Friday, 21 August 2009

Industry Snapshots

India detains North Korean Ship on suspicion that it may be carrying nuclear material. The detention follows the MV Mu San dropping anchor off Hut Bay Island in the Andamans without permission. When discovered, she led the Coast Guard on a six hour chase after which she was detained. The ship, bound for Iraq, had entered Indian waters on August 5. Indian officials later confirmed that a preliminary investigation by nuclear scientists did not throw up any radioactive material on board the ship, which is carrying a large sugar consignment. Ashok Chand, a senior police officer in India's Andaman and Nicobar islands, told Reuters that investigations were still in progress. Security agencies are also investigating a call by the vessel to Karachi in Pakistan last year. North Korea is known to have helped Pakistan develop its missile capability and its military nuclear programme, and recent reports have indicated that the same unholy ties exist between the governments of Pyongyang and Myanmar today. Indian authorities confirm that the ship may be taken to the Indian coast for a more thorough investigation. U.N. member states are authorised to inspect North Korean ships and destroy any goods transported in violation of a Security Council resolution following the North Korean nuclear tests earlier this year. "With increasing reports of North Korea helping Myanmar build a nuclear reactor, any vessel floating in Indian waters without a possible reason will be checked and India is rightly concerned," said Naresh Chandra, a former envoy to Washington.

66 feared dead in Tonga ferry disaster, one that the Prime Minister described as "devastating" for the tiny Pacific island with a population of just 100,000. According to eyewitness reports, the ageing ferry ‘Princess Ashika’ capsized at high speed on a routine run. Amongst the casualties were British, French, Japanese and German nationals. Dive teams from New Zealand and Australia were used to try to locate survivors in the wreck, which is lying in 35 metre deep waters. Hundreds of relatives protested angrily at the shipping company's wharf in Nuku'alofa claiming that the 34 year old Princess Ashika should not have been allowed to sail; the ferry had been plagued with breakdowns ever since being purchased from Fiji a few weeks ago. Reports say that the ferry capsized after some cargo on board shifted.

Baltic Dry Index has worst week since October as Chinese demand for coal and iron ore collapses. The index dropped 17 percent during the week, its worst since last year’s October crash. “The Chinese have backed off and it’s starting to show in the number of shipments this month,” says Gavin Durrell of Island View Shipping. Many analysts have been predicting that the recent Chinese coal and iron ore imports that caused the index to rally earlier this year were too good to last, and that speculation driving the BDI was bound to end in tears for some. The recent boost in Chinese imports meant that demand for bulk carriers jumped, bolstered by the port congestion at many Chinese ports. Meanwhile, Chinese steel importers are said to be negotiating annual iron ore prices with producers.

Hong Kong based operators agree to pay $10 million
in Cosco Busan case, says US Department of Justice. Fleet Management has pleaded guilty to violating the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 as well as obstruction of justice and false statements charges in the Nov 2007 allision of the Cosco Busan with the Bay Bridge after the ships departure from the Port of Oakland, San Francisco. The pilot, Capt. John Cota, has already been sentenced to ten months in jail and community service for his part in the incident. Reports say that Fleet would also have to implement a compliance plan for better training of officers on their ships. The company admitted that the crew of the ship did not have adequate knowledge of some of the ship's navigational equipment, besides other shortcomings.



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