Reuters News

17 Jul 2019

U.S. Unsure About Details of Tanker Towed to Iran

The Tanker riah (File Image: CREDIT MarineTraffic.com / © Marinko)

U.S. officials say they are unsure whether an oil tanker towed into Iranian waters was seized by Iran or rescued after facing mechanical faults as Tehran asserts, creating a mystery at sea at a time of high tension in the Gulf.The MT Riah disappeared from ship tracking maps when its transponder was switched off in the Strait of Hormuz on July 14. Its last position was off the coast of the Iranian island of Qeshm in the strait.Iran says it towed a vessel into its waters from the strait after the ship issued a distress call.

17 Jul 2019

Vietnam, China in South China Sea Standoff

© lotusjeremy / Adobe Stock

Vietnamese and Chinese ships have been embroiled in a weeks-long standoff near an offshore oil block in disputed waters of the South China Sea, which fall within Vietnam's exclusive economic zone, two Washington-based think-tanks said on Wednesday.China's U-shaped "nine-dash line" marks a vast expanse of the South China Sea that it claims, including large swathes of Vietnam's continental shelf where it has awarded oil concessions.The Haiyang Dizhi 8, a ship operated by the China Geological Survey…

16 Jul 2019

IEA: U.S., China to the LNG Lead by 2024

© Mike Mareen/Adobe Stock

The United States and China will become the world's biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporters and importers, respectively, in five years, according to projections by the International Energy Agency (IEA).U.S. LNG exports are expected to rocket to over 100 billion cubic meters (bcm) in 2024, dislodging current market leaders Australia and Qatar, Jean-Baptiste Dubreuil, senior natural gas analyst at IEA, said on Tuesday.He was speaking at a presentation sponsored by Columbia…

16 Jul 2019

Ten Turkish Sailors Seized by Pirates off Nigeria

© pavalena / Adobe Stock

Ten Turkish sailors were taken hostage by armed pirates who attacked a Turkish-flagged cargo ship off the coast of Nigeria, the vessel's owner said on Tuesday, adding that another eight sailors were left safely aboard.Turkey's foreign ministry said the sailors were seized on Saturday evening. After the pirates left the ship it was taken to Ghana's Tema port, and Ghanaian and Nigerian authorities are working on returning the captured sailors, the ministry said.Shipping company Kadioglu Denizcilik said its ship…

15 Jul 2019

Baltic Index at 5-1/2 Year Peak as Capesize Demand Soars

file Image: CREDIT AdobeStock / © Lucasz Z

The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index hit a five-and-a-half-year high on Monday on the back of strong demand for capesize vessels shipping iron ore.The Baltic index, which tracks rates for ships ferrying dry bulk commodities, rose 3.4%, or 63 points, to 1,928, its highest since January 2014. The index has tripled since February. The index rose 7.2% last week for a fourth straight week, mainly driven by strong demand for vessels that ship iron ore from Brazil.A restart of Vale SA's Brucutu mine in Brazil in June…

12 Jul 2019

Private Security in Mideast Gulf Discouraged

Shipping companies sailing through the Middle East Gulf are being urged to avoid having private armed security guards onboard as the risk of escalation in the region rises, industry associations say.Relations between Iran and the West have become increasingly strained after Britain seized an Iranian tanker in Gibraltar last week and London said its warship HMS Montrose had to fend off Iranian vessels seeking to block a British-owned tanker from passing through the Strait of Hormuz.The most recent incidents followed a spate of attacks on tankers since May around the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman, which the United States has blamed…

12 Jul 2019

Gibraltar Police Arrest Two More Crew Members of Detained Iranian Tanker

Gibraltar police said on Friday they had arrested the two second mates from the Iranian Grace 1 tanker which was detained last week on suspicion it was breaking European sanctions by taking oil to Syria.On Thursday, the captain and chief officer of the vessel were arrested."All four men are Indian nationals and they have been granted full legal assistance," Gibraltar police said in a statement.(Reuters, Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Stephen Addison)

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

Tropical Storm Barry Forms in Gulf of Mexico

Photo: NOAA

Tropical Storm Barry formed on Thursday with heavy rains expected across the north-central U.S. Gulf Coast, the National Hurricane Center said.Barry, the second named storm of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season, was located about 95 miles (150 kilometers) south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River at about 11 a.m. EDT with maximum sustained winds of 40 miles (65 km) per hour, the Miami-based weather forecaster said. (Reuters, Reporting by Swati Verma in Bengaluru Editing by Bill Trott)

11 Jul 2019

Gibraltar Police Arrest Captain of Detained Iranian Tanker

Gibraltar police said they have arrested the captain and chief officer of the detained Iranian Grace 1 supertanker accused of violating EU sanctions on Syria and have seized documents and electronic devices from the vessel.Last week British Royal Marines boarded the tanker off Gibraltar and seized it on suspicion that it was breaking EU sanctions by taking oil to Syria."The investigation is still ongoing and the Grace 1 continues detained," police said in a statement on Thursday.(Reuters, Reporting by Costas Pitas and Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison)

11 Jul 2019

Go-slow at Port Hits South African Car and Commodity Exports

A go-slow by workers at a major South African port is hitting exports of cars and other commodities, the country's Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Thursday.State-owned rail operator Transnet said it had suspended a number of employees at its Ngqura Container Terminal for engaging in what it said was an illegal industrial action."We are getting reports of a go-slow at some of our ports which is beginning to (have an) impact on the export of vehicles from South Africa in particular but perhaps other commodities as well," Gordhan, whose portfolio includes Transnet, said.Carmakers including Ford, BMW and Nissan have invested billions of dollars to upgrade assembly plants and boost exports from Africa's top automotive hub.The action was also beginning to hit other sectors…

11 Jul 2019

UK: Ships Should Adopt a Heightened Security in the Strait of Hormuz

© biker3 / Adobe Stock

Britain has recommended all British-flagged ships go to a heightened state of security in the Strait of Hormuz, Sky News reported on Thursday, citing unnamed maritime industry sources.A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: "The Department for Transport, as competent authority, regularly provides Security Advice to UK and Red Ensign Group Shipping on how they should operate in areas of high risk." (Reuters, Reporting by William James, editing by Elizabeth Piper)

11 Jul 2019

DP World to Issue $700 million in Bonds, Sukuk

file Image / Credit: DP World

Port operator DP World plans to raise at least $700 million through conventional and Islamic bond issues on Thursday, documents issued by banks involved in the deal showed.Majority owned by the Dubai government, DP World plans to issue benchmark sukuk with a 10-year maturity. Benchmark bonds are generally meant to be over $500 million.The Islamic paper is being marketed with an initial guidance of around 230 basis points over mid-swaps.Barclays, Citi, Deutsche Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank…

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…

09 Jul 2019

Dry Freight Rates Buoyed by Scrubber Refit Work

© STOCKSTUDIO / Adobe Stock

With the world's largest dry cargo ships coming out of service for refits to comply with tougher rules on emissions, charter rates are expected to remain strong, a top Cargill executive said, after posting 7-fold gains already this year."There are a lot of ships - especially on the capesizes - that will go into scrubber fitting which basically means they will be out of service for at least 25 days each to do so," Jan Dieleman, president of trading firm Cargill's ocean transportation business…

07 Jul 2019

NAT to Pass on Scrubbers

Pic: Nordic American Tankers Limited

Bermuda-based international tanker company Nordic American Tankers Limited (NAT) has reiterated that it believes scrubbers are not a solution for the company based upon a conservative financial policy."NAT does not take on risk it does not have to," it said.An increased number of ports now prohibit or impose strict requirements on the use of scrubbers, which purify emissions from large ships.The scrubber cleans the exhaust from vessels for Sulfur and emit impure water into the sea, and that is what the ports now will put an end to.

05 Jul 2019

Iran threatens UK in Retaliation for Tanker Seizure

An Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander threatened on Friday to seize a British ship in retaliation for the capture of an Iranian supertanker in Gibraltar by Royal Marines."If Britain does not release the Iranian oil tanker, it is the authorities duty to seize a British oil tanker," Mohsen Rezai said on Twitter.The Gibraltar government said the crew on board the supertanker Grace 1 were being interviewed as witnesses, not criminal suspects, in an effort to establish the nature of the cargo and its ultimate destination.British Royal Marines abseiled onto the ship off the coast of the British territory on Thursday and seized it. They…

03 Jul 2019

Brazil Searches Sembcorp Yard in Graft Probe

(File photo: Sembcorp Marine)

Singaporean rig builder Sembcorp Marine said on Wednesday that authorities had searched its shipyard in Brazil as part of a graft investigation, sending its shares lower and underlining the staying power of Brazil's ongoing "Car Wash" corruption probe.Sembcorp Marine said the search was related to investigations against former consultant Guilherme Esteves de Jesus, adding that Martin Cheah Kok Choon, the former president of the Estaleiro Jurong Aracruz shipyard, was also under investigation.In a separate statement…

03 Jul 2019

U.N. Approves Release of Impounded Vessels

The United Nations has approved the release of two ships impounded by South Korea on suspicion of transferring oil to North Korea as there was no deliberate breach of sanctions, Seoul's foreign ministry said on Tuesday.South Korea seized four vessels to check whether they violated U.N. sanctions by making illegal ship-to-ship transfers of oil or coal products to North Korean ships.A U.N. panel monitoring the enforcement of sanctions approved the release of the Hong Kong-flagged Lighthouse Winmore and the South Korean P-Pioneer based on the result of a South Korean investigation that found they had not intended to breach sanctions, South Korean officials said."There was evidence of ship-to-ship transfers but we concluded that it was not deliberate…

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…

02 Jul 2019

South Korea Releases Ships in UN 'sanctions' Case

South Korea has released two ships it had seized on suspicion of transferring oil to North Korea as there was no deliberate breach of U.N. sanctions, Seoul's foreign ministry said on Tuesday.South Korea seized four vessels to check whether they violated U.N. sanctions by making illegal ship-to-ship transfers of oil or coal products to North Korean ships.A U.N. panel approved the release of the Hong Kong-flagged Lighthouse Winmore and the South Korean P-Pioneer based on South Korean probe results that they had not intended to breach sanctions, Seoul officials said."There was evidence of ship-to-ship transfers but we concluded that it was not deliberate…

30 Jun 2019

DP World Set to Acquire Topaz Energy

Photo: DP World

The world’s largest port operator DP World is in advanced discussions to acquire Topaz Energy & Marine, marking the Dubai-based company's first potential foray into the oil and gas industry.Britain’s Sky News, citing sources, earlier reported that a $1.3 billion deal for DP World to take over Topaz could be announced as early as Monday. The report didn't specify whether the valuation was referring to the equity or enterprise value of the transaction.However, Bloomberg reported that the port operator is in “very advanced” discussions to acquire Topaz Energy.

28 Jun 2019

US LNG plays havoc with Dutch Gas, Asian shipping

Cheniere's Sabine Pass LNG facility (CREDIT Cheniere)

Dutch gas prices hit 10-year lows this week, reflecting high European inventories swelled by liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports, testing levels at which companies that committed to buy U.S. LNG will start making serious losses.Prices for month-ahead Dutch gas have dropped by two-thirds since their peak last September of just under 30 euros per megawatt hour (MWh).On Friday, Dutch gas for July delivery slumped to 8.95 euros per MWh, the lowest since August 2009.The price falls are in part thanks to an influx of U.S. LNG supplies. But customers of Cheniere Energy, which dominates U.S.

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