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2016-03-11 13:30:02

With an aim to boost shipbuilding in the country and attract investment in its maritime industry, the Government of Panama has presented a new bill dedicated to the development of the mentioned industries, according to the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP).

The bill focuses on fulfilling the country's need to establish shipyards that would be capable of constructing large ships in Panama, as well as creating an attractive environment for investment by ship financing entities.

The country, which has one Panamax-size shipyard focused on ship repairs, is looking to start building big vessels, namely containerships.

According to the authority, the country's geographical position favors the development of these activities which have not yet been exploited.

The country is currently testing all systems on its expanded Panama Canal project, which is in its final stages as the repairs on the leaks have been completed.

Panama Canal Administration (ACP) recently said that less than four percent remains to complete the overall project. The finished canal is expected to be inaugurated in the second quarter of 2016.


2016-03-09 11:31:59

South Korea has moved to kickstart business among its shipyards and shipping lines. The Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM) has released additional support measures which it describes as a "shipping-shipbuilding win-win model".

Debt limits will be extended, interest rates and commissions cut for local lines who chose to order at Korean yards. Furthermore, KEXIM will suspend its loan to value stipulations for a year in a bid to stimulate ordering.

The orderbooks at Korean yards are now at their lowest level for over a decade, while the recession in shipping has hit local owners harder than most other nations.

2016-03-04 11:38:33

South Korea has inked an agreement with Iran on cooperation in the maritime field and fisheries.

Under the deal, the two countries have agreed to facilitate passage to each others' ships through their respective territorial waters, according to Korea's Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.

The agreement paves way for US$5.4bn worth of investment from Korea into Iranian maritime projects, including port development as Iran is expected to experience a surge in cargo volumes.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed in Tehran during a recent visit from Korean officials, also provides for unimpeded rescue operations of the countries' ships.

The move comes as sanctions are lifted against Iran, which has been working strenuously ever since to return to the shipping market and reboot trade ties with international partners.

Moreover, the MoU is expected to provide seamless business activities to Korean shipping partners and promote bilateral trade.

The cooperation will also see Korean Ship Registry cooperate in the field of vessel inspection and classification services and marine engineering with its  Iranian counterpart.

2016-03-03 14:24:12

On Feb. 19, the Japanese government decided to impose sanctions on North Korea for its ongoing nuclear and ballistic missile-related activities. The sanctions include the ban of vessels having been in North Korea from entering Japanese ports.


2016-01-22 14:51:10

Greece's top shipping lobby rejected a European Commission call for the government to reform its shipping tax system on Thursday, saying this could hurt a key driver of the crisis-hit economy.

Shipping is a vital generator of income for Greece, accounting for about seven percent of its gross domestic product and employing about 200,000 people. Greece controls around 23 percent of the world's total merchant fleet including many of the industry's tankers and bulk carriers.

Last month, the Commission urged Athens to better target its tonnage tax system, citing competition and E.U. state aid rules.

But Greek shipowners, who are increasingly worried the Commission's suggestions could hurt a sector already battered by the global slump in demand for dry freight commodities and record low freight earnings, rejected the proposals.

"There is no effective distortion of competition in the maritime field in the E.U.," the Union of Greek Shipowners said.

"Any fundamental changes to the institutional and fiscal framework in which the Greek shipping community is presently operating, would have unforeseeable consequences which would be detrimental not only for Greece but also for the rest of the E.U."

On Dec. 21, the Commission said it was "concerned that favorable tax treatment is also extended to maritime sector intermediaries and operators of ships, which do not provide maritime transport services" such as insurance intermediaries and maritime brokers, as well as the shareholders of shipping companies.

Fishing vessels, port tugboats and yachts should pay a standard income tax, it added giving Greece two months to inform the Commission whether it agreed on the proposed measures.

If Athens consented, the Commission would confirm it in a new state aid decision and the new rules would come into effect from January 2019 at the latest, the Commission said threatening otherwise to open a formal state aid investigation.

But the union warned that the proposed measures may encourage relocation of companies outside Europe.

"The E.U. may lose a substantial part of its fleet and maritime cluster," it said.

2016-01-20 15:21:12

Shipping companies are being strongly encouraged to use new 'Transitional Measures for Shipowners Selling Ships for Recycling' launched by an inter-industry working group led by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS).

According to ICS, the purpose of the new Transitional Measures is to help shipowners ensure to the greatest extent possible that their end of life ships will be recycled at facilities that are compliant with the standards enshrined in the IMO Hong Kong Convention, in advance of the global regime entering into legal force.

The Transitional Measures set out detailed advice on the preparation and maintenance of inventories of hazardous materials, as required by the IMO Convention and a separate new EU Regulation which has already entered into force and which has implications for non-EU ships calling at EU ports. The guidelines also address measures which shipping companies are strongly recommended to take now when selling end of life ships for recycling.

"The industry accepts its responsibility to promote the safe and environmentally sustainable disposal of ships in the world's ship recycling yards, the majority of which are located in developing countries," said ICS Secretary General, Peter Hinchliffe.

"Adherence to these Transitional Measures should be seen as a sign of good faith prior to the entry into force of the IMO regime. But they will also help companies avoid falling foul of the separate EU ship recycling regime which started to take effect on Dec. 31 and which is also relevant to ships flying non-EU flags."

The Transitional Measures were originally issued by the industry immediately after the adoption of the Hong Kong Convention in 2009, and have now been expanded to take account of subsequent detailed guidance issued by IMO.

"It is disappointing that after six years the Hong Kong Convention has still only been ratified by a handful of IMO Member States. Governments need to make this a far more urgent priority if they are serious about improving conditions in ship recycling yards on a global basis," said Hinchliffe.

In addition to ICS, these new measures have been developed with expertise from the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS), BIMCO, IPTA, Intercargo, Intertanko, OCIMF and the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF). They are also supported by the Asian Shipowners' Forum and the European Community Shipowners' Associations (ECSA).

2016-01-20 15:03:35

The Ballast Water Management (BWM) convention has not met its final entry-into-force requirement yet, according to the International Maritime Organization.

Together with partner IHS Maritime & Trade, IMO has been engaged in a process to verify tonnage figures to ascertain whether or not the BWM convention's requirement has been met, and, although the process will continue for up to three more weeks, IMO said that it is in a position to confirm that "the November ratifications did not trigger the convention's entry into force."

IMO said that, following the spate of ratifications in November 2015, forty-seven countries have now ratified the convention, substantially more than the 30 required, but their combined fleets comprise, at most, 34.56 per cent of global tonnage, with 35 per cent required for entry into force.

"The recent ratifications have brought the BWM convention so very close to entry into force," said IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim.

While we cannot predict exactly when that will happen, I would urge countries that have not done so to ratify the BWM convention as soon as possible so that we can establish a certain date for entry into force, and also so that it is widely accepted when it does.

"In particular, those countries with large merchant fleets that have not done so, are requested to accelerate their processes to ratify the convention."

Shipowners have been encouraged to install the necessary equipment and establish operational procedures in accordance with IMO regulations and standards, so that the BWM convention can be implemented rapidly and effectively upon entry into force.

Amendments to the convention, to be implemented after it enters into force, will be considered at the next meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee, in April 2016.

2016-01-19 15:32:42

The Ballast Water Management (BWM) convention has not met its final entry-into-force requirement yet, according to the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Together with partner IHS Maritime & Trade, IMO has been engaged in a process to verify tonnage figures to ascertain whether or not the BWM convention's requirement has been met, and, although the process will continue for up to three more weeks, IMO said it is in a position to confirm that "the November ratifications did not trigger the convention's entry into force."

IMO said that, following the spate of ratifications in November 2015, forty-seven countries have now ratified the convention, substantially more than the 30 required, but their combined fleets comprise, at most, 34.56 per cent of global tonnage, with 35 per cent required for entry into force.

"The recent ratifications have brought the BWM convention so very close to entry into force," said IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim.

"While we cannot predict exactly when that will happen, I would urge countries that have not done so to ratify the BWM convention as soon as possible so that we can establish a certain date for entry into force, and also so that it is widely accepted when it does.

"In particular, those countries with large merchant fleets that have not done so, are requested to accelerate their processes to ratify the convention."

Shipowners have been encouraged to install the necessary equipment and establish operational procedures in accordance with IMO regulations and standards, so that the BWM convention can be implemented rapidly and effectively upon entry into force.

Amendments to the convention, to be implemented after it enters into force, will be considered at the next meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee, in April 2016.

2016-01-15 16:26:43

New Delhi is adding further support to India's shipyards. The nation's shipyards and ship recyclers have been granted infrastructure status under the government's Made in India scheme, which will make their financial moves easier.

Yards will now be able to access long-term loans of up to 25 years. The move follows on from a large shipbuilding subsidy programme announced by the government last month.


2016-01-05 18:01:07

BIMCO, together with other leading shipping organizations, has launched a set of guidelines to help the global shipping industry prevent major safety, environmental and commercial issues that could result from a cyber incident onboard a ship.

The cyber guidelines launched are a first for the shipping industry, developed by international shipping associations, comprising BIMCO, CLIA, ICS, INTERCARGO and INTERTANKO – and with support from a wide range of stakeholders. The Guidelines on Cyber Security Onboard Ships are free to download from the BIMCO website.

Angus Frew, Secretary General of BIMCO, said, "BIMCO has led the way to identify potential cyber vulnerabilities for ships – and their implications – based on the latest expert research."

"The aim is to provide the shipping industry with clear and comprehensive information on cyber security risks to ships enabling shipowners to take measures to protect against attacks and to deal with the eventuality of cyber incidents."

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