LNG bunkering to spur new ship orders

Growing demand for cleaner ship fuels, and thus LNG bunkering, would result in more orders for ships running on LNG, a sector analyst has opined.
CIMB Securities analyst KJ Hwang made this conclusion after meeting industry experts at the recent South Korea-Norway green ship seminar.
Hwang noted,

MH370 Theorist Points to Fruitless Search

By Wendy Laursen 2015-06-28 20:32:51

A U.S. pilot and aviation engineer has elaborated on the theory that a fire in the cargo hold was responsible for the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 and claimed that the current search strategy for the missing plane is fruitless.

A number of media reports indicate that Bruce Robertson’s theory suggests that a shipment of 221kg of lithium-ion batteries in the cargo hold of the plane caught fire, releasing carbon monoxide into the cabin. He says that the pilot might have succumbed to the deadly gas, but the co-pilot had enough time to turn the plane around.

“As the plane is blind to the world (and the world is blind to the plane), the plane flies in a very large radius left turn, the exponential spiral path first proposed in March 2014. The plane crashes into the Southern Indian Ocean west of the Zenith Plateau, west of Exmouth Australia. This is at roughly 21 degrees south, 103 degrees east,” states the website news.com.au attributes to expressing Robertson’s views.

“The Zenith Plateau area was the site of the original search in March and April, 2014, due to underwater locater pings being detected in the vicinity. While the ping yield valuable clues as to the MH370’s whereabouts, the search area is soon discarded due to some very impressive but difficult to challenge mathematics that turned out to be wrong. Much too much time and money has been wasted on a fruitless search in an area much further southwest, due west of Perth,” he says.

“There you have it — no conspiracies, no evil intent, no fuzzy pictures, just a simple industrial accident that took a while to play out due to automation trying to save the situation.”

Malaysian Airlines confirmed that the flight had been carrying lithium-ion batteries in its cargo hold a few weeks after the disappearance after previously denying it was carrying any dangerous cargo. Theories about a battery fire in the cargo hold have been voiced since that time along with more elaborate theories relating to military conspiracies. Recent rumors include that the flight might have crashed on land, and it has been claimed that it was seen flying over the Maldives.

Another Battery Problem

Malaysian authorities released an investigation report into the disappearance of the plane in March 2015 and found nothing suspicious in the financial, medical or personal histories of pilots or crew.

The report did however reveal that the battery of the underwater locator beacon had expired more than a year before the plane vanished. It had not been replaced because the engineering department’s computer system had not been properly updated.

Even with an expired battery, the instrument should still have captured flight information, and the battery on the locator beacon of the cockpit voice recorder was working. So, together, the two instruments could provide vital information about cockpit conversations and flight data if recovered.

The Search Continues

The plane vanished from radar screens shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur on March 8, 2014, bound for Beijing. Investigators believe the plane was flown thousands of miles off course before eventually crashing somewhere off Australia.

The search area was expanded in April beyond an original 60,000 square kilometer search area to enable up to 120,000 square kilometers to be searched if required. More than 50,000 square kilometers of the seafloor have been searched so far.

The website stating the views reported can be found here.


Yokohama, Qingdao and LA Winners in Port Productivity

By MarEx 2015-06-28 19:19:11

APM Terminals Yokohama, Japan, has retained its global productivity top spot for 2014 with 186 crane moves per hour (MPH) with a vessel alongside.

APM Terminals Los Angeles was the highest ranking port for productivity in North America, with 92 MPH.

In productivity while working vessels of over 8,000 TEU capacity, Qingdao Qianwan Container Terminal (QQCT) in China tied for first place globally with 157 MPH.

“Productivity will become the crucial determining factor in port call selection, as larger vessels and shipping alliances increase port call container volume concentrations, and we are proud of the efforts of our staff and our partners, in meeting this challenge so convincingly this past year” said APM Terminals Chief Operating Officer Jeff De Best.

A total of 12 port facilities within the APM Terminals Global Terminal Network scored positions within the JOC Group’s 2014 annual global port and terminal productivity rankings.

Six terminals, in which APM Terminals is an investor or joint venture partner, among the Top 25 global leaders, are located at Chinese ports:

• Qingdao Qianwan Container Terminal and Tianjin Port Alliance International Container Terminal tied for third place with 136 MPH

• Xiamen Songyu Container Terminal tied for sixth place with 124 MPH

• Tianjin Port Euroasia International Container Terminal is in seventh place with 121 MPH

• Guangzhou South China Oceangate Container Terminal ranked 10th with 117 MPH and

• Dalian Port Container Terminal ranked 12th, with 108 MPH.

APM Terminals Rotterdam tied for first place among European terminal operations with 101 MPH, a performance which also merited a three-way tie for 16th place among the global terminal productivity leaders.

Within the JOC Group’s “Europe, Middle East and Africa” grouping, the Port of Salalah, Oman and NTB North Sea Terminal Bremerhaven tied for fifth place with 96 MPH.

All JOC study rankings were calculated from a database with a minimum of 100 vessel call records generated in 2014.


China Sets Up Oil Spill Fund

By Wendy Laursen 2015-06-28 18:53:38

China has established a national compensation fund for oil spills caused by ships.

“This marks a new milestone for China’s compensation mechanism for ship-caused oil pollution and will better safeguard the interests of the victims of accidents,” said He Jianzong, deputy transport minister, at the inauguration ceremony, reports Want China Times.

China’s oil consumption rose to a record high of 374.6 million tons in 2014 leading to an increase in tanker operations and subsequent risk of a spill in Chinese waters. Local media reports indicate that between 1973 and 2014, 3,200 oil spill accidents occurred in the seas around China resulting in 42,936 tons of spilt oil.

Shipowners are currently required to have liability insurance. However, compensation limits have meant that victims were not always compensated adequately and environmental remediation has not always been possible, said He.

The Ministry of Transport currently manages compensation and is currently processing 14 cases worth around $26 million.

The new multi-government-department controlled fund, established within China’s Marine Environment Protection Law and estimated to exceed $50 million, will be contributed to by shippers and shipowners.

Both local and foreign shipowners have been lobbying China for clearer direction and more transparency in the management of claims.


China Says It’s the Biggest Victim

By Reuters 2015-06-28 17:57:23

Changing position on China’s claims over the South China Sea would shame its ancestors, while not facing up to infringements of Chinese sovereignty there would shame its children, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Saturday.

China has become increasingly assertive in the South China Sea, building artificial islands in areas over which the Philippines and other countries have rival claims, sparking alarm regionally and in Washington.

“One thousand years ago China was a large seafaring nation. So of course China was the first country to discover, use and administer the Nansha Islands,” Wang said, using the Chinese term for the Spratly Islands, which together with the Paracel Islands form the bulk of China’s claims.

“China’s demands of sovereignty over the Nansha Islands have not expanded and neither will they shrink. Otherwise we would not be able to face our forefathers and ancestors,” the normally taciturn Wang said in unusually strong comments.

China claims most of the potentially energy-rich South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have overlapping claims.

Speaking to academics and former officials, Wang said China could not face its children and grandchildren if “the gradual and incremental invasion of China’s sovereignty and encroachment on China’s interests” was allowed to continue.

He said U.S. ships took Chinese troops to reclaim the Spratlys after they were occupied by Japan during World War Two. Other countries only started occupying what he said was Chinese territory from the 1960s after oil was discovered.

“China is in reality the biggest victim,” Wang said.

On Friday, the U.S. State Department’s number two diplomat compared China’s behavior in pursuit of territory in the South China Sea to that of Russia in eastern Ukraine.

Wang did not address those comments, but defended China’s land reclamation and building work in the South China Sea as necessary to improve living conditions, pointing out that other countries had been building there since the 1970s.

“It is only recently that China has started necessary development,” he said.