Seacurus Daily: Top Ten Maritime News Stories 28/01/2019
1. Russia Fuelling China
Russia remained China’s top crude oil supplier in 2018 by boosting shipments 20% year on year to 1.44 million b/d, while the US ended the year with a robust 60% growth in shipments to Asia’s biggest oil consumer, despite trade tensions squeezing volumes towards the later part of the year. Among the top 10 suppliers, while Brazil and Congo posted the sharpest year-on-year rises of 37% and 41.6%, respectively, Iran and Venezuela were the only two countries that posted negative growth, with falls of 6% and 23.6%, respectively, latest data released by China’s General Administration of Customs showed.
2. Raft of Stellar Arrests
Nearly 22 months after the tragic sinking of the Stellar Daisy VLOC arrest warrants have been sought by the Busan Coast Guard for Kim Wan-joong, the CEO and chairman of the ship’s owner, Polaris Shipping, as well as four other men who are accused of allowing the converted ship to travel in unsafe conditions. Polaris’s former head of maritime affairs also faces being arrested over the sinking, which killed 22 crew in the South Atlantic as does an inspector from class society, Korean Register. Two other men who worked for a private survey firm are also likely to be arrested.
3. General Average Declared
Hapag-Lloyd has declared general average on its burnt-out 7,500 teu boxship, Yantian Express. The German carrier also revealed that the ship is now being towed to the Bahamas rather than the earlier stated destination of Halifax on Canada’s eastern seaboard. “After evaluation of the salvors with regards to safety and operational items, it has been decided that Freeport Harbor, Bahamas will be the next port of call for the Yantian Express,” the company stated.
4. Tanker Market is Tricky
The current trading environment for LR2 tankers has been compared to the ongoing tricky Brexit negotiations between the UK and the EU. Braemar ACM states: “The LR2 market is somewhat reminiscent of the EU/UK situation currently ongoing, whereby in this instance, owners are playing the role of the EU – enjoying the fruits of the current situation with strong spot rates and having little interest in changing their stance to the TC market. Whilst, charterers sadly, are in a catch 22 whereby they are wanting to get in on the action but finding it difficult, with few owners offering their vessels out currently.”
5. Owners Paying Over the Odds
Leading Offshore owners, part of the previously booming market in the North Sea, are falling victim to overzealous valuations of the past. Due to the current Offshore market conditions, where asset values have suffered as in no other previous downturn, vessel financiers are knocking at the doors of owners due to concerns about the prospects of recouping money lent to finance now inactive Offshore fleets. The market valuations (of vessels sub 15 years old) being given are more than likely breaking mortgage covenants, and the write downs that need to be taken are more significant due to the original valuations.
6. Dangers of Workload and Shift Changes
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has released the final report into the ingress of water into the steering gear compartment of the cement carrier Goliath in the Bass Strait on March 7, 2018, highlighting that disruptions to a crew’s routine, increased workload and shift changes can increase the risk of errors, especially during short sea voyages. The ATSB found that, on the day of the incident, the crew were involved in a number of tasks, including ballast water exchange, cargo inspections and onboard training across a number of shift changes.
7. Giving Up on Conversion
SUMEC Group, a state-run machinery manufacturer in Jiangsu, has announced its decision not to continue the construction of an unfinished 22,000 cu m LEG vessel at CIMC Sinopacfic Offshore & Engineering. The vessel was originally ordered by Norwegian owner Ocean Yield and SUMEC was the financier of the newbuilding project. The owner cancelled the vessel when Sinopacfic Offshore filed for receivership in 2016, before it was taken over by CIMC in 2017. SUMEC said the decision was made after a thorough evaluation of the project and it has booked an impairment loss of RMB63.2m ($9.4m) for the project.
8. Venezuela Faces War and Sanctions
The Trump administration is poised to impose sanctions on US imports of Venezuelan crude oil, a move which will leave US Gulf Coast refiners scrambling for more costly replacement barrels, sources said. If sanctions are imposed, flows of heavy crudes into the US are most likely to increase from Mexico, Canada, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, analysts said this week. “Essentially, if you have sanctions that don’t allow the current 500,000 b/d of Venezuelan crude to come to the US then you’d have a reallocation of trade flows around the world,” said John Auers, executive vice president of Turner, Mason & Company. http://bit.ly/2B74Kx7
9. Fleet of Tankers Awaits
A fleet of giant newly built oil tankers is gearing up to ship diesel out of East Asia. Five very large crude carriers, which typically carry about 2 million barrels of oil each, are currently positioned in the seas off China’s eastern and southern coasts, according to shipping intelligence and tracking company Kpler. Two more newbuilds are set to swell that fleet shortly. If all were fully loaded, they would haul a total approaching what is currently held in independent storage in Europe’s key trading hub of the Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp ports.
10. Famed Navigator Found
Archaeologists have found the remains of Captain Matthew Flinders, a British Royal Navy explorer who was the first to sail around Australia and is credited with naming it, while working on a rail project connecting London to other cities. Flinders’ coffin was discovered among 40,000 other human remains in St James’s burial ground during digging ahead of the construction of the Euston station terminal for the High Speed 2 (HS2) network, which will link the capital to Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds. The remains of the explorer were identified thanks to the lead breastplate on his coffin.
Daily news feed from Seacurus Ltd – providers of MLC crew insurance solutions www.seacurus.com