22 January 2016

Signed up, locked up, laid-up:

STOCK markets may be collapsing around our ears, with the oil price following suit, but the business of moving things from one place to another on ships goes on. Overcapacity in the container sector gets a strong look in this week, along with a stirring giant at the IMO, a union tussle down under and an expected sentence in long running case of the Seaman Guard Ohio.

Too big, too late
Recent ratifications of the Ballast Water Management Convention has brought the total percentage of the world fleet represented by signatories so close to the entry into force trigger of 35% that the IMO has had to go away and check its numbers. While the IMO checks on fractions of percentages here and there, the world’s largest ship registry is stirring, and may well place its 330m dwt mass behind the BWMC. Craig Eason has the details in Panama plans ratification of ballast water and ship recycling conventions.

Sentencing surprise
The crew of the Seaman Guard Ohio have endured a series of highs and lows since their vessel was intercepted in October 2013, and the 35 men on board were arrested. At one stage hope shone in the form of a judge quashing charges against the crew, leaving them free to return home. The crew remained tangled in the local Indian politics of the case though, as local police refused to return travel documents to them while an appeal was brought, a move seen as a breach of the individual human rights of the men by Human Rights at Sea. Gary Howard ‘s Five years' hard labour for Seaman Guard Ohio crew details the latest court decision affecting the crew, the reactions of the charities and authorities involved, and the next move in securing the release of the crew.

Tools down Down Under
Australia’s maritime unions have a history of conflict, and a move by Svitzer Australia to combine the three separate Enterprise Agreements covering the masters, engineers and deckhands on its tugs into one document threatens a return to tension. Australian ports hit by Svitzer tug strike action is a piece first published on Lloyd’s List Australia by Jim Wilson and has the where, when and why on the industrial action. Both Lloyd’s List and Lloyd’s List Australia have subsequent updates on the story, and more are sure to follow.

Bigger losses...
Last week we opened the year with news that box lines will have to idle record numbers of vessels to revive rates, and this year Katherine Espina has the jolly news that Container industry losses to widen to over $5bn in 2016, Drewry estimates.

... on fewer boxes
Janet Porter takes the final spot in the list, with even more data on the new realities for container shipping. No respite for Asia-Europe trades as volume decline continues is a look at the main global routes and indices with information on the ups and downs of both volumes and freight rates, and what lies ahead as new vessels continue to enter the fleet.

Source: Lloyds list. 15 January 2016

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