Britain News

31 Mar 2020

Abu Dhabi's Gulf Marine Services Reaches Debt Restructuring Deal

A GMS self-elevating rig - Image credit: GMS

Abu Dhabi-based Gulf Marine Services (GMS) said on Tuesday it had reached an agreement with its syndicate of banks to restructure its debt that will help it weather the coronavirus crisis.London-listed GMS provides support vessels for offshore oil and gas and other energy installations. It has been hurt by a downturn in the oil and gas services industry triggered by a prolonged slide in oil prices that has turned into a deep slump since the coronavirus crisis destroyed demand…

29 Mar 2020

Coronavirus-hit Ship Approved to Pass Through Panama Canal

The Panama Canal facilitated this Sunday the transit of Holland America's MS Zaandam and MS Rotterdam cruise ships (Photo: Panama Canal Authority)

A cruise ship stuck off Panama’s Pacific coast after four passengers died and more than 130 others developed influenza-like symptoms, including at least two with the coronavirus, will be allowed to proceed through the Panama Canal, the government said on Saturday.Holland America Line’s 238-meter (781-foot) MS Zaandam vessel can now continue its trip to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but Panama’s government underscored that no passengers or crew members would be allowed to set foot…

27 Mar 2020

Britain Suspends IMO 2020 Shipping Fuel Checks Due to Coronavirus

© bannafarsai/ Adobe Stock

Britain has suspended checks on ships for compliance with low sulphur fuel regulations as part of wider measures that cut back on inspections to reduce the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on supply chains, the coastguard authority said on Friday.The coronavirus has created growing logistical problems for freight as countries try to keep goods moving despite lockdown in many parts of the world.At the start of the year, regulations came into effect - known as MARPOL Annex VI - that make it mandatory for ships to use fuel with a sulphur content of 0.5%…

26 Mar 2020

P&O Boosts Freight to Keep Goods Flowing in Virus Outbreak

© Volodymyr / Adobe Stock

British ferry and shipping freight company P&O said on Wednesday it will ramp up freight operations to improve the flow of essential goods between Britain and mainland Europe as passenger numbers dwindle during the coronavirus outbreak."P&O Ferries is doing vital work to ensure the supplies of food, medicines and other supplies to millions of people," chief executive officer Janette Bell said in a statement."I urge all governments to back the commitment of our colleagues by designating port workers as key workers, to secure further the flow of goods." (Reporting by Kate Holton and Andy Bruce;

26 Mar 2020

Australia Orders Two Cruise Ships to Leave ... Now!

© Richie Chan/AdobeStock

Australia ordered two cruise ships to leave its waters on Thursday, after a liner that docked in Sydney Harbor last week became the primary source of infection in the country's coronavirus outbreak.Although well below levels elsewhere in the world, the pace of Australia's infections is starting to pick up speed, reaching nearly 2,800 cases and 13 deaths.The government of West Australia state said nobody would be permitted to disembark from the German-operated MV Artania after seven of 800 foreign passengers on board tested positive for the virus…

24 Mar 2020

Modern-Day Mayflower Sets Sail Ahead of 400th Anniversary Voyage

© Archivist / Adobe Stock

Four hundred years after the Mayflower crossed the Atlantic from Britain to the United States, a group of engineers plan to have a crewless-ship also named the Mayflower, navigate itself along the same route.The voyage is due to begin in September and the new Mayflower could become the first full-sized, fully autonomous vessel to cross the Atlantic, organizers IBM and marine research group Promare say.The original Mayflower ship transported 102 British settlers from England to America.

23 Mar 2020

Western Supply Chains Buckle as Coronavirus Lockdowns Spread

© THATREE / Adobe Stock

Freight carriers are struggling to deliver goods by land, sea or air as the coronavirus pandemic forces Western governments to impose lockdowns, threatening supplies of vital products including medicines into the most affected areas, such as Italy.While China's draconian steps to stop the spread of the virus are now allowing its economy slowly to come back online, supply chains are backing up in other parts of the world.Problems ranging from finding enough truck drivers to restrictions on seafarers and a lack of air freight are hitting the smooth flow of goods…

12 Mar 2020

UK Limits Travel to Offshore Platforms

(Photo: BP)

Britain's oil and gas sector association OGUK on Thursday banned people from traveling to offshore installations such as platforms if they have traveled to certain countries affected by the coronavirus in the previous 14 days.The ban comes after Equinor reported the oil industry's first coronavirus infection on an offshore installation on Wednesday, highlighting the challenge in preventing contamination for thousands of workers living in the close quarters on rigs and platforms."Industry…

21 Feb 2020

Branson: Virgin Cruise Line Will Overcome Coronavirus Fears

Photo courtesy of Virgin Voyages

British entrepreneur Richard Branson heralded his first cruise ship "Scarlet Lady" on Friday as targeting a younger generation of holidaymakers with a range of attractions that he believes will outweigh any fears around coronavirus.Despite the unfortunate timing, with passengers on one ship quarantined in Japan after hundreds caught the virus and another turned away by five countries over fears someone on board may be ill, Branson sees cruises as a growth area.In an event at Dover…

19 Feb 2020

France Wants Customs Controls in Irish Sea in Post-Brexit Talks

© redaktion93 / Adobe Stock

France on Wednesday said it was imperative that negotiations over a future trade relationship between Britain and the European Union included customs checks in the Irish Sea.British Prime Minister Boris Johnson struck a divorce deal with the EU last October that leaves the United Kingdom's province of Northern Ireland inside the UK customs area but all EU procedures will apply to goods arriving there."There must be controls in the Irish Sea", France's junior minister for European…

07 Feb 2020

Coronavirus Cases Rise on Cruise Ship Marooned off Japan

Diamond Princess (File photo: Carnival Corp.)

Dozens more people onboard a cruise ship quarantined in the port of Yokohama, Japan, tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday and thousands of passengers remained confined to their cabins, only allowed on deck briefly for fresh air.The Diamond Princess, owned by Miami-based Carnival Corp, was placed on a two-week quarantine on arriving at Yokohama on Monday after a man who disembarked in Hong Kong was diagnosed with the virus.Japanese Health Minister Katsunobu Kato told a news conference that 41 people on the liner had tested positive for coronavirus on Friday…

02 Feb 2020

Japanese Warship to Patrol Oil Lifeline

File photo: The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer Takanami (DD 110), front, sails alongside the guided missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) March 9, 2014, in the Pacific Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Chris Cavagnaro)

A Japanese destroyer left for the Gulf of Oman on Sunday amid simmering Middle East tension to guard sea lanes that supply nearly all the oil that powers the world's third-biggest economy."Thousands of Japanese ships ply those waters every year including vessels carrying nine tenths of our oil. It is Japan's lifeline," Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the crew at Yokosuka naval base near Tokyo, before they cast off in a ceremony attended by 500 family members and representatives from the United States…

31 Jan 2020

Polar Research Ship Commissions Lifeboats

Image: Cammell Laird

UK’s new polar research ship being built at Cammell Laird in Birkenhead RRS Sir David Attenborough has achieved another important milestone with the commissioning and testing of the ship’s lifeboats and lifeboat davits.The lifeboats, each capable of carrying 90 people, are now in position on both sides of the vessel, along with the operational davits that allow for the safe deployment and recovery of the boats.RRS Sir David Attenborough is the first International Maritime Organisation’s Polar Code-compliant ship to have been built in the UK.

29 Jan 2020

Driverless Trucks to Dominate UK Ferry Traffic

Image: British Ports Association

Driver-less heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) will be to ship freight between the UK and continental Europe in the future, according to a new white paper published by the British Ports Association (BPA) and the specialist freight transport consultancy MDS Transmodal.Commercial and environmental pressures will encourage freight operators to look at autonomous trucks and they would transform the way the ro-ro market works in Great Britain."Changes anticipated include significant growth…

14 Jan 2020

NKT Bags East West Interconnector Contract

Image: NKT

The Irish power grid operator EirGrid has awarded NKT a service contract for the interconnector connecting Ireland and Great Britain.The cable and cable accessories supplier to the energy sector has been awarded a five-year service agreement by the Irish power grid operator EirGrid for cable related services including repair works for the East West Interconnector.The 200 kV HVDC power cable with capacity of 500 MW between Ireland and Great Britain is connecting the countries power grid ensuring the high transmission security needed to power modern life.For NKT…

07 Jan 2020

Britain Issues Shipping Guidance for Middle East

© Peter Cripps / Adobe Stock

British defense minister Ben Wallace said on Tuesday the Department for Transport and his ministry would issue guidance to shipping in the Middle East imminently after the killing of an Iranian military commander heightened tensions."The Department for Transport are reviewing the threat state and advice to red-ensign shipping on a daily basis and, supported by the Ministry of Defense, we will issue guidance imminently," Wallace told parliament. (Reporting by Kylie MacLellan and Elizabeth Piper; editing by Stephen Addison)

06 Jan 2020

P&O Ferrymasters Expands in Turkey

Image: P&O Ferrymasters

European providers of transportation and logistics services P&O Ferrymasters has announced plans to open five new offices across Turkey over the next two years as it continues the expansion of its pan-European logistics services into Asia.In addition to its existing base in Istanbul, P&O Ferrymasters will develop a comprehensive network across the strategically vital country by opening offices in Izmir on the Aegean coast, the capital city Ankara, Mersin on the south coast, Bursa in the Marmara region and Gaziantep near the border with Syria.Murat Bog…

06 Jan 2020

Britain's Navy to Escort UK Ships Through Strait of Hormuz

(Photo: UK Royal Navy)

Britain's navy will accompany UK-flagged ships through the Strait of Hormuz to provide protection after the U.S. killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani inflamed tensions in the region.Britain's defence minister, Ben Wallace, ordered the HMS Montrose and HMS Defender to prepare to return to escort duties in the major oil shipping route as Prime Minister Boris Johnson came in for criticism for his silence over the killing.Media reports have said Johnson is on holiday in the Caribbean."The government will take all necessary steps to protect our ships and citizens at this time…

29 Dec 2019

French CG Rescue 31 Migrants

French coastguards rescued 31 migrants trying to cross the English Channel overnight after the engine of one small boat cut out and the other dinghy began to take in water, local authorities in France said on Sunday.Border and coast guards in Britain and France have recently intercepted several attempted crossings, including on Dec. 26 when 49 suspected migrants were escorted to British shores after a rescue and search operation.In the early hours of Sunday, French coast guards picked up 11 migrants, including two young children, in one boat off the coast near the port city of Calais.Another 20, including a pregnant woman, were later rescued by the same patrol boat further along the French coast near Dunkirk, the local authorities said in a statement.

26 Dec 2019

China, Russia, Iran to Hold Naval Drills

File image of a Chinese warship underway. AdobeStock / © Vanderwolf

China, Iran and Russia will hold joint naval drills starting on Friday in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman, China's defence ministry said on Thursday, amid heightened tension in the region between Iran and the United States.China will send the Xining, a guided missile destroyer, to the drills, which will last until Monday, and are meant to deepen cooperation between the three countries' navies, ministry spokesman Wu Qian told a monthly news briefing.The drill was a "normal military exchange" between the three armed forces and was in line with international law and practices…

25 Dec 2019

NYK Provides Free Transport for Ginkgo Saplings

The ceremony for receiving the saplings was held at the Hiroshima Botanical Garden in Japan. Photo: NYK

Japanese shipping giant Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) Group has provided support to a project being conducted by maritime volunteers in the town of Pembroke, which is south of Wales, to return ginkgo saplings linked to Admiral Togo, one of Japan’s greatest naval heroes.Yusen Logistics Co. Ltd. has provided free transport from Britain, and a ceremony for receiving the saplings was held at the Hiroshima Botanical Garden in Japan on December 24.In the 1870s, the Japanese government donated the ginkgo tree to Britain…

23 Dec 2019

UK Navy Warship Captures $4 mln of Drugs in Gulf of Oman

Photo courtesy of Royal Navy

Britain's Royal Navy said on Monday one of its warships had helped to seize a batch of crystal meth worth more than 3.3 million pounds ($4.3 million) from smugglers in the Gulf of Oman.HMS Defender, a destroyer based at Portsmouth, southern England, sent a party to search a suspicious dhow as it conducted reconnaissance in the northern Arabian Sea.Royal marines discovered on the dhow 11 mailbag-sized sacks carrying drugs weighing 131 kg (288 lb) in total, the Royal Navy said in…

02 Dec 2019

Fuel Market Calm ahead of IMO Changeover

AdobeStock / © 14KT Gold

Fears about a shortage of diesel and other middle distillates stemming from new marine pollution regulations have receded, with distillate premiums falling to some of the lowest levels for two years.From the start of 2020, ocean-going ships will be required to use low-sulphur fuels or employ exhaust gas cleaning systems, known has scrubbers, under pollution control rules approved by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).Fuel traders and shipowners have warned for several…

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