gCaptain - Maritime News


  • Arctic Shipping Route to See First-Ever Panamax Containership

    Flying Fish 1, named Oakland at the time, outside Western Scheldt, Netherlands in February 2023. Photo courtesy of Peter Faas

    Russia’s main Arctic shipping route is slated to see its first Panamax container vessel this year. The 4,890-TEU box ship, Flying Fish 1, received a permit to transit the country’s Northern Sea Route this summer. 

    Flying Fish 1 would be the first Panamax container vessel to travel across the Arctic, nearly doubling the previous highpoint set by the 3,600-TEU Venta Maersk in 2018. 

    The 66,781-dwt vessel provides service as part of Safetrans Line’s Trans-Russia liner loop between St. Petersburg and destinations in China. The vessel looks set to become part of the nascent China-Russia box trade via the Arctic.

    The Arctic route allows vessels to avoid the ongoing conflict areas in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden without detouring via Cape Horn. 

    During summer 2023, Chinese company NewNew Shipping, sent four feedermax ships through the Arctic completing seven voyages between July and December. The shipper expects to expand its offering to a dozen voyages this summer. 

    One of NewNew Shipping’s vessels, NewNew Polar Bear, was involved in damage to the Balticconnector gas pipeline and two subsea telecoms cables between Estonia and Finland.

    Safetrans Line acquired the 24-year old Flying Fish 1 in October 2023. Its Ice-1 ice class allows it to navigate all sectors of the Northern Sea Route independently without icebreaker escort in ice-free and light ice conditions between July and October. The permit details suggest a planned round trip voyage between early August and October.

    While thick sea ice continues to dominate the route during winter and spring, even non-ice class now routinely transit the route during the summer months. Last summer saw the first-ever Capesize bulker, the 169,159-dwt Gingo, as well as multiple Suezmax oil tankers venture into the Arctic. 

    Across fourteen voyages Russia sent 1.5 million barrels of crude to China, including multiple trips by non-ice class tankers.

  • le boum des câbliers
    Jan De Nul Group Orders Second XL Cable-Laying Vessel to Bolster Renewable Energy Transition

    çIllustration courtesy Jan De Nul_

    Jan De Nul Group announced a major expansion to their fleet with the order of an additional XL cable-laying vessel. This move is another significant investment in the transition to renewable energy, demonstrating the company’s ongoing commitment to the sector.

    The new vessel will be the fifth in Jan De Nul Group’s cable-laying fleet and is slated for delivery in 2026. It will be identical to the Fleeming Jenkin, another XL cable layer under construction at CMHI Haimen shipyard in China. The vessel, which is also scheduled for delivery in 2026, has already been scheduled for its first projects, indicating the strong demand for the specialized assets.

    Over the past decade, the company has installed 2,500 kilometers of submarine cables across 25 countries, including a notable project that connected Crete to mainland Greece, eliminating the island’s reliance on diesel generators for power.

  • Shipping Industry Issues Plea to UN to Protect Maritime Security and Seafarers

    An official slides down a rope during a helicopter raid on MSC Aries ship at sea in this screen grab obtained from a social media video released on April 13, 2024.
    Video obtained by Reuters/via REUTERS

    The global shipping industry has sent an urgent joint letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, urging the UN to do more to protect maritime security and innocent seafarers.

    The letter follows the recent seizure of the MSC Aries by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz.

    The open letter, co-signed by 16 maritime industry associations and social partners, calls for assistance and for all member states to be reminded of their responsibilities under international law.

    The signatories of the letter highlighted the alarming situation, stating, “The incident this weekend, when the vessel MSC Aries was seized by Iranian forces…has once again highlighted the intolerable situation where shipping has become a target. This is unacceptable.”

    The seizure of the MSC Aries has brought the issue of maritime security into sharp focus. The letter points out the increased attacks on shipping and the consequences for innocent seafarers. “Innocent seafarers have been killed, seafarers are being held hostage. This would be unacceptable on land, and it is unacceptable at sea,” the letter reads.

    The shipping industry further called attention to the lack of global outrage in comparison to other hostage situations. “The world would be outraged if four airliners were seized and held hostage with innocent souls onboard. Regrettably, there does not seem to be the same response or concern for the commercial vessels and their crews being held hostage.”

    Drawing attention to the role of seafarers during the pandemic, the letter emphasized, “Seafarers kept the world fed and warm during the pandemic with vital medicine, food and fuel delivered, irrespective of politics. Seafarers and the maritime sector are neutral and must not be politicised. It is the moral duty to protect seafarers.”

    The letter ended with a plea for an enhanced coordinated military presence in the region, given the “continually evolving and severe threat profile.” It called for every possible effort to be made to release the seafarers and protect the safe transit of ships.

  • EU Maritime Emissions Surge Amid Red Sea Diversions

    Maritime emissions 2024 vs 2023 vs 2022 in Mt/day

    New data has revealed a significant increase in the carbon emissions of the European Union’s (EU) marine shipping sector. According to Kayrros, a global leader in emissions tracking, regulated carbon emissions from the sector have risen by 14% year-on-year in the first two months of this year.

    As part of the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), marine shipping emissions now fall under regulatory oversight. The regulations apply to half of the emissions from ships entering and leaving the EU and all emissions for voyages within the Union.

    The primary cause of the emissions surge appears to be shipping diversions due to Houthi attacks on vessels in the Red Sea. The targeting of vessels since mid-October has prompted many ships to avoid the Red Sea route between Asia and Europe. Instead, ships are taking a detour around South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, adding up to 3,000 nautical miles to their journey.

    The rerouting has resulted in significant carbon emissions increases. According to Kayrros, an average container ship emits an additional 900 tons of carbon (+30%) when avoiding the Red Sea. Similarly, a Very Large Crude Carrier travelling from the Middle East Gulf to Northwest Europe produces an extra 1,500 tons of carbon emissions.

    The EU’s marine shipping emissions were already on the rise before the Houthi attacks, increasing 5.7% in the first nine months of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. However, the growth rate has accelerated dramatically since the onset of the attacks, despite the implementation of EU ETS regulations.

    Antoine Rostand, President and co-founder of Kayrros, said Red Sea diversions present a real challenge for decarbonization efforts.

    “With no end in sight for the reroutes, carbon emissions will continue to remain high. In the absence of clean or cleaner fuel for shipping, this would mean a setback for both the maritime industry and the European Commission’s progress towards net zero, all other things being equal.”

  • Finland Joins World’s Largest Maritime Security Partnership

    Finland has officially joined the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), becoming the 43rd member of the world’s largest maritime security partnership.

    Vice Admiral George Wikoff, the commander of CMF, officially welcomed Finland, praising the country’s long history of maritime professionalism. “They will enhance our already impressive partnership here in the Middle East,” said Wikoff.

    The CMF is an international naval coalition that focuses on defeating terrorism, preventing piracy, promoting safe maritime environments, and encouraging regional cooperation. It is renowned for upholding the international rules-based order and supporting security and stability across 3.2 million square miles of water which includes some of the world’s most crucial shipping lanes.

    The coalition maintains five task forces: CTF 150, which ensures maritime security in the Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea, and eastern Gulf of Aden; CTF 151, leading regional anti-piracy efforts; CTF 152, dedicated to maritime security in the Arabian Gulf; CTF 153, in charge of maritime security in the Red Sea, Bab al-Mandeb, and western Gulf of Aden; and CTF 154, established to enhance maritime security training throughout the region.

    • alors, pour les frégates allemandes (type F-124, mais aussi le modèle d’avant), on a un feuilleton en cours, relativement discret, mais assez intéressant

      – le 26 février, la frégate Hessen a tiré un de ses missiles de l’artillerie principale (missile SM-2) sur un drone états-unien et l’a raté
      – le 28 février, elle a abattu deux drones, houthis cette fois-ci, mais avec son artillerie secondaire (missile à courte portée RIM-162 pour l’un et au canon pour l’autre, c’est-à-dire au tout dernier moment)
      – un peu après, on a appris que les SM-2, une fois tirés, ne peuvent (pour le moment ?) pas être réapprovisionnés

      l’affaire est plutôt floue, pour d’évidentes raisons militaires (difficiles de savoir, p. ex. combien il reste de SM-2 à tirer, embarqués ou en stock) mais pas que. Il semblerait que le gouvernement allemand ait laissé passer un appel à commandes du fournisseur du modèle qui équipe les frégates avant que celui-ci ne lance la fabrication du modèle d’après, incompatible, évidemment.

      Economies budgétaires, manque de volonté politique, incompétence politique ou militaire ? un peu tout cela probablement. Il y a visiblement, pas mal de boulons à serrer d’ici août et le retour sur zone permettra peut-être de constater le retour à une vraie disponibilité opérationnelle des navires allemands

      pour la prestation de fin février
      German Frigate Mistakenly Fires On MQ-9, Downs Two Houthi Drones

      The German Navy Type 124 Sachsen class frigate FGS Hessen has downed two Houthi drones at close range while operating in the Red Sea. In addition, the ship accidentally fired on an American MQ-9 Reaper drone while confused as to its identity.

      idem mais avec des compléments sur la crise des missiles allemands mer-air. Titre explicite
      Hall Of Shame ! German Navy Attempts To Shoot Down ’Friendly’ MQ-9 Reaper Drone But Fails Twice

      The German Navy finds itself grappling with a major embarrassment following an incident in the Red Sea, where its Type 124 Sachsen class frigate FGS Hessen mistakenly targeted a US MQ-9 drone as hostile, only to have its subsequent missile launches fail to hit their mark.

      et intertitre ravageur

      Insufficient Ammunition & Doubts Regarding Operational Preparedness

  • Panama Canal Plans to Normalize by 2025, Weather Permitting

    Chart courtesy Panama Canal Authority

    As the dry season draws to a close, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) is adjusting its operations to align with the climate conditions.

    Taking into account the current and projected water level of Gatun Lake, the ACP has increased the number of transit slots from 24 to 27 per day, effective from March 25. The ACP attributed the improvement to the implementation of its Operational Water Strategy and recent progress in water-saving initiatives.

    The ACP is optimistic that steady rainfall will begin by late April and continue for several months. Assuming these forecasts hold true, the ACP plans to gradually relax transit restrictions with the goal of fully normalizing operations—meaning 36 daily transits and 50-foot max. draft—by 2025.

  • High Pressure Gas Pipeline Halts Salvage of MV Dali

    Wreckage lies across the deck of the Dali cargo vessel, which crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge causing it to collapse, in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S., March 29, 2024.
    REUTERS/Julia Nikhinson

    Salvage efforts to remove the MV Dali from Baltimore’s Key Bridge were delayed indefinitely yesterday after a high-pressure subsea natural gas pipeline was discovered under the wreckage.

    Yesterday, the Maryland Port Authority held a meeting at the unified incident command center located at the Maryland Cruise Terminal in Baltimore. The Army Corps of Engineers and the US Coast Guard outlined their priorities: firstly, to open the shipping channel; secondly, to secure and remove the MV Dali; and thirdly, to initiate salvage operations “from the inside out”.

    According to a source at the meeting, the salvage company DonJon-SMIT has been assigned to work with US Navy Salvage Operations (SUPSALV) to clear the bridge. Meanwhile, SCANSKA has been hired by the State of Maryland to secure the shoreside components of the bridge structure.

    Earlier this week, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg assigned the most delicate task of the operation, extracting the ship, to the American salvage company Resolve Marine. Founded in 1980 with just one tugboat, Resolve Marine has since grown into an industry leader with offices worldwide. The company has participated in various major projects, including the Deepwater Horizon disaster and the Hoegh Xiamen fire. Resolve told gCaptain that CEO Joe Farrell III is personally leading the efforts in Baltimore to ensure it receives the company’s full attention and resources.

    Our source indicates that Resolve has determined that approximately three to four thousand tons of steel and concrete are presently resting on the ship’s bow. Photos of the ship visibly depict the stern elevated above the bow, and experts suggest that the weight of the bridge is pinning it to the seabed.

    One salvage master we interviewed said sections of the bridge have cut through the deck causing serious structural weakness. “Imagine putting a steel bar in a powerful metal vise,” he said. “Now lift and drop the end of that bar. The tide is your hand lifting and dropping that bar. Each time you do, the vise digs deeper into the steel, and the bar weakens. It’s crucial to loosen that vise by removing the bridge segments that are pinning it down as soon as possible.”

    Time is always a factor in salvage operations with weather conditions near the top of the list of concerns. “The more time an operation takes, the greater the possibility a low-pressure system moves in and does further damage.”

    Salvage Operation On Hold
    Despite the clock’s importance, expert salvage teams such as Resolve will not jeopardize worker and environmental safety and two critical factors have indefinitely paused the salvage efforts.

    The main reason for the delay is the ongoing search and recovery mission. Sources from the Joint Incident Command Center told gCaptain that intense political interest, driven by extensive media coverage, is putting pressure on the command leadership and salvage masters to speed up the process. However, the salvage teams have emphasized that they will not rush and cannot work safely while the search and recovery efforts for the four missing bridge workers are still ongoing.

    “What needs to be priority number one, the looming problem right now, is who’s in charge of this,” said maritime historian Sal Mercogliano in a recent video about the salvage efforts. “There is an election coming in November. There are too many players, too many people, too much posturing.”

    This situation presents challenges. However, sources have informed gCaptain that the salvage companies are navigating around political concerns and have refused to rush the efforts.

    High-Pressure Gas Line
    So far those pressures have only delayed the efforts but yesterday operations were paused indefinitely. The concern came during the due diligence process when salvage engineers discovered a high-pressure gas line near the wreckage. According to one source, both the Department of Transportation’s US Maritime Administration (MARAD) and the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) have been notified.

    A pipeline safety expert from PHMSA confirmed concerns about a particular pipeline. They informed us, off the record, that the operator was notified and the pipeline has been isolated and depressurized. PHMSA records indicate that the pipeline, which carries natural gas under high pressure, is owned by Baltimore Gas And Electric (BGE). It remains unclear when BGE was alerted and when the pipeline was shut down.

    Despite the shutdown, salvage teams aren’t willing to further risk the ship, the crew, and their own members. They require a review of the undersea documents and a survey of the pipeline before resuming.

    “This will undoubtedly cause additional delays to the operation,” said a senior official at the meeting. Even after the risks to the pipeline have been fully mitigated, “the timeline to remove the debris from the ship is very uncertain.”

    This update has been published on the official unified command website:
    The Unified Command is working in partnership with BGE to reduce pressure of an underwater pipeline that spans the width of the channel and runs under the incident site. Unified Command is coordinating to inert the pipeline to free it from hazards and risk. Pipeline operations will continue through the weekend.

  • India rescues Iranian fishing vessel hijacked by pirates off Somalia | Reuters

    _An Indian Navy carries out a rescue operation of an Iranian fishing vessel Al-Kambar 786 after it was seized by armed pirates off Somalia, in the Arabian Sea, according to a naval statement, in this handout photo released on March 30, 2024.

    The Indian Navy said it had freed the 23-strong crew of an Iranian fishing vessel which was seized by armed pirates off Somalia.
    The Al-Kambar 786 was southwest of the Yemeni island of Socotra, in the Arabian Sea, on March 28 when it was reported to have been boarded by nine pirates, according to a naval statement on Friday.
    The vessel was intercepted by the navy’s INS Sumedha and INS Trishul, leading to “over 12 hours of intense coercive tactical measures” forcing the pirates to surrender, the statement said.

    The nine pirates are being brought to India under the domestic law against piracy on the high seas, the navy said in a separate statement on Saturday.

    The fishing vessel’s crew of 23 Pakistani nationals were safe and received medical checks before being cleared to continue with fishing activities, the statement said.
    Piracy incidents east of the Red Sea have resurfaced for the first time in nearly a decade.

  • Collapse highlights need to protect critical foundations | Reuters

    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers staff onboard Hydrographic Survey Vessel CATLETT observe the damage resulting from the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, March 26, 2024.
    USACE Photo

    The collapse of Baltimore’s Key Bridge has highlighted what engineers say is an urgent need to better protect the piers holding up spans over shipping channels as the size of cargo ships has grown in recent decades.

    Federal authorities continue an investigation into why a massive cargo ship lost power and crashed into a pier of the Francis Scott Key Bridge early Tuesday, bringing down the structure and killing six workers who had been filling potholes atop it.

    The Maryland Transportation Authority did not respond to questions about what, if any, protections were in place for the Key Bridge’s foundation piers — which bore the weight of the structure and all the vehicles on it — and whether updates might have been needed.

    “The construction code has got to do better,” said Erin Bell, chair of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of New Hampshire and an expert on bridge engineering. “Our job as engineers and our duty to society is that we learn from these failures.”

    Bridges such as the one in Baltimore are classified as “fracture critical” by the federal government - meaning that if one portion of the bridge collapses, it’s likely to take down the rest of the structure with it.

    According to the Federal Highway Administration, there are more than 16,800 such spans in the U.S. - including such famed structures as the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge in New York, along with the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

    Maryland Governor Wes Moore said Thursday that recovering the missing workers and bringing closure to their families remained a top priority.

    U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said on Wednesday that the Key Bridge “was simply not made to withstand a direct impact on a critical support pier from a vessel that weighs about 200 million pounds.”

    Bell and other engineers said that while that is correct, it doesn’t address the serious questions about what safety measures could have prevented the cargo ship from running into the pier, or absorbed the crush of the impact to keep the foundation intact.

    • NTSB Timeline Reveals Crucial Minutes Leading Up to Baltimore Bridge Strike

      U.S. Army Corps of Engineers staff onboard Hydrographic Survey Vessel CATLETT observe the damage resulting from the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, March 26, 2024.
      USACE Photo

      The NTSB released the timeline after boarding the ship on Wednesday to gather perishable, factual evidence. The agency also revealed 56 containers with hazardous materials, some of which were breached.

      The U.S. Coast Guard recovered approximately 6 hours of voyage data recorder (VDR) data from the DALI on the morning of the accident and provided it to the NTSB. The data covers the period from 00:00 to 06:00 EDT on March 26, 2024. The NTSB is continuing to obtain the remaining 30 days of data that the VDR is required to record.

      The VDR data, which includes audio from the ship’s bridge and VHF radios, varies in quality due to background noise and alarms. Further analysis will be conducted at the NTSB’s lab to enhance the audio clarity. All information is preliminary and subject to final validation and change.

      The VDR also recorded limited system data such as ship speed, engine RPM, rudder angle, ship heading, and some alarm information.

      The times expressed below are as recorded by the VDR and converted to local eastern daylight time, as shared by the NTSB:

      The VDR recorded the ship’s departure from Seagirt Marine Terminal at approximately 00:39 EDT, recorded the ship’s transit outbound in the Fort McHenry Channel, and the striking of the Francis Scott Key Bridge (1-695).

      By 01:07 EDT, the ship entered the Fort McHenry Channel.

      By 01:24 EDT, the ship was underway on a true heading of approximately 141 degrees in the Fort McHenry Channel at an indicated speed over ground of approximately 8 knots/9 miles per hour.

      At 01:24:59 EDT numerous aural alarms were recorded on the ship’s bridge audio. Around the same time, VDR ship system data ceased recording, however, the VDR audio continued to be recorded using the VDR’s redundant power source.

      Around 01:26:02, the VDR resumed recording ship system data. During this time, there were steering commands and rudder orders on the VDR audio.

      Around 01:26:39 the ship’s pilot made a general VHF radio call for tugs in the vicinity of the DALI. MDTA data from around this time indicated the pilot association dispatcher phoned the MDTA duty officer regarding the blackout.

      Around 1:27:04, the pilot commanded the DALI to drop the port anchor and issued additional steering commands.

      Around 1:27:25, the pilot issued a radio call over the VHF radio and reported the DALI had lost all power approaching the Key Bridge. Around this time, MDTA data shows the following occurred:
      • MDTA duty officer radios two units already, one on each side of the bridge, to close the bridge.
      • All lanes are shut down by MDTA.

      Around 1:29:00, the ship’s speed over ground was recorded as just under 7 knots/8 miles per hour. From this moment until approximately 1:29:33, VR audio recorded sounds consistent with the collision with the Key bridge. Additionally, around this time, an MDTA dash camera shows the bridge lights extinguishing. Additional analysis of the VR audio and comparison of other time sources will be needed to determine the exact time of contact between the DALI and Key Bridge.

      At 1:29:39 the pilot reported the Key Bridge down over VHF to the USCG.

  • Panama Canal Forced to Balance Shipping Demand with Need for Drinking Water


    As a colossal Chinese container ship maneuvered into the narrow Miraflores locks on the Panama Canal, some 27 million gallons of water rose around it, propelling the vessel along this vital maritime shortcut between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

    But the critical water cushion that lifts and lowers ships through a series of locks along the canal is deflating because of repeated droughts, disrupting a key global trade route and slashing revenues that underpin Panama’s economy.

    What is happening along this artificial waterway shines a spotlight on how global warming and extreme weather caused by climate change might affect the ocean shipping industry that moves 80% of world trade.

    The slowdown in activity also comes as attacks on ships in the Red Sea by Yemen’s Houthi group have prompted shipowners to divert vessels to other routes.

    But right now, the Panama Canal – which handles nearly 3% of all maritime trade – is ill-placed to take up the slack. With the volume of its transits down by about one third, global maritime trade flows face being reshaped. 

    This could see thousands of ships taking longer routes, which in turn would increase climate-changing carbon dioxide emissions and shipping costs, according to industry experts.

    A severe drought last year caused water levels in Gatun Lake, the main rainfall-fed reservoir that feeds the canal locks, to fall. October saw the lowest rainfall on record for that month since 1950. 

    Hotter-than-average temperatures – 2023 was the hottest year on record – worsened by the El Nino weather phenomenon that sees warmer ocean surface temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific have also increased evaporation from the lake.

    “We depend on rainwater,” said Ilya Espino de Marotta, the canal’s first chief sustainability officer.

    “You used to see a dry year every 15 to 20 years. Now we saw a dry year in 2016, one in 2019, one in 2023 so obviously there’s a climate issue we need to address,” she said.

    The resulting water scarcity is a major problem as each vessel passing through the 50-mile (80-km) trans-oceanic waterway uses some 51 million gallons (193 million liters) of water from Gatun Lake.

    The lake also provides drinking water to about half of Panama’s 4.5 million people and balancing these key but competing demands on a finite resource will be a critical issue for whoever comes to power after a presidential election in May.

    Espino de Marotta says drinking water is prioritized but given the canal’s economic importance, water supply for both shipping and people must remain viable. 

    Last year, for the first time in its more than 100-year history, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) was forced to restrict ship transits due to low water levels in Gatun Lake. Queues of ships built up, and shipping rates increased because of the bottlenecks.

    In normal times, around 36 ships carrying everything from liquefied natural gas and soybeans from the United States to copper and cherries from Chile cross the canal each day but this number has been cut to 24 this year.

    Erick Cordoba, manager of the canal’s water division and head of a team of engineers and meteorologists monitoring the canal’s watershed, said he needs to prepare for another drought in the next four years.

    “During the next drought, drinking water needs will surpass the water available for the transit of ships. That’s the problem,” he said.

  • Russia Eases Icebreaker Escort Rules to Promote Year-Round Arctic Shipping

    Icebreaker escorting vessels along the Northern Sea Route.
    Source: Sovcomflot

    In an effort to pave the way for year-round transport of liquefied natural gas (LNG) on the Northern Sea Route, the Russian government eased the requirements for icebreaker escorts. 

    The rule change applies to double-acting vessels with ice-class Arc7 and Arc8, such as those carrying LNG for Novatek’s Yamal LNG and Arctic LNG 2 projects. 

    Previously Arc7 LNG carriers were permitted to navigate independently, i.e. without icebreaker escort, in severe ice conditions only between July 1 and November 30. 

    The amended Rules of Navigation in the Waters of the Northern Sea Route, expand this period by three months to include January, June, and December.

    “Double-acting vessels with ice class Arc7 and Arc8 are permitted to travel independently in the period from January 1 to January 31 and from June 1 to December 31 in any ice conditions,” the updated rules state. 

    The rule change may correspond with Russian efforts to begin year-round deliveries of LNG to Asia. According to Novatek and government officials, routine winter deliveries will begin during 2024.

    Sentinel-1 SAR imagery from February 14, 2024 showing the lead or channel in the sea ice created by the convoy to the north of the New Siberian Islands.
    Source: Copernicus Sentinel data, 2024

    • SovComFlot … aaaaah !

      créée en 1988, sous le nom de Flotte de commerce soviétique avec son acronyme si typique, est devenue, sous les mêmes initiales et acronyme Flotte de commerce moderne
      Совкомфлот — Википедия


      En mars 2022, elle dispose d’une flotte de 172 pétroliers de type « Aframax », dont le tonnage est compris entre 80 et 120 000 tonnes.


      As of May 2022, the company owned 122 vessels. The fleet includes 50 crude oil tankers, 34 oil products tankers, 14 shuttle tankers, and 10 natural gas carriers. Sovcomflot also owns 10 icebreakers.


      • оперирование танкерным флотом в сегментах «Suezmax» (дедвейт 120—200 тыс. тонн) и «Aframax» (дедвейт 80-120 тыс. тонн);
      По оценкам Bloomberg, к началу 2023 года у Совкомфлота имелось лишь 10 танкеров — «Суэцмаксов» и 32 «Афрамакса», что составляло меньше четверти от необходимого резерва для перевозки всей нефти из западных портов России.

      va savoir…
      Dans tous les cas, le Christophe_de_Margerie (Кристоф де Маржери, Yamalmax) est le fleuron de cette flotte.

  • Tobago’s tourism, fishing hit as oil slick spreads across Caribbean | Reuters

    An oil spill in Tobago Island, Trinidad and Tobago, is seen in this handout photo released February 10, 2024.
    Office of the Chief Secretary - THA/Handout via REUTERS

    Nine days after a slick was first spotted by Trinidad and Tobago’s Coast Guard, an oil leak from a capsized barge remains unplugged, according to first responders and authorities, prompting nations across the Caribbean to coordinate a response.
    The spill has spread miles from Tobago’s shore, the area first hit by the incident. Trinidad this week alerted neighbors Venezuela and Grenada on possible impact to their coasts.
    A barge pulled by a tugboat caused the spill, but details of the incident remain unclear, including the type of petroleum leaking, the ship’s intended destination, owner and if any members of the crew were lost.

    By Thursday, the slick had reached about 144 km (89 miles) into the Caribbean Sea and was moving at a rate of 14 km (9 miles) per hour, authorities said.

  • Pentagon Analysis Confirms Iran’s Role in Enabling Houthi Attacks

    The Marlin Luanda pictured January 27, 2024, after being struck by a Houthi missile in the Gulf of Aden.
    Photo courtesy Indian Navy

    A new report by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) has confirmed Houthi forces use Iranian missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for attacks on shipping and throughout the Middle East.

    The report, titled Iran: Enabling Houthi Attacks Across the Middle East, contains a comparative analysis of the publicly available imagery of Iranian missiles and UAVs with those used by the Houthis militant group in Yemen to attack commercial shipping in the Red Sea and civilian and port infrastructure across the region.

    The DIA report underscores the strengthened and evolving relationship between Iran and the Houthis over the past decade, describing that Iran views the Houthis as an extension of its regional power, while the Houthis see Iran as a means to augment their military capabilities.

    “Iranian leaders’ statements and Tehran’s weapons proliferation illustrate how Iran perceives the Houthis as integral to its own efforts to destabilize the region and project power,” the report states.

    Since 2014, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) has been supplying the Houthis, officially known as Ansarallah, with an increasing range of sophisticated arms and training. This assistance from Iran has equipped the Houthis to launch a series of missile and UAV strikes against commercial shipping in the Red Sea since November 2023, posing a risk to international commerce and freedom of navigation in one of the globe’s most critical waterways.

    The report also mentions Iran’s proliferation of advanced UAVs to worldwide conflict zones since 2017. These UAVs, with their extended range, low cost, and explosive payloads, have empowered conflict actors like the Houthis, other Iran-aligned militias, and Russia to endanger territorial sovereignty, regional stability, and the global economy.

    Between 2015 and 2023, the United States and its allies have intercepted at least 18 Iranian smuggling vessels, seizing ballistic missile components, UAVs, antitank guided missiles, and thousands of assault rifles, rocket components, and other illegal weapons en route to the Houthis.

    The DIA has made this report public in a bid to improve public understanding of its mission and offer insights into Department of Defense and national security issues.

    In the past two months, the U.S. Treasury Department has imposed multiple rounds of sanctions against individuals and entities in response to Houthi attacks on shipping and Iran’s role in enabling them, both financially and with weapons.

    Starting February 16, 2024, the Houthis will be re-designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) group by the U.S. Department of State. This action is intended to hinder terrorist financing for the group, limit their access to financial markets, and hold them accountable for their actions.

  • DeepOcean Secures Major Subsea Contract with ExxonMobil in #Guyana

    The multi-purpose support vessel (MPSV) Siem Day.
    Photo courtesy DeepOcean

    Norway-based DeepOcean, a leading provider of ocean services, has secured a major contract from ExxonMobil Guyana for subsea construction and inspection, maintenance, and repair (IMR) services off the coast of Guyana, South America.

    The contract marks DeepOcean’s first substantial contract with ExxonMobil in the Americas and its debut in the burgeoning Guyana offshore market.
    DeepOcean will utilize the Siem Day multi-purpose support vessel (MPSV), which is outfitted with a 250-tonne crane and state-of-the-art technology and features that allow for efficient and safe operation even in challenging offshore environments. The vessel’s large deck space, advanced dynamic positioning systems, and dual ROV spreads guarantee superior performance and maximum productivity.

    The #Stabroek_Block is hailed as one of the world’s most promising oil and gas discoveries, with estimated recoverable resources exceeding eight billion oil-equivalent barrels to date.

    pas tout-à-fait sans rapport avec la réactivation des prétentions du #Venezuela sur l’#Esequibo

  • Pirate Motherships Active in Indian Ocean

    A map showing the locations of suspected Pirate Action Groups (PAGs) in the Indian Ocean, as well as the location of fishing dhow hijackings (red dots).
    Map courtesy MSCHOA

    Recent activity in the Indian Ocean is sparking concerns of a resurgence in Somali piracy.

    Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa (MSCHOA), which operates under the auspices of the European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR), believes at least two pirate action groups, potentially operating from motherships, are now active in the Indian Ocean. This follows a series of fishing dhow hijackings off the Somali coast since November.

    “The most likely scenario is that the pirates are operating from Mother Boats, searching for targets in areas where the sea conditions allow for boarding. These remote locations are also less likely to be patrolled by international forces. The pirates approach vessels to assess whether there is an armed security team on board,” EU NAVFOR said in a bulletin issued Tuesday.

    The use of motherships to reach further offshore was a common tactic used by Somali pirates more than a decade ago. In fact, recent incidents have all the hallmarks of pirate activity.
    The potential resurgence of Somali-base piracy comes after the shipping industry removed its “High Risk Area” (HRA) designation for the region as of January 1, 2023, in response to the improved piracy situation. The High Risk Area was established in 2010 at the height of the Somalia piracy threat. During the 2010-2011 time period, Somali pirates carried 415 attacks and almost 80 successful hijackings over the course of two years, according to EU NAVFOR.

    In response to the latest potential threat, vessels transiting in the region are advised to adopt enhanced security measures, specifically (BMP5), and maintain communication with MSCHOA and the UK Maritime Trade Operations office

  • US Coast Guard Formally Approves ABS Wavesight™ eLogs for U.S.-Flagged Ships

    ABS Wavesight™, an ABS-affiliated software-as-a-service company, today announced that the United States Coast Guard (USCG) has formally approved ABS Wavesight’s eLogs™ software for use by U.S.-flagged ships, making ABS Wavesight one of only three maritime software providers to receive such approval on the basis of the USCG’s guidance under USCG NVIC 01-23.

    “The maritime industry is entering an era of rapid digitalization,” said Gurinder Singh, Director of Solutions Engineering at ABS Wavesight. “We are proud to be at the forefront of that transformation, and the fact that our eLogs software meets all of the U.S. Coast Guard’s stringent requirements is even more evidence of our leadership position.”

    A digital successor to traditional paper logbooks, eLogs is designed to help crew members address numerous recordkeeping challenges, from user errors to excess administrative work, security risks and more. In addition to featuring more than 20 logbooks, including all MARPOL-required logbooks, ABS Wavesight eLogs aligns with IMO Marine Environmental Protection Committee standards, SOLAS and BWM Convention principles and is approved by the American Bureau of Shipping.

    numérisation du journal de bord


  • Tankers Face Million-Dollar Detour Around Cape of Good Hope

    Rerouting tankers around the Cape of Good Hope due to Red Sea attacks can add nearly a million dollars per voyage while also doubling transit time, according to LSEG Shipping Research.

    A recent report by LSEG Shipping Research, a division of the London Stock Exchange Group, revealed that rerouting an Aframax tanker from Asia to NW Europe, via the Cape of Good Hope, causes an incremental cost of about $932,905 USD per voyage and extends the transit time from 16 to 32 days. The additional expenses are largely due to the increase in fuel costs.

    Consequently, the total costs for an Aframax tanker increases by 110%, and for a larger container vessel, it rises by 35% for a voyage between Asia and NW Europe.

    Aframax tankers, which can carry both refined products and crude oil, range between 80,000 and 120,000 deadweight tons and make up a large portion of the global tanker fleet.

    Houthi attacks on commercial vessels have also resulted in a considerable reduction in transits through the Suez Canal. According to LSEG Shipping Research, average monthly transits from June to November 2023 were around 1914, which reduced to 1672 in December, indicating a 12.6% drop. By Jan. 22, the transits were down to 947, marking a significant 32.6% decline.

    Moreover, daily containership traffic in the Red Sea has seen a nearly 60% drop since mid-December. The larger container vessels seem to have been the most affected, with over 80% decline in transits, LSEG’s report showed.

    • More Ships Flag No Link With Israel as Red Sea Turmoil Continues - Bloomberg

      Cargo ships are broadcasting that they are not connected with Israel in an effort to avoid Houthi attacks in the Red Sea area.

      At least 21 vessels were signaling that they have no ties with the country, or sending similar messages, in ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg on Wednesday. The majority of these ships were in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden areas.
      The messages appear as the ships’ signaled destination and are not uniform. Examples include:

      Ship name        Signal

      The Lucky Alisa, a 75,000-ton bulk carrier, opted for a different approach as it passed through the Bab el-Mandeb Strait at the Red Sea’s southern end on Tuesday, signaling that all crew onboard are from China. Other ships have previously signaled similar messages.

  • The Red Sea Crisis : Possibly the Beginning of Something Bigger

    intéressant point de vue sur l’entrée en lice des Houthis…

    When it comes to shipping market predictions, analysts crunching supply and demand numbers can sometimes, but not always, provide good insights into likely ups and downs. When you throw in geopolitics, “In the land of blind people, the one-eyed cyclops is the king” applies. However, with ocean freighting markets, it’s not always clear until well after the fact which analysts have good vision, and which ones are stumbling in the dark.

    Most analysts opining on the happenings in the Red Sea are suggesting that we’ve seen the start of something on that they all agree. But where it goes is really anybody’s guess. 
    One of the most informative (and maybe prescient) discussions that I’ve heard was on a call organized by Evercore ISI, the equity research arm of capital markets advisor Evercore (whose Founders and Principals have lengthy ties with decision makers at the highest levels in Washington DC and elsewhere), just prior to Christmas, 2023. At that time, tankers had seen a minimal impact, as noted by Evercore ISI’s shipping analyst Jon Chappell.

    On the call, the “Guest Expert”, Michael Rubin, Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, with a background serving at the Pentagon and consulting to the U.S. military “out in the field” (ie aboard U.S. Navy vessels stationed in the Mideast) laid out his views. 

    Taking a long term and high level look at the vessel attacks in the Red Sea, and bringing in his views on the underlying geopolitics behind the attacks in the Red Sea, Rubin said: “I would argue that we what have now, big picture, isn’t simply an artifact of the Israel/ Gaza conflict with the Houthis joining in…but this is also a direct result of the announcement on Sept 9th, at the G20, for the India/ Middle East Economic Corridor, which explicitly bypassed Iran.

    He described the motivations of Iran (backing the Houthis economically and with weapons) as being along the lines of “If you don’t work through us and our North South Corridor…we will make sure that no shipping is safe between India- South Asia to the Red Sea and Europe.” This view suggests that we may be in for a long “voyage”, in many ways.

  • CNN Reveals Culture of Abuse and Cover-Up in the US Coast Guard

    The Coast Guard Cutter Midgett, a 378-foot high-endurance cutter homeported in Seattle, transits the Strait of Juan de Fuca enroute to Seattle, Oct. 13, 2015.

    An explosive new report from CNN reveals that US Coast Guard leaders have concealed a critical report on racism, hazing, discrimination, and sexual assault within the agency for nearly a decade.

    The report, titled “Culture of Respect,” documented a culture of abuse and fear of retaliation for reporting abuse.

    The findings of the report align with another secretive Coast Guard investigation revealed earlier this year by CNN, dubbed “Fouled Anchor”, into sexual assaults at the Coast Guard academy, which uncovered series misconduct and cover-ups by high-ranking officials.

    Coast Guard Commandant Linda Fagan has previously apologized for the Fouled Anchor investigation. However, despite calls for greater transparency, the Culture of Respect report has remained hidden until now.

    In response to CNN’s inquiries, a spokesperson for the Admiral stated that the commandant plans to make the report public, alongside the findings of a 90-day internal study on sexual assault and harassment prompted by the Fouled Anchor reporting.

    Coast Guard officials told CNN that the Culture of Respect report was not meant for wide release but rather to inform policy decisions. However, they did not clarify why the report was not released earlier, considering it did not identify victims or perpetrators.

    The report is based on internal research and interviews with nearly 300 people, and reveals concerns about blatant sexual harassment and hazing in the Coast Guard. According to CNN’s reporting, offenders often faced no consequences and were allowed to resign, retire, or transfer. Serious problems were also brushed aside or covered up.

    Meanwhile, victims of misconduct faced career risks and little hope of consequences for their alleged perpetrators, according to CNN. Seeking mental health treatment after assault or trauma could also lead to involuntary discharge from the Coast Guard.

    CNN reports that the Coast Guard has implemented or partially implemented 60 of the report’s 129 recommendations, including additional training and support services for victims. Another nine recommendations are still currently being worked on, and alternative methods have been found for 20 others, in an effort to address the organization’s culture.

  • Containership ’ONE ORPHEUS’ Refloated in Suez Canal After Grounding

    Photo of the ONE Orpheus grounding from social media.
    bon, on lit distinctement www.elbalad.new en filigrane et le logo Sada el-Balad du media égyptien, mais peut-être que ça vient quand même des RS

    Update: The ONE Orpheus is back underway after being refloated by tugs in the Suez Canal. AIS data shows she was aground for about 5 hours.

    CAIRO, Dec 6 (Reuters) – A container ship collided with a floating bridge in the eastern lane of the Suez Canal on Wednesday but the passage of ships through the waterway would not be interrupted, the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said.