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10 Nov 2017

Pakistani Shipbreaking Yard Closed

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"This is the same floating oil production tanker that blew up on 1 November last year – an explosion that caused the death of 31 workers and seriously injured at least another 58 workers. Fortunately, reports seem to indicate that no workers got caught in the flames of yesterday’s fire on the ACES. After having been left untouched and unbroken in the same yard since last year’s catastrophic explosion, the Pakistan Department of Environment gave permission last week for the continued breaking of the ACES. Shockingly, on the very first day that the breaking commenced, a massive fire broke out again as the oil residues inside the tanker had not been removed. While there have been no reported fatalities or injuries as a result of the fire, yesterday’s event goes far in demonstrating the Pakistani Government’s negligent attitude towards workers’ rights and safety, as well as enforcing proper environmental standards. “Clearly, no lessons have been learnt from the series of tragedies that have hit Gadani in the last year”, says Dr Muhammad Irfan Khan, member of the NGO Shipbeaking Platform’s Board. “More investments are sorely needed to ensure institutional capacity build-up. For the industry to be allowed to continue operating in Pakistan, authorities need to guarantee the protection of shipbreaking workers and the enforcement of existing environmental regulations”, he adds. Following the major blast on 1 November 2016, dubbed the worst tragedy in shipbreaking history and caused by several gas cylinder explosions, workers have over and over rallied in Gadani to protest against the deplorable working conditions and the lack of Government support in enforcing safety and occupational health laws. Evidently, by authorising the breaking of the ACES to commence again, without having even ensured that the tanks were cleaned, Pakistani authorities blatantly ignore workers’ calls as yards are allowed to return to business as usual and perpetuate the industry’s violent legacy. The appalling working conditions at Gadani are well-known, yet European ships are still being sold to Pakistan for breaking. In the third quarter of 2017 alone, seven ships – five German, one Greek, and one Norwegian – were sold to the Gadani beach for breaking. NGO Shipbreaking Platform “It is shameful that European ship-owners benefit from a situation where worker’s lives are continuously put at risk. Unless the yards are moved to industrial platforms away from the tidal beach where the safety of workers and the containment of pollutants can be ensured, we do not recommend the breaking of ships in Pakistan”, says Ingvild Jenssen, Director of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform. “How many more accidents and deaths at the Gadani beach is the global shipping industry ready to accept?”, she adds. Following yesterday’s fire, the Deputy Commissioner of Hub District – Mr. Mangal – set up an inquiry committee to look into to the EPA approval to resume breaking of the ACES and sealed the shipbreaking yard where it is beached. The Platform urges the Government to ensure that end-of-life ships are dismantled in safe and clean ship recycling facilities off the beach. Only then will safe working conditions and the protection of the coastal environment from pollution be safeguarded."

31 Oct 2017

RTI reply reveals 2 Indian seafarers logded in Egytian jail on charges of drug smuggling.

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"I had filed and RTI to know how many Indian Seafarers are in various Jails worldwide. Each Embassy shall reply in due course. I am thankful to Egypt Embassy for their reply. Presently there are two Indian Seafarers imprisoned in Egypt. Six Indian Seafarers were released form Egypt Jail in the year 2015. Let's brief our young joiners. Embassy of India Cairo Sub: Reply to RTI request no. MEACA/R/2017/50004 receipt dated 24/10/2017 From Capt Sanjay Prashar RTI Reply ad seriatim is as follows: 1. How many Indian Seafarers are in Egypt Country Prisons as on 24th Oct 2017. Please send us names of Indian Seafarers and give us records as well as details of the case against them Presently there are two Indian Seafarers imprisoned in Egypt (1) Mr Pavan Kumar Ruttla (2) Mr. Ramana Baggu These two Indian Seafarers were part of 7 member crew of Iranian Ship MV Abadan arrested by Egyptian authorities on 17th December, 2016 on charges of drug trafficking. The Egyptian Navy recovered 171 Kilograms of Heroin from the ship MV Abadan. They are presently lodged in a cell attached to El Quseir Police Station in Red Sea Governorate. The trial of this case started in April, 2017 and is still continuing in Safaga Court, Red Sea Governorate. The court held four hearings (9th April,2017, 11th June,2017, 6th August,2017 and 18th October,2017) of the case so far. The next hearing is slated on 12th December, 2017. 2. How many Indian Seafarers were released from Egypt prisons in the calendar year 2014, 2015, 2016 & 2017. Please send us names of Indian Seafarers and give us records as well as details of the case against them Indian Seafarers released from prisons in Egypt. (1) 2014 – Nil (2) 2015 – 6 (3) 2016 – Nil (4) 2017 – Nil 3. How many Indian Seafarers last remaining mortals were brought back to India from Egypt by PGE MEA in the Calendar year 2016 & 2017. Please send us country wise name of Indian Seafarers and give us records as well as details of the case against them. Nil 4. How many Indian Seafarers who reported as stranded in Egypt ports. Please send us names of Indian Seafarers and give us records as well as details of the reason for being stranded on ships. Presently no Indian Seafarer is stranded in Egypt Capt. Sanjay Prashar Managing Director V R Maritime Services Pvt Ltd"

20 Oct 2017

UAE and ITF to work together to solve abandonment cases

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"The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Federal Transport Authority (FTA) and the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) have agreed to work together to tackle abandonment cases in UAE waters. FTA and ITF officials met this week to discuss the increasing number of abandonment cases faced by the UAE and the Gulf State's desire to bring an end to the problem. Both parties agreed to develop a protocol to govern a closer working relationship, including increased cooperation and information exchange. The FTA officials announced that they would push for the UAE to ratify the Maritime Labour Convention 2006, and the ITF committed to provide advice, training and expertise to assist with this. David Heindel, chair of the ITF seafarers' section, said: ""I'm heartened that the FTA is taking this issue seriously. The scourge of shipowners who think that they can dump their ships and leave their crews without pay and essential supplies must be brought to an end. It is good to know that the FTA is taking the initiative and have already banned the vessels of one shipowner who repeatedly abused seafarers’ rights. This is setting a good example to other states in the region and I hope they will follow suit."""

18 Sep 2017

DP World Acquires Maritime World and Drydocks World

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DP World announced on Monday that it has agreed to acquire Maritime World, the owner of Dubai Maritime City (DMC), for $180 million (Dh661 million), and Drydocks World for a capital injection of $225 million. Both acquisitions are subject to conditions, and the acquisition of Drydocks World is subject to the successful completion of its debt restructuring process, DP World said in a press statement. The acquisitions are expected to close before the end of the first quarter of 2018. The firm said the acquisitions are expected to be earnings accretive — that is, to add value to its earnings — from the first full year of consolidation. DP World Group Chairman and DP World CEO Sultan Bin Sulayem said, “As a global trade enabler, we have been targeting a broader strategy to grow complementary sectors in the global supply chain such as industrial parks, free zones and logistics adding further value for all our stakeholders.”DP World’s share price on Nasdaq Dubai rose 1.14% on Tuesday, from $22.00 to $22.25, during Monday’s trading. Marwan Haddad, portfolio manager at Al Mal Capital, said he felt the firm’s stock was still undervalued, “This is a lot of capital for them, but they remain one of my favourite investments. “I believe they have proven that they add value to acquisitions over and over again.” Haddad said the move might allay investors concerns over a slowdown in growth at Jebel Ali, which accounted for about half of DP World’s profitability. Bin Sulayem said the acquisition of DMC, a maritime service facility and business zone adjacent to DP World’s Port Rashid, would prvide a stable leasing income from existing facilities “and spare capacity to develop industrial and commercial activities for the maritime sector in a prime location of Dubai”. He added that Drydocks World would integrate well with DP World’s maritime services subsidiary, P&O Maritime (POM), “Drydocks World bolsters our investment in the maritime sector through our subsidiary P&O Maritime. We are acquiring a market leader in the Middle East with the potential to deliver near-term synergies and new revenue opportunities over the longer term, particularly in ship conversion and in areas where POM has existing expertise. “Overall, these transactions will enhance our position as a leading maritime services provider, and we look forward to leveraging on our proven track record to accelerate growth and deliver stakeholder value.”

12 Sep 2017

Tanker Conference Tackles Cybercrime Issues

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"Cybercrime is a matter growing international concern within the tanker shipping sector and The Maritime Standard has actually reacted by making this a key topic for this year's event. Trevor Pereira, managing director, says, ""We have received obtained phenomenal support from the delivery industry for this meeting, including the support of the world's biggest shipping organisation, BIMCO. One of the highlights of the day makes sure to be the discussion by Phil Tinsley, BIMCO's maritime safety and security manager. This will certainly be an insightful session and a prompt tip that cyber safety and security should get on every person's schedule."" Mr. Tinsley will certainly show the potential hazards from cyber events and provide guidance about how you can mitigate those risks via awareness and training. BIMCO's recently upgraded industry standards will certainly be described, and attendees will certainly be offered an understanding right into future policies which will need action by the industry from 2021 onwards, as part of ships' Safety Management Solution. Mr. Tinsley states, ""The current NotPetya ransomware attack and the spoofing of GPS signals in the Black Sea illustrate cybercrime is on the boost in all markets of the maritime industry. Business should understand the best ways to take care of phishing emails, and to have plans in position to ensure functional and information technologies are separated on board."" The Maritime Requirement Vessel Meeting will certainly also feature several of one of the most high profile and respected names within the region's vessel and petrochemicals business. The keynote speech will certainly be provided by H.E. Sheikh Talal Al-Khaled Al Sabah, president of the Kuwait Oil Vessel Company (KOTC), that will expose plans to increase and upgrade its vessel fleet, along with efforts to shield the setting. Other confirmed speakers at The Maritime Standard Vessel Meeting consist of:H.E. Eduardo Fonseca Ward, Ambassador, Republic of Panama; Ali Shehab, Deputy CEO, Kuwait Oil Tanker Company; Chris Peters, Chief Executive, Emirates Ship Investment Company; Sanjay Mehta, Chairman, S One Capital; Gaurav Moolwaney, Executive Director, Standard Chartered Bank; Petros Doukas, Former Deputy Minister of Finance and Foreign Affairs, Greece; Tarik Al Junaidi, Chief Executive, Oman Shipping Company; and Omar Abu Omar, President, Maritime & Operations, Gulf Navigation Holding. They will be joined by experts in specific operational sectors, such as ship management, communications, ship repair, classification and security, with Captain Patnaik, Director and CEO, International Shipping and Logistics; Roger Harfouch, Regional Director, Marlink Communications; Dr. Ruanthi De Silva, Chief Executive, SCM Plus; Thomas Kriwat, CEO, Mercmarine Group; Lakshmi Janarthanan, Commercial Director, Drydocks World Dubai; Ralph Becker, Regional Business Development Manager, DNV GL; and Katherine Yakunchenkova, General Manager, Al Safina Security, all confirmed to speak. Trevor Pereira adds,""This is quite simply the finest setting up of the most best known in the region's vessel trade and relevant sectors. We want to add a couple of more high account speakers in the next few weeks, so view this area!"" The high quality of The Maritime Requirement Tanker Meeting has actually likewise won the assistance of numerous leading organisations as enrollers and supporters. Alongside BIMCO, these include the Dubai Council for Marine and Maritime Industries (DCMMI); the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST); the Organisation of Islamic Shipowners Association (OISA), the Nautical Institute; The Indian National Ship Owners’ Association (INSA); The Ceylon Association of Shipping Agents (CASA); The Mission to Seafarers; Pakistan Ship Agent’s Association (PSAA) and the Women in Shipping and Transport Association (WISTA). The Maritime Standard Tanker Conference occurs the day after the Fourth yearly Maritime Standard Awards, which are being held at The Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai on Monday 23rd October 2017. This is a glittering occasion gone to by over 750 senior executives and industry leaders not simply from across the region, but worldwide also. A number of these figures have actually devoted to stay on and participate in the Tanker Meeting, producing incomparable networking opportunities for those attending."

29 Aug 2017

Qatar may cut capital spending because of maritime blockade - Fitch

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Qatar’s government may reduce its capital spending on economic projects and infrastructure if damage to its economy from sanctions intensifies, Fitch Ratings said on Monday as it cut the country’s credit rating. Fitch lowered Qatar by one notch to AA-minus with a negative outlook. That brought it into line with the other two major rating agencies, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, which assess Qatar at the same level and also have negative outlooks for it. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of backing terrorism, which it denies. They imposed sanctions closing Qatar’s only land border, with Saudi Arabia, and disrupted its maritime shipping routes by ending its use of Dubai as a trans-shipment hub. Fitch noted that even before the sanctions, Qatar had shrunk its capital spending plans for 2014-2024 to $130 billion from $180 billion in response to low oil and gas prices. “The government has prepared scenarios for further cuts to capital spending in case oil prices fall again or in case pressures from the embargo intensify,” it said. Fitch predicted the Qatari government’s net foreign assets would fall to 146 percent of gross domestic product this year from 185 percent last year, as the government moves money into local banks to offset outflows due to the sanctions. Outflows are likely to slow in coming months because a large proportion of deposits from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries sanctioning Qatar have already been withdrawn, Fitch said. But it added: “Much non-GCC external funding is being rolled over at a higher cost, but the escalation of tensions in the region could see it flee.” Fitch predicted Qatar’s economic growth would slow to 2.0 percent in 2017 and 1.3 percent next year, from 2.2 percent in 2016 – forecasts that are considerably more bearish than those of many private economists. The sanctions will hurt Qatar’s tourism and transport sectors in particular, Fitch said, estimating that Qatar Airways had lost about 10 percent of its passenger flow. A prolonged rupture in the GCC could undermine the prospects for many of Qatar’s private sector investments, it added. Before the diplomatic rift, all six GCC countries agreed to introduce a 5 percent value-added tax next year as well as an excise tax on tobacco and sugary drinks. Fitch said it understood Qatar remained committed to those plans.

16 Aug 2017

Milaha Launches Direct Container Service Between Qatar and Kuwait

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"Milaha, a Qatar-based maritime and logistics conglomerate, has launched the first ever direct feeder service between Qatar and Kuwait. The new service, named KQX (Kuwait Qatar Express Service), will operate between Hamad Port in Qatar and Shuwaikh Port in Kuwait once a week initially, using a 515 TEU vessel. With 50 reefer plugs available on the vessel and a highly competitive transit time of 1 day, the new service is ideal for transporting perishable products and food stuff, among other cargoes, coming into and out of Qatar, as well as for connecting Kuwait to Milaha’s broader feeder network in the Arabian Gulf and beyond. Commenting on the new service, Milaha’s President and CEO Mr. Abdulrahman Essa Al- Mannai said: “Qatar and Kuwait have long enjoyed strong economic ties, and today, we are building further on these ties with the launch of the Kuwait Qatar Express Service, which represents a fast and cost-efficient solution, particularly for local and regional exporters aiming to enter the Qatari market. Going forward, our track record in delivering reliable and innovative supply chain solutions allows us to continue responding flexibly to our clients’ specific requirements with solid value propositions.” Milaha continues to enhance its international reach and diverse portfolio of marine and logistics services. The company has recently expanded into several new shipping routes and accelerated deployment of new supply chain solutions across a number of countries. Milaha currently calls 2 ports in Oman (Sohar and Salalah) and 3 ports in India (Nhava Sheva, Mundra, and Kandla), offering enhanced connectivity and transit times to Qatar and the region, and is actively evaluating further expansion of services."

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