British Government News

18 Mar 2020

Today in Maritime History: Grounding of the Supertanker Torrey Canyon

On the world stage, the grounding of the supertanker TORREY CANYON on Pollard’s Rock in the Seven Stones reef between Cornwall and the Scilly Isles is more significant than the 1989 EXXON VALDEZ oil spill. The TORREY CANYON was one of the first tankers large enough (120,000 tons capacity) to be designated a supertanker. It was also the first loaded supertanker to spill its entire cargo. After salvage efforts failed and the oil flow increased, the British Government decided to bomb the ship in an attempt to burn the oil. This was a radical decision because the wreck was outside the three-mile territorial sea limit prevalent at that time. The Royal Air Force had difficulty hitting the ship, so the Royal Navy sent its planes in.

26 Jul 2019

Denmark backs Britain's Hormuz Naval Plan

A UK Naval warship on patrol. CREDIT: AdobeStock / © Peter Cripps

Denmark said on Friday it welcomed a British government proposal for a European-led naval mission to ensure safe shipping through the Strait of Hormuz and would consider a military maritime contribution.Britain has sought to assemble the mission in Hormuz, used by tankers carrying about a fifth of the world's oil, following Iran's seizure of a British-flagged ship in what London said was an act of "state piracy".The initiative won initial support from Denmark, France and Italy…

25 Jul 2019

Royal Navy to Protect UK Ships in Strait of Hormuz

File Image: A UK Warship on patrol. CREDIT AdobeStock / © Peter Cripps

The British government said on Thursday its navy will accompany British-flagged vessels through the Strait of Hormuz to defend freedom of navigation, after previously saying it did not have the military resources to do so.Tensions have spiked between Iran and Britain since the Islamic Republic last Friday seized a British-flagged tanker in the Strait.

19 Jul 2019

Iran: British-flagged Tanker Seized in Gulf

File Image of the Stena Impero (CREDIT: MarineTraffic.com / © Erwin Willemse

Iran's Revolutionary Guards said on Friday they had captured a British-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf after Britain seized an Iranian vessel earlier this month, further raising tensions along a vital international oil shipping route.Britain said it was urgently seeking information about the Stena Impero after the tanker, which had been heading to a port in Saudi Arabia, suddenly changed course after passing through the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf.The Revolutionary…

11 Jul 2019

Iran Attempts UK Tanker Block, Fails

Civilian Mariner Kevin Sauls, Ship's master aboard the Henry J. Kaiser-class fleet replenishment oiler USNS Guadalupe (T-AO 200), observes the Royal Navy Duke-class frigate HMS Montrose (F 236) during a replenishment-at-sea drill. Guadalupe is conducting operations, providing logistical support to U.S. Navy and allied forces operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tristin Barth)

Britain says it fended off Iranian attempt to block its oil tankerThree Iranian vessels tried to block a British-owned tanker passing through the strait that controls the flow of Middle East oil to the world, but backed off when confronted by a Royal Navy warship, Britain said on Thursday.A week after Britain seized an Iranian tanker accused of violating sanctions on Syria, London said the British Heritage, operated by oil company BP, had been approached in the Strait of Hormuz…

11 Jul 2019

Britain Foils Iranian Attempt to Block Tanker

File Image: A UK Navy warship on patrol (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © Peter Cripps)

Three Iranian vessels tried to block a BP-operated tanker passing through the Strait of Hormuz but backed off when confronted by a Royal Navy warship, the UK government said on Thursday.Britain urged Iran to "de-escalate the situation in the region" after the British Heritage, a Suezmax oil tanker operated by BP under an Isle of Man flag, was approached."HMS Montrose was forced to position herself between the Iranian vessels and British Heritage and issue verbal warnings to the Iranian vessels…

02 Jul 2019

Shipping Firms Drop UK Flag as Brexit Looms

Photo: CMA CGM

Companies are leaving Britain's shipping registry due to uncertainty over Britain's departure from the European Union and future commercial arrangements with the bloc, industry officials say.All commercial ships have to be registered, or flagged, with a particular country partly to comply with safety and environmental regulations. Shipping companies in many so-called "flag states" pay corporation tax based on vessel tonnage rather than profit.Britain's ship registry forms part…

27 Dec 2018

Brexit:: P&O Re-flags Two Ships for Tax Reasons

© bluedesign/AdobeStock

British ferry and shipping freight operator P&O is reviewing its UK-registered fleet and is already re-flagging two vessels to keep European Union tax arrangements ahead of Britain's departure from the bloc, the company said.A P&O spokesman said two of its UK ships operating on the English Channel route to France would be re-flagged to Cyprus."The change is being made to preserve the tonnage tax financing arrangements, under which the ships should remain flagged in an EU member state," a statement said.The spokesman added that P&O was reviewing the flag status of its four other ships operating

18 Dec 2018

P&O Re-flagging Two Vessels to Cyprus Ahead of Brexit

British ferry and shipping freight operator P&O is reviewing its UK-registered fleet and is already re-flagging two vessels to keep European Union tax arrangements ahead of Britain's departure from the bloc, the company said.A P&O spokesman said two of its UK ships operating on the English Channel route to France would be re-flagged to Cyprus."The change is being made to preserve the tonnage tax financing arrangements, under which the ships should remain flagged in an EU member state," a statement said.The spokesman added that P&O was reviewing the flag status of its four other ships operating on the Channel route, although no final…

26 Nov 2018

UK Ambassador Visits Energean's Offshore Facilities

Photo provided by Energean Oil & Gas PLC

United Kingdom Ambassador to Greece Ms. Katherine Smith visited Energean offshore drilling facilities at Prinos.The Delegation of the British Embassy toured by boat the Prinos Oil Field Platforms and “Energean Force”, the Energean owned drilling rig, which is currently drilling an extended reach well into the Epsilon Oil Field. The Delegation circumnavigated the jack-up rig “GSP Jupiter”, which is currently drilling the first of the three vertical development wells in the Epsilon Oil Field.After concluding her visit to Prinos…

05 Sep 2018

World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm Opens

(File photo: Orsted)

The world's largest offshore wind farm will open on Thursday off the northwest coast of England when Danish energy group Orsted unveils the Walney Extension project.The wind farm has a capacity of 659 megawatts (MW), enough to power almost 600,000 homes, and overtakes the London Array off England's east coast which has a capacity of 630 MW.Walney Extension is made up of 87 turbines built by Siemens Gamesa and MHI Vestas, and covers 145 square kilometers (55 square miles), which is equivalent to around 20,000 football pitches.The 40 eight-megawatt MHI Vestas turbines being used stand 195 meters

24 Apr 2018

GE to Trial World’s Largest Wind Turbine in UK

(Image: GE Renewable Energy)

U.S. conglomerate General Electric will test the world's largest wind turbine in a facility in northeast England, it said on Tuesday. GE Renewable Energy, the renewable arm of the U.S. firm, and the British government-funded Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult signed a five-year agreement to test GE's Haliade-X 12 megawatt (MW) turbine in Blyth, Northumberland. "This is an important agreement because it will enable us to prove Haliade-X in a faster way by putting it under controlled and extreme conditions," John Lavelle, president & CEO of GE's Offshore Wind business said in a statement.

17 Apr 2018

RMS St. Helena to Return as Anti-piracy Armory Vessel

© Bruce Salt / MarineTraffic.com

The RMS St. Helena, Britain’s last working postal ship, was for nearly three decades the main source of contact between one of humanity’s remotest islands and the outside world.Now the ship, cherished by the 4,500 residents of British-ruled St. Helena, will start a new life as a floating armory, packed with automatic weapons, bullet-proof jackets and night vision goggles, all stored for maritime security operatives.Renamed the MNG Tahiti, the 340-foot ship will undergo some tweaks…

30 Jan 2018

Britain Reviewing Risks to its Satellite-Reliant Infrastructure

(File photo: DP World London Gateway)

Britain is reviewing its reliance on satellite-based technology for critical infrastructure including the Global Positioning System (GPS) as the threat of jamming attacks and disruptions grows, a government report said on Tuesday. Emergency services, transport, communications and financial networks are among key sectors which depend on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) such as GPS. Such technology needs accurate and reliable position and timing signals. Experts say the problem with GNSS is their weak signals…

26 Nov 2017

A BP North Sea field to test U.S. policy on Iran

A small gas field on the edge of the British North Sea could become a litmus test for U.S. policy towards Iran. London-based BP this week agreed to sell to North Sea producer Serica Energy three fields in the ageing offshore basin, including the Rhum field which is co-owned by a subsidiary of Iran's national oil company. For Serica, the $400 million deal will increase its production sevenfold. It nevertheless hinges on the British company receiving a licence from U.S. sanctions enforcement authorities at a time when President Donald Trump is flexing his muscles against Tehran. For BP and its American Chief Executive Bob Dudley, selling Rhum, which BP discovered in the 1970s, removes a potential source of friction as it mends its ties with the U.S.

15 Nov 2017

Australia Names 'Ferry McFerryFace' to Crew's Dismay

(Image: NSW Transport)

Australia â€śbrings a smile” with Ferry McFerryface, but not everyone gets the joke. In the grand tradition of Britain’s Boaty McBoatface, Australian authorities are christening one of the ferries crossing Sydney’s world famous harbor Ferry McFerryface, but some union workers aren’t amused. The New South Wales state government announced the name for one of its six new ferries on Tuesday after a public vote, with Transport Minister Andrew Constance deeming it “one for the kids”.

07 Aug 2017

Cyber Threats Prompt Return of Radio for Ship Navigation

© donvictori0 / Adobe Stock

The risk of cyber attacks targeting ships' satellite navigation is pushing nations to delve back through history and develop back-up systems with roots in World War Two radio technology. Ships use GPS (Global Positioning System) and other similar devices that rely on sending and receiving satellite signals, which many experts say are vulnerable to jamming by hackers. About 90 percent of world trade is transported by sea and the stakes are high in increasingly crowded shipping lanes.

03 Feb 2017

Lockheed Martin Backs UK Cyber-Training Initiative

The British arm of U.S. defence major Lockheed Martin said on Friday it would back a UK government initiative to train students in cyber security to combat a growing skills gap in the area. Through the UK government's CyberFirst initiative, Lockheed Martin will sponsor a number of students across a three-year period and provide them with work placements during their studies. "There's an emerging cyber skills gap and it's vital that this gap is addressed," said Peter Ruddock, chief executive of Lockheed Martin UK. Launched in May 2016, CyberFirst is a work-study programme in online security targeted at students who are about to start university or are in their first year and run by the UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

07 Oct 2016

Submarine Market Valued at Nearly $23 Billion

Photo: Navy Recruiting Command

The submarine market will be valued at $22.8 billion this year. By 2026 the market will reach $36.3 billion, according to Strategic Defence Intelligence. This represents a compound annual growth rate of (CAGR) of 4.74%. Spending will increase $2.8 billion this year, and is forecasted to reach $3.3 billion in 2026. This represents a CAGR of 1.7%. Factors such as the replacement of aging submarines, using marine vehicles for surveillance and border disputes are contributing to the spending increase. The largest markets are North America, Asia-Pacific and Europe.

27 Sep 2016

Baltic Exchange Succumbs to Singapore as Shipping Turmoil Deepens

File photo: Nordic Bulk Carriers

The crisis in global shipping and a tax exodus by big Greek vessel owners have helped finally seal the fate of London's Baltic Exchange after at least three approaches to buy it over the last six years of its near-three centuries history. Some 95 percent of shareholders voted on Monday in favour of a takeover deal from Singapore Exchange, valued at 87 million pounds ($112.87 million), trumping more than one effort from the London Metal Exchange to snap it up. "For Baltic shareholders it does release value…

22 Sep 2016

U.S. Shale Gas Shipment to Arrives in Britain

The first shipment of gas fracked from U.S. shale will arrive in Britain next week, upping pressure on Scotland to reassess its opposition to fracking. Chemicals giant Ineos will be importing ethane, obtained from rocks fractured at high pressure, in a foretaste of larger deliveries of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from shale set to reach Europe in 2018. The shipment of ethane, used to make plastics, anti-freeze and detergents, will arrive in Scotland's Firth of Forth on Tuesday, accompanied by a lone Scots piper at sunrise, the company said. The Zurich-headquartered group is against a Scottish moratorium on fracking. It is Britain's biggest shale gas company in terms of acreage and it has promised to share six percent of future shale gas revenue with local residents.

05 Apr 2016

British Gov't Met Potential Buyer for Tata Steel UK

The British government opened talks on Tuesday with potential buyers for Tata Steel's UK operations, including Sanjeev Gupta's commodities company Liberty Group, as it stepped up its battle to find a buyer for the loss-making business. Accused by opposition lawmakers of being "asleep at the wheel" when India's Tata Steel put its entire British operations up for sale last week, Prime Minister David Cameron also met ministers to discuss the options for a business which employs 15,000 people. Britain's business minister Sajid Javid met with Gupta in London to establish how firm his interest was in the business. He was later due to fly to Mumbai to meet Tata Chairman Cyrus Mistry to agree the process for a sale.

13 Jul 2015

RBS to Exit Greek Shipping Portfolio

Image: Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC

Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC is winding down its Greek operation and is looking to sell its USD5 billion shipping loans portfolio, Reuters reported on Saturday. Citing finance sources familiar with the plans, Reuters said the move was part of the UK state-backed bank's efforts to shrink its international business. Part of a wider strategy by the bank to shrink parts of its international business, the decision comes as Greece makes a final attempt with international creditors for a bailout and to prevent a financial meltdown in the country.

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