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Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Government Update News

18 Apr 2024

Venezuela Oil Sector Hit by Loss of Its Widest US License

© Fotos von Schiffen / Adobe Stock

Venezuela's loss of a key U.S. license that allowed it to freely export and increase investment in its oil sector will hit the volume and quality of its crude and fuel sales while prompting a flurry of requests for individual U.S deal authorizations.U.S. officials had warned that absent progress by President Nicolas Maduro on implementing an electoral roadmap agreed last year, the U.S. would not renew license 44, which since October had eased oil sanctions in place for the last five years.On Wednesday…

18 Apr 2024

US Riles China with Shipbuilding Probe

© Igor Groshev / Adobe Stock

The United States has launched an investigation into alleged unfair practices within China's shipbuilding and maritime industries, drawing ire from Chinese officials.The probe was launched Wednesday by U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai in response to a petition filed by five national labor unions accusing China of using "non-market policies that are far more aggressive and interventionist than any other country" to obtain dominance over the global shipbuilding, maritime and logistics sector."The American commercial shipbuilding industry is a shell of its former self. . .

18 Apr 2024

Houthis Conduct 'Operations' in Indian Ocean, Leader Says

© Pakhnyushchyy / Adobe Stock

The leader of Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthis, who have been attacking shipping in the Red Sea, said on Thursday the group had carried out "operations" in the Indian Ocean and towards southern Israel.Abdul Malik al-Houthi's comments made clear that the Houthis have acted on earlier threats to expand operations to the Indian Ocean region and attacks towards southern Israel.The Houthis have repeatedly launched attacks towards the southern Israeli port of Eilat in what they have described…

18 Apr 2024

Methanol Institute and SEA-LNG Unite Against EU Trade Barriers

© M. Johannsen / Adobe Stock

The Methanol Institute (MI) and SEA-LNG, key representatives of the methanol and LNG industries respectively, have expressed their deep concerns following the recent announcement by the European Commission impacting the trade of biomethane and biomethane-based biofuels such as biomethanol.The Commission has noted the intention to exclude the automatic certification of biomethane and biomethanol-based fuels produced through mass balance chain of custody in third-party countries outside the EU gas grids within the Union Database (UDB)…

17 Apr 2024

U.S. Department of Energy Advances Zero-Emissions Targets

Source: DOE

This week at Singapore Maritime Week, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is advancing ambitious decarbonization targets for the maritime transportation sector, both domestically and internationally.DOE is teaming with over 15 government and industry partners in Singapore to foster partnerships and collaborate on clean energy solutions aimed at achieving net zero-emissions in the maritime sector by 2050. Domestically, DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) is joining with ABS to create opportunities for data and information sharing to strengthen U.S. shipping. The U.S.

17 Apr 2024

US to Reimpose Oil Sanctions on Venezuela

© Nmomentscatcher / Adobe Stock

The Biden administration said it would not renew a license set to expire early on Thursday that had broadly eased Venezuela oil sanctions, moving to reimpose punitive measures in response to President Nicolas Maduro’s failure to meet his election commitments.Just hours before the deadline, the U.S. Treasury Department announced on its website that it had issued a replacement license giving companies 45 days to “wind down” their business and transactions in the OPEC country's oil…

17 Apr 2024

Taiwan Submarine Project Chief Quits, Ministry Says Plans to Proceed

© Norman Chan / Adobe Stock

Taiwan's homegrown submarine programme will remain on track, the defence minister said on Wednesday, after the head of the programme resigned due to what he said were unfair attacks against him and the military.Taiwan, which China views as its own territory, has made the submarine programme a key part of an ambitious project to modernise its armed forces as Beijing stages almost daily military exercises to assert sovereignty claims Taipei rejects.Taiwan unveiled the first of eight new submarines in late September, though it won't enter service until next year.

17 Apr 2024

Leonardo Close to Selling Submarine Unit WASS to Fincantieri

(File photo: Fincantieri)

Italian defense group Leonardo is close to finalizing a deal to sell its submarine unit Whitehead Alenia Sistemi Subacquei (WASS) to shipbuilder Fincantieri, Leonardo's chief executive said on Monday."We are talking days, not months," Leonardo CEO Roberto Cingolani told reporters in the port city of Genoa, in remarks confirmed by a spokesperson.The deal, expected to be worth between 200 million and 300 million euros ($213 million-$320 million), would be part of Fincantieri's broader strategy to grow through acquisitions and focus more on the fast-growing defence sector and strengthen its posit

17 Apr 2024

Mounting Tensions Could Spark EU-China Trade War, European Chamber President Warns

© foto-select / Adobe Stock

China and Europe face a "slow motion train accident" as a rising tide of protectionism threatens to become a full trade war, the head of a European business lobby group warned on Wednesday, a day after Germany's chancellor conveyed European concerns to Beijing.Jens Eskelund, president of the European Chamber in China, said that while some worries about trade in both countries were legitimate, there was a risk of unproductive decoupling if European and Chinese leaders did not increase…

17 Apr 2024

US' FTA Announces $316 Million for Ferry Service Modernization

© Dan / Adobe Stock

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) on Wednesday announced the availability of $316 million to support and modernize passenger ferry service in communities across the country.Ferry transit is a critical mode of transportation in many regions throughout the United States. Across the country, there are approximately 3 million ferry riders each month.“I have seen firsthand how, for many Americans in many different parts of the country, ferries are the best and sometimes only way to get where they need to go,” said U.S.

16 Apr 2024

Portugal Urges Iran to Release Containership MSC Aries

Screenshot from video filmed by a seafarer on board the MSC Aries as Iranian forces seized the vessel. (Courtesy ITF)

Portugal's foreign ministry summoned Iran's ambassador on Tuesday to condemn Saturday's attack on Israel by Tehran and to demand the immediate release of a Portuguese-flagged container ship, the MSC Aries, that was seized by Iran on April 13.The ministry said in a statement after the meeting that it "will await the results of this formal measure and evaluate any additional steps, depending on those".It said Portugal had demanded the release of the crew "as explanations provided so far have not been considered consistent"…

15 Apr 2024

IMO's Facilitation Committee Revised MASS Roadmap

Source: IMO

The IMO's Facilitation Committee held its 48th session (FAL 48) from April 8 to 12, in person at IMO Headquarters in London.The Facilitation Committee (FAL) meets annually to deal with matters related to the facilitation of international maritime traffic, including the arrival, stay and departure of ships, persons and cargo from ports. The Committee also addresses electronic business and aims to ensure that the right balance is struck between regulation and the facilitation of international maritime trade.

15 Apr 2024

Keel Laid for US Navy's First Constellation Frigate

(Photo: Fincantieri Marinette Marine)

The U.S. Navy on Friday celebrated the keel laying of the lead ship of the Constellation class of guided-missile frigates, the future USS Constellation (FFG 62), at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard in Marinette, Wis.Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Lisa Franchetti participated in the ceremony along with Wisconsin governor Tony Evers and Fincantieri Marine Group CEO Marco Galbiati.Hundreds of FMM shipbuilders gathered with guests inside the shipyard’s massive new climate-controlled Building 34…

14 Apr 2024

Denmark Bans Discharge of Scrubber Water

© Alexander / Adobe Stock

The discharge of scrubber water from ships out to 22km (12 nautical miles) from the Danish coasts will be prohibited by law. The ban will come into effect on July 1, 2025, for ships with scrubbers in open operation, where the wash water is discharged into the sea. For ships with scrubbers in closed operation, the ban on water discharge will take effect on July 1, 2029.The Ministry of Environment has stated that scrubber water has contributed to excessive levels of a number of heavy metals and tar substances such as lead, cadmium, anthracene and benz(a)pyrene in the marine environment.

12 Apr 2024

Unexpected But Welcome: US Navy’s Amphibious Warship Plan Supported Across Political Parties & Government Branches

File photo courtesy HII

Here’s some good news for America’s sea power. While the U.S. Navy has initiated another review of its 30-year shipbuilding plan in the face of widespread dissatisfaction, one element within that plan has been praised: the decision to provide funding for continued construction of amphibious warfare ships. These vessels offer unmatched flexibility and the capability of transporting, deploying, and supporting ground combat forces – typically U.S. Marine Corps – to conduct amphibious assaults, humanitarian operations, or disaster relief missions.

11 Apr 2024

Austal USA Begins Building US Navy's LCU 1710 Landing Craft

(Image: Austal USA)

Austal USA earlier this month celebrated the start of construction on the first of three LCU 1710 Landing Craft Utility vessels for the U.S. Navy at the company’s Mobile, Ala. shipyard.Austal USA, a subsidiary if the Australian shipbuilding group Austal, was awarded a US$91.5 million (A$143.4 million) contract in September 2023 that includes three LCU 1710 vessels and associated support efforts.Austal CEO Paddy Gregg said the start of construction on Austal USA’s latest steel…

11 Apr 2024

Stabenow Honored for Support of Great Lakes Shipping

Sen. Debbie Stabenow

The Great Lakes Maritime Task Force (GLMTF) honored Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow in recognition of the significant contributions made throughout her Congressional career protecting the Great Navigation System and supporting American jobs with investment in U.S.-flagged Great Lakes shipping.Senator Stabenow, who co-chairs the bipartisan Senate Great Lakes Task Force, has been the driving force behind the protection of the U.S.' largest freshwater resource and the maritime highway that supports U.S.

10 Apr 2024

US Forces Engage Houthi UAVs

U.S.Forces, Allies conduct joint strikes in Yemen (Source: CENTCOM)

The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement that its forces had successfully engaged three unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) launched from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen over the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea.There were no injuries or damage reported by U.S., coalition, or commercial ships, the statement added.U.S. forces also destroyed eight UAVs in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen later on April 10, the statement said.(Reuters - Reporting by Ahmed Tolba and Enas Alashray; Editing by Kim Coghill)

10 Apr 2024

Houthis Target Four Vessels in Gulf of Aden

© Jack Russel / Adobe Stock

Yemen's Houthis said on Wednesday they targeted four vessels, including what they described as a U.S. warship, with drones and naval missiles in the Gulf of Aden, part of their stated campaign of solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.The Iran-aligned group attacked "MSC Darwin ship, MSC GINA, MV Yorktown" along with the U.S. destroyer, the group's military spokesman Yahya Sarea said in a televised speech.The U.S. military said on Tuesday that it had destroyed an inbound anti-ship…

10 Apr 2024

US Coast Guard Says Boardings of Chinese Fishing Vessels in South Pacific Legal

(File photo: Sara Muir / U.S. Coast Guard)

The U.S. Coast Guard has rejected comments by a Chinese diplomat that its recent boardings of Chinese fishing boats in the Pacific Islands alongside local police are illegal, saying the joint patrols are at the behest of Pacific nations to protect coastal fisheries.Reuters reported last month that six Chinese fishing boats were found to be violating Vanuatu's fisheries law after being inspected by local police who were on board the first U.S. Coast Guard boat to patrol the waters of the Pacific Islands nation.China's Ambassador to New Zealand Wang Xiaolong…

10 Apr 2024

Iran Says It Can Close Strait of Hormuz

© Lotharingia / Adobe Stock

The commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard's navy said on Tuesday Israel's presence in the United Arab Emirates was viewed as a threat by Tehran and it could close the Strait of Hormuz if deemed necessary.Iran has threatened to retaliate for suspected Israeli airstrikes on its consulate in Syria's capital on April 1 that killed seven Revolutionary Guards officers including two senior commanders - stoking tensions between the arch enemies already heightened by the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza."We do not get hit without striking back…

08 Apr 2024

Over 100 Dead After Mozambique Ferry Sinks

© Frank / Adobe Stock

More than 100 people died after a ferry boat sank off the northern coast of Mozambique, President Filipe Nyusi said on Monday, and almost 20 others were still missing.An official from the country's Maritime Transport Institute (INTRASMAR) said the vessel carrying 130 passengers was an overloaded fishing boat and was not licensed to transport people.It was ferrying people from Lunga in Nampula province to Mozambique Island on Sunday, Lourenco Machado, an administrator of INTRASMAR…

08 Apr 2024

US Coast Guard Gives All Clear After Louisiana Spill Response

A Main Pass Gathering Company, LLC Panther helicopter conducts an overflight to observe visible sheen off the coast of Louisiana, Nov. 18, 2023. (Source: US Coast Guard)

The Unified Command completed a line integrity test on the Main Pass Oil Gathering (MPOG) company's pipeline system near Plaquemines Parish, southeast of New Orleans, the U.S. Coast Guard said on Monday."Following a successful line integrity test of the MPOG line, the Unified Command has stood down its work to respond to the oil release observed on November 16," they added.A line integrity test confirms that all points are leak-free.In Nov 2023 an oil spill was reported near the…