Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 23/01/2019
1. BIMCO Call for Piracy Action
International shipowning body BIMCO is calling for international naval support to counter the growing threat of piracy off West Africa. A fresh annual report from the International Maritime Bureau shows that attacks in West Africa pushed piracy numbers up in 2018. According to the bureau’s report, there were 201 incidents reported to the bureau last year including six hijackings – all of which happened in the Gulf of Guinea. That is a rise from 180 incidents in 2017 and from 191 in 2016.
2. Giant Box Orders Flow
No sooner had analysts called an end to the ultra large container vessel race than a rash of new orders are beginning to filter in, led by members of the Ocean Alliance. With OOCL, now owned by Cosco, reportedly close to ordering a series of the largest boxships ever built, brokers are now reporting CMA CGM is back in China for more orders. “Against the backdrop of a unremarkable start to the year on the chartering market, the first large orders of the year have come to light with CMA CGM ordering a total of ten 15,000-TEU split amongst two Chinese yards,” Braemar ACM Shipbroking states.
3. US Leads Nationalistic Charge
The U.S. is committed to leadership and national interest in a changed geopolitical landscape, said Michael Pompeo, Secretary of State, in a special session at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting this week. “Disruption is a positive development,” asserted Pompeo via video link, with the Lincoln Memorial in the background. “Over the past few years, all around the world, voters have tuned out politicians and political alliances that they thought weren’t representing their interests,” he said, citing the examples of Brexit, the rise of the five-star movement in Italy and the election of Donald Trump.
4. Fire Ball Ships Sanction Busters
According to a new report, the LPG tankers involved in the deadly blaze near the Kerch Strait were on the U.S. Treasury’s list of vessels involved in providing petroleum cargoes to Syria, in violation of U.S. sanctions. The ships have been identified as the LPG tanker Venice and the LPG tanker Maestro, both Tanzanian-flagged and both owned at one post office box in Anguilla. AIS data confirms that both vessels were operating in the Black Sea region within the past month, but their signals were not received in the vicinity of Kerch Strait on day of the casualty.
5. Rogue Wave Recreated
Researchers at the Universities of Oxford and Edinburgh have recreated the famous Draupner rogue (freak) wave for the first time. The wave was measured in the North Sea on January 1, 1995 and was one of the first confirmed observations of a rogue wave. Rogue waves are unexpectedly large in comparison to surrounding waves. They are difficult to predict, often appearing suddenly without warning. The wave was measured from the Draupner Oil Platform during a sea state with significant wave height of approximately 12 meters (39 feet), a freak wave with a maximum wave height of 25.6 meters (84 feet) occurred.
6. Rush to Supply Bunkers
A pharmaceutical company’s ill-fated attempt to focus on trading bunker fuel derivatives highlights the unpredictability that IMO 2020 has injected into oil markets. Having sold off its opioids business the previous year, in early 2018, Norway’s Vistin Pharma announced it would set up a new oil trading unit focusing on profiting from the International Maritime Organization’s lower sulfur limits for shipping in 2020. Ten months and $9.8 million of paper losses later, the company said in early January that it would be closing the unit.
7. Ice Breaks Icebreaker
The Chinese icebreaker Xue Long suffered minor damage on Saturday after striking an iceberg, according to China’s Ministry of Natural Resources. The collision occurred at 69.6 S 94.0 W, off the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. The Xue Long was making three knots in foggy conditions at the time of the encounter. Images broadcast by state television showed a small mountain of ice and snow on the Xue Long’s deck forward, and the crew used picks, axes, firehoses and deck cranes to break the debris free and put it over the side.
8. Fujairah Bans Openloop Scrubbers
The port of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates has decided to ban the use of a type of ship exhaust cleaner, becoming the latest location to impose restrictions on so-called open-loop scrubbers, a port document showed. In recent months, many shipping companies have opted to fit scrubbers onboard their ships, ahead of major changes in the use of marine fuel across the world. The IMO will prohibit ships from using fuels with sulphur content above 0.5% from Jan. 1, 2020, compared with 3.5% today, unless they are equipped with exhaust gas cleaning systems, known as scrubbers, to clean up sulphur emissions.
9. Shipping Affected by Shutdown
US Coast Guard and other federal agencies are operating at a reduced capacity following US government shutdown, said North of England Protecting and Indemnity Association (North P&I Club). Since 21 December 2018, the US Government has been in shutdown following the failure of Congress to agree federal funding. With no end in sight, it is the longest shutdown in US history, it said. “We have not received any indications as yet that the shutdown is causing significant disruption to shipping,” said a statement from North P&I Club. However, federal agencies relevant to shipping are affected by the shutdown. http://bit.ly/2CO2Txx
10. Greeks Want Fuel Clarity
London-based Greek shipowners have urged the IMO to bring together oil companies, marine equipment makers and classification societies to guarantee fuels created to comply with 2020 environmental rules do not damage engines and cause accidents. Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee (GSCC) chairman Haralambos Fafalios has declared the need for an adequate supply of good quality fuel was more fundamental than other issues such as whether to fit exhaust scrubbers. “We strongly urge the IMO to bring together the main stake holders in this area to guarantee the new fuel will be fit for purpose,” they said.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com