From efforts to improve ship safety in the Malacca Straits to the state of the global maritime industry in 2012, we like to keep an eye on some of the most interesting and important news affecting to the maritime community and the issues it faces.  Here is a small selection of stories.

Topping-out ceremony for Southampton’s marine technology campus – The ‘topping out ceremony’ has taken place for the University of Southampton’s new £116-million marine technology and research centre of excellence.  The project is a collaboration between the University and Lloyd’s Register and the campus will incorporate the Lloyd’s Register’s Group Technology Centre, which will be home to 400 staff.   It has been described as the largest university-business collaboration and hopes to attract further inward investment in the marine sector in the city, region and UK by creating a hub of technical excellence and innovation.  The first phase of the development is scheduled for completion in 2014.

Navigation fund raises US$15 million to support safe shipping – It has been announced that the Aids to Navigation Fund set up in 2008 to improve safety for vessels transiting the Malacca Straits has raised $15 million since 2008.  According to the Fund’s chairman and director-general of Marine Malaysia, Captain Datuk Ahmad Othman, the Fund has been used to provide different navigation aids to support safer shipping, including light beacons, light buoys and tide gauges.  The Fund is supported by a number of countries and has recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Japan, a contributor and observer state to the Fund.

UNCTAD publishes 2012 review of maritime transport – Anyone looking for an encyclopaedic account of the make-up of the global maritime industry need look no further than the latest UN report on the subject.  For the 44th year, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development has published its annual review of maritime transport, which provides a fascinating snapshot of the make-up of the global fleet, the state of the industry and the challenges that it faces.  The report reveals that world seaborne trade rose by 4 per cent in 2011, reaching a record high of 8.7 billion tonnes, and global port throughput expanded at a rate of 5.9 per cent.  However, world ship supply capacity grew faster, at a rate of 10 per cent, raising further concerns about the supply and demand imbalance in the industry and the impact of overcapacity on market rates and profitability.

The report also looks at the evolving nature of the legal and regulatory framework that governs international shipping, noting important developments in respect of limitation of liability for maritime claims, supply chain security, maritime safety and environmental issues, including the emergence of a set of technical and operational measures to increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from shipping. The UNCTAD Review of Maritime Transport 2012 report is available from UNCTAD’s website.

If you have read anything interesting this week that you’d like to share, please let us know.

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