Marine Link
Sunday, March 26, 2017

Pirates Seize Somali Vessel to Use as Floating Base

Pirates have seized control of a Somali fishing boat to use as a base from which to attack larger ships, police said on Friday, a week after Somali pirates hijacked their first commercial vessel since 2012. Ten Yemeni crew aboard the boat were dumped on shore, officials told Reuters. "We understand that pirates hijacked the fishing vessel to hijack a big ship off the ocean," said Abdirahman Mohamud, head of maritime police forces in the semi-autonomous northern region of Puntland. "They dropped its 10 Yemeni crew and a Somali guard inland and disappeared with the boat together with the food, cook, captain and engineer," he told Reuters. Residents of Marrayo, a northern village near the pirate lair of Eyl, confirmed that pirates from their village had gone to hunt potential targets.

Shell Signs 3-year Contract to Lease Oil Tanks in Panama

Oil company Royal Dutch Shell has signed a three-year contract to lease storage tanks at a large terminal in Panama that had been used by U.S. refining company Tesoro Corp, sources involved in the deal told Reuters. The facility, designed for storage and transshipment of crude oil to tankers, is owned by Petroterminal de Panama (PTP) and includes up to 14 million barrels of storage capacity on the Atlantic and the Pacific shores. "We have signed a contract with Shell for a three-year period involving all the available space we have," said an official from the Panamanian government. The contract still needs final approval by the country's Finance Ministry.   (Reporting by Elida Moreno and Marianna Parraga)

Total Seeking to Buy Stake in Iranian LNG Project

Photo: Total

French oil giant Total held talks with Iranian officials about several projects in the country in 2016, notably a 10 million tonnes per year liquefied natural gas project (LNG), Reuters reported. It has signed an agreement with Iranian authorities for a 50 per cent stake  in Iran’s South Pars gas field project which will developed at an investment of $4 billion. Sources told Reuters in February that Total was in talks to buy a multi-billion dollar stake in Iran's partly-built LNG export facility.

VLCC Rates to Remain Weak on Output, Tonnage Woes

© Björn Wylezich / Adobe Stock

Freight rates for very large crude carriers (VLCCs), which fell to a near six-month low on Thursday, will remain weak until the Asian refinery maintenance season gets completed, starting April-end. "I haven't seen a collapse in rates like this for some time. People are taking insane rates," said Ashok Sharma, managing director of ship broker BRS Baxi in Singapore. Output cuts by oil producers, refinery maintenance in Asia and the reactivation of older vessels previously used as…

Top LNG Buyers Form Alliance to Push for Flexible Contracts

© akiyoko / Adobe Stock

The world's biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) buyers are clubbing together to secure more flexible supply contracts in a move that further shifts power to buyers rather than producers. Japan, China and South Korea are the world's biggest LNG importers, accounting for about 55 percent of global purchases, according to data from energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie. The countries' biggest respective buyers are joining together to extract concessions from producers that would give them supply flexibility such as having the right to re-sell imports to third parties…

Somali Pirates Hijack First Ship since 2012

Pirates have hijacked an oil tanker with eight Sri Lankan crew on board, Somali authorities said on Tuesday, the first time a commercial ship has been seized in the region since 2012. Security forces have been sent to free the Aris 13, a regional police official said late on Tuesday. "We are determined to rescue the ship and its crew. Our forces have set off to Alula. It is our duty to rescue ships hijacked by pirates and we shall rescue it," Abdirahman Mohamud Hassan, director general of Puntland’s marine police forces, told Reuters by phone. Puntland is a semi-autonomous northern region of Somalia. Alula is a port town there where pirates have taken the tanker. Experts said the ship was an easy target and ship owners were becoming lax after a long period of calm.

Skilled Workers Needed to Build Trump's Navy Vision

File Image: AdobeStock CREDIT Bogdan Vasilescu

U.S. President Donald Trump says he wants to build dozens of new warships in one of the biggest peace-time expansions of the U.S. Navy. But interviews with ship-builders, unions and a review of public and internal documents show major obstacles to that plan. The initiative could cost nearly $700 billion in government funding, take 30 years to complete and require hiring tens of thousands of skilled shipyard workers - many of whom don't exist yet because they still need to be hired and trained, according to the interviews and the documents reviewed. Trump has vowed a huge build-up of the U.S.

China Pledges Firm Response to Japan's S.China Sea Visit

China on Thursday pledged a firm response if Japan stirs up trouble in the South China Sea, after Reuters reported on a Japanese plan to send its largest warship to the disputed waters. The Izumo helicopter carrier, commissioned only two years ago, will make stops in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka before joining the Malabar joint naval exercise with Indian and U.S. naval vessels in the Indian Ocean in July, sources told Reuters. The trip would be Japan's biggest show of naval force in the region since World War Two. "If Japan persists in taking wrong actions, and even considers military interventions that threaten China's sovereignty and security...

Somalia Region Sends Soldiers to Free Hijacked Ship

Somali forces have been sent to free a hijacked ship, a regional police official said on Tuesday.   "We are determined to rescue the ship and its crew. Our forces have set off to Alula. It is our duty to rescue ships hijacked by pirates and we shall rescue it," Abdirahman Mohamud Hassan, director general of Puntland’s marine police forces, told Reuters by phone.   Puntland is a semi-autonomous northern region. Alula is a port town there where pirates have taken the Aris 13 and her eight Sri Lankan crew. (Reporting by Abdiqani Hassan; editing by Andrew Roche; writing by Katharine Houreld) 

Somali Regional Antipiracy Chief Says Sacked over Illegal Fishing Comments

The head of anti-piracy operations in the semi-autonomous Puntland region of Somalia said he had been fired for speaking out about illegal fishing, which he claims could trigger a new outbreak of piracy in the Indian Ocean. Pirates hijacked an oil tanker off Somalia last week, the first such attack in the region since 2012 after shipping firms hired private security and international warships started patrolling nearby waters. Abdirizak Mohamed Dirir, director of anti-piracy operations in Puntland, said the province's president sacked him after he told journalists that permits had been handed to illegal fishing vessels. "The problem with Puntland is that if you talk about illegal fishing, you are seen as a criminal," Dirir told Reuters.

STX Wins $183 Tanker Order

Reuters reported that South Korea's STX Shipbuilding Co. has won a $183.3m order from Malaysia to build four product carriers. Source: Reuters

Asia Dry Bulk-Capesize Rates to Climb Again

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock)

Number of spot capesize cargoes double from January levels; Pacific capesize earnings now around $14,000 per day. Freight rates for large capesize dry cargo vessels on key Asian routes, which hit multi-month highs this week, are set to jump further next week on tight tonnage supply and buoyant cargo volumes, brokers said. Rates on the capesize route from Brazil to China soared to the highest level in nearly 18 months on Thursday, fuelled by chartering activity by Brazilian iron ore major Vale and ship operators including Louis Dreyfus…

Ezra Holdings Files for Bankruptcy in US

Pic: Ezra Holdings

Oilfield services firm Ezra Holdings of Singapore filed for U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy at the weekend, blaming a prolonged slump in the energy industry, Reuters reported. Ezra  has been facing hostile actions from creditors at home and abroad as it struggles to recover from a slump in oil prices over the past three years. The company filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code, according to a stock exchange filing on Sunday. Ezra will…

Pirates: Second Tanker Attacked Off Oman

According to a Reuters report, a chemical oil tanker thwarted a hijack attempt by pirates near the Omani port of Salalah Sunday, a day after a tanker and crew were taken from inside the port in front of the coast guard. According to reports cited in the Reuters story, a pirate skiff fired on the chemical tanker, but its efforts were defeated by evasive manuevers. On Saturday, pirates took the empty MV Fairchem Bogey chemical oil tanker from its anchorage at the port in the mouth of the Gulf of Aden, taking 21 Indian crew members hostage and heading to Somalia. (Source: Reuters)

Offshore Wind Turbines Planned in UK

According to a report from Reuters, Clipper Windpower Plc plans to build the world's biggest offshore wind turbines in Britain, which hopes to catch up in green energy after lagging behind others in Europe despite its rich wind resources. Jim Dehlsen, chairman of the London-listed, U.S.-based company, told Reuters it will set up a factory in northern England, which would have an annual capacity to manufacture about 200 turbines by 2014-2015. (Source: Reuters)

POSCO, Hanwha Seen Bidding for Daewoo Int'l

According to a Sept. 23 Reuters report, POSCO (005490.KS) and South Korea's chemicals-to-brokerage group Hanwha are studying a potential bid for Daewoo International (047050.KS), sources close to the companies told Reuters on Wednesday. (Source: Reuters)

Libyan Port's Record Container Throughput

This year (2013) Misrata’s non-oil port, situated 124 miles east of the capital Tripoli, has unloaded 208,339 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of containers, up from 159,634 last year, reports Reuters. Libya’s third-biggest city, Misrata, has benefited from better security conditions than other parts of the OPEC producer, which has been hit by turmoil since the 2011 toppling of Muammar Gaddafi. Analysts say, according to Reuters, that apart from better security, Misrata port benefits from a free trade zone offering special benefits for investors such as exemptions from taxes and duties. Source: Reuters  

Port of Baltimore Hit by Longshoreman's Strike

Port of Baltimore Wharf: Photo courtesy of Maryland Dept of Transportation

Cargo operations at the Port of Baltimore, one of the largest and busiest ports in the United States, were halted on Wednesday by a longshoremen's strike after contract negotiations stalled, report Reuters. Citing Richard Scher, a spokesman for the Maryland Port Administration, Reuters inform that there is no cargo being handled or ships being worked at the public marine terminals at the port of Baltimore, which is the only port from Maine to Texas that was not working that day.

Seoul Shares Up 0.5 pct, Shipyards Gain

According to a Sept 15 report from Reuters, Seoul shares edged up on Wednesday helped by firm gains in shipbuilders such as Hyundai Heavy Industries Co Ltd (009540.KS), but falls in retailers and banks such as Shinhan Financial Group Co Ltd (055550.KS) weighed. The Korea Composite Stock Price Index .KS11 (KOSPI) ended up 0.48 percent at 1,823.88 points. Kim Seong-bong, a market analyst at Samsung Securities told Reuters that the company is seeing a lot of equity redemption by fundholders at the index's current level, and this will pressure the market for some time. (Source: Reuters)

Bulk Carrier Remains at Anchorage

The Hong Kong-flag bulk carrier Maritime Talent remains at anchorage in Narvik, Norway following a labor union boycott, Reuters reported. The 47,574-dwt vessel arrived in Narvik last Thursday. However, following a boycott by the LKAB labor union, the vessel lost its loading turn and had to remain at anchorage, Reuters added. Reuters said that the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) had demanded an agreement be signed with the Norwegian Seamen's Union.

Libya: Air Strikes Aimed to Regain Oil Ports

East Libyan forces carried out air strikes around major oil ports on Saturday as they sought to regain control of the area from a rival faction, a military spokesman said. The eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) and allied forces retreated on Friday from Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, two of Libya's largest export terminals, as a faction known as the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB) attacked. The prospect of a renewed escalation of violence around the ports puts at risk the big rise in oil production achieved after the LNA took over four ports in September. Libya's oil production has been fluctuating around 700,000 barrels per day (bpd), more than double its output last year but well under the 1.6 million bpd the OPEC member was producing before a 2011 uprising.

US Crude Stocks Jump, Gasoline Inventories Plunge - EIA

U.S. crude stocks rose last week as refineries cut output, while gasoline stocks and distillate inventories fell, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday. Crude inventories rose by 8.2 million barrels in the last week, compared with analysts' expectations for an increase of 2 million barrels. Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub rose by 867,000 barrels, EIA said. Refinery crude runs fell by 172,000 barrels per day, EIA data showed. Refinery utilization rates fell by 0.1 percentage points. Gasoline stocks fell by 6.6 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1.4 million-barrel drop.

BHP Iron Ore Mines Resume Operation

Reuters reported that BHP Billiton’s Australian iron ore mines have recommenced work at full operation following a cyclone that battered coastal regions and closed major shipping terminals this week. “Port Hedland, the world's biggest iron ore terminal and used by BHP to export nearly 200 million metric tons of the steel-making material annually, sustained only minor damage from Cyclone Christine and reopened late on Tuesday,” Reuters said. The storm hit Australia's northwestern coast late on Monday with winds recorded up to 100 mph, before weakening as it crossed the Pilbara iron ore mining belt. Reuters also reported that Fortescue Metals Group and Rio Tinto also said their operations were returning to normal. Source: Reuters  

Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover Mar 2017 - The Green Marine Technology Edition

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