Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 14/12/2018
1. Uncertainty for Tankers
Paolo d’Amico, head of d’Amico Società di Navigazione group, and chairman of the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (Intertanko) claims tanker owners will continue to face uneasy times, as a long awaited recovery has yet to consolidate and so many companies remain under pressure. The sulphur cap is another challenge he says. “At an industry level, the entry into force of the IMO 2020 sulphur cap regulation is now approaching…it is still not clear, for example, what kind of fuels will be available and in which part of the world.” d’Amico predicts.
2. Celebrating Yemen Ceasefire
Diplomats representing Houthi rebels and a Saudi-led government coalition have reached an agreement on a ceasefire in Hodeidah, the seaport city that handles the majority of the nation’s food supply. The UN believes the conflict in Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with millions of civilians near starvation as the long-running civil war disrupts economic activity, and Hodeidah is the primary gateway for the aid logistics effort. Under the new agreement, Saudi-backed and Houthi forces will both withdraw from Hodeidah and enter into a ceasefire for the surrounding region, effective within 21 days.
3. China Eyes Fuelling Crown
Zhoushan in the east of China has set out to overhaul Singapore as the world’s top bunkering hub in the post sulphur cap era, according to port officials interviewed by Reuters. The archipelago off Ningbo is set to have access to low sulphur content fuel earlier and in greater quantities than most other ports in the world thanks to state-run refiner Sinopec which moved its global bunker fuel center to Zhoushan from Beijing in May and is preparing to pump IMO-compliant fuel from 2019 in line with China’s sulphur regulations that kick in one year earlier than IMO’s global sulphur cap.
4. Lifeboat Shortcomings Argument
Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) has told Transocean, Maersk Drilling and Odfjell Drilling to improve the conditions of their enclosed lifeboats and evacuation procedures on 22 offshore oil rigs. “All the audits identified a non-conformity from the regulations. This was the same for Maersk, Transocean and Odfjell,” PSA said, adding the firms had been asked to explain how they would fix the shortcomings. PSA has given the companies a March 31 deadline to fix the deficiencies.
5. Shipping Company Collapsing
Vladivostok-based Gudzon Shipping is on the verge of bankruptcy after six of its ships were blacklisted by the US for allegedly engaging in ship-to-ship cargo transfers with a North Korean entity. The company has denied it committed any sanctions-busting act. Some of the company’s ships have been stranded in South Korea for more than one month while another one is stuck in Nantong, China, unable to pay repair bills to a local yard. Gudzon officials have sought help from the Russian government to solve the impasse but there is no sign of its fleet being able to trade internationally again soon.
6. Drunken Captain Fined
A captain of a chemical tanker has been fired by shipmanager Anglo-Eastern after being found more than three times over the legal drinking limit as his ship was due to leave New Zealand’s Port Taranaki laden with a cargo of methanol. Compounding the issue, the ship was meant to be a dry ship according to Anglo-Eastern regulations. SG Pegasus’s master Saurabh Kumar Singh was found to have 881 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath on Tuesday morning. A seafarer’s legal limit is 250mcgs. He was sentenced today at a local court and fined NZ$1,000.
7. Shipping’s Smart Role
Wärtsilä wants to lay the foundations for a future where connectivity – of systems, industry and stakeholders. Roger Holm, president of Wärtsilä Marine Solutions says, “If you connect things you create greater efficiency, understanding and value. That’s smart. Working in isolation is not,” Holm says. It’s a simple idea that forms the foundation for some very complex systems. Wärtsilä’s Oceanic Awakening initiative. to bring together maritime cities, ports, businesses, wider industrial players, tech firms, to plan the creation of one efficient, digitally connected and environmentally sound ‘smart ecosystem’.
8. Seafarers Still Abandoned
It’s the second year in a row that seafarers Captain Asmael Alsarwt and Seyed Nasr Soltan are stranded, abandoned by their ship’s owner in a port thousands of miles from home. Initially abandoned on their vessel the PSD2 in Mozambique’s Beira port in 2017, the ship sailed to Durban in South Africa, where it was once again abandoned and has remained ever since. The men have received food, medical supplies and emotional support from the Sailors’ Society’s Crisis Response Network. They asked for fishing rods so they could be partially self sufficient, and these were also provided.
9. Scrubbers in the Spotlight
Looming 2020 regulations capping marine fuel sulfur at 0.5% have so far benefited manufacturers marketing scrubbers – or exhaust gas cleaning systems, as they are more formally known – but this solution is now being viewed with a more critical eye. At the 12th annual MARE Forum on November 27 in Houston, one of the biggest topics debated by the maritime and shipping market delegates in attendance was the role of scrubbers, which have enjoyed increasing popularity with shipowners in 2018, in meeting the tightening environmental rules.
10. Panama Contractor Arbitration
The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) said an arbitration tribunal has ordered Grupo Unidos Por el Canal (GUPC), the construction consortium that built the Panama Canal new locks to pay back nearly $848m to the Canal Authority. The contractor for the design and construction contract for the third set of locks of the Panama Canal expansion programme GUPC and its shareholders filed an arbitration against the ACP, which was carried out in accordance with the Arbitration Rules of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), based in Miami, US.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com