Suez Canal Authority Obtains Court Order to Seize Ever Given

Singapore freight forwarders – Star Concord

The Suez Canal Authority has secured a formal court order to seize the container ship Ever Given for “failure to pay an amount of $ 900 million,” the Egyptian government-owned news outlet Ahram Gate reported Tuesday. The SCA had previously announced its intention to hold the vessel until the outcome of negotiations with the owners over damage compensation from the ship’s infamous six-day grounding. 

“The Suez Canal submitted a request to the Ismailia Economic Court to seize the ship, which was approved by the [court] and issued the seizure decision pending payment of compensation estimated at $900 million,” the SCA told the outlet. 

The UK P&I Club has confirmed that Egypt has filed a claim for $916 million against the ship’s owner, Shoei Kisen Kaisha. Shoei has also confirmed that a claim has been made, but has not provided additional details. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, the cost of the salvage operation is believed to be in the low seven figures. Refinitiv estimates the lost canal transit fees for the SCA at less than $100 million for the six-day shutdown. 

For now, the Ever Given – along with her 18,000 TEU worth of cargo and her 25 crewmembers – remains anchored in the Great Bitter Lake. She has been stranded by legal problems for far longer than she was stranded by the canal’s banks, and the timeline for her release is unknown. 

The Suez Canal Authority’s chairman, Lieutenant General Osama Rabie, told state media that he is quite certain that the fault for the grounding lies with the shipowner. “Of course, yes,” he said, according to the AP. He added that the investigation into the cause of the grounding is nearly complete, and will likely finish on Thursday. 

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In a further step to strengthen the competitive position of the South Korean shipbuilding industry, the Korea Register of Shipping and Hyundai Heavy Industries Group announced a strategic alliance designed to address the future challenges of environmental regulations. Korea’s largest shipbuilder agreed to work with the class society to share utilize technology and human resources to proactively respond to international environmental regulations and contribute to the sustainable growth and decarbonization of the shipping and shipbuilding industries.

The two organizations will work together on joint research to develop the optimal response for shipping companies to address challenges such as the energy efficiency index and carbon intensity. The studies that will conduct will include research to identity an optimal solution for improving operations to improve the shipping company’s performance in the energy efficiency index (EEXI) and on improving ship operation efficiency to improve the carbon intensity (CII) score.

“We will do our best to find the optimal technological solution for the current environmental regulations facing the shipping industry in cooperation with Hyundai Heavy Industries Group,” said Daeheon Kim, head of the research division of the Korean Register of Shipping. “We will actively participate in the development of eco-friendly future ships promoted by shipyards and contribute to the continued establishment of technological leadership in the shipbuilding industry.”

The organizations highlighted the maritime industry’s need to prepare for the energy efficiency index (EEXI) and carbon intensity (CII), regulations that will be applied to existing ships from 2023.

They said that they expect to enhance the international competitiveness of shipyards by developing eco-friendly technologies such as development of carbon-free fuel propulsion ships. They believe that shipyards have an opportunity to strengthen their technological superiority in the global market by reinforcing their competitiveness with eco-friendly issues.

The efforts will also continue to explore the development of new non-carbon fuels such as ammonia and hydrogen with joint development projects for the propulsion ships.  They plan to cooperate strategically throughout the life cycle of a ship.

 

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With the continuing growth of the LNG as a fuel of choice for the shipping industry, attention is turning on seeking improvements to make the established practices more sustainable to further support the growth of the market. Two of the leaders in energy and energy technology, France’s Total and Siemens Energy announced that will collaborate to study sustainable solutions for CO2 emissions reduction starting with a focus on natural gas liquefaction facilities and associated power generation.

“The development of low-carbon LNG will contribute to meet the growth in global energy demand whilst reducing the carbon intensity of the energy products consumed. Reducing its carbon footprint is essential for LNG to play its role fully in the energy transition,” said Arnaud Breuillac, President Exploration & Production at Total. Total reports that it is the world’s second-largest privately owned LNG player, with a global portfolio projected to grow to nearly 50 Mtpa by 2025. They expect their global market share for LNG to grow to around 10 percent.

According to the partners, they will work together on technologies looking at competitive all-electrical liquefaction, optimized power generation, the integration of renewable energy in liquefaction plants’ power system, and their efficiency enhancement. They will also work to develop solutions for the combustion of clean hydrogen in gas turbines.

“We are pleased to partner with Total as one of the main players in the LNG value chain to explore how we can competitively reduce the carbon footprint of brownfield and greenfield LNG projects,” said Thorbjörn Fors, Executive Vice President of the Industrial Applications Division at Siemens Energy. “The agreement is a next step, following our announcement last June to collaborate together and conduct studies exploring possible liquefaction and power generation plant designs to help decarbonize the production of LNG.” 

Enhancing the sustainability of the production cycle for LNG is critical as the global demand for it as an industrial energy source grows. While the use of LNG to create energy is considered more environmentally responsive than traditional fossil fuels, the production process draws criticism for its lack of sustainability. 

In the near term, the shipping industry will increasingly be turning to LNG as a fuel solution. Many of the largest carriers have announced LNG-fueled newbuilds. The trade group Sea-LNG reports that more than 200 new LNG-fueled ships are on order for near-term delivery. That will more than double the number of ships fueled by LNG.

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The efforts to pressure the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to move forward with the restoration of cruises sailing from U.S. ports continued with three U.S. senators today introducing a bill to require the CDC to restore cruising by July 4. The senators from Florida and Alaska followed a move last week by the state of Florida to sue the U.S. government to restore cruising and a letter-writing campaign launched by the cruise industry. Alaska’s governor said his state might follow Florida in a lawsuit to ease the restrictions on cruising.

Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio of Florida and Dan Sullivan of Alaska introduced the “Careful Resumption Under Improved Safety Enhancements Act” (CRUISE), which would revoke the CDC’s current orders for the cruise industry and require the CDC to provide COVID-19 mitigation guidance for cruise lines to resume safe domestic operations. Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar of Florida joined with the senators and will lead this legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

 “Florida is a tourism state with thousands of jobs relying on the success of our ports, cruise lines, and maritime industries,” said Senator Scott in announcing the introduction of the act. “While many sectors of the economy have been safely operating for months under CDC guidelines, Floridians, and those across the nation that rely on the cruise industry for work, continue to wait for updated guidance from the CDC. The CDC’s refusal to properly address this shutdown is wrong, and it’s time to get the cruise lines open safely. Our bill, the CRUISE Act, says we’re not waiting on the CDC any longer. Cruises can and should resume, and we’re going to do everything we can to bring back our cruise industry safely.”

In March, Senator Scott sent a letter to the White House COVID Response Coordinator, Jeffrey Zients, urging the Biden Administration to immediately issue clear guidance for the resumption of operations for the cruise industry. Senator Scott also introduced the Set Sail Safely Act last year, which would establish a Maritime Task Force, in coordination with a Private Sector Advisory Committee, to address the health, safety, security, and logistical changes needed to allow for cruise lines and ports to resume operations.

The CDC recently issued technical guidance for the cruise industry addressed some of the steps that will help to restore cruises from U.S. ports but has not detailed the steps and a timeline to the restoration of cruising. The CDC and Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg both told the media in interviews that they foresaw cruising resuming this summer.

The proposed act introduced today by the three senators requires the CDC to issue recommendations on how to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 to passengers and crew onboard cruise ships, while saying no later than July 4, 2021, the CDC must revoke the order entitled “Framework for Conditional Sailing and Initial Phase COVID-19 Testing Requirements for Protection of Crew.”

The senators are also calling for establishing an interagency “Working Group” that will develop recommendations to facilitate the resumption of passenger cruise ship operations in the United States. The recommendations will facilitate the resumption of passenger cruise ship operations in the United States no later than July 4, 2021. At the same, the act also ensures that the Department of Health and Human Services and CDC retain all appropriate authorities to make and enforce regulations necessary to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of communicable diseases on any individual cruise ship.

Senator Sullivan highlighted that all the other sectors of the travel and hospitality industries have been permitted to resume operations but accused the CDC of continuing to stall on its steps for the cruise industry. He said the proposed legislation would provide a clear path to restoring cruises which provide a strong economic benefit to Alaska and numerous small businesses. While he continues to speak about restoring cruises this summer, the bill does not address the second challenge of Canada’s ban on cruise ships which with the U.S. cabotage regulations effectively blocked the large cruise ships from sailing to Alaska in 2021. Senator Rubio also highlighted the economic contributions of the cruise industry.
 

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U-Ming Marine Transport Corporation (“U-Ming”) (TSEC code: 2606), Taiwan’s largest publicly listed bulk carrier company, has secured its first Sustainability-Linked Loan (“SLL”) of USD45 million with E.SUN Commercial Bank, a testimony on its long-standing commitment and accountability on sustainability.

To secure the SSL, U-Ming underwent a rigorous due-diligence process that evaluated the company’s financial strength as well as ESG achievements. The SSL also incorporates an incentive scheme linked to pre-determined Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) targets, where U-Ming will enjoy a discount on interest rates and save borrowing cost once these targets are achieved. The accomplishment of these targets will be verified by an independent third party.

This loan facility will be used to purchase one LNG Dual Fuel Tier III 190,000 DWT bulk carrier, which has been awarded a 10-year Dual Fuel dry bulk charter contract by Anglo American, a leading global mining company together with another three LNG Dual Fuel bulk carriers in November 2020.

This bulk carrier, with a length of about 299m and width 47.5m, are built with the concept of energy-saving and sustainability. 

The newbuildings will be powered by LNG, a viable and alternative fuel that emits significantly lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The vessels will also be fitted with MAN Energy Solutions’ high-pressure ME-GI engines to further reduce their environmental footprint with negligible levels of methane slippage, while increasing operational efficiency and reliability.

To further increase fuel efficiency, U-Ming will be investing and installing other energy-saving devices such as a Mewis duct, propeller boss fin and alpha lubricator. The new vessels will also be equipped with U-Ming’ proprietary Fleet Safety Performance (FSM) and Fleet Performance Management (FPM) systems supported by its Operation Center, enabling near real-time speed, weather and route updates, thus further saving fuel and ensuring safe navigation.

Commenting on the Sustainability-Linked Loan, U-Ming President Mr. C. K. Ong, said: “U-Ming once again demonstrates our accountability and transparency to achieve an international ESG standard. U-Ming is one of frontrunners to operate LNG dual-fuelled bulk carriers even though they are currently more costly to build. We are especially delighted that our commitment is recognized by E.SUN Bank with this SLL. 

“Going onward, we will continue our U-Ming’s fleet renewal and decarbonisation strategy by fostering cooperation with industry stakeholders including the ship financing sector. Together, we will provide sustainable long-term green shipping solutions to our customers.”

E.SUN Bank said: “Climate change is one of the biggest threats in human history and it requires a committed and collective approach to tackle this crisis. Financial institutions can be torch bearers of a sustainable and inclusive future with green financing. We are very impressed by U-Ming’s sustainability track record and is delighted to support their green initiatives with this SLL. We hope this SLL will encourage more maritime players to embed ESG targets in their business development. Together we make a positive change to the industry and the environment.”

2021: Strong Start of Bulker Market 

The dry bulk market started strongly in 2021, Baltic Dry Index has soared past the 2000 mark in March 2021, supported by exports of soybeans from US and Brazil to China, as well as surging iron ore demand from China. However, with the resurgence of the pandemic and the moves towards cleaner fuels, energy demand remains weak and impact prospects for coal.

In times of uncertainty, U-Ming will continue to stay resilient with strong leadership, a prudent business strategy as well as a solid balance sheet.
 

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The technology group Wärtsilä has signed an Optimised Maintenance agreement with the Japanese shipping giant Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) and Monohakobi Technology Institute (MTI) to evaluate Wärtsilä’s Expert Insight predictive maintenance service as part of a pilot programme. The agreement was signed in January 2021 and, the programme could lead to NYK adopting the solution throughout its entire fleet.

The evaluation will be carried out on two LNG Carrier vessels, the ‘Marvel Falcon’ and the ‘LNG Sakura’. Both vessels operate with Wärtsilä dual-fuel engines. The programme will evaluate the analytics and support service provided by Expert Insight, in combination with the Wärtsilä Optimised Maintenance Lifecycle solution.

Expert Insight is an innovative service that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced diagnostics to monitor equipment and systems in real-time, spot anomalies, foresee potential problems, and enable rapid reaction accordingly. Should anomalous behaviour be detected, it is flagged to specialists at Wärtsilä Expertise Centres, allowing them to support the customer proactively with an appropriate resolution to the issue. The combination of AI, advanced diagnostics, and the company’s extensive equipment expertise greatly enhances the reliability, efficiency, and safety of the installed equipment.

“NYK has already commenced operating an Expert-in-the Loop service at our Remote Diagnostics Centre in Manila. This anomaly detection system oversees the entire engine plant, and we are confident that the complementing expertise from both our companies will result in the best possible support for our vessels. By leveraging big data and artificial intelligence, the maritime industry can greatly increase its efficiency, safety, and competitiveness, and we are keen to take advantage of this wherever possible. We are excited at the possibilities provided by Wärtsilä’s Expert Insight and look forward to the results from this programme,” says Shogo Yamada, Manager, Marine Group, NYK LINE.

“When we introduced Expert Insight as part of the Optimised Maintenance programme, it was pointed out that it takes predictive maintenance to the next level. This is rapidly proving to be the case, and we are happy to cooperate with NYK/MTI in demonstrating the commercial value and benefits the system offers to them by delivering greater vessel uptime, less unscheduled maintenance, and lower operating costs while optimising their ships’ performance,” says Tateo Miyagawa, Managing Director, Wärtsilä Japan.

NYK, one of the biggest ship owners in the world, is a long-term customer of Wärtsilä and has many vessels with Wärtsilä solutions installed.

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Singapore-based Sembcorp Marine relies on SCHOTTEL’s azimuthal hybrid drive system SYDRIVE-E for the world’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) hybrid tug. With this first in a series of 12 vessels, Sembcorp Marine will build the world’s first hybrid LNG-fueled tug fleet that will replace its existing diesel-powered tugs. The vessel is designed by LMG Marin, a wholly owned Sembcorp Marine subsidiary, and a leading naval architecture design house in Bergen, Norway, which provides energy efficient solutions.

Hybrid drive system SYDRIVE-E supports Sembcorp Marine’s environmental protection efforts
The tug’s future operation profile in the harbours of Singapore will demand highly variable power ranges. Depending on the desired operating mode and the required propulsion power, the hybrid drive system activates the appropriate power source or both together. The LNG-fueled main engines and the electrical motors are both coupled to the SYDRIVE system and always operate efficiently within their optimal load ranges, thereby reducing fuel consumption and emissions and supporting Sembcorp Marine’s efforts in environmental protection.

In terms of thruster integration, each upper gearbox offers two power input positions with an offset angle of +/- 90° for two power sources. An option with a +/- 135° offset angle is also available allowing even more design flexibility. 

Azimuth thrusters for powerful manoeuvrability

Sembcorp Marine’s hybridized SCHOTTEL RudderPropellers type SRP 430 will have a power intake capacity of about 2,000 kW each which will be fed by zero emissions electrical motors and/or low-emissions LNG main engines. The 360-degree steerable SRPs combine maximum manoeuvrability and a high bollard pull as harbour operations require.  

The SCHOTTEL SYDRIVE-E azimuth thrusters are engineered and manufactured in Germany. Commissioning and After Sales Service will be provided by SCHOTTEL Far East, Singapore. Sembcorp Marine’s hybridized fleet will be operated by its subsidiary Jurong Marine Services for services in Singapore’s harbours with operations scheduled to start in late 2021.
 

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GTT announces that it has received an order from its partner the Chinese shipyard Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding (Group) Co. Ltd. for the tank design of a new LNGC1 on behalf of the Chinese ship-owner ShenZhen Gas Corporation Ltd.

GTT will design the tanks of the vessel which will offer a cargo capacity 79,960 m3 and will be fitted with the NO96 L03+  membrane containment system, a technology developed by GTT.

The vessel will be delivered in January 2023.

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The first of seven crewmembers from the MSC Gayane was sentenced to jail today for his role in the 2019 cocaine smuggling aboard the containership. A total of eight crewmembers, or nearly a third of the vessel’s crew, have all plead guilty and are awaiting sentencing in one of the largest drug seizures in U.S. history. 

The ship’s fourth engineer, Vladimir Penda, 27, of Montenegro, who the defense alleged was recruited while aboard the ship and scared into his participation, plead guilty in the conspiracy case in June 2020. He was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia to five years and ten months in prison to be followed by two years of supervised release. Given the scale of the seizure, Penda faced a maximum possible sentence of life in prison with prosecutors recommending 14 years. Three of his co-defendants are also due to be sentenced.

On June 17, 2019, U.S. federal, state, and local law enforcement agents boarded the MSC Gayane when it arrived at Packer Marine Terminal in Philadelphia. After searching the vessel, they seized about 20 tons of cocaine worth over $1 billion from its shipping containers in one of the largest drug seizures in U.S. history.

According to the sentencing documents, Penda had been working aboard the vessel since the beginning of 2019 as the ship’s fourth engineer and conspired with his fellow crew to engage in a bulk cocaine smuggling scheme. While the MSC Gayane was at sea, crew members including Penda helped load bulk packages of cocaine onto the vessel from speedboats that approached the containership during the night under cover of darkness. They used the vessel’s crane to hoist cargo nets full of cocaine onto the vessel and then stashed the cocaine in the shipping containers. The prosecutors alleged that the crew bent railings on the ship and pulled back doors on the shipping containers so they could stuff the huge quantities of cocaine into the containers. After hiding the drugs among the legitimate cargo, crewmembers used fake seals to reseal the shipping containers.

“It has been nearly two years since federal agents conducted one of the largest drug seizures in U.S. history,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. “The follow-up investigation uncovered dark-of-night, clandestine drug trafficking conduct which read like a movie plot, and prosecutors in our office have been working non-stop since then to pursue justice in this case. With Mr. Penda’s just sentence being handed down today, this chapter of the MSC Gayane saga is now coming to a close.”

In addition to Penda, seven other crewmembers from the MSC Gayane involved in the smuggling scheme were arrested and later plead guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. Among the individuals awaiting sentencing for their role are the ship’s chief officer and second officer. Others in the scheme included an engineer cadet, electrician, assistant reeferman, and two seamen.

MSC has not been charged in connection with the smuggling and entered a victim’s statement during the sentencing of Penda. MSC said that over the two years since the Gayane incident, it has spent tens of millions of dollars to boost its anti-smuggling systems and by 2024 it will have invested more than $100 million on security improvements.
 

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Damen Shipyards Group has recently delivered a Stan Tug 1004 to Corps van Vletterlieden for operation in the Port of IJmuiden in the north of the Netherlands. The tug, Boatman2, will perform a wide range of tasks including mooring, supply, crew transfer and diving support. 

The vessel had previously operated for a client of Damen’s in Norway, her previous owner trading her in with the purchase of a new Damen vessel. 

Ordinarily, Damen would assist its clients in carrying out an inspection of a second hand vessel. However, due to the coronavirus regulations, this proved impossible on this occasion. The previous owner provided pictures, which confirmed that the vessel had been well cared for and was in excellent condition. 

Besides this, Corps van Vletterlieden had seen this exact vessel when she was newly built at one of Damen’s annual Workboat Festivals – where prospective clients come to view and sail aboard Damen vessels and meet with Damen employees and suppliers. This satisfied the company that the vessel was robust enough for their requirements. 

When the vessel arrived in the Netherlands, Damen Shipyards Hardinxveld carried out a number of adaptations to the vessel in order to prepare her for her new owner. The involved installation of a knuckle-boom crane on deck – as well as a hydraulic power pack for it – as well as two coupling winches and a generator set, all aimed at giving the vessel the versatility required to perform her multi-functional work scope. 

Vincent de Maat, sales manager at Damen said, “This vessel showcases the synergy to be found within the Damen Shipyards Group. With the vessel previously being located in Norway, coordinating this purchase called on the cooperation of two of our sales department; the customisation was performed at our Hardinxveld yard and the sale itself administered by Damen Trading. A real demonstration that the component parts of the group really perform together as One Damen.”

The Stan Tug 1004 is the first Damen vessel to be operated by Corps van Vletterlieden
 

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