Iran Rejects Sanctions Extension Beyond 10 Years

By MarEx 2015-07-22 18:49:47

Iran will not accept any extension of sanctions beyond 10 years, an official said on Wednesday, in the latest attempt by its pragmatist government to sell a nuclear deal with world powers to skeptical hardliners.

Abbas Araqchi, one of several deputy foreign ministers, also told a news conference Iran would do anything to help allies in the Middle East, underlining Tehran’s message that despite the deal Iran will not change its anti-Western foreign policy.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the highest authority in Iran, told supporters on Saturday that U.S. policies in the region were “180 degrees” opposed to Iran’s, in a Tehran speech punctuated by chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel”.

Under the accord, Iran will be subjected to long-term curbs on its nuclear work in return for the lifting of U.S., European Union and U.N. sanctions. The deal was signed by the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the E.U.

The world powers suspected Iran was trying to create a nuclear bomb; Tehran said its program was peaceful.

The accord was a major success for both U.S. President Barack Obama and Iran’s pragmatic President Hassan Rouhani. But both leaders have to promote it at home to influential hardliners in countries that have been enemies for decades.

Araqchi, Iran’s senior nuclear negotiator, told the televised conference that any attempt to re-impose sanctions after they expired in 10 years would breach the deal.

He was referring to a resolution endorsing the deal passed by the U.N. Security Council on Monday.

The resolution allows all U.N. sanctions to be re-imposed if Iran violates the agreement in the next 10 years. If Iran adheres to the terms of the agreement, all the provisions and measures of the U.N. resolution would end in 10 years.

“WE ARE NOT ASHAMED”

However, the six world powers, known as the P5+1, and the European Union told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon earlier this month that after 10 years they planned to seek a five-year extension of the mechanism allowing sanctions to be re-imposed.

Araqchi challenged this move, saying: “Our priority is our national interests, not UN Security Council’s resolutions.”

“The U.N. Security Council’s resolution says clearly that the timeframe of agreement is 10 years, and Iran’s case will be closed in the Security Council after that,” Araqchi said.

“If the U.S. and any other member of P5+1 say they want to adopt a new resolution after 10 years allowing sanctions to be re-imposed, it is the breach of Vienna agreement and has no credibility.”

Iran’s foreign ministry said shortly after the passage of the resolution on Monday that the nuclear deal did not mean Tehran accepted “sanctions and restrictions imposed by the UNSC, the U.S., the E.U. or member countries.”

On Monday, Araqchi told national television: “Whenever it’s needed to send arms to our allies in the region, we will do so. We are not ashamed of it.”

U.S. allies in the Gulf have cautiously welcomed the July 14 deal, but they accuse Tehran of interfering in Arab conflicts, such as Syria, and pushing hard for heightened regional influence.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in remarks published on Wednesday he will seek to reassure Gulf Arab officials at a meeting in Qatar in the next two weeks that Washington will work with them to push back against Iranian influence in the region.

“We have negotiated a nuclear deal for the simple reason that we believe if you are going to push back against Iran, it’s better to push back against an Iran without a nuclear weapon than with one,” the pan-Arab newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat quoted Kerry as saying.

OIL-READY

Iran is the fifth largest owner of laden VLCCs in the world by value. Currently the country has 25 vessels with a total value of $1,449 million, amounting to 7.7 million dwt. This is equivalent to 56.7 million barrels of crude oil.

An Iranian supertanker with two million barrels of oil is heading to Asia after sitting in Iranian waters for months, the first vessel storing crude offshore to sail after the nuclear deal. The fully laden Starla, operated by Iran’s top tanker group NITC, had been used for floating storage since December 12.

While oil analysts do not expect Iran to make a major return to the market until next year, it has been parking millions of barrels of oil on tankers for months.

Owner and Master Fined for Discharge in Great Barrier Reef

By MarEx 2015-07-22 18:27:08

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has successfully prosecuted the master and owners of the Hong Kong registered bulk carrier ANL Kardinia for illegally dumping garbage in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

One Armania Shipping and the master of ANL Kardinia were found guilty on July 20 in the Townsville Magistrates Court on one charge each of illegally disposing of garbage under the Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 1983.

The illegal discharge took place on February 13, 2015 and was detected by an AMSA inspector during a routine port state control inspection in Brisbane on 16 February 2015.

The AMSA Inspector examined ANL Kardinia’s Garbage Record Book and discovered an entry for a discharge of food waste within the prohibited discharge area of the Great Barrier Reef.

One Armania Shipping was fined A$4,000 ($3,000) and the master was fined A$300 ($220) for the illegal discharge.

AMSA Chief Executive Officer Mick Kinley said masters and owners of vessels should be warned that the illegal discharge of ships’ waste would not be tolerated in Australian waters.

Shell Gets Final Approval for Arctic Drilling

By MarEx 2015-07-22 17:41:55

The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement approved Shell’s final drilling permits, which was the last hurdle before the company can begin drilling exploration wells in the Chukchi Sea. The company can begin to drill immediately on the top sections of two wells, but cannot drill down to where the oil and gas is located until the M/V Fennica, the ice breaker carrying the required capping stack for the wells, returns from receiving repairs to its damaged hull in Portland, Oregon.

The permits also restrict Shell to drilling only one well at a time, due to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife regulation. The federal government found that there is a 75 percent chance of a large oil spill should drilling occur in the Arctic Ocean, yet the Bureau concluded that Shell is able to adequately respond should a spill occur, despite the treacherous and unpredictable conditions in the Arctic Ocean.

The Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said in a statement that Shell could submit an amended application for deeper drilling when the capping stack can be deployed within 24 hours.

Some environmental groups worry the Arctic’s remoteness and rugged conditions will hamper cleanup efforts in the event of a spill, risking devastation of a fragile ecosystem.

Friends of the Earth Climate Campaigner, Marissa Knodel, said: “Today’s approval ignores Shell’s dismal record of safety violations and undermines President Obama’s pledge to combat climate change. With this decision, President Obama has given Shell an open invitation to turn the Chukchi Sea into an energy sacrifice zone, threatening both the resilience of the American Arctic Ocean and his climate legacy.”

Shell and other companies hope to tap into one of the country’s last great petroleum reserves. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the Arctic offshore reserves in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas at 26 billion barrels of recoverable oil.

Maritime Robbery, Hijacking Rising in Asia

By MarEx 2015-07-22 17:30:39

Maritime hijacking is rising in Asia. The latest data from the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) reveals that incidents of piracy and armed robbery have risen 18% in the first half of 2015 when compared to the same time period in 2014. There were 106 incidents reported between January and June 2015 and just 90 last year.

Southeast Asian vessels are the most vulnerable to attack. In June, Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP) released its fifth annual State of Maritime Piracy Report, analyzing the impact of piracy in the Western Indian Ocean, Gulf of Guinea and Southeast Asia. In 2014, about 3,600 ships were boarded by pirates and pirates enjoyed a 90 percent success rate in boarding targeted vessels.

The ReCAAP report states that a ship’s fuel and oil are primary targets, and financial losses are reaching record highs. The OBP report claims that the Gulf of Guinea lost $983 million due to piracy in 2014. And Pottengal Mukundan, Director of the International Maritime Bureau, estimates that up to 70 percent of piracy incidents in the Gulf of Guinea are unreported. “This makes it difficult to assess the extent of the threats seafarers face in this region,” Mukundan added.

According to ReCAAP, 11 ships have been targeted in oil and fuel attacks. The victims piloted seven product tankers, two chemical tankers, one tanker and one supply vessel.

“Collective and concerted efforts are essential to address the increasing incidents of siphoning and hijacking of ships,” the ReCAAP wrote.

The rise in Southeast Asian hijacking prompted the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) to release a statement underlining the difference between armed robbery and piracy. The report states that armed robbery is confined to the territorial waters of sovereign states, while piracy occurs on the open sea.

The SSA states: “The distinction determines whether a merchant vessel can seek protection from the navy or coast guard of the littoral state or from the navy or coast guard of the vessel’s flag of registry.”

The statement also noted that the majority of reports are likely to be armed robberies targeting specific vessel types. The SSA’s findings show that only 14 percent of attacks on merchant vessels were classified as piracy, while 85 percent were cases of armed robbery. 46 percent of those robberies occurred while in port or at anchorage.

Freedom Of The Seas Catches Fire

By MarEx 2015-07-22 17:17:30

The Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas cruise ship caught fire entering Jamaica Wednesday. One crew member was treated for first-degree burns, but no passengers were injured.

The ship departed from Cape Canaveral, Florida and was pulling into port in Falmouth at the time of the incident, and is now docked safely. The fire occurred in a mechanical space, according to officials, and on-board fire suppression systems quickly put out the flame.

Passengers were instructed to go to evacuation assembly stations as a precaution. Officials say all systems are operating normally.

The Freedom of the Seas has been sailing out of Central Florida since 2009, and the 1,112 foot ship is currently on a seven-night cruise that departed on Sunday.