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Nobel Laureates to Arctic Council: No More Drilling

  As the Arctic Council’s senior officials prepare for a meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska, a group of Nobel Peace Laureates sent a letter on Monday to heads of state, as members of the Council, urging them to protect vulnerable areas and the climate by removing Arctic waters from any future oil and gas exploration. The letter, signed by the five ...

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Production Starts at Goliat

Eni has started production from the Goliat field located in Production Licence 229, which is 85 kilometers northwest of Hammerfest in an ice-free area in the Barents Sea offshore northern Norway. Goliat is the first oil field to come on stream in the Barents Sea and is being developed using the largest and most sophisticated floating cylindrical production and storage ...

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The Nautical Institute Publishes Strategic Plan

Sustainability features strongly in The Nautical Institute’s latest Strategic Plan, which has just been published and will run to 2020. It incorporates the views of 1,400 members who responded to a call to help guide the Institute’s work. Captain Robert McCabe FNI, President of the Institute, said the organization needed to “plot its course” in a challenging world where there ...

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Captain Accused of Stealing Dead Woman’s Identity

A passenger yacht captain in the U.S. has been accused of stealing a dead woman’s identity. Texas news agency, KHOU reports that 52-year-old Cynthia Lyerla went by the name of Christina White for 20 years. White died in 1965. Lyerla appeared in court on Friday to face charges that could see her imprisoned for up to 10 years. She has ...

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Historical: The World’s First LNG Ship-to-Ship Transfer

The video above documents what is thought to be the first ship-to-ship transfer of LNG, 32 years ago, in March 1984. The trial was conducted by Abu Dhabi Gas Liquefaction Company (Adgas) using the LNG carriers Norman Lady and Hilli in the Persian Gulf. Hilli was also involved in another first on April 29, 1977. The vessel left Das Island ...

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New Plastic, Oil Clean-Up Device Unveiled

A team of inventors from Sussex, England, have developed a solar and wind-powered boat that can suck up plastic waste. Bluebird Marine Systems unveiled their proof of concept at the government-funded Innovate U.K. show in London late last year and are now crowd funding the construction of a full-scale vessel. SeaVax, when built, it will be 44 meters (144 feet) ...

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Viking Fishing Vessel Sunk by Indonesian Authorities

Authorities in Indonesia have sunk the last of the “Bandit 6” toothfish poaching vessels, the Viking, in Pangandaran, West Java. Representatives from environmental organization Sea Shepherd witnessed the sinking, which marks the end of over a decade of toothfish poaching in the Southern Ocean at the hands of the Bandit 6, and the conclusion of Sea Shepherd’s 12th Southern Ocean ...

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Forecast: More Offshore Jobs in Norway Starting 2018

The Norwegian Oil and Gas Association has announced the results of a new employment study showing the need for recruitment of 22,000 new workers by 2020, including replacement for 9,000 retiring workers. The new report, conducted by the International Research Institute of Stavanger, shows a declining workforce total through 2017, reaching bottom in 2018, and rising back to current levels ...

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Testing of Atlantic Water-Saving Basins Complete

The testing of the Panama Canal’s Atlantic-facing Agua Clara locks’ water-saving basins is now complete. This milestone brings the canal’s expansion program another step closer to completion, with less than four percent remaining. To ensure that the quality established in the contract was met, the water-saving basins were filled and emptied to confirm they were watertight and to properly assess ...

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Australian Defense Chief Sooths Submarine Fears

Australia’s Chief of the Defence Force Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin held a round-table meeting with members of the Australian media to discuss future capabilities outlined in the newly released 2016 Defence White Paper after concerns arising from the report. The White Paper was released late February, and it stated that Australia plans to double the size of its submarine ...

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South Korean Shipping Accidents Double in 2015

  South Korea experienced 2,740 maritime accidents last year that resulted in 112 deaths or missing persons, according to South Korean government data released in March. The number of accidents was double the annual average of 1,367 for the previous three years. The South Korean Ministry of Public Safety and Security blames the rise on poor maintenance and faulty equipment. ...

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Spanish Authorities Arrest Fishing Crime Leader

Environmental group Sea Shepherd reports that Spanish authorities have arrested six people, including Antonio Vidal Suárez, a leader in the Vidal Armadores organization, on charges relating to illegally fishing for Antarctic and Patagonian toothfish. Sea Shepherd’s Captains Peter Hammarstedt and Siddharth Chakravarty have congratulated the authorities. The environmentalists say that Vidal Armadores is the most notorious of a handful of ...

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Iran Faces Oil Price War, Plus New Calls for Sanctions

  In an open acknowledgment of fierce price competition between Iran and other foreign oil producers, Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said Wednesday that the “oil price war against Iran” will backfire on unnamed “certain states,” reported Iranian state outlet Fars. “Certain states tried to curb Iran and the resistance. They created ISIL and helped reduce ...

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Oil Majors Show Interest in Mexico Deepwater Bid

Oil companies have paid Mexico’s oil regulator nearly $80 million for seismic data ahead of an auction for deep water fields, suggesting robust interest in the tender despite a lasting slump in the price of crude. Thirteen companies, including Exxon Mobil, BP and BHP Billiton, have paid a total of 1.38 billion pesos ($78 million) to date for licenses to ...

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Sustained Low Oil Price Sinks Deepwater Projects

Douglas-Westwood (DW) forecasts deepwater expenditure to total $137 billion between 2016 and 2020. This represents a 35 percent decline compared to DW’s previous edition of the deepwater forecast issued March 2015. The prolonged low oil price has impacted the deepwater market, with operators considering alternative development options and delaying the sanctioning of new projects, whilst trying to protect returns on ...

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Asian Shipowners Deeply Troubled by Prestige Judgment

During its recent interim meeting, the Ship Insurance and Liability Committee of the Asian Shipowners Forum expressed its deep concern over the recent decision of the Spanish Supreme Court to reverse the findings of the lower court and find that 81-year-old Captain Apostolos Mangouras, the master of the ill-fated Prestige, acted recklessly and was therefore guilty of gross negligence. In ...

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Aramco to double gas production in 10 years

Saudi Aramco plans to nearly double its gas production to 23 billion standard cu ft per day in the next decade, its chief executive said on Tuesday. “The kingdom has managed to increase gas production from 3.5 billion standard cu ft (scf) per day in 1982…to more than 12 billion scf now and this figure is expected to double to ...

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Dubai private sector business slows in February

Private sector companies based in Dubai signalled a deterioration in overall operating conditions as output and new orders contracted during February, according to the latest Emirates NBD Dubai Economy Tracker Index. At 48.9, the composite indicator designed to give an accurate overview of operating conditions in the non-oil private sector economy was down from 50.7 at the start of 2016 ...

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Saudi ‘sends requests to banks for $6-8bn loan’

Saudi Arabia’s government has asked banks to submit proposals to extend it a five-year, US dollar loan of between $6 billion and $8 billion, with an option to increase the size, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday. Earlier this month, Reuters reported that Saudi Arabia had asked banks to discuss the idea of an international loan, but ...

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V.Group Buys Bibby Ship Management

V.Group, the largest provider of ship management services, has bought Bibby Ship Management, a subsidiary of Bibby Line Group. Bibby Ship Management’s 300-plus employees provide crew management, technical support services, marine travel, marine surveying, training and recruitment to all segments, with a strong presence in offshore. The firm maintains offices in the UK, Isle of Man, Sweden, Ukraine, India, the ...

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New Guidance on Unpacking Shipping Containers

A safety authority in Australia has investigated 21 incidents involving workers being injured while unpacking shipping containers over the last five years. Three of these workers were killed. Now, Safe Work Australia has developed a series of information sheets which provide practical guidance on how to manage health and safety risks associated with unpacking shipping containers, including exposure to hazardous ...

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World’s Largest Undersea Restaurant Installed

    Heavy lift shipping company Jumbo has installed the world’s largest underwater restaurant, located in the Hurawalhi Island Resort located on Lhaviyani Atoll in the Maldives.Jumbo moored the transport vessel Fairlane alongside a shallow coral reef where the acrylic and steel structure onto pre-installed concrete piles at a depth of about 10 meters. The vessel is fitted with two ...

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New E.U. Port Services Regulation Draws Criticism

  Draft rules designed to boost the efficiency and cut the cost of services supplied at E.U. maritime ports, such as mooring and towage, were voted by the European Parliament on Tuesday. Ensuring transparency in the setting of fees for using port services and infrastructure, and in any public funding that ports receive, should help to prevent price abuse and ...

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Transocean Delays Jackups, Offshore Rig Count Down

Rig operator Transocean announced Tuesday that it is delaying delivery of five high-specification jackups from Keppel Offshore & Marine. The class Super B 400 jackup rigs, worth a combined $1.1 billion, were slated for delivery starting the first quarter of this year, but will be pushed back until 2020. Transocean is a repeat customer at Keppel; it already owns several ...

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Lost Anchors a Growing Concern

Lost anchors are among the top five reasons for claims costs, and DNV GL, Gard and The Swedish Club have responded to a negative trend in loss of anchors and chains and associated costs with a study into root causes. The study has revealed that a majority of these losses could be avoided by increased awareness of the environmental limitations, ...

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Tanker Sinks Tug in Straits of Malacca

On Monday, the Italian-owned Aframax product tanker Mare Tirrenum struck and sank the tug boat Ayu Lestri five nm off the coast of Rupat Island in the Straits of Malacca. The Ayu Lestri, with the barge Malioboro 1 in tow with a shipment of palm oil, collided with the tanker and sank. The barge washed up ashore. Two crewmembers out ...

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No “Freedom to Run Amok” in S. China Sea, China Says

The South China Sea is one of the world’s freest and safest shipping lanes, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday, arguing that Beijing’s control over the disputed waters was justified because it was the first to “discover” them. China has come under fire from the United States and its allies in recent months over its land reclamation activities ...

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Six Officials Arrested in Argentine Shipyard Scam

Argentinian authorities have arrested six executives and public officials in connection with investigations of fraud at the nation’s number two shipbuilder, the state-run enterprise Astillero Río Santiago (Río Santiago Shipyard). They face allegations of embezzlement of public funds. The arrests come as part of an investigation into contracts at the yard between 2012 to 2013. If proven, the amount of ...

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Brent holds above US$40 as investors call bottom on oil rout

SINGAPORE: Oil prices fell on Tuesday (Mar 8) on weak Chinese trading data, but Brent remained over US$40 a barrel after jumping to 2016 highs the previous day as producers announced talks to support the market and investors opened new bullish bets. International benchmark Brent crude futures managed to defend US$40 per barrel on Tuesday, standing at US$40.32 at 0359 ...

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Oman Port Signs Iran Trade Deals

Oman’s top port Salalah has signed trade agreements with key Iranian terminals in the latest efforts by the Gulf country to boost shipping ties with Tehran following the lifting of international sanctions. Measures against Iran were lifted in January as part of a nuclear deal with world powers, ending years of isolation which saw the international shipping sector cut ties ...

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Pace of Bulker Scrapping is Faster than Ever Before

Analysts with Clarksons Research have reported that bulk carrier demolition is heating up to record levels, with owners selling more – and newer – vessels to the scrappers. By the end of February, 10 million dwt of bulkers with average age of 24 were sold for demolition – a total of 120 vessels, or roughly two per day. The first ...

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First Gas from Gorgon

  Chevron has started producing LNG and condensate at the Gorgon Project on Barrow Island off the northwest coast of Western Australia. The first LNG cargo is expected to be shipped next week. The Gorgon Project is one of the world’s largest natural gas projects and the largest single-resource development in Australia. The project also includes one of the world’s ...

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Belgium Ratifies Ballast Water Management Convention

On March 7, Belgium became the latest country to ratify the Ballast Water Management Convention. Aimed at preventing the spread of harmful and invasive aquatic species in ships’ ballast water, the Convention requires ships to have procedures in place for ballast water management. The Convention will enter into force 12 months after ratification by 30 States, representing 35 percent of ...

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Petronas Names Its First FLNG

  Petronas’ first floating LNG​ facility (FLNG) officially received its name on Friday. The PFLNG SATU was named at a ceremony held by Petronas, together with its strategic partners Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) and Technip, at the DSME shipyard here in Okpo, South Korea. The PFLNG SATU is 360 meters (1,180 feet) long and 60 meters (197 feet) ...

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DSME Posts $4 Billion Loss for 2015

Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, the world’s second largest shipbuilder, posted a $4 billion loss for FY2015 in results released Monday, a reflection of the dire state of the Korean shipbuilding industry. State-run Korea Development Bank said earlier in the year that there would be no further bailouts for DSME. KDB and other creditors poured $4 billion into the shipbuilder’s ...

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Two Killed and Three Injured in Tanker Fire

Two Indian sailors were killed and three injured in a fire aboard the 2,000 dwt product tanker Al Sadaa off the coast of Yemen, said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in social media posts Monday. “We have lost two Indian sailors Mahesh Kumar Rajagopal and Deepu Lathika Mohan due to fire in a vessel Al Sadaa,” she wrote. “The three ...

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Shipwreck Believed to be Civil War Blockade Runner

A shipwreck discovered off the coast of North Carolina is likely one of three Confederate blockade runners known to have been lost in the area, archaeologists said on Monday. The remains of the iron-hulled steamer were located on February 27 near Oak Island. It would be the first Civil War-era vessel found in the area in decades, said the North ...

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Remaining Robust During the Downturn

  The maritime industry faced strong headwinds in 2015 and must adapt and reinvent itself to stay competitive in the year ahead.In a report by the Business Times, International Accounting and Shipping Advisor Moore Stephens reported that confidence levels in the shipping industry fell at the tail end of 2015, while global shipping consultancy Drewry has reported that shipowners are ...

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World’s costliest train station open in NY at 9-11 site

NEW YORK: The world’s most expensive train station opened Thursday (Mar 3) in New York, nearly US$2 billion over budget and years behind schedule, but the European architect who designed it called it a gift of love to the city. The World Trade Center Transportation Hub, which is expected eventually to serve more than 200,000 commuters daily, is built next ...

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Global ultra-wealthy numbers slip 3pc in 2015

  The number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) – those with $30 million or more in net assets – declined by 3 per cent worldwide last year (2015), a report said. There are now around 187,500 UHNWIs around the world, down from 193,100 in 2014, according to data provided by New World Wealth for the Knight Frank Wealth Report. However, this ...

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China to invest $55bn in Middle East

Chinese president Xi Jinping announced that China will inject $55 billion in loans and investments to the Middle East, during his recent tour to the region, a report said. China plans to allocate $15 billion for renewable energy and infrastructure projects in the region, in addition to $10 billion in commercial loans to enhance energy cooperation, said the Jordan Business ...

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Qatari fund JV acquires $1.34bn US office portfolio

Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) has joined hands with Douglas Emmett, a fully integrated real estate investment trust (REIT), to acquire a prime 1.72 million sq ft office portfolio in the US. The portfolio consists of four Class “A” office buildings located in Westwood, a premier West Los Angeles submarket. The purchase price was approximately $1.34 billion, or $777 per sq ...

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Dubai plans to develop $8bn wholesale city

Dubai has embarked on an ambitious plan to develop the world’s largest wholesale city covering 500 million sq ft at an estimated cost of Dh30 billion ($8.16 billion) over a 10-year period. The giant project was officially launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai at ...

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Saudi Arabia mulls free zones at Riyadh, Jeddah airports

Saudi Arabia’s aviation regulator is in talks with government agencies to set up free zones at Jeddah and Riyadh airports as part of a long-term plan to diversify the kingdom’s economy away from oil, its chairman said. “This is not a simple development of a free zone; there’s a lot of agencies involved. The starting point would be one in ...

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Iran needs $1.5trn investment to double economy

Iran’s 2025 strategic economic plan aimed at doubling the economy from the current $415 billion in the next decade necessitates investments to the tune of $1.5 trillion, a report said. The country thus epitomizes an untapped and fully resplendent goldmine that is fast attracting the attention of global opportunity miners, according to the report entitled “Perspective on Iran’s Macroeconomy and ...

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Climate impact to cause 500,000 extra deaths in 2050

Climate change could cause significant changes to global diets, leading to more than half a million extra deaths in 2050 from illnesses such as stroke, cancer and heart disease, experts said. As extreme weather such as floods and heat waves wreaks havoc with harvests and crop yields, estimated increases in food availability could be cut by a third by 2050, ...

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GAIL Delays LNG Carrier Tender Once More

Indian state-owned energy and chemicals conglomerate GAIL has once again delayed its tender for the time charter of nine newbuild liquified natural gas carriers, three of which must be built in India. The extension – to the end of March – is the third in as many months, and follows multiple delays in a similar bidding process last year. PTI ...

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Detained NGO Aid Vessel Arrives in Yemen

The Mainport Cedar, a World Food Programme-chartered ship carrying humanitarian aid, offloaded its cargo in Yemen on Wednesday, the United Nations said. It was diverted to Saudi Arabia last month because it was carrying communications equipment. Saudi Arabia is leading an Arab military coalition in a war against Iran-allied Houthi rebels and army forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah ...

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Possible MH370 Debris Found in Mozambique

  A piece of debris from a Boeing 777 that has been found off Mozambique might belong to missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.The object has the words “NO STEP” on it and could be from the plane’s horizontal stabilizer, the wing-like parts attached to the tail, reports NBC News. Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared with 239 people on board during ...

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Seven Miles Deep, the Ocean is Noisy

For what may be the first time, NOAA and partner scientists have listened to the deepest part of the world’s ocean and instead of finding a sea of silence, discovered a cacophony of sounds both natural and caused by humans. For three weeks, a titanium-encased hydrophone recorded ambient noise from the ocean floor at a depth of more than 36,000 ...

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Long Beach Hails Success of Slow Down Program

Shipping lines calling at the Port of Long Beach in the U.S. cut thousands of tons of air pollution last year by voluntarily participating in the port’s Green Flag Program. The program offers financial rewards for ships that reduce their speed near the harbor to decrease air emissions of SOx and NOx. The program, initiated 11 years ago as part ...

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China Plans Massive Industrial Layoffs

China aims to lay off five to six million state workers over the next two to three years as part of efforts to curb industrial overcapacity and pollution, two reliable sources said, Beijing’s boldest retrenchment program in almost two decades. China’s leadership, obsessed with maintaining stability and making sure redundancies do not lead to unrest, will spend nearly $23 billion ...

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Fincantieri Gets Chinese Partner for Cruise Ships

Italian cruise ship builder Fincantieri has signed an exclusive agreement with the Chinese repair yard Huarun Dadong Dockyard, or HRDD, for service and conversion of cruise ships – a new reflection of the growing prominence of the Chinese cruise market. Under the agreement, Fincantieri will provide its cruise ship technical expertise to HRDD, which operates five large drydocks in Shanghai, ...

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U.S. Plans Exercises with India and Japan

India, the United States and Japan will hold naval exercises in waters off the northern Philippines near the South China Sea this year, the U.S. military said on Wednesday, a move likely to further raise tensions with China. The announcement comes a day after the United States warned China against militarization of the South China Sea, where Beijing is locked ...

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Seaman Guard Ohio: A Travesty of Justice?

  The continuing case of the incarceration of the 35 crew and private maritime security guards of the Seaman Guard Ohio has now gained the attention of the European Parliament. The U.K.-based charity Human Rights at Sea has called for continued and exhaustive efforts by the European Parliament to ensure that international law and in particular, international human rights law, ...

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Football: Platini appeals ban at sports tribunal

LAUSANNE: UEFA president Michel Platini on Wednesday (Mar 2) made a formal appeal against his six year ban from football at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the tribunal said. The French football legend and former FIFA leader Sepp Blatter were banned for six years each over a two million dollar payment made by FIFA to Platini. – AFP/yt

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Australia economy beats all forecasts to reach 3% growth

SYDNEY: Australia’s economy outpaced all forecasts to grow at the fastest pace in almost two years last quarter, as strength in consumer and government spending offset the heavy drag from a global mining slump. The upbeat report sent the local S&P ASX 200 index up 1.5 per cent to an eight-day high, while the local dollar traded half a US ...

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Asia stocks rise as risk appetite returns; data boost

HONG KONG: Asian shares rallied to two-month highs on Wednesday as overnight gains in oil prices and a batch of positive economic data from Australia to the United States calmed fears of a global economic slowdown. Fueled by Asia, European stock markets are seen opening higher with spreadbetters expecting Britain’s FTSE 100 to open 0.7-0.8 percent higher, Germany’s DAX up ...

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Oil rises as Russia sees support for output freeze

NEW YORK: Oil prices rose on Tuesday on increasing optimism over a output freeze to shore up the market as Russia said domestic oil groups supported the proposal. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in April climbed 65 cents (1.9 per cent) to US$34.40 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent North Sea crude for May, ...

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Sub-zero central banks may just chase inflation expectations lower

LONDON: Hyperactive central banks warn of ‘unmoored’ inflation expectations but may well be weighing the anchor themselves. Skewed by the oil price collapse of the past 20 months, headline inflation rates across Europe and Japan are currently near zero or even falling. Some economists now expect euro zone inflation for 2016 as a whole to be in the red and ...

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Moody’s cuts outlook on China’s credit rating to ‘negative’ from ‘stable’

SINGAPORE: Moody’s Investors Service lowered its outlook on China’s credit rating to “negative” from “stable” on Wednesday (Mar 2), citing factors such as the government’s deteriorating fiscal strength, falling currency reserves and uncertainties over China’s commitment to reforms. Mainland equities appeared unaffected by the downgrade, with the key Shanghai Composite Index gaining 0.74 per cent to 2,752.77 in early trade. ...

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S&P: Large Japan economic stimulus would raise concerns

TOKYO: Japan’s government is unlikely to be able to launch a stimulus package to support its struggling economy without raising concerns about the size of its spending, ratings agency Standard & Poor’s said on Wednesday (Mar 2). Faced with a flagging economy, Japan is laying the groundwork for new government spending to pre-empt any weakness in household consumption, which would ...

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Personalised plan key to managing dementia

SINGAPORE: When Ms Nalini’s mother-in-law was first diagnosed with dementia in 2014, her family was at a loss over what to do. The spry 83-year-old, who lived on her own and travelled extensively, was having trouble remembering things and growing increasingly frustrated. “The typical thing when you’re frustrated is it comes out as anger … For an incredibly bright, independent ...

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Asthma costs more to treat in obese, overweight patients: Study

SINGAPORE: A 10-year longitudinal study on the trends and predictors of asthma costs has found that overweight and obese patients incur higher annual treatment expenses. The study, by SingHealth Polyclinics (SHP) and Duke-NUS Medical School, found that average asthma costs per annum for normal-weight patients are S$605, but rise to S$675 and S$795 for overweight and obese patients, respectively. For ...

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World’s longest flight lands in Auckland

WELLINGTON: An Emirates Airbus A380 touched down in New Zealand on Wednesday, completing what is believed to be the world’s longest non-stop scheduled commercial flight. The service from Dubai to Auckland covered 14,200 kilometres (8,824 miles), according to industry website airwaysnews.com, pipping Qantas’ 13,800-kilometre Sydney-Dallas route launched in 2014. It said the route was also the longest in duration, with ...

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Clinton, Trump brace for epic White House showdown

WASHINGTON: Conventional wisdom says a Donald Trump nomination should bring presidential election gold for Democrat Hillary Clinton — but given how the brash billionaire has outperformed expectations at every turn, it might not be so simple. Analysts and experts who spoke with AFP acknowledged that Trump’s strong performance on Super Tuesday, when millions of Democrats and Republican voters in a ...

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GCC contracts to stay resilient despite oil slump

The level of contract awards in the GCC projects market will fall slightly to $167 billion in 2016 compared to $197 billion in 2015, but the impact of oil price volatility will be limited, a new report said. This is a clear drop, but nothing as pronounced as the delayed drops in 2010 and 2011 which followed the global economic ...

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Mideast homeland security market set to reach $34bn

The Middle East’s homeland security market is set to grow from $17 billion to $34 billion by 2020, at three times the global growth average, according to a recent Frost & Sullivan report. The steady increase demonstrates the Arab world’s robust homeland security and national resilience agenda, announced industry experts recently in the build-up to International Exhibition for National Security ...

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Central African constitutional court confirms Touadera elected president

BANGUI: Central African Republic’s constitutional court confirmed former mathematics professor Faustin-Archange Touadera, has been elected president, national radio reported on Tuesday, setting the stage for Touadera to be sworn in later this month. About 62 percent of voters in the Central African Republic chose Touadera, once a prime minister under ousted leader Francois Bozize, in a run-off that could cap ...

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Americans begin voting in Super Tuesday primaries

  WASHINGTON: Americans began voting in the crucial Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses in what is deemed the most critical day in the presidential nominating process. The first state to open its polling stations was Virginia at 6:00 am (1100 GMT). A total of 12 states from Alabama to Alaska are holding primaries or caucuses on Tuesday (Mar 1), with ...

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Zimbabwe’s Mujuru launches new political party to challenge

HARARE: Zimbabwe’s former vice president Joice Mujuru, who was President Robert Mugabe’s long time deputy until she was fired in 2014, said on Tuesday she had launched a new political party to challenge the veteran leader. Mujuru, who was Mugabe’s deputy for a decade and seen as the likely successor to the 92-year-old ruler, was removed from her ruling ZANU-PF ...

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Mexico says 11 pregnant women infected with Zika

MEXICO CITY: Mexico has confirmed 11 pregnant women are infected with the Zika virus, out of a total of 121 cases, the government said on Monday. Most of the cases were identified in the southern Mexican states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, according to a health ministry report. Eight of the pregnant women are from Chiapas, two are from Oaxaca, and ...

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Iran must privatize car industry, president says

DUBAI: Iran’s car industry must be privatized to meet the government’s goal of turning it into a global competitor, the president said on Tuesday, sending a strong signal of his intention to open up the country’s economy to world markets. Hassan Rouhani said Iranian carmakers, which form the second biggest sub-sector of the economy behind oil, should cooperate closely with ...

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OPEC watching Iran, Russia, unlikely to cut output in June

DUBAI/LONDON: OPEC is very unlikely to cut output at its next meeting in June, even if prices remain extremely low, according to OPEC sources and delegates, as it will be too early to say how fast Iranian output is rising. The sources, which include officials from the Middle East, say OPEC countries such as Saudi Arabia also want to test ...

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Daimler says saw good growth in February for Mercedes in China

FRANKFURT: Daimler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche continues to see growth potential in Asia and Europe, adding Mercedes-Benz passenger cars achieved good growth in China in February. “Growth levels in February will be very attractive,” Zetsche said at a roundtable discussion at the Geneva car show on Tuesday. Mercedes expects momentum in China to continue, Zetsche added. Zetsche also said he ...

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Barclays to exit Africa in ‘transatlantic’ makeover

LONDON: Barclays Plc will sell its Africa business as part of a plan by new Chief Executive Jes Staley to simplify the bank’s structure and seek higher shareholder returns, after reporting a 2 percent profit drop and slashing its dividend. The British bank said on Tuesday it planned to sell its 62 percent stake in Barclays Africa Group over the ...

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China cuts banks’ reserve ratio for fifth time in a year: Why and what’s next

  SINGAPORE: In its latest attempt to bolster a slowing economy, China’s central bank lowered the amount of cash that banks must hold in reserve, or the reserve requirement ratio (RRR), by 50 basis points on Monday (Feb 29). The surprise cut, which came into effect on Tuesday, marked the fifth reduction that the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has ...

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Qatar Airways ‘first platinum airline in Mideast’

Qatar Airways has become the first airline in the Middle East to achieve platinum status in the International Air Transport Association’s (Iata) Fast Travel Programme for using innovative technology to provide passengers with quick and convenient air travel. Qatar Airways executive vice president, Mohsen Alyafei, received the accolade from Iata’s director passenger, Pierre Charbonneau. The airline met Iata’s highest Fast ...

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Google takes ‘some blame’ after auto car hits bus

Alphabet Inc’s Google said it bears “some responsibility” after one of its self-driving cars struck a municipal bus in a minor crash earlier this month. The crash may be the first case of one of its autonomous cars hitting another vehicle and the fault of the self-driving car. The Mountain View, California-based Internet search leader said it made changes to ...

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Kuwait to award $2.9bn hospital projects in 2016

Kuwait’s government is set to award KD881 million ($2.9 billion) worth of hospital projects this year as part of its plan to boost the bed capacity per family in hospitals across the country. The government is working as per a national plan to adopt the World Health Organisation’s proposal of allocating at least 22 hospital beds for every 10,000 people ...

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Suez Canal revenues drop to $411.8m

Egypt’s Suez Canal revenues fell in January to $411.8 million from $429 million in December, data on the Suez Canal Authority’s website showed on Monday. The canal is the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia and is one of the country’s main sources of foreign currency.  – Reuters

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Nestle plans $127m expansion in Egypt

Nestle is pushing ahead with plans to invest 1 billion Egyptian pounds ($127.71 million) in Egypt in the next few years, despite a foreign exchange shortage that has made it harder to finance imports and repatriate profit. Yasser Abdul Malak, Nestle’s CEO and chairman for North East Africa, said business had grown despite the challenges as the food group makes ...

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Souq raises $275m from investors

  Middle Eastern online retailer Souq.com has raised $275 million from a funding round with investors to support its future growth, it said on Monday, in the largest-ever fundraising in the region’s e-commerce space. The Middle East’s technology sector, including e-commerce, is growing rapidly due to the region’s young and tech-savvy population. Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates ...

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As sea levels rise, economic damage piles up even faster

As sea levels rise, threatening cities from New York to Shanghai, the economic damage will increase even faster, scientists said. Extreme floods whipped up by storms will become ever more costly for cities as ocean levels edge up around the world’s coasts in coming decades, they wrote in a study that could help guide governments budgeting to protect everything from ...

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Work-life balance ‘an issue for everyone’

Although “work-life balance” is often cast in light of a “woman’s issue” it needs to shed that cloak because it’s everyone’s issue, says an industry expert. By supporting work-life balance efforts, mentorship programmes and support networks, management can help ensure employees can keep their eye on the ball and maintain a passion for work, added May Knight, the insurance consulting ...

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Syrian truce deal ‘in danger of total collapse’

A senior official from Syria’s main opposition group said that a fragile international attempt to halt nearly five years of fighting was in danger of total collapse because of attacks by government forces. The cessation of hostilities drawn up by Washington and Moscow faced “complete nullification” because Syrian government attacks were violating the agreement, the official of the Saudi-backed opposition ...

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Euroseas Container Ship Rescues 105 Migrants

On February 18, the crew of the Euroseas container carrier, Vento di Grecale, rescued 105 Somalian, Sudanese and Egyptian migrants, including three pregnant women and a number of children from an endangered wooden boat that sank in choppy waters a few minutes after rescue. The Vento di Grecale received a distress call from Malta’s Marine Response Coordination Center (MRCC) while ...

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E.U. Introduces New Plan to Curb Illegal Wildlife Trade

  On February 26, the European Commission adopted a Communication on the E.U. Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking which sets out a comprehensive blueprint for coordinated efforts to fight wildlife crime inside the E.U. The plan calls for greater enforcement, better cooperation and more effective prevention. It seeks to foster more active engagement with business, those active in wildlife trade ...

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Vietnam Needs Transport Overhaul

A new report recommending steps to help lift Vietnam to upper-middle-income status in two decades suggests that Vietnam build a more competitive private sector, support smart urbanization, promote innovation and take advantage of increasing trade opportunities to enact broad structural reforms. The need for transport reforms was a key focus for the Vietnam 2035 report, prepared jointly by the Government ...

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Norway Examines Feasibility of CO2 Shipping

Norwegian state operator Gassco has commissioned Knutsen OAS Shipping and Larvik Shipping to study transport of CO2 by ship in connection with the Norwegian government’s full-scale project for managing this greenhouse gas. “The transport study will help to ensure that the government’s ambition of realizing at least one full-scale CO2 facility by 2020 can be met,” says Gassco CEO Frode ...

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Bulk Invest May Go Bankrupt “Within Weeks”

Bulk Invest (formerly Western Bulk) has announced that it faces a lawsuit from creditors seeking reversal of the recent sale of its subsidiary Western Bulk Chartering to Bulk Invest’s majority shareholder, Kistefos AS – and that it may have only weeks to negotiate its continued survival. Bulk Invest faced mounting liquidity problems early this year and entered into an “accelerated ...

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U.S., India May Share Assets to Offset China’s Reach

India and the United States are closing in on an agreement to share military logistics after 12 years of talks, officials said, a sign of strengthening defense ties between the countries as China becomes increasingly assertive. The United States has emerged as India’s top arms source after years of dominance by Russia, and holds more joint exercises with it than ...

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Petronas Delays Delivery of its Second FLNG

Malaysian oil and gas firm Petronas announced its annual results for 2015 Monday, recording a 25 percent drop in revenue from the same period in 2014 and an approximately 50 percent drop in profit after tax – enough that the firm plans to delay commissioning of its second floating LNG facility, PFLNG 2. The firm’s president and CEO, Datuk Wan ...

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Retaking the Initiative in the South China Sea

China is once again causing concern in the South China Sea, this time by moving surface-to-air missiles to the Paracel Islands. Over several years, this dispute has evolved into a clash of opposing strategies, with China steadily expanding its territorial, economic and military footprint in the South China Sea while other countries counter with either ‘balancing’ or ‘rules-based order’ strategies. ...

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IRISL Returns to Europe, MSC Ups Service to Iran

Switzerland-based Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), the world’s second largest line, has signed new agreements with port operator Ports and Maritime Organization Iran for increasing its vessels’ calls at Bandar Abbas, Chabahar and Bandar Imam ports. The new deal came during Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann’s three day goodwill visit to Iran. The MSC Domitille reinaugurated the line’s service to Iranian ports ...

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Abandoned Cruise Ship Capsizes

The former Sun Princess, built in 1972 and best known as a guest star on the TV series Love Boat, has capsized and partially sunk off Thailand, resulting in an oil spill. The vessel, recently renamed Ocean Dream and flagged in Sierra Leone, has sat at anchor for at least a year, abandoned by its owners with no crew and ...

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CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin Arrives in Seattle

The largest cargo ship to visit the United States, the CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin, arrived at The Northwest Seaport Alliance’s Terminal 18 in Seattle on Monday. The Benjamin Franklin has capacity for 18,000 TEUs – more than double the cargo of most container ships calling at Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) terminals. If laid end-to-end, the 18,000 TEUs would stretch from ...

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Arming Merchant Ships And Naval Auxiliaries

In simplest terms, the U.S. Navy’s distributed lethality concept complicates the enemy’s targeting problem by dispersing larger numbers of platforms capable of offensive action over a wide geographic area.  With no significant increases in fleet size anticipated for the foreseeable future, it is incumbent that all avenues be pursued that will optimize the use of scarce ships. A video recently ...

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El Faro Lifeboat Davits Were Deteriorated

On Friday, the Marine Board of Investigation into the sinking of the El Faro finished its first round of hearings with testimony from TOTE Services port engineer Tim Neeson. Mr. Neeson, who is responsible for safety management system compliance for the firm’s vessels home ported in Jacksonville, answered the panel’s questions regarding the El Faro’s material condition. Contrary to previous ...

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China Passes Seafloor Mining Law

On Friday, China passed the country’s first law on deep seafloor mining. The law is designed to protect the maritime environment and ensure sustainable exploitation of its mineral resources. Xinhua reports that the law stipulates that exploration and development should be peaceful and cooperative, in addition to protecting the maritime environment and safeguarding the common interests of mankind. Prospectors must ...

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