Taiwan Acts on China’s Expansion

By MarEx 2015-10-14 11:06:10

Taiwan said it will increase its coast guard presence in the disputed South China Sea Spratley archipelago.

China’s continued development in the area including artificial islands and reclamation projects is a major concern regional countries. This is the first time Taiwan has weighted in on China’s expansion.

Since 1949, China has claimed its sovereignty over Tiawan, which as has been protected by the U.S. In fact, the U.S. for many years recognized Taiwan as China.

Taiwan is currently constructing a port on the island of Itu Aba that will accommodate about 3,000 Tiawanese Coast Gard vessels and serve as a base. Since 2000, about 180 Tiawanse have been on the 114-acre island and an additional 40 are expected to join after the port is completed.

After China’s land reclamation on Mischief Reef, Fiery Cross Reef and Subi Reef, Itu Aba is now the fourth-largest island in the Spratlys.

China’s expansion in the South China Sea has a source of discord for U.S. allies in region inlcuding the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Japan.

In August, Japan released 14 photos pinpointing 16 offshore platforms located in disputed territories in the South China Sea. China said it would cease its reclamation projects after the photos were released. But, in mid-September, the U.S. reported that China was continuing to dredge in the Spratley archipelago.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi responded that it was necessary construction to improve conditions on the island.

The U.S. said it was increasing funds for maritime law enforcement to Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia. The U.S. also said it will contribute more than $100 million per year for maritime enforcement throughout Southeast Asia. Previously, the U.S spent about $25 million in the region.

Japan aslo promised warships and a $1.7 billion donation to Vietnam to strengthen its maritime forces.

While not specifically naming China, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cited stability-threatening, large-scale land reclamation projects and the building of outposts as the primary motivators for the donations.


PIL back for more box ships

Singapore-based Pacific International Lines (PIL) has returned to Chinese shipyard Jiangsu Newyangzi Shipbuilding, a subsidiary of Singapore-listed Yangzijiang Shipbuilding, with an order for eight container ships. The 11,800 teu vessels are scheduled for delivery from June 2018 until August 2018.

Libyans Released Russian Crew

By MarEx 2015-10-14 10:23:28

Ten crew members who were aboard the Russian-flagged M/T Mekhanik Chebotarev have been released after being detained by the Libyan government for nearly one month. There were 12 crewmembers onboard when the vessel was detained on September 16.

Two crewmembers were released on October 9 and October 12 respectively. The remaing 10 were released on October 13. Oil Marine Group has not confirmed whether the vessel has been returned.

The self-declared government in Tripoli detained the vessel last month saying it was attempting to smuggle oil out of the port of Zawara. Libya is entangled in a conflict between two rival governments. One has been internationally recognized and the other is self-declared.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry demanded the immediate release of the Mekhanik Chebotarev and its crew on September 17. The tanker was transporting one million gallons of fuel when it was arrested.

Two Russian crewmembers were told to board the Libyan warship and the tanker’s captain was instructed to turn off its automatic identification system (AIS) and its crewmembers’ cell phones were also confiscated.

The captain of the tanker repored the onging situation to Russian emergency services. The tanker was escorted a naval base in Tripoli and the crew was questioned. The Libyans revealed it had received information that the tanker was tranporting illegal fuels and investigated the matter.

The Oil Marine Group operates 12 tankers and is registered in St. Petersburg. Oil Marine Group released the following statement regarding the incident: “Media allegations that the vessel was smuggling oil from one of Libya’s ports are groundless. The ship was empty. The arrest is illegal.”


Thordon Bearings wins milestone deal

Canada-based Thordon Bearings has signed a landmark US contract – its first major container ship deal and the largest commercial ship propeller shafts to be fitted with its COMPAC seawater-lubricated propeller shaft bearings.
They will be supplied for two container ships under construction at Aker