IMO and IOM Pledge Migration Action

By MarEx 2015-06-29 18:51:19

The heads of the IMO and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reaffirmed their commitment to urgently address the humanitarian crisis arising from the dramatic increase in unsafe mixed migration across the oceans and seas in recent times on Monday.

IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu and IOM Director-General William L. Swing met at IMO Headquarters in London and observed a minute’s silence in honor of the thousands of migrants who have lost their lives on perilous journeys. They reiterated their concern about the loss of life, injury, trauma and serious human rights’ violations affecting migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees travelling by sea.

In a joint statement on enhanced cooperation and collaboration between the two Organizations, Sekimizu and Swing recognized the need for concerted global action to address this major challenge to the international community.

They pledged to work together on a number of specific actions, including the establishment of an inter-agency platform for information sharing on unsafe mixed migration by sea and the dissemination of information material on the dangers of such migration in collaboration with other interested agencies.

They agreed to facilitate discussions to find solutions to unsafe migration by sea and urged the international community to take robust measures against people smugglers “who operate without fear or remorse and who deliberately and knowingly endanger the lives of thousands of migrants at sea.”

The IMO and IOM heads also agreed to promote the relevant provisions of the IMO treaties addressing the safety of life at sea, search and rescue and facilitation of maritime traffic and to promote international migration law.

They agreed to support the relevant technical cooperation programs of each organization and set up case-specific technical or advisory bodies as needed.

Sekimizu and Swing’s meeting follows a series of discussions at IMO on unsafe mixed migration by sea, including a special session on the matter held during the Maritime Safety Committee’s 95th session (MSC 95) earlier in June; consideration during the Legal Committee (LEG 102) in April; and the inter-agency High-Level Meeting to Address Unsafe Mixed Migration by Sea, hosted by IMO in March 2015.

Human Rights at Sea (HRAS) Founder, David Hammond, has welcomed the news. Speaking from Malta where HRAS is meeting with local NGOs undertaking migrant operations, Hammond said: “The increasing focus of the IMO in looking at the migrant issue is strongly welcomed. It is key to the future dealings of the shipping community, not just with making the humanitarian and legal decision to rescue those individuals in peril at sea, but in terms of planning vessel routes, providing temporary facilities onboard, providing logistical and medical support, undertaking Deprivation of Liberty of suspected criminals where appropriate, as well as reviewing all necessary crew training for dealing with such eventualities wherever in the world these rescue operations may take place.”

The reality is that global migration as a maritime issue is something that is not going away, says Hammond. HRAS is seeing increasing movements of displaced persons through Central Africa for example, and where it is currently conducting studies. Migrant and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) movement is not south, but northwards through the Sahel and Sahara regions heading for the Mediterranean.

“Mass rescue at sea is no longer the exception, but will soon become a norm. The IMO will therefore be one of the key organizations at the forefront of safety and technical support to the maritime industry in response to this emerging trend.”

The joint statement by IMO and IOM is available here.


Container Ship and LPG Tanker Collide

By Wendy Laursen 2015-06-29 18:07:34

A collision occurred in Indonesia’s Java Sea on Monday between the container ship Leo Perdana and the LPG tanker Navigator Aries.

The collision occurred about 20 nautical miles off Surabaya, Karang Jamuang Island.

Media reports indicate that the tanker was hit on the port side and suffered a five-meter hole. The fire that ensued was extinguished by fire-fighting tugs and the vessel’s crew.

No crew members were injured, but a small amount of fuel was spilt into the water.

Four tugs towed the Navigator Aries to anchorage, and the 2,500 TEU container ship has now berthed under its own power.

The 23,000dwt Liberia-flagged tanker Navigator Aries is operated by Navigator Gas.


DOE Approves Sabine Pass LNG Expansion

The U.S. Energy Department announced Friday that it has issued a final authorization for Sabine Pass Liquefaction, LLC’s Expansion Project to export domestic LNG to countries that do not have a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States.

The Sabine Pass LNG Terminal in Cameron Parish, Louisiana is authorized to export additional volumes of LNG up to the equivalent of 1.38 billion standard cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas for a period of 20 years. In 2012, Sabine Pass Liquefaction was authorized to export LNG up to the equivalent of 2.2 Bcf/d of natural gas for a period of 20 years. With this most recent authorization, Sabine Pass Liquefaction is authorized to export LNG up to the equivalent of 3.58 Bcf/d of natural gas for a period of 20 years.

The development of U.S. natural gas resources is having a transformative impact on the U.S. energy landscape, helping to improve energy security while spurring economic development and job creation around the country. This increase in domestic natural gas production is expected to continue, with the Energy Information Administration forecasting a record average production rate of 78.92 Bcf/d in 2015.

Federal law generally requires approval of natural gas exports to countries that have an FTA with the United States. For countries that do not have an FTA with the United States, the Natural Gas Act directs the Department of Energy to grant export authorizations unless the Department finds that the proposed exports “will not be consistent with the public interest.”

The Energy Department conducted a careful review of the three Sabine Pass Liquefaction Expansion Project applications. Among other factors, the Department considered the economic, energy security, and environmental impacts and determined that exports at a rate of up to 1.38 Bcf/d for a period of 20 years was not inconsistent with the public interest.


Australian Wave Power Project Set for Deployment

By MarEx 2015-06-29 15:10:23

A new wave power project drawing on a natural undersea design has finished construction and is set to be deployed in Australian waters by the end of the year.

The bioWAVE project will be deployed for a year to determine the commercial viability of the technology. The 26 meter steel structure works by swaying back and forth mostly beneath the surface of the ocean. It takes its unique design from undersea plants and has the capacity to lie flat on the seabed out of harm’s way during bad weather.

One of the main challenges wave power technology faces is a high setup and maintenance cost of systems that must function in harsh marine environments. The bioWAVE system sidesteps this issue by being able to lay flat against the seafloor during rough sea conditions.

The device works by creating an oscillating motion in the water, which activates hydraulic cylinders to spin a generator, with the power transported to the shore via a subsea cable. It uses a new method of energy generation, which efficiently converts wave energy to mechanical energy. From there the energy is converted into electrical energy.

Once the final site for the structure has been prepared, the bioWAVE will be installed off the coast of Victoria in south-east of Australia. Currently, the site is in the last stages of preparation for the arrival of the completed unit, with the onshore electrical equipment in place and divers working on subsea power and data cabling.

The company, BioPower Systems Pty Ltd, has been working on the technology since 2006, taking it through an in-depth research and development phase to full-scale demonstration.

The costs for the bioWave project total $21m, with over half of the funding provided by the Australian government.

The bioWAVE technology is expected to operate for at least 12 months, with testing throughout and an independent performance assessment at the conclusion. This data will inform the design of a larger 1MW commercial-scale bioWAVE unit, planned as the next phase of development for the technology.

BioPower Systems CEO Dr Timothy Finnigan said achieving practical completion of the bioWAVE device is the most important milestone in the history of the development of the technology.

“It has been very satisfying to see it come together and to witness functional testing of the onboard systems,” Dr Finnigan said.

The Australian government anticipates that emerging field of wave technology will provide both employment and manufacturing opportunities in addition to a renewable source of electricity.

Major Strides in Wave Power

Last week another wave energy pioneer, Carnegie Wave Energy Limited, celebrated a major milestone when its CETO 5 units reached 10,000 operational hours. The company said the project represents the longest continuous period of operation any in-ocean wave energy project has ever achieved, anywhere in the world.

In the U.S. Northwest Energy Innovations recently unveiled a new device off the coast of Hawaii, which is being deployed to determine the feasibility of using wave power as an alternative to traditional energy sources. The data is set to be delivered to the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Navy for their use in ongoing efforts to validate wave energy technology and advance the marine renewable energy industry.

According to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) many regions around the world have a high potential for successfully recovering wave power. In particular, the western coasts of Scotland, northern Canada, southern Africa, Australia, and the northwestern coast of the United States, particularly Alaska may prove to be especially worth-while.

Additionally, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) estimates that the total recoverable resource along the U.S. shelf continental shelf edge alone is 1,170 TWh/yr, almost one third of the 4,000 TWh of electricity used in the United States each year.


Cosco Group Inflated Profits by $20m, Audit Finds

By Kathryn Stone 2015-06-29 12:31:55

Global shipping leader, Cosco Group, has been found to have falsified profits, according to a 2014 work report released over the weekend by China’s National Audit Office.

The findings show Cosco Group falsified documents related to RMB 298m ($48m) in revenue and RMB 169m ($27.2m) in expenses. Overall, the company is accused of overreporting its net profit by RMB 129m ($20.7m) for the five year period between 2008 and 2013.

The report found severe operational violations in two of the group’s subsidiaries – Cosco Logistics and Cosco Dalian Shipyard- which contributed to massive earning losses. Additionally, the audit cited Cosco Group for lacking risk management and supervision in its ship chartering operations. Around RMB 34.1bn ($5.49 bn) in losses for long-term charter deals were reported from 2009 to 2013.

A total of fourteen state-owned companies were found to have financial irregularities in this latest government probe. Between them they have racked up falsified profits in excess of RMB 19bn ($3bn) over the course of the audit period.

This week’s audit report are part of a massive anti-corruption campaign launched by President Xi Jinping. The main focus of the initiative has been to isolate improper allocation and management of funds among government funded endeavors. Over the past two years the administration has rounded up around 100,000 officials in connection with corruption.

China’s National Audit Office has asked Cosco Group to release their own report detailing corrections to both revenue and expenses incurred over the audit period, which will then be made public.