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June 2, 2023

The U.S. Coast Guard has called off the search for Ronnie Peale, a 35-year-old man who went overboard from the cruise ship Carnival Magic off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida.

After searching over 5,171 square miles for 60 hours, the Coast Guard made the difficult decision to suspend the active search efforts. The incident occurred when Peale leaned over the balcony railing on his cruise ship’s balcony and fell into the water. Despite extensive search and rescue efforts by Coast Guard crews and assistance from the U.S. Navy, Peale remains missing. This tragic incident highlights the risks associated with overboard situations and serves as a reminder of the importance of passenger safety aboard cruise ships.

Svitzer Australia, a subsidiary of A.P. Moller Maersk, has reached an agreement in principle with Australia’s maritime unions on a new labor contract for Australian tugboat crews. The proposed National Towage Enterprise Agreement, which has been under negotiation since late 2019, will now be presented for a vote.

The agreement aims to provide certainty and benefits to union members and has the potential to end a three-year period of unsuccessful bargaining. Svitzer Australia’s tugs play a critical role in supporting ship operations at major Australian ports, representing over 75 percent of the country’s trade. The outcome of the vote will determine the future labor conditions for tugboat crews and have significant implications for the efficiency and reliability of harbor towage services.

The United Arab Emirates Maritime Administration has issued a circular to clamp down on dubious ships joining its ship registry. Non-members of the International Group of Protection and Indemnity Clubs who insure UAE-flagged ships are now required to provide additional information to the country’s regulators.

Smaller P&I clubs must demonstrate an S&P Global rating of at least ‘A’ and submit a list of claims exceeding $10 million, along with details of the five largest claims. Furthermore, they must show evidence of membership in a recognized maritime-related professional agency or regulatory body and possess professional indemnity insurance of no less than $10 million. This move aims to address concerns regarding vessels transporting oil that are insured, flagged, and classed with institutions and countries lacking sufficient technical and regulatory oversight. By imposing stricter requirements, the UAE aims to mitigate accident risks and enhance the overall safety of its ship registry.

The European Commission has presented five legislative proposals to update EU regulations on maritime safety and prevent water pollution caused by ships. These proposals seek to align EU rules with international standards, enhance implementation and enforcement through digitalization, and promote clean and modern shipping practices.

The package includes measures to improve maritime safety rules, emphasize port state control and maritime accident investigations, and prevent illegal discharges into European seas. The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) will play a crucial role in enforcing the new requirements and supporting member state administrations. The proposed changes cover a wide range of areas, such as flag state inspections, port state control, accident investigation, illegal discharges, and the digitalization of operations. By updating and aligning regulations, the EU aims to ensure high-quality shipping services, reduce environmental pollution, and enhance the safety of maritime transport within its jurisdiction.

Taiwanese shipping companies, Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp. and Evergreen Marine Corp., are granting substantial mid-year bonuses to their employees despite a decline in global shipping demand. Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp. is distributing bonuses equivalent to 30 months and 12 months of salary, in addition to the year-end bonus given earlier this year.

Evergreen Marine Corp. approved a bonus worth around 12 months of pay, on top of the bonuses already provided in January. These bonuses reflect a company policy mandating the allocation of 1% of the previous year’s profit to employees, although the specific amount each staff member receives is determined by the company. The shipping industry has experienced significant profits in the past two years due to increased demand for consumer goods and higher freight rates during the pandemic. However, with the current economic uncertainty, global shipping is facing a downturn, leading to reduced profit expectations for Evergreen and Yang Ming.

The Babuza Wisdom, a Panama-flagged bulk carrier operated by Taiwan-based Well Shipmanagment & Maritime Consultant Company Limited, has been prohibited from entering Australian waters for 90 days by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).

The vessel was found to have multiple deficiencies, including a faulty rescue boat engine, during an inspection conducted by AMSA in Geelong on May 17, 2023. AMSA had previously issued warnings to the company regarding other ships in its fleet that had been detained in recent years. The inspection revealed significant safety and environmental risks, prompting the immediate detention of Babuza Wisdom. AMSA’s Executive Director of Operations, Michael Drake, highlighted the vessel’s compromised emergency response capabilities due to the defective rescue boat engine and the absence of radio backup in case of main engine power loss. AMSA’s action against Babuza Wisdom is part of its intensified efforts to address poor performance in the maritime industry.

Cape Shipping, owned by the Andrianopoulos family, has purchased two capesize vessels from Golden Ocean, a company controlled by John Fredriksen. The Greek owner acquired the 13- and 14-year-old bulkers, Golden Feng and Golden Shui, for $23 million per ship. Both vessels are equipped with scrubbers and were built by Daehan. This acquisition adds to Cape Shipping’s existing fleet, which includes a newcastlemax ore carrier, the NSS Honesty. The Greek outfit currently controls 17 ships, comprising six bulkers and 11 containerships, with a total fleet value of approximately $519 million.

Korean shipyards are grappling with a severe labor shortage, leading to project delays and prompting the nation to seek workers from abroad. After experiencing a prolonged downturn, the local shipbuilding workforce is currently more than 10,000 employees short of the required number.

To address this shortage, the Korean government has modified immigration rules to allow overseas workers to join the shipbuilding industry. Laborers from Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines have been recruited, and efforts have expanded to include landlocked Nepal, with up to 3,000 Nepalis being sought to work in South Korea. The global shipbuilding industry has witnessed increased activity, resulting in forward cover for major shipyards extending well into 2026, as reported by brokers Braemar.

Aker Solutions and Aker BP, two Norwegian companies, have agreed to extend their frame agreement for the provision of subsea production systems. The original agreement, signed in 2016, has been extended until December 31, 2028. Under the agreement, Aker Solutions will provide assistance to Aker BP in various areas, including feasibility studies, concept developments, front-end engineering and design, subsea development projects, and services during project execution.

This extension reinforces Aker Solutions’ commitment to the Subsea Alliance, an agreement that enables collaboration between operator and contractors, including Subsea 7, to achieve cost-effective solutions. The value of the work covered by the frame agreement will be recorded as subsea order intake by Aker Solutions when each new project is initiated.

You can read previous issue of ‘Currents’ here.

Disclaimer: ‘Currents’ is an online shipping news service by Earl’s Rock Trading (Pvt) Ltd that reports on the latest developments and trends in the maritime industry. We do not take any responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information provided in our news stories or for any opinions expressed by the people quoted in them. Our aim is to provide our readers with up-to-date news and insights from reliable sources. However, we do not endorse or take any responsibility for any actions taken by our readers based on the information provided in our news articles. We also want to make it clear that we do not own any of the images used in our news stories, unless stated otherwise. All images belong to their respective owners, and we use them solely for illustrative purposes. If you are the owner of any image used in our news stories and want it to be removed or credited, please contact us, and we will take the necessary action.