WWW.SHIPSANDOIL.COM
home   Picture of the Day     ship information   articles and features     news and views   publications   webcam 

Locations of visitors to this page

HOME
PICTURE OF THE DAY
NORTH EUROPEAN SHIPS
SOUTH ATLANTIC AND CARRIBEAN
INDIA AND INDIAN OCEAN
NORTH AMERICAN SHIPS
FAR EAST AND AUSTRALIA
MEDITERRANEAN AND MIDDLE EAST
ARTICLES AND FEATURES
NEWS AND VIEWS
PUBLICATIONS
WEBCAM


 

PREVIOUS

NEWS AND VIEWS NOVEMBER 2008  

NEXT

MARINE LONDON

I have recently made a couple of visits to London and on two occasions made the trip from Victoria station and Gatwick by train, it would have been more but the inbound EasyJet from Madrid arrived at one in the morning, three hours late. The fact that the airline claimed that public transport was still running from the airport was more than irritating. But enought of that.

The train line passes close to Battersea power station, now little more than a shell with an iconic chimney in each corner, and also close to the wharf and the cranes which are still there. There must be those who wonder how the coal actually got to the power station. For those who do not know it was transported in specially constructed vessels known to the industry as "flatirons". And the name says all! These little ships seems to have virtually no upperworks, and the bridge only judst gave the watchkeeper a view over the bow. I never went on one, but I imagine that the horizon must have been about five miles away. I do not imagine that any still exist.

Another trip during the month was via London City Airport, a really good way of getting in or out of London if you can afford it. The runway is built alongside King George V dock so that as the aircraft take off you can look across and see the berths where the P&O cargo ships used to tie up. Transport to the centre of the city is excellent and I can't help wished that it had been as good for us when we were tied up there.

PIRATES OF THE GULF OF ADEN

During the last few days the tables were turned on the Somali pirates who have been predating commercial shipping in the Gulf of Aden more or less without let or hindrance for a couple of years. A group of pirates in a stolen dhow had attemted to board a Danish cargo ship but had been unsuccessful. However HMS Cumberland, a Type 22 frigate which was part of the NATO force operating in the area identified the dhow as being the one which had caused the trouble earlier and dispatched small craft manned by marines to board the vessel.

The pirates opened fire on the marines who fired back fire in self defence. Two pirates were killed and a third injured and died later. There-after the marines boarded the dhow without any problems, and it is assumed that the remaining pirates will face the full force of the law some-where, at some time.

One might think that this action would result in a change of attitude, or at least caution on the part of the rest of the pirates, but sadly this does not appear to be so. Over the week-end a chemical tanker with its full crew has been released on payment of a ransom of more than $1,000,000 and another chemical tanker has been hijacked. The fleet of warships seems to be increasing in numbers as nations identify risks to their crews, and the latest countries to send ships are the Indians and the South Koreans. Surely things have to get sorted soon, even though the approach of the various military vessels may be a bit more cautious than in years gone by.

Meanwhile we should not forget that there is still lots of pirate activity off the coast of Nigeria and Bourbon have apparently suspended operations after one of their vessels has been hijacked and the crew of another robbed.

ANCHOR-HANDLER DAY RATES

A couple of Maersk ships recently achieved a world record for an anchor-handler day rate at 225,000 per day. It was a figure quoted recently at the IBC Offshore Support Vessel Conference where David Bichard of ODS-Petrodata gave some estimates of the possible fall out from the current financial crisis. He said that there would be cancellations mostly due to mutual agreements between shipyards and ship-owners and although it was difficult to make an estimate the total reduction in deliveries could be as much as 30%.

In general this could be a good thing, particularly since many brokers are predicting that there would be an oversupply of ships in the fairly near future, and cynics have been suggesting that if the whole order book was delivered in the next couple of years there would be no chance of these craft actually being crewed. Even with a 30% reduction it is likely that it would still be a mammoth task to find skilled people to operate these vessels.

Meanwhile anchor-handler rates remain high in Europe as the available fleet shrinks, and ships are hired longer term but are not replaced by new-buildings. The many vessels being put together in China are not really being delivered on time, and this of course will give owners another opportunity to cancel. This has not happened recently because owners have been pleased to receive their ships late or not, but think back to the 1980s when the ME303 Edda Sun languished in Korea for a couple of years, because it did not, in the view of the prospective owners, come up to spec.

DONALD TRUMP AND ABERDEEN

I note from the BBC news that Donald Trump has finally been successful in his attempt to get planning permission for the development of a huge golf complex at Balmedie  a short distance to the North of Aberdeen. Amongst the various news items about it there was nothing about the proposed location of the windmills, which were apparently to be ranged along the coast from some-where to the North of Balmedie to a point just to the north of the harbour.

Then magically it seemed that all the windmills were to be collected outside the harbour, leaving the possible golfers further to the north with a clear view of the North Sea, unsullied by very large rotating propellers. I am not sure what the status is now, because the harbourmaster, rightly in my view, was campaigning against this change since the windmills were to be grouped in the only anchorage anywhere on the coast. And for non-seafarers who might find themselves reading this column (I live in hope) not only do you need fairly shallow water for anchoring of which there is much, you also need a suitable seabed so that the anchor can dig in, of which there is very little between Stonehaven and Fraserburgh.

And once more, I have to say, golfers must be mad to think about leaving Florida to cross the ocean to walk about in the wind and rain which is - wait for it - par for the course, in the North East of Scotland.

TAX

I was going to write here  about distressed seafarers of which there are many, and it is really a matter of making a chjoice of which distressed seafarers to write about, but instead here are a few words about the distress currently being experienced by many British seafarers on certain types of offshore vessel.

In the constant quest for the removal of more  and more of our hard-earned cash from our pockets the British tax man has decided that DP vessels are not actually ships, and that there-fore all the guys who are working on them will have to pay UK tax, regardless of whether they spend half the year outside the UK or not. This apparently applied no matter in the world where the ship is if the seafarer returns to the UK at all.

Oh Dear! There may be no way out of this, but at least the Nautilus union is lobbying the government and getting everyone to sign a Downing Street petition. I attach the link here http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/MerchantSED/ . Also they are recommending that you write to your MP. Do what-ever sort of ship you are on because one day you might want to serve on one of these vessels.

Victor Gibson. November 2008.

FOR INDEX OF NEWS AND VIEWS CLICK HERE
 

NEWSLETTERS

December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
 April 2009
 March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
Feb 2008
Jan 2008
Dec 2007
Nov 2007
Oct 2007
 June 2007
 May 2007
 April 2007
 March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
June 2005
April 2005
Feb 2005
Jan 2005
Nov 2004
Oct 2004
Sept 2004
August 2004

July 2004

May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
 
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
 
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002 
July/Aug 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
July 2001
May 2001
March 2001
February 2001
January 2001
October 2000
September 2000
August 2000