Thursday, 2 June 2011


Somali authorities seized two unmarked aircraft with $3.6 million in cash, newswires say. Six foreigners, including citizens from the US, UK and Kenya have been detained, according to the Somali Interior Minister Abdi Shakur Hassan Farah, who added that airport authorities got suspicious after briefcases were being transferred from one aircraft to another. “After investigation, $3.6 million were found,” he said.

Helicopters and aircraft are often used to drop ransom payments for merchant ships and crews held off Somalia. Observers say that the 3.6 million was probably one of such payments. This seemed to be indicated by airport deputy security Chief Burhan Mohamed when he told reporters, “We seized the two planes and their pilots plus the ransom for the pirates. One plane was from Nairobi and it wanted to give the money to the pirates using another plane that landed soon after,” he added.

Speculation is rife that the ransom was for the MV Suez; recent reports have said that the ordeal of the crew of that ship, including the six Indians, may be coming to an end after she was hijacked last year. Industry watchers are waiting and hoping that the release of the Suez, when it happens, means the release of all its crew- and is not a repeat of the Asphalt Venture incident, when some Indian crew were held back by the pirates even after ransom was paid.

 IMO agrees to look into the problem of under declared container weights: The IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee has “agreed to a proposal from the Netherlands, Denmark and Australia to address the issue of incorrectly declared containerised cargo and to take other measures to improve the safety of container stowage and ship operations”. The International Chamber of Shipping and the World Shipping Council have welcomed the move, saying that this decision would eventually help save lives, reduce cargo losses and improve operational efficiency; a joint statement said that they supported the initiative “that demonstrates the compelling need to address the problem.

The problem of under declared container weights- and its major consequences on ship stability and safety- has been highlighted by the industry for some years now. Attempts a few years ago to self regulate have by and large come to naught, causing many in the industry to push for mandatory verification of container weights prior to loading. The ICS and WSC joint statement have repeated this demand in their statement. “The problem will not be solved until there is a legal requirement to verify container weights before containers are loaded onto ships,” they say. “Verification of actual container weight before vessel loading and the availability of the actual container weights for proper and safe stowage planning will mark a long overdue and important improvement in industry safety.”

Capacity race: Box ship orders will lead to oversupply, experts warn. The dramatic revival of container ship fortunes last year has seen a steep rise in newbuild orders, say analysts, with a record number of container ships set to be delivered in 2013. Alphaliner is not alone in cautioning the industry that “the unrestrained ordering observed in the past 12 months could lead to more oversupply problems for the industry”. Analysts at the company fear that ship owners have been “lured by attractive new building prices” and the strong recovery in the market, and they should “keep an eye on the burgeoning containership order book”. A record 1.6 million TEU of new capacity has been ordered in the last twelve months, says Alphaliner.

“2013 vessel deliveries could exceed 2 million TEU,” it said. “This would mark the highest-ever annual level of containership new building.” The 2013 deliveries would include some of

Maersk’s recent order of 10 Triple E-class 18,000 TEU vessels; Maersk has an option to build another 20 of these giants thereafter. Another major ship owner, Evergreen, has 22 8,800 box ships due in 2013; another 13 will follow.

“Other carriers and non-operating owners have joined, or are planning to join, the new capacity race,” warns Alphaliner.


No comments:

Post a Comment