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Thursday, May 24, 2018

United States News

U.S., China Closer on Trade Pact

The United States and China agreed to take measures to reduce the U.S. trade deficit in goods by having China purchase more American goods - particularly agriculture and energy products, according to a joint statement the two nations released on Saturday. "There was a consensus on taking effective measures to substantially reduce the United States trade deficit in goods with China," the joint statement reads. "To meet the growing consumption needs of the Chinese people and the need for high-quality economic development, China will significantly increase purchases of United States goods and services. The statement concluded joint talks on Thursday and Friday between the two countries, which included several U.S. cabinet secretaries and China's State Council Vice Premier Liu He.

Scrapping Risks

© Gudellaphoto / Adobe Stock

Traditionally, when a ship reached the end of its economic life, the owner sold it, often to a cash buyer, for scrapping with little consideration of the next step. Many ships ended up on a beach in south Asia (India, Pakistan, or Bangladesh) where they were cut apart and the metal was sold for scrap. The working conditions were sometimes dangerous and hazardous to the workers’ health. In addition, little was sometimes done to protect the environment. For many ship owners these days…

US Exports to China to Rise amid Trade Talks, but Volumes are Capped

© donvictori0 / Adobe Stock

China has pledged to buy more U.S. goods to reduce America's huge trade deficit and help avoid exacerbating a trade war between the world's two biggest economies, with energy and commodities high on Washington's list of products for sale.The U.S. trade war with China is "on hold" after the governments agreed to drop tariff threats and work on a wider agreement, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday. Washington is especially keen to sell more of the United States'…

Tokyo Gas Takes First LNG Cargo from Cove Point

© Dexter / MarineTraffic.com

Japan received its first shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) on Monday from Dominion Energy Inc's newly completed Cove Point export plant, the beginning of a jump in imports from the United States by the world's biggest buyer of the fuel.The docking of the tanker LNG Sakura at Tokyo Gas Co's Negishi terminal near Tokyo is another marker of shifting global energy flows as the United States ramps up exports of gas and oil from shale formations.The cargo is the first of 2.2 million tonnes of LNG a year Japanese companies are purchasing under long-term contracts from Cove Point in Maryland.

Fincantieri-built frigate ITS Alpino Arrives in Norfolk

The ITS Alpino receives an escort into Norfolk from the USS Gonzales. Photo: Fincantieri Marinette Marine

The ITS Alpino, a Fincantieri-built frigate sailing under the Italian flag, made landfall in Norfolk. The ITS Alpino, a FREMM-class frigate, is a model of the ship the U.S. Navy is considering for the FFG(X) future frigate program. FREMM frigates are the only ships in the competition that have been proven in combat, having helped to destroy a Syrian chemical weapons facility in April. "The ITS Alpino demonstrates the proven versatility and capability of the FREMM class frigate," said Vice Admiral Richard Hunt (Ret.), Fincantieri Marinette Marine's Chief Strategy Officer.

India Takes U.S. Steel Tariffs Complaint to the WTO

© Destina / Adobe Stock

India has launched a complaint against the United States to challenge U.S. President Donald Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminium, a filing published by the World Trade Organization showed on Wednesday.Indian officials told Reuters last month that their government would open a WTO dispute if the country's firms were not granted an exemption.Trump imposed the tariffs in March, levying 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminium. He said they were justified by national security concerns and therefore outside the WTO's remit.India…

Autonomous Vessels: FAU Gets $1.25m for Research

Photo: FAU

Florida Atlantic University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science has been awarded a $1.25 million grant by the United States Office of Naval Research (ONR) to undertake research in support of autonomous unmanned marine vehicle platforms for coastal surveillance, coastal surveys, target tracking and protection of at-sea assets. The five-year project will entail developing unmanned surface vehicles that serve as “motherships” for unmanned underwater vehicles and aerial drones…

Torm Stops Taking Orders in Iran Due to US Sanctions

(Photo: Torm)

Danish oil product tanker operator Torm on Tuesday said it has stopped taking new orders in Iran as a consequence of U.S. plans to reimpose sanctions on Tehran."We follow the situation closely and always follow the rules. Therefore, we have also stopped taking new orders in Iran," a spokeswoman told Reuters.Torm operates 79 oil product tankers worldwide.The United States last week withdrew from an international nuclear accord with Iran and announced renewed sanctions against the country.While it is still unclear how U.S.

US Sorghum Ship Switches Destination from Spain Back to Asia

© Saydam / MarineTraffic.com

The RB Eden vessel carrying 70,000 tonnes of U.S. sorghum turned around just before reaching the Spanish port of Cartagena and is now heading to Singapore, Thomson Reuters Eikon ship-tracking data showed.This marks the second U-turn for the ship amid a trade tussle between the United States and China. Anti-dumping measures announced by Beijing in mid-April led exporters to divert hundreds of thousands of tonnes of U.S. sorghum. But China dropped its sorghum probe on Friday in what was seen as a goodwill gesture.The RB Eden initially loaded at grain merchant ADM's elevator in Corpus Christi…

US LNG Projects Buoyed by China Import Talks

© Igor Groshev / Adobe Stock

China's interest in reducing its trade surplus with United States through increased energy imports could advance plans for U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants, said energy executives involved in developing new facilities.The White House and China on Saturday said a U.S. trade team would travel to China to explore new energy and agricultural deals. The joint communique lowered trade tensions, lifting stock markets in Asia and the United States on Monday.There are over two dozen proposed U.S.

Valero Boosts Imports of Venezuelan Oil as Sanctions Loom

© sarojmornparn / Adobe Stock

U.S. refiner Valero Energy Corp this year boosted its imports of Venezuelan crude ahead of U.S. sanctions over the country's disputed presidential election and as other customers received less of the OPEC-member's exports, according to Thomson Reuters trade flows data.Venezuelan oil production has tumbled to a multi-decade low this year, cutting shipments to buyers in the United States and elsewhere and worsening a severe economic recession. Its crude exports averaged 1.19 million barrels per day (bpd) in the January-April period…

USS Slater Receives National Maritime Heritage Grant

Photo: Richard Andrian/Destroyer Escort Historical Museum

The Destroyer Escort Historical Museum has received a $200,000 grant from the Department of Interior, National Park Service (NPS) through the National Maritime Heritage (NMH) grant program, for the repair of USS Slater’s mast and hull.Thirty-four of these grants totaling $2.6 million were awarded in collaboration with the Maritime Administration (MARAD) and State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs). With these funds, organizations and agencies conduct education and preservation…

Maritime History: USCG Builds 4 Icebreakers

(Source: Maritime Reporter & Engineering News)

In conducting some research for our Bouchard Transportation 100th Anniversary special edition coming out in July (#BTC100), I was paging through historical volumes of Maritime Reporter & Engineering News, which date back to 1939. Pictured here is a page from the November 1944 edition seemed particularly topical and timely, as it is a short story on the commissioning of the first of four heavy duty iceabreakers for the United States Coast Guard. As the USCG plans forward for the next-generation of heavy duty icebreakers, perhaps they can use history as a guide and order four.    

US Fines Shipping Company $1 Mln for Pollution Crimes

© Roy Ledford / MarineTraffic.com

A Japanese shipping company will have to pay $1 million after being convicted and sentenced for obstruction of justice and falsification of an Oil Record Book to cover-up intentional pollution from bulk carrier M/V Atlantic Oasis.The company Nitta Kisen Kaisha Ltd., owner and operater of the Atlantic Oasis, admitted that its engineers failed to document the illegal discharge of oily wastes from the vessel’s fuel and lubrication oil purifier systems, as well as discharges of oily bilge waste from the bilge holding tank and from the vessel’s bilges when delivering steel products to Wilmington…

Top Container Shipping Lines Reviewing Iran Operations

(File photo: MSC)

The world's top two container shipping groups Maersk Line and MSC are reviewing their Iran operations after the United States withdrawal from the international nuclear agreement with Tehran.The 2015 agreement, worked out by the United States, five other world powers and Iran, lifted sanctions on Tehran in exchange for limits to its nuclear program.U.S. President Donald Trump also instructed his administration to re-impose U.S. sanctions after a winding down period."MSC is reviewing its services…

Container Shipping Line MSC Stops New Iran Bookings

The MSC Christina (CREDIT: Haifa Port)

The world's No. 2 container shipping line MSC said on Wednesday it would stop taking new bookings for Iran due to the decision by the United States to re-impose sanctions on Tehran after withdrawing from the international nuclear deal. In a note to clients, privately held MSC said it was "ceasing to provide access to services to and from Iran", adding that they would "conclude this period with the minimum disruption" to their customers' business. "While MSC is not accepting bookings for shipments originating from Iran…

Harvey Gulf Receives Court's Confirmation of Reorganization Plan

Shane Guidry, Harvey Gulf CEO

Harvey Gulf International Marine issues statement on status of Chapter 11 Reorganization. Today, the United States Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Texas - Houston Division, confirmed the final Plan of Reorganization submitted by Harvey Gulf International Marine. The approval comes just 77 days following Harvey Gulf’s prepackaged filing, considerably faster than all previous Chapter 11 proceedings for vessel operators over the last five years. Following the hearing, Harvey Gulf CEO…

Europe Can Expect Only Modest Trade Deal with U.S. - EU Trade Chief

© Pavel Losevsky / Adobe Stock

The European Union's trade chief described on Thursday the lack of a full trade accord between the bloc and the United States as ridiculous, but said the best that could be expected now was only a very modest agreement.Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom also rebuffed suggestions that the EU should simply seek to settle its differences over tariffs with the United States at the World Trade Organization, questioning whether the WTO's appeals process could survive in the longer term.EU leaders agreed last week to discuss opening their markets wider to U.S.

Canada's PM: US Steel, Aluminum Tariffs a 'Very Bad Idea'

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday said any move by the United States to impose tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum would be a "very bad idea" guaranteed to disrupt trade between the two nations.Trudeau told reporters in Vancouver he was confident the administration of President Donald Trump understood that such tariffs would hurt jobs in the United States as well as Canada.Trump imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum in March but granted temporary exemptions to Canada and Mexico that run out on May 1. Canada is the biggest supplier of steel and aluminum to the United States."We have been discussing this with the U.S.

China'a April Exports Stronger than Expected

© anekoho / Adobe Stock

China's exports rebounded more strongly than expected in April after a surprise drop the previous month, suggesting global demand remains relatively resilient and providing a cushion to the economy amid a heated trade dispute with the United States.Imports in April also grew more robustly than anticipated, signalling China's domestic demand is holding up well, good news for policymakers looking to soften the blow from any trade shocks.China's April exports rose 12.9 percent from a year earlier…

Fishing Companies to Pay $400,000 for Pollution Claims

Challenge Fisheries LLC, Quinn Fisheries Inc., Charles Quinn II, and Charles Quinn III have agreed to pay a total of $414,000 in civil penalties and to perform fleet-wide improvements and other compliance assurance measures to resolve federal Clean Water Act claims stemming from oily bilge discharges from the commercial fishing vessel Challenge, and a related fuel oil discharge in August 2017 in New Bedford Harbor, Mass., the Department of Justice and the Coast Guard announced.In its complaint filed Monday, along with the lodging of a consent decree in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the United States alleges…

Fundraising Cruise Raises $100,000 to Help Save SS United States

(File photo courtesy of the SS United States Conservancy)

A fundraising cruise dedicated to saving America’s Flagship has raised $100,000 for the cause.Once America’s fastest and most glamorous ocean liner, the SS United States has spent years away from her former glory in an escalating state of disrepair, at dock in Philadelphia, out of commission and relying on donations to stay afloat and out of the scrapyard.This week a group dedicated to preserving the historic vessel has received a financial lifeline that will help to keep the…

Sanctions spell the end of OPEC output deal

© Douglas Knight / Adobe Stock

President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear agreement with Iran marks the end of the current output agreement between OPEC and its allies.OPEC is likely to insist the current agreement remains in effect, at least for now, but the prospective removal of several hundred thousand barrels per day of Iranian exports from the market will require a major adjustment.Saudi Arabia has already promised to "mitigate" the impact of any potential supply shortages, in conjunction with other suppliers and consumer countries…

Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover May 2018 - Marine Propulsion Edition

Maritime Reporter and Engineering News’ first edition was published in New York City in 1883 and became our flagship publication in 1939. It is the world’s largest audited circulation magazine serving the global maritime industry, delivering more insightful editorial and news to more industry decision makers than any other source.

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