1. Trouble in the tank
2. Ghana non-vax fines
4. Leading maritime cities
5. Investigation call
6. Fuel of the future
7. Singapore support
8. Gulf of Guinea warning
9. Princess Cruises
10. Trader compliance
11. ZeroNorth acquisition
13. Sea Change Fund
Notices & Miscellany
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1. Trouble in the tank
By Michael Grey
You would be, to say the least, extremely angry, if your car came to a grinding halt and the nice person from the emergency services looked up from the engine compartment and told you the engine had been wrecked because of the fuel you had been supplied by the filling station. Your sentiments might be even more extreme if your aircraft engines suddenly emitted choking noises and stopped at 30,000 feet, because the quality of the fuel was in some way deficient.
The fact is that you are able to count on the quality of what comes out of the filling station pumps, or is supplied while the aircraft lies alongside its pier, secure in the knowledge that some quality controller, or expert chemical engineer has done their job and you don’t have to worry unduly. So why is the chief engineer of a ship approaching its bunker station chewing his or her nails with concern, as they prepare to take on board hundreds, or even thousands, of tonnes of fuel into the vessel’s tanks? Doesn’t the quality of marine bunkers matter just as much, if you consider that the ship itself could be lost, or the engine wrecked by off-specification fuel? The fact is, the answer does not appear to be in the affirmative,
As you read this the 6662teu container ship SM Busan will be lying alongside a pier in the port of Ogden Point with the crew and machinery specialists pumping ashore her fuel into road tankers after the ship was completely disabled a short distance into her Pacific crossing from Portland to South Korea. She had lost propulsion on Christmas Eve and drifted for more than two days in a gale, before limping back to the coast, with tugs in attendance.
It was interesting to note that the latest journal of the International Salvage Union, published just before the holiday, noted a slew of large vessels disabled off the South African coast and rescued by salvage tugs. Indeed “disabled” ships requiring tug support featured quite largely in the reports from salvors around the world and it would be a fair assumption that at least some of these were suffering from “fuel problems”. And there is plenty of evidence that these fuel problems are often caused by mandatory changes to or from low sulphur fuel, or something nasty such as fines or chemicals in the fuel itself.
But surely prudent owners will be employing expert fuel testing laboratories to make sure that the tiger in their tanks will not bite them? Certainly, that’s the advice, but it tends to be the case that the charterer who is buying the fuel may be unwilling to pay for these analysts. The fuel the charterer has sourced is an absolute bargain and it’s not his engine they will be pouring the stuff into. And maybe the owner or manager will not shell out for these services automatically, hoping that the voyage will be accomplished without problems. That’s the old percentage game, that is increasingly played in our industry, where the troubles all happen to somebody else, except when they don’t.
The trouble is that keeping engines running smoothly is getting much more complicated, with different grades of fuel having to be carried, and even though there may be all sorts of earnest injunctions about not using fuel that hasn’t been given the green light by the laboratory, accidents do happen.
And it is going to get ever more complicated as the industry becomes involved with ever-greener fuels and fuel of very different characteristics to the simple old sludge diesels once digested. If we can’t trust the bunker supplier to provide fuel that won’t wreck the machinery today, will the situation be better, or worse, when many more people are buying bio-fuel, or LNG, or methanol, hydrogen or ammonia? You would like to think that bunkering such sophisticated stuff shouldn’t be a matter involving such angst and the quality of ships’ fuels should be beyond speculation, like fuel supplied to other industries. But you wouldn’t put money on the emergence of the reliable and high quality system that other modes of transport enjoy.
We shouldn’t have big ships’ machinery coughing and spluttering as the pilot tries to manoeuvre it in tight port situations, as is regularly reported these days. More to the point, we really shouldn’t have to depend on the ultimate insurance of powerful salvage tugs to keep disabled ships off lee shores, after their machinery has failed.
Michael Grey is former editor of Lloyd’s List.
2. Ghana non-vax fines
Fines will be levied on vessels arriving in Ghanaian ports with crew or passengers not vaccinated against Covid-19 according to the latest directive by the Ghana Health Service. Gard P&I Club says its local correspondent, Sheringham P&I Services, has advised that Ghana Port Health Service will levy a fine of $3,500 on any vessel arriving with crew or passengers not fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
The directive was initially due to be implemented from 15 January 2022 onwards. However, to allow owners sufficient time to vaccinate their crew, authorities have decided to allow a grace period, and the actual date of implementation is yet to be confirmed.
NCB Group, the New York-based cargo inspection company has announced that Hapag-Lloyd has signed an agreement to adopt the Hazcheck Detect cargo screening tool to detect mis-declared and undeclared dangerous goods in containerised shipments. The solution has been developed and will be delivered by NCB’s software division, Exis Technologies.
Hazcheck Detect scans all cargo booking details for keywords and includes an industry library to enable suspicious bookings to be identified that may be mis-declared or undeclared dangerous goods and other compliance cargo. The service is interactive allowing non-compliant cargo to be detected within seconds rather than days. Last minute changes to bookings, declarations, Bills of Lading and shipping instructions can be picked up in real time. This immediate response helps to prevent such cargo from being loaded onto a ship, thereby avoiding the risk of fires at sea.
Ian Lennard , NCB president commented, “Working with container lines like Hapag-Lloyd will help us to further develop the tool using machine learning and AI techniques to enhance the screening processes as part of our not for profit mission, Safety of Life and Cargo at Sea. Data across our Hazcheck tools will help us enhance the screening process using validation results and feedback from container inspections, helping with safety throughout the whole dangerous goods shipping process.”
Ken Rohlmann, senior director dangerous goods at Hapag Lloyd said, “We are pleased to be adopting this important industry solution. We have been a strong advocate of this kind of screening approach for some time and are glad to be one of the first companies to adopt this new technology. The key criteria for moving to Hazcheck Detect was the desire to have a common screening approach for all major container lines to help avoid undeclared cargo rejected by one line being presented again as a booking to another line.”.
Hazcheck Detect is delivered as a software-as-a-service solution, hosted and maintained by Exis Technologies. It includes a web user interface so that users can enter and maintain data search terms, keywords and develop an industry library.
For more information visit: https://existec.com/product-category/hazcheck/detect/
4. Leading maritime cities
DNV has announced the launch of the 2022 edition of the Leading Maritime Cities (LMC) report which provides fresh insights into which global hubs offer the best infrastructure, technology, finance, and world-class talent, to help the maritime community connect and prosper.
There have been many dramatic developments since the last edition of the LMC report was published in 2019. Two years of fluctuating restrictions have caused severe trade and travel upsets. Another major driver has been extreme weather events. Shipowners, charterers, cargo owners and lenders are gearing up for a decarbonized future, with rapid adoption of zero-carbon fuels expected over the next decade. Ongoing digitalisation, including ports and the supply chain, will drive efficiency in support of this transition.
“Maritime cities and clusters are generating unique strategies to cope with these global transformations. They will play a leading role in the green shift, with new business models that drive the transition,” says DNV Maritime chief executive Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen.
The LMC report is compiled in cooperation between classification society DNV and Menon Economics. As before, it benchmarks each maritime city based on five key pillars – Shipping, Maritime Finance & Law, Maritime Technology, Ports & Logistics and Attractiveness & Competitiveness.
Singapore’s strong performance across the board sees it retain its number 1 spot overall. “Singapore holds the top slot for attractiveness and competitiveness while also scooping the maritime technology title, thanks to the city-state’s unrelenting focus on digital transformation. Singapore gives way to Athens and Shanghai in shipping and ports & logistics respectively, and losing some ground in maritime finance & law,” notes Shahrin Osman, regional head of maritime advisory at DNV and the report’s co-author.
Two European cities feature in the top three as well. “Rotterdam’s second place demonstrates that it’s a maritime city on the rise. Although only tenth in shipping, the Dutch hub scores well overall and particularly in ports and logistics and attractiveness and competitiveness. London is also among the top contenders, from fifth to third place overall, however it has lost out its previous top slot in maritime finance and law to New York,” says Dr Osman. Fourth and fifth place overall go to Asian counterparts Shanghai followed by all-rounder Tokyo.
“The 2022 analysis uses some new and more comprehensive objective and subjective indicators, as well as data sources, for each pillar. This facilitates more refined benchmarking of the relative performance of each city,” explains Menon partner Erik Jakobsen, who is the co-author of the report.
Subjective indicators reveal the perceptions and assessments of 280 invited business executives – mostly shipowners and managers – from around the world. Looking five years ahead, they predict that Singapore will remain number 1, with Shanghai coming in 2nd. London, Oslo and Rotterdam are seen as leading the field in Europe, with Dubai and Abu Dhabi competing hard in the Middle East, India and Africa region. Dubai is predicted to grab 6th place overall by 2027.
The experts see Singapore, Oslo, Shanghai and Copenhagen as best prepared for digital transformation, while Oslo tops the list for sustainable technologies and solutions for the oceans, followed by Singapore and Copenhagen. See LMC Report 2022 top 5 pillar and overall rankings (Source: DNV/Menon Economics).
5. Investigation call
The British International Freight Association (BIFA) has written to the UK government asking it to investigate the state of competition within the current deep sea container shipping market.
The UK’s main trade association for freight forwarding and logistics companies says that its members are concerned that certain practices undertaken by the principal container shipping lines, as well as easements and exemptions provided to them under competition law, are distorting the operations of the free market to the detriment of international trade.
In a letter to Robert Courts, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, BIFA’s Director General Robert Keen expresses the trade association’s concern that during a period of well-documented chaos within the container shipping sector, commercial power is becoming increasingly concentrated, resulting in diminished market choice and competition, and distorted market conditions.
Keen says: “BIFA members fully accept that a free market economy is open to all, but are increasingly concerned that the activities of the container shipping lines, and the exemptions from legislation from which they benefit, are distorting the operations of that market to the shipping lines’ advantage, whilst adversely and unfairly affecting their customers, especially freight forwarders and SME businesses.
“The facts speak for themselves. During a period that has seen EU block exemption regulations carried forward into UK law, there has been huge market consolidation.
“In 2015, there were 27 major container shipping lines carrying global containerised trade, with the largest having a 15.3% market share. Today, there are 15 shipping lines, organised into three major alliances carrying that trade, with some analysts observing that the market share of a single alliance on certain key routes could be over 40%.
“The pandemic has highlighted and accelerated this development, which has also contributed to dreadful service levels, and hugely inflated rates, with carriers allocating vessels to the most profitable routes with little regard to the needs of their customers.
“Drewry recently issued a profit forecast of more than USD150 billion for 2021 for the main container shipping lines for which financial results are available.
“To put that into perspective, this is more than has been achieved in the previous 20 years combined, and many BIFA members consider it to be a case of blatant profiteering.”
BIFA is joining a growing number of organisations, including CLECAT and FIATA, the US Federal Maritime Commission, and the Australian Productivity Commission, in calling for governments at a national and pan-national level to give careful consideration to the evolving business arrangements in the container shipping market to see whether they are in breach of competition law.
6. Fuel of the future
Participants from across the maritime value chain participated in the DNV conference – The Fuel of the Future. Decarbonisation is the grand challenge of our time – unprecedented in its scale, complexity, and ramifications for the world. It was also the critical question for the conference, notably how are leading maritime companies breaking down silos and setting aside competition to build a more sustainable future for shipping?
DNV Group chief executive, Remi Eriksen highlighted the progress that had been made at the recent COP26 summit in Glasgow and the challenges that lay ahead: “There is now an explicit plan to reduce coal and phase out subsidies that artificially lower the price of hydrocarbons, and a scheme to cut 30 per cent of methane emissions by 2030 was agreed by more than 100 countries. New commitments to net-zero by the middle of the century mean that 90 per cent of the world economy is now covered, but major challenges still lie ahead.”
Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, chief executive of DNV Maritime stressed that decarbonisation is a task that no one player, or even one industry, could approach in isolation: “We need the joined-up infrastructure, energy, technology, understanding, regulations, and financial support that is only possible when everyone leans in, striving towards the same goal. At DNV, we’re committed to playing our part. Our broad-based knowledge, competencies and segment expertise allows us to act as a trusted partner to enable progress in multiple fields, but also to bring people together.”
Søren Toft, chief executive of MSC, offered the shipowner’s perspective, stating: “We need partnerships with stakeholders in shipping and up the value chain, including the fuel producers, the engine manufacturers and the shipyards. When we do that, we will capitalize on the knowledge of these players, because we don’t think we have all the answers ourselves. And we believe that shipping must and can decarbonize fully by 2050. At MSC we have come quite far already, having reduced our relative C02 emissions by 44 per cent since 2008.”
In the interview session, Marthe Lamp Sandvik, vice president of ocean industries at DNB Bank, spoke about the role of finance in driving the energy transition: “To be impactful, sustainable finance has to be inclusive to bring everybody in the right direction collectively. When we look at the industry today, it’s asset heavy, it has a lot of emissions reduction potential. It is important that there is a balance between maintaining the integrity of the product and maintaining the data and reporting quality. So that is a very important balance and it’s not necessarily easy to strike.”
During the panel discussion Jan Dieleman, president of Cargill Ocean Transportation, stressed that a common understanding was vital: “It becomes a bit more complicated with new fuels and technologies, where at the end of the day it’s all a green premium that needs to get paid. That is the area where we are focused on, for example as part of the Maersk McKinney Moeller Centre for Zero Carbon Shipping and the Global Maritime Forum, but we are also talking to owners to see what we can do together. We are also working on setting the baselines for the industry. I think it’s very important that we all speak the same language, because the world of emissions is very complex.”
Sveinung Oftedal, at the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment, talked about how collaborations were shifting into contracts: “We see a shift from collaborations between companies to contracts between companies, and that is where we want to go. We also see this when it comes to collaborations between governments turning into contracts between governments, meaning global agreements and also regional agreements.”
The DNV Conference – The Fuel of the Future was a complimentary virtual event and was recorded. To access the full recording, please visit: https://www.dnv.com/maritime/webinars-and-videos/on-demand-webinars/fuel-of-the-future.html
7. Singapore support
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore has said that it will extend support measures under the MaritimeSG Together Package for another six months, from January 1 to 30th June 2022. First introduced in May 2020, this latest extension of the package is intended to provide continued support for the regional ferry services sector and Singaporean seafarers who remain affected by travel restrictions and border control measures relating to the pandemic.
More details are available on the port website https://www.mpa.gov.sg.
8. Gulf of Guinea warning
The US Maritime Administration has put out an advisory notice to the industry warning of the threat of piracy, armed robbery and kidnapping to US vessels operating in the Gulf of Guinea. The advisory includes guidance to ships deployed in the region.
For further details see https://www.maritime.dot.gov/msci/2022-001-gulf-guinea-piracyarmed-robberykidnapping-ransom.
Our thanks to Miller’s Maritime Newsletter for the news that Princess Cruise Lines has pleaded guilty to a violation of probation resulting from its conviction for environmental crimes because it failed to establish and maintain an independent internal investigative office.
For further details see https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/princess-cruise-lines-pleads-guilty-second-revocation-probation.
10. Trader compliance
Following the introduction of a new set of rules and regulations for goods entering Britain from the EU, freight forwarding and logistics company Davies Turner says they have proved less chaotic than predicted and that it is cautiously optimistic. The company acknowledges there have been some teething problems with the new Goods Vehicle Movement System and that trade is generally slower at the start of the year but believes that for imports, especially, having its own inland customs-bonded depots is an advantage and should drastically cut the risk of problems, or the need for one of its lorries to report to a Border inspection point.
According to Danny Southby, head of European Network at Davies Turner: “Although we typically see a fairly quiet start to the year in terms of traffic, traders appear to be following the new rules and the systems seem to be working. This time last year, when new rules for exports to the EU came in, there were considerable problems. This year, so far, it is minor frustrations and a little confusion in terms of GVMS, and it is a breeze compared with January 2021.”
11. ZeroNorth acquisition
Technology company ZeroNorth has announced the acquisition of ClearLynx, the industry’s leading online platform for the bunker fuel market.
Adding ClearLynx to the ZeroNorth platform will provide ship owners and operators with an integrated and end-to-end solution for the cost and environmentally efficient optimisation of bunker fuel, from initial enquiry through to supply.
ZeroNorth users will be able to take advantage of ClearLynx’s procurement, pricing and analytics, business intelligence, optimisation and planning, sulphur cap compliance and data feed products.
The World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure and the Oil Companies International Marine Forum have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to formalise their long-standing working relationship.
The MOU’s aim is to enhance the impact of both organisations in the area of waterborne transport infrastructure, to cooperate, communicate and collaborate in the area of the ship-shore interface while recognising and respecting their individual identities, membership expectations and traditions. Their primary focus will be on supporting the work of each other through participation in relevant committees, workshops, conferences, and seminars as well as dissemination of technical information, joint activities on international issues and reciprocal representation in key groups.
13. Sea Change Fund
Maritime charity Sailors’ Society has launched a new fund to provide urgent welfare grants for seafarers and their families in desperate need.
The Sea Change Fund has been set up in response to a huge increase in calls for the charity’s help, with demand for grants increasing by 850 per cent in the first 18 months of the pandemic. The fund will provide small emergency payments to seafarers and their dependents matching the grant criteria, to help address immediate needs.
Sara Baade, Sailors’ Society’s chief executive said: “Calls for support have never been greater than now. We launched our Sea Change Fund to help answer these cries, so seafarers and their families who need urgent financial assistance to pay for food, medical bills, schooling or a roof over their heads can get support quickly.”
Sickness, unemployment and bereavement have left rising numbers of seafaring families, who are often from deprived areas of the world to start with, struggling to put food on the table. Just before Christmas, Super Typhoon Rai (Odette) struck the Philippines, where large numbers of seafarers live, killing hundreds and leaving many more without shelter when their homes were destroyed.
Baade continued: “Seafarers have endured a challenging couple of years, often full of fear and uncertainty and far away from loved ones. We owe them a great debt and now, more than ever, is the time to join together to support our keyworkers of the sea and make the sea change needed when a crisis hits.”
Grants are made via application and can assist with a range of pressing welfare needs, including help with vital bills like food and medicine, education costs, or in emergency situations such as natural disaster or cases of abandonment.
To find out more and to make a donation towards Sailors’ Society’s Sea Change Fund go to: https://sailors-society.org/sea-change-fund
Notices & Miscellany
New Year’s Honours
Richard Ballantyne, Chief Executive of the British Ports Association, has been awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours list.
The award is in recognition of his services to the maritime industry, which over the last two years have involved working tirelessly with government and industry to ensure ports’ contribution to keeping the country supplied and the needs of the industry were well understood by government.
He has also worked closely with government to represent the industry through the process of the UK’s departure from the EU. This has helped ensure that the border has continued to operate as smoothly as possible and has helped to keep the industry’s interests high on the political agenda.
Industry commentator John Faraclas recently gave two lectures on Leadership at Queen Mary University of London considering migrants, the environment and Covid response.
For more details see: https://allaboutshipping.co.uk/2021/12/02/john-faraclas-speaks-on-leadership-in-shipping/
Don’t leave it too late to prepare for your 2022 pay reviews. Find out what your market peers are budgeting for 2022 and get access to the latest shore and seafaring maritime salary and wage data from around the world.
Over 150 shipping companies, including shipowners, operators, shipmanagers, oil companies, commodity groups and shipbrokers take part in Spinnaker’s annual salary surveys. For details on how to access these salary and wage reports and be part of this network please contact the team at email@example.com or call +44 (0) 1702 481 643 .
New office and acquisition for SSY
Simpson SpenceYoung has opened a new office in Athens managed by Nicholas Vamvakaris. The move is part of SSY’s continued growth and expansion plans. It has also announced the acquisition of Anchor Shipbroking. Based in Piraeus, Greece, Anchor Shipbroking are specialists in Sale & Purchase, offering a full range of services to their global network of clients.
Leading global marine assurance and vetting systems organisation MIS Marine has announced that Gonzalo Mera Truffini has been appointed as Americas Executive Manager, to lead the company’s presence and customer support in the Americas.
Please notify the Editor of your appointments, promotions, new office openings and other important happenings: firstname.lastname@example.org
(With thanks to Paul Dixon)
A man walked into a bar and ordered a glass of white wine. He took a sip of the wine, then tossed the remainder into the bartender’s face.
Before the bartender could recover from the surprise, the man began weeping.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I’m really sorry. I keep doing that to bartenders. I can’t tell you how embarrassing it is, to have a compulsion like this.”
Far from being angry, the bartender was sympathetic. Before long, he was suggesting that the man see an analyst about his problem.
“I happen to have the name of a Psychoanalyst,” the bartender said. “My Brother and my Wife have both been treated by him, and they say he’s as good as they get.”
The man wrote down the name of the Doctor, thanked the bartender, and left. The bartender smiled, knowing he’d done a good deed for a fellow human being.
Six months later, the man was back.
“Did you do what I suggested?” the bartender asked, serving the glass of white wine.
“I certainly did,” the man said. “I’ve been seeing the psychoanalyst twice a week.”
He took a sip of the wine. Then he threw the remainder into the bartender’s face.
The flustered bartender wiped his face with a towel. “The Doctor doesn’t seem to be doing you any good.” He sputtered.
“On the contrary,” the man claimed, “he’s done me a world of good.”
“But you threw the wine in my face again!” The bartender exclaimed.
“Yes.” The man replied. “But it doesn’t embarrass me anymore.”
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Maritime Advocate Online is a fortnightly digest of news and views on the maritime industries, with particular reference to legal issues and dispute resolution. It is published to over 20,000 individual subscribers each week and republished within firms and organisations all over the maritime world. It is the largest publication of its kind. We estimate it goes to around 60,000 readers in over 120 countries.