Unexploded Device Spotted on Attacked Tanker
An unexploded device, believed to be a limpet mine, was spotted on the side of one of two oil tankers attacked on Thursday in the Gulf of Oman, a U.S. official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.If confirmed, then the method of attack would be the same as the one that the United States believes was used last month when four other tankers were struck off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. The United States believes Iran was likely responsible for those attacks, a charge Tehran denies.(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by James Dalgleish)
Senator Cassidy: No Jones Act Waiver
A Republican U.S. senator on Wednesday said President Donald Trump will not waive rules requiring that only U.S.-flagged ships move natural gas from American ports to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Northeast.The nearly 100-year-old Jones Act mandates the use of U.S.-flagged vessels to transport merchandise between U.S. coasts. Republican senators said the administration was seriously considering waiving the requirements for 10 years. Bloomberg News reported last week that Trump was leaning in favor of some kind of waiver.Senator Bill Cassidy, a Louisiana Republican, told reporters on a conference call that Trump told Republican lawmakers he would not support a waiver.
UK Special Forces Move to Retake Hijacked Ship
An operation led by British navy special forces is under way to retake control of an Italian cargo ship off the English coast after stowaways threatened crew members on Friday, the political editor of The Sun newspaper said, Reuters reported.Police said earlier they did not think the incident aboard the Grande Tema in the Thames Estuary - involving four stowaways - was piracy or terrorism related.(Reuters writing by William Schomberg, Editing by James Dalgleish)
US Accuses N.Korea of Fuel Smuggling
The United States accused North Korea on Thursday of breaching a U.N. sanctions cap on refined petroleum by making illicit transfers between ships at sea, according to a document seen by Reuters, and demanded an immediate end to all sales of the fuel.The United States submitted the complaint to the U.N. Security Council North Korea sanctions committee. The charge of a sanctions breach comes as Washington engages North Korea in a bid to convince Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons.The North Korea U.N. mission did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the U.S. accusation.
Trump: Infrastructure Plan Likely Must Wait until 2018 Elections
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday his infrastructure plan will likely have to wait until after the November congressional elections. "You'll probably have to wait until after the election, which isn't so long down the road," Trump said in a speech. (Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Eric Beech Editing by James Dalgleish)
US Pushes More Sanctions Targeting N.Korea Maritime Smuggling
"We are ramping up the pressure on the North Korean regime, and we're going to use every tool at our disposal, including working with our allies and through the U.N., to increase the pressure until North Korea reverses course," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said in a statement. The move coincides with the United States imposing its largest package of unilateral sanctions against North Korea on Friday, intensifying pressure on Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons and missile programmes. The U.N.
Trump Troubled About Oil Flow into North Korea
U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday said he was "very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea" and that such moves would prevent "a friendly solution" to the crisis over Pyongyang's nuclear program. "Caught RED HANDED - very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea. There will never be a friendly solution to the North Korea problem if this continues to happen!" Trump wrote in a post on Twitter. China earlier on Thursday said there had been no U.N.
UN: Fresh Oil Import Sanctions on North Korea
(Reuters) -- The U.N. Security Council on Friday unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea following its latest intercontinental ballistic missile test, a move that analysts said could have a significant impact on the isolated country's struggling economy. The resolution seeks to ban nearly 90 percent of refined petroleum product exports to North Korea by capping them at 500,000 barrels a year and demands the repatriation of North Koreans working abroad within 12 months. The U.S.-drafted resolution would also cap crude oil supplies to North Korea at 4 million barrels a year.
US Asks UN to Blacklist 10 Ships over Banned N.Korea Cargo
The United States has proposed that the United Nations Security Council blacklist 10 ships for transporting banned items from North Korea, according to documents seen by Reuters on Tuesday. The vessels are accused of "conducting illegal ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum products to North Korean vessels or illegally transporting North Korean coal to other countries for exports," the United States said in its proposal. If none of the 15 members of the Security Council's North Korea sanctions committee object to the ships being designated by Thursday afternoon, the U.S.
Update: Texas Barge Explosion Kills One, Fire Extinguished
At least one person was killed and another was missing on Friday after an oil barge being pulled by a tug boat caught fire and exploded in the Gulf of Mexico off Texas, officials said. The barge was carrying some 133,000 barrels of crude oil to a refinery in Corpus Christi when the explosion occurred at 4:30 a.m., they said. The dead person had not yet been identified and the fire was allowed to burn itself out before being extinguished, said Rick Adams, Emergency Management Coordinator for the City of Port Aransas.
About 13% US Gulf Oil Output Offline Due to Hurricane Nate
About 13 percent of U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil production remains offline in the aftermath of Hurricane Nate, the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) said on Friday. That equals about 220,000 barrels per day in production that is offline, according to BSEE. Oil companies evacuated staff from Gulf platforms and curtailed output ahead of the storm, which hit the region last weekend. About 7 percent of U.S. Gulf natural gas production remains offline, BSEE said. (Reporting by Rod Nickel in Houston; Editing by James Dalgleish)
Locks Failure Highlights US Infrastructure Woes
The Ohio River was closed to commercial navigation on Monday near Brookport, Illinois, after a hydraulic system used to open and close lock gates at lock and dam 53 failed, the Waterways Council said. A queue of more than 65 towboats was waiting to pass through the area on Monday morning, the group said in a news release. The closure was the latest headache for shippers scrambling to haul newly harvested soybeans from Midwest farms to export terminals along the Gulf Coast. U.S.
US Seeks Faster Approval of Small-scale Natural Gas Export
The United States is proposing to speed up approval of small-scale exports of natural gas, including liquefied natural gas (LNG), the U.S. Department of Energy said in a statement released on Friday. The department said the proposed rule would "expedite the review and approval of applications to export small amounts of natural gas in the emerging small-scale LNG export market," which it said includes the Caribbean, Central America and South America. To date, most applications for export approval have been for larger-scale natural gas exports…
About 13.5% of US Gulf Oil Output Still Shut in by Harvey
About 13.5 percent of oil production in the Gulf of Mexico was shut in on Thursday due to Tropical Storm Harvey, the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said. That equates to some 236,115 barrels of oil per day, out of roughly 1.75 million barrels pumped daily from the Gulf, down from 323,760 barrels of oil per day that were shut on Wednesday. Meanwhile, 17.6 percent of natural gas production in the region, or 568.09 million cubic feet per day has been shut in, BSEE said, down from 611.09 million on Wednesday. BSEE tabulated the data by polling 31 Gulf operators. (Reporting by David Gaffen; Editing by James Dalgleish)
Saudi Aramco Selects Lead Underwriters for $100 Bln IPO
Oil giant Saudi Aramco has selected JPMorgan Chase & Co, Morgan Stanley, and HSBC Holdings Plc as lead underwriters on the firm's planned initial public share offering, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter. Saudi Arabian Oil Co, known as Saudi Aramco, was not immediately available for comment. Saudi authorities are aiming to list up to 5 percent of the world's largest oil producer on both the Saudi stock exchange in Riyadh, the Tadawul, and one or more international markets in an IPO that could raise $100 billion. The listing is the centerpiece of a Saudi Arabian government plan to transform the kingdom by enticing investment and diversifying the economy away from reliance on oil.
Winter Weather Delays Grain Movement to US Ports
Severe winter weather has slowed rail deliveries of crops to shippers in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, sending freight rates soaring and prompting Asian buyers to seek fill-in loads as they wait for the backlog at ports to clear. Blizzards, avalanches and heavy rain in recent weeks have hit transport of corn, soy and wheat to ports where they head for the lucrative Asian market, adding to the struggles that have plagued U.S. exporters since harvest. The setbacks come at a critical time for U.S. exporters, who are trying to move as much grain as possible before buyers turn their attention to South America when corn and soybean harvests in Argentina and Brazil accelerate in the coming weeks.
El Faro Conditions Probed in Final Hearing
The U.S. investigation into the deadly sinking of a cargo ship during a 2015 hurricane entered its final hearing on Monday, with ship conditions probed at the start of two weeks of testimony set to examine new detail on El Faro's last hours. The Coast Guard's Marine Board of Investigation, convened only for the most serious accidents, is looking for evidence of negligence or misconduct in the worst disaster involving a U.S.-flagged vessel in more than three decades. All 33 crew onboard died when the 790-foot (241-meter) El Faro sank during a hurricane on Oct.
China Seizes US Underwater Drone in South China Sea
A Chinese warship has seized an underwater drone deployed by a U.S. oceanographic vessel in the South China Sea, triggering a formal diplomatic protest and a demand for its return, U.S. officials told Reuters on Friday. The drone was taken on Dec. 15, the first seizure of its kind in recent memory, about 50 nautical miles northwest of Subic Bay off the Philippines just as the USNS Bowditch was about to retrieve the unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV), officials said. "The UUV was lawfully conducting a military survey in the waters of the South China Sea," one official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "It's a sovereign immune vessel, clearly marked in English not to be removed from the water - that it was U.S. property," the official said.
Vietnam Expanding South China Sea Runway
Vietnam is extending a runway on an island it claims in the South China Sea in apparent response to China's building of military facilities on artificial islands in the region, a U.S. think tank reported on Thursday. Satellite images taken this month showed Vietnam had lengthened its runway on Spratly Island from less than 2,500 feet (760 meters) to more than 3,300 feet (1 km), Washington's Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative said. AMTI, a project of the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank, said continued reclamation work would likely mean the runway was extended to more than 4,000 feet (1.2 km). It said the upgraded runway would be able to accommodate maritime surveillance aircraft and transport planes, as well as combat aircraft.
White House Sees a Path to Approval of Pacific Trade Deal
The White House on Monday said it was hopeful it could win congressional approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact before President Barack Obama leaves office, and warned that failing to do so would undermine U.S. leadership in the region. "The president is going to make a strong case that we have made progress and there is a path for us to get this done before the president leaves office," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told a new briefing ahead of a trip by Obama to Asia this week. (Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Writing by Tim Ahmann; Editing by James Dalgleish)
US Warship Sails near Chinese-claimed Reef
China scrambled fighter jets on Tuesday as a U.S. navy ship sailed close to a disputed reef in the South China Sea, a patrol China denounced as an illegal threat to peace which only went to show its defence installations in the area were necessary. Guided missile destroyer the USS William P. Lawrence travelled within 12 nautical miles (22 km) of Chinese-occupied Fiery Cross Reef, U.S. Defense Department spokesman Bill Urban said. The so-called freedom of navigation operation was undertaken to "challenge excessive maritime claims" by China…
U.S. Video Shows Iranian Rockets near American Warships
The U.S. Navy released black-and-white video on Saturday it said was taken by an American helicopter showing an Iranian Revolutionary Guards vessel firing unguided rockets on Dec. 26 near warships including the aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman in the Strait of Hormuz. Iran on Dec. The U.S. Navy said the infrared radar footage showed an Iranian "fast inshore attack craft" launching several rockets on Dec. 26 "in close proximity" to the Truman, the guided missile destroyer USS Bulkeley, the French naval frigate FS Provence and commercial ships in the busy waterway.
Judge Blocks Brazilian Assets of Vale, BHP After Dam Burst
A judge in Brazil's state of Minas Gerais has frozen the Brazilian assets of mining giants BHP Billiton and Vale SA after determining their joint venture Samarco was unable to pay for damage caused by the bursting of a dam at its mine last month. In a ruling issued late on Friday, the judge ruled that Vale and BHP could be held responsible for the disaster at the iron ore mine in the state of Minas Gerais, for which the government is demanding 20 billion reais ($5 billion). Vale and BHP each told Reuters they had not yet been notified about the decision. The companies are able to appeal. The dam burst, which turned into Brazil's worst ever environmental disaster, killed 16 people, left hundreds homeless and polluted a river 800 km (500-miles) long that flows across two states.