UK’s Plymouth University to build world’s first fully autonomous unmanned ship


Plymouth University in the UK has launched a new project to design and build a full-sized, fully autonomous unmanned ship, transforming the future of world shipping.

Claimed to be the world’s first project of this type, the university is expected to sail the vessel across the Atlantic in 2020 after completing one year of testing.

The voyage will mark the 400th anniversary of the original Mayflower sailings from Plymouth to the North American continent.

Russia to pay damages to Netherlands over Greenpeace ship seizure

The Russian Government has broken international law by confiscating a Greenpeace ship and detaining its crew after a protest against Arctic oil drilling in 2013, an international tribunal has ruled.

The court also ordered Russia to pay damages to the Netherlands over its seizure of the Greenpeace icebreaker, Arctic Sunrise.

Greenpeace International legal counsel Daniel Simons said: "We’re pleased about today’s ruling because it sets an important precedent. Governments exist to uphold the rule of law, not to act as armed security agents for the oil industry."

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By GlobalData

Egypt opens $8bn extension of Suez Canal

Egypt has inaugurated an $8bn extension of the Suez Canal that is parallel to the current waterway, offering a significant platform to strengthen the country’s economy.

The opening ceremony of the new canal was marked by the first ship, a container ship called CMA CGM TITAN, officially passing through the waterway. Egypt started trial runs through the new canal in July.

The new canal is expected to boost trade along the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia. It is estimated that the new multi-billion dollar canal extension will boost the country’s annual revenues to $13.5bn by 2023.

Finland’s Deltamarin introduces new container vessel design


Finnish ship design firm Deltamarin has introduced a new container vessel design, the A.Delta2300, which is the first vessel of this series developed to offer better cargo capacity, flexibility and fuel economy.

The new design offers a flexible platform for a whole series of designs that will result in the delivery of customised vessels.

Deltamarin sales director Vesa Hamarila said: "The overall efficiency and flexibility of this container vessel design provides the owners and operators with a solution for future transportation needs."

Panama Canal to impose draft restriction over El Nino drought

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has issued an advisory to shipping, setting a draft restriction as the water levels fall due to a drought caused by El Nino.

El Niño is a disruption of the ocean-atmosphere system in the Tropical Pacific which has important consequences for weather and climate around the globe.

According to the authority, the maximum draft will be reduced to 11.89m in tropical fresh water (TFW) and the new rule will be effective from 8 September 2015.

Malaysia and Indonesia form rapid reaction teams to combat piracy in SOMS

Malaysia and Indonesia have reportedly established a rapid reaction team to prevent piracy attacks on vessels in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS), a Malaysian admiral has said.

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) crime investigations department maritime matters director first admiral maritime Zulkifili bin Abu Bakar said that the escalating numbers of attacks have prompted MMEA to deploy helicopter-equipped special task-and-rescue (STAR) team, Reuters reported.

Abu Bakar was quoted by the news agency as saying: "The STAR team is in addition to the other MMEA personnel tasked to combat anti-piracy / sea robbery."

Dutch port operator APM Terminals acquires Italy’s Reefer Terminal


Netherlands port operator APM Terminals has completed the acquisition of Reefer Terminal from GF Group.

Located in Italy’s Port of Vado Ligure, Reefer Terminal is claimed to be the largest refrigerated terminal in the Mediterranean.

Reefer Terminal currently handles 600,000 pallets per year. It also handles containers and general cargo.

China plans to merge state-owned COSCO and China Shipping

China’s two largest state-owned shipping firms, China Ocean Shipping (COSCO) and China Shipping, are reportedly engaged in talks over a possible merger.

Recently, the Chinese Government ordered the two companies to come up with a plan to merge in order to boost the business, South China Morning Post reported.

The move, if finalised, will mark the consolidation of world’s sixth and seventh largest container shipping firms, who control a total of 11 listed entities in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Terminals in Tianjin port close after warehouse explosion

All chemical / oil / LPG terminals in Tianjin port have temporarily closed after the Tianjin warehouse explosion in China, Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS) has revealed.

The recent massive explosions have resulted in the death of at least 50 people, while some 700 have been reported injured.

Officials revealed that the dockside warehouse was being used for toxic chemicals and the blast destroyed buildings, as well as burned out thousands of cars stored nearby the building.

UN establishes a forum to enhance Libya’s response to migrant crisis


The UN refugee agency has established a forum to enhance Libya’s response to boats in distress in its waters by streamlining information sharing and coordination with international organisations.

The contact group comprises of Libyan officials responsible for search-and-rescue, border security and detention centres for rescued or intercepted boat people.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office spokesperson Leo Dobbs said: "We hope the new contact group will boost Libya’s ability to save lives, collect bodies at sea or along the coast and improve the humanitarian care of the rescued on disembarkation."