Remote-control workstations. Credit: HIT
Drone cargo ships, known colloquially as ‘ghost’ ships, are unlikely to start operations within the coming decade and an intermediate step of partially automated ships with much reduced crew levels should be expected beforehand.

No speedy resolution to China Shipping-Cosco talks.
Talks between state-owned giants Cosco and China Shipping will continue into the new year, the groups said in exchange filings, six months after trading in shares of their listed subsidiaries was suspended.

Shareholders approved the merger of Frontline and Frontline 2012 on 30 November, officially heralding the return of shipping magnate John Fredriksen to the upper echelon of the publicly traded tanker arena.

Semi-submersible drilling rig Transocean Arctic. Credit: Transocean
Norwegian oil company Det norske oljeselskap ASA has awarded offshore rig operator Transocean a rig contract worth approximately USD45 million as offshore operators struggle to generate revenues in a choppy market.

Hoegh Osaka developed a severe list and was grounded. Credit: PA
Shipping accidents have been on the rise worldwide every year since the European Union accident investigation directive came into force in June 2011.

The long-term outlook for post-Panamax ships is seen as challenging. Credit: Affeldt
Spot freight rates in container trades should stage a marked recovery next year, but short-lived successes with general rate increases (GRI) should not be regarded as evidence of a fundamental improvement between supply and demand, a senior shipping analyst said.

A DSME shipyard. Credit: DSME
South Korean export credit agency Korea Trade Insurance Corporation and its Norwegian counterpart Norwegian Export Credit Guarantee Agency have granted USD620 million in export financing to Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering to finance the construction of two drillships that were ordered by Angolan oil company Sonangol.

Portland. Credit: Kevin Finnigan
The campaign against ‘cheap’ foreign crews sailing in Australia’s coastal trade has taken an acrimonious turn with Australian seafarers on board bulk carrier Portland defying an order to sail the vessel to Singapore where the ship was due to be decommissioned.

Hancock Prospecting chair Gina Rinehart. Credit: PA
Bulk carrier Anangel Explorer loaded the first shipment of iron ore out of the Roy Hill’s South West Creek Wharf at Port Hedland in the Australian Pilbara on 1 December. Ore from the AUD10 billion Pilbara mine destined for China on board the Greek-flagged 87,582 gt vessel was announced earlier today by mining magnate Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting.

Olympic Legend. Credit: Malte Schwarz
Greek shipowner Onassis Group has put two of its VLCCs on sale, taking advantage of the firming oil tanker market. IHS Fairplay was told by shipbrokers that the 2003-built 309,270 dwt Olympic Legend and 2005-built 306,997 dwt Olympic Leader, are now for sale. A Singapore-based broker said, "Onassis Group is inviting offers, either for each ship, or an en bloc basis."

Ship welding. Credit: PA
South Korean intra-Asia container carrier Pan Continental Shipping has ordered an 1,800 teu ship at compatriot shipbuilder Dae Sun Shipbuilding & Engineering. The ship, with a length of 172 m, width of 27 m, and height of 13 m, is to be delivered by May 2017, the shipbuilder announced. The price is about USD29 million.

ClassNK, container ship structural rules, IACS, MOL Comfort
Japanese classification society ClassNK has made amendments to its rules and guidance for container carrier construction, which will apply to ships contracted for construction on or after 1 April 2016.