Asia-Pacific Ship Detentions Declining

By Wendy Laursen 2015-05-13 20:48:18

The Tokyo MOU reports that the number of ship detentions in the Asia-Pacific region has declined.

The analysis, published its Annual Report on Port State Control in the Asia-Pacific Region, shows that detention percentage have continuously declined and, the trend is expected to continue following the introduction of its new targeted inspection regime in 2014.

The Tokyo MOU has enacted measures that target under-performing ships for the past four years and has identified that the total number of under-performing ships in 2014 decreased by 40 percent compared to numbers from three years ago.

Out of 30,405 inspections, there were 19,029 inspections where ships were found with deficiencies. As the total number of individual ships operating in the region was estimated at 24,128, the inspection rate in the region was approximately 69 percent in 2014.

1,203 ships registered under 64 flags were detained due to serious deficiencies giving a detention rate of ships inspected of 3.96 percent. Sierra Leone was the flag state with the greatest number of ship detentions.

Fire safety measures, safety of navigation and life-saving appliances continue to be the top three categories of deficiencies discovered on ships. In 2014, 16,654 deficiencies related to fire safety measures, 14,231 safety of navigation related deficiencies and 10,515 deficiencies related to life-saving appliances were recorded, representing almost 50 percent of the total number of all recorded deficiencies.

The graphs below summarise some of the deficiency statistics in the report.

Hours of Rest CIC

The concentrated inspection campaign (CIC) on STCW Hours of Rest was carried out from

September 1 to November 30, 2014. During the three-month period, 8,182 port state control inspections were conducted by the member authorities, of which 6,392 were related to a CIC inspection. There were a total of 206 detentions recorded during the CIC inspections resulting in 16 (7.8 percent) detentions.

A total of 1,589 CIC related deficiencies were recorded. The most significant deficiencies found related to documentation and labour conditions, including records of seafarers daily hours of work/rest 997 (63 percent), manning specified by the minimum safe manning document 241 (15 percent) and shipboard working arrangements 232 (15 percent).

Information Exchange

For reporting and storing of port state inspection results and facilitating exchange of information in the region, a computerized database system, the Asia-Pacific Computerized Information System (APCIS), was established. The central site of the APCIS is located in Moscow, under the auspices of the Russian Ministry of Transport.

Members

The Tokyo MOU consists of 19 member authorities: Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Fiji, Hong Kong (China), Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, the Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Russian Federation, Singapore, Thailand, Vanuatu and Viet Nam.

Currently, there are nine regional port state control agreements (MOUs) covering the

major part of the world:

Abuja MOU

Black Sea MOU

Caribbean MOU

Indian Ocean MOU

Mediterranean MOU

Paris MOU

Riyadh MOU

Tokyo MOU

Viña del Mar Agreement

The Tokyo MOU annual report for 2014 is available here.

Graphs courtesy of Tokyo MOU.

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Petrobras to Export 50 Percent More Oil

By Reuters 2015-05-13 20:00:54

Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras on Wednesday estimated nearly 50 percent growth in oil exports in 2015, thanks to new offshore output and as its refineries lack capacity to process more crude.

Petrobras expects to export 350,000 barrels of petroleum per day in 2015, up from 231,500 bpd in 2014, crude oil manager Fernando Colares Nogueira said at an event on Wednesday.

China and India will be the main buyers, rather than the United States, once a principal destination of Brazil’s excess crude, Nogueira told reporters.

U.S. producers have ramped up domestic production, slashing the need for imports in the world’s largest oil-consuming nation.

The exports could help Petrobras generate much-needed cash as it deals with lower oil prices and a development slowdown worsened by a massive corruption scandal. Heavy capital spending and years of fuel subsidies have caused borrowing to soar, making Petrobras the world’s most indebted major oil company.

Petrobras output has been increasing this year, however, largely from offshore “subsalt” reserves south of Rio de Janeiro. All its refineries are operating at or near full capacity, with little room to process new output.

The subsalt region exploits oil trapped deep beneath the sea bed by a layer of salt and is home to some of the world’s largest recent oil discoveries. While the oil is expensive to extract compared to less extreme environments, Nogueira said, operating there will be economically viable based on Petrobras’ projections for oil prices this year and next.

At the same event, the director of oil agency ANP Magda Chambriard said Brazil should double its oil output by 2025.

Petrobras accounts for some 50 percent of Brazil’s oil exports, Nogueira said, down from 70 percent in 2011.

Petrobras to Sue

Petrobras plans to sue five construction and engineering firms and their senior executives to recover about 1.3 billion reais ($440 million) lost in a corruption scandal, the company said Friday.

Petrobras has already sued two companies in conjunction with the federal prosecutors’ office. It said in a securities filing it will launch three other civil suits but did not say where the suits will be filed.

The lawsuits will be part of a plan to win back at least 6 billion reais ($2 billion) written off against Petrobras’ 2014 earnings.

“Petrobras is making all necessary efforts for the total recovery of the losses suffered and also for damages to its reputation,” the company’s executive director for legal affairs, Taisa Maciel, told the TV network GloboNews, which first reported on the lawsuits earlier Friday.

“In addition to these suits there will be other suits against other companies and other contracts in concert with advancing investigations,” she said.

The corruption related write-downs were a result of a price-fixing, bribery and political kickback scheme that drove up the cost of refineries and other assets. Petrobras said the companies formed a cartel to steal from it.

Several construction and engineering firms have said Petrobras officials forced them to make illegal payments to executives and politicians.

Suits seeking 452 million reais against engineering firms Engevix and Mendes Junior and several of their senior executives were filed on April 30 and May 8, Petrobras said.

Lawsuits seeking 826 million reais from Galvão Engenharia, OAS Engenharia and Camargo Correa and several of their senior executives will be filed in the coming weeks, Petrobras added.

Engevix declined to comment on the matter. Mendes Junior said it had no comment because it has not yet been formally advised of the suit.

Galvão, OAS and Camargo Correa officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

($1 = 2.97 Brazilian reais)

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Costa Concordia’s Million Dollar Recycling Plan

By Wendy Laursen 2015-05-13 19:36:14

The wreck of the Costa Concordia has arrived at its final destination and is ready for final dismantling, a job expected to take over a year and cost EUR 100 million ($114 million).

The wreck was towed to Molo ex Superbacino where it will be recycled by the Ship Recycling Consortium – a group formed by Saipem (51 percent) and San Giorgio del Porto (49 percent). These two companies joined forces in September 2012 with the aim of providing green ship dismantling services.

Around 50,000 tons of steel and 2,000 tons of copper are expected to be recovered from the vessel. Prior to arrival at Molo ex Superbacino over 5,700 tons of furniture and interior equipment was removed so the wreck could be towed over the breakwater of the Prà Voltri Port to reach the dismantling dock.

The dismantling and recycling project is being carried out in four separate operational phases requiring up to 250 people at a time. Around 80 percent of the vessel is anticipated to be able to be recycled.

Phase 1

This phase started with the mooring of the ship at the Seawall pier in the Port of Prà Voltri on July 27, 2014. After the technical handover by Titan Micoperi – the consortium that carried out the salvage operation on Giglio Island – the ship recycling team made its initial preparations including:

Installation of the shipboard fire-fighting system

Completion of the lighting system

Installation of the necessary wiring and electrical installations

Installation of elevators for transportation of materials

Safety measures – e.g. repair of the gunwale/bulwarks, closure of certain shafts and spaces, protective measures in stairways, installation of gangways affording access to the ship

Installation of one crane on the lido deck (about 60 meters in height) and another one forward for lifting materials

Creation of openings required to remove materials and load them on barges for transportation to a dedicated area of the port

Winterization of mooring arrangements (in case of adverse weather conditions during the winter season).

Next, work began to strip and remove the furnishings and fittings of the decks above water. The objective of this phase was to obtain a reduced draft enabling the ship to be moved to the Molo Ex Superbacino dock.

Phase 2

The wreck was transferred from the Seawall pier at Prà Voltri to the Molo Ex Superbacino dock earlier this week. Now the structures of decks 14 to 2 will be dismantled, including stripping of the interior furnishings and fittings on the decks when they emerge as the work progresses.

The deck structures will be removed in such a way as not to adversely affect the stability or longitudinal strength of the hull.

Phase 3

The main aim of this phase will be the creation of buoyant force in the ship by making several compartments watertight and possibly installing airbags, thereby enabling the subsequent removal of the 30 sponsons currently attached to the hull.

In addition, the food storerooms and cold storage rooms on deck 0 will be cleaned. Following this, the wreck will be towed to Dry Dock No. 4.

Phase 4

This phase will involve the complete disassembly of the wreck including the removal of the remaining interior fittings, clean-up of the various areas and final demolition of all the remaining structures. This phase will conclude with the disposal and recycling of the discarded materials.

The Largest Wreck Removal Project

Crowley Maritime subsidiary TITAN Salvage and Italian engineering partner Micoperi were recently honored with the International Salvage Union (ISU) Meritorious Service Award for their role in the successful execution the salvage of the Costa Concordia, the largest single maritime wreck removal project ever to be undertaken.

The Costa Concordia ran aground in the waters surrounding Giglio Island, Italy, in January 2012, and was parbuckled (rotated upright), refloated and towed away by the TITAN/Micoperi team in September 2014. The ship salvage was the largest, most technically demanding project of its kind in history and was carried out in full public view from the island.

The Costa Effect

The salvage was so successful that it has led to a new mindset – called the “Costa Effect” meaning that everything is possible in salvage operations. Titan Salvage and Micoperi have now proved this for many people.

Titan was the only salvor to propose removing the wreck in one piece. This would increase the cost of the project, but it was the best way to protect the integrity of the environment.

Environmental experts from the University of Rome were engaged in the earliest part of Titan’s bidding process. Nick Sloane was Titan’s salvage master for the project, and through his leadership the island of Giglio has now seen dolphin, snapper and tuna return to the wreck site. Tourism accounts for 85 percent of Giglio’s revenue stream, and the commitment is to return the environment to its original pristine state within five years.

A Tribute to Lives Lost

Two memorials have been erected on Giglio to commemorate the 32 people from eight countries that lost their lives in the accident, and the diver working on the parbuckling project who also died. One is a plaque engraved with the names of those lost which is located on a pier near the wreck site. The other is a statue of the Virgin Mary wearing necklaces of rosaries left by those who mourned the loss of loved ones.

Crowley Maritime has released a comprehensive and interactive flipbook about the Costa Concordia project.

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Strike hits Callao port

Port workers have begun an “indefinite” strike at the general cargo facility in Callao, Peru operated by APM Terminals (APMT).
APMT spokesperson Tom Boyd confirmed to IHS Maritime that the labour action, which he dubbed “illegal”, began on 13 May. Boyd stressed that the strike is not affecting
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‘Iran to Blame for Any Cargo Ship Incident’

By Reuters 2015-05-13 17:09:21

Yemen warned on Wednesday that if Iran does not allow a cargo ship bound for the Arabian Peninsula with a military escort to be searched, then Tehran “bears complete responsibility for any incident that arises from their attempt to enter Yemeni waters.”

Iran said earlier on Wednesday it would not allow Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces to inspect the ship, which it says is carrying humanitarian aid. The ship left Iran on Monday under escort by Iranian warships.

Yemen’s warning came in a letter, seen by Reuters, from its U.N. mission to the United Nations Security Council.

“The Yemeni government and the coalition forces do not object to aid shipments entering Yemen as long as they obtain the necessary permits from the legitimate government of Yemen and are searched prior to entry,” the letter said.

Gulf Arab countries in the military coalition since March 26 have been bombing Houthi militia and allied army units that control much of Yemen, as well as inspecting ships entering Yemeni waters in a bid to stop weapons smuggling.

Saudi Arabia has accused Tehran of arming the Shi’ite Houthis, charges the Islamic Republic denies.

Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Muslim allies believe the Houthis are a proxy for their regional rival, Shi’ite Iran, in a power struggle that has helped exacerbate sectarian tensions across the Middle East.

On Tuesday, Iran complained to the Security Council that the Saudi-led coalition was hindering its attempts to send aid.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has tried by all means to alleviate the suffering of the affected Yemeni people; efforts that have mostly been thwarted by the coalition forces,” Iran’s U.N. Ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo wrote to the Security Council in a letter, also seen by Reuters.

“Indeed, the destruction of the transportation infrastructure of Yemen by the coalition forces has adversely impacted the delivery of humanitarian assistance,” he wrote.

A five-day truce that began on Tuesday to allow for the delivery of aid to Yemen appeared to be broadly holding. The United Nations says some 12 million people in the war-torn impoverished country need help.

U.N. aid chief Valerie Amos on Tuesday appealed for all aid for Yemen to be routed through the world body, which has a distribution hub in nearby Djibouti. Iran’s state news agency IRNA said the vessel left on Monday for a Yemeni port held by Houthis.

“It is essential that humanitarian assistance is not politicized,” Amos said in a statement.

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New Bill to Lift U.S. Crude Export Ban

By Kathryn Stone 2015-05-13 16:39:32

A new bill introduced on Wednesday seeks to lift the over 40-year ban on the export and sale of U.S. crude oil outside of the country’s borders.

Senators Heidi Heitkamp and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska are the sponsoring the legislation, which will reclassify crude and condensate oil – a light petroleum oil- so that they can be exported freely without licenses from the Commerce Department.

“The 1970s-era ban on exporting American crude oil is as outdated as the typewriters on which the policy was written. It’s past time for an upgrade,” said Heitkamp in a press statement today.

According the bill’s supporters, the new legislation is aimed at growing the U.S. economy and ensuring energy independence. Additionally, U.S. allies could purchase oil directly from the U.S. instead of having to rely on ‘volatile’ countries such as those in the Middle East or ‘unfriendly’ nations like Venezuela or Russia. Were the ban lifted, estimates suggest that oil exports would rise to 1.8 million barrels per day by 2017.

The ban on crude exports was prompted by the 1973 oil embargo by several Arab countries. With the ban, congress attempted to reduce the impact of crude market volatility on the U.S. economy by keeping U.S. oil supplies at home. However, several market analysts have questioned whether the ban has ever achieved this desired result.

The new legislation introduced today would likely herald in further U.S. oil exploration efforts, which may prove to be a double-edged sword. On one side it could support up to 1 million additional jobs according to recent industry studies and it could drive down the global price of oil. On the other side it could lead to exploitation of America’s natural resources.

For this reason, conservationists have been quick to criticize the lifting of the ban. In a statement released today Marcie Keever Friends of the Earth Oceans and Vessels Program Director commented that, “Repealing the ban would open the floodgates to more crude oil extraction and the burning of petroleum products, which would worsen the impacts of climate disruption. Keeping the crude export ban in place would help to keep this dirty, dangerous, climate-disrupting fossil fuel in the ground where it belongs.”

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Yemen War Puts Sea Trade Routes at Risk

By Reuters 2015-05-13 15:22:29

With Middle East giants Saudi Arabia and Iran squaring up on opposing sides in the Yemen war, the dangers to vital oil tanker and goods voyages are growing daily.

Millions of barrels of oil pass through the Bab el-Mandeb and Strait of Hormuz everyday to Europe, the United States and Asia – waterways which pass along the coasts of Yemen and Iran respectively. Insurance costs for shippers are likely to jump.

Last week Iran released Marshall-Islands container ship Maersk Tigris and its crew which were seized in the Strait of Hormuz. This prompted the United States to send vessels to temporarily accompany U.S. flagged ships through the strait. Iranian patrol boats had shadowed a separate container ship earlier last month.

“The whole area is a tinder box now,” said John Dalby of Marine Risk Management Ltd, which provides private armed security teams for ships in the area.

“The main tension appears to be between the navies – be it Iranian patrol boats or ships or other forces in the area. That in some ways creates more uncertainty than dangers from Somali pirates as we saw previously, and – more worryingly – far more firepower capability.”

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman was quoted as saying on Wednesday that it would not led Saudi-led naval forces inspect an Iranian cargo ship bound for Yemen.

Saudi-led forces have imposed inspections on all ships entering Yemen in an attempt to prevent weapons being smuggled to the Iran-allied rebel Houthi group that controls much of the country.

“The question for us is: could the Bab el-Mandeb become so perilous to navigate that guns onshore – controlled by Houthis – might shoot at ships? … If so, fasten your seatbelts, the insurance rates are going to go up,” said Michael Frodl, of U.S. based consultancy C-Level Global Risks.

CHANGING ROUTES?

The likelihood of a sharp rise in the premiums on voyages could be as much a deterrent to trade as the conflict itself.

“The reality is that ships heading to the Gulf, the Red Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean will be obliged to reconsider their movements not simply because of the widening scope of the attacks on, and seizures of, commercial vessels but also because of prohibitive insurance premiums,” said Jonathan Moss of law firm DWF, who acts for insurers.

Khalid Hashim of Precious Shipping, one of Thailand’s largest dry cargo owners, added: “If gets really bad, insurers may altogether stop covering calls to the badly affected areas.”

Hashim said if the Iranian cargo ship went ahead with its intention to deliver aid to Yemen despite a call by the U.S. to deliver it to neighbouring Djibouti, it may lead to a response by the Saudi-led coalition.

“That could possibly escalate tensions in a wide area including the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and through to the Straits of Hormuz. That would surely be bad for shipping, and for all the countries in the region,” Hashim said.

The U.S. Maritime Administration and the Marshall Islands flag registry have both warned of increased risks for ships operating around Hormuz.

“If a boarding by Iranian forces occurs even after declining permission, the boarding should not be forcibly resisted by persons on the U.S. flag merchant vessel. Refraining from forcible resistance in no way indicates consent or agreement that such a boarding is lawful,” one of the advisories said.

The region has already seen disruptions in recent years due to Somali piracy and attacks by militants.

A suicide bombing carried out by al Qaeda killed 17 sailors on the U.S. warship Cole in the southern Yemeni port of Aden in 2000. Two years later, al Qaeda hit a French tanker in the Gulf of Aden, south of the Bab el-Mandeb, which led to a tripling of insurance premiums.

“The tensions are rising, with some concern evident as tanker owners have long memories of the tanker war from the 1980s,” said Phillip Belcher of tanker association INTERTANKO, referring to vessels that were fired at during the Iran-Iraq war.

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