The Maltese-flagged Aframax tanker vessel Agrari, operated by George Economou’s TMS Tankers, was reportedly struck by an explosive device at Al Shuqaiq anchorage in Saudi Arabia.
According to a report by maritime safety consultancy Dryad Global, the vessel was struck about 1m above the water line and the vessel suffered damage on the portside, resulting in a partial breach of the vessel hull and a limited oil spill.
Dryad Global cited sources within the Arab Coalition in Yemen that the incident was a result of a Houthi launched water-born IED (WBIED).
“Attempts at targeting vessels and ports via such methods are reported with relative frequency with the latest report indicating that Saudi forces interdicted and destroyed an attempted WBIED targeting the Saudi port of Jizan on November 13,” Dryad Global said in a report.
It is the second such reported incident in the region since another Greek-owned, Malta-flagged Aframax tanker was struck by a mine whilst loading at the Rudum Terminal off the Yemeni south coast on October 3.
The piracy situation in the Gulf of Guinea continues to be critical with yet another hijacking incident occurring near south Lome this week.
Maritime safety consultancy Dryad Global reported that Togo-flagged bunkering vessel Stelios K was boarded and hijacked while on route to Lagos. The operator reported the loss of contact with the vessel, resulting in authorities seeking to establish the vessel location and make contact with the crew.
The Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade – Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG) later received confirmation that the perpetrators were still on board while local authorities have been informed and negotiations are ongoing to secure the release of the vessel and crew.
The crew onboard the vessel are believed to be safe.
“The lack of immediate kidnap would indicate that the perpetrators potentially sought options for either offloading or selling refined product that may be onboard,” Dryad Global said.
The incident follows two incidents in the Gulf over the last seven days, one with five crew onboard general cargo vessel Am Delta being kidnapped and the other with 14 crew kidnapped from Chinese heavy-lift ship Zhen Hua 7.
“The Gulf of Guinea HRA was raised to a critical risk rating following a sharp increase in incidents in the past week, including 2 successful kidnappings within 3 days. Vessels are advised to exercise heightened caution in this region,” Dryad Global warned.
Criminal syndicates are trawling the seas of West Africa, swooping for kidnap for ransom targets with security firms describing the current risk levels as critical.
Yesterday the Ghanaian flagged general cargo vessel Am Delta was boarded by pirates off Brass of Nigeria in the Gulf of Guinea, and five crew onboard the vessel were kidnapped.
Maritime safety consultancy Dryad Global reported that the vessel was boarded by six to seven pirates and the kidnapped crew are all believed to be Ghanaian nationals. The perpetrators damaged the onboard communications and navigation equipment, resulting in the vessel drifting with two crew onboard.
The incident shortly after 14 crew were kidnapped from the Chinese heavy-lift ship Zhen Hua 7 near Sao Tome in the Gulf of Guinea on Friday.
The latest incident takes the total volume of kidnapped personnel from vessels within the Gulf of Guinea to 115 across 22 incidents so far this year.
Singapore-based owner Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) has won a bid to purchase, build, and operate four 98,000 cum VLECs for China-based Zhejiang Satellite Petrochemical.
The vessels will be built at South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries and Samsung Heavy Industries and will be chartered to Zhejiang Satellite Petrochemical for 15 years upon delivery in the first half of 2022. All four vessels will feature fuel ethane propulsion.
The deal also marks an entry for EPS into the ethane carrier segment.
Zhejiang Satellite is building a large chartered VLEC fleet for transporting ethane from the US Gulf Coast to Lianyungang. The company currently has a total of 12 VLECs on the orderbook after it finalized a sale and leaseback deal for six VLECs with MISC in September.
An offshore work barge sunk at the Baram field in Malaysian waters this morning sparking a huge rescue operation.
The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency has confirmed that offshore vessel Sapura Constructor reported that it had received an emergency signal from the sinking Dayang Topaz, located around 7.7 nautical miles from Kuala Baram, Miri.
The Sapura Constructor sailed to the area to track the exact location of Dayang Topaz, and found the ship sinking. 62 crew are reported to have still been onboard the vessel, while another 125 crew jumped into the sea.
Maritime Rescue Coordination Center launched a massive search and rescue operation by sending out a number of rescue ships and coordinated nearby ships owned by Shell and Petronas to the site. So far, 121 crew have been rescued while one was found dead and four others are missing.
The search and rescue operations are ongoing, while the cause of the incident is still under investigation.
The 2012-built maintenance and support vessel Dayang Topaz is owned by Malaysia’s DESB Marine Services, which is part of Dayang Enterprise Holdings.
Chinese Owners Rewood Ocean Shipping (Rosco) has once again listed its entire fleet for sale.
According to shipbroking reports, Rosco is now inviting offers for its fleet of 11 bulk carriers comprising of seven Panamaxes, three Kamsarmaxes and one Capesize.
All of the vessels are Japanese-built apart from two Kamsarmaxes, which were built at Tsuneishi’s yard in Zhoushan, China. The ages of the vessels range from nine to eighteen.
The company listed the same fleet for sale back in 2018 but didn’t conclude any deals.
VesselsValue’s valuation on the eleven vessels is $121.75m.
Hebei-based Rewood Ocean Shipping is a subsidiary of Chinese private grain trader, Hopefull Grain and Oil Group.
The United States has blacklisted six Chinese entities for dealings with Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) in the latest sanctions against Iran.
The six companies include Reach Holding Group (Shanghai), Reach Shipping Lines, Delight Shipping, Gracious Shipping, Noble Shipping and Supreme Shipping.
Shanghai-based NVOCC Reach Group set up a joint venture with IRISL in 2017 to facilitate trade and logistics services between China and Iran. The joint venture, Reach Shipping Line, used to own four 14,508 TEU ships, Canreach, Goodreach, Tenreach and Fanreach. These ships have since been sold. According to VesselsValue data, one of the ships was sold to an affiliate of IRISL, while the buyers of the other three vessels were not disclosed.
In September, the US blacklisted 11 companies for facilitating Iranian petrochemical shipments.
LNG and hydrogen are viewed as frontrunners to be the fuels that will help shipping reach IMO decarbonization ambitions, according to a new ABS survey.
LNG was the solution to the 2050 emissions target for 47 percent of respondents to the ABS Future Fuels LinkedIn Survey, while hydrogen was the answer for 40 percent. Just eight percent opted for ammonia and five percent for methanol.
LNG was again the dominant fuel option to get the industry to 2030 targets, securing the support of 64 percent of respondents, against 22 percent for hydrogen and seven percent each for ammonia and methanol.
The results illustrate the challenges facing shipowners in developing fleets that meet and exceed IMO targets.
“The first pathway is defined as ‘Light Gas’, using generally light, small molecule fuels with high energy content, but more demanding, mainly cryogenic fuel supply systems and storage. This group includes the relatively mature methane (as LNG) solution leading towards bio-derived or synthetic methane, and ultimately to hydrogen as fuel,” said Christopher J. Wiernicki, ABS Chairman, President and CEO.
“The second pathway is defined as ‘Heavy Gas’, by using generally heavier, more complex molecules, but with less demanding fuel supply and storage requirements than the light gas pathway. This group includes LPG, methanol and ethanol, leading to bio-derived or synthetic LPG/methanol and ultimately to ammonia.”
“The third pathway hinges on bio/synthetic fuels that are derived from renewable sources and can produce liquid fuels. These fuels have similar properties to diesel oil and thus are much less demanding in terms of new infrastructure and technologies onboard and can be utilized with minimal changes to current ship designs.”
But which particular pathway makes sense for a shipowner to focus on will depend on the operational profile and trade of the vessel, cautioned Wiernicki.
With the continued focus on facilitating crew changes and renewed calls to address the problems of crew welfare during the pandemic, China has become the latest country to open its ports to foreign seafarers.
Shipping companies and seafarers will be subjected to strict protocols, but it is seen as an important step that will aid seafarers who have been forced to remain aboard ships or at home during the pandemic.
According to details released by BIMCO and the shipping agency company GAC, a total of 10 Chinese ports – Dalian, Tianjin, Qingdao, Shanghai, Ningbo, Fuzhou, Xiamen, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Haikou – are beginning to allow foreign crews to land both for changes and in limited circumstances crew recreation. It is BIMCO’s understanding that the various Chinese ports may take different pragmatic approaches when dealing with a foreign crew change.
BIMCO is also reporting that the protocol incorporates a unique “quarantine circuit-breaker mechanism,” designed to both ensure compliance with the rules and a process to suspend crew changes if an outbreak is associated with a shipping company. According to BIMCO, a shipping company’s foreign crew change operations will be suspended for 15 days if there are five positive tests among the crew or suspended for 30 days if 10 positive cases in the aggregate are found aboard a ship. If more than 10 tested positive cases are found, the shipping company will not be allowed to operate until they pass a new assessment conducted by the relevant authorities.
GAC’s Shanghai office published the protocols which are specific to the port but also an example of China’s overall approach for foreign crews. Shanghai says it is open for crew with expiring contracts advising the shipping company or agents to prepare and present a plan to authorities in advance. China’s rules cover crews that have been at sea for at least 14 days and ships that have not had crew changes for at least 14 days.
Signing off crew members needs to complete health reports and if everything is reported as normal local customs will inspect the ship when it arrives in port. Crew members will go through health screenings, including COVID-19 tests, and if negative should proceed directly to the airport via a car, not public transportation.
Signing on the crew must also go through a health screening and report that they have been in good health for at least 14 days. Also, the agents are instructed to make arrangements so that the crew after arrival is transferred via car directly to the ship not staying in the city.
Another interesting provision says if the ship is to stay in Shanghai for more than 14 days, and the crew is inspected and found to be negative, then can go ashore for rest. They are required to stay in the local district where the ship is located but shore leave can be arranged.
Asahi Tanker Co., Ltd. announced that it has ordered two of the world’s first zero-emission electric-powered tankers. The two tankers will adopt the “e5 tanker” design developed by e5 Lab Inc. They will be powered completely by large-capacity lithium-ion batteries and are slated to go into service as bunker vessels in Tokyo Bay.
The two tankers will achieve zero emissions of CO2, NOx, SOx, and particulates thanks to their all-electric core energy system, dramatically reducing their environmental impact. In addition, their reduced noise and vibration will create a more comfortable work environment for the crew members and limit noise pollution in the bay and its surroundings.
The adoption of various automated equipment and digital tools including the Internet of Things (IoT) will reduce crews’ onboard workload and increase the ship’s operating efficiency.
The tankers will play a new role in contributing to measures for the Business Continuity Plan (BCP) and Community Life Continuity Plan (LCP) in case of disaster or emergency, by making the electricity stored in their onboard batteries — defined as “large-capacity batteries for power supply in emergency”— available to supply emergency power. Asahi Tanker and TEPCO Energy Partner, Inc. are currently working on these initiatives.