in no deficiencies being found.

Meanwhile, the majority of deficiencies noted in connection with the remaining 15 per cent were directly related to issues of the sort one might expect following the implementation of new regulations, and were quickly resolved by greater familiarity with MLC on the part of onboard and shore staff.

David Pascoe, Head of Maritime Operations & Standards at the Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry (LISCR) says, “The publication of Liberia’s MLC Annual Report underlines Liberia’s industry-leading position on MLC compliance and enforcement. The report shows a 0.3 percent deficiency rate, per ship. This extremely low rate is attributable to the succinct and timely guidance provided by the Liberian Administration to help shipowners develop their procedures and seafarer employment agreements.”

Liberia has established a very effective system for the inspection and certification of maritime labour conditions, having uniquely trained a global network of more than 200 inspectors to help Liberia ensure that the working and living conditions for seafarers on ships that fly its flag meet, and continue to meet, the standards in the convention. When standards are not met, immediate corrective action is required. Cases such as non-payment of crew or invalid certificates have resulted in flag state detention in port until rectified.

Bergeron says “Liberia has a proud record of protecting the welfare of the crews who sail on board its ships, with resulting clear benefits for not only those crews but also for the shipowners who employ them. Liberia will not relax its stance on MLC compliance. Furthermore, the Liberian Administration is concerned that port state control inspectors may not be consistent in their implementation of the ILO guidelines on MLC, thereby resulting in ships being unduly delayed or detained in port. Therefore, its aim is to reduce MLC detentions in port to zero.”

Records of maritime labour certificates issued to all Liberian-registered ships to which MLC 2006 applies are available on the Liberian Registry’s website at:

Liberia’s MLC 2006 Annual Report for 2013 is also available on the registry’s website at: www.liscr.com/liscr/Portals/0/MLC%202006%20 %20Annual%20Report%20for%202013.pdf

The Liberian Registry is one of the world’s largest and most active shipping registers, and has long been considered the world’s most technologically advanced maritime administration. It has a long-established track record of combining the highest standards of safety for vessels and crews with the highest levels of responsive service to owners.

MLC 2006 is widely regarded as the fourth pillar of the international regulatory regime for quality shipping, complementing the SOLAS, STCW and MARPOL conventions. It requires participating states or recognised organisations to maintain a publicly available record of all maritime labour certificates issued or renewed. Participating states are also required to maintain records of inspections of seafarer conditions on ships that fly their flag and to publish an annual report on inspection activities.


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