Headlines Friday 21st September 2018
 
Carnival Corp: Retrofitting to LNG Is Not an Option
 
One of the world’s largest cruise majors, Carnival Corporation, is not considering retrofits to liquefied natural gas (LNG) to meet sulphur cap regulations, Tom Strang, Senior Vice President – Maritime Affairs at Carnival Corporation, said at a panel within the SMM trade fair in Hamburg.
 
The panel titled ‘The Passenger Shipping Industry as an Environmental Pioneer’, held as part of the Global Maritime Environmental Congress (gmec), addressed the current developments in the passenger shipping industry with respect to the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) upcoming 2020 sulfur cap regulation
Strang explained that the cruise sector is investing very significantly in new technology, including LNG as fuel. He added that, although LNG is a fossil fuel, it is currently considered to be the best option as it would meet all the requirements of 2020.
 
However, the company, which has eleven vessels on order scheduled to be using LNG, does not plan to retrofit existing ships to run on LNG. Strang said that, although this would be possible on the engine side, it would be difficult to find the space to put an LNG tank on board a ship.
 
“Taking tank space means converting existing space. We still need some of the conventional liquid fuels, we need the water ballast space, we need the fresh water space, so it means that you are eating into revenue generation space.”  It is also a physical challenge of fitting a new tank space in a cruise ship, Strang continued.  “If you lengthen the ship, you can do it. There’s lots of things you can do, but what makes business sense at the end of the day is another thing.”
 
Speaking about the option of installing exhaust gas cleaning systems on board, Strang said that ship owners that opt for scrubbers could soon “be looking for a fuel which might not be as widely available as it is today.”  He explained that Carnival Corp, which already fitted 62 percent of its existing fleet with exhaust gas cleaning systems, lifts 3.3-3.2 million tons of fuel in about 150 different ports today.  “We have to make sure that the fuel we need is going to be available in most locations. But that is something our industry is really good at – being prepared.”
 
“Compliance is clearly going to be an issue. We want to make sure that the right fuels are available in the right places.”
 
“Today you have a choice, you have to make your decision. Most of us from the cruise segment have chosen LNG for the moment. It is not going to be the silver bullet for everything else, but of course, we are working on alternative technologies.”
 
“The simple answer is – you have to plan, you have to prepare, and you have to make sure that you are ready and the locations you visit are ready,” Strang concluded.
  • World Maritime News
 
Mixed results from Aker BP’s North Sea wells
 
Norwegian oil company Aker BP has drilled four wells in the North Sea off Norway. As a result, two wells are dry and the other two have moderate to good reservoir quality.
 
Aker BP, the operator of production license 028 B, has concluded the drilling of appraisal wells 25/10-16 S, A and C on the Hanz field, as well as wildcat well 25/10-16 B drilled in production license 915 just southeast of the Hanz field, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) said on Friday.
 
The wells were drilled about 14 kilometers north of the Ivar Aasen field in the central part of the North Sea and 180 kilometers northwest of Stavanger. The Hanz field was proven in Upper Jurassic reservoir rocks (Intra-Draupne formation sandstones) in 1997. Prior to the drilling of wells 25/10-16 S, A and B, the operator’s resource estimate for the discovery was between 1.9 and 3.0 million Sm3 of recoverable oil and between 0.3 and 0.4 billion Sm3 of recoverable gas.
 
According to the NPD, the objective of the wells on the Hanz field was to delineate the field, investigate potential additional resources in underlying Middle Jurassic reservoir rocks (the Hugin formation), reduce the uncertainty as regards the extent of the reservoir sandstones and thus lower uncertainty for the field’s estimated resources.
 
The primary exploration target for wildcat well 25/10-16 B was to prove petroleum in Upper Jurassic sandstones (the Intra- Draupne formation), while the secondary exploration target was to investigate the underlying Hugin formation. The prospect was partially situated in production license 915, just to the southeast of production license 028 B.
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
Four in 10 wind turbine appeals won
 
Four in 10 wind turbine appeals decided by the Scottish government successfully overturned the original decision, the BBC has found.  Official figures show 250 wind turbine applications, which were refused by Scottish councils, have been decided by the Scottish government since 2002.  In 104 cases (41.6%) the original decision was reversed.
 
Campaign groups said government planners were overruling democratic decisions taken by councils.  The Scottish government said the planning system was focused on early engagement with communities.  The figures from the Scottish government's Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) detail the number of appeals decided over the past 16 years.  They include a small number of cases - nine in total - relating to conditions attached to a development but the rest are for wind farms of two turbines or more.
 
Highland (13), Dumfries and Galloway (13) and Aberdeenshire (11) had the most wind farm decisions overturned.
Scottish Borders (9) and Perth and Kinross (8) also had a significant number of successful appeals.
South Ayrshire had more appeals allowed (6) than refused (4), as did West Lothian.
  • BBC News
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Headlines Thursday 20th September 2018
 
Semco readies Maersk jack-up for Buzzard drilling campaign
 
Maersk Drilling’s jack-up Maersk Innovator has completed its yard stay at Invergordon, Scotland during which main contractor Semco Maritime has extended the cantilever ahead of rig’s Buzzard field drilling campaign in the UK North Sea.
 
Semco Maritime performed the extension of the cantilever alongside various other maintenance and updating projects and some 250 people have been engaged during the intensive six-week stay, the company said on Thursday.
 
According to Semco, the rig is now heading for operation at the Buzzard field in the Central North Sea.  Semco Maritime’s main work scope was to extend the cantilever five meters in order to allow the rig a larger drilling envelope. The job involved fabricating and installing beams with flanges up to 100 mm and very high tensile 690 Z grade material requiring special weld procedures, Neil Robertson, Operations Manager at Semco Maritime, Invergordon, explained.
 
The company said that the six-week anchoring at Invergordon’s deep water quay Queens Dock enabled access to the rig from three sides allowing concurrent installation of Helideck C & H lights, replacement of 16” sea water pipe work, and various other maintenance and updating projects all over the rig from spud cans to the crown.
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
Buoyant gas industry may be blindsided by renewables
 
The global gas industry, boosted by a host of new projects to feed booming demand, is in better shape than at any point in the last five years but analysts warn it is getting ahead of itself, pointing to the rise of renewable energy as a threat.
 
Commodity merchant Vitol expects trade in liquefied natural gas (LNG) to double to 600 million tonnes annually (mtpa) in the coming years, reflecting forecasts by Russian LNG producer Novatek (NVTK.MM) which sees 700 mtpa by 2030.  To meet that demand, companies are working on final investment decisions for a new wave of mega projects.  “The industry is confident,” said Christian Brown, president for the oil and gas sector at Canadian-listed SNC Lavalin (SNC.TO), an industrial project management company.
 
“So far this year, we have bid almost twice as much as last year (for available gas projects),” he said. SNC Lavalin made about 36 percent of its $9.3 billion revenues from the oil and gas sector last year.  Brown said the industry was in its best shape since 2014, when a slump in oil LCOc1 and gas LNG-AS prices led to aggressive cost cutting and scrapping of projects. He said most growth was coming from U.S. unconventional oil and gas.  “They are fast and furious. Decisions are made quickly,” he told Reuters during the Gastech trade show in Barcelona.
  • Reuters
 
Brexit: May urges EU leaders to consider 'serious' UK plans
 
Theresa May has urged EU leaders to focus their minds on getting a Brexit deal in the next two months, saying negotiations will not be extended.  At a dinner in Salzburg, she told her 27 counterparts her priorities were maintaining economic ties and ensuring promises to Northern Ireland were kept.  There are suggestions the UK will put forward new ideas for regulatory checks to address the current Irish deadlock.
 
On Thursday the other EU leaders will discuss Brexit without Mrs May present.  Arriving for the second day of the gathering Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, the host, said that "away from the hard media statements, I think both sides are aware that they will only reach a solution if they move towards each other".
 
Negotiations over the terms of the UK's exit and future relations are at a critical stage, with about six months to go before the UK is scheduled to leave on 29 March 2019.  In her speech, Mrs May stressed her "serious" proposals for future co-operation between the UK and EU would ensure a "shared close relationship".
The informal gathering of EU leaders in the Austrian city was the first opportunity the prime minister has had to make the case for her Chequers blueprint to other leaders collectively.  Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, two EU leaders said they hoped the UK would hold another referendum on Brexit, in the hope of reversing the 2016 result.
 
Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said most of his counterparts would like the "almost impossible" to happen.  Andrej Babis, the Czech Republic's prime minister, added he hoped the British people might change their minds.  Campaign group People's Vote is also calling for another referendum, arguing there should be a choice for voters between leaving with, or without, a deal or staying on current terms.
  • BBC News
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Headlines Wednesday 19th September 2018
 
‘Major’ oil firm hires ‘Safe Caledonia’ flotel
 
Flotel operator Prosafe has won a contract for its Safe Caledonia accommodation rig to support ‘a major oil and gas operator’ in the UK part of the North Sea.  The firm duration of the contract starting mid-April 2019 is four months with up to two months of options. The contract value, minus extension options, is approximately $12 million.
 
Jesper Kragh Andresen, CEO of Prosafe says: “Prosafe is extremely pleased to secure this contract after a competitive bidding process. We are very confident that Prosafe will once again demonstrate industry-leading operations in a safe and efficient manner using the Safe Caledonia, proven as one of the best performing accommodation vessels in the world.”
 
The Safe Caledonia was built in 1982 at the GVA/Kockums yard in Sweden to a Pacesetter design and completed a 20-year life extension in 2012/13.  It has a maximum of 454 beds, 9 offices, and 67 client workstations.
 
The vessel was refurbished in 2012/13, extending the structural life time of the Safe Caledonia with 20 years.  The accommodation unit is currently on a contract with BP, supporting operations at the Clair Ridge Phase 2 development in the UK North Sea. The UK oil major in August extended the flotel contract until the end of November 2018.
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
Bernhard Schulte setting up O&G, offshore energy renewables arm
 
Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) is preparing for future opportunities and has set up a new business unit to focus on the oil and gas (O&G) and offshore energy renewables markets.
 
The dedicated expert team, comprising of technical and marine superintendents, crew managers and senior management members, will support owners and operators globally by providing integrated third-party ship management services specifically to the offshore market.  The services include technical management, crew management, newbuilding supervision, fleet maintenance and repair, lay-up solutions, travel services and software application solutions, all tailored specifically for this demanding industry.
 
BSM is currently active in the offshore segment, providing services to floating production units, offshore and wind energy units as well as flotels.  BSM Offshore md Matthias Mueller said: “This segment is focused on special operations and driven by different rules, so we decided to establish a dedicated expert team to specifically attend to the needs of the offshore market.”  He added: “As a leader in the shipmanagement industry, we know our clients need extra attention in project focused businesses. This is exactly where we are confident we can contribute our expertise.”
 
Combining the shipowners’ perspective with optimised processes, and the purchasing power we have as one of the world’s leading shipmanagers as well as an extensive array of complementary maritime services, BSM Offshore will be able to contribute to the safe, reliable and economic operations of our customers’ offshore business.
  • Seatrade - Maritime
 
Rule out 'no deal' Brexit, UK car industry warns in Brussels
 
London and Brussels should rule out a ‘no deal’ Brexit, which could add at least 5.7 billion euros (£5.1 billion) in car tariffs and snarl up production, Britain’s automotive industry body warned on Wednesday.  Carmakers are worried that port and motorway hold-ups could slow the movement of components and finished models, crippling output and adding costs, if Britain fails to reach agreement with the European Union over its departure from the bloc on March 29.
 
A delegation from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) is due to meet representatives from EU countries in Brussels on Wednesday to emphasise the importance of securing a deal for the sector.
 
“Our industry is deeply integrated across both sides of the Channel, so we look to negotiators to recognise the needs of the whole European automotive industry and act swiftly to avoid disruption and damage,” SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said in a statement.  Hawes emphasised how integrated the British auto industry is with the rest of Europe, with 1,100 trucks per day bringing in parts for UK vehicle factories.  “We cannot afford a ‘no deal’ Brexit. That is the worst of the imaginable options for this industry,” he told a briefing in Brussels late on Tuesday.  
 
Tariffs of 10 percent under World Trade Organisation rules would add an average of 3,000 euros to the cost of British-built cars sold in the EU if fully passed on to buyers and 1,700 euros to the cost of a European car imported into Britain, the SMMT said.  The difference is due to the higher average value of British-built vehicles.
Hawes also cautioned that the auto sector would not work if there were delays at the border, adding that this would require carmakers to have unfeasibly large warehouses to store components.    
 
Politicians hope to strike a Brexit deal by the end of the year to allow a 21-month transition period until the end of 2020, with little changing until new terms are implemented.  Hawes also said that a free-trade deal alone would not result in frictionless trade, with one possibility being non-tariff barriers. Such requirements might mean exported British cars need to have certain levels of local content.  Carmakers, however, are already taking steps to prepare for any eventuality.
BMW this week said it would move the annual maintenance shutdown period for its British Mini plant to just after Britain is due to leave the EU in case there is no Brexit deal.
  • Reuters
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Headlines Tuesday 18th September 2018
 
World’s Biggest Ship Propeller Heads for Korea to Join MSC’s 23,000 TEU Giant
 
World’s largest ship propeller, weighing 110 tonnes, was loaded onto a containership in the Port of Hamburg on Sunday, September 16.
 
The propeller, intended for the first of eleven of MSC’s 23,000 TEU newbuild containerships, is headed for the port of Busan in South Korea on board the 5,ooo-TEU Hyundai Supreme.  The propeller was built by Mecklenburger Metallguss GmbH (MMG) and transported from the production facility in Waren an der Müritz in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania to Hamburg, Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) said.
 
On Sunday morning, the HHLA IV floating crane, which can lift up to 200 tonnes, moved the giant propeller onto its transport platform and brought it to the berth of the Hyundai Supreme at the port of Waltershof.
 
The jib of the floating crane raised the propeller from the transport platform and lifted it over the towering side of the 300-metre-long container vessel.
 
“It was a delicate operation that involved lowering the heavy load centimetre by centimetre into the hold of the ship,” HHLA said.  From there, it will be transported on to the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering shipyard, where the 23,000 TEU newbuilds, set to become the biggest containerships in the world, are taking shape.
 
Under the deal announced in September 2017, Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) will construct six of the vessels while DSME will construct the remaining five.  The eleven mega-ships will be powered by MAN’s G95ME-C9.5 main engines.  The handover of the boxships is expected to start in 2019 from SHI, with the final vessel from the series due for delivery by March 15, 2020 from DSME.
  • World Maritime News
 
Aker Solutions to maintain 9 Petrobras offshore platforms
 
Norway’s Aker Solutions has won a contract for maintenance and modification services provision for nine Petrobras offshore platform in Brazil. The platforms are located at Petrobras’ oil and gas fields in the Campos Basin.
 
The Campos Basin extends approximately 100,000 square kilometers. The three-year contract is valued at more than BRL 250 million ($60 million) and includes an option for a two-year extension.
 
Aker Solutions will be renovating, repairing and upgrading offshore production units for Petrobras’ Campos Basin Operational Unit (UO-BC).
 
“We are pleased to expand our business in Brazil, a key international market,” said Luis Araujo, chief executive officer of Aker Solutions. “This is the second big contract we sign after entering the maintenance and modification market in Brazil, reinforcing the importance of having a complete portfolio and being able to provide an integrated solution from concept to decommissioning.”
 
The company will execute the work from its C.S.E. Mecânica e Instrumentação Ltda (C.S.E.) services base in Macaé, Rio de Janeiro.  Aker Solutions acquired a majority stake in C.S.E. in December 2016. Earlier this year Petrobras named C.S.E. the best supplier for onshore and offshore maintenance and HSSE, highlighting its focus on customers and excellence. The company competed against 5,000 suppliers and won 4 of 21 awards.
 
The work starts in October 2018, with final deliveries scheduled for 2021.  The contract will be booked in the third quarter of 2018.
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
UK and France end scallop wars with peace deal
 
Larger British boats will not be allowed to fish in the Baie de Seine until the end of October, but they will get a larger quota.
 
The UK and France have reached a peace deal over the scallop wars between the two countries' fishing fleets.  British vessels under 15 metres will continue to be able to take scallops from the waters of the Baie de Seine but larger boats will stop fishing there from midnight on Monday until the end of 30 October.  The more than a decade-long disagreement came to a head in the early hours of 28 August as French fishermen allegedly threw smoke bombs, rocks and other projectiles at English and Scottish boats in the scallop-rich bay off the Normandy coast.
 
French fishermen accused the British of depleting stocks and wanted them to face the same rules which mean all French boats are banned from fishing for the molluscs during the summer to conserve stocks.  Nearly three weeks later, the neighbouring countries have come to an agreement, despite UK industry leaders walking away from talks with their continental counterparts last Thursday.
 
British fisheries minister George Eustice said: "Today UK and French scallop industry representatives reached an agreement on scallop fishing in the Bay de Seine.
 
"This means our over-15m fleet will get the days at sea it wanted, while allowing the under-15m fleet to continue fishing in the area.
 
"I commend the UK fishing industry for its patience throughout negotiations and welcome this pragmatic outcome."
 
The French fishermen wanted all British boats to be banned for the summer period, but they failed to get the smaller boats banned.
 
"We were forced to drop the 15-metres requirement," French industry spokesman Pascal Coquet said.
 
As a compromise for the bigger British boats agreeing to not fish for scallops until the end of October, the French agreed to give British fishermen an additional fishing quota.  Jim Portus, chief executive of Britain's South Western Fish Producers Organisation, said it was "a compromise".
"It's not the best deal, but it's better than no deal," he said.
  • Sky News
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Headlines Monday 17th September 2018
 
North of Scotland can be offshore renewables hub, Global’s MacGregor says
 
Global Energy Group chairman Roy MacGregor has called for government and public sector backing to see the north designated as a specialist hub for development of the offshore renewables sector.
 
With a small number of hubs expected to be chosen around the UK, Mr MacGregor, whose company owns Nigg Energy Park on the Cromarty Firth, is concerned the area could miss out to other parts of Scotland.
 
He said that with facilities at Buckie, Invergordon, Fraserburgh and Wick as well as his own sites already actively involved in the industry and others at Arnish and Kishorn seeking work, the area is better prepared than other parts of the country.
 
He continued: “If we look Scotland-wide at what is going on in renewables we can see real progress and practically all the work is happening in the northern Highlands. I do feel this area should be championed as Scotland’s specialist area and hub for renewables.
 
“My concern is that the public sector bodies need to get behind this cluster concept or the opportunity could well be lost. Nigg Energy Park is now reaching capacity and we do see the need for further investment and expansion of our site to meet current and future demands. However, there is genuine concern we could be overlooked.”
 
Mr MacGregor added: “I have real concerns this opportunity for Scotland might be lost as the effort is being wrongly directed into other areas of Scotland where they have no facilities, are not ready, or have no track record of doing business in this specialised area. We do have this expertise and facilities in the north and now have the track record to prove it. The Scottish Government must insist their various agencies get behind us to ensure this opportunity is not lost.”
  • Energy Voice
 
Hurricane Florence Aftermath: NC Ports Closed Until Wednesday
 
North Carolina ports of Wilmington and Morehead City will remain closed through Wednesday, September 19, as the authorities work to determine the condition of its facilities in the Hurricane Florence aftermath.
 
“Initial assessments indicate there is damage at both locations to warehouse and other structures, as well as a significant number of downed empty containers to be cleared. A detailed assessment of all cranes, which appear undamaged, will be conducted,” the port authority said.
 
The Port of Corpus Christi has returned to normal operations, but remains in Hurricane Condition 5 – seasonal alert, which is automatically activated each year at the beginning of hurricane season.
 
“This developing weather situation serves as an important reminder that the 2018 hurricane season is not over, and so, we remain vigilant and continuously are monitoring potential storm systems. We encourage our partners and community members to remain alert and to stay educated on preparedness recommendations,” said Sean Strawbridge, Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Corpus Christi.
 
As of September 15, the Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP) reopened the Port of Georgetown, South Carolina, without restrictions.
 
Due to potential effects from Hurricane Florence throughout the Georgetown area, mariners are urged to transit with caution considering the possibility of aids to navigation discrepancies or other hazards to navigation.
 
The Port of Georgetown has been closed since September 13 prior to Hurricane Florence impacting South Carolina.
 
“The Coast Guard in South Carolina is committed to a swift recovery from the storm with search and rescue operations and safety of life as our ongoing priority,” said Capt. John Reed, Sector Charleston commander.
 
“Our next priority is to resume the flow of maritime commerce stability through the ports of South Carolina.”
 
As of Sunday afternoon Florence was moving north-northwest across western portions of North Carolina and southern Virginia, with maximum sustained winds of 35 MPH. A turn toward the north and northeast is forecast on Monday.  The storm is reported to have claimed 17 lives amid extreme flooding and damages to infrastructure and cities across North Carolina.
  • World Maritime News
 
BREXIT deal HAS been reached - and will be unveiled at special summit in NOVEMBER
 
A BREXIT deal WILL be unveiled in November after Britain and the European Union reached an agreement following a year of intense differences and negotiations, according to reports today.
 
Senior Government officials and diplomats in Brussels, the UK, and other European Union capitals have said the deal will be presented at a yet-to-be arranged summit in the Belgian capital before Christmas.
 
According to respected political website Politico differences still remain between the two sides, particularly on how to solve the Irish border issue, but the diplomats claimed that if a deal is clinched, it will be quickly approved by EU27 leaders.  It would be seen as a pivotal moment for under-fire Prime Minister Theresa May, with the step up in momentum helping her force the deal through Parliament before opponents can challenge it in any great detail.  Britain and the EU are now working closely to get the deal over the line, intent on avoiding any issues that critics could potentially pick apart and delay the process further.
 
Officials claim the withdrawal deal is close to completion, with the final push focusing on the “political declaration”, the document outlining the framework of the relationship that will accompany the withdrawal treaty.  Politico said that according to the EU 27 officials and diplomats working on Brexit, the final compromise will reflect some aspects of Mrs May’s much-criticised Chequers proposals and will remain specifically vague to reduce the potential of more challenges.
 
One EU diplomat said: “The more generic it will be, the easier it will be for May to keep together the different souls of the Tories.”
 
According to a senior UK official, one proposal being put forward to avoid any debate over this vagueness is to make the final document a combination of “high-level aspiration” in certain areas and “incredibly detailed agreement” in others.
 
Another EU official said that during a meeting on August 22 with the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier, Secretary Dominic Raab called for a legal guarantee on the future framework to be implemented into the Withdrawal Agreement, both on the process and the outcomes of it.  But the official said this was “not possible” while a second idea to be put into the political declaration could be that of “review clauses”, which would enable London and Brussels to agree potential problems with the agreement can be settled at a later date.
 
A senior official told Politico these clauses should not give the impression of “perpetual divorce” but could help calm any fears from Brussels that Britain could emerge with “competitive advantages”.
 
Both sides have now agreed on the need for a future “political joint committee", which would be staffed with officials from both sides and sit under a joint ministerial committee that would meet regularly to help solve discrepancies.  Despite the positive signs that a deal could be agreed following one-last marathon meeting in November, there are still a number of hurdles to overcome.
  • Express
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Headlines Friday 14th September 2018
 
DP World Will Continue Defending Its Rights in DCT
 
Dubai-based terminal operator DP World affirmed its plans to pursue all legal means to defend its rights as shareholder and concessionaire in Doraleh Container Terminal.
 
The company unveiled its intentions only days after the Republic of Djibouti decided to nationalize all the shares and corporate rights held by Port de Djibouti SA (PDSA) in the Doraleh terminal.  DP World referred to Djibouti’s move as a “blatant disregard for the rule of law and respect for commercial contracts,” adding that the transfer appears to have been made in an attempt to flout an injunction of the English High Court which restrains PDSA from using its shareholding to take control of DCT.
 
On September 9, the President of Djibouti enacted a decree which transferred the shareholding of PDSA in Doraleh Container Terminal to the Government of Djibouti. PDSA is 23.5% owned by China Merchants Port Holdings Company of Hong Kong.
 
“Investors across the world must think twice about investing in Djibouti and reassess any agreements they may have with a government that has no respect for legal agreements and changes them at will without agreement or consent,” a DP World spokesperson said.
 
On August 31, the High Court of England & Wales issued an injunction against PDSA, as shareholder in DCT, ordering that it should not treat the joint venture agreement with DP World as terminated.
 
The 2006 Concession Agreement, which is governed by English law, provides that disputes relating to the agreement are to be resolved through binding arbitration in the London Court of International Arbitration. DP World said that such arbitration proceedings are ongoing, adding that to date the Government has not made any offer to compensate DP World.
  • World Maritime News
 
Stapem Offshore preparing new DSV for November sea trials
 
Stapem Offshore’s new catamaran dive support vessel (DSV) will undergo sea trials following the finalization process.  Stapem said on Thursday that the new vessel, named the Stapem Narval, would undergo sea trials in November.  The Stapem Narval is currently under finalization process at Legacy Marine’s yard in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
 
During this testing phase, the vessel’s performance and general seaworthiness will be measured.  The company added that technical representatives from the builder, certification officials, and representatives of Stapem Offshore would be present to conduct and follow these tests.  Successful sea trials will subsequently lead to certification and commissioning with an expected delivery date of December 2018 in Angola.
 
Stapem Narval is the sister vessel of the Stapem Beluga DSV, delivered in January. Both vessels share the identical hull and superstructure layout, similar size, and roughly comparable features and equipment. According to the company, the vessels are suited for demanding offshore tasks that require a high degree of maneuverability and accuracy.
 
Both vessels were designed by Incat Crowther. Incat won a contract from Legacy Marine for the design of the two DSVs back in April 2017.  The main cabins in the DSVs have seating for fourteen persons and also an SL3 diving operations panel for monitoring dive operations. Achieving speeds in excess of 20 knots, the vessel is powered by two MAN D2876LE402 main engines, each coupled to a Hamilton HJ403 waterjet through ZF 360 gearboxes.
 
It is worth noting that the Stapem Beluga already had its inaugural mission when Total Exploration & Production Angola requested an inspection of the buoys and moorings used by surfers in Luanda Bay, in front of the Sonils dock.
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
MPs say RBS boss 'withheld information' about alleged criminality
 
The chief executive of RBS has been accused by MPs of withholding information about an investigation into criminal activity within the bank.  Ross McEwan had told the Treasury Committee in January that there was not any criminality inside the bank.  But in June, the Times reported that Police Scotland was investigating allegations about a former employee, which MPs then asked him to clarify.  Mr McEwan said he had replied to the Committee's questions in "good faith".  He had been giving evidence about the way the bank's Global Restructuring Group (GRG) had treated small business companies (SMEs).
 
The session related to a leaked regulatory report that found an "intentional, co-ordinated strategy" to put RBS's interests ahead of customers.  He had been asked: "Do you think that there has been any criminal activity within the bank by your staff?"
 
Mr McEwan had replied: "Not that we have seen or had reported, and certainly none that the police or the Serious Fraud Office are looking at, to our knowledge."
It was then reported in June that Police Scotland was investigating allegations that had been made in relation to a former employee of the restructuring division.
Nicky Morgan, who chairs the committee, sought an explanation and after receiving a written explanation from Mr McEwan said he had "withheld information of relevance and interest".
 
In his letter to Ms Morgan, Mr McEwan had said the allegations being investigated by Police Scotland did not relate to the period 2008 to 2013, which has been the subject of scrutiny by the Financial Conduct Authority.  But Ms Morgan said: "When asked in January if he was aware of any criminal activity at GRG, Mr McEwan withheld information of relevance and interest to the Committee.
 
"His letter to me implies that this was not inadvertent, but because he considered that the criminal allegations and police investigation in question were not related to the subject matter of the committee's session."
  • BBC News
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Headlines Thursday 13th September 2018
 
Maersk Tankers’ New Ships to Save Fuel with Wärtsilä
 
Finnish technology group Wärtsilä is to supply a newly updated propulsion control system for Maersk Tankers’ six 110,000 dwt LR2 newbuildings.  The order with Wärtsilä was booked in the first quarter of 2018 and includes an advanced alarm and control system.
 
The Wärtsilä Nacos Platinum automation package is designed to optimise main engine propulsion efficiency to deliver fuel savings and lower operational costs. The energy saving features include power management, and logic for cargo overview and remote control.
 
Wärtsilä is scheduled to deliver the equipment to the yard in line with the newbuilding programme at the Dalian Shipbuilding yard in China. The plan is to deliver the vessels over a period of two years with the first vessels entering the fleet in 2020.
  • World Maritime News
 
Fresh Acas talks in Unite and Total offshore dispute
 
Fresh talks in a long-running dispute between the oil company Total and workers on three of its platforms are expected to take place later.  Workers on the Elgin, Alwyn and Dunbar platforms with the Unite union have taken part in several strikes.  The concerns include a move to a three-weeks-on and three-weeks-off rota.
 
A revised deal was rejected earlier this week, following talks with the independent arbitration service Acas, and more talks are due on Thursday.  Further 12-hour stoppages are planned, including one scheduled for Monday.  The fresh negotiations will again involve Acas.
  • BBC News
 
World is sleepwalking toward another financial crisis, former UK PM Brown warns
 
Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown warned that the world is on the verge of sleepwalking into another financial crisis because governments have failed to tackle the causes of the last major financial crash a decade ago.
 
Britain’s leader when the collapse of the U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers triggered the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression said the world is leaderless and was now entering a period of vulnerability.
 
“We are in danger of sleepwalking into a future crisis,” Brown told The Guardian. “There is going to have to be a severe awakening to the escalation of risks, but we are in a leaderless world.”
 
Brown said the global economy had failed to introduce an early warning system and a system for monitoring financial flows so that it was possible to tell where money had been lent and on what terms.
 
“We have dealt with the small things but not the big things,” Brown, who was British prime minister from 2007 to 2010, said.  Brown said action against financial wrongdoing had not been tough enough and many banks would expect to be bailed out again in the event of a future crisis.
 
“The penalties for wrong-doing have not been increased sufficiently,” he said. “The fear that bankers will be imprisoned for bad behavior is not there. There has not been a strong enough message sent out that government won’t rescue institutions that haven’t put their houses in order.”
  • Reuters

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Headlines Wednesday 12th September 2018
 
Dream Cruises Family Expands with Explorer Dream
 
Genting Cruise Lines announced the latest addition to the Dream Cruises family with a 75,338 gross ton, 1,870 passenger cruise ship Explorer Dream, that will join the fleet in spring 2019.  Formerly the SuperStar Virgo of sister brand Star Cruises, Explorer Dream will undergo a USD 30 million transformation in March 2019 and sail as the company’s pathfinder marking its first step to become Asia’s Global Cruise Line.
 
Explorer Dream will strengthen the Dream Cruises’ brand in North China with homeports in Shanghai and Tianjin during spring/summer 2019 with a selection of voyages of various durations from Shanghai or Tianjin to Japan, Russia, Hong Kong and the Philippines.
 
“Dream Cruises will be extending its brand recognition to 300 million Chinese in Shanghai and Tianjin/Beijing next summer as well as offering cruises in Australia and New Zealand to its Asian-sourced passengers during winter 2019 – the first time Dream Cruises will be sailing outside Asia,” said Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Executive Chairman of Genting Hong Kong.  Taking the first step to evolve Dream Cruises into Asia’s Global Cruise Line by sailing outside Asian waters, in autumn/winter of 2019, Explorer Dream will homeport in Sydney and Auckland where she will embark on 21 seven-night weekly itineraries.
 
“We will be accelerating this vision to develop Dream Cruises into Asia’s Global Cruise Line by utilizing one of Asia’s favourite ships, SuperStar Virgo, and converting her into a brand new sibling alongside Genting Dream and World Dream,” added Tan Sri Lim.
  • World Maritime News
 
North Sea oil and gas drilling reaches record low as offshore wind power thrives
 
The drilling of new oil and gas wells in the North Sea has plummeted to record lows, in sharp contrast with recent high-profile achievements in offshore wind.
Total exploration this year is expected to be the lowest since early exploitation in 1965, revealed industry body Oil & Gas UK (O&G UK) in its annual economic report today. Only four exploration wells were ‘spudded’, or started, in the first eight months of the year.
 
A few miles from the report’s launch in Aberdeen, however, is a giant symbol of another industry’s progress. The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre officially opened last Friday (7 September), featuring two 8.8MW MHI Vestas turbines, the most powerful commercially installed turbines in the world. The day before, the world’s biggest operational offshore windfarm opened off the coast of Cumbria with enough capacity to power nearly 600,000 homes. 
 
The UK is the “world leader” in offshore wind, said trade body Renewable UK. There are 37 offshore windfarms, mostly in the North Sea. In contrast to the fossil-fuel sector’s faltering ambition, new wind projects that are under construction, consented or in planning will more than double national capacity from 7.9GW to 19.4GW.
 
“The offshore wind sector’s growing supply chain includes traditional manufacturing firms and oil and gas companies and their skilled staff, offering services and expertise which grew up around the previous North Sea energy revolution to this new one, in fields such as cabling and providing vessels,” said Renewable UK spokesman Luke Clark to Professional Engineering.
 
“Former North Sea oil and gas workers are benefiting from this by making the transition into offshore wind, where their transferable skills working in a marine environment are highly valued.”
 
The oil and gas sector “is at a crossroads”, said O&G UK chief executive Deirdre Michie. “The industry is emerging from one of the most testing downturns in its history. However, the steps that have been taken by industry, government and the regulator have delivered tangible results.”  These include halved operating costs thanks to efficiency improvements driven by new technology. Despite this year’s record low exploration, production from existing wells is on track to be 20% higher than in 2014 – when oil prices plummeted – and more major new projects have been sanctioned so far this year than in the previous two years combined.
Despite a partial industry recovery, the low drilling levels and a “supply chain squeeze” could “threaten industry’s ability to effectively service an increase in activity and maximise economic recovery,” said Michie.
 
“Essential for security of energy supply, supporting hundreds of thousands of skilled jobs and contributing billions to the economy, this is a vital industry,” said Michie. “As our economic report shows, with the right stewardship across the industry, it will continue to play a leading role for many decades to come.”
 
The renewables sector is also highly ambitious, however. “The UK’s offshore wind industry is aiming to reach at least 30GW by 2030 – enough to supply a third of the country’s electricity needs,” said Clark from Renewable UK.
  • Institution of Mechanical Engineers
 
Ineos to invest £60m in new furnace at Grangemouth
 
An additional furnace will increase production at the Grangemouth site.  Energy giant Ineos is to invest £60m to expand its petrochemical complex at Grangemouth.
 
An additional furnace will be built on its ethylene plant at the 1,700-acre site.  The company said the investment showed its commitment to UK manufacturing at a time when it is in decline across many industrial regions around the country.
 
The addition of a 10th furnace will improve the efficiency of the plant and increase its production capacity.  Ineos announced last summer it would boost the amount of ethylene it can produce at Grangemouth and in Norway.  It follows the opening of a new supply of fracked shale gas that is now shipped to Europe from the US.
  • BBC News
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Headlines Tuesday 11th September 2018
 
Brexit worker issues 'could shut offshore platforms'
 
Oil and gas platforms could have to be shut down if a deal on Brexit leads to difficulties accessing skilled workers, according to an industry report.  The warning comes in Oil and Gas UK's latest economic report.  It said delays in accessing labour markets from EU countries have the potential, in some instances, of leading to production being shut in.
 
The UK government said employers could continue recruiting from Europe up until 2020.  The report said about 5% of workers in the UK oil and gas sector come from other EU countries.  That figure rises to seven percent for the offshore workforce.  The report said it was "vital that arrangements are in place between the UK and EU to allow the continued frictionless movement of people".  One example related to emergency response vessels stationed close to platforms, which require skilled engineers to operate.
  • BBC News
 
North Sea oil and gas drilling falls to lowest level since 1965
 
Slump in exploration to find fresh deposits is cause for serious concern in industry facing threat from Brexit.  The number of new oil and gas wells being drilled in the North Sea has crashed to levels not seen since the basin was first tapped more than half a century ago.
 
The UK’s oil and gas industry warned that the record low was a cause for “serious concern” and left the sector at a crossroads.  Just four exploratory wells have been drilled in the first eight months of the year, with the most optimistic projections pointing to a total of 12 expected by the year end.
 
That would put 2018 on a par with 1965, the second year that the modern era of exploratory work got under way in the North Sea and when the Beatles were dominating the UK singles charts.
 
“Record low drilling activity, coupled with the supply chain squeeze, threaten industry’s ability to effectively service an increase in activity and maximise economic recovery,” said Deirdre Michie, chief executive of Oil & Gas UK, which published the figures.
  • The Guardian
 
Pound jumps as Michel Barnier says Brexit deal 'possible' before November
 
The comments come amid a report EU leaders are ready to hold an extraordinary Brexit summit on 13 November.  The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier believes a deal is possible before the beginning of November.  In remarks that saw a jump in the value of the pound, the European Commission official claimed a treaty could be agreed "within six or eight weeks" if both sides are "realistic".
 
It came as it was reported that EU leaders are expected to announce next week - at an informal meeting in Salzburg - that an extraordinary Brexit summit will take place in November.
 
According to The Guardian, the special gathering is likely to be held on 13 November and will allow a political declaration on the terms of the UK's future relationship with the EU.
 
However, the newspaper said a solution to the Irish border issue would need to be finalised at an already scheduled EU summit in October for a deal to be possible.  Mr Barnier offered hope of a UK withdrawal agreement within that timeframe during remarks at an economic forum in Slovenia on Monday.  
 
"I think that if we are realistic we are able to reach an agreement on the first stage of the negotiation, which is the Brexit treaty, within six or eight weeks," he said.
 
"Taking account the time necessary for the ratification process, the House of Commons on one side and the European Parliament and Council on the other side.
 
"We need, we must reach an agreement before the beginning of November. I think it's possible."
 
The pound was up a cent against the dollar at more than $1.30 on the reported comments, while sterling was also up half a cent against the euro at just over €1.12.
Chris Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA, said: "Sterling has become very sensitive to positive Brexit news over the last couple of weeks, having spiked on a couple of occasions on reports that the UK will get a bespoke deal and that Angela Merkel is willing to accept less detail on future ties.
 
"Clearly there is a feeling that a lot of Brexit pessimism and no deal risk has been priced in which is why we're in a state of such sensitivity to any reports that indicate a breakthrough will come."
 
Prime Minister Theresa May is still facing opposition to her so-called Chequers plan for Britain's future ties with the EU, with 80 Tory MPs claimed to be willing to vote against her Brexit proposals in the House of Commons.
  • Sky News
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Headlines Monday 10th September 2018
 
Norway’s largest oil pipeline reaches Johan Sverdrup field
 
Last week Norway’s largest and longest pipeline, laid by the vessel Saipem Castorone, reached the Equinor-operated Johan Sverdrup field in the North Sea.
Saipem Castorone at the Johan Sverdrup field in the North Sea. (Photo: Bo B. Randulff / Roar Lindefjeld / Equinor ASA)
Equinor informed on Monday that, late last week, the last pipe of what is now Norway’s longest and largest oil pipeline was installed right next to the riser platform at the Johan Sverdrup field. The 36-inch pipeline extends 283 km from the Mongstad oil terminal outside Bergen to the giant field in the North Sea.
 
“We have together with our supplier Saipem succeeded in laying the oil pipeline to Johan Sverdrup without any serious incidents. It has been a significant operation, involving more than 600 people at the most, who have welded together over 23,000 pipes to create what has now become Norway’s largest and longest oil pipeline,” says Geir Bjaanes, responsible for subsea, power and pipelines for the Johan Sverdrup project.
 
“The oil pipeline plays a really central role in the project. When the Johan Sverdrup field produces at peak, 660,000 barrels of oil valued at more than NOK 350 million each day, will flow daily into Mongstad,” says Bjaanes.
 
The vessel Saipem Castorone began pipelaying operations at Mongstad in late April this year. After, the pipeline was laid through the Fensfjord before the vessel set course for the Johan Sverdrup field.
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
Star Bulk to Equip Entire Fleet with Scrubbers
 
Athens-based shipping firm Star Bulk Carriers unveiled its intentions to equip its entire fleet with exhaust gas cleaning systems before the January 1, 2020 implementation date of the new IMO sulfur emission cap regulation.
 
Star Bulk expects average cost, including installation, to be below USD 2 million per vessel. The company has secured debt financing with an average margin of below 3.0% to cover up to around 70% of such cost and expects the remaining amount to be covered from operating cash flow and cash on hand, without raising equity for this purpose.
 
Additionally, the company has secured contracts with undisclosed shipyards for the installation of such systems, while in approximately 35% of the installations, riding teams are being deployed to carry out the retrofitting works onboard the vessels while at sea, reducing off hire time, as a result of those installations, by 50% to 60%.
A month ago, Star Bulk successfully completed the first scrubber installation at sea.
  • World Maritime News
 
UK growth will slow to 1.3% amid Brexit uncertainty – KPMG
 
A sharp fall in consumer spending and business investment is expected to drag Britain’s growth rate down to just 1.3% this year, dispelling hopes that the UK’s sluggish rate of expansion in the first six months will recover in the second half of the year.
 
According to the consultancy KPMG, Brexit uncertainty will take a bigger toll on the economy than many forecasters, including the Bank of England, expect following a slump in consumer spending from 1.9% last year to 1.2% in 2018 and an even bigger drop in business investment, from 3.4% in 2017 to 0.8% this year.
 
There is little comfort in the report for workers, who have suffered a fall in incomes over the last year as rising wages failed to keep pace with inflation.  The report warned that despite growing difficulties finding staff, intense pressures on profit margins and Brexit uncertainties would dictate caution.
 
“If productivity growth remains at around 1% then, as a basic rule of thumb, we would expect wages to rise by around 3% on average,” KPMG said, giving workers only a small real-terms rise over an inflation rate running at 2.3%.  The predictions coincide with figures from the retail industry showing a 1.6% fall in the number of people visiting high street shops in August compared with last year.  Retail analysts at the marketing consultancy Springboard said the decline was even sharper than the 0.8% drop recorded in July and showed that the rising cost of the weekly supermarket shop was leaving consumers with little cash left over to buy other items.  
 
KPMG said in its quarterly health check of the British economy that uncertainty and risks around Brexit were likely to put a brake on further interest rate rises by the Bank as policymakers remained cautious “during the critical months ahead”.  The Bank’s monetary policy committee (MPC), which is chaired by the governor, Mark Carney, meets this week but is not expected to consider a rate rise before November, KPMG said – and only if Brexit negotiations progress smoothly.
 
“Interest rates are likely be cut to at least 0.25% if negotiations are not successful, with additional measures to be announced by the [Bank of England] to ease any significant pressure on the banking sector,” the report said.
 
The UK economy grew by 1.7% during 2017, according to the Office for National Statistics. Growth slowed to 0.2% in the first quarter of 2018, recovering to 0.4% in the second quarter.  KPMG’s assessment of the housing market found that the average price of a home across the countrywill rise more slowly this year than last – with growth dropping from 4.5% in 2017 to 2.6% in 2018. The slowdown is expected to continue for the rest of the decade – down to 2.0% in 2019 and 1.6% in 2020.
  • The Guardian
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Headlines Friday 7th September 2018
 
Tanker Scrapping Key for Sustainable Market Recovery
 
Tanker owners are set to see an increase in freight rates in the second half of 2018, a welcome rebound from the historic lows over the recent months.  Seasonal demand should support the market in Q3 and, especially, in Q4, according to BIMCO. However, a long-term recovery is highly dependent on removal of outdated capacity from the fleet through demolition.
 
“For crude oil tankers to really enjoy solid earnings, however, patience is required, as overcapacity is currently significant. The fundamental balance could worsen in 2019 if demand growth does not pick up, as the fleet could grow by 2.5% unless extensive demolition activity continues,” BIMCO’s Chief Shipping Analyst Peter Sand said.  Unfortunately, despite high demolition prices owners have not been that eager to part from their older ships as they still believe market will turn for the better in the second half of the year.
 
During the first half of the year, 13.1 m dwt of crude oil tanker capacity has been demolished, a level equal to the total for the preceding 40 months, BIMCO’s data shows.  But, there has been a reversal in demolition trend in the second half of the year with only one VLCC  broken up in July, and little more that 1 million dwt demolished in total.
 
“BIMCO expects that there will be a cooling in demolition activity in the final six months of 2018, as the market is likely to deliver somewhat higher freight rates on the back of increased demand in the second half of the year,” Sand said, saying the expected demolition for crude oil tankers is 19 million dwt and 2.5 million dwt for oil product tankers.
 
Fleet growth year to date has been muted by the massive demolition activity. The crude oil tanker fleet was 0.2% smaller by early August than it was at the start of the year. The oil product tanker fleet has grown 1.7% in the first seven months of 2018.  “Our fleet growth forecast for the full year of 2018 is at 0.8% for the crude oil sector and 2.4% for the oil products sector,” Sand concluded.
  • World Maritime News
 
Fugro scores hat-trick with BHP
 
Dutch offshore services provider Fugro has won three contracts with BHP Petroleum for the support of exploration and production operations in Trinidad and Tobago and the Gulf of Mexico.
 
Fugro said on Thursday that the company would provide geophysical and geotechnical services from dedicated vessels to support the development of the Ruby field within Trinidad’s Block 3(a).  From its deepwater survey vessel, Fugro Searcher, Fugro will conduct 3DHR seismic surveys, seabed clearance and shallow hazards surveys, a flowline corridor survey, and a shallow geotechnical survey. The vessel recently completed the geophysical acquisition of a Carson Basin seep hunting program offshore Canada.
 
As for the geotechnical site investigations, the workscope includes drilling, laboratory analysis, and engineering reporting.  Fugro also installed its custom-designed FCV 3000 ROV equipment onboard Transocean’s ultra-deepwater drillship Deepwater Invictus. The company will provide subsea ROV support during drilling campaigns in Trinidad and Tobago, the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, and Mexico. These operations began in June this year and will continue until May 2020.  Ed Saade, Fugro’s USA president, said: “We are very pleased to have commenced operations at these significant deepwater developments in the Americas. Our specialized geophysical, geotechnical and drill support services enable Fugro to support the entire lifecycle of offshore oilfields like these.”
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
BA chief pledges to compensate customers after data breach
 
The chief executive of British Airways has promised to compensate customers who have had their data stolen in what he described as a sophisticated breach of the company’s security systems.  Álex Cruz apologised on Friday after it was revealed that about 380,000 payment cards had been compromised after a theft of data from the BA website and app over a two-week period.
 
“The first thing to say is that I am extremely sorry for what happened,” Cruz said on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme. “We will work with any customer affected and we will compensate any financial hardship suffered.”
 
Shares in the owner of BA, IAG, fell nearly 3% on Friday morning as investors weighed the impact of the hack on ticket sales.  The breach took place between 10.58pm BST on 21 August and 9.45pm on 5 September. The airline said personal and financial details of customers making bookings had been compromised.  Cruz said the attack had not been a breach of encryption but it was a “sophisticated” effort by criminals. He said he would not go into much detail about the nature of what happened because the police were investigating.
 
The data theft, one of the most serious to hit a UK company, deals another blow to BA’s reputation. The airline experienced an IT disaster last year when a power surge in its control centre near Heathrow caused a global flight interruption and left tens of thousands of passengers stranded, most notably at London airports.
Cruz said the company was operating profitably and would expand its services and customer care. “We will get through this.”  He said BA had a network of partners that monitored websites around the world. A partner alerted the airline to the cyber-attack on 5 September and an investigation was launched. “The moment that actual customer data had been compromised, that’s when we began immediate communication to our customers,” Cruz said.
 
The airline placed advertisements in newspapers on Friday apologising for the breach.  The Information Commissioner’s Office is investigating the breach and the airline could potentially be fined.
  • The Guardian
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Headlines Thursday 6th September 2018
 
Exclusive - British Navy warship sails near South China Sea islands, angering Beijing
 
Beijing expressed anger on Thursday after a British Royal Navy warship sailed close to islands claimed by China in the South China Sea late last month, saying Britain was engaged in “provocation” and that it had lodged a strong complaint.
 
The HMS Albion, a 22,000 ton amphibious warship carrying a contingent of Royal Marines, exercised its “freedom of navigation” rights as it passed near the Paracel Islands, two sources, who were familiar with the matter but who asked not to be identified, told Reuters.  The Albion was on its way to Ho Chi Minh City, where it docked on Monday following a deployment in and around Japan.
 
One of the sources said Beijing dispatched a frigate and two helicopters to challenge the British vessel, but both sides remained calm during the encounter.  The other source the Albion did not enter the territorial seas around any features in the hotly disputed region but demonstrated that Britain does not recognise excessive maritime claims around the Paracel Islands. Twelve nautical miles is an internationally recognised territorial limit.  The Paracels are occupied entirely by China but also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan.
 
China’s Foreign Ministry, in a faxed statement sent to Reuters, said the ship had entered Chinese territorial waters around the Paracel Islands on Aug. 31 without permission, and the Chinese navy had warned it to leave.
 
“The relevant actions by the British ship violated Chinese law and relevant international law, and infringed on China’s sovereignty. China strongly opposes this and has lodged stern representations with the British side to express strong dissatisfaction,” the ministry added.
 
“China strongly urges the British side to immediately stop such provocative actions, to avoid harming the broader picture of bilateral relations and regional peace and stability,” it said.
 
“China will continue to take all necessary measures to defend its sovereignty and security.”
 
The encounter comes at a delicate time in London-Beijing relations.  Britain has been courting China for a post-Brexit free trade deal, and both countries like to describe how they have a “golden era” in ties.  A spokesman for the Royal Navy said: “HMS Albion exercised her rights for freedom of navigation in full compliance with international law and norms.”
  • Reuters
 
World's largest offshore windfarm opens off Cumbrian coast
 
The world’s biggest offshore windfarm has officially opened in the Irish Sea, amid warnings that Brexit could increase costs for future projects.  Walney Extension, off the Cumbrian coast, spans an area the size of 20,000 football pitches and has a capacity of 659 megawatts, enough to power the equivalent of 590,000 homes.
 
The project is a sign of how dramatically wind technology has progressed in the past five years since the previous biggest, the London Array, was finished.  The new windfarm uses less than half the number of turbines but is more powerful.
 
Matthew Wright, the UK managing director of Danish energy firm Ørsted, the project’s developer, said: “It’s another benchmark in terms of the scale. This – bigger turbines, with fewer positions and a bit further out – is really the shape of projects going forward.”
 
The energy minister Claire Perry said the scheme would help the UK, the world’s number one in offshore wind installations, to consolidate its leadership and create thousands of high-quality jobs.
 
The supersizing of windfarms around the British coastline means Walney Extension will not hold its title for long.  ScottishPower’s East Anglia One will be bigger at 714MW when it opens in 2020. Ørsted itself has even larger schemes in the works, including Hornsea One and Two (1,200MW and 1,800MW, respectively) off the Yorkshire coast.  Wright said it was “fantastic news” that ministers had recently committed to a timetable of auctions for clean energy subsidies every two years, starting in 2019.  He said it was too early to say whether the company would submit its Hornsea Three windfarm, capable of powering 2m homes, into next year’s auction. But the executive warned that leaving the EU posed the risk of short-term disruption, and seamless borders and free-trade were important to Ørsted.
 
“A hard Brexit or a last-minute no deal is probably the thing that would cause a problem in terms of supply chains and movement of goods and people,” he said.  In the long-term, however, any form of Brexit would not change the firm’s interest in the UK and the fundamentals of the market. “We can deal with it,” he said.
 
Wright said he was unfazed by the ‘wind drought’ that the heatwave brought to much of Europe this summer. “We will see some low wind periods, some high wind outputs,” he said.
 
But the record-breaking temperatures and wildfires would likely strengthen political action on global warming, he thought. “It does tend to focus the mind a little in terms of climate and energy policy. I think it does have an effect,” he said.  Offshore windfarms provide nearly a tenth of the UK’s electricity.
  • The Guardian
 
Energy price cap to save households £75, Ofgem says
 
An energy bill price cap of £1,136 a year for "typical usage" has been proposed by the regulator, Ofgem.  It says the move will mean 11 million households on default deals will save about £75 on average, although the amount households could save will depend on their usage and supplier.  The planned cap will be confirmed in November, take effect at the end of December and stay in place until 2023.
 
Ofgem said it was a "tough" cap which would give a fairer deal to consumers.  The plan is that when the price cap is introduced at the end of the year, gas and electricity suppliers will have to cut their prices to the level of or below the cap.
 
The £1,136 per year cap is based on a typical dual fuel customer paying by direct debit and the aim is to force energy companies to scrap excess charges for people on poor value default deals.
  • BBC News
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Headlines Wednesday 5th September 2018
 
Typhoon Jebi Smashes Japanese Tanker into Airport Bridge
 
Japanese tanker Houn Maru has fallen victim of the powerful typhoon Jebi that wrecked havoc across western Japan on Tuesday, September 4, Japan’s Transport Safety Bureau informed.
 
Due to the relentless winds and high waves, the 2,591-tonne vessel broke loose from its anchorage in the Osaka Bay smashing repeatedly into the Kansai International Airport bridge that connects the facility with the mainland.  The ship’s 11 crew members were not injured in the incident, according to the coast guard, however, the ship suffered damages.
 
Prior to the incident the tanker had delivered fuel to the airport, based on the information from local media, and berthed in the vicinity of the airport.
Screenshot from Marine Traffic showing Houn Maru collision with the airport bridge  The vessel was removed from the site by a tugboat of Japan’s Coast Guard on early Wednesday morning, the Japanese Times reported.  Japan’s Transport Safety Bureau has launched an investigation into the collision.
 
The typhoon left about 5,000 people stranded at Kansai International Airport as parts of the facility were flooded.  Jebi has been described as the strongest typhoon to have hit Japan in the past 25 years, claiming 10 lives and injuring around 300 people, the Guardian writes.
  • World Maritime News
 
Shell idles Noble drillship
 
Oil major Shell has decided to idle one of Noble Corporation’s drillships operating for the company in the Gulf of Mexico.
 
Noble informed in its fleet status report on Tuesday that Shell had exercised a contractual right to idle the 2013-built drillship Noble Don Taylor for the remainder of its contract, or 183 days ending February 25, 2019.
 
The drillship has been working for Shell in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico since August 2013.  During the idle period, the rig will receive daily revenue of $420,000, Noble said.
The driller also said that Shell can redeploy the rig at any time within the remaining contract period, and the company is free to secure immediate contract opportunities.
 
Meanwhile, the 2014-built drillship Noble Tom Madden is preparing for mobilization in Guyana. The rig’s contract with ExxonMobil starts in mid-October 2018 with an end date in December. The contract also includes up to three priced options.
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
Britain would now vote 59-41 to stay in the EU - new poll shows
 
British voters would vote 59-41 to stay in the European Union if given the option after a six-point swing away from Brexit, an opinion poll showed on Wednesday, the highest recorded support for EU membership in such a survey since the 2016 referendum.
 
In the June 23, 2016 referendum, 17.4 million voters, or 51.9 percent of the votes cast, backed leaving the EU while 16.1 million voters, or 48.1 percent of votes cast, backed staying. Many opinion polls were wrong about the result.
 
Polling showed 59 percent of voters would now vote to remain in the bloc, versus 41 percent who would vote to leave. The findings were published in an academic-led report on Wednesday by research bodies NatCen and The UK in a Changing Europe.  That is the highest recorded support for ‘remain’ in a series of five such surveys since the 2016 referendum and a large reversal of the actual 52-48 percent vote to leave.  The author of the report, polling expert John Curtice, added a note of caution, saying that their panel of interviewees reported they had voted 53 percent in favour of remain in the original vote - a higher proportion than the actual vote.
 
“Nevertheless, this still means that there has apparently been a six-point swing from Leave to Remain, larger than that registered by any of our previous rounds of interviewing, and a figure that would seemingly point to a 54 percent (Remain) vote in any second referendum held now,” Curtice said in the report.
 
Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29, 2019 but has yet to secure an exit agreement to define future relations with Brussels and manage the economic impact of ending over four decades of integration with the world’s largest trading bloc.  The government has ruled out holding a second referendum.  The survey interviewed 2,048 subjects between June 7 and July 8. That means the survey does not fully reflect any change in opinion brought about by the publication of Prime Minister Theresa May’s negotiating strategy, published in early July.  That negotiating strategy has split May’s party at every level and drawn heavy criticism from both Brexit supporters and those who want to retain close ties to the EU.
 
Nevertheless, the poll shows voters thought the negotiations were going badly even before the publication of May’s so-called Chequers plan.
 
“Both Remain and Leave supporters have become markedly more critical of how both the UK government - especially - and the EU - somewhat less so - have been handling the negotiations,” Curtice said. “They have also become markedly more pessimistic about how good a deal Britain will get.”  Curtice said the results of the polling showed that the most influential factor over whether voters will support the conclusion of the negotiations is their perception of its economic effect rather than the details of any deal.
  • Reuters
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Headlines Tuesday 4th September 2018
 
Tours showcasing new offshore wind turbines to start in Aberdeen
 
Aberdeen Harbour Tours has been operating excursions out of Commercial Quay West in the city for the past 25 years and is now looking to offer close-up views of the newest addition to the North Sea horizon.  Bosses want to sail visitors around Vattenfall’s £300 million wind turbine development.
 
Tours are expected to start soon, with operator Greenhowe Marine Services taking people up close and personal to the huge structures.  Ricky Greenhowe, who operates the tour boat, said: “A lot of people have been asking about it. Instead of an hour, the cruises would be an hour-and-a-half as it is five miles from the harbour to the windfarm. There’s a lot of people interested so far. We do the harbour tours and we did one trip out there already.”  Ricky said the company is just waiting for the confirmation that the boat can go out before the tours begin. The company also takes visitors out to sea for the opportunity to spot dolphin pods up close, rather than simply viewing them from the harbour.
 
The boat has previously been used as a water taxi to transfer goods and crew to offshore installations.  He added: “There’s nobody else doing anything like that. It’s two-and-a-half miles off the coast, but this way you can see it up close. We’ve had a lot of interest from companies as well. It’ll be good – it’s something different.”
 
The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) took nine weeks to build, from the time the first foundations were installed.  The development is the largest offshore wind test and demonstration facility in Scotland.  The 11 turbines began generating power for the first time in July.  They are expected to generate the equivalent of 70% of Aberdeen’s domestic electricity demand. The wind farm has also been the subject of legal challenges by US President Donald Trump.  Mr Trump claimed it would ruin the views from Trump International, his multi-million pound Menie golf course.
 
As well as being one of the fastest developments of its kind to be installed, one of the world’s largest floating cranes, the Asian Hercules III, was used to secure the equipment to the seabed.
  • Evening Express
 
UK Oil & Gas wins court injunction preventing protests at Gatwick oil project
 
UK Oil & Gas said it had won a court injunction preventing protests at its projects sites, including near Gatwick Airport.  The Chancery Division of the High Court had granted an interim injunction against persons unknown, who may in future engage in unlawful protest activity.
 
'The judgement provides immediate High Court protection against those who use the specified unlawful actions and breach the injunction at our sites,' the company said.
 
Injunctions were granted in respect of Horse Hill and Broadford Bridge to prohibit protesters from entering and remaining on the sites, blocking the public highway, slow-walking in front of vehicles or climbing on to vehicles, among other restrictions.  Judge Male also found 'there is a good reason to believe the Horse Hill site is under a real and imminent threat' and that slow-walking 'is not a reasonable use of the highway', UK Oil & Gas said.
  • Shares Magazine
 
TSB boss Paul Pester to step down after IT fiasco
 
TSB chief Paul Pester is to step down after seven years in charge, in the wake of a major IT failure at the bank.  In April this year, customers were left without access to online banking services for several weeks when an attempt to move data to a new computer system went wrong.
 
The bank is still struggling to get its IT systems to work properly.  On Monday, it apologised to customers who faced disruption to their online and mobile banking over the weekend.
 
Following Mr Pester's departure, TSB chairman Richard Meddings will take on the role of executive chairman until a new chief executive is appointed.  Mr Meddings said: "Although there is more to do to achieve full stability for customers, the bank's IT systems and services are much improved since the IT migration. Paul and the Board have therefore agreed that this is the right time to appoint a new CEO for TSB."
  • BBC News
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Headlines Monday 3rd September 2018
 
Spirit Energy farms into Hurricane’s West of Shetland licenses
 
Spirit Energy has farmed into 50% of Hurricane Energy’s Lincoln (P.1368 South) and Warwick (P.2294) licenses, which together cover the Greater Warwick Area (GWA) located in the West of Shetland area off the UK.
 
Hurricane Energy said on Monday that the GWA farm-in opened up a significant new work program across the assets. The company retains 100% of its remaining portfolio including Lancaster.
 
Spirit Energy and Hurricane committed to a work program which envisages first oil on the GWA by 2020 and the final investment decision (FID) on the first phase of a full field development by 2021. This is intended to unlock initial reserves of half a billion barrels (gross) from current GWA resources.  Spirit Energy will ultimately take on the role of GWA license operator, following successful drilling during 2019 and 2020.
 
According to Hurricane, the GWA farm-in allows cash flow generated by the Lancaster EPS to be focussed on appraisal and further development of the Greater Lancaster Area.
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
UK risks losing more than £3bn tax on North Sea oil and gasfields
 
The UK risks losing more than £3bn in tax on North Sea oil and gasfields if it sticks with a proposed scheme aimed at wooing buyers for the basin’s assets, according to research by a former top executive at Chevron.
 
The government’s planned transferable tax history scheme, which is due to take effect in November, aims to make it easier for big oil companies to sell ageing oil and gasfields to new, smaller players that may prolong their operating lives.  By allowing the transfer of a tax history from seller to buyer, the new owner can offset tax paid across the life of the field against the eventual bill for decommissioning — which is seen by the energy industry as a major barrier to deals in the mature basin.
 
The Treasury last year estimated the transferable tax history scheme will increase the overall tax take from the North Sea by £70m by extending the operating lives of UK North Sea fields, in a region where output peaked almost 20 years ago.  But Tom Mitro, who managed Chevron’s taxation and financial planning in the North Sea in the 1990s, said the scheme could deprive the Treasury of more than £3bn in tax over the next decade.
 
The UK is predicted to secure about £1.2bn in tax from the North Sea in 2018-19, according to forecasts by the Office for Budget Responsibility, Britain’s fiscal watchdog, which have been adjusted by the Financial Times for current oil prices.  Mr Mitro argued the transferable tax history scheme would reduce the incentive for new owners of North Sea oil and gasfields to invest, and therefore the lives of the assets may not be maximised, and the full tax take lost as a result.  He also said the scheme would reduce the incentive for owners to lower operating costs, which would again hit potential tax receipts.  Mr Mitro also questioned whether the scheme would encourage acquisitions of North Sea assets if sellers baked the value of any transferable tax histories into the deal prices.
 
Tax receipts secured by the Treasury on each barrel produced from the UK North Sea are now far lower following changes to the fiscal regime two years ago.  The government also faces an estimated £24bn bill for the decommissioning of North Sea platforms and pipelines over the next 20 years — although the industry is due to pick up a bigger share of the costs.
 
Oil & Gas UK, the industry body which has worked closely with the Treasury on the transferable tax history scheme, defended it as essential for encouraging new operators to a basin that it said had struggled to attract investment for years.
 
The Treasury is currently running a consultation on the transferable tax history scheme, and Global Witness is expected to submit Mr Mitro’s research.  A Treasury spokesperson welcomed “all responses” to the consultation but it believed the scheme supported “new entrants and bringing more investment to older oilfields”.
  • Financial Times
 
Brexit could sway Scottish voters towards independence from UK - poll
 
Britain’s exit from the European Union could tip public opinion in Scotland in favour of seeking independence, an opinion poll showed on Sunday.  Scotland voted against independence in 2014, but a subsequent referendum on leaving the EU has reignited debate over its long-term future as one of Britain’s four constituent parts alongside England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
 
In 2016, a majority of Scottish voters backed staying in the EU, while Britain as a whole, voted to leave, meaning that Britain is now due to leave the EU on March 29 2019.  The poll showed that if Britain leaves the EU as planned, 47 percent of Scots would vote for independence at another referendum on Scotland’s future. That compared to 43 percent who would vote against independence and 10 percent who did not know how they would vote.
 
If Britain remained inside the EU and a Scottish independence referendum were held, the poll showed opinions were reversed, with 43 percent backing Scottish independence under those circumstances, compared to 47 who were against it.  The poll was conducted by Deltapoll, a member of the British Polling Council, which interviewed 1,022 Scottish voters. The poll was commissioned by Best for Britain, an body campaigning for Britain to keep an open mind on retaining its EU membership.  The British government says that the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence settled the question.
  • Reuters
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Headlines Friday 31st August 2018
 
Acas offshore dispute talks to get under way
 
Talks aimed at bringing to an end strike action on three North Sea platforms are due to be held.  Workers on the Elgin, Alwyn and Dunbar platforms who are members of the Unite union have taken part in several 12 and 24-hour strikes.  Their concerns include a move to a three weeks on and three weeks off rota.
 
The discussions for Friday involving the independent arbitration service Acas were announced earlier this week.  Total has said the rota plan is essential to keep its operation sustainable.
  • BBC News
 
Q-LNG, VT Halter Marine Pen LoI for 2nd LNG Bunkering ATB
 
Marine transportation company QLNG Transport has signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) with VT Halter Marine for a second LNG Articulated Tug and Barge (ATB), the shipyard told World Maritime News.
 
The second LNG bunker barge is said to be of larger capacity, reaching 8,000 cbm. However, the information is yet to be confirmed by the shipyard to WMN.
VT Halter Marine was contracted by Q-LNG in November 2017 to build an ATB, designed to carry 4,000 cubic meters of LNG. The shipbuilder cut the first steel for the vessel in March 2018.
 
The vessel is part of a long-term contract between Q-LNG Transport and Shell Trading (U.S.) Company and it will be employed in delivering LNG as a fuel source to various ports in Florida and the Caribbean.  The LNG-bunker barge will also support growing cruise line demand for LNG marine fuel.
It is designed to provide ship-to-ship transfers of LNG to vessels utilizing LNG as a fuel source, and also ship-to-shore transfers to small scale marine distribution infrastructure in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and abroad.
 
The ATB construction project will rely heavily on the collaboration between VT Halter and Wärtsilä, who will be delivering a large scope of equipment to the project, including all of the cargo handling, cargo control, and cargo containment system as well as the PMS and automation onboard.
Anticipated delivery of the vessel is in the first quarter of 2020. Once delivered, the bunker barge will be operated by Harvey Gulf International Marine.
Q-LNG was formed in 2017, and it is owned 70% by Harvey Gulf International Marine’s CEO Shane Guidry and 30% by Harvey Gulf.
  • World Maritime News
 
Business confidence among Scottish firms 'remains steady'
 
Confidence among businesses in Scotland has "remained steady" for a second month in a row, a survey suggests.  Economic optimism stood at 9% in August, an increase of seven points on the previous month, according to the Bank of Scotland's Business Barometer.  Companies reported lower confidence in their own business prospects, however, which fell six points to 25%.
 
The bank said a net balance of 6% of businesses in Scotland expect to hire more staff during the next year.  That was down seven points on July.  The Business Barometer questions 1,200 UK businesses - 90 in Scotland - each month.
 
Fraser Sime, Bank of Scotland's regional director for Scotland, said: "To see overall confidence holding firm demonstrates the continued resilience of Scottish businesses during uncertain times."
 
Across the UK, firms in the manufacturing sector remained most confident, but confidence of construction businesses fell sharply.  In Scotland, a net balance of 19% of businesses said they felt Brexit was having a negative impact on their expectations for business activity, up one point on a month ago.  Meanwhile, a review of the manufacturing engineering sector has suggested a continuing positive quarter overall for the third time in 2018.  The report, by industry support body Scottish Engineering, said order intake and exports "remain positive at less than 5% above even".
  • BBC News
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Headlines Thursday 30th August 2018
 
Star Bulk to Acquire Bulker Fleet from E.R. Capital Holding
 
Greece-based shipping firm Star Bulk Carriers (SBLK) has agreed to acquire up to seven dry bulk carriers from Germany’s Erck Rickmers (E.R.) Capital Holding.  The company has inked an en bloc definitive agreement with entities affiliated with E.R. to acquire three firm operating dry bulk vessels within 2018, and four optional operating dry bulk vessels in 2019.
 
The bulkers in question are ER Bourgogne, ER Brandenburg, ER Brighton, ER America, ER Bayonne, ER Borneo and ER Buenos Aires, all of them constructed in 2010.
“I am very pleased that Star Bulk is acquiring a high quality, modern fleet from E.R. in a structured transaction that combines attractive prices with flexibility for the company. We are excited to expand our footprint in the Capesize segment, especially in a period that the dry bulk market is tightening,” Petros Pappas, Chief Executive Officer of Star Bulk, commented.
 
Subject to agreeing a three party novation agreement with charterers and E.R., any charterparties existing at the time of the deliveries of each of the vessels shall be novated to Star Bulk, the company said.
 
As informed, the first three vessels will be acquired for an aggregate of approximately 1.34 million common shares of Star Bulk and USD 41.7 million in cash. The cash portion of the consideration for these vessels will be financed through proceeds of a new five-year term loan of USD 41 million from a major European commercial bank. Following the consummation of the first acquisition, E.R. will own approximately 1.45% of SBLK common shares.
 
In relation to the remaining four ships, the sellers have granted four call options to Star Bulk Carriers for an aggregate exercise price of USD 115.39 million or USD 28.85 million per vessel, to be exercised on April 1, 2019.
 
Concurrently, the company has granted four put options to E.R. with an aggregate exercise price of USD 105.39 million or USD 26.35 million per vessel exercisable by E.R. from April 2, 2019 to April 4, 2019, in the event that the company does not exercise the call options. The aggregate exercise price of the call and put options is payable in either, 2/3 cash and 1/3 common shares of Star Bulk, or 100% cash, at the option of the company.
 
The number of consideration shares related to the second acquisition to be issued to E.R. will be determined by the net asset value of the company.  The deliveries of all seven vessels remain also subject to customary closing conditions, including the novation of any existing charter parties of the vessels.  The company expects to take delivery of the first three vessels in Q4 2018, while the remaining deliveries, subject to the exercise of the call or put option, are expected to take place between early April and mid July 2019.
  • World Maritime News
 
i3 Energy hires Gardline for Liberator site survey
 
UK independent 3 Energy has contracted marine survey company Gardline Limited to conduct a site survey at its Liberator field located in the North Sea as it prepares for submission of its updated development plan later this year.
 
The survey will cover the two production well locations to be drilled during the Phase I development of the Liberator oil field, a survey of the planned export pipeline route, and the appraisal well location for the recently awarded Block 13/23c (Liberator West), i3 explained in a statement on Thursday.
 
In order to fund this crucial survey and near-term engineering, i3 in July raised $2.1 million through the placing of 1,542,336 new ordinary shares at 105 pence per share with existing institutional investors.
 
The work is expected to start in September, enabling the company to complete its Environmental Statement and providing the necessary engineering and environmental data for inclusion in the Liberator Field Development Plan (FDP) for which the company is seeking approval in 1Q 2019.  In preparation of the updated FDP, expected to be submitted to the UK’s Oil & Gas Authority in 4Q 2018, i3 continues to advance critical studies and engineering work.
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
Renewables forecast to halve wholesale energy prices over four years
 
A solar farm in Port Augusta. Extra capacity commissioned after the closure of large coal-powered generators in South Australia and Victoria is bringing down wholesale energy prices. Photograph: The Guardian
 
While the Morrison government has identified lowering power prices as a key early priority, a new analysis says wholesale prices will almost halve over the next four years because of the technology many Coalition conservatives oppose – renewables.  The latest renewable energy index compiled by Green Energy Markets confirms analysis by the Energy Security Board that wholesale electricity prices are on the way down because of an addition of 7,200 megawatts of extra large-scale supply from renewable energy.
 
Tristan Edis from Green Energy Markets says the political debate in Canberra is lagging behind practical developments in the national electricity market. The national energy guarantee was scuppered in part because government conservatives were concerned the mechanism didn’t do enough to reduce power prices, and because of claims that renewables were inflating power bills.
 
“What I think is extraordinary given recent political events is that we’ve actually turned the corner on wholesale electricity prices and they’re now headed downward and will continue to decline substantially over the next few years,” Edis told Guardian Australia. “This doesn’t seem to have sunken in at all in our political debate.”  The new analysis charts movements in prices in the energy market. It says prices began to rise when large amounts of supply were withdrawn from the market in South Australia with the closure of the Northern power station, and because of the closure of the Hazelwood plant in Victoria.  It says new investment in large-scale renewable energy projects during that period had stalled because of Tony Abbott’s efforts to wind back the renewable energy target. “It was only after prices began spiking upwards with the announced closure of Hazelwood that we saw significant commitments to construct new large-scale renewable energy supply.”
 
The analysis says price reductions have followed more renewable projects coming on stream. “Prices have since continued to decline in anticipation of increasing amounts of renewable energy supply reaching construction completion and contributing power to the grid.”
 
Edis says the trends in the market aren’t connected to Canberra’s debate about coal versus renewables – “this is a simple case of economics 101” – meaning that when supply is withdrawn, prices rise. “It seems we’ve dumped a prime minister based on completely false pretences.”
  • The Guardian

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Headlines Wednesday 29th August 2018

 
Odfjell Drilling takes loan for acquisition of former Stena rig
 
Offshore driller Odfjell Drilling has accepted an offer from bank lenders for a $325 million senior secured term loan facility to finance the acquisition of the former Stena-owned Deepsea Nordkapp drilling rig.
 
It is worth reminding that the UK driller Stena Drilling ordered the Stena Midmax rig from the South Korea’s Samsung Heavy in 2013. However, the driller cancelled the order in 2017 claiming Samsung was unable to complete and deliver the unit within the contractually agreed timeframe.  Odfjell Drilling announced its plans for the acquisition of the Deepsea Nordkapp, formerly known as Stena Midmax, a Moss CS60E semi-submersible drilling rig, back in April.
 
Odfjell Drilling’s plan was to finance the acquisition of the rig through a contemplated $325 million senior secured term loan facility, proceeds from the private placement, proceeds from a contemplated issue of preference shares to an affiliate of Akastor and a seller’s credit from Samsung Heavy of $48.25 million.  Planning for the acquisition of the former Stena rig, Odfjell in April completed a private placement raising gross proceeds of approximately $175 million.  At the end of April, Aker BP awarded Odfjell Drilling a two-year firm drilling contract with 1+1 year optional periods. For the purpose of the drilling contract with Aker BP, Odfjell Drilling entered into an agreement with Samsung Heavy Industries to purchase the Stena MidMax for $505 million.  The bank lenders’ offer for a $325 million senior secured term loan facility was accepted on Tuesday, August 28, 2018.
 
Odfjell said on Tuesday that the facility includes a tranche of $162.5 million guaranteed by K-SURE and a five-year commercial bank tranche of $162.5 million. The loan facility is available at delivery of Deepsea Nordkapp, expected in 1Q 2019.  The facility will be repaid by quarterly installments of $8.55 million, first time in 4Q 2019. At the current swap rate the total average interest is approx. 5.4% p.a.  The offer is subject to final documentation, and signing of the finance documents are expected by end of September 2018.  Following this, Deepsea Nordkapp is fully funded, including ready-to-drill project costs and working capital requirements, with bank debt, equity and yard seller’s credit.
  • Offshore Energy
 
Govan Graving Docks redevelopment rejected by planners
 
Council planners have refused permission for a large development at the grade A-listed Govan Graving Docks.  Planning permission was sought to build 700 flats, a museum, restaurant, shops, office space and hotel on the historic Glasgow shipbuilding and repair site.  The application by New City Vision was described as "surprisingly poor" given the scale of development proposed.  Glasgow City Council rejected plans citing a lack of parking and access arrangements as well as flooding risks.
 
The proposed development was also criticised for failing to to preserve the historic interest of the listed docks.  The dry docks were originally built for the Clyde Navigation Trust between 1869 to 1898 and were in use until 1988.
  • BBC News
 
Holland America Line’s Newest Ship Aces Sea Trials
 
Nieuw Statendam, Holland America Line’s second Pinnacle Class ship, has succesfully completed two sets of sea trials off the Italian coast.  The newbuilding returned to Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard in Italy on August 22.
 
Nieuw Statendam left Marghera on August 10 and performed the first set of sea trials over two days before going into dry dock at Fincantieri’s Trieste shipyard, where the trial’s data was reviewed and standard hull maintenance was performed.
 
The 99,500-ton ship sailed its second sea trials on August 18, making its way back to Marghera where the finishing touches will be completed.
 
“The sea trials are a highly anticipated milestone for any newbuild because it takes us one step closer to delivery, and we’re thrilled that Nieuw Statendam gave a strong performance out in open water,” Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president, commented.
 
During the sea trials, the 300-meter-long Nieuw Statendam underwent a series of performance tests on the ship’s systems, machinery and engines. The shipyard’s team of nautical officers, naval architects and builders tested the ship’s maneuvering characteristics and safety systems.
 
Due for delivery in December 2018, Nieuw Statendam will explore the Caribbean in winter and then move to northern Europe, Iceland and the Mediterranean in summer during its inaugural year.
 
The 2,666-passenger, 99,500-ton ship will reflect the ongoing evolution of Holland America Line. While much of the ship’s design will be similar to Koningsdam, the first Pinnacle Class ship, Nieuw Statendam will have public spaces and its own style.
 
  • World Maritime News
 
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Headlines Tuesday 28th August 2018
 
Equinor explores floating wind turbines to power North Sea oilfields
 
Norway’s Equinor (EQNR.OL) is considering whether to build an offshore wind farm with floating turbines to provide electricity for its Gullfaks and Snorre oilfields in the North Sea, the company said on Tuesday.  A logo of Equinor, formerly known as Statoil, is seen at the company's headquarters in Fornebu, Norway May 21, 2018. Picture taken May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Nerijus Adomaitis
 
If materialised, it would be the world’s first floating offshore wind farm powering oil platforms and is estimated to cost around 5 billion Norwegian crowns ($591.5 million) and could reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by more than 200,000 tonnes per year, Equinor said.
 
“To maintain profitable operations (offshore Norway) in the long term, it is essential that we do our utmost to further reduce the carbon footprint from our activities,” Executive Vice President Arne Sigve Nylund said in a statement.
 
Formerly known as Statoil, Equinor earlier this year changed its name to underscore a push into renewable energy under Chief Executive Eldar Saetre, although oil and gas will remain the company’s dominant business for decades to come.  The company’s first floating offshore wind farm started off Scotland last year, supplying electricity to the onshore market, and Equinor has also announced plans for bottom-fixed offshore wind projects in the United States, Poland and Britain.
 
A final investment decision on the plan for Snorre and Gullfaks, known as the Hywind Tampen floating wind farm, will be made in 2019, although the aim is first to bring down the cost of development, it said.  The 11 turbines, each with a capacity of eight megawatt, would meet about 35 percent of the power demand from the two fields, the company added.  The Gullfaks field is owned by Equinor, OMV (OMVV.VI) and Norway’s state owned Petoro, while Snorre is held by Equinor, Petoro, ExxonMobil (XOM.N), Idemitsu (5019.T), DEA and Point Resources.
  • Reuters
 
CEO: Several Bids Received for Port of Newcastle’s Container Terminal
 
The world’s largest coal export port is on track with its plans to diversify and has received a number of unsolicited bids to develop and operate a container terminal, the CEO of Australia Port of Newcastle, Craig Carmody, said.  The announcement is being made after DP World ended talks with the port on the construction of a container terminal at the Australian giant coal port. The company did not disclose the reasons behind the decision when confirming it to World Maritime News.
 
Under the port’s plan, the container terminal would be developed in stages at the Mayfield site and it would have a capacity for a 2 million TEU per annum. At the moment, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is reviewing “an artificial constraint on the Port of Newcastle by the NSW government restricting the development of a viable and competitive container terminal.”
 
“I can confirm that the Port of Newcastle has been approached by a number of globally significant container port operators who are eager to take advantage of our proximity to exporters and importers, the availability of large tracts of low cost land around the port and our access to dedicated freight transport infrastructure.
 
“Whilst we cannot go into details yet, these bids clearly demonstrate that there is no doubt in the minds of private investors that a container terminal in the Port of Newcastle is economically viable. It’s really a matter of when, not if, we will see preparatory work commencing on the container port in Newcastle,” Carmody said.
 
“It should be noted that, these bids are contingent on the removal of the current artificial constraint imposed on NSW port competition and other regulatory issues.”
The port’s CEO added that the development is being pursued as the number of containers moving through ports in NSW is likely to double in the next 20 years. As such, developing a container terminal in the port would help ease congestion in Sydney and congested NSW roads.
  • World Maritime News
 
UK summer 'wind drought' puts green revolution into reverse
 
Britain’s long heatwave threw the country’s green energy revolution into reverse and pushed up carbon emissions this summer, leading experts to stress the need for a diverse energy mix.  The summer of 2017 was lauded as the “greenest ever” for electricity generation, thanks to a growing number of windfarms and solar installations edging out coal and gas power stations.
 
But this year has seen a comparatively dirty summer for power generation, due to the weather’s impact on renewables.  The Met Office said the high pressure that caused much of the country to bask under sunny skies had suppressed windy conditions.  The weather proved a boon for staycations, garden centres and solar panel owners, but windfarms suffered. They usually provide four times as much power as solar each year.  The wind drought meant that at times turbine blades sat idle for days.  Windfarm capacity is up by more than 10% since a year ago, but the share of electricity they supplied dropped from 12.9% last year to 10.4% this summer, figures from National Grid show.
 
Although record-breaking solar output helped fill some of the gap and nuclear plants provided a bedrock of supply, gas power stations were fired up to meet demand.
The key measure of how green the power grid is – carbon intensity, measured in grammes of CO2 per kilowatt hour – was up by 8% on average over the past three months.
 
Duncan Burt, director of operations at National Grid, said: “We have seen a slight decrease in wind over the summer linked to the unusually warm weather, which demonstrates why it is important for us to have a diverse energy mix to ensure we can continue to manage supply and demand.”  He welcomed the growth in wind and solar over the past year, and said both were playing an increasingly important role in the energy system.  While this summer showed an uptick in carbon emissions, it is the second greenest ever.  And looking beyond the summer, carbon intensity for the year fell to a record low in the first eight months.  National Grid said the carbon intensity of electricity generation was down 3% to 252g CO2 per kWh between January and August, compared with the same period last year.  Windy conditions and new windfarms boosted wind energy during the winter, and coal use has fallen to new lows despite a brief resurgence during the “beast from the east”.
 
In June, the UK went 12 days without coal, which supplied less than 1% of electricity that month.  RenewableUK, the wind power industry body, said wind had “become a mainstream power source”.  A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “We’re investing up to £2.5bn in low-carbon innovation and are already seeing the results.”  Analysts have told renewable energy investors not to be alarmed about the lack of wind this summer.
After examining 17 years of monthly wind speeds in the UK, Bernstein bank concluded: “We do not find any evidence of a structural trend in wind speed over time.”
 
Experts also said that the way solar highs coincided with wind lows showed that both technologies were needed in the switch to green energy. Wind power generation is well ahead of solar in Europe.  Pascal Storck, director of renewable energy at environmental measurement firm Vaisala, said: “Often wind and solar technologies are played against each other, but the reality is that a diverse portfolio … will be the solution to long-term variability of this nature.”
  • The Guardian

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Headlines Friday 24th August 2018
 
UK offshore jobs drop 14% in 2017. Slight increase expected in 2018
 
Employment in the UK offshore oil and gas sector fell 14% in 2017, to around 280.000, Oil & Gas UK said in its workforce report on Thursday. The report, however, notes a slight increase in offshore jobs for 2018.  The industry body found that the biggest reduction in offshore workforce came from offshore drillers, as drilling activity fell to a record low. The numbers for 2017 have been explained by the drop in oil prices.
 
Oil and Gas UK pointed to the fact that the oil price fell from circa $109 per barrel (bbl) in mid-2014 to an average of $54/bbl in 2017, leading to a significant contraction across the sector.
 
“In the aftermath of the price fall, oil and gas companies have had to streamline and rationalize to sustain their businesses and focus on improving efficiency in response to the prevailing business environment. This has inevitably had a negative impact on employment both from the reduction in activity and efforts to reduce costs,” the report reads.
 
Per OGUK data the employment rate in the UK offshore oil and gas industry peaked in 2014, with over 450,000 jobs.  “However, there was a sharp drop in 2015, when employment contracted to around 380,000. The latest estimates for 2016 and 2017 show employment levels supported by the industry falling to levels not previously seen since 2010/11, with 280,000 jobs estimated to be supported by oil and gas activity in 2017…” Oil and Gas UK said.
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
Petrofac takes £43m hit on sale of stake in North Sea project
 
Petrofac will take a $55m (£43m) hit on the sale of its interest in a North Sea project as it scales back its involvement in oil production and looks to cut debt.
 
The Jersey-headquartered company, which is a member of the FTSE 250 index, will sell its 20pc stake in the Greater Stella Area development off the east coast of Scotland and its 24.8pc stake in the FPF1 rig to its joint venture partner Ithaca.  Israeli-owned Ithaca will pay $145m on completion of the deal, expected to be in the first quarter of next year, followed by a further $120m between 2020 and 2023 and an additional $28m depending on the field’s performance.
 
Petrofac said the sale would help it cut debt but also force it to incur a $55m post-tax impairment charge.  Having traditionally focused on building, operating and maintaining oil and gas facilities, Petrofac expanded into production amid rising oil prices earlier in the decade. But it has been reducing its exposure after last year’s profits were hit by a slump in crude.
 
This latest deal follows the sale of Petrofac’s Tunisian business and a 49pc stake in its Mexican operations to Perenco in June.
Ayman Asfari, Petrofac’s chief executive, said: "This disposal marks a further milestone in our journey back to a capital-light business and, along with recently-agreed transactions in Mexico and Tunisia, marks the significant progress we are making on our stated strategy."
  • The Telegraph
 
'No-deal' Brexit papers offer little comfort for financial services sector
 
For Britain's huge financial services industry, there was little comfort to be found in the batch of government planning documents for a "no-deal" Brexit.  Long-established problems still seem a long way from being addressed, while new ones have been thrown into the spotlight.  Much attention will be taken by the government's confirmation that, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, UK consumers are likely to face higher costs and greater delays when it comes to making payments in euros.
 
There would also be an end to the ban on surcharges, which means that holidaymakers, for instance, may find they have to pay more to use certain credit cards.  Businesses who pay suppliers in euros may find they, too, have to pay more charges, potentially increasing the costs for consumers.  But there is something else big to note from the papers - the lack of progress towards doing a deal with the European Union over the wider financial services industry.
 
The papers offer lots of concessions to European companies who want to continue working in the UK, but note that nothing similar has come back from Europe.  The concept of passporting - where a British firm could trade in Europe under the same rules as a European rival - now seems dead in the water.
 
"The government has committed to taking unilateral action to resolve this issue on the UK side," says one line of advice.  "However, this is not sufficient to fully address the risks."  On an individual level, that could mean British nationals living in the EU could find themselves unable to access their savings or annuities.  On a corporate level, it means that banks and other finance companies will continue setting up subsidiaries in European countries, and moving staff to those locations.  But it also raises a significant question about the status of the City of London, and its crucial role in the European financial economy.
It is, for instance, the global hub of the market in complicated investments called derivatives.
  • Sky News

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Headlines Thursday 23rd August 2018
 
Teekay LNG Raises USD 100 Mn from Bond Issuance
 
Owner and operator of gas carriers Teekay LNG Partners L.P. has collected around USD 100 million from the issuance of NOK 850 million of bonds.  The senior unsecured bonds mature in August 2023 in the Norwegian bond market.
 
“Teekay LNG expects to close the bond offering on August 29, 2018, subject to customary closing conditions,” the company said.  The company intends to use the net proceeds from the bonds for refinancing of existing bonds and/or general partnership purposes.  Teekay LNG will apply for listing of the new bonds on the Oslo Stock Exchange.  The company has been in refinancing mode for a while now having refinanced an outstanding USD 105 million debt facility secured by the Woodside Donaldson LNG carrier via Teekay LNG-Marubeni joint venture in May 2018.
 
In June the company refinanced USD 57 million debt secured by the Polar Spirit and Arctic Spirit LNG carriers with a new USD 40 million loan, and USD 125 million loan secured by Madrid Spirit LNG with a USD 117 million debt facility maturing in 2024.  Since the beginning of 2018, the company has taken delivery of six LNG carriers, all on long-term charters.
  • World Maritime News
 
Scotland’s oil revenues jump by £1billion
 
Scotland’s share of North Sea tax revenues jumped to £1.3billion in the last year, according to latest tax and spending figures.  The Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) report has been published for 2017-18.  It shows revenues from the oil and gas sector were up by more than £1bn from just £266million in 2016-17.
 
The report said it reflects an increase in total UK revenue from the sector.  Despite this, Scotland is still in deficit of £13.4bn which is 7.9% of GDP, and four times of that of the UK as a whole as a result of higher public spending per head.  Onshore revenues also increased by 3.6% – or £2bn – to £56.6bn.
 
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon unveiled the report this morning.  She said: “Today’s figures show that offshore revenue has increased by £1 billion.  “This comes on the back of recent analysis by the Oil and Gas Authority that production this year is expected to be 18% higher than in 2014.
 
“Separately, the latest Fraser of Allander Oil and Gas survey also shows that net confidence of oil and gas contractors is at the highest level since spring 2013.
“With the limited economic powers currently at our disposal, the actions we are taking to promote sustainable economic development are helping to ensure that the key economic indicators are moving in the right direction.”
 
Industry body Oil and Gas UK said it reflects a “striking transformation” of the oil and gas industry since the downturn.  Upstream policy director Mike Tholen said: “This evidences the striking transformation of the UK’s oil and gas industry since the downturn.
 
“Improvements to operational efficiency, careful management of costs and a stable fiscal regime have ensured it is better placed to weather volatility in international oil markets. This golden formula must now be maintained as we look to maximise economic recovery.”
 
Energy minister Paul Wheelhouse said it reflected “better market conditions” for the sector.  GERS were a key battleground in the 2014 Scottish Independence referendum, shortly before the oil price crash.
 
The Scottish Government’s White Paper for independence described them as an “authoritative publication” on Scotland’s finances.  Scotland’s financial position has been impacted by the oil price drop, with its share of revenues being at a nearly £8billion in 2012-13, and dropping to just £50million in 2015-16.
 
The Westminster Government argued today’s figures show Scotland is stronger as part of the United Kingdom, with Scotland receiving a higher share of UK spending than it contributes.
  • Energy Voice
 
Scotland’s floating turbine smashes tidal renewable energy records
 
Leads to calls for 'wholly renewable electricity system' from environment group
 
A floating tidal stream turbine off the coast of Orkney has produced more green energy in a year than Scotland’s entire wave and tidal sector produced in the 12 years before it came online.
 
In 12 months of full-time operation, the SR2000 turbine supplied the equivalent annual power demand of about 830 households.  Its developer claimed the machine – the most powerful of its kind in the world – had set a benchmark for its industry due to its performance.  It produced 3GWh of renewable electricity during its first year of testing at the European Marine Energy Centre.
 
Over the 12 years before its launch in 2016, wave and tidal energies across Scotland had collectively produced 2.983GWh, according to Ofgem.
Andrew Scott, chief executive officer of developers Scotrenewables Tidal Power, said: “The SR2000’s phenomenal performance has set a new benchmark for the tidal industry.
 
“Its first year of testing has delivered a performance level approaching that of widely deployed mature renewable technologies.”  He added: “The ability to easily access the SR2000 for routine maintenance has been a significant factor in our ability to generate electricity at such levels over the past 12 months, including over winter.”  The team at Scotrenewables said their success – combined with Meygen’s generation of more than 8GWh over the past year from four tidal turbines deployed in the Pentland Firth – is evidence that tidal power generation could be rolled out more widely.
 
Hannah Smith, senior policy manager at trade body Scottish Renewables, said: “This milestone for the tidal energy industry truly demonstrates the untapped potential of this emerging sector.
 
“Scotland’s remarkable marine energy resource has placed us front and centre in developing this industry with global potential.
 
“To keep driving progress it’s critical that both Scottish and UK governments recognise the potential of these technologies and work with industry to fully commercialise these innovations.”
  • The Independent
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Headlines Tuesday 21st August 2018
 
Cable celebration at Beatrice
 
Seaway Offshore Cables installs final array wire at 588MW Scottish project  Seaway Offshore Cables has completed array cable installation at SSE’s 588MW Beatrice wind farm off Scotland.
 
The Subsea 7 Renewables & Heavy Lifting-owned unit put in place 91 JDR-supplied wires to connect all 84 turbines locations and two offshore transformer modules.  SSE said the milestone means all offshore cabling for the wind farm is now completed.
 
Swire Blue Ocean jack-up Pacific Orca remains on turbine installation duty and is putting in Siemens Gamesa 7MW units in the Moray Firth.  The wind farm, which has already notched first power, is expected online next year.
 
Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Red Rock Power are shareholders in the project alongside SSE.
  • ReNews
 
Orkney tidal turbine generating 'phenomenal result'
 
A flagship tidal energy turbine has generated more electricity in its first year than Scotland's entire wave and tidal sector produced before it.  The Scotrenewables SR2000, with its 2MW turbine, was installed in the sea off Orkney in 2017.
 
It has now generated three gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity from near continuous operation, its owners said.  It is estimated the seas around the UK could one day be capable of generating 20% of electricity needs.  The European Marine Energy Centre (Emec) in Orkney has tested 30 different devices since it was launched in 2003.  Between the rest of them, they have generated 2.8 GWh hours of electricity.  But the latest full-scale prototype, at 63m, has so far proved to be the most successful.
 
Andrew Scott, chief executive officer of Scotrenewables Tidal Power, said: "It is a phenomenal result. For one, we've had continual generation or testing for a year.  That's fairly unique in this sector.  "We've generated over three GWh into the Scottish grid.
 
"That's more than three times any prototype system that's come before us and, in fact, cumulatively that's more power generated in 12 months from this single turbine than the entire wave and tidal energy sector has done in Scotland in the 12 years preceding the launch of this turbine."
 
The company believes the key to its success has been the design of the generator which is significantly different to previous tidal systems.
  • BBC News
 
UK government aims to boost exports to 35 percent of GDP
 
The British government will set out a new export strategy on Tuesday aimed at boosting exports to 35 percent of gross domestic product, as it looks to increase trade ties with the rest of the world after leaving the European Union.
 
The Department for International Trade, set up after the 2016 Brexit vote, estimates that 400,000 businesses believe they could export but don’t. It said last year goods and services exported by British companies accounted for 30 percent of GDP.
 
“We are determined to support, connect and grow UK companies on the world stage through our international network,” British trade minister Liam Fox will say in a speech to a business audience in London, according to extracts released in advance.
 
“As we leave the EU, we must set our sights high and that is just what this Export Strategy will help us achieve.”
 
The government said better use of Britain’s overseas network, online tools and promotion of export finance support available from government would be among the measures put in place to encourage more businesses to export.  Adam Marshall, Director General of employers group the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Our biggest competitors invest heavily in promoting their countries’ products and services, and the UK must match or exceed them.”
 
The EU, which comprises 27 other countries, is the United Kingdom’s largest single trading partner and accounted for 44 percent of exports in 2017.  Supporters of Brexit say one of its benefits will be the freedom to strike new trade deals independently of the EU. Opponents of Brexit argue Britain won’t have the same negotiating clout on its own as it did within the EU.
 
Fox, a prominent Brexit supporter, has spent much time over the last two years touring the globe promoting the merits of post-Brexit Britain as a trading partner and holding preliminary talks ahead of possible future trade negotiations.  Previous British governments have adopted lofty targets for trade, with mixed success.
 
In 2012, then-finance minister George Osborne planned to double exports to 1 trillion pounds ($1.28 trillion) by the end of the decade — a figure that Britain looks likely to miss by a few hundred billion pounds.
  • Reuters
 
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Headlines Monday 20th August 2018
 
Shell charters AET shuttle tanker for Brazilian ops
 
Shuttle tanker owner AET has secured its first contract with Shell. The contract is for the time charter one new-build dynamic positioning shuttle tanker in Brazil.  The 152,700 DWT DP2 vessel will be built by a Korean shipyard expected for delivery in Q4 2020 and, although earmarked for Brazilian waters, the vessel will be capable of operating globally.
 
It will be compliant to IMO NOx Tier 3 requirements, built to the latest and highest technical standards and installed with a ballast water treatment system.
Mark Quartermain, Vice President of Shell Trading and Supply Crude said adding the new shuttle tanker to its operations in Brazil supports the company’s growing deep-water activities.
 
“It achieves this by providing us with increased flexibility for our crude trading business as we look to serve our global customers with Brazil’s growing offshore production. We look forward to building upon our relationship with AET to support our crude trading operations,” he said.
 
While this might be AET’s first charter for Shell, this is not the first time AET has received a contract to send its shuttle tankers to the land of samba.
AET in May this year extended its partnership in the DP2 shuttle tanker sector with the Brazilian oil company Petrobras.  It was awarded a contract to own and operate four specialist DP2 Suezmax Shuttle Tankers on long-term charter by Petrobras. These new vessels will be in addition to the two AET DP2 ships currently on charter in the Brazilian Basin for Petrobras.
 
The four 152,000 DWT DP2 shuttle tankers will be built by a Korean shipyard for delivery in 2020 and will be contracted to Petrobras for operations in international and Brazilian waters.
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
UK Oil & Gas takes majority position amongst Horse Hill stakeholders
 
With a 36.985% stake in the project UKOG is now the largest single party in the Horse Hill venture.  Extended production testing continues at Horse Hill
 
UK Oil & Gas PLC (LON:UKOG) has increased its stake in the Horse Hill project, acquiring interests held by Gunsynd Plc and Primorus Investments.  It adds a total additional stake of 7% in the Horse Hill Developments Ltd vehicle, which in turn owns 65% of the Horse Hill project.
 
As a result, UKOG’s interest in HHDL increases to 56.9% and the underlying interest in Horse Hill rises to 36.985%. The company is paying a total of £1.92mln, taking a 2% stake in HHDL from Gunsynd and 5% from Primorus. Some £425,000 is payable in cash, with the remainder covered by UKOG shares.
 
"Although modest in overall size, these acquisitions, the first under the company's new AIM operating company status, are highly strategic in that they deliver to UKOG, the driving force behind the HH-1 Portland and Kimmeridge oil discovery, a majority 56.9% shareholding in HHDL,” said Stephen Sanderson, UKOG chief executive.  He added: “These acquisitions are also fully in line with UKOG's strategy of increasing its working interests in key assets to gain effective control and operatorship."
 
UKOG also noted the “very positive” initial results of ongoing production testing at Horse Hill where short-term high rate tests achieving stable implied daily pumped rates in excess of 400 barrels of oil per day from the conventional Portland reservoir.
 
Subsequent test phases will produce crude from the deeper Kimmeridge oil pools.
  • Proactive Investors
 
EU may force banking jobs away from UK after Brexit, warns City boss
 
Standard Chartered’s Tracy Clarke says tougher demands could see more jobs than planned shift to Frankfurt, Paris and Dublin  Standard Chartered says it has been waiting almost nine months for EU officials to approve a licence for its Frankfurt subsidiary.  Tougher demands by European Union regulators may force banks to shift more jobs to Frankfurt, Paris and Dublin than originally planned due to Brexit, a senior City executive has warned.
 
Tracy Clarke, Standard Chartered’s CEO for Europe and the Americas, said the bank has been waiting nearly nine months for EU officials to approve an operating licence that will turn its Frankfurt branch into a subsidiary, but regulators have yet to make a decision.  Clarke told the Press Association that German regulators, the European Banking Authority and the European Central Bank (ECB) have become increasingly strict, delaying a licence approval the bank expected in the spring.  Clarke said that while dialogue was constructive, she added: “They’re getting firmer about what they expect to see, and their stance is therefore becoming a bit tougher.”
 
The ECB has rejected attempts by banks to establish brass plate operations, telling banks they must move significant operations to the EU to sell their services inside political bloc.  It now expects banks such as Standard Chartered to create a dedicated outsourcing unit which will have “real teeth”, Clarke said.  Standard Chartered, which has customers across Europe, but operates mostly in Asia, is trying to navigate rules around how they outsource tasks across its own subsidiaries.
 
“We expect that onshore in Germany there will be very strong oversight on anything of any service that is performed offshore,” Clarke said.  Ultimately, it means banks such as Standard Chartered may end up moving more jobs due to Brexit than originally planned.
 
“For us, it still won’t be hundreds more people because of the size and scale of our business, so you might be talking about a few more for us. But if they’re taking this approach with all other banks who are much bigger than we are in terms of their European business, that could be more significant,” she warned.  Clarke, who is also chief executive of Standard Chartered private bank, explained that staff dedicated to activities such as trade finance processing or document checking currently sit offshore in some of Standard Chartered’s business hubs in the likes of Chennai, Kuala Lumpur or Tianjin.
 
“We rely on that in our global business model, we rely on shared services a lot – either for expertise or for efficiency. So they’re not against that, but there is lots of scrutiny on it,” she said.
 
The ECB, which regulates euro area banks, said it was keen to prevent UK institutions from creating empty shells when granting licences ahead of Brexit.
  • The Guardian
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Headlines Friday 17th August 2018
 
Borr’s Prospector 5 rig starts journey to Glengorm field off UK
 
Borr Drilling’s Prospector 5 jack-up rig has left Damen Verolme Rotterdam and started its journey to the UK continental shelf where it is expected to drill for Nexen.
A source told Offshore Energy Today on Thursday that Borr Drilling’s jack-up, the Prospector 5, would be towed to the UKCS by the Pacific Dispatch, Vortex, and DMS Stork tugs.
 
According to the source, the rig was to leave the Hook of Holland around 11:00 am local time.  The rig will be towed to the Glengorm field on the UKCS operated by Nexen, a 100% owned subsidiary of the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC).
 
According to the August 9 edition of the Kingfisher Bulletin, the rig will begin work on August 20 and the drilling operations will last 146 days.  Per Bassoe Analytics, Nexen has hired the rig for a one year contract ending in on August 18 next year.  Later in the day, Borr Drilling’s employees confirmed via social media that the rig had departed for the UK North Sea.
 
Also, both MarineTraffic and VesselsValue show the rig has left the Netherlands and is on its was to the UKCS.  Offshore Energy Today has reached out to Nexen seeking more info on the rig contract and planned activities but Nexen decided not to comment on the matter.  The Prospector 5 rig it was built in 2014 according to Friede & Goldman JU-2000E design by the China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC). The independent-leg cantilever jack-up can work in a maximum water depth of 400 feet and can drill to a depth of 35,000 feet.  The Prospector 5 was previously owned by Paragon Offshore, a company recently taken over by Borr.
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
Commentary: Fuel markets confirm global growth slowdown
 
If the global economy starts to grow more slowly, the impact will show up first in the price of refined fuels such as road diesel, marine gasoil and jet fuel that play a central role in the freight transport system.  Middle distillate fuels are principally burned in the high-powered engines used in trucks, railroads, ships, barges and aircraft to move freight around the world, as well as in factories, on farms and at mines and oilfields.
 
Mid-distillates account for more than a third of the oil used around the world every day, and are the single-largest category of refined products, (“Statistical review of world energy”, BP, 2018).  Distillate fuels are closely correlated with the global economic and trade cycle, and at the moment they confirm other indications the rate of growth is slowing.  U.S. distillate stocks, which had been drawing down faster than usual during the first four months of 2018, have now been building faster than normal since late May.  European gasoil futures prices, which had been in substantial backwardation, have shifted towards flat or even contango since the end of May, reflecting improved availability.
 
Gasoil futures still command a hefty premium over crude for deliveries in 2019, but the premium has been eroding over the same time frame.  In line with these trends, hedge funds and other money managers have become markedly less bullish on the outlook for distillate prices over the last three months.  Hedge fund managers have cut their bullish positioning in U.S. heating oil by 29 million barrels (33 percent) and in European gasoil by 53 million barrels (33 percent) since late May.
 
Over the same period, bullish positions in U.S. gasoline have been cut by 14 million barrels (12 percent), according to regulatory and exchange data.  Distillate markets are sending the same signal as a range of other indicators: the rate of global output growth has decelerated in recent months after a very strong expansion in 2017.
  • Reuters
 
Majority of Scottish voters feel ignored by UK ministers on Brexit
 
Support in Scotland for remain has risen since 2016 referendum, poll suggests  Almost two-thirds of Scottish voters believe the Westminster government is ignoring their concerns during Brexit negotiations, and there is now more support in Scotland for remaining in the EU than at the time of the 2016 referendum, polling suggests.
 
According to research for the People’s Vote campaign, 66% of Scottish voters (excluding don’t knows) support staying in the EU, compared with 62% who voted for remain in the referendum.  The YouGov poll of 2,013 adults in Scotland, conducted in early August, also found that 48% wanted a public vote on the outcome of Brexit negotiations, compared with 45% across the whole of the UK.  Scotland's Brexit bill is 'perfectly practical', supreme court told  About 600 people are expected to attend a rally in Edinburgh on Saturday in support of another vote on Brexit, as part of a summer of action coordinated by the People’s Vote campaign.
 
Among Scottish National party supporters, 83% wanted to stay in the EU, 66% backed a people’s vote on Brexit and 18% opposed a people’s vote.  Labour supporters in Scotland favoured remain by 74% to 26% and a people’s vote by 64% to 21%.  The majority of Scottish Labour voters wanted the party’s UKleader, Jeremy Corbyn, to shift his stance on Brexit, with 44% saying he should oppose Brexit more strongly, 22% saying he should support Brexit more strongly, and 11% saying he had the balance “about right”.
 
In contrast, 29% of SNP supporters wanted their party leader, Nicola Sturgeon, to oppose Brexit more strongly, 13% wanted her to support Brexit more strongly and 45% believed she had got the balance right.  Among all Scottish voters, 43% felt Brexit would make Scottish independence more likely within the next decade.
 
Peter Kellner, a polling expert and former president of YouGov, said: “Support for a public vote on the outcome is growing across the UK but is particularly strong in Scotland where most people did not want to leave in the first place. There is deep pessimism about what Brexit will mean for Scotland and the next generation.
“But the survey suggests the leaderships of both the SNP and the Labour party are in the wrong place with most of their supporters. There may be an electoral dividend in Scotland for one of these parties if they strengthen their position.”
  • The Guardian
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Headlines Thursday 16th August 2018
 
DFDS Orders One More RoRo at Jinling Shipyard
 
Danish shipping and logistics company DFDS has decided to order an additional RoRo newbuilding from Chinese Jinling Shipyard, exercising an option obtained when ordering its previous ferries.
 
The new ferries will be deployed in route networks in northern Europe and the Mediterranean.  As informed, the newbuilding is similar to the five previously ordered freight ferries and likewise designed to carry 6,700 lane meters of freight equivalent to around 450 trailers. The large capacity decreases unit costs as well as the environmental impact per transported unit, according to the company.  DFDS said that the first two ships are expected to be received at the beginning of the next year, the third and fourth in the second half of 2019 and the last two in the first half of 2020.
 
DFDS’ fleet extension and renewal program also includes two combined freight and passenger ferries (RoPax) to be delivered in 2021 for deployment in the Baltic route network. In addition, two RoRo ferries are being lengthened to increase capacity, and a chartered RoPax will be delivered in 2021 for deployment on the English Channel routes.
 
Separately, DFDS reported that its revenue increased 6% to DKK 3.9bn (USD 595.6 million) in Q2 2018. As explained, the revenue was driven by the expansion of the route network in the Mediterranean as well as continued growth in the freight activities in northern Europe. These were also the key drivers of the increase in EBITDA before special items by 9% to DKK 802m.
 
The growth of freight ferry volumes was in line with expectations in both northern Europe and the Mediterranean with the overall growth of 6% in Q2, the company said.  In June, the acquisition of Turkish company U.N. Ro-Ro was completed. Following the completion of the acquisition, DFDS has 98.8% of ownership of the Istanbul-based company.
  • World Maritime News
 
Crown Estate Scotland hunts for marine boss
 
The manager of the seabed in Scotland, Crown Estate Scotland, is looking to appoint a Head of Marine to drive forward the development of the Scottish ‘blue economy’.  The post is an 18-month fixed-term contract that will assist in developing the organization’s marine strategy, and inform longer term decisions on its capacity and structure in the light of marine and other developments.
 
The Head of Marine for the Crown Estate Scotland will lead teams and shape strategy across offshore wind, marine energy, infrastructure – including cables and pipelines – and aquaculture.  The successful candidate will be expected to work with key partners to embed the ‘blue strategy’ in Scotland’s priorities for sustainable economic growth.  Also, the scope of work includes engaging with the Scottish and UK governments for a favorable policy environment for marine activity.
The deadline to apply for the position has been set for August 24, 2018.
 
Crown Estate Scotland, formed in April 2017, is responsible for around half the foreshore around Scotland, leasing of virtually all seabed out to 12 nautical miles and the right to offshore renewable energy and gas and carbon storage out to 200 nautical miles.
  • Marine Energy
 
Britain's biggest banks report 64 payment outages in last three months
 
Britain’s five biggest banks had a total of 64 security or operational incidents that cut customers off from telephone, mobile or online banking in the second quarter of 2018, according to disclosures on the banks’ websites.
 
New rules from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which came into effect on Wednesday, require banks to disclose payment service outages caused by cyber attacks or other disruptions.  The FCA’s action shows how banks’ digital operations are increasingly in focus as consumers do more phone or online banking, making them potentially vulnerable to a serious IT outage or hack.
 
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L) had 19 of these incidents, with most hitting internet banking, while Barclays (BARC.L) reported 18, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) 16 and HSBC (HSBA.L) seven. Santander UK (SAN.MC) reported four.  The disclosures do not say what caused the outages, but some banks noted that in some cases the incidents only affected internal systems or limited numbers of customers.
 
“The vast majority of cases were very small incidents which were resolved quickly without customers experiencing any detriment to their service,” a Lloyds spokesman said.
A Barclays spokesman also said the incidents had a minimal impact on customers and were addressed immediately.
RBS’s systems were resilient and the bank had made significant investments in them, but it was nevertheless working to minimise disruption, a spokesman for the bank said.  HSBC and Santander did not immediately comment on the disclosures.  Earlier this year, a botched system upgrade at mid-sized bank TSB left many customers without access to their money for days and more vulnerable to fraud.  TSB, which is owned by Spain’s Banco de Sabadell (SABE.MC), reported a total of seven incidents in the last three months, highlighting the limits of the disclosure system which does not reflect the severity of service disruptions, only their frequency.
 
Smaller banks Virgin Money (VM.L), CYBG (CYBGC.L) and Metro Bank MRTO.L reported no incidents, while the Co-operative Bank (42TE.L) and Nationwide Building Society (POB_p.L) both disclosed two.
 
The FCA and the Bank of England have given financial services firms until October to explain how they plan to avoid damaging IT breakdowns and respond to the growing threat of cyber attacks.
  • Reuters
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Headlines Wednesday 15th August 2018
 
Meyer Werft to Float Out World’s 1st LNG-Powered Cruise Ship Soon
 
AIDAnova, the world’s first cruise ship that can be entirely powered with liquefied natural gas (LNG), is scheduled to leave Meyer Werft’s covered building dock on August 21.
 
The float out of AIDA Cruises’ newest ship is planned to commence at around 7.00 pm local time. However, weather conditions or production processes may result in delays or schedule changes, the shipbuilder said.  Once the 180,000-gross ton AIDAnova leaves the building dock, the vessel will berth at the shipyard’s outfitting pier, where its mast and funnel cladding will be fitted.  Until its passage along the river Ems to the North Sea, which is scheduled for the end of September, the ship will remain berthed in the shipyard harbor. There, the newbuilding will undergo further outfitting and work on its interior fittings. Additionally, further testing with LNG will be performed on the ship’s engines and acceptance procedures by the shipowners will also take place.
 
At the same time, some 1,400 members of the ship’s crew will be commencing their onboard training.  AIDAnova will be welcoming its first guests on board in mid-November 2018, immediately after delivery.  To enable the AIDAnova to berth at the outfitting pier, the floating part of the Spectrum of the Seas that is currently moored there will be moved to another berth at the shipyard harbor. Once the AIDAnova undocks, the floating part of the Spectrum of the Seas currently being fitted at the pier will be maneuvered back to the vacated building dock II, where work will continue, Meyer Werft said in a statement.  Featuring a length of 337 meters and a width of 42 meters, AIDAnova will be able to accommodate 6,600 passengers.  Thanks to its four dual-fuel engines, AIDAnova can be operated both in port and at sea with the currently most environmentally friendly and lowest-emission fossil fuel.
 
From December 2018, AIDAnova will begin its maiden season with cruises around the Canary Islands. Before those cruises get underway, the new ship will come to Hamburg. On December 2, 2018, AIDAnova will visit the Hanseatic City on the Elbe, after which she will head for Gran Canaria.
  • World Maritime News
 
Oil falls on U.S. stocks rise, weaker economic outlook
 
Oil prices fell on Wednesday, weighed down by a report of rising U.S. crude inventories and as the outlook for global economic growth darkened, stoking expectations of lower fuel demand.
 
Global benchmark Brent crude oil LCOc1 was down 40 cents a barrel at $72.06 by 0745 GMT. U.S. light crude CLc1 was 45 cents lower at $66.59.  U.S. crude stocks rose by 3.7 million barrels in the week to Aug. 10, to 410.8 million barrels, private industry group the American Petroleum Institute (API) said on Tuesday. Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub rose by 1.6 million barrels, the API said. [API/S]  Official U.S. oil inventory data was due to be published later on Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration. [EIA/S]  Sentiment was also clouded by concerns over the health of the world economy at a time of escalating trade disputes between the United States and its major trading partners.
 
The OECD’s composite leading indicator, which covers the western advanced economies plus China, India, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa, peaked in January but has since fallen and slipped below trend in May and June.
 
World trade volume growth also peaked in January at almost 5.7 percent year-on-year, but nearly halved to less than 3 percent by May, according to the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.  The United States and China have been locked in a tit-for-tat trade spat for a few months, gradually adding tariffs to each others’ products in a dispute that threatens to curb economic activity in both countries.
 
Chinese oil importers now appear to be shying away from buying U.S. crude oil as they fear Beijing may decide to add the commodity from its tariff list.  Not a single tanker has loaded crude oil from the United States bound for China since the start of August, Thomson Reuters Eikon ship tracking data showed, compared with about 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) in June and July.
 
Meanwhile, investors are watching the impact of U.S. sanctions on Tehran, which analysts say could remove as much as 1 million bpd of Iranian crude from the market by next year.  BMI Research said oil markets would “struggle for direction, as uncertainty around both the impact on supply from the Iranian sanctions and escalating trade tensions between the U.S. and China persists”.
  • Reuters
 
More than 200 Scottish schools have vacancies as pupils return from summer break
 
More than 200 Scottish schools have vacancies for teachers and classroom support staff as pupils return after the summer holidays, according to figures that disclosed the full scale of their recruitment crisis.
 
The Scottish Tories unveiled research showing 231 schools are advertising for staff, including some that have multiple vacancies.  This means nearly one in ten schools will start the 2018/19 academic year this month trying to plug holes in their teaching or support workforce.  The Conservatives said the figures were "unacceptable" and challenged the SNP to explain "why it has allowed this chaotic situation to emerge."  They followed research published earlier this month showing there are 670 teacher vacancies across Scotland.
 
It also emerged that council spending on education has fallen by £400 million since 2010 as SNP ministers slashed local authority budgets.  Although teacher numbers have started to increase again, there are still around 3,500 fewer than when the Nationalists came to power in 2007.  A Scottish Conservative spokesman said: "It’s unacceptable that, just as schools are preparing to go back, hundreds are still advertising for staff.”
 
The Scottish Government has proposed a series of fast-track teaching options to get new staff into schools more quickly.  Ministers have also offered bursaries to those wanting to switch career and teach in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects.  But teaching unions have argued the main problem is pay and conditions, with increasing workload putting off recruits at a time when salaries have declined in real terms.
 
A Scottish Government spokesman said: "We have invested £88 million in 2017, resulting in 543 more teachers than last year – the second year in a row that numbers have increased, in response to the challenges filling vacancies in some areas.
 
“Our ambitious reform agenda is aimed at making teaching an attractive career choice with varied opportunities to develop."
  • The Telegraph
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Headlines Tuesday 14th August 2018
 
Renewable Energy Could "Effectively Be Free" by 2030, Says UBS Analyst
 
Research analyst at Swiss investment bank UBS believes the cost of energy renewables could be so near to zero by 2030 “it will effectively be free,” according to a projections published on Monday. If renewables could soon be cheaper than all the alternative energy sources, and that this “is great news for the planet, and probably also for the economy.”
 
The analysis, published in the Financial Times, explains that solar and wind farms are getting bigger, and that the potential of this sort of cheap, green energy is far-reaching and will only get cheaper. “In 2010, using solar power to boil your kettle would have cost you about £0.03,” the analyst writes in FT. “By 2020, according to estimates by our research team at UBS, the cost will have fallen to half a penny.” And just ten years later, the costs will be so minuscule, it will practically be free.
 
As renewables get cheaper, corporate action in the energy sector may increase, which is good for everyone. When it comes to renewables, the analyst argues: “Currently we count a dozen major European utilities (about half the names in the sector index) which have recently announced — or have been featured in the press — acquisitions, divestments or takeovers that could substantially reshape their business.”
 
In mid-July, two of the biggest economies in Europe, the United Kingdom and Germany, set new records for clean energy, Quartz reports. It makes sense that companies would want to get ahead of the changes. As one example, last week, the Danish wind energy company Orsted entered into an agreement to acquire Lincoln Clean Energy (LCE), a US firm that develops, owns, and operates wind farms, CNBC reports.
 
“The fundamental economics of the industry are indeed changing,” the Financial Times article explains. In the past, wind and solar have relied on subsidies. But recently, some wind and solar projects have appeared that don’t need a subsidy or tax break to be viable. That’s changed the energy game.
Now, renewable energy has a better chance of relying on innovation rather than subsidies, and companies are competing to secure the best sites for renewable projects. This race for the best, most cost-efficient energy projects is good for the industry, the economy, and the planet.
  • Inverse
 
Shipping industry struggles to reach 2020 emissions targets
 
Maritime traffic is one of the worst offenders for air and water pollution, as well as CO2 emissions. The industry faces the challenge of meeting strict new regulations in less than two years' time.
 
The world’s largest 15 ships emit as much sulfur dioxide as 760 million cars, according to figures from the German environmental NGO Nabu. Ships account for 13 percent of all global sulfur emissions. The gas causes major ecological problems, including acid rain, soil degradation and water pollution, and lung and bronchial disorders in human beings.
 
In theory, maritime emissions of sulfur dioxide – as well as nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide – should soon see radical cuts. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has imposed new upper limits on sulfur dioxide, due to take effect in two years’ time. From January 1, 2020, shipping fuel must contain no more than 0.5 percent sulfur, down from 3.5 percent at present. But most companies seem a long way from compliance.
 
Efforts to combat maritime pollution go back to the Marpol Convention of 1973 when countries including the United States, Brazil, China and Germany agreed to take steps toward cleaner oceans.
 
In the wake of a series of terrible oil spills, the main target at the time was transport safety. But today, the focus is on emissions. The vast container ships and tankers that crisscross the world’s oceans use a mixture of diesel and heavy fuel oil, which pumps out sulfur at rates far above the IMO’s new upper limit.  
 
The tricky route to cleaner fuel
 
Changing this situation presents a huge challenge to the shipping industry. The key to cleaner shipping appears to lie with liquefied natural gas (LNG), which produces fewer emissions and can be cleaned more easily. But the conversion of the world’s shipping fleet to the cleaner fuel is proceeding slowly. Of the 221 in Hapag-Lloyd’s container fleet, just 17 are regarded as currently “LNG ready”: easily convertible to clean fuel use.
 
In addition, there are major gaps in clean-fuel infrastructure. Germany has not a single LNG terminal, the special port facility needed to import and distribute liquefied natural gas, although there are plans to develop one on the country’s North Sea coast.  If LNG is not available, shipping companies have two alternatives: They can burn marine diesel, which contains less sulfur, but is significantly more expensive. Or they can install “scrubbers” in the smokestacks of their ships, to safely remove the sulfur discharged.
 
Installing scrubbers takes a ship out of service for just one month, but progress has been slow so far. Last January, there were 205 ships worldwide with scrubbers installed. Now there are 510. By 2020, the figure may reach 1300. That may sound impressive, but represents just 4 percent of the 53,000-strong worldwide fleet of merchant ships.  The bottleneck in scrubber installation is already impacting market prices. According to Greek ship brokers Intermodal, rents on scrubber-equipped tankers have reached around $15,000 (€13,200) per day, while non-scrubber vessels costs are nearly $2,000 cheaper, thanks to the prospective cost of using marine diesel.
 
A report by Deutsche Bank suggests that scrubber installation costs – which average around $2 million per ship – will pay for themselves within two years, thanks to cheaper fuel costs. Those who fail to invest early could become uncompetitive, it suggests. All this means booming business for companies that install scrubbers.  Currently, there are just 25 in the world, with a cumulative capacity of around 1,300 ships in the two years before 2020.
 
Scrubbers wanted
 
German industrial services giant Bilfinger recently took an order to refit 42 Greek ships with scrubbers. The company has long experience in installing anti-pollution devices on power plant chimneys and says the price of installation largely depends on the size of a ship’s engines.
 
Work on large ships could cost up to $10 million. Some unprofitable shipping lines may struggle to find that kind of money to invest. Companies from the IMO’s current “Sulphur Emission Control Areas” – pilot projects in California and in northern European sea areas with stricter limits – may have an advantage under the new conditions.  But many observers emphasize that scrubbers are only a temporary solution. They do little to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which the IMO has committed to cut in half by 2050. Scrubbers may even slightly increase fuel consumption and with it CO2 emissions. In the long term, only LNG seems to offer real solutions. And in the even longer term, the IMO is proposing a truly radical solution: zero shipping emissions of any kind by the end of the century.
  • Handdelsblatt Global
 
Vienna named world's most liveable city as Melbourne loses crown
 
Vienna ends Australian city’s winning streak due to downgraded threat of militant attacks and low crime rate
 
Melbourne has been dislodged by Vienna for the first time at the top of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s global liveability index, strengthening the Austrian capital’s claim to being the world’s most pleasant city to live in.
 
The two metropolises have been neck and neck in the annual survey of 140 urban centres for years, with Melbourne clinching the title for the past seven editions.  This year, a downgraded threat of militant attacks in western Europe as well as the city’s low crime rate helped nudge Vienna into first place.
Vienna regularly tops a larger ranking of cities by quality of life compiled by the consulting firm Mercer. It is the first time it has topped the EIU survey, which began in its current form in 2004.
 
At the other end of the table, Damascus retained last place, followed by the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, and Lagos in Nigeria. The survey does not include several of the world’s most dangerous capitals, such as Baghdad and Kabul.  “While in the past couple of years cities in Europe were affected by the spreading perceived threat of terrorism in the region, which caused heightened security measures, the past year has seen a return to normalcy,” the EIU said on Tuesday.  “A long-running contender to the title, Vienna has succeeded in displacing Melbourne from the top spot due to increases in the Austrian capital’s stability category ratings.”
 
Vienna and Melbourne scored maximum points in the healthcare, education and infrastructure categories. But while Melbourne extended its lead in the culture and environment component, that was outweighed by Vienna’s improved stability ranking.  Osaka, Calgary and Sydney completed the top five in the survey, which the EIU says tends to favour medium-sized cities in wealthy countries, often with relatively low population densities. Much larger and more crowded cities tend to have higher crime rates and more strained infrastructure, it said.  London ranked 48th this year.  Vienna, once the capital of a large empire rather than today’s small Alpine republic, has yet to match its pre-first world war population of 2.1 million. Its many green spaces include lakes with popular beaches and vineyards with sweeping views of the capital. Public transport is cheap and efficient.
 
In addition to the generally improved security outlook for western Europe, Vienna benefited from its low crime rate, the survey’s editor, Roxana Slavcheva, said.
“One of the sub-categories that Vienna does really well in is the prevalence of petty crime ... It’s proven to be one of the safest cities in Europe,” she said.
  • The Guardian

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Headlines Monday 13th August 2018

 
Balfour wins contract on world’s largest offshore wind farm
 
Balfour Beatty will build the substation for the world’s largest offshore wind farm.
 
The construction firm announced that it has won the multi-million pound contract for the 1.4 gigawatt Hornsea Two offshore wind farm, off the north east coast.  The firm are already working on the Hornsea One project in a similar capacity under agreement with Danish wind developer Orsted.  Project director for Hornsea One and Two Duncan Clark said: “We’re delighted that Balfour Beatty will continue to work with us on these huge offshore wind farm projects.
 
“Having already constructed onshore substations for three of our other projects, this contract continues the long-term partnership between Orsted and Balfour Beatty.”
 
The onshore substation should be completed by 2020, and will be based in Hornsea in East Riding.  Balfour Beatty managing director for the north and midlands Thomas Edgcumbe added: “Having recently completed works to Hornsea 1, this award is testament to the long-standing relationship we have built with Orsted over the past few years.
 
“We’re proud to continue this momentum, and look forward to successfully and safely delivering the substation; providing clean power to millions of homes across the UK.”
  • New Civil Engineer
 
Companies in Brexit 'supply shock' as fewer EU citizens come to UK
 
Businesses are struggling to fill vacancies as a result of drop in new EU workers, says report  Companies are suffering from a “supply shock” as fewer EU citizens come to the UK, and companies struggle to fill vacancies, according to a survey of 2,000 employers.
 
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) said the number of applicants per vacancy had fallen since last summer across all levels of skilled jobs, and said shortages were forcing many companies to raise wages.  The number of people moving to the UK from other EU countries has fallen to its lowest level since 2013, according to the latest official figures, with the net figure for long-term migration from the bloc at 101,000 in 2017  The number of people applying for the average low-skilled vacancy has fallen from 24 to 20 in the past year and from 19 to 10 for medium-skilled posts.
 
Half of organisations with recruitment problems said they had increased starting salaries in response.  Gerwyn Davies of CIPD said: “The most recent official data shows that there has been a significant slowdown in the number of EU nationals coming to work in the UK over the past year.
 
“This is feeding into increasing recruitment and retention challenges, particularly for employers in sectors that have historically relied on non-UK labour to fill roles and which are particularly vulnerable to the prospect of future changes to immigration policy for EU migrants.”
 
Alex Fleming of recruiters the Adecco Group, which helped with the research, added: “With Brexit looming we’re seeing a talent shortage and a more competitive marketplace. In this candidate-short landscape the pressure is on employers to not only offer an attractive salary, but also additional benefits.”  A government spokesman said: “EU citizens make a huge contribution to our economy and we have been clear from the beginning of this process that we want these citizens and their families in the UK to be able to stay.
 
“After we leave the EU, the UK will continue to be the open country it has always been. We will have in place an immigration system that delivers control over who comes to the UK, but that welcomes the brightest and best who want to work hard and contribute.”
  • The Guardian
 
Humanitarian ship seeks European port for rescued migrants
 
ON BOARD THE AQUARIUS (Reuters) - Human rights groups called on European governments on Sunday to tell a charity ship where it can dock and let more than 140 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean disembark in safety.  The Aquarius, run by Franco-German charity SOS Mediterranee and Doctors without Borders (MSF), rescued 141 people in two separate operations off the Libyan coast last week.  The boat had just started heading north on Sunday toward Europe when Libyan coastguards called it back to pick up 10 migrants spotted aboard a small fiberglass boat.
 
As that rescue was underway, SOS Mediterranee and MSF asked for guidance on where to take those they had saved.
"What is of utmost importance is that the survivors are brought to a place of safety without delay, where their basic needs can be met and where they can be protected from abuse," said Nick Romaniuk, search and rescue coordinator for SOS Mediterranee.  The Aquarius has operated in the central Mediterranean since early 2016 and says it has helped more than 29,000 people in distress, many of them African migrants, who, until this summer, were brought swiftly to Italy without any incident.
 
However, when a populist government took office in Rome in June, it immediately shut its ports to all NGO boats, accusing them of encouraging illegal immigration and helping human smugglers -- charges the charities deny.  In June, the orange-hulled Aquarius picked up 629 migrants, including scores of children and seven pregnant women, but first Italy and then Malta refused to let it dock, provoking a row within the heart of the European Union over immigration policy.
 
Spain eventually agreed to take in the boat, but there was no indication of where the Aquarius might head on Sunday, with Malta immediately refusing it access and Italy saying at the weekend it would not be welcome at any of its ports.  SOS Mediterranee and MSF accused the Libyan coastguard on Sunday of endangering lives by not telling the Aquarius there were boats close to it that were in distress. They also said other ships in the area had apparently ignored the migrants.
 
"Ships might be unwilling to respond to those in distress due to the high risk of being stranded and denied a place of safety," said Aloys Vimard, MSF's project coordinator on board the Aquarius.
 
"Policies designed to prevent people from reaching Europe at all costs are resulting in more suffering and forcing those who are already vulnerable to take even riskier journeys to safety."  More than 650,000 migrants have come to Italy's shores since 2014, but the numbers of new arrivals have plunged over the past year, with Rome encouraging the Libyan coastguard to carry out most of the rescues.
  • Reuters
     
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Headlines Friday 10th August 2018
 
Port of Rotterdam: Bow Jubail Oil Spill Clean-Up Will Last until Mid-2019
 
The cleanup operation of the heavy-fuel oil that spilled from Odfjell’s chemical tanker Bow Jubail at the end of June is expected to last until the middle of 2019, according to the Port of Rotterdam Authority.
 
The tanker vessel leaked over 200 tonnes of fuel oil in the port of Rotterdam following the collision that took place on June 23.
 
The port authority said on Thursday it would replace a section of the slopes stretching over more than 9 kilometers that had been contaminated by the Bow Jubail oil spill. As disclosed, the decision on the slope removal has been made due to the inability to clean the slopes with hot water as majority of volatile component from the fuel oil had evaporated by now. Therefore, the removal has been identified as a cheaper option than cleaning.
 
As for the rest of the port infrastructure, quay walls, jetties, buoys and poles can in general be cleaned, as these surfaces can be sprayed with cleaning agents directly under high pressure, the port authority added.
 
The Port of Rotterdam has almost 75 kilometres of quay wall and more than 200 kilometres of slopes.
 
“At the moment, cleaning is still focused on those sections of the port infrastructure that have not yet been cleaned as they did not restrict shipping from and to the terminals concerned,” the release reads.
 
The last restrictions on shipping caused by the water pollution were lifted a month ago.
 
The Port Authority announced earlier that the damage resulting from the oil spill is estimated at around EUR 80 million. The port plans to recover this damage from Odfjell, the owner of Bow Jubail.
 
“We will do everything in our power to recover these damages. Society here cannot be left to pay for this,” the port authority’s Chief Operations Officer (COO) Ronald Paul says.
 
Speaking to World Maritime News, Harald Fotland, Odfjell SE’s COO, expressed deep regret for the incident and its impact on local industry and environment.
 
  • World Maritime News
 
Oil dips on trade dispute, Iran sanctions tighten outlook
 
Oil prices fell on Friday on worries that global trade disputes will slow economic growth and demand for fuel, but losses were limited by U.S. sanctions against Iran which look set to tighten supply.
 
Benchmark Brent crude oil LCOc1 was down 50 cents a barrel at $71.57 by 0725 GMT. U.S. light crude CLc1 was 40 cents lower at $66.41 a barrel.
 
Escalating trade tensions are casting a shadow over the outlook for economic growth and pushing up the dollar, the currency in which oil is traded internationally, making it more expensive for consumers using other currencies.
 
Major emerging economies including China, India and Turkey have all seen their currencies slump.
 
“Oil, like other commodities, is responding to dollar strength this morning,” Harry Tchilinguirian, head of oil strategy at French bank BNP Paribas in London, told Reuters Global Oil Forum.
 
For the week, Brent is set for a near 2 percent fall, while U.S. light crude is heading for a drop of nearly 3 percent.
 
Although crude was removed from the list, replaced by refined products and liquefied petroleum gas, analysts say Chinese imports of U.S. crude will fall significantly.
 
China’s automobile sales fell 4.0 percent in July from a year earlier to 1.89 million vehicles, an industry association said on Friday, amid rising concern over the potential fallout of the Sino-U.S. trade spat.
 
While the demand outlook was getting gloomier, supplies are likely to tighten with the introduction of U.S. sanctions against Iran, which from November will also include oil exports.  Although the European Union, China and India all oppose sanctions, many are expected to bow to American pressure.  Analysts expect Iranian crude exports to fall by between 500,000 and 1.3 million barrels per day, with buyers in Japan, South Korea and India already dialling back orders.
 
The total reduction will depend on whether major buyers of Iranian oil in Asia receive sanctions waivers that would still allow some imports.  It is not clear whether China, the biggest buyer of Iranian crude, will bow to U.S. pressure.
 
  • Reuters
 
CBI urges government to drop 'blunt target' on immigration numbers
 
The Confederation of British Industry has urged Theresa May to drop her “blunt target” on immigration numbers and introduce new freedom of movement rules for EU citizens post-Brexit to ensure firms, large and small, can stay in business when the UK leaves the bloc.
 
Outlining the results of a major consultation with business leaders, Josh Hardie, the CBI’s deputy director general, said companies believed an injection of honesty was urgently needed in the political debate about migration.
 
In a report, published on Friday, the CBI argues that the nation’s needs are more complex than simply ensuring that the UK could attract the “brightest and best”.
 
It calls for new rules for EU citizens to keep open the pipeline of migrant workers in all sectors including agriculture, hospitality, construction, the NHS and the creative industries; and an easing of the policy for non-EU workers to give small businesses, unable to afford the visas or deal with Home Office red tape, a chance to plug any gaps arising from Brexit.
 
The CBI’s report on immigration comes weeks after a cabinet split on post-Brexit immigration policy, with the former home secretary Amber Rudd’s plans to give EU citizens preferential treatment reportedly scrapped in June by her successor, Sajid Javid.
 
The CBI report – Open and Controlled, A New Approach to Migration – concludes that a root and branch change is needed in Britain’s immigration approach following what it says was an “extensive” consultation with employers and trade associations representing 124,000 firms.  It argues that May’s long-held immigration target of 100,000 migrants a year is not viable; that rules on visas for non-EU workers are too expensive and too restrictive; and a new EU citizens-only policy needs to be developed to keep the economy on the road.
 
While recognising that immigration “has also given rise to legitimate public concern about the pressure it creates on public services and on society”, the report says leaving the EU will mean “momentous change” for business which should be addressed properly by the government.
 
Shifting the tone of the debate to focus on the positive benefits of migration will help build public trust, it says.
 
The CBI argues that immigration has “delivered significant economic benefit to the UK” over the past 50 years and maintaining access to people and skills was “a high priority for business in the UK as it prepares to leave the EU”.  The report reflects findings from research and surveys of 18 different sectors, one of the largest consultations of its kind. It says a pragmatic approach to migration will secure Britain’s future as a country open for business and foreign-inward investment.
 
The CBI argues that simply extending the current approach to non-EU citizens to all migrants will be unworkable for business as the current tier-2 visa system involves a cap on numbers coming to Britain each month and is tilted in favour of higher earners.
 
It recommends registration for all EU citizens migrating to the UK following Brexit and to restrict their stay to three months unless they can prove they are working, studying or self-sufficient.
 
  • The Guardian
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Headlines Thursday 9th August 2018
 
Thrive inks UK wind deal
 
Thrive Renewables is to provide 0.8MW of electricity to Bristol Energy from the Clayfords wind farm located near Strichen in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
Supply will start in September for one year and deliver approximately 2.26 gigawatt-hours of power.
 
Clayfords is a single-turbine facility and has been operational since 2015, Thrive said.
 
Bristol Energy origination manager Simon Proctor said: “Deals like this help us to offer even more green energy to our customers, at a competitive price – making renewable energy more accessible for everyone.
 
“Thrive is a well-established, trusted partner. The fact that they are local and funded by a community of 6250 investors – many of whom live in Bristol and south west – is another way that we can support our city, and boost the circular economy.”
 
Thrive's Matthew Clayton said: “Thrive exists to offer individuals a rewarding connection with sustainable energy, so having the opportunity to provide our renewable power to a company like Bristol Energy, with similar values to us is extremely rewarding.
 
“Deals – such as this one – with independent renewable energy providers enable an increasing pool of people to benefit from affordable, green electricity in their homes.”
 
Bristol Energy supplies power to more than 76,000 homes across the UK
  • ReNews
 
RockRose Energy in Arran field swoop. FDP in September
 
London-listed oil company RockRose Energy is set to buy Dana Petroleum’s interests in offshore blocks in the UK North Sea, containing the Arran field.
 
Under the sale and purchase agreement signed, RockRose will acquire a 20.43% interest in blocks, 23/11a, 23/16b and 23/16c, from the Arran field opertor Dana Petroleum for a nominal consideration.
 
Arran is a gas condensate field located in the central North Sea approximately 240 km east of Aberdeen and approximately 3 km from the United Kingdom (UK)/Norway median line
 
RockRose said on Thursday will fund its share of the planned development of the Arran field through the Group’s existing cashflow.
 
The acquisition adds a further 5.7 mmboe 2P Reserves to RockRose and 3,500 boepd of initial production to the Group post development. RockRose will be partnered in the field by Shell UK, Zennor North Sea Ltd and Dyas UK. The acquisition does not involve Operatorship of the development. RockRose did not say who would take over the operatorship.
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
Britain walks Brexit high wire over financial services
 
Britain must avoid tying Brussels up in red tape or antagonising its soon to be former European Union partners and the United States if it is to maintain access to the bloc’s financial services market after Brexit.
 
At risk is Britain’s biggest financial services export market, which was worth a record 26 billion pounds last year out of total sector exports of 60 billion pounds.  Brexit will mean banks, insurers and asset managers in Britain losing the unfettered access to the bloc’s customers they currently have under EU “passporting” rules.
 
However a transition deal, if it can be agreed between Britain and the rest of the EU, would allow passporting to continue after Brexit next March until the end of 2020. After that, a new trade agreement covering all economic sectors would be needed, although its outline has yet to be agreed.
 
Britain is seeking future financial trade based on a more generous version of the existing equivalence system for firms from non-EU states, such as the United States and Japan, where domestic regulation is aligned closely enough with the bloc’s.  Karel Lannoo, chief executive of Brussels think tank CEPS, said accommodating Britain would put political pressure on the EU to improve access for other non-EU states and annoy Norway, which pays for EU market access.
 
Seventy percent of financial services currently passported between EU states are not covered by equivalence, including commercial lending, deposit taking, payments, asset management and core insurance, meaning firms must pay up to open new EU hubs or face a severe loss of market.
 
Brussels knows it is treading a delicate line when it comes to amending equivalence - it has already had clashes with the United States over clearing houses, and with Switzerland over stock exchanges - and U.S. regulators warn that their equivalence agreements must not be disrupted by Brexit deals.  Around 100 EU rules would need amending to broaden equivalence, potentially tying up EU legislators for years.
  • Reuters
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Headlines Wednesday 8th August 2018
 
North Sea Oil Rig Strikes Hit Total
 
The British trade union Unite announced a strike on the Alwyn, Dunbar and Elgin platforms in the North Sea yesterday.  Unite’s regional officer Wullie Wallace said that talks were planned for this Thursday between union members and the French energy giant Total to discuss pay and a new shift rota.
 
Production data from the Oil and Gas Authority indicates that the three fields pump out more than 70,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.  At the Brent price, that works out at about £4 million a day.  “All rigs are shut down with no production,” the union said.
 
Last month Unite announced a series of strike days on the platforms with yesterday’s event lasting 24 hours. The next strikes on the platforms are scheduled for August 13 (for 12 hours) and August 20 (24 hours).  A 24-hour strike on July 23 and a stoppage for 12 hours on July 30 have already been held on Alwyn, Dunbar and Elgin. A continuous ban on overtime has also been enforced since July 23.
 
Despite the strikes, coupled with proposed action on Equinor’s Mariner rig, the North Sea sector is “not at panic stage”, according to an observer.  Tension between Total and its workforce have been rising since the French oil and gas major announced it would boost security after a week of disagreement with employees after a wage review, proposed changes to shift patterns and anger over the Total’s plans to host a company barbecue while redundancies were being carried out.
 
In June, Unite announced that its members employed by Total on the North Sea oil and gas platforms were set to begin strikes in July to demand better pay and shift patterns.  BMI Research said in July that the increasing scale and repetition of strikes in the North Sea raised operational risks to both the timelines of new project developments and to the chances of long-term investment.
 
It was reported last month that Total was selling a third of its stake in the Laggan Tormore gas field along with other oil and gas assets in Britain’s North Sea that could fetch around US$1.5 billion.
 
The divestment will include stakes in a number of smaller fields Total acquired as part of last year’s US$4.95-billion deal to buy the oil and gas division of AP Moller-Maersk, Reuters reported. The deal was completed this March.
  • Oil and Gas People
 
Shell drills duster in Norwegian Sea
 
Oil company Shell has failed to find hydrocarbons at its wildcat well 6304/3-1 in the Norwegian Sea.
 
The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate on Wednesday said the well, located in the license 832, was dry.
Shell used the Scarabeo 8 semi-submersible drilling rig for the operation, hoping to prove petroleum in Lower Paleocene to Upper Cretaceous reservoir rocks in the Egga and Springar formation.
 
According to the NPD, the well encountered a total of about 9-meter thick reservoir rocks in the Egga and Springar formation with poor reservoir quality.  This is the first exploration well in production license 832. The licence was awarded in APA 2015.  NPD said the well was drilled to a vertical depth of 3604 meters below the sea surface and was terminated in the Nise formation in the Upper Cretaceous. Water depth at the site is 1228 meters. The well be permanently plugged and abandoned.
 
Worth noting, this is the second dry well in a row drilled by Shell using the Scarabeo 8 rig. NPD in July said Shell had hit a dry well near the Knarr field in the North Sea.  The Scarabeo 8 drilling facility, which will now drill wildcat well 6406/6-5 in production licence 225 B in the Norwegian Sea where Total E&P Norge is the operator.
The operation is expected to take 90 days to complete. The well will target a prospect named Jasper in a water depth of around 267 meters.
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
UK firms struggle to hire with Brexit, record low jobless rate
 
The number of people recruited for permanent jobs in Britain grew at its slowest pace in nine months in July, reflecting record low unemployment and a shortage of migrant workers from the European Union, a recruiters’ body said on Wednesday.
A monthly survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) showed there was no lack of appetite for hiring among employers, as the number of vacancies grew at the fastest pace since November 2017.  Britain’s unemployment rate has tumbled to its lowest level since 1975 at 4.2 percent and many employers have reported a shortage of EU migrants available for work since the Brexit vote in June 2016.
 
An REC spokeswoman said companies were continuing to flag the problem of fewer EU candidates for jobs in Britain.  Official data has shown that the number of EU immigrants to Britain fell to a five-year low last year.  The REC survey showed rising pay for newly hired permanent staff, albeit to a lesser extent than in previous months.  Employers picked up the pace of hiring of temporary workers and their pay rose too, REC said.
 
The Bank of England said last week it expected pay growth for the workforce as a whole to increase gradually over the next three years as Britain’s economy operates close to full capacity. This risk of the economy overheating was why it raised borrowing costs for only the second time since the global financial crisis.
  • Reuters
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Headlines Tuesday 7th August 2018
 
Saudi Aramco Resumes Oil Shipments through Bab-El-Mandeb Strait
 
Saudi Arabian oil major Saudi Aramco has resumed oil shipments through Bab-El-Mandeb Strait that were halted at the end of July after the attacks on two very large crude oil tankers.
 
“The company will continue to monitor the situation and remain ready to take necessary actions in efforts to constantly ensure the safety and reliability of supply to its customers through its wide network which has the flexibility to export oil through multiple ports,” Saudi Aramco said, adding it would take all necessary actions to safeguard people, assets and the environment.
 
Lifting of the suspension comes after the Houthi movement announced it would suspend Red Sea attacks for two weeks as a sign of good will and support to the peace efforts, Reuters informed last week.
The suspension of attacks could be extended should the talks with the Saudi-led coalition prove to be fruitful.  Two VLCCs, operated by the Saudi National Shipping Company (Bahri) were targeted by Houthi fighters and one of them suffered minor damage while underway in the Red Sea on July 25.
 
The crude carriers were transporting Saudi Aramco’s crude oil when they were attacked.  Fortunately, there were no injuries or oil spill reported.  The conflict in Yemen has been ongoing since 2015, and it has claimed the lives of over 10,000 people, according to the United Nations. The country’s ports have been subjected to several attacks and closures as a result.
  • World Maritime News
 
Genel Energy sees significant output boost in 2019
 
Iraqi Kurdistan-focused Genel Energy (GENL.L) is likely to significantly increase its oil production guidance next year, Chief Financial Officer Esa Ikaheimonen said on Tuesday.
 
The output boost is expected to come from 11 wells currently being drilled in three fields in the region, eight of which are expected to begin producing this year.  Genel on Tuesday reaffirmed its 2018 production guidance of 32,800 barrels of oil per day.
 
 “We maintained that guidance ...signalling that even with the existing level we would exceed guidance,” Ikaheimonen told Reuters.
 
“There is a good chance that we enter the new year with a significantly updated level of production,” he added.
  • Reuters
 
Scotland’s first minister says ‘scare tactics’ should not be used as a negotiating ploy with the EU
 
The Scottish first minister complained that there had been “no visible progress” in the divorce talks since the Chequers plan was unveiled in July and told May that she needed to spell out the future relationship the UK sought to have with the EU.  “A no-deal Brexit would be utterly unacceptable and deeply damaging, but by talking it up as a negotiating tactic there is a very real danger it becomes a reality,” Sturgeon warned.
 
The SNP leader said it would not be enough to secure a simple exit agreement with the EU if it did not prove possible to complete all the divorce negotiations in time for March 2019. That would risk “a blind Brexit – which will see the UK step off the cliff edge next March without knowing what landing place will be”.  No 10 sources described Sturgeon’s response as predictable rhetoric ahead of an afternoon meeting on Tuesday between the first minister and May that was not even confirmed until lunchtime on Monday. Pinning down arrangements for meetings between the two frequently goes down to the last minute.
 
Ministers, led by the prime minister, have repeatedly referred to planning for a no-deal Brexit in the last week as the UK tries to strengthen its negotiating hand, including dire warnings that plans are being drawn up to stockpile food and medicines if the country were to crash out of the EU.  But Sturgeon said that no deal was a “catastrophic prospect” and that while ministers have focused “on the scare tactics of no deal” the UK had not achieved any results beyond making the prospect more likely.  The first minister said that May had “promised a detailed statement on the future relationship with the EU alongside the withdrawal agreement, so parliament and the people would know where the UK is going”. She added: “Parliament cannot be asked to make the decision on withdrawal without details on what the future relationship will look like.”
 
Financial markets are taking the no deal warnings increasingly seriously. On Monday, the pound fell to its lowest level in nearly a year against the dollar, tumbling by three quarters of a cent to hit $1.2920, as the market worried about the slow pace of Brexit talks and the potential impact of a collapse in the negotiations.
  • The Guardian
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Headlines Monday 6th August 2018
 
China to Hit Back with 25 Pct Tariffs on LNG Imports from US
 
In response to the new wave of tariffs announced by the United States, China plans to fight back with USD 60 billion worth countermeasures, targeting, among others, the imports of liquefied natural gas from the U.S.
 
The Chinese Ministry of Finance announced on Friday, August 3, that it plans to impose 25 percent tariffs on LNG imports from the U.S. The new retaliatory tariffs would also impact copper (25 pct tariff increase), agriculture, as well as power/renewables.  The exact implementation date of the new tariffs is yet to be announced as Beijing awaits the official move of the Trump administration.
 
The escalation of the trade war between the two countries comes on the back of the 10 percent tariffs the U.S. imposed on July 11. What is more, the U.S. Government announced on August 2, that it plans to heighten these measures with an additional tax increase from 10 to 25 percent, impacting Chinese imports worth USD 200 billion.  The Chinese ministry said such actions were in violation of the consensus between the two countries and the trade rules agreed by the World Trade Organization (WTO).  As such, China is considering a move where it would hurt the U.S. the most- LNG exports.
 
The buoyant LNG exports, aided by the expanded Panama Canal, have supported Trump’s ambitions of making the U.S. an energy leader.  In 2017, the country ramped up its production and quadrupled the amount of LNG shipped across the globe year-on-year. China imported 15 pct of the total amount of LNG shipped by the U.S. last year, making it the third top importer of LNG together with Mexico and South Korea, data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows.
 
The U.S. is expected to account for 40% of the world’s extra gas production to 2022, thanks to its shale industry growth, based on the International Energy Agency (IEA), which predicts U.S would compete with Australia and Qatar in global LNG supply.
 
However, it should be noted that China is expected to drive global demand for gas accounting for up to 40 percent of the global share. Therefore, the new tariffs on LNG, if enforced, are likely to impact the country’s liquefied natural gas sector considerably.
  • World Maritime News Staff
 
Conservative MPs who called for onshore wind ‘ban’ out of step with constituents, poll reveals
 
​MPs who called for an end to onshore wind farms are "out of step" with their own constituents’ views, according to a new poll.   Three years ago 79 Conservative parliamentarians signed an open letter in which they called for a block on new onshore developments in England.  After their election victory, the government changed planning rules and barred onshore wind developers from competing for subsidies - which amounted to an effective ban for the technology.
 
However, new polling conducted for green campaign group 10:10 Climate Action, suggests their constituents largely disagree with them.  Nearly three quarters of people across their constituencies supported onshore wind and nearly the same proportion said they would be happy to live within five miles of turbines.  Only six per cent would actively oppose developments, contradicting the government’s assertion that communities in England do not want new wind turbines in their vicinity.
Most people were unaware that new developments had been blocked, with only 12 per cent aware of the measures the government has introduced.
 
The findings were revealed after another poll commissioned by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit from YouGov showed that just eight per cent of MPs know that onshore wind farms are now the cheapest way to add electricity generating capacity in the UK.  The same poll found that MPs consistently overestimate opposition to onshore wind.
 
While government figures show just two per cent of the population “strongly” opposes the technology, half of polled MPs thought the proportion of the population was closer to a fifth or 20 per cent.  The government has tweaked its own rules to allow wind projects in remote regions such Scottish islands to compete for subsidies, but the block is effectively cemented in most of the country for the foreseeable future.
  • The Independent
 
Sterling falls after UK trade minister says Britain headed towards no-deal Brexit
 
The pound on Monday sank to its lowest in nearly three weeks following a stronger dollar and comments by officials suggesting Britain could crash out of the European Union next year without securing a trade deal.
 
Sterling fell to $1.2970, its lowest since July 19, down 0.2 percent on the day. GBP=D3 It was the biggest loser against the greenback among major currencies in early London trading.
 
The UK trade minister Liam Fox, a prominent Brexit supporter, said over the weekend the odds of Britain leaving the EU without agreeing on a deal stood at 60-40.
  • Reuters
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Headlines Friday 3rd August 2018
 
Norled Orders Two More Diesel Electric Hybrid Ferries at Remontowa
 
Norway’s ferry company Norled, part of the DSD Group, has ordered two more double ended diesel electric hybrid ferries from Polish Remontowa Shipbuilding, LMG Marin said.
 
The two sister ships, based on the LMG 120-DEH design, were ordered less than a month after the signing of the shipbuilding contract for the first two units.  As informed, the newbuildings will operate on the Mannheller-Fodnes connection.  Compared to the two first ships intended for the Festøya-Solavågen route, these vessels will feature two modifications. Since the Mannheller-Fodnes route is shorter, the capacity of the battery pack will be reduced by approximately 20%.  At the same time, the vessels will be certified to carry more passengers with the maximum being 395 persons.
 
According to LMG Marin which will deliver the complete Class documentation, the design LMG 120-DEH features many energy efficient solutions including general use of heat recovery, full LED lighting, electric power transmission, demand-dependent HVAC system, low resistance hull design and weight optimized construction.
  • World Maritime News
 
5,500 UK churches switch to renewable energy
 
Churches estimated to have diverted £5m from fossil fuels to clean energy providers
 
More than 5,500 churches including some of the UK’s most famous cathedrals have converted to renewable power to help tackle climate change.  Church of England places of worship, along with Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Quaker and Salvation Army congregations, have made the switch to 100% renewable electricity, and faith leaders are urging more to follow suit.  
Fifteen Anglican cathedrals including Salisbury, Southwark, St Albans, Liverpool, Coventry and York Minster are among the buildings signed up to green electricity tariffs.
Church leaders said climate change was “one of the great moral challenges of our time” and hurt the poor first and worst.
With the average annual church electricity bill around £1,000, British churches have diverted more than £5m from fossil fuels to clean energy providers, it is estimated.
 
The number of cathedrals running on 100% renewable electricity is down to the Church of England’s procurement group, Parish Buying.  Other churches have made the move through the Big Church Switch campaign run by the Christian charities Christian Aid and Tearfund and the Church of England’s environment programme.
 
Nicholas Holtam, the bishop of Salisbury and the Church of England’s lead bishop on the environment, said: “It’s fantastic to see churches doing their bit to ensure they reduce their impact on the environment. They are also giving a boost to clean energy, which is essential to reduce harmful carbon emissions.”  Rowan Williams, the former archbishop of Canterbury and the chair of Christian Aid, said the Church of England had agreed to sell its shares in fossil fuel companies not on track to meet the aims of the Paris agreement on tackling climate change.
 
“Churches are part of a global network and so are often very aware of the plight of our brothers and sisters suffering from droughts, floods and extreme weather around the world,” he said.  He urged the government to set a target to cut UK emissions to zero by 2050 to ensure Britain “remains a green and pleasant land at home and a climate leader abroad”.
  • The Guardian
 
Britain's RBS announces first dividend in a decade
 
Britain’s Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) will pay its first dividend since its near-collapse and state bailout in 2008, paving the way for the government to further reduce its stake in the lender.
 
Taxpayer-owned RBS said it would pay an interim dividend of 2 pence per share, subject to the finalization of a $4.9 billion settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) over the bank’s sale of mortgage-backed securities in the run up to the financial crisis.  Until its agreement in May, the looming settlement had blocked RBS’s return to dividends, excluding a whole class of income-focused investors from buying its stock.
 
Announcing the bank’s half-year results, RBS CEO Ross McEwan said the bank was now looking to return further excess capital to shareholders, including via special dividends or share buy backs, from 2019.  “Our intention has always been to get capital back into the hands of shareholders,” he said on a conference call with reporters, adding that the bank would want to look at the potential impact of Brexit before making any major payouts.
 
The British government still holds a 62.4 percent stake in RBS, acquired with a 45.5 billion pound ($59.1 billion) state bailout during the financial crisis.  The interim dividend payment would return 150 million pounds to government coffers, according to a Reuters calculation.  It also expands the market for future government share sales by enabling a broader array of investors to look at buying the bank’s shares.
 
RBS stock however has not performed well recently, dropping around 7.5 percent between the first government share sale in June and Friday’s results announcement.
The bank’s shares had risen almost 3 percent to 257.5 pence at 0745 GMT on Friday.
  • Reuters
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Headlines Thursday 2nd August 2018
 
Teekay Offshore Partners Confirms Two More Shuttle Tanker Orders
 
Teekay Offshore Partners has brought its ordering tally at Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) to six shuttle tankers, the company confirmed.  Namely, in July 2018, Teekay Offshore Partners signed a contract with SHI for two additional LNG-fueled Aframax DP2 shuttle tanker newbuildings.  The duo is due for delivery in late-2020 and early-2021.
 
World Maritime News reported on the order in early July , however when asked for a comment Teekay’s spokesperson said it could not confirm the deal.
The first units from the batch were ordered in August 2017 in a contract covering two firm and two optional units.
The additional two shuttle tankers were ordered in November 2017, bringing the construction cost of the quartet to USD 265 million.
  • World Maritime News Staff
 
Serco says to weather UK 'hiatus', meets first-half expectations
 
British outsourcing company Serco (SRP.L) met first-half profit expectations on Thursday and kept its 2018 guidance while highlighting a focus on foreign contracts and cost-cutting to compensate for a “hiatus” in UK public outsourcing.  Revenue at 1.37 billion pounds was down 5.6 percent on a constant currency basis while underlying trading profit rose 20 percent to 37.6 million pounds, meeting company guidance.
 
Serco, which runs prisons, provides border security, operates ferries and trains as well as payslip administration, canteen and cleaning services in public hospitals, said growth in 2019 revenue would be broadly flat.  Beyond that point its performance “will be more dependent on our ability to grow revenues and to convert loss-making contracts into profitable contracts on rebid.”
 
“We can and will partly compensate for a weaker organic revenue outlook through increased actions on the cost base,” said Chief Executive Rupert Soames.
 
The company is hoping that the debt-cutting and streamlining plan initiated in 2014 will soon start to reap more robust growth.  Soames added that Serco in Britain, which accounts for 40 percent of group revenue, would weather “a market hiatus caused by a combination of Brexit and market dysfunction” because the services it provides are non-discretionary.  It also plans to turn its efforts to foreign markets, which made up 80 percent of its new order intake in the first half.  Soames said he saw “significant opportunities” in public contracting overseas.
 
Serco shares have risen 18 percent in the past six months.
  • Reuters
 
Barclays second quarter profits soar, boosts dividend
 
Barclays (BARC.L) second quarter pretax profits have almost trebled compared with a year ago, the lender said on Thursday, beating analysts’ expectations as it avoided the heavy restructuring and legal costs that blighted past results.
 
Barclays reported pretax profit of 1.9 billion pounds ($2.49 billion) for the three months from April-June, up from 659 million pounds a year ago and higher than the 1.46 billion average of analysts’ estimates compiled by the bank.  The results showed signs of promise for long-suffering Barclays investors in the underlying profitability of the bank, as Chief Executive Jes Staley battles to grow revenues while avoiding the costly misconduct of the past.
 
“It is the first quarter for some time with no significant litigation or conduct charges, restructuring costs, or other exceptional expenses which hit profitability,” Staley said in a statement.  Income in the lender’s under-pressure investment bank rose 1 percent in the first half of 2018, driven by a strong performance in the equities division, where revenues rose by 30 percent.  Barclays’ core capital ratio, a key measure of financial strength, rose to 13 percent, just above analaysts’ average forecast of 12.9 percent. That number had been depleted by fines and misconduct costs and a source of concern for investors in recent months, fuelling speculation the bank might need to raise fresh capital.  The bank said it would pay an interim dividend of 2.5 pence per share, and said it is on track to pay 6.5 pence per share for the full year.
  • Reuters
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Headlines Wednesday 1st August 2018
 
BAE Systems sticks to annual forecast
 
Britain’s biggest defence company BAE Systems (BAES.L) stuck to its forecast for flat earnings this year, saying that some issues at U.S. projects and in its maritime unit would be offset by a stronger performance from other parts of the business.  BAE, which is building Britain’s new nuclear submarines, manufactures Eurofighter Typhoon jets and provides electronics for the F-35 combat jet, posted a 2 percent drop in underlying earnings per share to 19.8 pence for the half year period.  For the full-year it is aiming to match the 43.5 pence it made in 2017, and it said it was on course to do so, adding that it expected to see some additional benefit from exchange translation.
 
The company, which won a $26 billion (£19.83 billion) contract to build war ships for Australia in June, signalled its confidence by lifting its interim dividend by 2 percent to 9 pence per share.
 
“With a large order book and a positive outlook for defence budgets in a number of key markets, we have a strong foundation to deliver growth and sustainable cash flow,” Chief Executive Charles Woodburn said in a statement on Wednesday.  The company said higher earnings from its electronic systems unit, which provides equipment for combat jets like engine controls, surveillance and night vision systems, and its cyber and intelligence business would offset problems elsewhere.  Those issues included extra costs on a programme to deliver five patrol vessels for Britain, and challenges with a subcontractor in factories that make equipment for the U.S. Army. BAE said it had taken steps to address these issues.
  • Reuters
 
Silversea Cruises Joins the RCL Family
 
The ultra-luxury and expedition cruising company, Silversea Cruises, has officially joined the family of Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL).
 
On July 31, the companies informed that they have closed on RCL’s acquisition of a two-thirds stake in Silversea after receiving final approval from regulators.  The investment unites two leading players in the cruise industry and fills out RCL’s portfolio of cruise brands across all key market segments.
 
“We are proud to officially welcome Silversea’s industry-leading team to the RCL family,” said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
Regulators green-lighted Royal Caribbean’s purchase of a 66.7% equity stake in Silversea Cruises, based on an enterprise value of approximately USD 2 billion. Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio will remain Executive Chairman of Silversea and retain a 33.3% stake.
 
The companies also announced Project Invictus, a multi-year initiative to take Silversea’s ultra-luxury offerings to the next level. Project Invictus enhancements range from product upgrades to magnified ship revitalization programs.
 
The first Invictus enhancements will begin rolling out on the Silver Muse on August 19. Immediately thereafter, these and other enhancements will be implemented fleet wide, impacting a wide variety of onboard features and strengthening Silversea’s reputation.  Silversea’s growing fleet of ultra-luxury ships will also benefit from an upgrade. The planned renovation of Silver Whisper in December 2018 will be much more comprehensive than initially anticipated. Moreover, Silversea’s Silver Wind will also enter into an enhanced dry dock in December 2018.
  • World Maritime News
 
Lloyds hit by further £460m PPI payout
 
Lloyds Banking Group had to pay out a further £460m in PPI compensation between April and June, its latest results have revealed.  The bank put aside a total of £550m in the six-month period to June 30, to provide compensation Lloyds customers who were mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI).
 
Lloyds Bank said the additional half-billion pound provision in the second quarter will cover claims currently at a rate of approximately 13,000 per week, until the compensation deadline in August 2019.
 
The latest compensation round takes the total amount paid by the banking group to clear up the PPI scandal to £19.2bn.  The banking group said: "The charge in the second quarter is largely driven by a potentially higher total volume of complaints and associated administration costs due to higher reactive complaint volumes received over the past six months and ongoing volatility."  The group said that it has sold approximately 16 million PPI policies since 2000, which includes both legitimate and mis-sold policies.
 
Lloyds would not rule out the possibility of having to increase the PPI compensation pot further, saying that "a number of risks and uncertainties remain including with respect to future volumes".
 
It also said that in the year up to the compensation deadline in August 2019, for every additional 1,000 complaints per week above the current weekly average of 13,000, the group would expect to incur an additional charge of £150m.
  • Sky News
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Headlines Tuesday 31st July 2018
 
BP second-quarter profit above expectations at $2.8 billion
 
Higher oil prices and increased output boosted BP’s (BP.L) second-quarter profit to $2.8 billion, four times that of a year ago.  The company also confirmed it would increase its quarterly dividend for the first time in nearly four years, offering 10.25 cents a share.
 
BP is turning a corner after the slump in oil prices and as it gradually shakes off a $65 billion bill for penalties and clean up costs of the deadly 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill.  Underlying replacement cost profit, the company’s definition of net income, exceeded forecasts of $2.7 billion, according to a company-provided survey of analysts.  It earned $0.7 billion a year earlier and $2.6 billion in the first quarter.
 
First-half production rose to 3,662 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, including output at Rosneft, from 3,544 mboe/d a year ago.  Benchmark Brent crude futures LCOc1, currently over $74 a barrel, have risen around 16 percent over the first half of 2018 and around 60 percent since June 30 2017.
 
In its biggest deal in nearly 20 years, BP last week agreed to buy U.S. shale oil and gas assets from global miner BHP Billiton (BLT.L), (BHP.AX) for $10.5 billion, expanding the British oil major’s footprint in oil-rich onshore basins.  BP is also buying back shares to the tune of $200 million in the first half of this year.
 
In the second quarter, it paid off $700 million for the spill on a post-tax basis.  Gearing, the ratio between debt and BP’s market value, declined to 27.8 percent at the end of the quarter from 28.1 percent at the end of March. Net debt was $39.3 billion at the end of June compared with $40 billion at the end of March.
  • Reuters
 
Baleària Upgrading Five Ferries to Run on LNG
 
Spanish ferry operator Baleària is to invest EUR 60 million (USD 70.3 million) to retrofit five of its ferries to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG) in an effort to cut pollution from ships.  Namely, the ferries Nápoles, Abel Matutes, Sicilia, Bahama Mama and Martín i Soler are scheduled to undergo the upgrades over the next two years.
 
Baleària said that the of LNG in these five vessels is expected to reduce more than 45,000 tons of CO2 annually, 4,400 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and eliminate sulfur and particulate emissions completely.  Nápoles, which would be the first to be fitted with gas propulsion, is to start the upgrade in the winter 2018.
 
Additionally, Baleària is studying two other LNG projects and is building two smart ships at the Visentini shipyard in Italy, the first of which will be operational as of February 2019.
 
The company plans to have nine ships running on LNG in three years, Adolfo Utor, President of Baleària, informed.
  • World Maritime News
 
British Gas loses more customers in first half of 2018
 
British Gas lost 340,000 customer accounts in the UK in the first half of this year, the chief executive of the firm's parent company has told the BBC.  The lost accounts represent about 270,000 customers.
 
Iain Conn said the rate of customer losses had halved and he hoped customer numbers would stabilise, but did not give a timeframe for this to happen.  His comments came as Centrica said operating profits at its consumer business had fallen by 20% to £430m.  Shares in Centrica fell 5% in early trade.
 
British Gas still has 3.5 million customers on Standard Variable Tariffs, which are often the most expensive.  However, that number is down from 4.3 million at the start of the year as the company has encouraged customers to switch to cheaper fixed-rate deals ahead of a cap on more expensive tariffs that is expected to come into force at the end of this year.  The way the cap is worked out will be published in August and will vary around the UK according to regional market conditions. It will be reviewed and reset by the regulator, Ofgem, every six months.
  • BBC News
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Headlines Monday 30th July 2018
 
Oil prices edge higher but trade row caps gains
 
Oil prices rose on Monday with U.S. benchmark WTI moving higher after four weeks of declines, but gains were limited as the fallout from trade tensions weighed on markets.  Brent crude futures rose 13 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $74.42 by 0638 GMT, after trading lower most of the Asian session. Brent rose rose 1.7 percent last week, the first gain in four weeks.
 
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 31 cents, or 0.5 percent, at $69 a barrel. WTI fell 1.3 percent on Friday.  The U.S. economy grew at its fastest pace in nearly four years in the second quarter, but trade tensions remain high between Washington and Beijing despite an easing between the United States and the EU.
 
“Oil prices could struggle this week,” said Stephen Innes, head of trading APAC at OANDA Brokerage.
 
Saudi Arabia last week said it was suspending oil shipments through the Red Sea’s Bab al-Mandeb strait, one of the world’s most important tanker routes, after Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis attacked two ships in the waterway.  U.S. energy companies added three oil rigs in the week to July 27, the first time in the past three weeks that drillers have increased activity, data released on Friday that showed.
 
Hedge funds trimmed their bullish wagers on U.S. crude for the second week in a row to the lowest in nearly a month, data also showed on Friday, as oil prices remained volatile amid trade tensions and geopolitical risks.
 
The speculator group cut its combined futures and options position in New York and London by 11,362 contracts to 412,289 in the week to July 24, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said. That was the lowest level since late June, the data showed.2.4 percent.  Russian energy minister Alexander Novak said on Friday the market remained volatile and responded to verbal interventions, adding that the market had priced in risks related to U.S. sanctions against Iran.
 
This week brings a raft of data and central bank meetings that may give investors and indication of the state of the global economy.
  • Reuters
 
Polar Bear Killed after Attacking Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Guard
 
A polar bear has been shot dead by MS Bremen’s cruise ship guard during a shore excursion to Spitsbergen, part of Norwegian archipelago Svalbard that lies between mainland Norway and the North Pole.
 
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, the owner of the ship, ascribed the incident to self-defense as one of the four members of the landing party team was reportedly attacked by the bear. As informed, the bear had not been spotted prior to the incident and, despite attempts to scare off the wild animal, the bear would not leave. Due to the said circumstances, the guards intervened to save the attacked person and shot the bear.  The attacked guard did not sustain life-threatening injuries and has been provided with required medical treatment.
 
The company added that it was cooperating closely with the Norwegian authorities on the investigation into the incident and expressed regret that the incident occurred. Polar bears have been protected in Norway since 1973 as the species is threatened by extinction. The animal has been faced with dwindling food supplies amid shrinking of the ice habitat and warming of the seas due to the climate change.
 
Svalbard is a vast archipelago, almost the size of Denmark, and only a few landing sites have been identified safe for cruise ship companies. All cruise ship companies venturing into the Arctic have to employ bear guards to protect passengers while on sight-seeing tours. Before the sight-seeing can take place the guards are required to check the site for safety. In cases when an animal is sighted the tour is interrupted and passengers return to the ship.
 
However, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises said that polar bears are solely observed from aboard ships, keeping a safe distance from the animals.
  • World Maritime News
 
Sky Data poll: 78% think the government is doing a bad job on Brexit
 
A survey reveals the government is haemorrhaging trust over Brexit, with two-thirds thinking the outcome will be bad for Britain.  More than three-quarters of the British public - 78% - now think the government is doing a bad job negotiating Brexit, up 23 percentage points from when last asked in March this year.  Theresa May's personal approval ratings have similarly taken a substantial hit - 74% are now dissatisfied with her performance as prime minister, up 14 points, while the proportion satisfied is now at 24%, down 17 points.  And asked how good or bad a deal the government will get when Brexit negotiations are complete, two-thirds - 65% - now think they will get a bad deal for Britain - an increase of 15 points - including 51% of Leave voters.
 
On the impact of Brexit, 42% of Britons now think it will have a negative effect on themselves personally, up eight points; 18% think it will not affect them either way, and 31% think it will be good.  A majority now think that Brexit will be actively bad for the economy (52%) and the country overall (51%), a rise by four points and five points respectively.  One in three think Brexit will be good for the economy (35%), with 9% saying it won't have an impact, while 40% think Brexit will be good for the country, with 5% saying it will have no effect.
 
The public by 50% to 40% support a referendum asking the public to choose between leaving the EU with the deal suggested by the government, leaving the EU without a deal, and not leaving the EU - 10% answered don't know.
 
Asked to choose between those options, not leaving the EU would be the preferred option for 48%, with 27% preferring to leave the EU with no deal, and 13% choosing the government deal - 8% say they would not vote, 3% don't know.  Leave voters would prefer no deal to the government deal by 51% to 22%, and Conservative voters would prefer no deal to the government deal by 44% to 21%.
 
Were a referendum to take place asking for second preferences, in the final round remaining in the EU would have a clear lead over no deal Brexit by 59% to 41%, excluding those answering don't know and those who would not vote.
  • Sky News
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Headlines Friday 27th July 2018
 
BP pays $10.5 billion for BHP shale assets to beef up U.S. business
 
BP Plc (BP.L) has agreed to buy U.S. shale oil and gas assets from global miner BHP Billiton (BLT.L) (BHP.AX) for $10.5 billion, expanding the British oil major’s footprint in oil-rich onshore basins in its biggest deal in nearly 20 years.  The acquisition marks a big turning point for BP since the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, for which the company is still paying off more than $65 billion in penalties and clean-up costs.
 
“This is a transformational acquisition for our Lower 48 business, a major step in delivering our upstream strategy and a world-class addition to BP’s distinctive portfolio,” BP chief Executive Bob Dudley said in a statement.
 
In a further sign of the upturn in its fortunes, BP said it would increase its quarterly dividend for the first time in nearly four years and announced a $6 billion share buyback, to be partly funded by selling some upstream assets.  The sale ends a disastrous seven-year foray by BHP into shale on which the company effectively blew up $19 billion of shareholders’ funds. Investors led by U.S. hedge fund Elliott Management have been pressing the company to jettison the onshore assets for the past 18 months. BHP put the business up for sale last August.  The sale price was better than the $8 billion to $10 billion that analysts had expected, and investors were pleased that BHP planned to return the proceeds to shareholders.
 
“It was the wrong environment to have bought the assets when they did but this is the right market to have sold them in,” said Craig Evans, co-portfolio manager of the Tribeca Global Natural Resources Fund.
 
BHP first acquired shale assets in 2011 for more than $20 billion with the takeover of Petrohawk Energy and shale gas interests from Chesapeake Energy Corp at the peak of the oil boom. It spent a further $20 billion developing the assets, but suffered as gas and oil prices collapsed, triggering massive writedowns.  The world’s biggest miner said it would record a further one-off shale charge of about $2.8 billion post-tax in its 2018 financial year results.
  • Reuters
 
BC Ferries Looking for Builders of Five New Ferries
 
Canadian ferry owner and operator BC Ferries has issued Requests for Expressions of Interest (RFEOI) for the procurement of five new vessels to replace its aging fleet.  The bidding process is open to local, national and international shipyards, including consortia, and BC Ferries encouraged local and national companies to bid on these projects.  The company is looking to build four 81-metre Island Class ferries, each with a capacity of 450 passengers and 47 vehicles. The expected delivery date for the first two of these vessels is in 2020, followed by two more ships in 2021.
 
The second RFEOI is for the construction of one 107-metre Salish Class vessel with a capacity of 600 passengers and 138 vehicles. The expected delivery date for this vessel is in 2021.
 
Two Island Class vessels are currently under construction and three Salish Class ships joined the fleet last year. BC Ferries holds the design rights to both classes of vessels, which will be provided to shipyards.
 
“The Island Class ships will be electric hybrid propulsion, including batteries, and the Salish Class will be fueled with natural gas,” said Mark Wilson, BC Ferries’ Vice President of Strategy and Community Engagement.
 
The five new ships will replace the Bowen Queen, Mayne Queen and Powell River Queen, which will allow for the redeployment of some assets around the fleet.
  • World Maritime News
 
TSB makes £107.4m loss over notorious IT meltdown
 
The embattled bank expects its services to be back to normal in 2019 as around 26,000 customers switch to other providers.
 
TSB has said it made a loss of £107.4m in the first six months of the year following its notorious IT meltdown.
 
In its first financial update since the botched migration of 1.3 billion customer records to a new IT system in April, the bank put the cost of the debacle at £176.4m. That included bringing in IT specialists from IBM to help sort out the mess and compensating customers.  Paul Pester, the embattled boss of TSB, has previously admitted 1,300 customers suffered financial loss as fraudsters attacked vulnerabilities in its IT system.
Around 26,000 customers have moved their accounts to news banks in the second quarter, while 20,000 have joined the bank, TSB said. It has received more than 135,000 complaints since the IT switch and about 37% have been dealt with.
 
"We're making progress in resolving the service problems customers experienced following our IT migration, and we will continue to work tirelessly until we have put things right," Mr Pester said.
 
Its loss in the first six months compares to a profit of £108.3m in the same period a year earlier.  TSB's Spanish owner was also left counting the cost of chaos. Banco Sabadell made a loss of €138.7m (£123.25m) in the second quarter after taking an extraordinary charge of €201m.
 
The British bank's 1.9 million customers were locked out of their digital and mobile banking accounts following the migration of data from former owner Lloyds' IT system to a new one managed by Sabadell.
 
TSB's failure has drawn stinging criticism from the Treasury Select Committee, which called on the board to sack its chief executive.  Mr Pester said he would be staying in his post and expected the bank's services to be back to normal by the first quarter of 2019.
  • Sky News
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Headlines Thursday 26th July 2018
 
Shell launches $25 billion buyback plan, second quarter profits miss
 
Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.AS) launched a long-anticipated $25 billion share buyback programme on Thursday as its debt eased while second quarter profits came in far below forecasts.
 
The share repurchase programme, promised following the $54 acquisition of BG Group in 2016, is the clearest signal yet that the world’s second-largest oil company has recovered from a bruising three-year downturn in the energy sector.
 
“Today we are taking another important step towards the delivery of our world-class investment case, with the launch of a $25 billion share buyback programme,” Chief Executive Ben van Beurden said in a statement.  Shell will start buying up to $2 billion of A or B shares every three months, it said. It plans to repurchase at least $25 billion in the period 2018-2020, subject to further progress with debt reduction and oil price conditions, it said.  The move comes as Shell’s debt burden slightly eased in the quarter.  Its debt ratio versus company capitalisation, known as gearing, declined to 23.6 percent from a peak of 29.2 percent in the third quarter of 2016 and from 24.7 percent in the first quarter.  Shell’s debt pile nevertheless remained stubbornly at $66 billion, little changed over the past five quarters.
 
The Anglo-Dutch company sharply reduced spending, cut thousands of jobs and sold nearly $30 billion of assets in the wake of the 2014 oil market downturn.  In a sign of confidence that it can maintain around $15 billion in annual dividend payments, Shell scrapped in the fourth quarter of 2017 scrip dividend, an austerity policy through which investors can opt to receive dividends in shares or cash.                                                      
  • Reuters
 
Cargo ship MV Priscilla refloated at high tide off Caithness coast
 
The ship was refloated late on Wednesday.  The cargo ship MV Priscilla has been refloated off the Caithness coast.  The ship with six crew on board ran aground on the Pentland Skerries last Wednesday.  Tonnes of oil were removed from the ship ahead of the salvage operation, which took place at high tide shortly after 22:00.  The Longhope lifeboat will escort the Priscilla and the tugs towing her to sheltered waters in Scapa Flow.  Divers will then make a full inspection of damage to her hull before decisions are made about what to do next.
 
The six crew members, who have remained on board throughout, were said to be safe and well.
  • BBC News
 
Government legal aid cuts undermine right to criminal defence, MPs warn
 
Justice Committee demands funding review after warning that cuts are driving 'crisis'
 
Government funding cuts are damaging the fundamental right to legal defence, MPs have warned.  Lawyers have already launched strikes and a judicial review over legal aid arrangements, which are intended to ensure people unable to afford legal advice, family mediation and representation in court are treated fairly.  But the Justice Committee said government changes risk undermining the rule of law and demanded an urgent review to be completed by March 2020.
 
Bob Neill, committee chair, said the right to legal representation is enshrined under the European Convention on Human Rights.  “There is compelling evidence of the fragility of the Criminal Bar and criminal defence solicitors' firms, which places these rights at risk – a risk which can no longer be ignored,” he added.  Lawyers told the committee of their “deep unhappiness” about the future of the criminal justice system, amid struggles to retain barristers and solicitors.  Defence specialists said they are not properly paid to comb through mountains of digital evidence, following a scandal over the collapse of several rape cases due to disclosure failings.
 
“We conclude the pressure placed on defence lawyers to fulfil their professional obligations by reviewing unused prosecution material without remuneration is fundamentally unfair and, with the continual increase in the amount of such material, likely to become unsustainable, and increasingly prejudicial to the defendant,” the Justice Committee concluded.  Evidence to the committee had indicated a ”worryingly high level of demoralisation“ among defence lawyers ”with negative implications for the criminal justice system, especially for defendants“.  MPs recommended an urgent, cross-departmental review of criminal justice funding to be completed ahead of the 2019 Spending Review and ”with the aim of restoring resources to a level that enables the system to operate effectively“.
 
The report builds on oral evidence from lawyers about recent changes to legal aid, specifically the Litigators' Graduated Fee Scheme (LGFS) and the Advocates' Graduated Fee Scheme (AGFS).
  • Independent
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Headlines Wednesday 25th July 2018
 
UK’s offshore wind output to double as Government backs industry
 
The amount of offshore wind around the UK is set to double in the next decade after the Government confirmed support for the industry.
A new auction for companies to bid for subsidies for offshore wind farms will take place in May next year, with auctions every two years, providing up to £557 million in support, the Business and Energy Department said.
 
For the first time, onshore wind farms on remote islands such as Shetland and Orkney will also be able to compete in the auctions, ministers announced.  The move could deliver up to an additional two gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind per year in the 2020s, to bring total capacity up to 30GW by 2030 from current levels of 7GW in operation, and 7GW in construction or with contracts.  That will be enough to meet more than a third of the UK’s power needs, boosting jobs and cutting costs for consumers, industry bosses said.  The auction system has seen the price for electricity from offshore wind more than halve in just a few years to as low as £57.50 per megawatt hour of power.  Industry body RenewableUK’s chief executive Hugh McNeal said: “Boosting our ambitions for offshore wind is win-win for consumers, as the industry’s success at cutting costs mean that offshore wind is now one of the cheapest options for new power in the UK.”
 
Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said: “The UK renewables sector is thriving, with more offshore wind capacity here than anywhere else in the world and 50% of electricity coming from low-carbon sources last year in what was our greenest year ever.
 
“For the last decade the Offshore wind industry has been a great British success story: increasing productivity, raising earnings and improving lives in communities across the UK; and today the sector gets the certainty it needs to build on this success through the next 10 years.”  The support for offshore wind was also welcomed by Greenpeace, but the environmental group called on the Government to support other cheap forms of renewables including onshore wind and solar power.
  • The Scotsman
 
Offshore oil-and-gas on the cusp of recovery
 
The downturn in the offshore oil-and-gas industry has bottomed out and the sector is beginning its recovery, the major operators are reporting. Citing rotorcraft utilization numbers, they believe they are not of the woods yet, but do express optimism.
 
It has been one of the worst ever downturns in the oil-and-gas sector, caused by plummeting oil prices in 2014. The impact forced operators to implement restructuring plans — including job cuts — and manufacturers to ramp down production abruptly. Overcapacity is still keeping flight hour pricing at low levels.
But now operators and airframers agree that a favorable trend has appeared. “There are signs of recovery,” said Mark Abbey, CHC’s regional director for Europe, Middle East and Africa.
 
Jamie John, NHV’s base manager in Aberdeen, Scotland, agrees. “The market has not returned to where it was five years ago, but [it] has been steadily improving,” he told Vertical. “Compared to a year ago, a lot more exploration campaigns are taking place.”  This has recently translated into a 30- to 40-percent increase in NHV’s monthly flight hours, or an extra 100 hours per month. “A lot of new players are coming to Aberdeen, purchasing assets in the field sold by legacy players,” John added. NHV is operating 15 helicopters in the North Sea.
 
Over at Bristow, the offshore giant has seen an increase in annual flight hours for the first time in three years. In its 2018 fiscal year, which ended on March 31, 2018, it recorded 165,000 flight hours — a 13,000-hour improvement over fiscal year 2017. “We are in a gradual recovery,” said Bristow president and CEO Jonathan Baliff. “Now offshore oil-and-gas is becoming cost-competitive again and our clients realize they need to run a portfolio.”
 
Consulting service provider Westwood Global Energy Group sees “a significant opportunity” in the offshore wind market. Almost 6,000 turbines are to be installed globally between 2018 and 2022, bringing the global total to 10,000, according to Westwood. It expects $119 million of offshore wind-related helicopter expenditure over the forecast – a growth rate of 39 percent.
  • Vertical Mag
 
Barclays boss says UK finance sector will dodge Brexit bullet
 
Britain’s banking industry will emerge largely unscathed from Brexit and retain its position as one of the world’s top two financial centers for the foreseeable future, Barclays’ (BARC.L) Chairman John McFarlane told Reuters.  Home to the world’s highest number of banks and largest commercial insurance market, the City of London and its sister district in east London’s Canary Wharf are scrambling to prepare for Britain’s departure from the European Union, the biggest challenge the UK financial sector has faced since the 2007-2009 financial crisis.
 
McFarlane shrugged off fears expressed by some bankers and politicians that a blueprint for Britain’s future trading relationship with the European Union, proposed by Prime Minister Theresa May, would cripple job creation and trigger London’s rapid decline as a global financial services center.
Brexit will cost Britain up to 12,000 financial services jobs in the short term, the City of London financial district’s leader, Catherine McGuinness said on Tuesday, and many more jobs might disappear in the longer term.
 
But McFarlane said London would remain Europe’s primary hub for financial services because the city has the continent’s deepest markets and broadest pool of talent, scotching doomsayers who claim the sector could end up the biggest loser from the end of unfettered access to EU markets.  Supporters of Brexit admit there may be some short-term pain for Britain’s $2.9 trillion economy, but that long term it will prosper when cut free from the EU which they cast as a failing German-dominated experiment in European integration.
 
The financial sector accounts for 12 percent of Britain’s economic output, but McFarlane said the government’s dismissal of the sector’s preferred plans for access to the EU single market post-Brexit will not be as destructive as some commentators have predicted.  Many had pinned hopes on a bid for “mutual recognition” - whereby Britain and the EU would accept each other’s rules in exchange for broad two-way market access - as the best way to protect financial contracts and activity worth trillions of euros once Britain exits the EU on March 29.  Prime Minister May has instead chosen to build trading ties on a legal mechanism known as “equivalence”, whereby the EU deems a country’s rules to be as robust as its own.
 
McFarlane said the government now needed to act fast to negotiate “expanded equivalence” for Britain after critics said the regime exposed firms to sudden loss of EU market access.  The EU has so far opposed any attempts to modify equivalence and said it has no plans to reform the regime.
  • Reuters
 

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Headlines Tuesday 24th July 2018
 

UK GAS-Prices Rise Amid Reduced Supply Due to Total Strike

British wholesale gas prices rose on Monday morning as a strike on some of Total’s North Sea oil and gas platforms began, reducing supply, and as wind output remained low. Day-ahead gas was 0.60 pence higher at 58.00 pence per therm at 0738 GMT.

Trader said a strike on some of Total’s North Sea oil and gas platforms had reduced UK Continental Shelf flows, which was bullish for prices.

Ongoing low wind output was also driving up gas-for-power demand, they added.

The Unite union said 40 people were on strike for 24 hours from 0500 GMT on Monday on the Alwyn, Elgin and Dunbar North Sea oil and gas platforms.

As a result, there are 13 million cubic metres (mcm) less receipts of gas than usual into the NSMP St Fergus and Bacton Seal gas terminals.

The UK gas system is 5 mcm undersupplied with demand forecast at 179 mcm and flows at 174 mcm/day, National Grid data shows.

Peak wind generation is forecast at nearly 2 gigawatts (GW) on Monday, falling to 1.3 GW on Tuesday, Elexon data shows.

Gas-for-power has been 56 mcm/d this month compared to 46 mcm/d in July 2017, said Thomson Reuters gas analyst Oliver Sanderson.

Low wind ouput is expected to continue into August. In August, there will be several planned outages in the UK Continental Shelf, which will also be a bullish driver for prices.

  • Oil and Gas People

 

Heavy industry turns to renewables in drive to go green

By 2021 about 30 per cent of the power used in Norsk Hydro’s aluminium smelters would come from wind power

In the forests of central Sweden, construction is about to begin on a giant wind farm with a single purpose: to supply power to the aluminium smelters of Norsk Hydro, one of the world’s biggest producers, for the next 29 years.

The wind farm, which cost €270m to build, highlights an important development in renewable energy — a growing number of investments from heavy industry.

Recent deals from cement plants and aluminium smelters signal how a market is developing for renewable energy, particularly during a time of volatility for traditional energy prices, as some of the world’s most carbon-intensive industries try to go green.

“Industrial players are going to have a huge role, a pivotal role in the development of renewables in the future,” said Mark Dooley, head of green energy at Macquarie Capital and the Green Investment Group, one of the developers of the wind farm.

“Most large-scale industrial businesses are enormous consumers of power,” he added. “We think that, while it makes sense that an aluminium producer is in the vanguard, there is every reason to expect that all heavy industrial will follow.”

Corporate buyers of renewable power have been on the rise and emerged as one of the main drivers for new renewables projects, because long-term power supply deals typically enable construction to begin on a large wind or solar project.

  • Financial Times

 

Public sector pay cap scrapped as workers get pay rise

The news is expected to be announced in the Commons later and comes after years of pay rises being limited to 1%.

A million public sector workers are to get a pay rise believed to be between 1.5% and 3.5%.

The abandonment of the 1% pay cap after six years will be good news for the armed forces, teachers, doctors, prison officers, police and dentists.

A Whitehall source was quoted in The Sun as saying: "Our outstanding public servants work hard for us all - that's why we're announcing new pay awards."

The pay rises are expected to be announced in the Commons later today.

However, it is understood that the extra money has come from departmental savings rather than extra funds, meaning frontline services could be at risk.

The news comes after NHS workers got a 6.5% pay rise over three years in March.

The government has come under consistent pressure to address public sector pay, with many experts blaming it for problems recruiting and retaining staff.

Meanwhile, members of the country's largest civil service union backed strikes over pay but failed to meet the required turnout of 50%.

Some 85% of those who voted backed the industrial action - but only 41% voted.

Public and Commercial Services union general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "Our members have delivered a huge yes vote for strike action and will feel palpable anger at not being able to exercise their democratic right to withdraw their labour."

  • Sky News
 
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Headlines Monday 23rd July 2018

Energy giants opening natural gas spigots, fuelling profit rise

The world’s largest oil companies are pumping more natural gas than ever before, helping to spur a rise in profits while sating rising global demand for fuels that can mitigate global greenhouse gas emissions.

This marks a shift over the past decade for an industry that once focused predominantly on crude oil, with gas in most cases an after-thought. Now, the rise of gas-powered electric generation, surging production from U.S shale fields and the burgeoning liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry that makes shipping the fuel possible, have conspired to create a boom.

BP Plc (BP.L), Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N), Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L), Total SA (TOTF.PA) and Chevron Corp (CVX.N) have collectively increased natural gas output 15 percent in the past decade thanks to better technology and lower costs, according to data from Wood Mackenzie energy consultancy.

Analysts expect all to post double-digit increases in second-quarter profit in coming days, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

“LNG is the growth commodity for these companies,” said Brian Youngberg, an energy industry analyst with Edward Jones, who expects the global LNG industry to grow at least 4 percent annually for the next five years.

At Total, gas is actually 61 percent of output, up from 47 percent as recently as 10 years ago, according to WoodMac.

Total is expected by analysts to post a 44 percent jump in second-quarter profit on Thursday to $3.56 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

  • Reuters

 

Britain to provide up to 557 million pounds funding for renewable subsidy auctions

The British government said on Monday it will provide up to 557 million pounds of funding for the next clean electricity auctions for less-established renewables.

The next so-called contracts for difference (CfD) allocation round for renewable energy technologies such as offshore wind will open by May 2019, the government said.

Offshore wind and, for the first time, remote island wind providers will be able to bid for contracts to power up to four million homes, it said.

The government will hold another allocation round in 2021 and auctions around every two years.

Depending on the price achieved, the auctions will deliver between 1 and 2 gigawatts of offshore wind each year in the 2020s.

Under the CfD scheme, qualifying projects are guaranteed a minimum price at which they can sell electricity and renewable power generators bid for CfD contracts in a round of auctions.

  • Reuters

PM takes cabinet north for Brexit awayday

As Theresa May's top team of ministers meet in Newcastle, she grapples with continuing cabinet tensions over her Brexit strategy.

Mrs May hopes to present the visit as a commitment to regional development post-Brexit

Theresa May is taking her cabinet on a trip to Gateshead as she prepares to sell her Brexit plan to the EU over the summer amid struggles to maintain discipline over her own MPs.

It comes after Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab indicated he still needs to persuade some members of Mrs May's cabinet to get behind the Chequers compromise deal on EU withdrawal aims.

Mr Raab, who held his first face-to-face talks with EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier last week, said he was "focused relentlessly and unflinchingly" on achieving a deal with the EU.

But he stressed that the UK was serious about the possibility of a no deal walkaway from the EU.

Former attorney general Dominic Grieve, a leading Conservative Remainer at Westminster, warned on Sunday that Britain leaving the EU without a deal would be "absolutely catastrophic".

Claiming some of his fellow Tory MPs are "actively seeking" a no deal outcome from EU divorce negotiations, Mr Grieve insisted he was not "scaremongering" about the impact of such an outcome.

Former prime minister Sir John Major also backed a new Brexit vote, as he attacked the "irreconcilable" attitude of Tory Brexiteers for having "boxed the government and particularly the prime minister into a corner" which could lead to no deal "by accident".

The Prime Minister is hoping to present Monday's cabinet's visit to the north east as a commitment to regional development post Brexit.

  • Sky News

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Headlines Friday 20th July 2018
 

Scottish renewables firms forced into ‘liquidation’ by government decision

Some small Scottish renewable firms were “forced into liquidation” yesterday by the UK Government’s decision to shutdown the Feed-in-Tariff scheme, according to an industry body.

Scottish Renewables accused the government of causing “significant uncertainty” and that the proposed closure of the scheme has “worrying consequences for the already struggling small-scale renewables sector” in Scotland.

Announced yesterday, the decision also resulted in the UK Government issuing a ‘call for evidence’ on the future for small-scale low-carbon generation.

Intended as a payment to small business for generating their own energy, the scheme was planned for closure in 2019, but a consultation on its future was a year overdue.

Hannah Smith, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables, labelled the decision a “risk to jobs” and deployment of low-carbon energy.

She said: “While we are pleased to see this consultation published, it has some worrying consequences for the already struggling small-scale renewables sector.

“The picture for this part of our industry isn’t especially rosy. Since previous cuts to the Feed-in Tariff there has been a drop off in deployment of technologies such as hydro schemes and small-scale wind.

“That, coupled with considerable delay to the publication of this consultation, has already forced businesses into liquidation and created significant uncertainty as to whether small-scale energy generation can survive in the UK.”

  • Energy Voice

 

BP’s ETAP Hub Celebrates 20 Years of Production

ETAP, often regarded as one of the most ambitious and commercially complex developments in the North Sea, comprises multiple fields with varying ownership arrangements sharing a central processing facility (CPF).

The Eastern Trough Area Project (ETAP) North Sea development, labelled by the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) as the “poster child” for its Maximising Economic Recovery (MER UK) strategy, celebrates 20 years of production today, with the key hub expected to operate into the mid-late 2030s.

At the time of development, the individual reservoirs were not deemed to be commercially viable on a stand-alone basis, so the ETAP alliance was formed to develop the fields as one joint development.

It came on stream in July 1998 with an estimated production life of 20 years. However, a $1billion investment programme in 2015 breathed new life into the hub, securing its future well into the 2030s.

Intially seven fields, four operated by BP and three by Shell produced through the CPF. Two further BP-operated fields came online four years later in 2002, bringing the total number of fields producing through the CPF to nine. Two of the Shell fields have since ceased production. Day-to-day production operations of the remaining seven ETAP fields are controlled by BP from the CPF.

In its two decades of operations, more than 550 million barrels of oil equivalent (gross) has been produced from the BP-operated ETAP fields.

BP North Sea Regional President Ariel Flores said: “ETAP embodies the pioneering and innovative spirit the North Sea is renowned for around the world and shows what can be achieved when companies work together for the greater good of the region.”

The collaborative spirit of the ETAP alliance received industry-wide recognition in 2016 when BP and partners won the inaugural OGA Maximising Economic Recovery (MER UK) Award at the annual Oil & Gas UK Awards.

  • Oil and Gas People

 

UK's new Brexit envoy optimistic, as EU warns of Brexit crash

London’s new Brexit minister said he was confident he could reach a deal, on his first trip to Brussels on Thursday as the EU warned business to get ready for Britain crashing out of the bloc without agreed terms to cushion the economic disruption.

Brexit campaigner Dominic Raab, appointed to the government last week after his predecessor quit over Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposals to stay close to EU trading rules, said Britain was ramping up preparations for a “no deal” but focussed above all on selling her ideas to EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier.

The resignation of his predecessor David Davis and others, and May’s battles in parliament with pro- and anti-Brexit wings of her own Conservative Party, have led Brussels to wonder whether London is capable of agreeing any deal this year to avoid chaos when it leaves in March.

That, the EU’s executive European Commission insisted on Thursday, was not the reason for its warning on stepping up preparedness for a “no deal” or “cliff edge” Brexit.

Raab said Britain was on track and he would bring new “energy, vigour and vim” to talks as they get down to wire to find a deal before EU leaders meet at a summit in October.

“We’ve only got 12 weeks really left to nail down the details of the agreement, so I set out our proposals,” Raab said after meeting Barnier. “I’m sure in good faith, if that energy and that ambition is reciprocated, as I’m confident it will be, we will get there.”

EU officials and diplomats still think some kind of deal, including a 21-month status quo transition period to allow further talks, is more likely than not, if only because the cost for both sides would be so high.

The International Monetary Fund said on Thursday EU countries would suffer long-term damage equivalent to about 1.5 percent of annual economic output if Britain leaves without a free trade deal.

  • Reuters
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Headlines Thursday 19th July 2018

 

Maersk Line, MSC Team Up with ZIM

2M partners, Danish carrier Maersk Line and its Swiss-based counterpart Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), have entered into a strategic cooperation deal with Israeli shipping company ZIM on the Asia – US East Coast trade.

Currently Maersk Line and MSC operate five loops and ZIM operates two loops on the trade.

As of early September 2018, Maersk and MSC will contribute four of their operated loops to a combined operation of five.

Under the deal, the parties intend to swap slots on all five loops of the new cooperation.

Danish ocean carrier said the cooperation would bring cost efficiencies and pave way for an improved product on the Asia – USEC trade, including a new direct product from the US East Coast into Thailand.

“We will improve our combined product portfolio between Asia and the US East Coast and deliver on our promise to customers while creating the needed operational efficiencies for us to run a sustainable business on the trade also in the future,” says Søren Toft, Chief Operating Officer, Maersk Line.

“The new arrangements will help ensure a high level of service for shippers on all routes between Asia and the U.S. East Coast,” said Diego Aponte, President & CEO, MSC Group.

MSC expects that the new arrangements will result in economies of scale and efficiencies, helping the carriers to navigate tough prevailing business conditions.

The cooperation is scheduled to begin in early September 2018, subject to regulatory approval.

  • World Maritime News

 

Babcock shares dive as slower submarine spending weighs

British engineer Babcock (BAB.L) cut its full-year revenue growth target on Thursday as delays in government spending on submarines hit its Marine division, sending its shares down more than 10 percent.

Babcock, which provides specialist support and services to groups including Britain’s defence ministry and governments around the world, also said it would sell two low-margin businesses and make further disposals through the year.

The combination of the disposals and marine slowdown prompted Babcock, a FTSE 250 company with a market value of 4.1 billion pounds ($5.4 billion), to say it now expected to see “low single digit” underlying revenue growth for the full year.

It had previously forecast “low mid-single digit” growth.

Shares in the group fell 10 percent in early trading and were down 8 percent at 742 pence by 0725 GMT despite it reiterating its underlying earnings guidance.

A provider of aerial emergency services, nuclear support and fleet management, Babcock said it had clarity on the year ahead, with 83 percent of revenue now in place. Its order book of signed contracts remained stable and its pipeline of bids in progress increased.

The slowdown in its Marine division came as its naval business suffered from a temporary slowdown of revenue as the government’s new Submarine Delivery Agency reviews the timing of its planned spending.

That, combined with an expected decline in revenue from the Queen Elizabeth Carrier project is set to result in a year-on-year reduction in Marine revenues in the first half of the year. New order wins should help soften the blow for the full year however.

  • Reuters

 

UK to consult public on possible bid to join Pacific trade pact

Trade Secretary Liam Fox said on Wednesday he will consult the public about a possible bid to join a Pacific trade group that includes Canada, Australia and Mexico, once Britain leaves the European Union.

Fox also said there would be consultations on trade deals between Britain and the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

“The government is determined not only to seek deals with key bilateral partners but to break new ground: putting the UK at the heart of the world’s fastest-growing regions,” Fox said in a speech to the Federation of Small Businesses.

“That is why I am also announcing a ... consultation on potentially seeking accession to CPTPP - the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

The CPTPP has replaced the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which was thrown into question early last year when U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from it after his inauguration.

The Confederation of British Industry employers’ group said companies would welcome the government’s commitment to free and fair trade, but that the top priority was a trade deal with the EU.

  • Reuters
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Headlines Wednesday 18th July 2018
 
EU to launch safeguards to curb steel imports on Thursday
 
The European Union will launch safeguard measures on Thursday designed to prevent a surge of steel imports into the bloc that could have followed the U.S. imposition of tariffs on incoming steel and aluminium, the EU’s official journal said.
 
The European Commission has proposed a combination of a quota and a tariff to counter EU concerns that steel products no longer imported into the United States would instead flood European markets.
 
The quotas for 23 steel product categories are designed to be a reflection of imports over the past three years, with a 25 percent tariff set for volumes exceeding those amounts.
  • UK Reuters
Not dead yet - Home of Brent crude gets new lease of life
 
Oil giant BP’s (BP.L) Eastern Trough Area Project off the coast of Scotland wasn’t supposed to be viable beyond 2018. But government and industry working together have given ETAP a new lease of life that is being closely watched by countries and companies eyeing other ageing projects around the world.  When ETAP was launched 20 years ago today, some experts predicted the UK sector of the North Sea would cease most production by 2030.
 
Government efforts to keep producers in the basin, home to the Brent crude that underpins the price benchmark, gained urgency with the 2014 oil price crash.  Cheaper oil also forced the industry to upgrade technology and find more efficiencies.  From original plans to stop production at ETAP, BP decided to invest $1 billion in 2015.
 
“One has to take stock of the potential going forward and make an intervention that allows for the right investment to extend life,” Ariel Flores, BP’s North Sea Chief, told Reuters. “We’ve done that on ETAP.”
 
ETAP’s example shows how efforts to extend the production in the North Sea are succeeding, providing lessons for producers in other fields near exhaustion such as those in the Gulf of Mexico and southeast Asia.  Long-established oil giants such as BP, Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) and Total (TOTF.PA) as well as smaller, nimbler North Sea-focused producers such as Enquest (ENQ.L) and Premier Oil (PMO.L) are all finding business opportunities in the area.
  • UK Reuters
 
Dairy products 'may become luxuries' after UK leaves EU
 
Everyday dairy products such as butter, yoghurt and cheese could become luxury items in Britain after Brexit, with price rises being caused by the slightest delay in the journey from farm to table, a report by the London School of Economics finds.
 
The LSE research, commissioned by the company behind Lurpak, Anchor and Arla brands, also found that speciality cheeses could become scarce after Brexit, with escalating costs whatever the outcome of the exit negotiations.  Ash Amirahmadi, the UK managing director of Arla Foods, said: “Our dependence on imported dairy products means that disruption to the supply chain will have a big impact. Most likely we would see shortages of products and a sharp rise in prices, turning everyday staples like butter, yoghurts, cheese and infant formula, into occasional luxuries. Speciality cheeses, where there are currently limited options for production, may become very scarce.”
 
The LSE report comes a year to the day after the government was warned that it was “sleepwalking” into a post-Brexit future of insecure, unsafe and increasingly expensive food supplies.
 
Britain does not produce enough milk to keep up with demand, creating a dependency on the EU, including on dairy-surplus countries such as Ireland, Germany, France, Belgium and Denmark for everyday items such as cheddar cheese and butter.  If the UK crashes out of the EU with no deal and defaults to World Trading Organisation rules, prices will almost certainly rise as dairy products, along with meat, attract high tariffs.
 
A milk product with a fat content of 3% to 6% has a tariff of 74%, while fresh mozzarella is rated at 41% and unripened cheese at 68%.  Even if a deal were struck and there were no tariffs, imports would face costly delays at Dover, the report says. LSE estimates that every seven-minute delay at a port such as Dover will add a minimum of £11 extra per container because of extra labour costs.
 
The research suggested that small cheese suppliers in France and Italy could find their products uncompetitive in British shops, generating scarcities and, in turn, price rises.
  • The Guardian
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Headlines Tuesday 17th July 2018
 
Antwerp Port Posts Best Half-Year Results
 
Supported by increased container volumes, the port of Antwerp has set new records with the best half-year results ever.  During the first six months of 2018, the port handled 118.6 million tons of freight, a sharp increase of 6.5% compared with the same period last year. The container freight as the main driver experienced further rapid growth of 8.2% compared with the first six months of 2017.
 
The strong freight figures for the first quarter continued unabated in the second quarter. The container volume for its part rose by 8.2% to 66.3 million tons. In TEU, this indicates an increase of 8.3% to 5.6 million TEU. May was an all-time record month, with the port handling a peak container volume of more than 1 million TEU.
As informed, growth was experienced on all trade routes, both on the import and on the export side. Trade with Europe was the strongest, rising by 14.2%, thanks in part to Antwerp being able to win back transshipment freight which last year suffered a dip due to a temporary shortage of dock labor.
 
Furthermore, the number of cars shipped through Antwerp grew by 1.4%. Together with the 6.5% rise in the number of utility vehicles, this resulted in a 5.2% growth in the total RoRo volume, to 2.7 million tons.  Conventional breakbulk for its part got off to a good start at the beginning of the year but then declined by 6.5% by the end of the first half of the year.  In addition, liquid bulk experienced very strong growth of 6.1% in the first six months of this year.  Dry bulk for its part expanded by 3.1% compared with the same period in 2017.
 
A total of 7,210 seagoing ships called at the port of Antwerp during the past six months, up 1% on the same period last year. The gross tonnage of the ships arriving in port rose by 0.3%, taking the total to nearly 208 million GT.
  • World Maritime News
 
BW LPG to Nominate Three Directors to Dorian LPG Board
 
Oslo-based BW LPG has submitted the names of three director candidates to stand for election at Dorian LPG’s 2018 Annual General Meeting of Shareholders.  The company said it intends to file a proxy statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, accompanied by a WHITE proxy card, in connection with Dorian’s 2018 Annual Meeting.
 
The move was made as a part of BW LPG’s takeover takeover attempt of Dorian. On May 29, 2018, BW LPG proposed to combine with Dorian in an all-stock transaction, under which Dorian shareholders would have received 2.05 BW LPG shares for each Dorian share.  After its initial proposal got rejected, the company increased its all-stock proposal to combine with Dorian on July 9, under which Dorian shareholders would receive 2.12 BW LPG shares for each Dorian share.  Martin Ackermann, BW LPG Chief Executive Officer explained that, due to Dorian’s continued refusal to engage with the company on the proposed combination, BW LPG have decided to go directly to shareholders with their director nominees, namely, Baudoin Lorans, Ouma Sananikone and Jeffrey Schwarz.
 
Based on BW LPG’s current price of NOK 34.06 per share and an NOK/USD exchange rate of 8.13 as of July 13, 2018, BW LPG’s proposal to combine with Dorian values each Dorian share at USD USD 8.88 per share, representing a 28% premium to Dorian’s unaffected share price of USD USD 6.96 as of May 25, 2018, the last trading day prior to the announcement of BW LPG’s initial proposal, and a premium of 19% to the long-term historical exchange ratio of Dorian and BW LPG since Dorian’s IPO.
  • World Maritime News
 
Vote Leave: Brexit campaign 'broke electoral law' in referendum
 
Brexit campaign group Vote Leave has been fined £61,000 and referred to the police after an Electoral Commission probe said it broke electoral law.  The investigation found "significant evidence of joint working" between the group and another organisation - BeLeave - leading to it exceeding its spending limit by almost £500,000.
Vote Leave also returned an "incomplete and inaccurate spending report", with almost £234,501 reported incorrectly, and invoices missing for £12,849.99 of spending, the watchdog said.
 
BeLeave founder Darren Grimes has also been fined and referred to the police for breaking the group's spending limit by more than £665,000 and wrongly reporting the spending as his own.
 
Veterans for Britain were also found to have inaccurately reported a donation it received from Vote Leave and has been fined £250.
  • BBC News
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Headlines Monday 16th July 2018
 
Singaporean Firm Fined USD 1 Mn for Dumping Oily Waste
 
Singaporean shipping company Hai Soon Ship Management was sentenced to pay a fine of USD 1 million and serve a two-year term of probation related to water pollution.  According to the U.S. Department of Justice, District of Hawaii, the company received the sentence for charges stemming from its the failure to maintain an accurate oil record book in violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS), and false statements concerning the illegal dumping of oil contaminated bilge water at sea.
 
The company pleaded guilty to the charges on June 14, 2018. Pursuant to its plea agreement, Hai Soon Ship Management’s vessels operating in U.S. waters will be required to comply with a comprehensive environmental compliance plan that provides for regular inspections under the supervision of an independent auditor.
According to court documents and information presented in court, the company’s 3,878 gross ton oil tank vessel Hai Soon 39 provided refueling services to fishing vessels operating at sea. In October of 2017, the Chief Engineer of the Hai Soon 39, along with other engine room staff, constructed a hose in the engine room to bypass the ship’s pollution prevention equipment, including its oil water separator, and pump oily waste directly overboard.
 
The resultant discharges were never recorded in the ship’s oil record book, as required by APPS, and the Chief Engineer made false entries in the oil record book to make it appear that the discharges had been routed through the oil water separator when in fact they had not.  As part of its sentence, Hai Soon Ship Management will be placed on a two-year term of probation that includes the environmental compliance plan to ensure, among other things, that all of the ships the company operates that come to the United States fully comply with all applicable marine environmental protection requirements established by national and international laws.
  • World Maritime News
 
Drewry: Ascent of the Charter Market Is Over
 
The rapid growth of charter rates in the container shipping market is likely to be over as ocean carriers release some ships back to the open market in order to curb the impact of weak profitability.  However, shipping consultancy Drewry expects rates to remain close to their current levels over the remainder of the year.
Suspension of a number of services by carriers over the past few weeks as they scramble to fight off the red ink has seen rates drop slightly, reversing their 50 pct growth recorded in the first half of 2018.
 
“The risk of default on a charter contract rises when your customers are in the red. While we do not envision a repeat of Hanjin Shipping’s bankruptcy, prolonged losses do raise the chances of carriers off-hiring chartered ships upon contract expiry,” Drewry said.
As explained, the charter market is more heavily weighted towards smaller and intermediate size ships, hence the oversupply of bigger units is more isolated to trades where owned ships dominate. However, the introduction of new mega-ships during the first half does still pose a threat to the charter market as it intensifies the cascading process.
 
The shipping consultancy said that as of last week there were approximately 2,450 ships owned by non-operating owners, which with a combined capacity of 9.6 million TEU accounts for some 44 pct of the world fleet.  MSC currently has the largest pool of chartered ships with nearly 400 units aggregating 1.8 million TEU, representing approximately 57% of its total operated fleet. In contrast, PIL only charters seven units, or 6% of its fleet. Zim (72%) and Yang Ming (64%) have the highest chartered ratio of the leading carriers, Drewry’s data shows.
  • World Maritime News
 
Justine Greening calls for second Brexit referendum
 
Justine Greening has called for a second referendum, labelling the prime minister's Brexit deal a "fudge".  Writing in The Times, the former education secretary described Theresa May's proposals as "the worst of both worlds".  The final decision should be given back to the people and out of "deadlocked politicians" hands, Ms Greening said.  She states there are three options: the PM's deal, staying in the EU or a clean break from Europe with no deal.  Ms Greening, who resigned after the cabinet reshuffle in January, said the referendum should offer a first and second preference vote so that a consensus can be reached.  Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Ms Greening said the government's proposals were a "genuine clever attempt at a compromise that could work" but "suits no-one".  The MP for Putney said: "The reality is Parliament is now stalemated. Whatever the proposal on the table, there will be MPs who vote it down. But Britain needs to find a route forward."
 
Ms Greening, who supported Remain in the EU referendum, is the highest profile ex-Cabinet minister to call for a second referendum.  She said there were other senior Conservatives who agreed with her stance, adding that people who supported Leave in the referendum would also feel the government's approach is "not what they voted for".
 
In June tens of thousands of protestors marched to demand a second vote on the second anniversary of the EU referendum Ms Greening, who grew up in Rotherham, where 68% people voted to leave the EU, said the parliamentary stalemate "risks a no-confidence vote and, worse, a Corbyn government, which would be disastrous for the economy".
 
She had previously suggested a future generation of MPs will seek to "improve or undo" Brexit if it does not work for young people.
Mrs May has ruled out a second vote, as has Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, although a number of senior Labour figures are backing the cross-party People's Vote campaign for a final vote on any exit deal.  Amid continuing divisions in the Conservative Party, the BBC understands the government is considering accepting key amendments tabled by Tory MPs opposed to Mrs May's Brexit plan, to avoid a rebellion in the House of Commons.
  • BBC News

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Headlines Friday 13th July 2018

 
Corpus Christi Books Record H1 Results as It Eyes LNG Trade
 
The Port of Corpus Christi, one of the major U.S. crude oil exporters, had a record-breaking first half of the year moving 52.2 million tons of products between January 1 and June 30, 2018.
 
This number exceeds the tonnage moved in the first half of 2017 by 926,000 tons, a 2 percent increase year over year. The port attributed the growth to a 9 percent growth in crude oil and a 2 percent increase in all other petroleum products, compared to the same period in 2017.
 
“In 2017, the port recorded its second highest year ever in tonnage, at 102.4 million tons, and we set a new record in operating revenue with USD 95.3 million. This is not an anomaly. These numbers continue to grow in 2018,” said Sean Strawbridge, CEO of the Port of Corpus Christi.
 
The increasing tonnage further solidifies the port’s push for the Channel Improvement Project (CIP), which includes dredging the ship channel from 47 feet to 54 feet and widening it to 530 feet, to accommodate larger vessels.
 
To that end, the port approved a bond resolution to issue up to USD 217 million in revenue bonds to help finance capital improvements. Aside to the USD 335 million dredging project, set to start later this year, the port plans to invest in new terminals in the Gulf of Mexico and rail infrastructure.
 
In addition, the port aims to play a larger role in the development of LNG exports from the U.S. once the deepening project is completed.
  • World Maritime News
 
MSC Cruises, Miami to Build New Cruise Terminal
 
Cruise liner MSC Cruises and Miami-Dade county reached a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the construction of a new Cruise Terminal AAA at PortMiami.
The new terminal, which is expected to be completed by October 2022, will be able to accommodate MSC Cruises’ next-generation, still under construction MSC World Class cruise ships carrying up to 7,000 guests.
 
Additionally, the parties signed an agreement for extended preferential berthing rights which extends MSC Cruises’ existing Saturday preferential berthing rights also to Sundays.
 
“The new agreement and expanded partnership with PortMiami and Miami-Dade County is another key step forward in the business growth of MSC Cruises, as we continue to strengthen our global footprint, with a strategic focus on North America,” Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises, said.
 
In 2017, MSC Cruises worked with PortMiami on the completion of Terminal F, home to MSC Seaside, the first MSC Cruises ship to be built specifically for North American market and the Caribbean
  • World Maritime News
 
Trump: Brexit plan 'will probably kill' US trade deal
 
Donald Trump has said the UK will "probably not" get a trade deal with the US, if the prime minister's Brexit plan goes ahead.  He told The Sun the PM's plan would "probably kill the deal" as it would mean the US "would be dealing with the European Union" instead of with the UK.  Downing Street has not yet reacted to Mr Trump's remarks.  Theresa May has been making the case for a US free trade deal with Mr Trump, on his first UK visit as president.  She said Brexit was an "opportunity" to create growth in the UK and US.
 
Mr Trump also said that former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson - who disagrees with the PM on Brexit and resigned this week - would make a "great prime minister", adding "I think he's got what it takes".  After it was published, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the president "likes and respects Prime Minister May very much", adding that he had "never said anything bad about her".
 
Mr Trump - who has been a long-time supporter of Brexit - told The Sun newspaper that the UK's blueprint for its post-Brexit relations with the EU was "a much different deal than the people voted on".
 
He said the Brexit proposals Mrs May and her cabinet thrashed out at Chequers last week "would probably end a major trade relationship with the United States."
"We have enough difficulty with the European Union," he said, saying the US was "cracking down" on the EU because "they have not treated the United States fairly on trading".
  • BBC News

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Headlines Thursday 12th July 2018
 
Shanghai Salvage Starts Removing Kea Trader Debris from Reef
 
Shanghai Salvage Company (SSC) has started recovering debris from the reef where the ill-fated Kea Trader ran aground a year ago.  The operation, during which the company would remove debris detached during storms, follows completion of a new independent bathymetric survey, Lomar Shipping, the owner of the vessel, informed.
 
The survey determined current surface conditions and the precise location of debris, enabling shallow work vessels to move around the rock hard reef for divers to collect the metal fragments.
 
Airbags have been used to remove larger pieces of hull structure off the reef bed and onto the logistics support & command platform Ju Li, that is now coordinating SSC operations on site. Lomar Shipping said that this work would continue and escalate over the coming months with the return of more favourable weather.
 
The materials and debris being recovered would be recycled by local businesses in New Caledonia.  Additionally, the company informed that plans for recovering more substantive pieces of hull from the reef bed are well advanced, with the intention to mobilise new heavy resources with heavy lift capabilities – the design of which is subject to complex engineering studies and final approval by the authorities.
 
Four offshore vessels continue to work on site, whilst also monitoring the ocean for any floating debris and pollutants.  The vessel’s vertical fracture last November and subsequent storm damage released a quantity of tar balls and polyurethane insulating material, as well as pieces of containers and carpet, that washed ashore in New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands.
  • World Maritime News
 
Bulker Banned from Australian Ports for Underpaying Crew
 
The Hong Kong-flagged bulk carrier MV Shandong Hai Wang has been banned from Australian ports for 12 months after it was discovered that its crew had been deliberately underpaid.
 
The ban was issued after the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s (AMSA) surveyors found evidence on board the ship that crew had been deliberately underpaid by about AUD 56,000 (USD 41, 366) from the amount specified in their seafarer employment agreements.  The bulker was boarded by AMSA’s surveyors on July 7 following a tip from the International Transport Workers’ Federation alleging discrepancies in the payment of crew wages.
 
AMSA, which takes a zero-tolerance approach to the mistreatment of crew, detained the ship immediately for breaching the Maritime Labor Convention.  AMSA’s General Manager of Operations, Allan Schwartz, said AMSA would not tolerate ships that underpay their crew in Australia.
 
According to the maritime safety authority, as of today, all outstanding wages had been received by the crew and the ship has been released from detention this afternoon, local time.
  • World Maritime News
 
Brexit: UK's blueprint for future EU relations to be published
 
The proposals were approved by cabinet last Friday but soon led to a big political fallout
 
A long-awaited blueprint for the UK's relations with the EU will be published later, with ministers vowing to deliver a "practical and principled" Brexit.  The "comprehensive vision" for future trade and co-operation is aimed at ensuring global trade deals and no hard border in Northern Ireland.  Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said it would respect the result of the 2016 Brexit vote and address business needs.  Labour said it took "just two days" for the government's plan to unravel.
 
The EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has insisted the proposals must be workable.  The UK is set to leave the EU on 29 March 2019, after the 2016 referendum in which people voted by 51.9% to 48.1% for Brexit.  The two sides are negotiating outstanding issues related to its departure as well as the outline of their future relationship once a proposed transition period comes to an end, on 31 December 2020.  Both are aiming for an agreement by October, to allow enough time for the UK and European parliaments to vote on what is decided.
 
The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said the UK initiative needed to be compatible with EU guidelines and not create extra costs and red tape.
  • BBC News
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Headlines Wednesday 11th July 2018
 
Drewry: Container Prices to Squeeze Leasing Rate Returns
 
Container equipment rental rates and cash investment returns remain weak, despite last year’s recovery, shipping consultancy Drewry said.  Long-term lease rates for standard dry equipment leapt by over 50% in 2017, having begun their recovery the year before as the Hanjin bankruptcy left large quantities of equipment impounded and therefore out of the market. But newbuild prices rose by a similar margin, limiting cash investment returns to around 9%.
 
“With little change in lease rates anticipated over the next few years, investment returns are forecast to remain under pressure,” Andrew Foxcroft, Drewry’s lead analyst for container equipment, said.
 
With the outlook for world trade looking more promising and growth in ship capacity slowing down, transport operators and especially leasing companies have been vigorously expanding their container fleets. After expansion almost came to a halt in 2016, the container fleet grew by a robust 3.7% last year as the industry hastened to catch up with demand.
 
Prospects for the coming years are almost as good, with container production expected to be above 3.5 million TEU in all four years from 2017-20, which would be the most consistently strong production figures seen in over a decade.
  • World Maritime News
 
IRClass Starts Issuing Electronic Certificates
 
Classification society Indian Register of Shipping (IRClass) has started issuing electronic certificates to all of its classed vessels.  As informed, the e-certificates are available on the IRClass website through a secure platform — giving ship owners, regulators and charterers a real-time access to the latest class and statutory certificates.
 
Commenting on this initiative, Vijay Arora, Joint Managing Director of IRClass, said: “The implementation of IRClass e-certificates are expected to reduce administrative burden and document handling costs for ship owners, coupled with increasing operational efficiency.”
 
The e-certificates have a digital signature and a tracking number for online verification purposes. This allows the user to determine the validity of the certificates — to ensure that they have not been falsified or tampered with. The authenticity, originality and traceability of the e-certificates can be verified through the IRClass Verification Portal, according to the classification society.
  • World Maritime News
 
Facebook faces £500,000 fine from UK data watchdog
 
The UK's data protection watchdog intends to fine Facebook £500,000 for data breaches - the maximum allowed.  The Information Commissioner's Office said Facebook had failed to ensure another company - Cambridge Analytica - had deleted users' data.  The ICO will also bring a criminal action against Cambridge Analytica's defunct parent company SCL Elections.
 
And it has raised concerns about political parties buying personal information from "data brokers".  Specifically it named one company, used by the Labour Party, called Emma's Diary, a company that gives medical advice and free baby-themed goods to parents.  Facebook said it would respond to the report "soon".
 
The ICO also said another company - Aggregate IQ - which worked with the Vote Leave campaign in the run up to the EU Referendum - must stop processing UK citizens' data.  Kyle Taylor, director of campaigning group Fair Vote UK said "Under new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) laws, the ICO could fine Facebook £479m.  "Unfortunately, because they had to follow old data protection laws, they were only able to fine them the maximum of £500,000. This is unacceptable," he said.
 
In 2017 Facebook was fined 110m euros (£95m) by the European Commission and in the same year they imposed a fine on Google of 2.42bn euros (£2.1bn).  The action comes 16 months after the ICO began its probe into political campaigners' use of personal data following concerns raised by whistleblower Christopher Wylie, among others.
 
The ICO found that Facebook had breached its own rules and failed to make sure that Cambridge Analytica had deleted this personal data.
  • BBC News
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Headlines Tuesday 10th July 2018
 
South Carolina Ports Authority Delivers Record Box Volumes in FY 2018
 
South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) has reported record container volumes handled during the 2018 fiscal year.
 
SCPA’s container throughput was 2.2 million twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) in FY 2018, an increase of three percent over the previous fiscal year.
What is more, the port authority saw 201,163 TEUs in June, the single highest month for container volume in SCPA’s history and a 10 percent increase over June 2017. June was a strong finish to the port’s fiscal year, which began in July.
 
As measured in pier containers, or the number of boxes that moved across the docks of SCPA’s two container terminals, the port handled 115,696 containers in June and a total of 1.25 million containers in FY2018.
 
“June container volumes were exceptional, marking the first time our port has handled more than 200,000 TEUs in a single month,” Jim Newsome, SCPA president and CEO, commented.
 
Established in 1942, SCPA owns and operates public seaport facilities in Charleston, Dillon, Georgetown and Greer. Last month, the port authority approved USD 277.6 million capital plan — the largest in SCPA’s history — for projects supporting terminal modernization, capacity increase and intermodal volume growth.
  • World Maritime News
 
Irish Ferries’ Ulysses to Remain Out of Service
 
The technical issue concerning Irish Ferries’ ship Ulysses is more serious than originally anticipated, the company informed.  The vessel is expected to be out of service for a further period of one to two weeks, the shipping group added.
 
Operated by Irish Continental Group’s (ICG) subsidiary on the Dublin / Holyhead route, Ulysses reported technical difficulties with its Starboard Controllable Pitch Propeller on June 24. The vessel entered drydock in Belfast on June 28 and the investigation and repairs to the ship were expected to take no longer than five days, allowing it to resume service on July 4.  However, the repairs have not been completed yet, according to service engineers.  “In advance of her return to service, we will adjust the schedules of our other vessels to minimise the disruption (…) The Dublin / Holyhead route will operate with the Epsilon on the Ulysses schedule alongside the Dublin Swift which will operate additional evening sailings,” Irish Ferries said.
  • World Maritime News
 
Theresa May's new-look cabinet meets amid Brexit turmoil
 
Theresa May's new-look cabinet is gathering at 10 Downing Street after a string of resignations over her Brexit strategy left her government in crisis.
 
Mrs May was forced to carry out a reshuffle of her top team after Boris Johnson and David Davis both quit.  The prime minister has warned the Tory party it must unite or face the prospect of Jeremy Corbyn in power.  Jeremy Hunt, who has replaced Mr Johnson as foreign secretary, said he would be "four square" behind her.
The UK is due to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019, but the two sides have yet to agree how trade will work between the UK and the EU after that.
 
The delay has been partly blamed on deep disagreements within the Conservative Party over what shape Brexit should take.
 
Essentially the arguments are about how much the UK should prioritise business interests by compromising on post-referendum promises to end free movement of people, remove the UK from the remit of the European Court of Justice, and also have an independent trade policy which allows the UK to set its own trade rules and strike its own trade deals.  Last Friday at the prime minister's country retreat at Chequers Mrs May brokered a "collective" agreement on proposals for the future relationship between the EU and UK.  However, Mr Johnson - whose departure on Monday followed that of Brexit Secretary David Davis and several junior figures - accused Mrs May of pursuing a "semi-Brexit".  In his resignation letter, he said the Brexit "dream is dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt".
 
Mrs May later faced down backbench critics at a meeting of the 1922 committee, amid rumours they were close to getting the 48 signatures needed to trigger a no-confidence vote that could spark a leadership election.
  • BBC News
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Headlines Monday 9th July 2018
 
Star Bulk Closes Acquisition of 15 Songa Bulk Ships
 
Greece-based dry bulk shipping firm Star Bulk Carriers has closed the acquisition of 15 dry bulk vessels from Norwegian shipowner Songa Bulk.  The ships were acquired for an aggregate of 13.725 million common shares of Star Bulk and USD 145 million in cash.
 
Following the closing of the transaction, the company said that Arne Blystad will be appointed to the Board of Directors of Star Bulk as Class C Director and Herman Billung will join the management team of Star Bulk as Senior Vice President. Additionally, Songa is expected to distribute the consideration shares to its shareholders.
 
First trading day of the secondary listing of the company’s common shares on Oslo Børs is expected to take place by mid‐July.
 
The cash portion of the Songa consideration was financed through proceeds of a five‐year capital lease of USD 180 million with China Merchants Bank Leasing with a margin of 280 bps, offering USD 35 million of additional liquidity for Star Bulk.
  • World Maritime News
 
Royal Caribbean Reaches Deal on USD 700 Mn Loan
 
Miami-based cruise line Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) has entered into a USD 700 million loan agreement to finance a part of the Silversea Cruises acquisition deal.
 
The company informed that the proceeds from the 364-day unsecured term loan agreement, which was signed on June 29, would also be used to pay fees and expenses related to the acquisition.
 
In mid-June RCL said it would purchase a 66.7% equity stake in Silversea Cruises based on an enterprise value of approximately USD 2 billion. At the time, the company informed that the price of the equity being acquired is around USD 1 billion, adding that it plans to finance the purchase through debt.
 
The interest rate applicable to the loan deal will range from a rate equal to LIBOR plus a margin of 0.90% to 1.50% per annum or a base rate plus a margin of 0.00% to 0.50% per annum, depending on RCL’s senior debt rating.  After a 60-day grace period, and until the commitments of the lenders have terminated, RCL will pay to the lenders a ticking fee equal to a percentage ranging from 0.08% to 0.20% per annum, depending on RCL’s senior debt rating, on account of the aggregate outstanding commitments of the lenders under the loan agreement.
  • World Maritime News
 
UK to expand navy in North Atlantic amid 'growing Russian threat'
 
Britain's Armed Forces will increase their presence in the North Atlantic to meet a growing threat from Russia, the head of the Royal Navy has said.  In his first major television interview, the First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones told Sky News that a new Joint Area of Operations (JAO) will be created for the North Atlantic.  It will mean the region becomes a priority for the UK government allowing Royal Navy ships and RAF aircraft to be deployed to the region much more regularly.
Admiral Jones said it was in response to a growing Russian threat.
 
"This is a resurgence that has come very quickly.
 
"It is an intensifying resurgence of capability and scale that we didn't necessarily see coming maybe 10 years ago. We have had to respond to that - it is also very modern, it is very capable.
 
"The signature of their vessels, their deploy-ability, their capability is very impressive. They've clearly been investing in the research and development to be able to do this."
 
The announcement comes weeks after the United States said it would re-establish its Second Fleet in the Atlantic, also as a response to Russia.  One of its tasks will be to protect the vital undersea lines.  An estimated 97% of global communications are transmitted by fibre-optic cables that run thousands of metres below the sea, right around the world. They carry an estimated $10trn (£7.5trn) in daily financial transactions.
 
The announcement comes days before NATO leaders meet for an important summit in Brussels where President Donald Trump is expected to put more pressure on alliance members to increase their spending.
  • Sky News

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Headlines Friday 6th July 2018

 
COSCO Shipping to Sell OOIL Shares to Restore Public Float
 
COSCO Shipping Holdings Co revealed plans to sell up to 15.1 pct of the total issued share capital of Orient Overseas International Lines (OOIL).    COSCO said that the sale plan will only take place in the event the public float of OOIL falls below 25 pct as required under listing rules and to the extent that would restore public float.
 
The Chinese major plans to sell up to 94,494,789 OOIL shares at the sale price of HKD 78.6, bringing the total value of the sale to HKD 7.43 billion (USD 947 million).
 
The announcement is being made following approval from the Chinese anti-trust body for COSCO’s USD 6.3 billion takeover of OOIL at the end of June.  The approval came in the nick of time to enable COSCO to meet its previously set date for the completion of the acquisition, which was scheduled for the end of June.  Once the merger is completed, COSCO would hold 90.1% of OOIL, thus becoming the world’s third-largest container carrier. COSCO would have a combined fleet of 400 vessels, with capacity exceeding 2.9 million TEUs including orderbook.
  • World Maritime News
 
Kongsberg Buys Rolls-Royce’s Commercial Marine Business
 
UK-based engineering company Rolls-Royce has found a buyer for its Commercial Marine business and it is Norwegian technology group Kongsberg.
 
The move was announced in January this year as Rolls-Royce launched further reshuffling of its business structure, switching focus to three core businesses based around Civil Aerospace, Defence and Power Systems.  There were several market rumors on the potential buyers of the business, including those linking Finland-based technology group Wärtsilä to the purchase.  The duo have signed a sale agreement, according to which the value of the enterprise has been set at GBP 500 million (USD 661.6 million) and the net proceeds from the deal will range from GBP 350 million to 400 million.
 
The sale includes propulsion, deck machinery, automation and control, a service network spanning more than 30 countries and ship design capability. Rolls-Royce’s Ship Intelligence activities, which have seen the rapid development of technologies to enable remote and autonomous operation of commercial vessels, are also included.
Commercial Marine has approximately 3,600 employees, with the majority based in the Nordic region. In 2017, the business generated revenue of GBP 817 million with an operating loss of GBP 70 million reflected in the group’s financial results.
  • World Maritime News
 
Phones to be seized at Theresa May's Chequers Brexit talks amid cabinet plotting
 
After a night of cabinet plotting, Theresa May faces a showdown at her country retreat over the UK's position on Brexit.
Ministers will have their phones removed on arrival at Chequers in Buckinghamshire and talks will continue into the night, with the PM warning they have "a duty" to "agree the shape of our future relationship with the European Union".
 
On Thursday night, leading Brexiteers held their own private meeting to mull over a 100-page document that proposes the government's position.
The plan could see the UK remain closely aligned to rules set by Brussels on agriculture and food, potentially making it much harder to strike a post-Brexit trade deal with the US.  Although Downing Street insisted it was "categorically untrue" the plans would make a trade deal with the US impossible.
Speaking ahead of the crunch meeting, the prime minister said: "The cabinet meets at Chequers to agree the shape of our future relationship with the European Union.  "In doing so, we have a great opportunity - and a duty. To set an ambitious course to enhance our prosperity and security outside the European Union - and to build a country that genuinely works for everyone."  Papers circulated to ministers ahead of the crunch meeting are reported to recommend that the UK should maintain a "common rulebook" with the EU for all goods, including agricultural and food products.   The document also reportedly says that "we would strike a different arrangement for services, where it is in our interests to have regulatory flexibility, recognising this will result in reduced market access".
 
In response to media reports of the proposed "facilitated customs arrangement", Tory MP Owen Paterson - who is a board member of Leave Means Leave - said it would be "a complete breach of Theresa May's manifesto commitment".
  • Sky News
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Headlines Thursday 5th July 2018
 
Stolt-Nielsen CEO: Bunker Costs Eating into Tanker Earnings
 
Belgium’s Stolt-Nielsen Limited (SNL) booked a much lower profit for the second quarter of 2018 standing at USD 9.5 million.  Compared year-on-year the net profit was halved as for Q1 2017 Stolt-Nielsen reported USD 15.7 million in profit. On a quarterly basis the drop is even bigger taking into account that the company posted USD 39.8 million in net profit for the three months ending February 31, 2018.
 
For the six-month period the net profit stood at USD 48.3 million, with revenue of USD 1,056.3 million, compared with USD 30.8 million and revenue of USD 976.5 million in the first half of 2017.
 
The second-quarter results included an USD 11.8 million impairment taken on two bitumen ships, reflecting the weak market conditions. This compares to one-time gains of USD 24.9 million from the lowering of the US federal corporate income tax rate, and USD 8.2 million from a Stolthaven joint venture from the first quarter.
 
During the quarter, the last of Stolt Tankers’ newbuildings was delivered from Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding to SNL’s joint venture, NYK Stolt Tankers.
 
According to Niels G. Stolt-Nielsen, Chief Executive Officer of Stolt-Nielsen Limited, the underlying operating result was in line with expectations.  “At Stolt Tankers, we have thus far successfully compensated for rising bunker prices through the bunker hedge program, but rising bunker fuel costs continue to eat into tanker earnings, as spot rates have not yet fully responded to the increased cost of bunkers,” he said.
  • World Maritime News
 
Okeanis Eco Tankers Starts Trading on Oslo Børs
 
Piraeus-based shipping group Okeanis Eco Tankers, owned by the Alafouzos family, has concluded a USD 100 million initial public offering in Oslo and started trading on July 4.
 
Law firm Watson Farley & Williams (WFW) advised the company on the oversubscribed IPO of its new eco-friendly USD 1 billion crude tanker fleet on Oslo’s Merkur Market.
 
This placement will cover Okeanis’ funding needs well into next year, the law firm added.  Okeanis’ fleet consists of three aframax and three suezmax tankers, four of which currently have time charters in place. It also has eight very large crude carriers (VLCCs) under construction at Hyundai Heavy Industries’ Ulsan yard in South Korea.
 
This is the first maritime listing by a vehicle owned by the Alafouzos family, who have been active in the shipping sector since the 1960s and the tanker market since the 1980s.
  • World Maritime News
 
Staff praised for 'brilliance' as NHS turns 70
 
There are events taking place across the country, with NHS boss Simon Stevens giving "heartfelt" thanks.  NHS staff have been praised as the institution celebrates its 70th birthday.  Chief executive Simon Stevens says the service's success is due to the "brilliance" of its 1.5 million doctors, nurses, ambulance staff, therapists, porters, caterers and others who, along with volunteers, make up the biggest care team in the world.
 
In a message recorded in an ambulance control room, Mr Stevens said: "It's a time of celebration, looking back over seven decades when we're all living a lot longer and healthier, more than 10 years extra.  
 
"We've seen amazing medical advances, whether its organ transplantations or new cures for cancer or vaccines.
 
"But the reason why the health service does so well is frankly due to the brilliance of the staff.
 
"So, although this is our birthday, today our ambulance crews, here in the ambulance control room where I'm standing, our community nurses, our midwives welcoming new babies into the world, people who are going to be visiting their GP today...
 
The day will see celebrations around the country, including thousands of Big 7Tea events to thank staff and raise awareness of NHS charities.  There will also be services at Westminster Abbey and York Minster to thank staff and patients.
  • Sky News
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Headlines Wednesday 4th July 2018
 
Completion of World’s Largest Sea Lock Delayed
 
The completion of the sea lock at the North Sea Canal entrance in IJmuiden, the Netherlands, has been delayed for 27 months.  The daeadline was moved to the end of January 2022, according to the Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, Cora van Nieuwenhuizen.
 
Responding to the development the Port of Amsterdam said that this means that calling of larger ships at the port will be postponed as well.  “We regret this outcome of events. Since the Noordersluis lock will now remain operational longer, the accessibility of ports in the North Sea Canal Area will, in any event, not be compromised,” the port’s release reads.
 
The sea lock, which will be 500 meters long, 70 meters wide and 18 meters deep, was scheduled to be constructed by the end of 2018, when the testing phase was planned to begin. Official inauguration for commercial shipping was scheduled for 2019.
 
The new lock is designed to operate in all tides, ensuring better accessibility for the port of Amsterdam, and reducing waiting times for ships.
 
Once constructed, the IJmuiden lock would be the world’s largest lock, according to the Dutch government, allowing the next generation of bulk carriers, container ships and cruise ships that have grown in size to access the port of Amsterdam and the North Sea Canal.
  • World Maritime News
 
Accountability Flaws Could Hinder IMO’s Climate Goals
 
Several transparency and accountability flaws could hinder the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) ability to deliver on its own climate goals in reducing carbon emissions, a new report by Transparency International showed.
 
The report entitled, “Governance at the International Maritime Organisation: The Case for Reform,” outlines several key policy issues and recommendations that the IMO, the United Nation’s leading shipping agency, must address in order to meet international standards for transparency, accountability, and integrity.
 
The Berlin-based non-governmental organization said that these changes are essential if the IMO is going to honour its environmental and climate mandates and reach a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of at least 50 per cent by 2050.
 
Currently, if left unchecked, shipping emissions could grow from 2.5 percent to 17 percent by 2050. However, to limit the rise in global temperatures by one-and-a-half-degree, as outlined in the Paris Agreement, some research suggests this number must actually reach zero by 2050.
 
As the principal international body tackling shipping issues, the IMO has a significant role to play in curbing emissions. However, in its current set-up, the IMO is at risk of severely under-delivering on its targets.
  • World Maritime News
 
Vote Leave broke electoral law, Electoral Commission expected to say
 
The official Brexit campaign is expected to be found guilty of four charges of breaking electoral law, the BBC has been told.  The draft of an investigation into Vote Leave concludes it broke spending limits and failed to comply with some of the rules.  It also imposes fines as a result of its findings.  But the group's former chief executive claimed the Electoral Commission had not followed due process.
 
Matthew Elliott has submitted a 500-page dossier to the Electoral Commission rebutting the claims.  The commission said Vote Leave had taken the "unusual step" of going public having seen the draft report.  According to Vote Leave's dossier, the commission finds the campaign group:
  • made an inaccurate return of campaign expenditure
  • is missing invoices and receipts
  • failed to comply with a statutory notice
  • exceeded its spending limit
Crucially, the draft report is said to claim there was coordination between Vote Leave and a smaller campaign, BeLeave, which received a donation of more than £600,000 in the closing weeks of the referendum, after advice from the Vote Leave director Dominic Cummings.
 
For months there have been allegations that the two campaigns broke the rules by working together too closely. The electoral rules stipulate that different campaign groups can work loosely together but they must not have a "common plan".  This has always been denied by the two groups and has been investigated twice already by the Electoral Commission.
 
Vote Leave now admits there was email correspondence between the donor in question, Anthony Clake, and Mr Cummings about passing the donation onto BeLeave.
It is understood that this third investigation concludes that there was a "common plan", and therefore the law was broken.
 
A spokesperson for the Electoral Commission said: "The commission has concluded its investigation and, having reached initial findings, provided Vote Leave with a 28-day period to make any further or new representations. That period ended on Tuesday 3 July.
  • BBC News
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Headlines Tuesday 3rd July 2018
 
Port of Virginia Gets Final OK for Expansion Project
 
The Port of Virginia received the final authorization from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to move ahead with the Wider, Deeper, Safer project.
 
The USACE’s report is the final federal review of the project and clears the way for the deepening and widening of the commercial shipping channels serving the Norfolk Harbor.
 
The dredging project will take the channels to 55 feet deep and widen the channels in select areas to allow for two-way traffic of ultra-large container vessels.
 
“The largest ships in the Atlantic trade are already calling Virginia, but the added depth will allow for even bigger vessels and their safe, uninterrupted passage to and from the harbor,” the port said.
 
The project will be executed in two phases. The preliminary engineering and design (USD 20 million) is the first phase and is expected to take 18-24 months and the dredging phase (USD 330 million), which has a 2024 target completion date.
 
The Army Corps’ Chief of Engineers’ report allows the project to be included in the federal Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) bill.
 
The report completes an effort that began in 1986, when the port was given authorization in the federal WRDA to deepen the Norfolk Harbor to 55 feet. In June 2015, the port and the Army Corps’ Norfolk District office signed the Feasibility Cost-Share Agreement and began collaborating on the Wider, Deeper, Safer effort.
  • World Maritime News
 
First power generated by offshore wind farm at heart of Trump row
 
An offshore wind farm that faced opposition from Donald Trump has generated its first power. Vattenfall’s European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) off the coast of Aberdeen successfully exported to the national grid on Sunday. The power, from the first of the development’s 11 turbines to go live, was carried through 66 kilovolt (kV) subsea cabling, the first time that cabling of such capacity has been installed on a commercial offshore wind project in Scotland.
 
The generation of power was hailed as a significant milestone for the project, which faced delays including a legal challenge from Mr Trump, who claimed the turbines would ruin the views from his golf course at Balmedie. The turbines at the site are the most powerful in the world, standing 191 metres tall, with each blade 80 metres long and a 164-metre rotor that has a circumference larger than that of the London Eye. The development is expected to reach full power later in the summer. Project director Adam Ezzamel said: “We have overcome major engineering and technical challenges to achieve first power on the cutting-edge EOWDC thanks to the collective expertise of Vattenfall and our contractors MHI Vestas, Boskalis and Murphy.
 
“Our priority now is to fully commission the wind farm safely throughout the summer. “First power from EOWDC reinforces north-east Scotland’s status as Europe’s energy capital and will help establish the region as an international centre for offshore wind generation.” Energy minister Paul Wheelhouse said the first power was a “very significant milestone”. He said: “I congratulate the project team at Vattenfall for not only a successful installation but also their achievement in generating electricity from the world’s most powerful offshore wind turbines which, with each rotation at full power, will generate enough energy to power a home for 24 hours.”
 
Jean Morrison, chair of Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group, added: “The timescale between the first installation and first power is remarkable. “The techniques and innovations developed at the EOWDC will be hugely significant for the industry and should help to reduce the future costs of offshore wind. “As energy demand grows, we need to maximise the returns from our natural resources and offshore wind can help us do that.”
  • The Scotsman
 
Shipping containers located in underwater search off NSW coast
 
As many as 50 lost shipping containers have been located on the ocean floor, after falling from a container ship off the NSW coast more than a month ago.  The 268-metre Liberian-flagged ship, YM Efficiency, lost 83 containers about 30 kilometres off the coast near Port Stephens on May 31, with debris including car parts, nappies, sanitary products, yoga mats, bikes and clocks washing up around the Nelson Bay area.  Only two of the 83 containers have since washed up.
 
But the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has now said a hydrographic survey vessel employed by the ships insurers, has possibly located as many as 50 more.  The search vessel was deployed from the Port of Newcastle on June 22.  A spokeswoman from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said the search had been successful so far.  "The search has identified a number of targets which may amount to as many as 50 containers, either broken apart or intact, on the sea floor within the search area."
 
Search operations are expected to be completed later this week, with poor weather suspending the search on a number of occasions.
 
Fishers in the Port Stephens have expressed concerns that a long search and clean up operation could hurt their business.  General Manger of the Newcastle Commercial Fisherman's Co-Operative Robert Gauta said if they had to continue to avoid the area where the containers were lost, they would see losses [in catches].  
"The way fishermen work, they share the grounds around, that's one less place they can go."
 
"So there's no immediate loss, but certainly going forward, if those grounds are not able to be used, there'll be a decrease in our catches going forward."
 
AMSA said its investigation found a number of deficiencies relating to the ship's safety management system, safety of navigation, and cargo storage which could have contributed to the loss of containers.  It inspected the ship for two weeks while it was unloaded in Sydney's Port Botany.
 
"AMSA found the crew were not familiar with procedures related to appropriate planning and risk assessment before navigating through heavy weather, or the applications of approved arrangement to the stowage of cargo," an AMSA spokeswoman said.  It also noted that loaded containers were stowed in slots intended for empty containers, and some containers were heavier than the weight limit for the tiers, where they were stored on the ship.
 
It found a total of 324 containers exceeded their tier weight limits set in the ships cargo securing manual.
  • ABC News

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Headlines Monday 2nd July 2018
 
Fife marine services firm wins $4m BP contract
 
Fife-based offshore services firm Briggs Marine has boosted its global growth plans after being awarded a $4 million contract from BP Exploration.
 
The project, based in Azerbaijan, will see Briggs delivering fire and rescue services at Sangachal Terminal – one of the world’s largest oil and gas sites.
 
The three-year contract is in addition to the oil spill response services throughout the Caspian, which Briggs has been providing since 1996.
 
The new project will be delivered by 108 Briggs-trained local staff, working across three locations within Azerbaijan.
 
The oil spill response services will be delivered from two locations – the main response base in capital Baku and a satellite base located 170 miles away in the Evalakh District.
 
Most of the staff will be located at the Sangachal Terminal to provide the fire and rescue services.
 
Briggs Marine commercial director Pat Diamond said: “As we look to grow globally, Asia is a key market and we are delighted to expand our established services in the region for BP Exploration.
 
“Despite having worked with BP for nearly 20 years in Baku, this is the first time we have provided fire and rescue services for them outside the UK.”
 
Meanwhile Briggs has also bolstered its presence in Liverpool following a contract award by Peel Ports worth around £2m a year.
 
The contract will see the company provide all mooring services for ships arriving and leaving the Port of Liverpool including Tranmere.
 
This follows Briggs’ 2017 investment into new 500 square metre water-side facilities in the Port of Liverpool, supporting the ongoing development of its port services, renewables and sub-marine engineering offerings in the region.
 
Mr Diamond added: “This is another step forward in our Liverpool expansion plans and builds on our growing presence around the Mersey.
 
“It’s very encouraging to see the rewards of our investment taking shape, as growth in North West England is a key part of our business strategy.
 
“With 120 Briggs staff now working in the region, we’re using our experience and track record to continue developing and building client relationships, as well as targeting new contracts.”
  • The Courier
 
Diverse propulsion options sought to make crew transfer vessels greener
 
Technology is being sought to reduce emissions and fuel performance, enhance operations and reduce maintenance needs of crew transfer vessels.
 
The Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) has issued a call for entries from companies and consortia interested in undertaking a study to evaluate potential technology for reducing emissions and fuel consumption that are suitable for use on offshore wind vessels.
 
“In order to implement these technologies, an understanding of the necessary infrastructure is required. The objective for the assessment part of the project is to understand the current and future technology applicable for offshore wind vessels, for example electric, hybrid-electric, liquefied natural gas, hybrid-electric, or hydrogen fuel cell hybrid-electric propelled vessels, and determine what their potential is for meeting the objectives,” said the OWA.
 
The focus of the project is expected to be on crew transfer vessels (CTV) during the operations and maintenance (O&M) phase of an offshore windfarm.
 
The OWA believes that CTVs will act as a lower cost proof-of-concept with the intention that the technology, when proven, can also be utilised by larger service operations vessels, where work is under way on other projects to reduce their emissions and fuel consumption. “The O&M phase is more suited to long-term planning and facilitating potential new infrastructure required to support new technology,” said the OWA.
 
In parallel to the technology assessment, a competition is to be run to support and accelerate the introduction of technology shown to have the potential to meet these challenges.
 
Apart from  reducing vessel emissions, fuel costs and maintenance costs, the OWA wants to understand and evaluate the cost-benefit of existing and future powering and storage technologies, particularly from other industries.
 
It also wants to derisk and accelerate the introduction of technology to reduce emissions for offshore wind by running an industry challenge or competition, and determine the infrastructure required for integrating this new technology into offshore wind operations.
  • Offshore Wind Journal
 
Hyundai Heavy Lays Off a Third of Offshore Executives
 
South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries has cut a third of the executive workforce in its offshore and engineering division, Yonhap said citing the shipbuilder.
 
The world’s biggest shipbuilder is shrinking the workforce as its orders in the sector completely dried up.
 
The decision was made only weeks after Hyundai Heavy said it decided to temporarily shut down its offshore shipyard.
 
At the time, the shipbuilding major informed that the facility would run out of work by the end of July, when it finalizes its last order secured in November 2014, and subsequently close its doors in August.
 
This would be the first time the facility shuts down since the start of operations in 1983.
 
Yonhap earlier informed that the shipyard closure will leave some 5,600 offshore workers redundant, 2,600 of which are regular employees and 3,000 are supplier workforce.
 
The shipbuilder established a task force with its labor union in an effort to devise a solution for the redundant workers. HHI informed that the union demands paid leave for workers in rotation, however, the company is considering a number of options.
  • World Maritime News
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Headlines Friday 29th June 2018
 
Cargill on the Hunt for New CO2 Reduction Technologies
 
Swiss freight trader Cargill has launched the “CO2 Challenge” which aims to find and scale new technologies capable of reducing a ship’s gross CO2 emissions by ten percent.
 
The initiative is in line with the company’s recently revealed CO2 per cargo-ton-mile reduction target of 15 percent by the end of 2020.
 
Cargill’s partners in the project are DNV GL, which will be in charge of assessing the technologies proposed and modeling potential efficiency gains, and Rainmaking, a company which specializes in start-up accelerators.
 
“The CO2 Challenge is the start of an exciting journey. By taking this innovative approach, we hope to uncover new technologies, new ideas and new ways of working to help our industry meet the challenge of decarbonization and reduce its impact on global warming. Applicants have a unique opportunity to see their product make it onto a vessel and, hopefully, into wider commercial production,” said Jan Dieleman, president of Cargill’s ocean transportation business.
 
The challenge is open to all businesses and entrepreneurs who have a product in need of commercial assessment, testing, investment and scaling. The application deadline is September 17, 2018.
 
The shipping industry is putting a greater focus on decarbonization in the wake of the IMO’s decision from April 2018 that the international shipping must at least halve its GHG emissions by 2050.
  • World Maritime News
​​
Sovcomflot, Novatek Forge Ties on LNG Shipping
 
Russian shipping major Sovcomflot has inked a strategic cooperation agreement with compatriot natural gas producer Novatek for the transport of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and gas condensate produced at Yamal LNG and Arctic LNG 2.
 
The agreement is a continuation of the strategic partnership of the two Russian companies on developing an effective logistics model for the transportation of hydrocarbons in the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation, and optimizing the Arctic fleet both in terms of quantity and technical parameters.
 
The deal will also cover Novatek’s other Arctic projects, the two companies said in a joint release.
 
The duo has pioneered shipping through the Northern Sea Route and in July 2017 Sovcomflot’s Christophe de Margerie, the world’s first ice-breaking LNG tanker, became the first tanker to traverse the route unescorted.
 
Christophe de Margerie is the first in a series of 15 carriers being constructed for the Yamal LNG project by Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) under a USD 320 million shipbuilding deal signed in 2014.
 
“Our unique partnership with Sovcomflot will optimize our LNG transport model through the Arctic zone by efficiently and effectively using ice-class tankers,” Novatek’s Chairman of Management Board, Leonid Mikhelson, said.
  • World Maritime News
 
BAE Systems wins £20bn contract to build Australian warships
 
BAE Systems has been awarded a £20bn contract to build a new generation of warships for Australia.  Shares in BAE rose by more than 1% following the announcement.
 
The frigates will be built down under but the PM said the export of a British design was an "enormous boost" for the UK economy.
 
The prime minister raised the possible deal with Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull at Chequers earlier this year, and its award follows four years of high-level talks between the two countries.
 
It is part of a £112bn spending programme by the government in Canberra.
 
BAE Systems will design ships to be built in Australia.  BAE Systems chief executive Charles Woodburn said the contract reinforced the company's position as a "leading designer and builder of complex maritime platforms".
 
"I am proud that our world-class anti-submarine warfare design and our approach to transferring technology and skills to the nations in which we work is expected to contribute to the development of an enduring world-class naval shipbuilding industry in Australia," he said.
 
Mrs May said: "The sheer scale and nature of this contract puts the UK at the very forefront of maritime design and engineering, and demonstrates what can be achieved by UK industry and Government working hand-in-hand.
 
"We have always been clear that as we leave the EU we have an opportunity to build on our close relationships with allies like Australia. This deal is a perfect illustration that the Government is doing exactly that.
  • Sky News
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Headlines Thursday 28th June 2018
 
Thorco Lineage Refloated, Drifting off Raroia
 
The recently grounded general cargo ship Thorco Lineage was refloated from its resting place on the Raroia Atoll, French Polynesia, on June 27.
 
The French navy’s vessel Bougainville, which was sent to the site to assist the 16,500 dwt ship, attached a tow line to Thorco Lineage in the evening hours of June 26 and started maneuvers to free the vessel.
 
Bougainville managed to free the cargo ship from the reef, however, the salvage mission was interrupted as the towing cable broke soon after. The team made a number of failed attempts to reattach the tow line.
 
Thorco Lineage is currently drifting in the open sea, south-west parallel to the west coast of Raroia, according to a statement by French Polynesia’s High Commissioner, René Bidal. The vessel is being monitored by Bougainville.
 
Joint Rescue Coordination Center French Polynesia (JRCC Tahiti) informed that, according to its drift prediction models, Thorco Lineage should continue drifting offshore in the Southwest.
 
The team at the site managed to conduct an underwater inspection, discovering damage on the hull and the ship’s propeller, but there were no signs of pollution. The ship is believed to be suitable for several days of towing.
  • World Maritime News
 
GoodBulk Shelves IPO Plans
 
GoodBulk, Monaco-headquartered bulker owner and operator, informed that it has postponed its proposed initial public offering (IPO) due to adverse market conditions.
 
The company revealed its IPO plans at the beginning of June and was aiming to raise USD 140 million by listing its common shares on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.
 
Under the plan, GoodBulk was going to offer a total of 8.5 million common shares at a price between USD 15.50 to USD 17.50 per common share. The underwriters would have been also given the option to purchase up to 1,275,000 additional common shares.
 
The net proceeds from the IPO, together with cash on hand and additional borrowings, were intended for the cash portion of the purchase price of up to five secondhand Capesizes.
 
The bulker owner did not specify when the plan might be resumed, explaining that it would depend on the market developments.
  • World Maritime News
 
Brexit: May warned over 'disappointing' progress in talks
 
Mrs May will address EU leaders at a working dinner.  Theresa May has been warned that time is running out to secure a Brexit deal as she prepares to face the other 27 EU leaders at a summit in Brussels.
 
The PM will brief all her counterparts for the last time before October, when both sides hope a deal will be done on the UK's March 2019 departure.
But Irish leader Leo Varadkar said the lack of progress was "disappointing".
 
He said he expected fellow leaders to send a "strong message" to Mrs May that talks had to "intensify".
 
The prime minister, who has been under unrelenting pressure at home within her own party, has called her cabinet together for what has been billed as a make-or-break meeting at Chequers on 6 July to agree the UK's blueprint for its future relations with the EU.
 
Divisions over the UK's customs arrangements after December 2020, when the transition period agreed with the EU is due to end, have yet to be resolved, as have arguments over the future movement of goods and people across the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
 
With less than nine months to go before the UK's scheduled exit, leading businesses have said the time has come for clarity and issued warnings about the impact on jobs of leaving the EU without an agreement.
  • BBC News
 
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Headlines Wednesday 27th June 2018
 
Rotterdam Recovers Most of Oil Spilled from Bow Jubail
 
Most of the heavy fuel oil (HFO) that was spilled from the chemical tanker Bow Jubail at the Port of Rotterdam had been cleared by June 26, the port authority informed.
 
Namely, some 150 tonnes of the 217 tonnes of spilled oil had been cleared by Tuesday morning and it is expected that the clean-up operations will continue for several more days. Six special oil spill response vessels are deployed at the affected area for clean-up operations.
 
A washing facility has been operational in Geulhaven since Sunday evening to clean the over 50 inland vessels, with some 8 vessels being cleaned so far. Additionally, a washing facility for sea-going vessels opened on Monday afternoon near buoy 66 in the Botlek area. The first sea-going vessel has been cleaned and has continued on its voyage. A further 14 contaminated sea-going vessels still need to be cleaned, the port said in a statement.
 
“After cleaning the port water and the vessels, a start will be made to clean up the contaminated port infrastructure, including jetties, slopes, banks and embankments. This is expected to take at least several weeks,” the Port of Rotterdam Authority added.
 
The spill occurred on June 23 after the 37,499 dwt tanker, operated by Odfjell, collided with a jetty while it was on its way to the assigned berth for loading. The initial incident ruptured the ship’s hull. The tanker was not loaded with cargo at the time of the incident, and there were no reports of injuries to the personnel.
  • World Maritime News
 
Skangas Fuels Its First Ship with Liquefied Biogas
 
Skangas has supplied Furetank’s chemical/product tanker M/T Fure Vinga with liquefied biogas (LBG), representing the company’s first delivery of this renewable and environmentally friendly fuel to a marine company.
 
The fueling took place at the Port of Gothenburg, transferring the fuel directly from a tanker truck to the ship. The Swedish LBG was delivered to Furetank’s ship from Skangas’ parent company Gasum’s biogas facility in Lidköping.
 
The Fure Vinga was delivered from the shipyard in April this year and is one of two vessels in Furetank’s fleet powered by liquefied gas.
 
Together with partners, Furetank is building five further sister vessels to the Fure Vinga, all of which will be dual-fuel and can be powered by LBG when the fuel is available. The vessels will be trading in North Europe and will benefit from Skangas’ LNG supply network in the region, according to the company.
 
Further to the environmental benefits of using LNG instead of conventional bunker oils, LBG is also 100% renewable with no CO2 emissions. For running the engine, LBG has similar or better characteristics compared with LNG, Skangas said.
 
“Running vessels on liquefied natural gas is our contribution to a more environmentally friendly environment. We will, however, contribute by increasing the sustainability. Using liquefied biogas was a natural step in this direction,” Lars Höglund, CEO of Furetank, noted.
  • World Maritime News
 
Unions join business leaders to demand urgency in Brexit talks
 
TUC and CBI release rare joint statement as cabinet tensions flare into the open over issue
 
British and European trade unions and business organisations have joined forces to demand that “pace and urgency” be injected into the Brexit talks as complaints about the lack of progress made in negotiations intensified ahead of this week’s EU summit.
 
The TUC and the CBI released a rare joint statement with their continental counterparts calling for “measurable progress”, a day after the car industry called for a Brexit deal that delivers “single market benefits” and cabinet tensions over the issue flared into the open.
 
The workers’ and business organisations said: “We are calling on the UK government and the EU to inject pace and urgency in the negotiations, bringing about measurable progress, in particular a backstop arrangement to avoid a hard border in Ireland.
 
Earlier on Tuesday, car manufacturers said there would be no “Brexit dividend” for the industry, with investment in the sector and thousands of jobs being put at risk unless the government rethinks its red lines in negotiations.
 
Ministers have been forced on the defensive since the end of last week after Airbus and BMW said jobs in the UK were at risk if manufacturers could not easily import components from the EU after Brexit. But the CBI and TUC said their concern spread further, to 23 industrial sectors which want “regulatory alignment” post divorce.
 
They range from banking and financial services, through to energy, broadcasting and professional services all of which seek mutual recognition of each other’s regulatory systems post Brexit. Such agreement was of “utmost importance”, said the TUC and CBI in remarks approved by Frances O’Grady, the TUC general secretary, and Carolyn Fairbairn, the CBI director general.
 
May tried to allay some of the concerns on Tuesday by saying it is “right that we listen to the voice of business”, in a corporate summit sponsored by the Times, as she also attempted to counter some of anti-business remarks made by other cabinet colleagues over the last few days.
 
Labour accused the government of botching Brexit “by bickering amongst themselves” rather than “negotiating a sensible deal with the EU”.
 
BMW, which employs 8,000 people in the UK, said it needed to know by the end of the summer what the Brexit strategy was as that was when key decisions would be made.
  • The Guardian
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Headlines Tuesday 26th June 2018
 
Oldendorff Confirms Order for Bulker Duo at Oshima
 
German shipping company Oldendorff Carriers has confirmed an order for two more Kamsarmax bulkers ordered earlier from Japanese shipbuilder Oshima Shipbuilding.
 
Although the price details related to the newbuilding contract have not been disclosed, each of the two vessels is estimated to be worth USD 31.1 million, VesselsValue’s data shows.
 
The data further suggests that the bulkers will be named Diane Oldendorff and Dietrich Oldendorff and will each feature a length of 235 meters and a width of 38 meters.
 
Oshima Shipbuilding will deliver the two 100,000 dwt units, along with another three 62,000 dwt Ultramaxes, during the first half of 2020. The company said that Oshima designs are setting new benchmarks in terms of low fuel consumption.
 
The company said that the newbuilding options increased its orderbook, and Olderndorff now expects to receive another 21 eco bulk carrier newbuildings from yards in Japan and China Between end 2018 and mid-2020. These units were mostly ordered between 2015 and 2017 at historically attractive prices.
  • World Maritime News
 
Quijano: We Have Had to Come Out of Our Shell
 
Since the inauguration of the expanded Panama Canal on June 26, 2016, the waterway has broken numerous records, including monthly and annual tonnage volumes.
 
The USD 5.4 billion expansion project has seen the construction of a new set of locks on the Atlantic and Pacific sides of the waterway, creating a second lane of traffic and doubling the cargo capacity of the canal.
 
The Neopanamax locks have allowed much bigger ships to transit the canal, tripling the size of boxships that can fit into the locks, and doubling the size of bulk carriers and passenger vessels that can use the waterway.
 
The expanded project has paved the way for a rise of shipping traffic to the U.S. East Coast and opened up an opportunity for new trades to use the canal such as LNG.
Just last month, the newly constructed cruise ship Norwegian Bliss made headlines as it became the largest passenger ship to squeeze through the expanded locks, only a month after the canal authority announced the passage of three LNG carriers through the locks in a single day.
 
Now that the canal is celebrating the second anniversary since the opening of its third set of locks, World Maritime News sat down with Mr. Jorge Quijano, Administrator of the Panama Canal, to discuss the emerging trade trends at the canal and priorities for the future.
  • World Maritime News
 
Scrapping Trident need not cost Scottish jobs, new study shows
 
THE Faslane-based nuclear weapons deterrent could be disarmed without massive job losses, according to an independent report published today.
 
The Nuclear Education Trust, a think-tank and charity, says their conclusion is drawn from evidence from defence diversification projects around the world.
 
The report recommends that workers and communities must take the lead in making decisions for moving away from Trident "but a broad partnership involving all stakeholders is necessary for success".
 
It said political support for "diversification" must come from national, regional and local levels and suggested timelines to organise and plan for the move ranged from three to five years as a minimum
 
Funding must be available not just for putting a plan into action but for organising, analysis of the situation, planning and then implementation, the charity said.
The report is launched in Parliament at 4pm on Tuesday.
  • The Herald
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Headlines Monday 25th June 2018
 
Maersk’s Feeder Rescues 113 Migrants off Italy
 
Maersk Line’s feeder containership Alexander Maersk picked up 113 people from a boat off southern Italy, at around 4:30 am CET Friday morning, Maersk Line’s spokesperson confirmed to World Maritime News.
 
The ship was underway from Al Khoms, Libya to Malta when it received a request from the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre Rome, Italy to change its course to assist in a search and rescue operation, late Thursday evening, June 21, Maersk Line said.
 
As a result, the Danish-flagged ship was directed towards Sicily and is currently waiting for further instructions from authorities.
 
“The vessel is receiving timely support from the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, who Saturday evening disembarked five persons from the vessel, mainly children and one pregnant woman, and delivered supplies to the vessel such as blankets and food,” the company statement reads.
 
The shipping industry is directly affected by migrants at sea, especially taking into account that under SOLAS, the captains of merchant vessels are required to rescue individuals in distress at sea. As prescribed, these individuals should be transferred to a safe port.
 
However, as indicated on numerous occasions, commercial ships are not equipped neither are the crews trained to undertake large-scale rescues or keep migrants on board for long time.
 
Since the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean escalated three years ago, over 50,000 people have been rescued by merchant ships, with many more rescued by military vessels and boats operated by humanitarian NGOs.
 
According to the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) a further 3,000 migrants lost their lives during 2017.
  • World Maritime News Staff
 
GasLog Lays Keel for Its New LNG Carrier at SHI Yard
 
Monaco-based ship owner and operator GasLog held a keel laying ceremony for its new liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier at Samsung Heavy Industries’ shipyard on June 18.
 
The new unit will feature a capacity of 180,000 m3, XDF propulsion with a 0.07% boil off rate and reliquefaction, GasLog informed.
 
The company added that the new LNG carrier, which will have a length of 280 meters and a beam of 26.2 meters, is scheduled for delivery in July 2019.
 
GasLog placed the order for the unit in September 2016. At the time, the company said that it signed a time charter party with UK-based utility company Centrica to charter the vessel for a period of seven years, starting from the second half of 2019.
 
Data provided by Vessels Value shows that the LNG carrier has a market value of USD 191.2 million.
  • World Maritime News
 
SNP insists it has an 'open ear' to calls for a second Brexit referendum
 
THE SNP has said it has an “open ear” to a potential second referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union, while continuing to fall short of backing one outright.
 
Ian Blackford, the party’s Westminster leader, insisted its priority was making sure Scotland could stay in the single market and customs union, but added it was "watching developments" over the prospect of another EU vote.
 
He said a hard Brexit would signal a "clear road map towards a second independence referendum that for me would be the priority".
 
It comes as SNP Brexit minister Michael Russell said he was “absolutely not hostile” to a second vote on any future deal, but suggested the result in Scotland would need to be respected.
 
He told the BBC: “There will have to be a vote at some stage. The question is what vote and when, and how it’s going to be achieved, and presently we don’t have answers to that.”
 
Mr Blackford said the SNP was not “in all circumstances diametrically opposed” to a further referendum, adding: “We have an open ear to developments on that front, but for us it's the priority of staying in the single market and the customs union that's most important."
 
He argued that if the UK Government did not listen to the SNP's "power grab" concerns over its Brexit legislation, then an independence vote could follow and the Scottish Government had a mandate.
 
As Theresa May narrowly won another crunch vote on the Government's European Union (Withdrawal) Bill last week, Mr Blackford branded the Prime Minister "very weak", adding "at some point that luck will run out".
  • The Herald
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Headlines Friday 22nd June 2018
 

EU Looking Into Qatar Petroleum’s Long-Term LNG Deals

The European Commission has launched an investigation into long-term liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply agreements between seaborne gas supplier Qatar Petroleum, five of its LNG subsidiaries, and European importers.

The inquiry is to determine whether these deals have hindered the free flow of gas within the European Economic Area (EEA), in breach of EU antitrust rules.

The Commission will investigate whether Qatar Petroleum’s agreements of 20 and 25 years for the supply of LNG into the EEA contain direct and/or indirect territorial restrictions. In particular, certain terms and conditions in these agreements appear to, directly or indirectly, restrict the EEA importers’ freedom to sell the LNG in alternative destinations within the EEA.

Qatar Petroleum stressed that it “gives the highest importance to compliance with regulatory authorities in all geographical areas in which it operates.”

  • World Maritime News

 

Golar LNG Gets USD 200 Mn from Hilli Episeyo Financing

Owner and operator of LNG carriers Golar LNG has secured USD 200 million in additional liquidity as part of a debt financing deal related to the Hilli Episeyo.

Namely, the company has repaid the USD 640 million drawn under the USD 700 million construction financing facility and drawn down on the post acceptance USD 960 million lease financing facility provided by CSSC Leasing.

After the closing an additional USD 320 million of liquidity has been received by Golar. The net increase in liquidity to Golar after settling remaining Hilli Episeyo capital commitments as well as amounts due to minority (10.89%) shareholders Keppel and Black and Veatch as a result of the debt draw down, is expected to be USD 200 million, according to the company.

The transactions were undertaken on the back of the commercial acceptance of Hilli Episeyo, the world’s first FLNG vessel that has been developed as a conversion project from an LNG carrier, on June 4.

The drop down of 50% of the base tolling income to Golar LNG Partners is expected to be concluded shortly. The additional added contribution of some USD 82 million in effective EBITDA and effective EBITDA backlog of USD 650 million, given the 8 year contract term, will significantly strengthening the MLP’s financial position and supporting the distribution going forward.

  • World Maritime News

 

Airbus plans UK job cuts amid fears of hard Brexit impact

No-deal scenario directly threatens future in the UK, says Airbus COO Tony Williams

Airbus has confirmed it is considering cutting thousands of jobs in the UK as it starts to “press the button on crisis actions” over concerns about Brexit.

The company said it could ditch plans to build aircraft wings in British factories over concerns that EU regulations will no longer apply from March 2019 and uncertainty over customs procedures, instead opting to transfer production to North America, China or elsewhere in the EU.

Airbus, which directly employs 14,000 people at 25 sites in Britain and supports more than 100,000 jobs in the wider supply chain, also said a no-deal scenario would lead to “catastrophic” consequences, which could cost the company billions of pounds in delays. The firm also said it was considering stockpiling billions of pounds of parts to prepare for disruption.

In a risk assessment of the Brexit process published on Thursday, Airbus, which generates £1.7bn in UK tax revenues, gave a damning analysis of Britain leaving the EU without a deal. It said leaving the single market, and the customs union and the European court of justice would heavily disrupt its supply chain.

The risk assessment said operating under WTO rules could cost the company billions of pounds every week in loss of turnover and delay penalties. In the event of a no deal, the aerospace firm said it would be forced to reconsider its footprint in the UK, putting thousands of high-skilled jobs at risk.

In what the company called an “orderly” Brexit scenario with an agreement and transition period, the aerospace giant warned the current transition endpoint of December 2020 did not give the business enough time to reconfigure its supply chain and was likely to cause production disruption.

  • The Guardian
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Headlines Thursday 21st June 2018
 
 
California Unveils Plan to Cut Emissions, Protect Whales
 
Partners in an initiative to cut air pollution and protect whales announced the launch of the 2018 incentive program, which will start July 1 and end November 15, 2018, with voluntary vessel speed reduction (VSR) zones in the Santa Barbara Channel region and San Francisco Bay area.
 
For the 2018 program, financial incentives will be awarded to shipping companies based on the percent of distance traveled by their vessels through the VSR zones at 10 knots or less and with an average speed that does not exceed 12 knots.
 
The 10 knot target was selected by the partnership for consistency. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Sanctuaries request vessels 300 gross tons or larger to slow down to 10 knots or less during the months of peak whale abundance to protect whales from lethal ship strikes.
 
Shipping companies will receive financial awards at different tiers based on their fleet’s adherence to the program criteria.
 
“Reducing vessel speeds greatly reduces emissions of smog-forming pollutants, and will help our District attain state and federal air quality standards for ozone (smog),” Mike Villegas, Air Pollution Control Officer at Ventura County Air Pollution Control District VCAPCD, said.
  • World Maritime News
 
Hamburg, Rotterdam Ports Launch Digital Cooperation
 
The Hamburg Vessel Coordination Center (HVCC) and the Rotterdam Port Authority have entered into a digital cooperation to improve operational processes.
 
From now on, both ports will exchange relevant data through a digital interface so that shipping companies can steer their ships more efficiently and terminals can optimize their resource planning.
 
The joint project was launched at the beginning of 2018 and, as of recently, the HVCC and the Rotterdam Port Authority exchange data directly via IT systems. The information pertains to planned and actual arrival and departure times for ships coming from or heading to either Hamburg or Rotterdam.
 
According to HHLA, this direct line of communication improves the basis for planning for both ports as well as for the shipping companies that use these ports, thus ensuring the ability to react quickly in the case of schedule changes. For instance, whenever shipping companies can allow their ships to travel slower – which may be due to, for example, dispatching issues at the arrival port – the ensuing bunker consumption is reduced, which in turn leads to cost savings and decreases the environmental impact.
 
The digital cooperation is achieved through an interface, which links the HVCC software with the PRONTO platform used in Rotterdam. This allows for the real-time exchange of data along the lines of the Port Call Standard of the International Harbour Masters’ Association (IHMA).
 
As explained, this is particularly useful considering the ships’ relatively short travel time of approximately 24 hours between Hamburg and Rotterdam. Without central management, communication takes place via emails, which makes it more time-consuming — the information regarding delays at a terminal in the departure port is often first given to the shipping company or its local agents and is then transferred to the central planner of the shipping company, who then informs all upcoming arrival ports.
  • World Maritime News
 
Brexit: Theresa May vows 'smooth and orderly' EU exit
 
Theresa May has welcomed the passing of the Brexit bill through Parliament as "a crucial step" in delivering a "smooth and orderly Brexit".
 
Peers accepted the amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill sent to them from the House of Commons, meaning the bill now goes for Royal Assent, becoming law.
The vote passed 319 to 303 after would-be Tory rebel MPs were given assurances they would have a meaningful say.
 
The PM said more detail on the UK-EU's future relationship will be given soon.
 
Mrs May said: "Today's votes show people in the UK, and to the EU, that the elected representatives in this country are getting on with the job, and delivering on the will of the British people."
 
The UK is due to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019 and negotiations have been taking place over the terms of its departure.
 
Leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg told Sky News Mrs May would now attend a summit of EU leaders next week "with full strength, with the ability to say the legislation to leave the EU, under EU law and UK law, is now fully in place".
  • BBC News
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Headlines Tuesday 19th June 2018
 

MOL Steps Further into Subsea Support Vessel Business

Japanese shipping company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) is moving further into the subsea support vessel business as it decided to buy a stake in Norwegian AKOFS Offshore AS.

As informed, MOL and Mitsui & Co have entered into a share purchase agreement to acquire shares in AKOFS Offshore AS, which is owned by Aker Group’s Akastor ASA.

“After in-kind contribution of the company of owner and leasing the subsea support vessel, Skandi Santos, which MOL, Mitsui & Co., and AKOFS are jointly operating since November 2016, MOL’s acquisition amount will be about JPY 8 billion,” the company said.

The move will enable MOL to become more involved in the operation and ship management of subsea support vessels, as explained by the company.

  • World Maritime News

 

Carnival Corp, Bellona Join Forces in Sustainability Deal

Miami-based cruise ship giant Carnival Corporation & Plc and the Bellona Foundation have signed an agreement of cooperation where the parties agree to work together to continue improving environmental and sustainability impact.

The newly formed cooperation is based on their shared vision of an even more sustainable cruise industry in a future zero emission society.

“Sustainable operations is a top priority for our business, and as the world’s largest cruise company, our global cruise line brands have taken and continue to take a leadership role for sustainable tourism,” Michael Thamm, Group CEO, Costa Group & Carnival Asia for Carnival Corporation, said.

“Working together with leading environmental NGOs such as The Bellona Foundation will help us to achieve our vision to provide our guests with extraordinary vacation experiences while meeting and often exceeding our environmental commitments.”

The agreement’s overall purpose is to contribute to and promote sustainable operations in the shipping industry. The arrangement will focus on solutions, regulations and legislation favouring the use of environmentally friendly vessels for the benefit of the environment, local destinations and the travellers.

  • World Maritime News

 

Tory rebels not trying to collapse government over Brexit, says MP

Conservative rebels are not trying to “collapse the government” but a “meaningful vote” before leaving the EU may help to avoid a crisis moment, the leading pro-European backbencher Dominic Grieve has said.

Ministers are preparing for another Commons showdown over an amendment to give MPs a meaningful vote even if the government fails to reach a Brexit deal, after the Lords passed an amendment in a landslide vote on Monday night.

Peers voted in favour of a new amendment, devised by Grieve and tabled by Viscount Hailsham, by a significantly bigger margin than the last time the issue was debated.

The wording is based on the deal Grieve believed he had struck with the solicitor general, Robert Buckland, in order to avert a government defeat in the Commons by pro-EU Tories last week.

Rebels say agreed wording was changed at the last minute to give MPs a vote only on “neutral terms”, which would give MPs no power to halt a cliff-edge Brexit.

Grieve said the new amendment was “a mechanism by which the House of Commons could express a view, without moving to a motion of no confidence, which could collapse the government.

Several MPs have suggested Grieve’s amendment is unnecessary. The Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat said MPs would be “looking for a new government” if the current one failed to deliver a Brexit deal that could pass the Commons.

Grieve said he hoped a compromise deal could be agreed with the government before the vote on the amendment on Wednesday, but it was “complete nonsense” to suggest the government could fall if Theresa May lost the vote.

Rebel Tories have insisted the prime minister had personally promised them that she would listen to their concerns about MPs having a meaningful say in the event of no deal with the EU.

Under the new amendment passed by the lords, ministers must update parliament by 21 January if there is no prospect of a deal with the EU and then have two weeks to return to the Commons with a statement on how the government plans to proceed. MPs would then be given a vote on whether to approve the action in statement.

  • The Guardian
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Headlines Monday 18th June 2018
 

Dorian LPG Says No to BW LPG’S Takeover Bid

U.S.-based gas carrier owner and operator Dorian LPG has rejected a takeover bid from Singapore-based counterpart BW LPG.

The stock-for-stock transaction would have created an owner and operator of 73 vessels, including 70 VLGCs, and 3 LGCs, with an aggregate fleet capacity of 6 million cubic meters.

After a consultation with financial and legal advisers, Dorian LPG’s Board of Directors decided that the USD 1.1 bn offer ‘undervalues Dorian on both an absolute- and relative-value basis’.

Dorian LPG added that the BW LPG’s proposal doesn’t recognize the value of Dorian’s younger, more fuel-efficient ships, the company’s superior commercial performance and forces shareholders to accept equity in a more highly-leveraged combined company.

  • World Maritime News

 

DryShips Sells Two Panamax Veterans

Greek shipowner DryShips is steaming ahead with its fleet rejuvenation strategy and shedding of older tonnage.

The latest move has seen the diversified owner sell two of its older Panamax drybulk carriers, built in 2002. The duo fetched a gross sales price of USD 18.8 million.

The vessels are scheduled for delivery to their buyers during the third quarter of 2018.

The move comes on the heels of DryShips’ announced purchase of two younger ships worth USD 93.8 million.

The duo is comprised of a 2013-built Newcastlemax and a 2017-built Suezmax tanker and if the transaction goes ahead will be bought from entities affiliated to George Economou, the company’s Chief Executive Officer. The purchase price included the associated bank debt of USD 50.3 million.

DryShips said that the transaction is expected to close in June 2018.

Following the recent Panamax sale, the company’s drybulk fleet will comprise 21 ships, including 11 Panamaxes, five Newcastlemax and five Kamsarmax drybulk vessels.

The company also owns a very large crude carrier, two Aframax and two Suezmax tankers, four Very Large Gas Carriers and six Offshore Support Vessels.

  • World Maritime News

 

NHS funding: Brexit dividend ‘won’t be enough’ for £20bn boost

The government will not reveal how a £20bn funding boost to the NHS is being funded until the autumn budget - but savings through Brexit will not be "anything like enough" to pay for it.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt also said money could also be raised through taxes and expected economic growth.

It comes after Theresa May said the NHS funding boost would be partly funded by a so-called "Brexit dividend". Labour's John McDonnell called the funding model "not credible".

The UK prime minister announced at the weekend that the NHS budget would rise by 3.4% a year on average over the next five years.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Mr Hunt said the "exact details" of how the increase would be funded "will be announced in the budget".

 

  • BBC News
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Headlines Friday 15th June 2018
 
Schulte Group Launches New Maritime Fund Manager
 
German shipping company Schulte Group has launched a new maritime fund manager, Hanseatic Capital Management (HCM).
 
The fund manager has an investment focus on maritime real assets, specifically merchant vessels.
 
HCM will concentrate on a commercially balanced employment strategy, which will include both shorter and period charters, depending on the vessel segments.
 
The first fund to be launched, Hanseatic Fund VCIC Plc, aims to initially raise USD 120 million.
 
Applying a strong focus on investor protection at all times, its investment goal is on Handysize and Supramax bulk carriers and feeder-sized container vessels aged between four and 15 years. Other types of tonnage or different sizes will be considered as well.
 
Hanseatic Fund VCIC Plc will be regulated as an Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) in line with the relevant EU directives.
 
The units of the Hanseatic Fund VCIC Plc also qualify as an eligible investment for the ‘Scheme for Naturalization of Investors in Cyprus by exception’, issued by the Republic of Cyprus. It therefore offers an investment opportunity in an asset class with great scope for diversification, which previously was not available under this scheme.
  • World Maritime News
 
MSC Cruises Orders One More Meraviglia Ship
 
MSC Cruises has unveiled an order for the construction of a fifth Meraviglia class cruise ship.
 
The cruise company signed the order with French shipbuilder STX France on June 14, 2018.
 
The announcement was made at a ceremony held at the Saint-Nazaire shipyard where the duo celebrated three shipbuilding milestones – the steel cutting ceremony of the second Meraviglia-Plus class vessel MSC Virtuosa, the coin ceremony of MSC Grandiosa and the float out of MSC Bellissima.
 
The newly-ordered Meraviglia class vessel brings the number of MSC Cruises’ LNG-powered ships on order to five.
 
Three MSC Cruises’ ships are now under simultaneous construction at STX France as the construction on MSC Virtuosa has begun.
 
“Our fifth Meraviglia class cruise ship will bring a new generation of (…) environmental technology to the market, benefiting from a new generation of LNG-powered engines. This will help us further reduce our environmental footprint and advance in our journey of constant improvement. She will be joined at sea by up to four World Class LNG-powered ships, as part of our overall commitment to environmental stewardship through this and other next-generation technologies and solutions deployed fleet-wide,” Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman, commented.
 
As informed, the agreement for the additional Meraviglia-Plus ship represents an additional investment of EUR 900 million.
  • World Maritime News

 

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Headlines Thursday 14th June 2018
 
Panama Canal Ups Maximum Draft for Neopanamax Locks
 
The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) increased the maximum allowable draft for vessels transiting the Neopanamax locks on June 13.
 
The maximum authorized draft for vessels transiting these locks was set at 14.94 meters tropical fresh water (TFW).
 
The ACP informed that vessels arriving with drafts over 14.94 meters TFW may be allowed to transit depending on the actual level of Gatun Lake at the time of transit.
 
Otherwise, they will be required to trim or off-load cargo in order to be allowed to transit.
 
The changes were made following the recent rainfall in the canal watershed, which increased the levels of Gatun and Alhajuela Lakes considerably in the preceding days.
 
The ACP will continue to monitor the level of Gatun Lake in order to announce any future draft modifications in a timely manner.
  • World Maritime News
 
Shipping Industry Worried over Italy’s Migrants Policy
 
European shipowners have raised concerns after Italy recently refused a humanitarian ship to disembark rescued persons in Italian ports, according to ECSA.
 
“We realise that Mediterranean states like Italy, Spain and Malta have been under huge pressure in the past years receiving so many migrants and the burden of incoming migrants should be better shared,” Martin Dorsman, ECSA Secretary General, said.
 
“However, we find it unacceptable that ships carrying migrants are turned away from ports. Also merchant ships can be called upon for assisting with the rescue of migrants. In accordance with international conventions, the Captain has a legal obligation to help people in distress at sea, and will of course honour these commitments when needed. However, commercial ships are not equipped neither are the crews trained to undertake large-scale rescues or keep migrants on board for long time,” Dorsman explained.
 
The certainty that migrants can be disembarked as soon as possible is crucial for the safety and well-being of the migrants and the seafarers, ECSA informed.
 
“The shipping industry is directly affected by migrants at sea. Whereas the number of migrants rescued from the sea has gone down from the peak-year of 2015, merchant vessels are still often involved in the Search and Rescue (SAR) operations in central, western and eastern Mediterranean.”
  • World Maritime News
 
Immigration rules to be relaxed for non-EU doctors and nurses
 
The government is to relax immigration rules to allow more non-EU skilled workers into the UK.
 
On Friday, the Home Office is expected to confirm that foreign doctors and nurses will be excluded from the government's visa cap.
 
The cap - introduced by Theresa May when she was home secretary - sets a limit for all non-EU skilled workers at 20,700 people a year.
 
But NHS bosses say the rules are making it difficult to recruit enough staff.
 
Saffron Cordery, of trade body NHS Providers, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the change was "absolutely the right decision".
 
"This is going to be a huge relief for trusts up and down the country who have been really struggling to fill their doctors and nurses vacancies," she said.
 
Alp Mehmet, of pressure group Migration Watch, said he accepted the change but that it should not be the long-term solution.
 
"What we must not forget to do is train our own medical staff," he said, adding that the UK should not "raid other countries that need doctors and nurses a great deal more than we do".
 
The proposed changes relate to so-called Tier 2 visas - which are used by skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland.
 
On Tuesday, it was reported by the Financial Times that 2,360 visa applications by doctors from outside the European Economic Area were refused in a five-month period, apparently because of the cap.
 
And in April, NHS bosses warned that immigration rules were hampering their ability to find workers after visas for 100 Indian doctors were refused.
 
NHS England had 35,000 nurse vacancies and nearly 10,000 doctor posts unfilled in February.
  • BBC News
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Headlines Wednesday 13th June 2018
 
First LNG Bunkering Carried Out at Valencia Port for Baleària Ferry
 
The Port of Valencia has taken a step further in its effort to reduce emissions as the first LNG bunkering was completed for Baleària’s ferry at the port on June 9.
 
Abel Matutes was bunkered with LNG in the Turia quay at this Spanish port.
 
Gas Natural Fenosa and Baleària cooperated on this project which involved the installation of a natural gas generator as well as an LNG tank on the aforementioned vessel with the aim of reducing emissions and improving air quality.
 
The 190-meter-long ship will operate with the auxiliary natural gas engine, enabling it to reduce emissions in the ports of Valencia and Mallorca.
 
As explained, this technology on board the ship will result in an annual saving of about 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), more than 60 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and 6 tons of sulfur oxide (SOx).
 
“All of these initiatives, in which Valenciaport participates actively, are aimed at reducing pollutants from port activities, as evidenced by the reduction of particles, sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides achieved by the replacement of traditional fuels for LNG,” Federico Torres, Subdirector General, Port Authority of Valencia, commented.
 
Earlier this year, Baleària and Gas Natural Fenosa signed the first permanent LNG bunkering contract for ship propulsion in Spain. The supply deal will be exclusive for 10 years and will initially apply to the ports of Barcelona, Valencia and Algeciras.
  • World Maritime News
 
UK attracts £2.3bn in tech investments and 1,600 new jobs
 
Technology firms are to invest more than £2bn in the UK, creating 1,600 new jobs, Theresa May has announced.
 
Mrs May hosted a tech roundtable event where three firms announced private investment into the UK economy.
 
The prime minister also announced several government-funded initiatives to help British start-ups and attract foreign talent.
 
One initiative is a visa scheme to attract more foreign entrepreneurs.
 
The UK government is launching a £2.5bn programme to help UK companies grow and expand overseas, and it hopes to attract a further £5m in private investment for the scheme.
 
It is also starting two "tech hubs" in Brazil and South Africa, to build innovative partnerships and develop skills, capability and business networks in these markets.
 
The private sector tech investment that was announced included £1.9bn over the next five years by US cloud computing firm Salesforce. It will open its second British data centre in 2019.
 
The UAE's state-owned sovereign wealth fund Mubadala is launching a £300m European investment fund, that will be based in the UK.
 
And Japanese IT services firm NTT Data will be investing £41m to open a new office and an innovation centre that will create up to 200 jobs over the next three years.
 
UK tech industry body Tech UK said it is clear that the British government wants to stay ahead of other European countries like France in attracting tech entrepreneurs and investors.
 
"The new start-up visas are a sensible move to encourage those with good ideas to come to the UK, however, start-ups are only one part of UK tech," said TechUK's deputy chief executive Antony Walker.
 
"For many established mid-tier and larger tech companies, there remain serious concerns around Tier 2 visas.
 
"We understand that approximately 1,000 tech workers with job offers were refused visas between December 2017 and March 2018. This is a handbrake on economic growth and needs to be urgently addressed."
  • BBC News
 
Dixons Carphone admits huge data breach
 
Dixons Carphone has admitted a huge data breach involving 5.9 million payment cards and 1.2 million personal data records.
 
It is investigating the hacking attempt, which began in July last year.
 
Dixons Carphone said it had no evidence that any of the cards had been used fraudulently following the breach.
 
There was "an attempt to compromise" 5.8 million credit and debit cards but only 105,000 cards without chip-and-pin protection had been leaked, it said.
 
The hackers had tried to gain access to one of the processing systems of Currys PC World and Dixons Travel stores, the firm said.
 
Dixons Carphone shares fell more than 3% in early trading
 
The 1.2 million personal data records accessed by the hackers consisted of non-financial information such as names, addresses and email addresses.
 
Carphone Warehouse said it had no evidence that the information had left its systems or resulted in any fraud, but it was contacting those affected to advise them.
 
It added that it had brought in leading cyber-experts and added extra security measures to its systems.
 
Dixons Carphone chief executive Alex Baldock said it was "extremely disappointed" by the data breach and "sorry for any upset",
 
"The protection of our data has to be at the heart of our business, and we've fallen short here.
 
"We've taken action to close off this unauthorised access and though we have currently no evidence of fraud as a result of these incidents, we are taking this extremely seriously," he added.
  • BBC News
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Headlines Tuesday 12th June 2018
 
ABS Classes BC Ferries’ Newly Converted LNG-Fueled Ship
 
ABS has classed Spirit of British Columbia, one of BC Ferries’ two largest ferries that will use LNG as fuel.
 
The ship has finished conversion and returned to service on Metro Vancouver (Tsawwassen) – Victoria (Swartz Bay) route.
 
“The conversion of these vessels to operate on LNG is an important milestone for BC Ferries and the region, supporting more efficient and environmentally-friendly transportation,” Patrick Janssens, ABS Vice President for Global Gas Solutions, said.
 
The Spirit of British Columbia was the first of two Spirit Class vessels to undergo conversion while its sister vessel, the Spirit of Vancouver Island, is expected to complete conversion during the spring of 2019. These vessels are the largest ships in the BC Ferries’ fleet with a capacity to carry 2,100 passengers and crew and 358 automobile equivalent. The conversion to LNG as fuel was completed at the Remontowa Ship Repair Yard in Gdansk, Poland.
 
“We are excited to welcome the Spirit of British Columbia back into our fleet and the environmental benefits and efficiency advantages that come with its conversion,”  Mark Wilson, BC Ferries Vice President of Strategy and Community Engagement, commented.
 
“The two Spirit Class vessels consume approximately 16 per cent of our fuel annually. The conversion of our two largest ships in the fleet, along with the introduction of our three new natural gas-fuelled Salish Class vessels last year, goes a long way to improving the sustainability of our operations and affordability for ferry users,” according to Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ President & CEO.
  • World Maritime News
 
Windfarm experts publish no research and had no face-to-face meetings last year
 
Committee was set up by former prime minister Tony Abbott to handle complaints about wind turbine noise.
 
An independent scientific committee on wind turbines established by the Coalition in 2015 failed to hold one face-to-face meeting last year and failed to have its research accepted by peer-reviewed journals.
 
The independent scientific committee on wind turbines was created to advise on the science of potential impacts of wind turbines on people’s health.
 
It was an initiative of the former prime minister, Tony Abbott, who had previously called windfarms noisy and “visually awful” and who created the position of a “windfarm commissioner” to handle complaints about turbine noise in a deal with anti-wind senators in mid-2015.
 
As Fairfax first reported, the committee’s second annual report shows it tried to submit a paper last year on “wind turbine sound limits in Australia and overseas and a proposed sound limit based on annoyance” to the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America on 1 June 2017, but it was rejected.
 
The same paper was then submitted to the Journal of Sound and Vibration on 28 November 2017 but rejected because it was outside the scope of the journal. It was then submitted to the Applied Acoustics journal and has been sent out for peer review.
 
The committee’s 2017 annual report shows it sent another paper last year to the online journal Trends in Hearing “on the physiological effects of wind turbine sound” but it does not say how the paper is progressing.
 
The committee was set up to operate for an initial three years (December 2015 to December 2018), after which it will be reviewed.
 
It aims to have one face-to-face meeting each year, but its annual report says that proved impossible last year. It held seven meetings via video conference, including a meeting with the wind commissioner.
  • The Guardian
 
Glasgow health board vows to stub out smoking by 2034
 
Smoking remains the biggest single preventable cause of ill-health and premature death in Scotland.
 
Scotland’s largest health board has thrown its weight behind a national bid to make the country tobacco free by 2034.
 
The director of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC), John Matthews OBE, has signed ASH Scotland’s Charter for a Tobacco-Free Generation. designed to further help drive down smoking rates.
 
It comes after artist Josie Vallely ran workshops with children who were inpatients and outpatients at the Royal Hospital for Children – where they created an activity resource promoting facts about the impact of second-hand smoking on children and families.
 
Despite the continuing drop in Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s smoking rates, smoking remains the biggest single preventable cause of ill-health and premature death in Scotland.
 
John Matthews OBE, chair of the board’s Public Health Committee, said: “Tobacco is still the most common preventable cause of death in Scotland with smoking to blame for around a quarter of all deaths.
 
“Signing this charter today is important as it shows our continued commitment to reducing smoking and our determination to ensure that all children will grow up free from the harmful effects of tobacco.
 
“Our work already focuses on key charter principles and by signing the ASH Scotland charter we are committing the board to further sustained action to reduce tobacco-related harm by encouraging people not to start, supporting them to stop or protecting them from tobacco smoke.”
 
Half of smokers want to quit for good, while a third of deaths amongst those aged 35 to 69 across the area are caused by smoking.
  • Glasgow Live
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Headlines Monday 11th June 2018
 
Posidonia 2018: Shipowners Stand Alone in Cutting CO2 Emissions
 
The new environmental regulations have been at the center of attention at this year’s edition of Posidonia trade show in Athens, Greece, which took place from 4-8 of June.
 
The upcoming sulphur cap in 2020 and the initiative to halve shipping industry’s carbon footprint by 2050 have been in the spotlight together with the immediate implications of the ballast water management convention.
 
Despite being supportive of the overall aim behind the decarbonization drive, the “tsunami of regulations“ has not been very welcome by the industry due to the lack of pragmatism in their application and the availability issues with respect to effective infrastructural solutions to enable the switch to a cleaner future.
 
In particular, John Platsidakis, Chairman of Intercargo and managing director of Anangel Maritime Services, believes that the overall burden for reducing emissions from shipping is being unfairly put on ships and shipowners.
 
Speaking during the 6th Analyst and Investor Day within Capital Link’s Shipping Forum, Platsidakis stressed that such an approach “will take us nowhere“, adding that providers of assets, i.e., shipyards and engine manufacturers should be pushed to provide better equipment to owners.
 
“As a result, we have to stand up and raise our voice about the real issue here. Therefore, we are asking the providers of assets to come up with the adequate solutions and we will be the first ones to adopt it,” he emphasized.
 
Furthermore, the very fact that refiners have not committed to make the sufficient amounts of alternative fuel available by 2020 poses another uncertainty for shipowners.
 
In addition, he pointed out that it was “unfair“ and “highly regrettable“ that at the end of the day the consumers would be paying the price for the implementation of the new regulations.
 
George Prokopiu, Chairman of Dynagas LNG Partners, agreed, urging that the new regulative framework should be a task for manufacturers and shipyard, not owners.
  • World Maritime News
 
Scotland hits new high for foreign investment, EY survey reveals
 
SCOTLAND has won a record number of foreign direct investment projects for a third consecutive year, with associated job numbers at the highest in a decade at more than 6,000 in 2017, a survey reveals.
 
And Scotland was again the top UK location in terms of the number of research and development projects from overseas players attracted in 2017, according to the annual survey from accountancy firm Ernst & Young (EY).
 
Scotland’s 7% rise in the number of foreign direct investment (FDI) projects won last year outstripped the corresponding 6% increase for the UK as a whole in 2017, the EY survey shows.
 
This meant Scotland’s share of UK FDI projects rose from 9.5% in 2016 to 9.6% last year, with EY noting this was ahead of a historical average of 9.3%.
 
However, as Brexit fears continued to weigh, the UK’s share of the European market for FDI slipped from 19% in 2016 to 18% last year, having been 21% in 2015. The number of inward investment projects attracted across Europe rose by 10% last year
 
The UK nevertheless retained its number-one position in Europe by number of FDI projects attracted last year, ahead of Germany and France. But Paris was named by overseas investors as the most attractive European city to invest in, overtaking London for the first time since the survey of 450 key business decision-makers began in 2004.
  • The Herald
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Headlines Friday 8th June 2018
 
Brisbane’s New Cruise Terminal to Open in 2020
 
A new international cruise terminal will be operating in Brisbane within two years after Port of Brisbane and Carnival Australia reached a commercial agreement.
 
The Brisbane International Cruise Terminal (BICT) at Luggage Point will be operating by mid-2020 and is expected to generate almost AUD 5 billion in economic value for the Queensland economy alone within fifteen years.
 
The amended agreement between the duo follows the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) conditional approval of the project last month.
 
“The decision means Port of Brisbane will now get on with the job of building the terminal, which is a key plank of Queensland’s tourism growth story,” Roy Cummins, PBPL Chief Executive Officer, said.
 
“Cementing this partnership today means we can avoid delays and maintain our construction timeline which – weather permitting – targets completion in second quarter 2020,” Cummins added.
 
President of Carnival Australia and P&O Cruises Australia, Sture Myrmell, said the new terminal was a ‘win-win’ for cruising as well as the Queensland economy.
  • World Maritime News
 
Bernhard Schulte, Columbia Join Forces on Ship Supply
 
Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement and Columbia Shipmanagement have combined their global buying power to create an independent procurement company.
 
The new unit, GP General Procurement Company Limited (GenPro), will negotiate framework supply agreements with international ship suppliers on behalf of its members’ clients with a view to securing the lowest prices achievable on all consumables.
 
This new agreement allows a pool of 800 vessels managed by BSM and Columbia the access to a wider range of consumables at the best prices available globally, the parties said.
 
It will capitalise on the best practices and strengths of its members by driving efficiencies into the whole procurement process to help reduce clients’ vessel OpEx costs and return real value to the client by way of volume-related discounts in a fully transparent and auditable way, the parties explained.
 
“We believe GenPro will change the way global procurement is delivered to shipowners on an international scale and will in time become a compelling new force in the industry. Both companies are leveraging their industry links and relationships to owners and we believe this is something owners will welcome,” Ian Beveridge, CEO of Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement said.
 
The scope and reach of the procurement effort will not be limited to maritime products and consumables but will include all products and consumables associated with the operation of the maritime business, onshore and offshore.
  • World Maritime News
 
World Oceans Day: Med tourists leave 'toxic legacy' of plastic pollution
 
Millions of people visit the Mediterranean every year, but it is fast becoming one of the most polluted seas in the world.
 
Summer holidaymakers are responsible for a sharp spike in the amount of plastic ending up in the Mediterranean Sea, new research shows.
 
Analysis for the WWF to mark United Nations World Oceans Day reveals there is a 40% increase in marine litter during the tourist season, and almost all of it is plastic.
 
Sky Ocean Rescue has been campaigning for the reduction or elimination of single-use plastic.
 
More than 200 million people a year visit the Med, but a combination of litter on the beaches and poor waste management is making the sea one of the most polluted in the world.
 
It holds 1% of the world's water, but contains 7% of all microplastic.
 
Tanya Steele, chief executive at WWF, said: "The Mediterranean is a beautiful holiday destination enjoyed by millions of British people each summer, but when we come home with our happy memories we're leaving behind a toxic legacy of plastic waste.
 
"The birds, fish, and turtles of the Mediterranean are choking on plastic.
 
"Our report also shows plastic is ending up in the fish and seafood we eat on holiday."
  • Sky News
 
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Headlines Thursday 7th June 2018
 
Oil majors to bid on choice stakes in Brazil's offshore
 
Executives from oil majors were set to gather in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday to compete for stakes in Brazil’s pre-salt oil play, home to some of the world’s most alluring offshore geology, as rising oil prices boost appetite for expensive offshore projects.
 
A record 16 companies, including Chevron Corp, BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc registered to bid for four blocks in the offshore Campos and Santos basins, part of the so-called fourth pre-salt auction on Thursday.
 
In the pre-salt layer, billions of barrels of oil are trapped beneath a thick layer of salt under the ocean floor.
 
Brazil, South America’s top producer, has recently attracted record bids from the likes of Exxon Mobil Corp, also registered to compete on Thursday, as oil majors seek to replenish depleted reserves.
 
A rise in oil prices to around $75 a barrel may entice even more interest, analysts say.
 
Decio Oddone, director of Brazilian oil regulator ANP, said he expected it to be the first pre-salt auction where all blocks are sold, meaning an injection of 3.2 billion reais ($832 million) into Brazil’s cash-strapped government.
 
“Brazil has a history of respecting contracts and the assets are appealing,” said Oddone, brushing off concerns about a possible impact on the auction from a fresh wave of government meddling in fuel prices at state-controlled oil company Petrobras .
 
A truckers’ strike over higher diesel prices paralyzed commerce in Brazil last month, prompting the government to announce measures to cut prices for the fuel. This fanned fears of more government interference at Petrobras and sent its chief executive officer packing.
 
Under current Brazilian rules, Petrobras will likely serve as operator and take at least a 30 percent stake in all pre-salt blocks it expresses an interest in prior to the bid round.
  • Reuters
 
Thales: Digital Transformation of Shipping Will Be A Long Journey
 
It will be a long journey for shipping companies to embark on their digital transformation, Robert Squire, Director Thales Certus, said at Posidonia 2018.
 
“The way the shipping industry is approaching digitization is very piecemeal and very reactive. They will only request solutions for specific issues they face at any particular point in time as opposed to approaching digital transformation in a more strategic, long-term approach,” Squire explained.
 
“Return on investment takes a long time to achieve so transformation needs to happen gradually in an intelligent way with a few quick wins to help you get there at some point in the future,” he added.
 
Digitalization, cyber technologies, autonomous mobility and artificial intelligence (AI) are the driving forces shaping tomorrow’s shipping industry. However, the pace of the adoption of new technologies in shipping is as slow as a tanker’s U-turn. Nonetheless, the consensus in the industry is that change is inevitable and that regulatory and competition forces will be the catalysts for companies to adjust to the new realities.
 
“It’s a survival issue; whoever does not adopt new digital technologies in the coming years will be left on the sidelines,” Mike Konstantinidis, CEO, Metis Cybertechnology, a Greek company established just 15 months ago to ride on the tide of the impending digitization, said.
 
“The shipping sector is behind other industries in the adoption of innovative technological solutions and only recently the industry has seen a change with more companies requesting information and expressing interest in cyber technology solutions to help them reduce costs and the complexity coming from the increasing demand for the adoption of the new regulations, as well as to improve crew efficiencies and productivity,” Konstantinidis continued.
 
Konstantinidis is upbeat that demand for digital transformation products and services will increase exponentially over the coming years as AI and machine learning solutions herald a new era in performance management in shipping.
 
And as more and more shipping companies and fleets adopt digital technologies, other challenges will surface according to Thales.
  • World Maritime News
 
'Exciting step' as test drives of flying car begin
 
The company behind Flyer says the vehicle is designed to be flown recreationally over water and in uncongested areas.
 
A flying car project has unveiled a model that can be taken for test flights by potential buyers.
 
Kitty Hawk, a start-up company funded by Google co-founder Larry Page, says it is "an exciting first step to sharing the freedom of flight".
 
The company says the vehicle is designed to flown for recreational purposes over water and uncongested areas.
 
An early version of Flyer was shown off last year.
 
The electric aircraft had 10 small lift rotors on its wings. This enables it to complete a vertical take-off and landing like a helicopter.
 
At a distance of 15m (50ft) away, the "car" is said to be as loud as the average lawnmower.
 
Test flights by first timers take place over water, with top speeds limited at 20mph and the altitude restricted to no more than 3m (10ft).
 
The uncovered cockpit appears to be big enough for one person.
 
The company opened for business last year in California, and its prototype has been tested in New Zealand.
  • Sky News
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Headlines Wednesday 6th June 2018
 
 
Panama Canal Sets New Monthly Tonnage Record
 
For the third time since its inauguration, the Expanded Panama Canal set a new monthly tonnage record of 38.1 million tons (PC/UMS) in May 2018.
 
During the period, the expanded waterway saw a total of 1,231 vessels transit its locks, according to the Panama Canal Authority (ACP).
 
The container ship segment contributed highest tonnage with 36%, breaking its segment record with 13.8 million tons (PC/UMS) transited by 229 vessels.
 
“This new historical milestone reiterates the positive effect of the Expanded Canal and is further proof of the continued confidence of the maritime industry in the Panama Canal, and the impact it will have on the future of world maritime trade,” Jorge L. Quijano, the Panama Canal Administrator, said.
 
The previous record was set in January 2017, when 1,260 vessels transited 36.1 million tons (PC/UMS) through the waterway, just a month after setting the record with 35.4 million tons (PC/UMS) transited by 1,166 vessels in December 2016.
 
Since the inauguration of the Neopanamax locks almost two years ago, the waterway has received around 3,800 Neopanamax vessels, around 50 percent of which are containerships.
  • World Maritime News
 
Posidonia 2018: Scrubbers Not a Long-Term Solution
 
Scrubbers are not a long-term solution for the impending 2020 sulphur cap, Kim Yeon-tae, Executive Director of the Korean Register, told World Maritime News on the sidelines of the Posidonia 2018 exhibition and conference.
 
The regulation requires that all ships trading outside of the sulphur Emission Control Areas (ECAs) start using fuel with a sulphur content of up to 0.5 pct, a considerable reduction from the currently permitted maximum of 3.5 pct as of January 1, 2020.
 
Ships using exhaust gas cleaning technology will be able to continue to use high sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) as a marine fuel. However, the shipping community has raised numerous concerns regarding the viability of scrubbers, especially when speaking about open-loop type of scrubbers.
 
The open-loop scrubber system removes SOx from the exhaust by utilizing seawater which is later discharged into the sea.
 
Initiatives have been made to ban the discharge of the washwater from scrubbers into certain regions as the contents of the released water include heavy metals and poly-aromatic hydrocarbons, posing a risk to the maritime life.
 
“The main reason why shipping companies opt for scrubbers is that they think that a potential ban on the discharge of the washwater is likely to be delayed,” Kim said.
 
Taking into account the IMO procedures, and the duration of the regulative process, it will take some time to designate these areas.
 
Despite the fact that the IMO insists that there would be no delay in the implementation of the sulphur cap, the shipowners are still taking the “wait and see approach”, Kim continued.
 
Aside to scrubbers, shipowners have a number of options to choose from when it comes to picking an alternative to become compliant with the new rules.
 
Speaking of the sentiment among the shipping companies in South Korea, Kim said that Korean owners still feel that it is too early to adopt LNG as marine fuel.
 
Namely, retrofitting existing ships to LNG is a costly and complex undertaking that takes a considerable time to complete. This in particular relates to small and medium-sized companies for which converting ships to LNG is pretty far away, he explained
 
“Some shipowners in Korea are considering the switch to LNG, but there are several risks to consider and the price is too high,” he said, adding that LNG as marine fuel is not a long-term solution either.
 
Another option for shipowners is low sulphur fuel, but the shipping community is worried about the lack of availability of the said fuel.
 
Speaking of the availability issues he said that it would probably take up to two years for those to be resolved, adding that by 2022 there should be enough supply worldwide.
  • World Maritime News
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Headlines Tuesday 5th June 2018
 
Wilhelmsen, Wärtsilä Ink Scrubber Maintenance Deal
 
Norway-based Wilhelmsen Ship Management and technology group Wärtsilä have signed a 5-year contract on the maintenance of exhaust gas cleaning systems installed in three vessels.
 
The agreement ensures that the units, managed by Wilhelmsen Ship Management, are fully MARPOL compliant and can fulfill the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) new, stricter sulphur limits, coming into force on January 1, 2020.
 
All three vessels have a 25 MW Wärtsilä Hybrid Scrubber System, which has the flexibility to operate in both open and closed loop, using seawater to remove SOx from the exhaust gas. In closed loop mode additional reagent is used in combination with sea water.
 
The services covered under this agreement, signed in December 2017, include annual audits and safety tests to ensure ongoing MARPOL compliance, calibration of the Continuous Emission Monitoring System (CEMS) and water monitoring system as well as operational training courses for the vessels’ crew.
  • World Maritime News
 
Britain takes around £2 billion loss on RBS share sale
 
Britain’s government sold 7.7 percent of Royal Bank of Scotland shares for 2.5 billion pounds on Tuesday, realising a loss of more than two billion pounds on part of its investment in the lender it rescued in 2008.
 
The government sold the shares for 271 pence each in an overnight placement to institutional investors, a price almost half what it paid when bailing out RBS for 45.5 billion pounds at the height of the financial crisis.
 
“This sale represents a significant step in returning RBS to full private ownership and putting the financial crisis behind us,” Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said.
 
Opposition Labour party had earlier criticised the share sale when it was announced on Monday evening, saying that taxpayers would lose out and the government should have held out for more
 
Once one of the globe’s biggest banks, RBS under former Chief Executive Fred Goodwin embarked on an aggressive expansion course before its disastrous bid for Dutch lender ABN AMRO in 2007 left it perilously weakened as the financial crisis hit.
 
Few argue that Britain’s Labour government of the time erred in rescuing the lender, but the years since have been marked by relentless restructuring and legal costs at RBS that have all but wiped out its profits and chances of returning taxpayers’ money.
 
The government is set to sell the rest of its 62 percent stake in RBS over the next few years, most likely in a similar fashion to Monday night’s sale although it could offer some of the shares to the public.
  • Reuters
 
Swimmer begins epic Pacific crossing to highlight plastic pollution
 
A 51-year-old Frenchman has embarked on a long-distance swim in shark-infested waters - a journey which will take him thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean from Tokyo to San Francisco.
 
Ben Lecomte is set to cover 9,000km (5,600 miles) battling giant waves, jellyfish and the "Great Pacific garbage patch" - a large collection of plastic waste in the ocean between California and Hawaii.
 
The adventurer and environmentalist is hoping to become the first person to swim across the world's largest ocean.
 
His son and daughter joined him for the first 100 metres before rejoining well-wishers and family on the shore.
 
The swimmer is hoping to raise awareness of the plastic waste and ocean pollution blighting the water, with his support team hoping to carry out experiments throughout the trip, which is expected to take between six and eight months.
 
He will also wear a device to test levels of radioactive material from the Fukushima nuclear plant, which was hit by a tsunami in 2011.
 
Mr Lecomte, who plans to swim eight hours a day, will eat, rest and sleep on a boat which will accompany him before being dropped off every morning to where he stopped swimming the previous evening.
  • Sky News
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Headlines Monday 4th June 2018
 
MPA Awards Grant for Two LNG Bunker Vessels
 
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has awarded SGD 6 million (USD 4.5 million) to FueLNG and Pavilion Gas for the construction of two LNG bunker vessels in an effort to help promote ship-to-ship LNG bunkering in Singapore.
 
FueLNG and Pavilion Gas will each receive a co-funding grant of up to SGD 3 million for their respective LNG bunker vessel.
 
Slated for delivery in 2020, the vessels will be amongst the first of their kind in Asia, according to MPA.
 
“This is a significant step towards cementing Singapore’s position as a leading LNG bunkering hub in the Far East, catering to large ocean-going LNG-fuelled vessels,” MPA said.
 
“LNG is a viable marine fuel solution to meet global environmental regulations such as the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) 0.5% global sulphur cap from 1 January 2020. As the world’s largest bunkering hub, we are pleased to support the building of the first two LNG bunker supply vessels for the Port of Singapore. We look forward to the successful applicants contributing to the growth of ship-to-ship LNG bunkering in the Port of Singapore,” Andrew Tan, Chief Executive of MPA, commented.
  • World Maritime News
 
New VLCC Giant Handed Over to K Line
 
Japan’s shipping major Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line) took delivery of its newest very large crude carrier, the 311,000 dwt Tedorigawa.
 
The unit was constructed by China’s shipbuilder Nantong Cosco KHI Ship Engineering (NACKS) and handed over to its owner on June 4.
 
Featuring a length of 339.5 meters and a beam of 60 meters, the Panama-flagged mammoth has 161,483 gross tons.
 
K Line said that the vessel achieves low fuel consumption, about 20% less compared with the company’s conventional VLCCs, by removing Bulbus Bow, applying ultra-long stroke slow speed main diesel engine and highly-efficient large diameter propeller.
  • World Maritime News
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Headlines Friday 1st June 2018
 
New innovation report examines cost of Scottish offshore wind
 
A new report examining the future cost of offshore wind has been released claiming to focus on ‘future challenge areas’.
 
Looking at the future opportunities and expansion of offshore wind the report by the Offshore Wind Innovation Hub (OWIH) has looked at four improvement areas including turbines, electrical infrastructure, substructures and wind farm lifecycle.
 
The OWIH said the challenge areas align closely with the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy and have been developed in close collaboration with industry and academia by the Offshore Wind Innovation Hub, an initiative delivered jointly by the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Network.
 
Future ‘roadmap’ reports will then be released exploring where cost savings can be made.
 
The reports will also look to provide industry and government with a single validated source of information and highlight future potential market opportunities.
 
The OWIH said it “will now work with industry to issue specific technology challenges” in the future.
 
Dr Stephen Wyatt, research and innovation director at ORE Catapult and Co-Chair of the Hub’s Technical Advisory Group, said: “Innovation is at the heart of developing a strong UK supply chain and capitalising on the global growth of the offshore wind sector. The technology challenge roadmaps published today by the OWIH clearly signpost where the industry should be focussing its innovation effort to continue to drive down costs and maximise on these opportunities.”
 
Benj Sykes, co-chair of the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC), added: “These challenge areas will help to focus our industry innovation activity as we work closely with Government to maximise the advantages of our world-leading position and agree a transformational Sector Deal, which will unlock at least 30GW of capacity by the end of the next decade, providing affordable clean electricity to homes and businesses across.”
  • Energy Voice
 
Another 11 Ships to Fly the Danish Flag
 
Danish shipping registries will soon expand with another 11 vessels which are set to fly the Danish flag.
 
The units in questions are the ones belonging to the fleets of Danish shipping companies TORM and Dampskibsselskabet Norden A/S, according to the Danish Maritime Authority.
 
“This builds on the historic milestone when Danish shipping registries recently reached 20 million GT,” the authority informed.
 
Even though Denmark is not the world’s biggest ship registry, it is now in front when it comes to growth rate over the past year, which means that in just one month, the Danish International Shipping Register has grown from 20 to 20.5 million GT, with more than 700 ships registered in DIS.
 
“It is encouraging to see the Danish flag continuing its growth. Our political initiatives are having a positive effect, and we will continue the efforts to reduce administrative burdens, digitalize and improve the framework conditions and overall service for the industry,” Brian Mikkelsen, Minister of Business, Industry and Growth, said.
  • World Maritime News
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Headlines Thursday 31st May 2018
 
Study Supports Case for Methanol as Sustainable Marine Fuel
 
In anticipation of the entrance into force of IMO’s 2020 sulphur cap, methanol is gaining ever greater support as an environmentally-friendly marine fuel.
 
According to the latest findings of the Sustainable Marine Methanol (SUMMETH) project, there are no obstacles to the efficient use of methanol in a converted diesel engine. The research also found that smaller vessel conversion projects are feasible and cost-effective, meeting the existing safety requirements.
 
As explained, methanol offers close to zero SOx and particulate matter emissions and significantly lower NOx emissions compared to conventional marine fuels or biodiesel.
 
Joanne Ellis, Project Manager for SSPA, which led the research, says the partners sought to build on the work already done in earlier research projects that resulted in the Stena Lines and Waterfront Shipping methanol dual-fuel vessels, using a vessel type that could use methanol in a converted single-fuel engine.
 
“The work on Stena Germanica and the Waterfront Shipping vessels proved the dual fuel concept in larger vessels; we wanted to understand whether conversion of a smaller engine was feasible. We looked at a road ferry with an engine capacity of about 350 kW which makes short trips between the mainland and the island of Ljusterö in the Stockholm archipelago, carrying people as well as cars, where there was a real desire to improve the emissions profile,” he said.
 
Topic areas of the project’s final reports include the technical feasibility of converting vessels to propulsion using methanol, the resulting environmental performance, bunkering issues and fuel supply now and in the future. The research program was conducted by SSPA, ScandiNAOS, Marine Benchmark, Lund University, the Swedish Transport Administration Road Ferries, Scania, SMTF and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.
 
Ellis adds that as biomethanol increasingly becomes available, vessel operators will have the opportunity to blend in this zero-carbon fuel and progressively meet emission reduction targets set by the IMO.
  • World Maritime News
 
Crackdown on high-interest lending announced by FCA
 
The rent-to-own sector faces a cap on prices similar to limits on the cost of payday loans, but the financial regulator will not impose an immediate similar restriction on overdrafts.
 
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has spent nearly two years studying borrowing at high interest rates.
 
It has now outlined a package of plans for rent-to-own, doorstep lending and catalogue shopping.
 
High-cost credit is used by three million people in the UK.
 
Single-parents aged 18 to 34 are three times more likely to have a high-cost loan - such as a payday loan, doorstep loan or pawnbroking loan - than the national average.
 
"The proposals will benefit overdraft and high-cost credit users, rebalancing in the favour of the customer," said FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey.
 
Campaigners had called for a cap on the interest and charges faced by those using high-cost credit, including overdrafts.
 
They said that cap on the cost of payday loans, introduced in 2015, should be a template for the rest of the high-cost credit market.
 
Some 400,000 people have outstanding debt with rent-to-own firms from which they buy household appliances, paying the money back over three years.
 
After interest, they can end up paying well over double the cost price.
 
The FCA said it had seen cases when people had paid more than £1,500 for essentials like an electric cooker that could be bought on the high street for less than £300.
 
"The FCA believes the harm identified in this market is sufficient in principle to consider a cap on rent-to-own prices. It will now carry out the detailed assessment of the impact that a cap could have on the rent-on-own sector and how it might be structured," the regulator said.
 
Such a cap would not be in place before April 2019.
  • BBC News
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Headlines Wednesday 30th May 2018
 
Oldendorff Carriers Joins Sustainable Shipping Initiative
 
Germany-based dry bulk shipowner and operator Oldendorff Carriers has become the newest member of the Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI), a coalition of companies from across the global shipping industry.
 
Oldendorff joins other SSI members who are working together to help create a more environmentally sustainable maritime industry by 2040.
 
Oldendorff Carriers usually has around 700 bulk carriers under operation at any one time. Since 2014, the company has invested in around 60 ‘eco’ newbuildings, which have been delivered from China, Korea and Japan. They feature low fuel consumption and significantly reduced emissions compared with older ships. Most long-term time chartered ships are also ‘eco’ type ships.
 
“Oldendorff Carriers is pleased to join the distinguished members of the SSI to share ideas and find a profitable and practical way forward on sustainability in the shipping industry. We found the SSI an excellent forum to address shipping specific sustainability issues, with like-minded companies,” Scott Jones, Director of Communications at Oldendorff, said.
  • World Maritime News
 
Heidmar Unveils New Bunkering Service
 
US-based tanker operator Heidmar has introduced a new bunkering service as the industry moves toward the upcoming 2020 legislation on the global sulphur cap.
 
The company’s new platform, Heidmar Bunkering Services (HBS), would providing strategic bunkering for risk management and scenario planning.
 
The Heidmar bunkering strategy engages the world-class purchasing performance and transparency of its pools as part of the company’s commercial service, adding a tailored and dynamic approach to managing future price risk, according to Heidmar.
 
“The upcoming 2020 legislation provides a unique challenge requiring fresh thinking and innovation, and Heidmar Bunkering Services is there to help ship owners and operators meet the changing bunkering landscape,” the company concluded.
  • World Maritime News
 
Uber and Virgin launch controversial tie-up
 
Virgin says more people will leave their cars at home, but opponents argue the move risks the livelihoods of regular taxi drivers.
 
Virgin Trains has joined forces with Uber to make it easier for passengers to book a cab to and from a railway station.
 
Customers will be given the option to receive a text message with a link to book an Uber to the station - and another at their destination station.
 
Passengers booking a taxi will be eligible for 50% off their first Uber journey up to a maximum value of £10.
 
The deal does not apply to the return leg of the journey.
 
Opponents say the scheme puts the livelihoods of regular taxi drivers at risk - and comes at a time when the ride-hailing app is battling to secure its operating licences in London, York and Brighton amid safety concerns.
 
The scheme begins on Wednesday on trains between London Euston and Birmingham New Street, and there will be a two-week trial period for customers to give feedback.
 
The plan is then to expand the service to other routes including Birmingham International, Glasgow Central, Milton Keynes Central, Manchester Piccadilly, Edinburgh Waverley and Edinburgh Haymarket in the coming months.
 
The train company claims the move is aimed at encouraging more people to leave their cars at home, while the cab firm added: "We want door-to-door experiences to be as seamless and convenient as possible... at the touch of a button."
 
But Amanda Gearing, an official of the GMB union, said: "The licensing of taxis sits with individual local authorities, who take account of many factors, including safety and size of the market.
 
"This partnership tramples over our local democracy and we've already heard councils raising issues about this.
 
"Concerns about commuters' safety and risks to the livelihood of many taxi drivers have been side-stepped to promote the interests of a public sector privateer and a company that refuses to give workers employment rights."
 
Cllr Jayne Innes, Coventry Council cabinet member for city services, said: "This is incredibly disappointing news for locally licensed taxis, and for the black cab industry up and down the country.
  • Sky News
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Headlines Tuesday 29th May 2018
 
Port of Riga Is Ready to Welcome Large Vessels
 
Latvian Port of Riga has invested millions of euros in its infrastructure in order to be able to accommodate large vessels.
 
As explained, cargo owners wish to reduce their costs and carry out shipments using ships with a greater deadweight capacity. As a result, the port handled in 2017 almost three times more cargo than in 1997, while the total number of incoming merchant ships dropped from 4,029 in 1997 to 3,422 in 2017.
 
“The trend is clear: the number of ships coming to the port is decreasing, but their capacity increases,” A. Brokovskis, Captain of the Freeport of Riga, commented on the data.
 
The size of ships has been growing in the Port of Riga particularly rapidly during the past decade. In 2010, the port accepted only 110 ships with the deadweight capacity of more than 50,000 tons, while last year their number was 214. The number of large ships has doubled within this period. The main reason for the constant increase in the size of ships is the desire by cargo carriers for cheaper shipments, whereas the recent rapid increase is also related to the reconstruction of the Panama Canal.
 
Increasingly, large ships also pose new challenges for the Port of Riga. These ships require deeper and wider navigation channels. Over 20 years, almost EUR 90 million has been invested in dredging at the Port of Riga. Moreover, investments had to be made not only in dredging work but also in IT infrastructure, navigation systems and employee training. Managing larger ships also requires greater competence of port services and pilots in particular, according to the port.
 
The successful handling of large ships at the port does not depend on the depth and width of the navigation canal alone. It requires appropriate infrastructure on the shore as well. Hence, requirements for stevedoring companies operating in the port have increased.
  • World Maritime News
 
Offshore wind farm near Brighton and Worthing completed
 
A £1bn offshore wind farm the size of Guernsey which will provide energy for around 350,000 homes is officially opening later.
 
The Rampion project, off Brighton, has 116 turbines and will power the equivalent of half the homes in Sussex.
 
It is the first on the south coast and is two-thirds the size of the London Array, the biggest offshore wind farm in the world.
 
The Array has 175 turbines in the Thames Estuary near Kent.
 
Lewes MP Maria Caulfield will open the Rampion's Newhaven operations and maintenance base later.
 
The turbines will be fully operational later this year.
 
The farm stretches from East Worthing in the west, to Brighton in the east and covers an area of 72 square kilometres, which is just larger than the island of Guernsey in the English Channel.
 
It is a joint venture between E.ON, which developed the project, Canadian energy company Enbridge and a consortium of USS, Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund and Macquarie Capital.
  • BBC News
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Headlines Friday 25th May 2018
 
China to tackle wasted energy in new wind farm rules
 
China’s energy regulator has ordered local authorities to take heed of the grid capacity when selecting new wind power projects, in an attempt to ensure that no more than 5 percent of the electricity they generate is wasted, it said in a notice.
 
China’s renewable energy law compels grid firms to absorb the power generated by clean sources such as wind and solar. However, many projects have been left with inadequate grid access, a problem commonly known as “curtailment”.
 
Regulators have sought to manage the pace of construction in order to give grids more time to expand transmission capacity, but 12 percent of total generated wind power was still wasted last year, as well as 6 percent of solar, according to official figures.
 
The new guidelines published by China’s National Energy Administration on Thursday said priority should now be given to cross-regional wind power bases that can deliver electricity to different regional grids.
 
Projects on unused and untaxed land will also be favored this year, the guidelines said, as well as those on established wind power bases, where weather conditions are most favorable and subsidies are not required.
 
From 2019, all large-scale onshore and offshore wind power plants must be subject to a competitive tender process, with bids based on construction costs as well as power prices, the regulator said. The tariff for each project must not exceed the benchmark set by the government.
  • Reuters
Carnival Cruise Line Names Its Newest Ship
 
Carnival Cruise Line named its newest ship, Carnival Horizon, in a ceremony held in New York on May 23.
 
The second in the line’s Vista-class series, the 133,500-ton ship was built by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri and delivered to its owner in March this year.
 
The newbuild features a length of 323.6 meters and a width of 37.2 meters. In addition, the Panama-flagged ship can accommodate more than 6,400 people onboard, including staff.
 
According to Fincantieri, Carnival Horizon has been built in accordance with the latest navigation regulations and equipped with modern safety systems, including the “Safe return to port”. It has also been fitted with advanced energy-saving technologies such as energy-efficient engines and an exhaust gas cleaning system.
 
Carnival Horizon kicks off a summer schedule from New York with a four-day cruise to Bermuda. The ship will operate four-day Bermuda and eight day Caribbean departures from New York through September then reposition to Miami for year-round six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises beginning later that month, the cruise line said.
  • World Maritime News
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Headlines Thursday 24th May 2018
 
Euroseas’ Dry Bulk Business Spin-Off Gets the All Clear
 
Greek shipowner Euroseas announced that it has received regulatory approval to spin off its drybulk fleet into a separate company named EuroDry Ltd.
 
The company added that the application of EuroDry Ltd. for listing on the NASDAQ Capital Market under the symbol “EDRY” has been approved.
 
EuroDry is a middle range drybulk owner that owns six vessels, three of which are newbuildings, one Ultramax and two Kamsarmaxes.
 
“We believe that this separation will unlock the value inherent in our fleet which is currently trading at a significant discount to its net asset value. We believe that by forming “pure” play companies we can more easily be compared to our peers and this is expected to result in a significant increase in our value for our shareholders as our sector-focused companies should trade closer to their NAV. We also believe that separate drybulk and containership investment options will give our shareholders the flexibility to adjust their holdings, if they so wish, between the two sectors,”Aristides Pittas, Chairman and CEO of Euroseas commented.
  • World Maritime News
 
Kalmar, Yara Team Up on World’s 1st Fully-Digitalized Cargo Solution for Yara Birkeland
 
Kalmar and Yara have entered into an agreement in which Kalmar will deliver fully autonomous equipment, software and services for a fully digitalized container handling solution at Yara’s Porsgrunn facility in Norway.
 
This means that all the necessary operations related to the world’s first autonomous and electric container vessel Yara Birkeland will be conducted in a fully autonomous and cost-efficient manner, with zero emissions, as explained by the two companies.
 
The delivery is scheduled to be completed during the second quarter of 2020.
 
“With this agreement, Yara Birkeland is not just the world’s first electric and autonomous container vessel; it is the world’s first fully digitalised and electric supply chain, with all operations, including loading, unloading and sailing conducted in a fully autonomous manner with zero emissions,” Tove Andersen, EVP Production, Yara, commented.
  • World Maritime News
 
Deutsche Bank to cut more than 7,000 jobs
 
Deutsche Bank has said it will cut more than 7,000 jobs as Germany's biggest lender attempts to return to profit.
 
The bank said it would reduce global staffing levels from just over 97,000 to "well below 90,000".
 
Following a review of the business, the number of jobs in Deutsche's equities sales and trading business is being cut by a quarter.
 
The bank - which employs 8,500 people in the UK - did not say which countries would be affected by the job cuts.
 
Deutsche Bank employs about 66,000 people in Europe - including 42,000 in Germany, 21,000 in Asia and about 10,000 in North America.
 
The job cuts are the first major move by chief executive Christian Sewing, who took up the role last month after his predecessor, John Cryan, was sacked.
 
The search for his replacement is understood to have begun after the bank reported an annual loss of €500m (£438m) at the end of February.
 
That followed losses of €1.4bn in 2016, and €6.8bn in 2015 after restructuring and litigation costs.
 
Deutsche Bank had already flagged up that job cuts were on the way last month, with Mr Sewing saying at the time that they would be "painful but regrettably unavoidable".
  • BBC news

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Headlines Wednesday 23rd May 2018
 
 
Hong Kong proposes tax cuts to boost maritime industry
 
Hong Kong should take steps to develop its maritime industry, especially in terms of maritime financing and leasing, with the Financial Services Development Council (FSDC) releasing a research report setting out key recommendations for developing the sector in the city.
 
Top among these was a tax cut, with the report suggesting Hong Kong cut profits tax for maritime and ship leasing management and maritime and shipping-related supporting services by half or setting it not higher than 8.25%. This would encourage the growth of shipping and maritime-related support and management services, the report said.
 
Other recommendations include allowing qualified investors to access credit and liquidity enhancement products supported and/or endorsed by sovereign-rated financial institutions, encouraging the growth of shipping and maritime-related support and management services, talent development in the maritime cluster, signing more double tax agreements with major shipping jurisdictions, especially Australia and Brazil, increasing participation in international industry bodies by Hong Kong-based organisations, and upgrading the Hong Kong Maritime and Port Board (HKMPB) or creating a centralised Maritime Office to  oversee maritime and shipping-related policy, regulation, other initiatives and act as a channel for private sector input into the policy process.
 
FSDC chairman Laura Cha, said: "The maritime industry has been traditionally one of the pillar industries of Hong Kong but has shrunk in size over the last decade. As an international financial centre, Hong Kong is in a uniquely advantageous position to drive shipping-related financial services. Hong Kong needs to further develop its maritime cluster in view of the fierce competition from global maritime centres. Hong Kong must maintain and enhance its competitive advantages of the maritime cluster for the sustainable growth of the shipping industry."
  • Seatrade Maritime News
 
MPCC Invests in Three More Feeders
 
Oslo-listed containership owner and operator MPC Container Ships ASA (MPCC) has resumed its fleet buildup with the acquisition of three more feeders.
 
The company bought MV Victoria Schulte, a geared 2,500 TEU vessel built in 2005, from Triton Debt Opportunities S.C.A. and its subsidiary Victoria Schulte Shipping.
 
The deal has been structured as a combined cash and share deal. Hence, MPCC will pay a total consideration of USD 11.8 million and may settle up to USD 2.9 million of this amount by way of delivering new common shares in MPCC.
 
“Physical takeover of the vessels is expected to take place in the second quarter of 2018, lifting the fleet of MPCC to a total of 68 vessels, “the company said announcing the deal.
 
Of this, 40 vessels are owned and operated by the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary MPC Container Ships Invest.
 
“Within only 12 months, MPCC has become the largest owner globally of feeder container ships with a capacity of up to 3,000 TEU. During the same time charter rates in the segment have developed very positively. Although the supply and demand situation is now pointing towards a rebalancing with a much reduced idle fleet, the market continues to provide attractive acquisition opportunities.
 
“We are currently considering financing options to further grow our business, both via asset acquisitions or ship for share transactions. The recent main board listing on the Oslo Stock Exchange will make us even more interesting for global investors,” Constantin Baack, CEO of MPC Container Ships ASA, comments.
  • World Maritime News
 
Number of over-65s in Scotland still working doubles
 
Scotland has seen the number of over-65s still working almost double over the past decade, new figures have revealed. A Scottish Government report on employment patterns revealed 84,700 people were working beyond the traditional retirement age. According to the document, 55.8 per cent of those working beyond the age of 65 said they were “not ready” to stop.
 
A total of 13 per cent said they needed to keep working to pay for essential items and 6 per cent said they needed to boost their pension pots. Brian Sloan, chief executive of Age Scotland, said: “It’s worrying that an increasing number of older Scots feel they have to continue working due to money concerns. “Our research suggests that this is a growing problem, with 43 per cent of those aged 40 to 64 saying they won’t be able to afford to retire at 65. There’s a clear need for more guidance to help people plan ahead for their working life and retirement.” A total of 2,618,100 people aged 16 years and over were in employment in Scotland in 2017 – the highest level on record.
  • The Scotsman
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Headlines Tuesday 22nd May 2018
 
UK’s new air pollution strategy ‘hugely disappointing’, says Labour
 
A new clean air strategy published by the UK government has been criticised as “hugely disappointing” by the Labour party. Other groups said it did little to tackle the dirty diesel vehicles that are the main source of toxic air in urban areas.
 
The new strategy, announced on Tuesday by environment secretary, Michael Gove, aims to crack down on a wide range of pollutants. These include particulates from wet wood and coal burning in homes, ammonia emissions from farms and dust from vehicle tyres and brakes.
 
Ministers also want to give provide personalised pollution alerts to people and give local authorities new powers to cut pollution, all subject to public consultation.
 
The government said the new action would reduce the costs of air pollution to society by an estimated £1bn every year by 2020. The health costs of toxic air are currently estimated at £20bn a year, by the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.
 
The new clean air strategy is a response to an EU directive on cutting harmful emissions. An air quality plan, published in July 2017, is related to a separate EU directive on cleaner air. The latter plan was condemned as “woefully inadequate” by city leaders and “inexcusable” by doctors, and was ruled illegally poor in February, the third such high court defeat for ministers.
 
On Thursday, the government suffered another legal blow, with the UK referred to Europe’s highest court over its failure to tackle nitrogen dioxide pollution, which mostly comes from diesel vehicles.
 
Gove said: “Air quality has improved significantly since 2010 but 60 years on from the historic Clean Air Act a clear truth remains – air pollution is making people ill, shortening lives and damaging our economy and environment.
  • The Guardian
 
Diana Offloads Another Containership
 
Greek shipping company Diana Containerships has signed a Memorandum of Agreement to sell its 2006-built vessel Puelo to an undisclosed buyer.
 
The ship fetched a price of USD 20.5 million before commissions and will be handed over to its new owner by June 30, 2018.
 
The Post-Panamax had been chartered by Danish container shipping giant Maersk Line in August 2017 for a period of 8-18 months.
 
The sale follows last week’s disposal of a Post-Panamax container vessel, the M/V Hamburg.
 
The 2009-built ship was sold for a price of USD 21 million, which will also be used for debt payment.
 
Upon completion of the two sales, Diana Containerships’ fleet will consist of 4 container vessels, 2 Post-Panamax and 2 Panamaxes.
 
The company has been on a selling spree since the beginning of this year, having sold two 2010-built containerships, the m/v Sagitta and the m/v Centaurus, in March at a price of USD 12.3 million each.
  • World Maritime News
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Headlines Monday 21st May 2018
 
Novatek Forms Its Own Shipping Company
 
The Board of Directors of PAO Novatek, one of the largest independent natural gas producers in Russia, has decided to set up a transportation subsidiary called Maritime Arctic Transport LLC.
 
The new company is being established with the aim of managing and optimizing transportation costs, building up the Arctic navigation capabilities as well ensuring a centralized management of the Arctic fleet.
 
“Novatek’s long-term development strategy envisages a significant growth in LNG production from the company’s vast hydrocarbon resource base located on the Yamal and Gydan peninsulas in the Arctic zone of more than 55 million tons per annum by 2030,” Novatek’s Chairman of the Management Board, Leonid Mikhelson, said.
 
“Therefore, establishing an efficient Northern Sea Route shipping model is one of our key priorities to realize our long-term strategy. Creating our own shipping company fully supports this goal and will optimize transport cost and ensure a well-balanced, centralized management structure to improve the competitiveness of Novatek’s Arctic projects.”
 
Novatek, together with its partners Total, CNPC and the Silk Road Fund, owns Russia’s Arctic gas project Yamal LNG.
 
The project marked a major milestone this month with the shipment of the second million of liquefied natural gas produced at its first LNG train.
  • World Maritime News
 
AI to be 'new weapon' in cancer fight, Theresa May will say
 
Medical records will be cross-referenced with national data to spot those at an early stage of cancer.
 
Theresa May will unveil plans to use artificial intelligence to help prevent 22,000 cancer deaths a year by 2033.
 
In a speech setting out how science can transform health, the prime minister will also say at least 50,000 people each year with prostate, ovarian, lung or bowel cancer will be diagnosed at an earlier stage than they would have been.
 
Speaking in Macclesfield, Cheshire, Mrs May will say: "Late diagnosis of otherwise treatable illnesses is one of the biggest causes of avoidable deaths.
 
"And the development of smart technologies to analyse great quantities of data quickly and with a higher degree of accuracy than is possible by human beings opens up a whole new field of medical research and gives us a new weapon in our armoury in the fight against disease.
 
"Achieving this mission will not only save thousands of lives. It will incubate a whole new industry around AI-in-healthcare, creating high-skilled science jobs across the country, drawing on existing centres of excellence in places like Edinburgh, Oxford and Leeds - and helping to grow new ones."
 
All of the data and technological advances needed to help cut cancer deaths are available but a system has not yet been set up to bring everything together.
 
Medical records, along with information about patients' habits and genetics, will be cross-referenced with national data to spot those at an early stage of cancer.
 
Mrs May will also announce another target to ensure that five more years of people's lives will be healthy, independent and active by 2035.
  • Sky News
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Headlines Friday 18th May 2018
 
ITF, UAE Sign Deal to Protect Seafarers in UAE Waters
 
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Federal Transport Authority (FTA) agreed to work together to protect the rights of all seafarers operating in UAE waters.
 
The parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the matter at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in London.
 
“This is a significant opportunity to work with our partners in the UAE to bring seafarers and workers’ safety to forefront of the conversation,” Stephen Cotton, ITF general secretary, said.
 
“This agreement is just the beginning and will hopefully pave the way for similar agreements in other territories. We are keen to work for greater cooperation, in all areas of transportation.”
 
This is the first agreement of its kind between a government authority and the ITF. The parties are committed to working closely together and sharing information to provide comprehensive and timely support to vessels and seafarers in need within UAE waters.
  • World Maritime News
 
UK: Digital Growth Could Shape the Port of the Future
 
A number of developments in the digital and augmentation/automation areas could transform competitiveness and customer propositions at UK ports, according to a survey released by the UK Major Ports Group (UKMPG).
 
UKMPG’s members, the UK’s biggest port owners and operators, believe that these developments could shape the port of the future.
 
These build on continued evolution of the physical assets of ports, their hinterlands and their connectivity with main economic and urban areas. And these changes must occur within an environment of sustainability and responsibility, UKMPG added.
 
The survey informed the response of the UKMPG to the Government’s Maritime 2050 Call for Evidence which closed this week.
 
Taken together, and with the right enabling pre-trade and pro-investment policy frameworks from Government, these developments would build further the powerhouse ports needed for Brexit Britain, boosting the UK’s ability to trade with the world.
  • World Maritime News
 
Princes sets 50% recycling target for plastic bottles
 
Major UK producer of plastic bottles for drinks and oils is aiming to hit new target within four months
 
A major producer of plastic bottles in the UK is to increase its recycled content to more than 50% within four months.
 
Princes, which produces 7% of plastic bottles used in the UK, says it has started the process to increase the amount of recycled plastic in all its bottles and will finish by September.
 
The company is a major producer of plastic bottles for drinks and oils, averaging 900m plastic bottles each year for its own brand and other retailers in the UK.
 
David McDiarmid, corporate relations director for Princes, said: “We want to increase the recycled content of all the plastic we use and have been working for some time to implement 51% RPET [recycled plastic].
 
“This is a significant step for not only ourselves, but the wider grocery industry too as we will reach millions of households through our supply of brands and customer own-brand soft drinks and oils.”
 
McDiarmid said the company wanted to commit to 100% recycled plastic in all its products “as soon as we can”.
 
The company said it was sourcing recycled material from a UK supplier.
 
Major producers of plastic bottles have traditionally lagged behind “green” companies in the drive to use more recycled plastic. The Belgian company Ecover rolled out a 100% recycled plastic washing-up bottle earlier this year. The company has pledged to have 100% recycled plastic in all its household products by 2020.
 
On Tuesday, Iceland became one of the first supermarkets to announce it was to use a new labelling system to allow consumers to avoid plastic packaging.
 
It is hoped the new plastic-free “trust mark”, launched by the campaign group A Plastic Planet, will be prominently displayed on food and drink products, and will be taken up by other major supermarkets.
  • The Guardian
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Headlines Thursday 17th May 2018
 
Brokers: Sinokor Merchant Marine In for Up to 20 Bulkers
 
Seoul-based shipping company Sinokor Merchant Marine has been linked to an order for up to 20 bulkers at Jinhai Intelligent Manufacturing, according to Oslo-based broker Fearnleys.
 
Sinokor is said to have firmed up its order for four Newcastlemaxes at Jinhai, with options to boost its order with 16 more ships.
 
The delivery date for the firm 208,000 dwt newbuildings from the contract has been set for 2020. Price details of the deal have not been revealed.
 
The order is being reported on the back of Sinokor’s second-hand feeder purchases. Namely, in April, Sinokor bought two MAX  feeder vessels, which had been commercially managed by Dutch Vroon, with one more acquisition expected to follow soon.
 
Sinokor is in the process of merging its container shipping operations with compatriot Heung-A Shipping.
 
The merger is expected to take place by the end of the year before the duo joins forces with Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM). The integration is expected to be completed by the end of 2019, the country’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) said in a statement.
  • World Maritime News
New rules on ship emissions herald sea change for oil market
 
New rules coming into force from 2020 to curb pollution produced by the world’s ships are worrying everyone from OPEC oil producers to bunker fuel sellers and shipping companies.
 
The regulations will slash emissions of sulfur, which is blamed for causing respiratory diseases and is a component of acid rain that damages vegetation and wildlife.
 
But the energy and shipping industries are ill-prepared, say analysts, with refiners likely to struggle to meet higher demand for cleaner fuel and few ships fitted with equipment to reduce sulfur emissions.
 
This raises the risk of a chaotic shift when the new rules are implemented, alongside more volatility in the oil market.
 
“The reality is that the industry has already passed the date beyond the smooth transition,” Neil Atkinson, head of the oil industry and market division at the International Energy Agency (IEA), said in April.
 
WHAT ARE THE NEW RULES?
The rules, drawn up by the U.N. International Maritime Organization (IMO), will ban ships using fuel with a sulfur content higher than 0.5 percent, compared to 3.5 percent now, unless a vessel has equipment to clean up its sulfur emissions.
 
Any vessels failing to comply will face fines, could find their insurance stops being valid and might be declared “unseaworthy” which would bar them from sailing.
 
HOW WILL IT AFFECT THE FUEL OIL MARKET?
The global shipping fleet now consumes about 4 million barrels per day (bpd) of high sulfur fuel oil, but about 3 million bpd of that demand will “disappear overnight”, according to the average market forecast calculated by Norway’s SEB Bank.
 
Most demand is expected to shift to marine gasoil, a lower sulfur distillate fuel.
  • Reuters
Windier Britain creates renewable energy opportunity
 
Wind farms could become a greater energy source as global warming creates blowier conditions across Britain, a study has found.
 
If global temperatures reach 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, the UK and large parts of northern Europe are likely to be more windswept, say researchers.
 
As a result there could be a 10% increase in on-shore UK wind energy generation, with turbines operating at peak capacity almost all year round.
 
The additional wind output would produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of 700,000 extra homes per year.
 
Lead scientist Dr Scott Hosking, from British Antarctic Survey, said: “In future, nine months of the year could see UK wind turbines generating electricity at levels currently only seen in winter.
 
“Future summers could see the largest increase in wind generation.
 
“Therefore, wind could provide a greater proportion of the UK’s energy mix than has been previously assumed.”
 
The scientists combined data from 282 onshore wind turbines collected over 11 years with information from climate simulations.
  • ITV news

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Headlines Wednesday 16th May 2018
 
Tensions Heat Up over Panama Canal Safety Dispute
 
The dispute between the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) and its tugboat captains over safety issues at the canal is intensifying.
 
The conflict started on April 12 when tug captains refused to transit ships through the expanded canal, thus impacting the traffic through the Neopanamax locks, ACP said.
 
As a result, the canal authority decided to sanction the workers saying that they broke the law by refusing to fulfill their duty “which affected the regular operation and caused a negative economic impact on the country.”
 
However, the Union of Tugboat Captains and Deck Officers of the Panama Canal (UCOC Panama) said the tugboat captains in question refused to conduct the maneuvering as it endangered the safety of crews and the canal as well.
 
According to UCOC, the Panama Canal Authority is deploying a reduced number of crew members to the tugboats as a way of cutting costs.
 
In particular, the captains’ union is criticizing ACP’s decision to reduce the number of deckhands handling lines aboard tugboats in the locks from three to two. The reduced number of workers has been linked to wear and tear on the locks, the death of a worker in November, and the collision of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Tampa.
 
Nevertheless, ACP said that the reduction was in fact “normalization of operations” which was planned all along.  As explained, the third mariner was introduced on board the tugs to test the security of the winches, a stage which has now been concluded.
 
The canal authority also stressed that the last year’s incident had nothing to do with the labor stoppage and that the workers’ are being sanctioned for refusing to work not for their safety concerns.
  • World Maritime News
Britain's strategy to meet climate change targets not sufficient – MPs
 
The British government’s Clean Growth Strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will not be enough to meet legally binding climate change targets, a committee of cross-party lawmakers said on Wednesday.
 
The strategy, launched last year, outlines investment in research and innovation to help reduce emissions which lead to global warming.
 
Britain has committed to cut emissions by 80 percent by 2050 compared to 1990 levels and must produce proposals on how to reach its climate targets as part of carbon budgets set every five years.
 
Although the amount of electricity generated from low-carbon energy doubled to a record 50 percent last year from 2009, there are signs that investment might have stalled in the past two years, the Environmental Audit Committee said in a report.
 
Annual clean energy investment in Britain is now at its lowest level since 2008, threatening the country’s ability to meet its carbon budgets from 2023.
 
The report also said that changes to low-carbon energy policies in 2015 has undermined investor confidence and reduced the number of renewable energy projects in development.
  • Reuters
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Headlines Tuesday 15th May 2018
 
Carnival, Meraas Partner Up on Future Dubai Cruise Terminal
 
Miami-based cruise liner conglomerate Carnival Corporation and Dubai’s holding company Meraas have partnered up on the future Dubai Cruise Terminal to be built at Dubai Harbour.
 
The duo has signed a strategic partnership agreement “that aims to transform Dubai into a major regional maritime tourism hub.” Under the deal, Carnival and Meraas intend to collaborate across several strategic areas including port development, terminal management and new cruise development opportunities at Dubai Harbour and the broader region.
 
As informed, Carnival will assist Meraas in ensuring the cruise terminal meets the highest international standards of the cruise industry, while the relevant authorities will be responsible for security, immigration and customs.
 
Operations at the Dubai Cruise Terminal are scheduled to commence in October 2020. The terminal will become the main cruise terminal in Dubai and all cruise ships visiting Port Rashid will be redirected gradually from its opening date, according to Meraas.
 
Commenting on the signing of the agreement, Abdulla Al Habbai, Group Chairman of Meraas, said: “Dubai Harbour is a new and unique addition to the city’s infrastructure and our alignment with DP World to make Dubai Cruise Terminal the main cruise terminal in the emirate will drive the transformation of Dubai into a fully integrated maritime tourism hub.”
 
The Dubai Cruise Terminal will become Carnival Corporation’s primary hub for its homeporting and transit operations in the region. Carnival will launch new cruises from Dubai Cruise Terminal and aims to attract new source markets from India and China.
  • World Maritime News
VLCC Scrapping Ramps Up as Pakistan Opens for Business
 
Owners continue to commit their Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCC) for recycling in an effort to bring some ease to the depressed market.
 
The reopening of Pakistani recycling market for tankers further spurred the offloading of unsold tanker tonnage.
 
“There were further VLCC sales concluded this week, gradually bringing the total number of units sold through 2018 towards the 30 mark,” GMS said in its weekly report, adding that the mark is likely to be hit by the end of May.
 
Demolition of tankers and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) carriers was banned at Pakistan’s Gadani shipbreaking yards for almost a year and a half, following several fatal incidents that killed over 30 workers.
 
The country has allowed the recycling of tankers to resume under the condition that tankers are totally gas free and their cargo residues, slops and sludges completely cleaned.
  • World Maritime News
Nicola Sturgeon insists Brexit process has strengthened case for Scottish independence
 
NICOLA Sturgeon has claimed the Brexit process has “strengthened the democratic case” for Scottish independence as she warned Theresa May that if she ignored Holyrood’s rejection of the Brexit Bill today, it would prove she could not be trusted.
 
But the First Minister declined to say if the argument for holding a second referendum on Scotland's future had also been strengthened, suggesting people would “have to wait and see” regarding her future decision on whether or not to call for another vote on Scotland’s future.
 
And Ms Sturgeon, speaking at a Reuters Newsmaker event in the City of London, also claimed there was now a "realistic possibility" that MPs could force the Prime Minister into a U-turn to keep Britain in the European customs union.
 
Today, a majority of MSPs is expected to reject giving consent to the EU Withdrawal Bill, which they believe is a “power-grab” by Whitehall.
 
The FM said that, far from the SNP Government being isolated on the Brexit Bill as Whitehall has suggested, the vote today expected to withhold consent and also be backed by Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens, would prove it was the Conservatives and Mrs May’s Government, who were isolated on the issue.
 
Ms Sturgeon said with time almost out that, at “three minutes to midnight,” there was still a path to a deal with the UK Government.
 
“What happens after tomorrow, the ball will be very much in the UK Government’s court; they have a decision to make as to whether they are going to ignore the views of the Scottish Parliament or listen to those views and try very hard to get a deal and to close the gap that remains between us.”
  • The Herald
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Headlines Monday 14th May 2018
 
 
Royal Navy nuclear submarines to get £2.5bn boost
 
The defence secretary is expected to announce a £2.5bn investment in the UK's nuclear submarine programme.
 
Under the plans, an Astute hunter-killer submarine will be built costing £1.5bn, and £960m will go towards completing a fleet of four nuclear-armed Dreadnought submarines.
 
Gavin Williamson will say it is part of a commitment to secure the UK "from intensifying threats".
 
The Ministry of Defence says the deal will help to sustain thousands of jobs.
 
Mr Williamson will announce the plans during a visit to defence giant BAE Systems' shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria.
 
He will say the Astute submarine - which will complete the Royal Navy's seven-strong fleet of hunter-killer attack subs - will be called Agincourt.
 
The deal with BAE will also help with the second phase of construction for the UK's Dreadnought submarines.
  • BBC news
 
Blast Holes Turkish Bulker Bound for Yemen
 
Turkish bulk carrier Ince Inebolu suffered massive hull damage last week while carrying wheat to Yemen’s Houthi-controlled port of Saleef.
 
Nevertheless, the exact cause of the damage is unclear as there are contradictory accounts on what happened.
 
According to Yemen’s Ministry of Transport, the ship was targeted by a missile attack conducted by the Saudi-led coalition. The ship was reportedly anchored about 70 miles off Saleef, when the explosion occurred.
 
Based on the images released by the ministry and Yemen Red Sea Ports Corporation, there is a major rupture on the aft side of the ship’s hull.
 
Following the incident, a naval vessel of the Saudi-led coalition received a call from the captain of the stricken bulker, reporting the damage.
 
The coalition forces, cited by Reuters, said that they inspected the ship, ascribing the damage to an explosion that occurred from the inside of the vessel.
 
As the vessel was unable to resume its voyage, it was towed to the port of Jizan in Saudi Arabia.
  • World Maritime News
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Headlines Friday 11th May 2018
 
MAIB: Overconfidence Led to Islay Trader Grounding
 
The general cargo vessel Islay Trader grounded due to lack of planning and overconfidence, according to a report from UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB).
 
The vessel ran aground near Margate Harbour, Kent, in the morning hours of October 8, 2017, after it dragged its anchor as the length of its anchor cable was insufficient in the tidal conditions experienced.
 
The chief officer did not monitor the vessel’s position and was not aware that the vessel had dragged its anchor until alerted by the London Vessel Traffic Service. The officer then attempted to reposition the vessel without the assistance of the master and subsequently became overwhelmed and uncertain of the ship’s position.
 
Islay Trader grounded near Margate beach and was refloated some 12 hours later. There were no injuries and no pollution.
 
MAIB’s report highlights the importance of planning when going to anchor and the requirement for ensuring that an effective watch is kept whilst at anchor.
  • World Maritime News
 
North Sea oil and gas firms to recruit 40,000 people
 
THE North Sea oil and gas industry may have to recruit 40,000 people over the next 20 years amid huge changes in the sector but the size of the workforce could shrink by a much bigger number a study has found.
 
The findings hold out the prospect the industry will create thousands of high value jobs as advances in technology create the demand for a new kind of North Sea worker.
 
They will be studied with interest as the North Sea industry emerges from the brutal downturn that started in 2014 and led to oil and gas firms shedding 70,000 jobs.
 
The study by industry training body OPITO and Robert Gordon University found around 10,000 people will need to be recruited in emerging digital roles that don’t exist today in areas such as data analytics and robotics.
 
There is great excitement in the industry about the potential to use high-tech solutions such as drones to help slash the cost of operating in the North Sea.
 
However, at least 80,000 workers are expected to leave the industry as fields run dry, people retire and some work is automated.
 
The authors reckon total workforce numbers will fall to 130,000 in 2035 from around 170,000 in a best case scenario.
 
But workforce numbers could shrink to 65,000 unless oil and gas firms improve their performance in the North Sea sufficiently, win more export business and manage to diversify into other energy businesses.
 
“If the industry can work together to achieve ambitions around production and energy diversification, tens of thousands more roles can be safeguarded and our industry will continue to be one of the key industrial sectors in the UK for years to come,” said OPITO chief executive John McDonald.
  • The Herald
 
Leave.EU fined £70,000 and campaign chief referred to police over EU referendum spend
 
The chief of the pro-Brexit group has been referred to police following an investigation by the Electoral Commission.
 
Leave.EU has been fined a maximum £70,000 for breaches of electoral law during the EU referendum campaign, with the head of the pro-Brexit group referred to police.
 
The Electoral Commission announced the findings of its investigation on Friday, with Leave.EU found to have incorrectly reported what it spent at the EU referendum.
 
It exceeded its statutory spending limit of £700,000 and delivered incomplete and inaccurate spending and transaction returns.
 
The group, which was not the official Brexit campaign, failed to include at least £77,380 in its spending return.
 
This means Leave.EU exceeded its spending limit by at least 10%, although the Electoral Commission believes the unlawful overspend may have been considerably higher.
 
The investigation also found the group, which was initially endorsed by former UKIP leader Nigel Farage and was founded by millionaire businessmen Arron Banks and Richard Tice, inaccurately reported three loans it received from Mr Banks worth £6m.
 
During the course of its investigation, the Electoral Commission said it found "reasonable grounds to suspect" Leave.EU's chief executive Liz Bilney committed criminal offences.
  • Sky News
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Headlines Thursday 10th May 2018
 
 
Offshore Production Buoy Developed for Stranded Fields
 
Aberdeen-based SLLP134 Ltd has developed a offshore production buoy which can be redeployed multiple times throughout its lifetime.
 
The company says the OPB buoy is low CAPEX and low OPEX and has been designed for deployment in stranded fields without nearby operator infrastructure. It enables operators to access oil reserves which were previously thought to be uneconomical for connecting to new or existing infrastructure. It can also be used to replace a manned floating facility where production has fallen below economic rates but where continued use of the existing subsea infrastructure is still possible.
 
Oil can either be off-loaded to a tanker or exported into existing pipeline systems.
 
The OPB system is based on a low-pressure self-contained oil production system, which uses gas for heat and power to separate oil and water and to stabilize the crude for export.
  • Maritime Executive
 
The Underwater Centre rescued by offshore industry
 
A Highland subsea training centre has been rescued from the threat of closure after an industry collaboration with a hat-trick of offshore firms.
 
The Underwater Centre, based in Fort William, was placed in a risky financial situation late last year when its subsidiary in Australia fell into liquidation. But last night it was announced a collaboration between Oil and Gas UK (OGUK), Subsea 7, TechnipFMC, Premier Oil and the Scottish Government’s Highlands and Islands Enterprise, had secured its long-term future.
 
However, the subsea training company will now operate as a not-for-profit group limited by guarantee, which will be funded and supported by its members, comprising operators, service companies and industry. The deal will also result in senior representatives of Subsea 7, TechnipFMC and Premier Oil joining the board of the Underwater Centre.
 
OGUK chief executive Deirdre Michie said: “I visited the Underwater Centre and I saw first-hand the value it adds to the UK’s world-leading subsea sector. As we continue to move out of the downturn and adapt to a changing future, it’s increasingly important that the UK’s offshore oil and gas industry works together to consolidate areas of strength.
  • Energy Voice
 
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises Gets Nod for 3rd Hanseatic Expedition Ship
 
German TUI Group has given the green light to the construction of the third Hanseatic class expedition cruise ship for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.
 
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises will shortly launch the planning and negotiation process for a further Hanseatic class ship, which is scheduled for delivery in 2021, TUI Group CEO Fritz Joussen said while presenting the group’s results for the first half of 2018 on board the new Mein Schiff 1 in Hamburg.
 
“This market is growing strongly. Thanks to its experience, competence and high-quality standards, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises offers great potential to attract new international customer groups and deliver stronger growth in the expedition cruise segment,” Joussen added.
 
The first two ships from the series were ordered in 2016 from Fincantieri’s subsidiary Vard Holdings Limited (Vard). The hulls of the vessels are being built by VARD’s shipyard in Tulcea, Romania, and delivery is scheduled from Vard Langsten in Norway in the first quarter and the fourth quarter of 2019, respectively.
 
The keel of the first expedition ship, Hanseatic Nature, was laid in Romania in January 2017, while the keel laying for the Hanseatic Inspiration, the second ship, followed in October 2017.
 
The christening and maiden voyage of Hanseatic Nature are planned for April 2019. Hanseatic Inspiration is scheduled to launch six months later in October 2019.
  • World Maritime News
 
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Headlines Wednesday 9th May 2018
 
 
Renewables specialist invests £114m in giant Lanarkshire wind farm
 
RENEWABLE energy specialist Greencoat UK wind is set to increase its investment in the giant Clyde development in South Lanarkshire by more than £100 million.
 
The investment business has said it intends to exercise its option to increase its holding in the Clyde wind farm to 28.2 per cent from 19.8% for an outlay of £114.2m.
 
Greencoat will buy the interest from Scottish and Southern Energy owner SSE, which developed the wind farm between Biggar and Moffat. The 152 turbine development is one of the largest onshore wind farms in the UK.
 
Greencoat UK Wind acquired an initial 17% stake in Clyde in 2016.
 
Run by the London-based Greencoat Capital private equity business, the company agreed then to acquire up to 49.9% of Clyde with pension funds for a total £355m investment.
 
“We’ve been very pleased with the performance of our investment in Clyde,” said Greencoat Capital partner Stephen Lilley. He noted: “Clyde is a high quality asset in a great location with high wind availability, helping to deliver attractive returns to our shareholders.”
 
Greencoat UK Wind underlined its interest in buying more assets in Scotland in February. The company invested £240m in Scotland last year.
  • The Herald
 
DryShips Pens Sale and Leaseback Deal for Six Bulkers
 
Greek shipowner DryShips has inked sale and leaseback agreements for six bulkers with Chinese lenders.
 
Under the financing arrangement signed in May, five ships will be transferred to the buyer for 50 pct of the agreed aggregate purchase price of USD 164 million. The company’s wholly-owned subsidiaries will bareboat charter each vessel back for a period of eight years, with expiry set for May 2026.
 
The ships in question are three Newcastlemaxes, Marini, Morandi and Bacon and two Kamsarmaxes, Castellani and Nasaka.
 
DryShips said that the vessels are expected to be delivered and leased back to the company during May 2018.
 
The Greek shipping company has options to re-acquire each vessel during their respective bareboat charter periods, starting from the first anniversary of each vessel’s delivery date. There is also a purchase obligation upon the expiration of each bareboat agreement for 46.67 pct of the financing amount.
 
The deal was sealed just a month after Dryships entered into a finance lease arrangement with a Chinese leasing company for Kelly, a Kamsarmax drybulk vessel, under similar terms. The vessel will be chartered back for a period of ten years and DryShips has an option to buy back the ship.
  • World Maritime News

 

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Headlines Tuesday 8th May 2018
 
 
China to Ban Recycling of International Ships
 
China plans to stop allowing the recycling of international ships at its yards as of the beginning of 2019.
 
The decision comes on the back of China’s efforts to crack down on polluter and waste producing industries in the country, which have seen many yards denied their ship recycling licenses.
 
The Chinese-flagged ships will be allowed to continue to be dismantled at Chinese yards, however, the Government of China will no longer provide subsidies for the branch, as decided last year. Due to such a turn in policy, local owners are likely to look elsewhere to retire their ships, including India.
 
“In view of this, owners will have to succumb to the fact that, with the exception of Turkey, the H.K Convention approved recycling yards in Alang will have to be taken more seriously following the incredible improvements that have been made at these yards over many years and the fact that these yards now can only offer owners the only alternative at this current time for green recycling,” Clarksons Platou Shipbroking said.
 
Two years ago, industry leader Maersk committed to investing in Alang yards and boosting their operational standards to comply with the company’s requirements.
 
Chief Executive Officer of  A.P. Møller – Mærsk A/S, Søren Skou, said recently that some yards in Alang, India, are performing at the same level or better than yards in China and Turkey, “which used to be the only options for economically viable and responsible ship recycling. “
 
Explaining its approach, Maersk said that the company helps the yards to upgrade their practices while contractually requiring full implementation of its standards controlled by on-site supervision throughout the process as well as quarterly audits by third parties.
 
Even though the situation is far from perfect, especially when it comes to health hazards at the shipbreaking yards in Alang, Maersk believes that helping the yards to improve their standards is an opportunity to change the industry for the better.
 
However, for a more sustainable progress to be made more shipowners need to become involved.
  • World Maritime News
 
Panama Canal Lifts Daily Neopanamax Booking Slots to Eight
 
The Panama Canal has added an additional reservation slot to its Neopanamax locks, effective May 7, bringing the total available daily booking slots to eight.
 
The canal authority said the move was triggered by increased demand at the interoceanic route, which was inaugurated nearly two years ago.
 
The increasing interest in the expanded canal has seen  1,183 Neopanamax transits this fiscal year, which began in October, 2017, the Panama Canal Authority said. The figure represents a 39 percent increase in cumulative transits year-on-year.
 
“This increase allows us to offer our customers even more flexibility and was made possible by strategic planning and the experience the Panama Canal team has our accrued in the last two years, especially considering that almost 150 personnel are involved in each transit,” Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano, said.
 
The announcement also follows an increase in the maximum allowable beam for vessels transiting the Neopanamax locks in April.
  • World Maritime News
 
Give millennials £10k to ease generation gap, think tank says
 
The Citizen's Inheritance would be restricted to spending on a house deposit, or "skills, entrepreneurship and pension saving".
 
Every 25-year-old in the country should be given a £10,000 Government grant in an effort to solve the yawning economic gap between the generations, a prominent think tank has proposed.
 
The proposal for a Citizen's Inheritance, to be funded by a revamped, tougher version of inheritance tax, is one of a number of policies proposed by the Resolution Foundation at the end of a two-year study into intergenerational inequality.
 
The report from the think tank's Intergenerational Commission, backed by business lobby group the CBI and trade union group the TUC, warns that today's thirty-somethings are the first generation to see their incomes dropping compared to when their parents were at that age.
 
It points out that with record numbers of people renting and unable to get onto the housing ladder, and with many trapped in zero-hours jobs, radical action is necessary to reset the balance.
 
The proposed universal Citizen's Inheritance would be restricted to spending on a house deposit, or to fund "skills, entrepreneurship and pension saving", the Foundation said.
  • Sky News
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Headlines Friday 4th May 2018
 
 
Stockholm Norvik Port Halfway Complete
 
The Stockholm Norvik Port, scheduled to open in 2020, has reached the halfway stage in its construction process.
 
Buildings, quays and bridges over the future railway are emerging simultaneously as the features of the new port start to take shape, while supporting casement walls are being moved into place on the sea bed using floating structures.
 
Around 350 people are currently working on-site as the Stockholm Norvik Port gets ready to welcome the first vessel in 2020.
 
“The Stockholm Norvik Port is long-awaited. Volumes of both RoRo and container traffic are increasing and vessels are becoming ever larger,” Johan Castwall, Ports of Stockholm Managing Director, said.
  • World Maritime News
 
DP World Limassol Opens New Cruise Passenger Terminal
 
Port and terminal operator DP World has inaugurated a new cruise passenger terminal in Limassol, Cyprus.
 
The terminal, which was officially opened on May 3, will enable the largest cruise ships in the world to visit the country for the first time, the company informed.
 
These cruise vessels would be berthed at the terminal’s East berth, which features a length of 480 meters and depth of 11 meters.
 
The terminal is designed to facilitate both Transit (day call) and Turnaround (home porting) services.
 
“This new passenger terminal represents a huge improvement in the service and facilities we are able to provide to all our customers. It is an exciting time for us at DP World Limassol as an economic driver, this new passenger terminal will open up new opportunities for Cyprus and Limassol,” Charles Meaby, General Manager of DP World Limassol, earlier said.
  • World Maritime News
 
Hawaii evacuations ordered as Kilauea volcano lava erupts
 
More than 1,000 people have been ordered to evacuate on Hawaii’s Big Island after the eruption of the Kilauea volcano led to lava flows into residential areas.
 
Steam and lava has poured out of a crack in Leilani Estates, which is near the town of Pahoa, with all of its population of 1,500 told to leave.
 
It comes after a week of residents being warned that they should prepare to evacuate, with officials saying an eruption would give little warning. Nearby community centres have opened for shelter.
 
Earlier in the week, a school in the Puna district was closed due to seismic activity and several roads cracked under the strain of the constant temblors.
 
Since Monday, hundreds of earthquakes – most of them about 2.0 magnitude – have been recorded in the area. The Puu Oo, which is a volcanic cone in the eastern rift zone of the Kīlauea Volcano, began to collapse on Monday, triggering earthquakes and pushing the lava into newly created underground chambers.
 
Officials said it was impossible to predict how long the eruption would last.
  • The Guardian
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Headlines Thursday 3rd May 2018
 
MODEC’s New FSRWP Vessel Design Gets AiP
 
French-based classification society Bureau Veritas has awarded Approval in Principle (AiP) to MODEC’s new vessel concept design at this year’s Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Texas.
 
Namely, the Japanese FPSO specialist has developed the Floating Storage, Regasification, Water-Desalination and Power-Generation (FSRWP) vessel, which can provide clean energy and water more efficiently and cost-effectively than conventional solutions.
 
The vessel concept has been developed with the aim of addressing global key water and energy needs from a floating platform.
 
The new vessel concept, which is not covered by existing classification society, targets Africa as its primary geographical deployment area.
 
Bureau Veritas said that despite the concept’s early-development stages it used created new approaches to classification for this vessel, based on risk mitigation around new technology and requirements.
  • World Maritime News
 
Tidal power boom could create thousands of jobs in Scotland
 
The marine renewable energy industry could create thousands of jobs across Scotland after a new report found the sector is capable of meeting strict requirements imposed by the UK Government.
 
Experts are now calling for Holyrood and Westminster to unlock the potential of tidal and wave power and place the UK at the forefront of the developing market.
 
An evidence-based study by think-tank Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult found the tidal stream industry could generate a net cumulative benefit to the UK of £1.4bn, including considerable exports, as well as supporting 4,000 jobs by 2030. Wave energy could support 8,100 jobs by 2040 and contribute £4bn.
 
The report predicted the jobs created would be centred in coastal areas “with greater need for economic regeneration” such as Scotland, Wales and the south-west of England.
 
It added that developing these technologies in the UK would secure investment and jobs in coastal communities. Failure to invest would mean “letting our global advantage slip away to competitors
 
Industry minister Claire Perry set out a new ‘triple test’ in October last year for determining support for new technologies.
 
ORE believe tidal and wave power meet each of the three benchmarks - achieving maximum carbon reduction, showing a clear cost reduction pathway, and demonstrating that the UK can be a world-leader in a global market.
  • The Scotsman
 
German Cruise Market Heats Up
 
TUI Cruises took delivery of its largest cruise ship, the new Mein Schiff 1, from Meyer Turku on April 25. Due to enter service in May, as Mein Schiff also marks its 10th anniversary, the new ship is the latest advancement in the hotly contested German cruise market.
 
Since 2014, Germany has been Europe’s largest cruise passenger source market, growing by more than eight percent to over two million passengers in 2017 according to the CLIA. Over the past decade, the number of German cruise passengers nearly tripled lead by AIDA and TUI, which together today represent about 70 percent of the market. It continues to be the fastest growing market in Europe. 
 
The fifth new cruise ship Meyer Turku has built for TUI Cruises in just five years, the 111,500-gross ton Mein Schiff 1 is more than 10 percent bigger than the prior ships with nearly a 14 percent increase in passenger capacity. Ordered in July 2015, Mein Schiff 1 is the first of three new ships Meyer Turku will build for TUI Cruises. Previously, Meyer Turk built four 99,800-gross ton cruise ships for the Mein Schiff operation between 2014 and 2017. 
 
Conceived in 2008, Mein Schiff operated by TUI Cruises is a 50-50 joint venture between TUI AG and Royal Caribbean Cruises. Their first cruises launched in May 2009 with the former Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Galaxy, which was rebranded as Mein Schiff (later Mein Schiff 1). The product was tailored to the tastes and preferences of the German traveler reflected in the food, entertainment, amenities and onboard atmosphere.
 
Royal Caribbean Cruises CFO Jason Liberty recently told investors, “Our very successful German joint venture, TUI Cruises, will take delivery of the new Mein Schiff 1 next month. Demand for TUI Cruises’ brand is exceptionally strong and continues to accelerate as they further expand their destination offering.”
 
  • The Maritime Executive
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Headlines Wednesday 2nd May 2018 
 
JAXPORT and Carnival Cruise Line sign long-term deal
 
JAXPORT has signed a long-term agreement to extend Carnival Cruise Line’s service from the port of Jacksonville in Florida, US, until at least May 2021.
 
The deal extends the cruise line’s service from the Jacksonville port for three years and includes three additional two-year renewal options until 2027.
 
It will also see improvements to the passenger experience and to the terminal building in Jacksonville.
 
Following the latest extension, Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Elation vessel will continue to provide year-round sailing to the Bahamas from JAXPORT’s North Jacksonville Cruise Terminal.
 
Featuring a length of 855ft, the 71,909t vessel is capable of accommodating 2,130 guests and 920 crew members on-board.
 
JAXPORT CEO Eric Green said: “In addition to bringing jobs and economic opportunity to Northeast Florida, cruise service boosts tourism in our area and offers a platform to promote all that this region has to offer.”
 
Since 2003, the company has handled more than 2.2 million cruise passengers at its Jacksonville terminal.
 
Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy said: “With Carnival Elation sailing year-round from Jacksonville, we’ve seen great demand from the area.
 
“This agreement ensures we can continue to offer the great value, incredible service and the most fun our guests sailing from Jacksonville have come to expect from Carnival.”
  • Ship Technology
 
India’s 1st Floating LNG Terminal Inaugurated
 
Indian’s first floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal was inaugurated on May 1 by the country’s gas company H-Energy, a unit of Hiranandani Group.
 
Eni’s floating storage re-gasification unit (FSRU) GDF SUEZ Cape Ann was hired for the job in 2017.
 
The 145,000 cbm FSRU, which was hired for a minimum period of 5 years, arrived at the LNG re-gasification project at Jaigarh port in Maharashtra on the west coast of India, on April 30.
 
The vessel is equipped with the re-gasification capacity to operate the project at around 4 million tons per annum.
 
H-Energy said the FRSU sets a new era in Indian LNG industry.
  • World Maritime news
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Headlines Tuesday 1st May 2018 
 
Buckeye-Led JV to Build VLCC-Capable Terminal at Corpus Christi
 
Houston-based pipeline and terminal operator Buckeye Partners has set up a joint venture with Phillips 66 Partners and Andeavor to develop a new deep-water, open access marine terminal in Ingleside, Texas.
 
The South Texas Gateway Terminal will be constructed on a 212-acre waterfront parcel at the mouth of Corpus Christi Bay and is aimed to serve as the primary outlet for crude oil and condensate volumes delivered off of the planned Gray Oak pipeline from the Permian Basin.
 
The terminal, to be constructed and operated by Buckeye, will offer 3.4 million barrels of crude oil storage capacity and two deep-water vessel docks capable of berthing very large crude carriers (VLCC).
 
The facility can be expanded to include over 10 million barrels of storage capacity as well as multiple additional docks and other inbound pipeline connections, the company said.
 
As informed, the initial construction of the terminal is supported by long-term minimum volume throughput commitments from Phillips 66 and Andeavor, and the terminal is scheduled to commence initial operations by the end of 2019.
  • World Maritime News
 
WhatsApp founder quits after clash with Facebook over privacy rules
 
The co-founder of WhatsApp has quit after disagreeing with Facebook's attempts to weaken the messaging service's privacy rules.
 
Jan Koum clashed with parent company Facebook over the social media giant's attempts to use people's personal data and weaken WhatsApp's encryption, the Washington Post reported, citing people familiar with the issue.
 
Referring to co-founder Brian Acton, the WhatsApp CEO wrote on Facebook: "It's been almost a decade since Brian and I started WhatsApp, and it's been an amazing journey with some of the best people.
 
"But it is time for me to move on."
 
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's CEO, commented on Mr Koum's post, saying he was grateful for what he had taught him about encryption "and its ability to take power from centralised systems and put it back in people's hands".
 
"Those values will always be at the heart of WhatsApp," he promised.
 
European regulators want to stop or limit Facebook's plans to use WhatsApp user data, including phone numbers, to develop products and target ads.
  • Sky News
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Headlines Monday 30th April 2018 
 
 
GasLog Partners Delivers Highest Quarterly Profit
 
Owner of LNG carriers GasLog Partners delivered its highest-ever quarterly partnership performance results in the first quarter of 2018.
 
The company’s profit increased by 7 percent from USD 29.9 million to USD 32 million reported in the first three months ended March 31, 2018.
 
Revenues for the quarter were slightly down at USD 77.1 million, compared to USD 77.2 million seen a year earlier.
 
The company mainly attributed the increase in profit to the USD 12.5 million profit from operations of the GasLog Greece, the GasLog Geneva and the Solaris, acquired by the Partnership on May 3, 2017, July 3, 2017, and October 20, 2017, respectively, and an increase of USD 6.3 million in gain on interest rate swaps.
 
“In the first quarter, GasLog Partners continued to execute its growth strategy, delivering our highest-ever Partnership Performance Results for Revenues, Profit, Adjusted Profit, EBITDA and Distributable cash flow,” Andrew Orekar, Chief Executive Officer, said.
 
“Following this strong performance, we are increasing our cash distribution for the sixth consecutive quarter to USD 0.53 per unit, or USD 2.12 per unit annualized, while maintaining prudent distribution coverage,” Orekar added.
  • World Maritime News
 
Biggest Indian Cargo Company Wants to Build an Uber for Shipping
 
Allcargo Logistics Ltd. is emulating Uber Technologies Inc. to boost its business of sharing marine containers.
 
A unit of the Mumbai-based Allcargo, ECU Worldwide, which aggregates orders from clients, plans to use Uber’s model to make it easier for clients to book marine freight.
 
Allcargo, which reported a drop in profit in four of the past five quarters, is betting on technology to revive volumes and take on overseas rivals such as DHL Worldwide Express in Asia’s third-largest economy. The time may be right for the company as India’s logistics infrastructure improves. The nation jumped 19 positions to 35 in the World Bank’s logistics performance including infrastructure, customs and timeliness.
 
“Internet companies like the Ubers of the world have successfully converted their aggregation model with robust technology infrastructure,” Allcargo Chairman Shashi Kiran Shetty said in an interview last week. “The idea is to help its customers to make it simple to conduct their business with ECU Worldwide, from any corner of the world through their devices.”
 
Allcargo -- which claims to be India’s largest integrated logistics services provider in the private sector -- has seen its shares fall 31 percent this year, while profit dropped about 30 percent in the three months ended December. ECU accounts for 80 percent of Allcargo’s revenue.
 
“The Uber modeling in consolidated cargo logistics is an ambitious and innovative move,” said Mathew Antony, managing partner of Mumbai-based Aditya Consulting, an advisory firm specializing in infrastructure, logistics and real estate industries. “But the challenge will be on the ease of transaction in the export-import trade where there are many regulatory check points, which is in third party control, compared to a direct business-to-customer model of Uber.”
  • Bloomberg
 
Sajid Javid replaces Amber Rudd as home secretary
 
Sajid Javid has been appointed as home secretary, replacing Amber Rudd who resigned after repeatedly struggling to account for her role in the unjust treatment of Windrush-generation migrants.
 
Theresa May announced Javid’s appointment on Monday morning, installing the communities secretary to the Home Office where his first job will be to deal with the ongoing immigration debacle.
 
He is the first BAME politician to hold the role and his appointment could offer some hope to critics that the government is aware of how damaging the issue has been for community relations and trust in the immigration system.
 
The home secretary, whose parents emigrated from Pakistan in the 1960s, spoke at the weekend about his initial reaction to news of the treatment of Windrush-generation migrants. “I thought that could be my mum … my dad … my uncle … it could be me,” he said.
 
Javid, 48, said he recognised the scandal could cause concern among ethnic minority voters but issued a plea to those who were wavering to look at the government’s attempts to “put things right”.
 
The Home Office, one of the major offices of state, is a notoriously difficult department to run, with many secretaries having been forced to quit as a result of errors.
 
Dealing with the Windrush crisis, as well as the underlying problems around immigration, will be top of Javid’s inbox. However, tackling rising knife crime, fighting to justify policing cuts and handling the ongoing terrorism threat are all key issues.
 
A Downing Street statement said: “The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP as secretary of state for the home department.”
  • The Guardian

 

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Headlines Friday 27th April 2018 
 
Scotland’s whisky industry reaches renewable energy target
 
The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) set out an environmental strategy in 2009 to reduce fossil fuel usage and increase its reliance on green energy across the sector.
 
Renewable energy use increased from 3% in 2008 to 21% by 2016.
 
The industry has also reduced emissions by 22% over the last decade and has increased the amount of recycled materials in product packaging to 44%, SWA said.
 
Chief executive Karen Betts said: “The Scotch whisky industry may be one of Scotland’s oldest and most successful exports, but these ambitious targets highlight how as a sector we are embracing innovation and technology to help protect the environment.
 
“Looking ahead, there is more work to be done to achieve all our 2020 goals.
 
The SWA will continue to work with Scotch whisky producers, our supply chain, government and other stakeholders to ensure we continue to drive progress and deliver our sustainability strategy.”
 
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “It is encouraging to see the strong progress the Scotch whisky industry has made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and become more environmentally sustainable.
 
“The industry’s efforts to use non-fossil fuels, cut down on water use and to recycle packaging are an example we would encourage other sectors to follow and will feed into Scotland-wide environmental targets which will help make Scotland a cleaner and greener place to live.”
  • The Sunday Post
 
 
TEN Sells Its Oldest VLCC for Scrap
 
Greek tanker owner and operator Tsakos Energy Navigation (TEN) has availed of the strong demolition prices to sell its oldest very large crude carrier.
 
The Panama-flagged VLCC Millennium, featuring 301,200 dwt, was built by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) in 1998.
 
“The Millennium has operated flawlessly and profitably since its newbuilding delivery exactly 20 years ago and was much in demand by many significant oil concerns throughout her life. The attractive price achieved combined with her age, provided us with the right opportunity to take advantage of the very strong recycling market, something other owners should consider as well,” George Saroglou, COO of TEN commented.
 
March was one of the busiest months for VLCC demolition, with a dozen of ships sent for scrap. Only one VLCC is reported to have been removed from the fleet in April this year.
 
Separately, TEN said that it has secured a minimum 12 maximum 24-months charter with an undisclosed oil major for an MR product tanker. The fixture of the MR is expected to generate approximately USD 10 million of gross revenues over the extended duration of the contract while the sale of the VLCC will generate USD 7.5 million of free cash after repayment of applicable debt.
  • World Maritime News
 
DP World Bullish on Volume Growth in 2018
 
Dubai-based terminal operator DP World Limited is off to a good start in terms of volume growth across its terminals.
 
The company handled 17.6 million TEU across its global portfolio of container terminals in the first quarter of 2018, marking an increase of 7.3 percent for gross container volumes year-on-year on a reported basis, and 8.4 pct on a like-for-like basis.
 
This is well ahead of Drewry Maritime’s industry estimate of 4.6 pct global throughput growth for the first quarter of 2018, DP World said announcing the results.
 
The rise in volumes in the first quarter was driven by continued recovery in global trade, with the company’s terminals across Europe, Middle East & Africa and Australia, delivering growth.
 
“Following a strong year for the global container market in 2017 with peak levels since 2011, our portfolio has had an encouraging start to 2018 delivering ahead-of-market growth,” Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem commented.
  • World Maritime News

 

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Headlines Thursday 26th April 2018 

 
 
GTT, Sembcorp Marine Ink Membrane Tank Solutions Deal
 
French engineering company GTT has signed a Technical Assistance and License Agreement (TALA) with Sembcorp Marine for the design and construction of membrane tank solutions.
 
Under the deal, GTT would undertake the works for Sembcorp Marine’s Gravifloat, FSRU and mid-scale LNG carrier products using GTT membrane solutions.
Sembcorp Marine received its approval after completing a qualification process which started in 2017, including the building of a Mark III mock-up and an audit conducted by GTT.
 
This partnership allows both companies to target new markets, especially focusing on solutions for LNG terminals, and to advance the development of LNG in the global fuel supply chain
 
  • World Maritime News
 
Singapore Maritime Week 2018: Record number of graduating seafarers
 
MORE than 80 seafarers graduated from Certificate of Competency (CoC) (Special Limit) programmes at Singapore Polytechnic on Thursday, making it the largest graduating cohort since the programmes were first introduced in 2011.
 
The programmes prepare seafarers to serve on board ships that sail up to 30 nautical miles off Singapore waters, also known as "Special Limits".
 
They have to go through different phases in their training programmes, including courses at the Singapore Maritime Academy, as well as on-the-job training on ships.
 
These seafarers can choose either the deck or marine engineer officer tracks. Some are at the starting points of their careers, while others are in the middle of advancing their careers.
 
A total of 44 seafarers who completed their course became cadets. 18 other seafarers graduated from the CoC Class 5 (Special Limit) programme, allowing them to be 2nd engineers or chief mates. Another 22 graduated from the Class 4 programme, which qualifies them to be chief engineers or masters.
 
The certificate, which is internationally recognised, is valid for five years and has to be re-validated after that for the holder to qualify for sea service.
Andrew Tan, chief executive of the Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), said: "MPA is committed to growing a pipeline of skilled local seafarers to support the growth and transformation of the industry.
  • Business Times
 
Companies sign up to pledge to cut plastic pollution
 
More than 40 companie
s have signed up to a pact to cut plastic pollution over the next seven years.
 
The firms, which include Coca-Cola and Asda, have promised to honour a number of pledges such as eliminating single-use packaging through better design.
 
They have joined the government, trade associations and campaigners to form the UK Plastics Pact.
 
The signatories are responsible for more than 80% of plastic packaging on products sold through UK supermarkets.
 
One of the promises which companies, such as consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble and Marks & Spencer, have signed up to is to make 100% of plastic packaging ready for recycling or composting by 2025.
 
Led by the sustainability campaign group WRAP, the pact is described as a "once-in-a lifetime opportunity" to rethink plastic both to make use of its value and to stop it damaging the environment.
WRAP's chief executive Marcus Gover, said: "This requires a whole scale transformation of the plastics system and can only be achieved by bringing together all links in the chain under a shared commitment to act.
 
"That is what makes the UK Plastics Pact unique. It unites every body, business and organisation with a will to act on plastic pollution. We will never have a better time to act, and together we can."
 
The set of pledges to tackle plastic pollution over the next seven years include:
  • Eliminate difficult or unnecessary single use plastic packaging through better design
  • Make 100% of plastic packaging reusable or recyclable or compostable
  • Make sure 70% of plastic packaging is recycled or composted
  • 30% of all plastic packaging to include recycled material
  • BBC news
 
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Headlines Wednesday 25th April 2018 
 
Nakilat’s Q1 Profit Grows by 13 Pct 
 
Qatar-based LNG shipping company Nakilat closed the first quarter of this year with a 13% year-over-year (YOY) increase in its profit. 
 
The company posted a net profit of QAR 217 million (USD 59.6 million) in Q1 2018, compared to QAR 191.4 million (USD 52.6 million) recorded in the same period a year earlier. 
 
“The company has managed to achieve positive results across its operations through rationalization of operational expenses, enhanced operational efficiency, and growth of our international portfolio through the recent expansion with Maran Gas Ventures Inc. to include two additional liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers,” Nakilat said in a statement. 
  • World Maritime News 
 
Russia and China Boost Cooperation 
 
Russia and China have recently conducted combined naval exercises in the South China Sea, the Baltic Sea and the Sea of Japan, and on Tuesday China said it will continue to strengthen military to military relations with Russia to address new security challenges in the world. 
 
Air Force General Xu Qiliang, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remark while meeting with Russia's defense minister Sergey Shoygu in Beijing. He said the Sino-Russian relationship has reached new heights. 
 
At the moment, new security challenges and issues are emerging due to growing uncertainties around the world, Xu said. Therefore, China is willing to deepen mutual support with Russia. In turn, Shoygu said Russia prioritizes strengthening its comprehensive strategic partnership with China. 
  • Maritime Executive 
 
High probability of a Brexit deal with EU, says Davis 
 
Brexit minister David Davis said on Wednesday he believed that there was a high probability that Britain would negotiate a deal to leave the European Union, dismissing fears that the country could crash out of the bloc. 
 
Telling a parliamentary committee of lawmakers that there was only a tiny probability of a no deal, he said: “I think the massively higher probability is a deal.” 
  • Reuters 
 
 
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Headlines Wednesday 18th April 2018
 
 
Each Brexit scenario will leave Britain worse off, study finds
 
Each of the government’s four Brexit scenarios, including a bespoke deal, would leave Britain poorer and cost the taxpayer hundreds of millions of pounds each week, analysis has shown.
 
The study for the thinktank Global Future by Jonathan Portes, a professor of economics and public policy at King’s College, London, found that a bespoke deal, the government’s preferred option, would have a net negative fiscal impact of about £40bn a year.
 
Global Future research is based on the government’s own impact studies on three different Brexit scenarios, but also examines a fourth option – a bespoke deal – using data from the official assessments along with details set out by the prime minister in her Mansion House speech.
 
After looking at all four options available to the prime minister, the study established that in the long-term, the amount of money available for spending on public services would fall. Under the so-called Norway option, there would be £262m less a week, under the Canada model it would be £877m, while under a no deal it would be £1.25bn.
  • The Guardian
 
Flex LNG Secures Charter Deal for New LNG Carrier
 
Oslo-listed ship owner and operator Flex LNG has entered into a time-charter agreement for its newly-built LNG carrier Flex Enterprise.
 
Under the agreement, signed with gas and power utility company Enel Trade, the 173,400 cbm carrier was hired for a period of 12 months, scheduled to commence during the second half of 2019.
 
Enel has the option to extend the contract for the vessel, which featured MEGI propulsion, by an additional 12 months subsequent to the firm period.
  • World Maritime News
 
 
Armed forces 'lacking 800 pilots and 2,400 engineers'
 
Britain's armed forces are "significantly" understaffed in critical areas - including a shortfall of more than 2,000 engineers and 800 pilots, according to Whitehall's spending watchdog.
 
In all, more than 8,200 regulars are needed to bridge what the National Audit Office (NAO) describes as the "largest gap in a decade".
 
The NAO also identified 102 trades where there are not enough trained regulars to cover operational tasks without cancelling leave or training.
 
Meanwhile, the percentage of those leaving the armed forces voluntarily has increased from 3.8% a year in March 2010 to 5.6% in December 2017.
 
But new demands, such as the increasing risk of cyber and electronic attacks, will "add to the pressure to increase capability in some trades that already have shortfalls" the report added.
 
Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the Public Accounts Committee, said: "In these uncertain times, it is more critical than ever that Britain has a well-staffed armed forces with the technical know-how to handle threats to national security.
 
An MoD Spokesman said recruiting and retaining talent was a "top priority" and there were many schemes to attract and keep skilled personnel.
  • Sky News
 
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Headlines Tuesday 17th April 2018

 

NYK Floats Out Industry’s 1st Green Bonds
 
Next month NYK (Nippon Yusen Kaisha) in Japan is set to become the world’s first shipping company to issue labelled Green Bonds in the shipping sector.  Any proceeds from green bonds are used for funding environmentally friendly projects.
 
“NYK said it would use the bonds’ net proceeds to pursue investments in technologies such as LNG-fueled ships, LNG-bunkering vessels, ballast water treatment equipment, and SOx (sulfur oxides) scrubber systems.”
  • World Maritime News
 
Pound remains close to post-Brexit high
 
The pound has hit its highest level since June 2016, when Britain voted to leave the European Union.  It has gained more than 0.2% to $1.437, beating a previous post-Brexit-vote high set in January, in early trading, before falling back.
 
Back in June 2016, after the Brexit vote, the pound sank hitting $1.2068 in January of last year.
 
Simon Derrick, head of currency research at Bank of New York Mellon, said the main reasons for the pound's comeback against the dollar since the start of 2017 had been expectations about UK rate rises and increasing optimism over the Brexit process.
  • BBC news

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Headlines Monday 16th April 2018

 

TechnipFMC awarded contract for Tortue/Ahmeyim development FPSO unit
 
TechnipFMC has been awarded a front-end engineering design (FEED) contract by BP for the floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) unit for the Tortue / Ahmeyim Field Development, a major LNG (liquefied natural gas) project located offshore on the maritime border of Mauritania and Senegal.
  • Reuters
 
Marine Harvest plans to produce salmon on a bulk vessel rejected
 
The Norwegian Fisheries Directorate has rejected Marine Harvest application for six development licenses in relation to the “the Vessel” (“Skipet”) concept, an experimental fish farm design to produce salmon, the regulator said in a statement
 
The application was sent in June 2016 and the Directorate apologize for a slow process
 
Marine Harvest’ initial plan (before rejection) was to convert a scrapped bulk carrier to a closed fish farm where the tanks was used for salmon production, total six tanks with about 158,000 salmons in each tank
 
To be awarded a license under the scheme, companies must show that their plans bring technological innovation while also adhering to strict environmental and animal welfare procedures
 
- Reuters
 
Vroon agrees on financial restructuring deal with lenders
 
Dutch shipping company Vroon has reached an agreement in principle with all of its lenders regarding the terms of its financial restructuring.
 
The agreement marks the important step towards the final stage of a process initiated in late 2016 following continued challenges in shipping markets. Vroon is confident that the envisaged restructuring will provide a generous runway to implement its strategic plans,” Vroon said.
 
The agreement is subject to final documentation and credit committee confirmation.
 
The company’s restructuring was prompted by an overall downturn in the maritime industry, driven in particular by offshore oil and gas.
Namely, Vroon’s offshore-support-vessel subsidiary Vroon Offshore Services was heavily impacted by a reduction in demand, resulting from the severe downturn. However, the company said that its other businesses were all performing in line with expectations.
Now that the restructuring agreement has been reached, Vroon said it would continue to keep its focus on measures aimed at strengthening its financial structure.
 
Vroon is active in several shipping business sectors and its fleet of 200 vessels includes livestock carriers, offshore-support vessels, dry-cargo and container vessels, product/chemical tankers, asphalt/bitumen tankers and car carriers.
 
The company employs 350 staff at its shore-based facilities and around 2,800 marine personnel worldwide.
 
- World Maritime News

 

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Headlines Friday 13th April 2018

 

Port of Rotterdam calls for higher CO2 price

The Port of Rotterdam has called on the Dutch Government to form a coalition with countries in North-West Europe with an aim to introduce a higher CO2 price.

The higher price is expected to stimulate new investments in clean technologies and innovation, according to Allard Castelein, Port Authority CEO.

A price in the range of 50-70 euros per ton of CO2 will stimulate companies to invest in solutions that we really need in order to realise the targets of the Paris Climate Agreement,” Castelein said, adding that “a North-West European coalition would guarantee a level playing field for the industry.”

The Port Authority announced that it would introduce an incentive of in total EUR 5 million to support vessel owners and charterers that experiment with low-carbon or zero-carbon fuels to promote climate-friendly maritime shipping.

The Rotterdam/Moerdijk port industrial area faces the challenge of reducing CO2 by 20 million tons per year as of 2030. The Port Authority is convinced that this target can be realised as part of the national Climate Agreement.

The Government is currently focusing on the reduction of greenhouse gases. In order to switch to a new energy system, as a Government you also need an integral vision and a corresponding industrial policy for the new economy, the future industrial landscape and the type of R&D required to achieve that.”

Additionally, the Port Authority presented new research figures in the transport and logistics sector at the Energy in Transition Summit 2018. The study showed that marine and inland transport with Rotterdam as the destination or departure point is responsible for emissions of around 25 million tons of CO2 every year.

World Maritime News

 

Theresa May gets the backing of her ministers to take action against Syria

Prime Minister Theresa May won backing from her senior ministers to take unspecified action with the United States and France to deter further use of chemical weapons by Syria after a suspected poison gas attack on civilians.

The prospect of a confrontation between Russia, the Syrian government’s ally, and the West has loomed since Trump said on Wednesday that missiles “will be coming” in response to the attack in the Syrian town of Douma on April 7.

Trump has since tempered those remarks and the White House said no final decisions on possible actions had been taken.

Russia has warned the West against attacking its Syrian ally President Bashar al-Assad, who is also supported by Iran, and says there is no evidence of a chemical attack in Douma, a town near Damascus which had been rebel-held until this month.

Reuters

 

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Headlines 12th April 2018

 

Theresa May summons cabinet to decide Syria response

The prime minister has summoned the cabinet to discuss the government's response to the suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria.

Ministers will consider the options for backing military action threatened by the United States and its allies.

Theresa May is prepared to take action against the Assad regime in Syria without first seeking parliamentary consent, sources have told the BBC.

The allies want to prevent a repeat of an apparent chemical attack in Douma.

Mrs May has said "all the indications" are that the Syrian regime of president Bashar al-Assad, which denies mounting a chemical attack, was responsible.

Mrs May is still yet to unequivocally point the finger of blame at the Assad government but she has spoken of the need for action "if" the regime is found to bear responsibility.

BBC diplomatic correspondent James Landale said the cabinet was expected to back the PM, but she seems willing to act without the express support of Parliament.

However, he said this would anger some, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who believes Parliament should be consulted first.

Mr Corbyn has also warned that bombing could escalate the situation in Syria.

Mrs May has described the alleged use of chemical weapons as a "humanitarian catastrophe" that "cannot go unchallenged".

BBC

 

Norwegian Cruise Line gets green light for PortMiami terminal

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Miami-Dade County have amended and restated an agreement incorporating the construction of a new Cruise Terminal B at PortMiami.

A ground breaking ceremony for the new terminal, which will be able to accommodate vessels carrying 5,000 passengers, is to be held on April 26.

Construction is set to be completed in the fall of 2019 on schedule to receive the Norwegian Encore, the newest ship of NCL’s Breakaway Plus class, when it makes its debut in Miami with seasonal cruises to the Caribbean.

“The construction of a new cruise terminal with the capacity to berth an additional 5,000-passenger cruise ship represents thousands of jobs and increased opportunities for our community,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez said.

 

The new agreement guarantees the county a minimum of 1.3 million NCL passenger moves annually, solidifying Miami as its exclusive homeport in South Florida.

We are excited to partner with Miami-Dade County, the architects at Bermello Ajamil & Partners, and the team at NV2A and Haskell to create a modern and innovative terminal that will soon welcome guests to a premium experience that begins even before they embark and fully immerse themselves in what it means to cruise with Norwegian,” Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, added.

NCL unveiled the design of its dedicated terminal at PortMiami in early March 2018.

World Maritime News

 

Enterprise Expands Terminal on Houston Ship Channel

U.S.-based Enterprise Products Partners has moved on to the next phase of expansion at its Houston Ship Channel marine terminal, the Enterprise Hydrocarbon Terminal (EHT).

Namely, the company acquired a 65-acre waterfront site on the Houston Ship Channel for the terminal expansion. The company unveiled that future plans include construction of at least two deepwater docks capable of accommodating Suezmax vessels.

Located immediately to the east of EHT, the purchased property features two existing docks, dredging infrastructure that will be utilized for maintenance and dock expansion at the site, and land for expanding Enterprise’s marine terminaling capabilities.

“As one of the last waterfront properties for sale adjacent to our existing ship channel assets, this strategic acquisition complements our world-class EHT marine terminal and strengthens our position as an industry leader in providing waterborne access,” A.J. Jim Teague, chief executive officer of Enterprise’s general partner, said.

The growth opportunities available at the 65-acre site enhance our ability to accommodate growing U.S. hydrocarbon production which is increasingly destined for global markets.”

Combined with the EHT complex, the newly acquired assets will be part of Enterprise’s premier Gulf Coast network of marine terminals that includes 18 ship docks, and eight barge docks.

World Maritime News

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Headlines 11th April 2018

 

Worlds 1st ferry to be fitted with a wind powered rotor sail

Viking Line’s passenger ship M/S Viking Grace has been fitted with a rotor sail for the utilization of wind power, becoming the world’s first passenger ship to feature the technology.

The Rotor Sail Solution, developed by the Finnish company Norsepower Oy, will cut fuel consumption and reduce emissions by up to 900 tonnes annually, Viking Line said.

The LNG-fueled Viking Grace will be deployed on wind-assisted voyages between Turku, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden from April 12, 2018.

“As the rotor is spinning, the passing air will flow with a lower pressure on one side then the opposite side. The propulsion force created by this pressure difference will drive the vessel forward. The rotor sail operation is automated and the system will shut down in response to any disadvantageous changes in the direction or force of the wind,” the company explained.

The cylindrical rotor sail installed on M/S Viking Grace is 24 m in height and 4 m in diameter and it uses the Magnus effect for propulsion.

“We want to pioneer the use of solutions that reduce the environmental load. Based in Finland, Norsepower has developed a world-class mechanical rotor sail solution that will reduce fuel consumption. We are proud of the fact that our Viking Grace will be the first passenger ship in the world to benefit from this innovative solution,” Jan Hanses, CEO of Viking Line, said.

The Finnish cleantech company’s rotor sail solution bodes with the tightening environmental requirements.

“The last traditional windjammers in the world were owned and operated by shipping companies based in Åland, so it’s fitting that Åland-based Viking Line should be a forerunner in launching modern auxiliary sail technology,” Tuomas Riski, CEO of Norsepower, said.

World Maritime News

 

MSC Armonia runs into a dock in Honduras

MSC Armonia, a 2001-built cruise ship owned by MSC Cruises, crashed into a dock in the port of Roatan in Honduras, on April 10, at 09.00 a.m., local time.

Videos of the incident that emerged on Youtube show the ship uncontrollably speeding into the port, damaging the dock in the impact.

The cause of the incident is unknown, however, initial reports indicate that the ship might have experienced a technical issue.

“While maneuvering alongside, for reasons that are currently still being duly investigated, the ship deviated from its course and grazed the end of the pier,” a spokesperson of MSC Cruises told World Maritime News.

 

According to the company statement, the crew of the ship and its guests are safe and sound. In addition, there was no impact on the environment.

“As to the ship, the damage was minor. The ship has also since been cleared by Honduran Port State Control authorities to continue its journey as soon as the necessary repairs are concluded. At the present time, ship personnel and external experts are still at work to complete such repairs,” the spokesperson said.

World Maritime News

 

Airlines warned of possible strikes into Syria

Pan-European air traffic control agency Eurocontrol on Tuesday warned airlines to exercise caution in the eastern Mediterranean due to the possible launch of air strikes into Syria in next 72 hours.

Eurocontrol said that air-to-ground and cruise missiles could be used within that period and there was a possibility of intermittent disruption of radio navigation equipment.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Western allies are discussing possible military action to punish Syria’s President Bashar Assad for a suspected poison gas attack on Saturday on a rebel-held town that long had held out against government forces.

Trump on Tuesday cancelled a planned trip to Latin America later this week to focus instead on responding to the Syria incident, the White House said.

Trump had on Monday warned of a quick, forceful response once responsibility for the Syria attack was established.

The Eurocontrol warning on its website did not specify the origin of any potential missile threat.

Reuters

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Headlines Tuesday 10th April 2018

HMM Orders 20 Megaships

South Korean Shipping company Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) has embarked on ordering a total of 20 megaships.

HMM plans to order 12 vessels above 20,000 TEU and 8 vessels 14,000 TEU vessels.  The vessels are being considered for Asia-North Europe and US east coast trade routes.

“Considering the factors including the recent increase in new shipbuilding price and dock availability, HMM will start on selection of shipyards by sending out its Request for Proposal (RFP) to shipbuilding companies on April 10,” the company said.

World Maritime News

 

UK salaries for Permanent jobs rise at slowest pace for 9 months – REC

British companies raised salaries for new permanent staff in March at the slowest rate in nine months, according to a survey that may surprise Bank of England officials expecting a further improvement in pay growth.

The monthly gauge of starting salaries for permanent workers from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and accountancy KPMG from fell to 60.0 from 61.5 in February, its lowest level since June last year.

While official data last month showed workers’ total earnings, including bonuses, rose by an annual 2.8 percent in the three months to January - the biggest increase since 2015 - Tuesday’s survey of recruitment firms may raise questions about the strength of pay pressure further ahead.

The REC survey showed demand for staff - both temporary and permanent - continued to rise strongly, albeit at a slower rate than late last year.

“In hospitality, demand for temporary staff is really high, but businesses have had fewer applicants from the EU since the Brexit vote,” REC director of policy Tom Hadley said.

Reuters

 

China LNG Shipping Eyes VLEC order

China LNG Shipping, a subsidiary of China Merchants Energy Shipping Co, is interested in adding ethane carriers to its gas carrying fleet.

Namely, the company has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with compatriot Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding for the construction of Very Large Ethane Carriers (VLEC), according to the data from Asiasis.

Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding has been active in developing very large ethane carrier designs amid an anticipated increase in demand for different types of liquefied gases.

World Maritime News

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Headlines Monday 9th April 2018

 

Oil Tanker crashes into historic mansion

A tanker crashed into a historicmansion on the shores of Istanbuls Bosphorus on Saturday afters its steering equipment became locked.   Traffic in the strait had been suspended in both directions as a result of the incident.

Tow boats and coast guard vessels were sent to the area after the crash and the “Vitaspirit” tanker, carrying a Maltese flag was pulled back from the crash site and brought to shore.

There were no reports of casualties but the Hekimbasi Salid Efendi Mansion, a mansion that has stood since the 18th Century, suffered extensive damage.

The bosphorus is one of the world’s most important choke points for maritime oil transports, with more that 3 percent of global supply – mainly from Russia and the Caspian Sea – passing through the 17-mile waterway connecting the Black Sea to the Mediterranean.

Reuters

 

Syria Says U.S suspected of attacking air base but pentagon denies it.

Syrian state TV said on Monday the Unites States was suspected of striking an air base hours after U.S President Donald Trump warned of a “big price to pay” as aid groups said dozens were killed in by poison gas in a rebel held town.

The United States have denied attacking the Syrian base, and France also said it had not carried it out.

“At this time, the Department of Defense is not conducting air strikes in Syria,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

“However, we continue to closely watch the situation and support the ongoing diplomatic efforts to hold those who use chemical weapons, in Syria and otherwise, accountable.”

Reuters

 

Adidas to close stores in online push

Adidas expects to close down stores in the coming years as part of a shift towards selling more goods online, it’s chief executive told a newspaper.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Kasper Rorsted said “over time, we will have fewer stores but they will be better”, adding that over the coming year the number of Adidas stores was expected to contract slightly.

“Our website is the most important store we have in the world.”

Adidas, which wants to more than double its ecommerce sales to 4 billion euros ($4.91 billion) by 2020 from 1.6 billion last year, has 2,500 stores globally and 13,000 additional mono-branded franchise stores, the Financial Times said.

Financial Times

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Headlines Thursday 5th April 2018
 
£30m to be invested by Aggreko in renewables research in Dumbarton
 
AGGREKO is to invest £33 million in Dumbarton creating an innovation centre to develop mobile renewable energy solutions, in a move described by Nicola Sturgeon as “hugely encouraging” for Scotland.
 
The project will development Aggreko’s renewables offering with a particular focus on solar-diesel hybrid solutions & energy storage, more efficient engine technology and the introduction of waste heat recovery all with the purpose of reducing the cost of energy for communities and industries around the world.
 
“As our new Energy Strategy sets out, it is crucial that we find new ways to ensure energy is produced efficiently, and integrates renewable and low carbon technology – as is the case with these developments by Aggreko.”
 
Chris Weston, chief executive of the FTSE-listed group, said: “Power generation and energy markets are going through a fundamental change and businesses, organisations and governments across the globe are having to respond rapidly to this changing energy landscape.”
 
  • The Herald
 
ETF Urges Sicilian Ports to Tackle Attempts of Self-Handling
 
Undisclosed shipping lines have attempted to conduct self-handling in a number of Italian ports, according to the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF).
 
Self-handling, which represents the use of seafaring onboard staff to load or lash cargo, rather than local dockers, was reported at the Italian ports of Palermo, Termini Imerese, Trapani and Porto Empedocle.
 
Reclaiming lashing is one of the priority fights for ETF and ITF Dockers’ unions, also in the framework of the Fair Transport Europe Campaign 2.0.
 
In a context of growing automation and decreasing cargo volumes, lashing by dockers is an important way to retain port jobs. Moreover, lashing operations are very dangerous and should only be performed by qualified dockers, ETF informed.
 
Seafarers should not do lashing, because they are not properly trained for such operations and because they are often required to do lashing during their rest time.
 
  • World Maritime News

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Headlines Wednesday 4th April 2018

 

Saudi Oil Tanker attacked off Yemen
 
Yemen’s Houthi Group hit a Saudi oil tanker off the main port city of Hodeidah on Tuesday in an attack that could complicate a new United Nations push to end the war in Yemen that has killed more than 10,000 people.
 
The Iranian-aligned Houthis said they had targeted a coalition warship in response to an air strike on Hodiedah on Monday that killed at least a dozen civilians, including seven children.
 
In a statement carried by Saudi media, the coalition said the oil tanker was in international waters when it came under “Houthi-Iranian attack” at around 1330 local time.
 
A coalition warship conducted a “swift intervention” foiling the attack, it said, without identifying the type of weapon used in the assault.  “As a result of that attack, the tanker was subjected to a slight  but ineffective hit and it resumed its naval course northwards, escorted by a coalition warship” the statement said.
 
  • Reuters
 
Maersk linked to purchase 6 container ships
 
The works largest container shipping company Maersk Line has reportedly invested $280 million to acquire six secondhand containerships from German Commerzbank.
 
Under the deal, reported by intermodal Research and Valuations, Maersk Line has added two Sub Panamaxes and four Panamaxes, which were already chartered in by the Danish firm.
 
The vessels in question are Maersk Eureka and Maersk Edirne, built in 2012 by HHI.  The two ships were previously known as Hanjin Sooho and Hanjin Asia and were part of Hanjin Shipping’s Fleet.
 
The ultra large containerships HS Shackleton and HS Baffin, both built in 2013, the two remaining ships are the Merkur Harbour and Rio Connecticut, built in 2012.
 
  • World Maritime News
 
YouTube HQ Shooting – Three Wounded
 
Police have named Nasim Aghdam, 39, as the suspect in a gun attack at YouTube’s HQ in California.  The motive for her attack is not yet confirmed.  It is believed that she was angry at YouTube for filtering her videos and reducing the money she could make.
 
In the attack on Tuesday two women and a man were left with gunshot wounds.  The attacker, Aghdam, shot herself dead after the attack.
 
Police in San Bruno, California, say there is no evidence that the attacker knew the victims, a 36-year-old man said to be in critical condition, and two woman aged 32 and 27.
 
  • BBC

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Headlines Tuesday 3rd April 2018

 

Shipping CO2 Emissions Meeting in London

With a meeting of the International Maritime Organisation, a UN backed body responsible for standards in the shipping industry, scheduled to take place this week in London, one of the main topics will be CO2 emissions within the industry.

According to the BBC, if shipping doesn’t clean up it will contribute almost a fifth of the global total of CO2 by 2050. A group of nations led by Brazil, Saudi Arabia, India, Panama and Argentina is resisting CO2 targets for shipping.

Their submission to the meeting says capping ships' overall emissions would restrict world trade. It might also force goods on to less efficient forms of transport.

This argument is dismissed by other countries which believe shipping could actually benefit from a shift towards cleaner technology.

The UK's Shipping Minister Nusrat Ghani told BBC News: "As other sectors take action on climate change, international shipping could be left behind.

"We are urging other members of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to help set an ambitious strategy to cut emissions from ships."

Wartsila, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of marine engines backs the proposals to reduce carbon emissions.

Jaakko Eskola, Chief Executive of Wartsila, said the support was needed to give shipbuilders greater confidence to invest in cleaner technology. “There’s a history of decisions being made, some people investing, and then [implementation] being delayed,” he told the Financial Times. “It is depressing new orders because of the uncertainty.”

  • BBC & The Financial Times

 

Britain to Ban Ivory Items

Britain will ban the sale of ivory items regardless of their age in an effort to restrict the illegal trade, tackle poaching and help protect elephants, the government said on Tuesday.

New legislation will create the toughest ban on ivory in Europe and one of the toughest in the world, with a prohibition on the sale of nearly all antiques containing ivory.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said the tougher restrictions, which follow a public consultation, would demonstrate Britain’s belief that “the abhorrent ivory trade should become a thing of the past”.

 

“Ivory should never be seen as a commodity for financial gain or a status symbol, so we will introduce one of the world’s toughest bans on ivory sales to protect elephants for future generations,” he said in a statement.

  • Reuters

 

South China Sea Tension to Hurt Offshore Operations

Tension in the South China Sea will hurt PetroVietnam’s offshore exploration and exploitation activities this year, the state-run oil and gas group said on Tuesday, weeks after the Southeast Asian nation suspended a project under pressure from China.

Vietnam and China have been embroiled in maritime disputes in parts of the busy waterway, where China claims 90 percent of the potentially energy-rich maritime territory, which Vietnam calls the East Sea.

“The East Sea is forecast to continue to have uncertainty this year ... affecting the company’s efforts to attract foreign investors to invest in its open offshore fields”, PetroVietnam said on its website.

  • Reuters

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Headlines Friday 30th March 2018
 
 
China's space lab set for fiery re-entry
 
China's defunct space lab, Tiangong-1, should fall to Earth over the weekend.
 
At over 10m in length and weighing more than 8 tonnes, it is larger than most of the man-made objects that routinely re-enter Earth's atmosphere.
China has lost all communication with the module and so the descent will be uncontrolled.
 
However, experts say there is very low risk that any parts of Tiangong that do not burn up will hit a populated area.
 
"Given Tiangong-1 has a larger mass and is more robust, as it is pressurised, than many other space objects that return uncontrolled to Earth from space, it is the subject of a number of radar tracking campaigns," explained Richard Crowther, the UK Space Agency's chief engineer.
 
"The majority of the module can be expected to burn up during re-entry heating, with the greatest probability being that any surviving fragments will fall into the sea," he told BBC News.
 
  • BBC News
 
Sentinel Marine takes delivery of new North Sea emergency rescue vessel
 
Offshore support ship operator Sentinel Marine, of Aberdeen, has taken delivery of the latest in its fleet of multi-role emergency response and rescue vessels (ERRVs).
 
The UK-flagged ship is the seventh of Sentinel Marine’s new breed of ERRVs to enter operation as part of a £110million investment, with a further two currently under construction and due to enter service later this year.
 
Biscay Sentinel, which is more than 200ft long, was handed over at the Cosco Guangzhou shipyard in China earlier this month and is expected to arrive in Aberdeen in early May. She will immediately start work in the North Sea, providing vital support and lifesaving services to the oil and gas industry.
 
- Press and Journal

 

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Headlines Thursday 29th March 2018

 

Shipping Confidence Reaches Four-Year High

Shipping confidence reached a four-year high in the three months to end-February 2018, according to Moore Stephens’ latest Shipping Confidence Survey.

The study showed that the average confidence level was up from 6.2 out of 10.0 in November 2017 to 6.4 this time. Confidence on the part of owners was also at a four-year high, up from 6.4 to 6.6, while managers’ confidence was up too, from 6.1 to 6.4.

The rating for charterers, however, continued its recent erratic performance – down to 5.0 from 7.7 in November 2017, but up on the 4.7 recorded in August 2017. Confidence on the part of brokers, meanwhile, was down from 6.3 to 6.1.

World Maritime News

 

Carnival Cruise Line Adds 26th Ship to Its Fleet

Carnival Cruise Line has taken delivery of the new 133,500-ton Carnival Horizon, the 26th ship in its fleet, which was built by Fincantieri shipyard in Italy.

Carnival Horizon is a sister ship of Carnival Vista, the largest unit which Fincantieri has ever built for the cruise line company.

The vessel is 323 meters long and accommodates more than 6,400 people onboard, including staff.

Carnival Horizon has been built in accordance with the latest navigation regulations and equipped with modern safety systems, including the “Safe return to port”, Fincantieri said. It has also been fitted with advanced energy-saving technologies such as energy-efficient engines and an exhaust gas cleaning system.

World Maritime News

 

North, South Korea fix April date for first summit in years

North and South Korea will hold their first summit in more than a decade on April 27, South Korean officials said on Thursday, after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged his commitment to denuclearisation as tensions ease between the old foes.

South Korean government officials announced the date of the summit after holding high-level talks with their North Korean counterparts on Thursday. 

The two Koreas had agreed earlier this month to hold such a summit at the border truce village of Panmunjom when South Korean President Moon Jae-in sent a delegation to Pyongyang to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. 

Thursday’s talks were the first between the two Koreas since the delegation returned from the North. 

A joint statement from the dialogue said two Koreas would hold a working-level meeting on April 4 to discuss details for the summit, such as staffing support, security and news releases.

Reuters

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Headlines Wednesday 28th March 2018

 

US Quadruples LNG Exports in 2017

The US increased its exports of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in 2017, quadrupling the amount of cargo shipped across the globe.

All of the exported LNG originated from Louisiana’s Sabine Pass liquefaction terminal and reached 25 countries.

More than half of the exported LNG was shipped to Mexico, South Korea and China.  Almost 60 percent of the cardo was sold on a spot basis to more than 20 countries across Asia, Europe, North and South America, the Middle East and North Africa and the Caribbean.

4 more LNG projects are scheduled to start operation shortly to join Louisiana’s Sabine Pass and Maryland’s Cove Point.  Elba Island LNG in Georgia and Cameron LNG in Louisiana in 2018, followed by Freeport LNG and Corpus Christi LNG in Texas in 2019. 

This will help the US overtake Malaysia as the world third largest LNG exporter by 2020 remaining behind only Australia and Qatar.

World Maritime News

 

UK will bring in Plastic Returns Scheme in 2018

The UK will look to introduce a new deposit return scheme for single-use drink containers to increase recycling rates and slash the amount of waste littering land and sea this year.

British consumers get through about 13 billion plastic drink bottles a year but more than three billion are either incinerated, sent to a landfill or left to pollute streets, the countryside and marine environment, the government said.

“We can be in no doubt that plastic is wreaking havoc on our marine environment – killing dolphins, choking turtles and degrading our most precious habitats,” environment minister Michael Gove said in a statement.

“It is absolutely vital we act now to tackle this threat and curb the millions of plastic bottles a day that go unrecycled,” he said, adding that implementation of the scheme in England would be subject to consultations later this year.

The scheme can be executed by employing a network of recycling vending machines where glass and plastic bottles are inserted for a monetary return. 

Reuters

 

Rio Tinto exits coal with $2.25 Billion Kestrel Sale

Global Miner, Rio Tinto has sold its last remaining coal mine in Australia for $2.25 billion to private equity manager EMR Capital and Indonesia’s Adaro Energy Tbk.

The sale now makes Rio Tinto the only mining major without coal assets, which might boost its allure to some investors.

The Kestrel mine in the Bowen Basin region, which produces high quality coking coal, will be jointly managed and operated by Australia-based EMR and Adaro and marks EMR’s biggest mining investment. It last year bought an 80 percent stake in Zambian copper mine Lubambe for $97.10 million.

Reuters

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Headlines Tuesday 27th March 2018

 

Maersk and MSC Boxships Collide in Callao

Containership Laura Maersk collided with MSC Schuba B owned by seaspan and chartered by MSC.  The incident took place in Callao port, Peru, on Saturday March 24th.

Neither of the boxships sustained any major damage and were allowed to continue on their voyages.

Laura Maersk is a 4,500 TEU vessel, built in 2001, and sails under the Danish flag. It is operating on the AC1 service which connects Latin America and Asia.

Based on its latest AIS data, MSC Shuba B was also allowed to resume its voyage and is reported to be underway using engine bound for the port of Puerto San Antonio, Chile.

Reuters

 

Australia Hints at Possible World Cup Boycott Over Nerve Agent Attack

Australia said on Tuesday it will expel two Russian diplomats in response to a nerve agent attack on former Russian spy in Britain that the British government has blamed on Moscow and hinted at a possible boycott of the World Cup.

“Together with the United Kingdom and other allies and partners, Australia is taking action in response to the recent nerve agent attack in Salisbury, UK,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced in a statement.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said there were other possible actions, such as Australia boycotting the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

“There are a whole range of further options of action that could be taken. The boycott of the World Cup is one of the further actions that could be taken in relation to this matter,” Bishop told reporters in Canberra.

Reuters

 

HHLA Acquires Estonia’s Biggest Terminal Operator

Germany’s Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA)has decided to acquire Estonia’s biggest terminal operator Transiidikeskuse AS.

The transaction, subject to various conditions, is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2018.

Commenting on the acquisition of Transiidikeskuse AS, Angela Titzrath, Chairwoman of HHLA’s Executive Board, explained: “Estonia is one of the fastest-growing economies in Europe and a pioneer when it comes to digitisation. We are therefore pleased to be integrating Transiidikeskuse AS – already a profitable and high-performing company – into the HHLA family.”

“One of HHLA’s targets is to grow internationally… The acquisition enables us to enter a promising regional market that offers growth potential as a result of its geographic position and its link to the New Silk Road,” Titzrath added.

“This transactions links Estonia and Muuga into the heart of Hamburg, where HHLA operates 3 terminals. The negotiations have not been easy but the knowledge that the company will be in good hands and that the new owner will open the next chapter in the history of Estonian transit history, made concluding the transaction easier,” Anatoli Kanajev, Transiidikeskuse AS Chairman of the Supervisory Board, commented.

World Maritime News

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Headlines Monday 26th March 2018

 

Worlds Largest Ever Cruise Ship is Delivered

Royal Caribbean have taken delivery of the largest cruise ship the world has ever seen, Symphony of the Seas. The mammoth cruise ship is almost as long as the Empire State building and took 36 months to build thanks to 4,700 shipbuilders.

The official handover ceremony was held on Friday in Saint-Nazaire, France, with Michael Bayley and Richard Fain, President and Chairman of Royal Caribbean Cruises, and Laurent Castaing, General Manager of STX France, leading the traditional flag-changing ceremony.

“Symphony of the Seas is the latest example of how our people work to push the envelope of innovation with each new ship,” D. Fain commented.

“The Oasis Class has been a trend-setting design, but the team has evolved the design to build on that success to provide even more incredible family adventures.”

“Symphony will leave Saint-Nazaire yard as the ultimate example of our progress-driven spirit and commitment to innovation, which are at the heart of our partnership with Royal Caribbean, who is always challenging us in this direction,” Castaing said.

The vessel measures 362 meters long, 66 meters wide and 70 metres high.  Symphony of the Seas will host some 6,800 passengers and 2,000 crew when operating at capacity.  She will join her sister ship Harmony of the Seas, built 2 years ago and will be joined by the third of its kind in 2021.

- World Maritime News

 

Man Overboard From Tanker in Alaska

Search efforts continue in an attempt to locate a 23-year-old sailor reported to have fallen overboard from an oil products tanker, 126 miles south of Alaska yesterday.

The master of the tanker alerted authorities after a thorough search of the vessel was unsuccessful, he then turned the vessel around and followed his previous trackline in efforts to locate the missing man.

“We are fully prepared and readily equipped to conduct search patterns and provide search and rescue efforts for this young man. Our primary concern is to locate him and get him out of the water and into the necessary higher medical care,” Lt. Danny Piazza, a Coast Guard District 17 watchstander, said.

- World Maritime News

 

Trump shows solidarity with UK over poison attack

President Trump is considering the expulsion of some Russian diplomats in the United States in solidarity with Britain over the poisoning of a former Russian spy in England, a source familiar with the situation said on Sunday.

An announcement of the U.S decision could be made as early as Monday, the source said.

White House spokesman Raj Shah said the United States is considering how to respond but would not provide details.

“The United States stands firmly with the United Kingdom in condemning Russia’s outrageous action. The President is always considering options to hold Russia accountable in response to its malign activities. We have no announcements at this time,” he said.

- Reuters

 

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Headlines Thursday 22nd March 2018

 

BIMCO: Trade War Would Harm Global Shipping

A potential trade war, which could emerge on the back of US’ recently unveiled tariffs on imported steel and aluminium, would be harmful for the global shipping industry, according to the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO)