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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Backlash News

After Florida, more States Press US for Offshore Drilling Exemptions

© Steven Frame / Adobe Stock

Governors and other officials from several U.S. coastal states ramped up pressure on the Trump administration on Wednesday to exempt their waters from an offshore drilling plan, hours after the Interior Department granted Florida's request to opt out. The backlash could complicate President Donald Trump's efforts to expand oil and gas production offshore. A proposed leasing plan unveiled last week aims to open up all U.S. coasts to drillers over the next five years. Alaska and Maine are the only two U.S. states whose governors have expressed support for the plan.

Coast Guard Recovers Three from Vessel Fire

The U.S. Coast Guard responded to and recovered three members from a fishing vessel that was on fire. An HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Astoria, Ore. and an 47-ft. Motor Lifeboat from Station Cape Disappointment (Wash.) responded to a distress call from the fishing vessel Rear Fisher. The distress call, stating the 58-ft. fishing vessel was on fire and the crew abandon ship for a life raft, was confirmed by the fishing vessel Backlash. The three members of the Ilwaco-based fishing vessel were recovered by the Coast Guard and the F/V Backlash; and transported to Station Cape Disappointment. One crewmember was taken to Emmanuel Hospital, in Portland, suffering from burns on his face, arms, and back. The other two members were in good condition.

US DOE Discouraged Direct China Investment in US LNG Export

The U.S. Department of Energy discouraged U.S. liquefied natural gas exporters from allowing direct Chinese investment in their projects for fear of political backlash, according to Michael Smith, chief executive at Freeport LNG which is building a plant to export U.S. overseas.     (Reporting By Edward McAllister)

Tony Abbott Guarantees Submarine Jobs

Tony Abbott. Photo: Official Facebook Page

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has assured South Australians there will be more submarine jobs here even if he won’t commit to having a new fleet of vessels built there,  as Liberal MPs fear voter backlash if the contract for Australia’s next-generation fleet goes to Japan. "Whatever happens, I can give an absolute, categoric guarantee there will be more sub jobs in South Australia and I think that's what South Australians understandably want," he said in response to to reports some…

Will MMS be Split in Two?

The first political backlash from the recent explosion and sinking of Deepwater Horizon appears to be the Department of Interior’s Minerals Management Service, as it movement is reportedly underway to split the agency that polices the offshore drilling industry, according to articles in the May 12 edition of the Wall Street Journal. The impetus for the split? As currently configured, MMS is responsible both to ensure safety of oil drilling in federal waters, as well as collecting royalties from oil and gas companies. While there is no implication that MMS had a role in the recent Deepwater Horizon disaster, this dual role could potentially be viewed as a conflict of interest, as a continuous flow of oil bodes well for the bottom line.

Maersk May Swallow Hyundai Merchant

File Photo: Hyundai Merchant Marine Co

Business Korea reports that rumours are now rife in the container business world that Maersk could swoop on Hyundai Merchant Marine and subsume its activities into their own business. Even though it is still a prediction, if the prediction becomes a reality, it is highly likely that the sell-off of Hyundai Merchant Marine will receive strong backlash with a mounting criticism that the government sold a major national flag carrier for a giveaway price. According to the shipping industry and creditors…

Australia Senator Pushes Aussie Sub Parts on Japan

An influential Australian senator has asked Japan to buy components for its Soryu submarines from Australian companies to boost its chances of winning a major contract to supply Canberra with a fleet of submarines. Independent South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon made the request to submarine builders Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd as well as government officials in a series of meetings in Japan this week. "What could be a game changer in their bid and in the relationship between the two countries in terms of defence cooperation is for components to be built in Australia," Xenophon said during an interview in Tokyo on Thursday.

The Bigger the Ship, the Riskier

Image: Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty

Container ship safety is under the spotlight with ever-increasing ship sizes, as evidenced by the January 2015 inauguration of the world’s largest container ship, the MSC Oscar (19,224 teu). The length of four football pitches, it can carry 19,000 containers. Yet ships as large as 22,000 teu are expected to be in service soon. Experts in this field say that losing bigger ships could cost $1bn each. Dr. Sven Gerhard, Global Product Leader Hull & Marine Liabilities of Alliance Marine Risk Consulting, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) says: “Larger ships can also mean larger losses.

Oil & Gas Auction Set for November

India will announce the auctioning of 80-85 oil and gas blocks for exploration and production in the seventh licensing round under New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) in the first week of November. Oil regulator Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) has carved out 80-85 blocks to be offered for bidding under NELP-VII. The total acreage of the blocks on offer is about 0.4 million square kilometers. Offshore blocks on both east and west coast would be offered, in addition to a few on-land blocks. NELP-VII had been postponed several times. It was originally due in March-April, but the controversy over pricing of gas forced the government to defer it on fear of investors' backlash.

Magnetic Tape Encoders Mount Directly to Large Shafts for Speed, Position Monitoring

Southington, Conn. -- August 11, 2011... For speed and position monitoring on large diameter shafts, Baumer introduces their HDMag line of high-precision, bearing-less and contact-free magnetic tape encoders. Replacing expensive and complicated specialized solutions that require belts, gears, couplings and linkages, the HDMag series  of encoders is easy to install and will direct mount onto almost any large-shaft torque motor or generator. Using Baumer's patent-pending HDMag MSGP sensor technology, the series consists of a magnetic encoder attached using flexible magnetic tape. The customized tape can be easily buckled onto the drive or generator shaft, just like a belt. With the help of the welded fastener, the tape is tightened on the shaft and can be quickly exchanged when required.

New Australian Navy Submarines to be Japan Built?

HMAS Sheean: Image credit RAN

Australia should discuss building its next-generation fleet of submarines overseas, the Department of Defence said on Monday, a shift that could open the door to a partnership deal with Japan that carries political risk at home and abroad. Australia is looking for partners to help it build about a dozen diesel-electric submarines to replace its aging Collins Class fleet and help to extend its maritime surveillance deep into the Indian Ocean. The proposed A$40 billion fleet of submarines is at the core of the nation's maritime defence strategy over the next two decades.

IBM Signs Up to Help Fight China's War on Smog

IBM Corp has signed an agreement with the city of Beijing to use advanced weather forecasting and cloud compting technologies to help tackle the Chinese capital's persistent smog. After a series of pollution scares and scandals, China's central government has promised to reverse some of the damage done to the nation's sky, rivers and soil by more than three decades of growth. ButChina has first had to improve data collection, monitoring and forecasting capabilities before it can work on cutting smog and pollution. Beijing city already uses an alerting system based on data from 35 monitoring stations, allowing it to shut schools and factories and cut traffic three days in advance, but residents still complain that not enough is being done.

Uber Boats Seek to Bypass Istanbul's Road Traffic

Image: Uber

With the towering bridges that span the Bosphorus choked by traffic, a new boat service from Uber aims to capitalise on Istanbul's infamous road congestion. In partnership with local sea transport company Navette the Uber Boat venture is unlikely to net a significant chunk of the company's Turkey revenue, but it is further evidence of the strategy underpinning its offerings - making it easier to transport anything, in any way, by first booking a pickup through a mobile app. "If we can get you a car in five minutes…

VULKAN Couplings Debuts New Products

TDS Plafrix

At the SMM 2014 in Hamburg, Vulkan Couplings presented two new products: the TDS Plafrix, a shifting clutch and flexible coupling combination, tailored to the use of harbor tugs in particular, and The Vulkardan GBF, a coupling for generator applications featuring a solution for the so-called “blind fitting” applications. The TDS Plafrix clutch is specially designed for use in harbor tugs. To develop and market the new TDS Plafrix clutch, Vulkan Couplings and DESCH Antriebstechnik, Arnsberg, entered into close cooperation. DESCH Antriebstechnik GmbH & Co.

VULKAN Couplings Launches the VULKARDAN G 84

VULKAN Couplings is launching the VULKARDAN G 84 at the Koremarine in Busan (26th to 29th October 2011, Hall LB, Stand Number 0.58), and this coupling has especially been designed for generator drives and electric motors in the medium power range. With the arrival of this product innovation, the company has supplemented the VULKARDAN G product range that has been recently launched for marine drive components in order to be able to cater for a higher torque range up to 63 kNm. The flexible VULKARDAN G series has been developed for modern auxiliary drives and generator applications.

U.S. Crude Surges on Weak Dollar, Ukraine Concerns

Global oil prices surged on Tuesday as a weaker U.S. dollar boosted buying, while expectations for bullish inventory reports in the U.S. and fresh unrest in eastern Ukraine lent support. As the U.S. dollar plunged to session lows against the Japanese yen and the euro, U.S. crude oil spiked $2 to a session high of $102.44 per barrel. Brent rose as much as $1.48 to a session high of $107.30 per barrel. A weaker U.S. currency encourages the buying of dollar-priced commodities like oil, which become cheaper. "We are seeing some build-up in crude oil from the weakness in the dollar, but we're still within the trading range we've seen," said Tariq Zahir, analyst Tyche Capital Investors. As of 1:14 p.m. EDT (1714 GMT), U.S. crude was up $1.64 at $102.08 per barrel.

Safety Charter Targets Old Tankers, Flags Of Convenience

A backlash against older tankers and flags of convenience, triggered by the December sinking of the Erika off the coast of France, achieved a tangible first step last week with the signing of a Ship Safety Charter by oil majors and ship classification firms involved in the French petroleum shipping industry. The parties signing the three-page document, including TotalFina, Elf Aquitaine, BP Amoco France, Royal Dutch/Shell France, Esso France, ship classification firm Bureau Veritas and petroleum industries federation UFIP, agreed not to use single-hulled ships after 2008 and, effective immediately, to only use ships over 15 years old if they have passed recent intensive inspections.

Narendra Modi Eyes Breakthrough Nuclear Pact with Japan

India is hoping to win Japanese backing for a nuclear energy pact during a visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and lure investment into its $85 billion market while addressing Japan's concern about doing business with a nuclear-armed country. India has been pushing for an agreement with Japan on the lines of a 2008 deal with the United States under which India was allowed to import U.S. nuclear fuel and technology without giving up its military nuclear programme. But Japan wants explicit Indian guarantees not to conduct nuclear tests and more intrusive inspections of its nuclear facilities to ensure that spent fuel is not diverted to make bombs.

BHP to Test U.S. Oil Export Legal Limits

BHP Billiton Ltd is set to be the first company to export lightly processed ultra-light U.S. oil without explicit permission from the government, further testing the limits of an increasingly contentious ban on foreign sales. Eight months after two other U.S. energy firms said they had received the first formal authorization to sell domestic condensate abroad, BHP said it had determined that its oil would also meet the legal criteria for export since it was being minimally processed in distillation towers in South Texas. "We took the necessary time to thoroughly examine the issues involved and ensure that the processed condensate was eligible for export…

Mega Ships and Cyber Attacks Pose New Threats

Shipping losses continued their long-term downward trend with 75 reported worldwide in 2014, making it the safest year in shipping for 10 years, according to Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE’s (AGCS)  third annual Safety and Shipping Review 2015, which analyzes reported shipping losses of over 100 gross tons. Losses declined by 32% compared with the previous year and were well below the 10-year loss average of 127. Since 2005 shipping losses have declined by 50%. More than a third of 2014’s total losses were in two maritime regions: South China…

Oil Producers Hope DC Talks Ease Export Ban

Recent meetings between U.S. oil producers and Commerce Department officials have fueled industry hopes that the Obama administration may soon begin to ease a longstanding ban on oil exports. Although it would require an act of Congress to end the four-decade export ban, some analysts and executives believe the White House may be getting ready to open up the taps a bit, allowing some export of a super-light form of oil known as condensate, which falls into a regulatory gray area. Executives and sources said a number of major shale oil producers have quietly stepped up lobbying efforts over the contentious energy issue in recent weeks, meeting with officials from the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), which oversees exports.

Globalization Keeps Future Bright for Shipping

The economic storm signals are all around us: the wild swings in stock markets globally, the contraction of credit availability worldwide and the frequent use of the dreaded “R” word. Is the United States headed for a deep recession? Is a recession already under way? Will the slowing U.S. economy drag the rest of the world’s countries into recession as well? It’s enough to make those of us either in or aligned with the maritime industry wonder what the future holds. Should we batten down the hatches, yet proceed full speed ahead to ride out what may be a temporary squall? Or should we be looking for the shelter of a safe harbor until the worst of the storm passes? In the insurance industry, we have confidence about what lies ahead for the shipping industry.

Shipyards Rising Competitive Stirrings

Shanghai:  Plans for a new “Shanghai Maritime City” might need more ship orders

A mini order boom fueled by gas, “green-tech”, tankers and new rules is underway in shipbuilding. It won’t fill all yards, but changes like the July 2015 cap on sulfur emissions garner retrofit and rush orders. Even China’s Directive 55 obliges its mixed bag of yards to comply. Threatening to plug this trickle of business is the potential for backlash against rule makers, when Class is observed “engaging” some yards on designs while others must merely learn the new requirements.

Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover Dec 2017 - The Great Ships of 2017

Maritime Reporter and Engineering News’ first edition was published in New York City in 1883 and became our flagship publication in 1939. It is the world’s largest audited circulation magazine serving the global maritime industry, delivering more insightful editorial and news to more industry decision makers than any other source.

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