Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 04/12/2015
1. Extensive Green Efforts
The IMO has said it was set to present a report on its "extensive efforts to address GHG emissions from shipping" at a side event at this week’s 21st annual Conference of Parties (COP 21) in Paris. IMO noted that it has adopted the only global legally-binding energy efficiency measures that will require ships built in 2025 to be 30 percent more energy efficient than those built last year. Environmental groups were apparently unimpressed with IMOs message, with Transport & Environment (T&E) noting the Climate Action Network (CAN) had awarded the IMO – jointly with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) – its satirical "Fossil of the Day" award.
2. Distressed Sale Denied
Richfield Marine Pte Ltd has denied that its vessels are being offered for distressed sales as indicated in a report released a few days back. It also pointed out that its oustanding bank debt was just over US$100 million (S$141 million), not under US$400 million as suggested. Still, the marine service provider confirmed that it was selling vessels – as much as half its offshore support fleet – to pare debt and expenditure and tide over the market downturn. This is one of the most significant fleet divestment by a single owner in recent months and a sign of more to come in the sector in the wake of a 50 per cent slump in oil prices.
3. Ship Stuck for Winter
A German-operated cargo ship and crew have been stuck at anchor outside the Lake Superior port of Duluth for close to a month for unspecified environmental violations and there’s no resolution in sight despite the upcoming closure of the St. Lawrence Seaway for the winter, officials said Wednesday. The U.S. Coast Guard said the Liberian-flagged Cornelia is being investigated for “alleged violations of U.S. environmental regulations,” and the ship and crew are prohibited from leaving Duluth until they get clearance from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The Coast Guard can’t say what the alleged violations were because of the ongoing investigation.
4. Lower for Longer
A ‘lower for longer’ oil price may be good news for consumers in 2016 but for tanker owners it means less scope for producers to increase exports. In Vienna this week oil ministers from members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meet to examine the state of the oil market and assess what might happen in 2016. They gather a year after their historic November 2014 meeting when they decided to abandon their traditional response to falling prices by instead cutting output and rather focus on preserving market share. For Opec, 2015 has been difficult and there is little sign of the pain ending soon.
5. Poor Industry Perceptions
Earlier this week 26 of the 35 charterers that include vessel efficiency in their supply chain selection have come forward to highlight their proactive measures on climate change. “By using the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Rating to find the more efficient vessels these industry leaders are using their influence to incite change in the maritime industry by rewarding ship owners that prioritise efficiency,” RightShip said in a release. The organisation reckons calls from within industry and externally indicate that shipping have not done enough to convince the global community of its achievements to reduce emissions.
6. Worlds Greenest Cruise Ship
Designs for what has been labelled the world’s “greenest” cruise ship have been finalised – while an announcement regarding dates for its maiden voyage, pencilled in for 2020, is expected at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris this month. The 55,000-ton Ecoship was developed by a team of more than 30 engineers and experts and features a host of environmentally-friendly features, the most striking of which are 10 retractable sails covered in solar panels. The aerodynamic hull, which will allow for greater fuel efficiency, is inspired by the shape of a whale, while a “non-toxic, anti-fouling coating… mimics fish skin”.
7. Maersk Fleet Boost
Since the launch of its vessel upgrade programme in 2011, with the conversion of 17 of its S Class 8,200 teu ships to 9,600 teu, Maersk Line will have boosted its fleet capacity by 55,000 teu, once its latest series of upgrades is completed, according to Alphaliner. Against an industry background of capacity cut requirements, the carrier is keeping its focus firmly on driving down unit costs with innovative vessel capacity increases. The upgrades are achieved by raising the wheelhouse of the ship by the equivalent of two high-cube containers, so that two extra tiers of boxes can be stowed forward of the accommodation block without impairing visibility, said Alphaliner.
8. Tanker Rates Soar
Oil tanker rates soared to the highest in seven years amid an acceleration in the number of bookings and signs that the ships are being delayed when unloading due to a lack of space in on-land storage tanks. Day rates for 2 million-barrel carrying ships sailing to Japan from Saudi Arabia, the industry’s benchmark route, surged to $111,359, the highest since July 2008, according to the Baltic Exchange in London. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is helping to keep the world flooded with oil by persisting with a strategy of defending its share of the global crude market, rather than propping up prices. It meets Friday to discuss that policy.
9. Container Weight Chaos
The imminent enforcement of mandatory container weight verification is causing widespread fear of disruption among shippers and freight forwarders, according to a new customer survey by INTTRA, the ocean shipping e-marketplace. The 410 respondents overwhelmingly expressed concern about the readiness of the ocean shipping industry for the implementation of Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) verified gross mass (VGM) regulations, with two-thirds saying they expect moderate or major industry disruption. Just 30% of respondents expected their company and/or their customers to be compliant when the regulations are implemented on July 1 2016.
10. Backlog of Traffic
A backlog of tankers waiting to unload around Venezuela has built up, even though a crude cargo from France’s Total and another six tankers carrying products were recently discharged at state-run PDVSA’s ports after weeks of delays, according to Reuters tracking data and shippers. Several oil providers and PDVSA have agreed to a type of prepayment mechanism that involves loading cargoes and paying for them just before delivery, but even so some unpaid cargoes have been swirling around Venezuelan ports since November, traders said. A dozen and a half tankers, mostly carrying refined products, were anchored around Venezuela and Curacao.
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