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20 Jul 2017

DNV GL releases updated DNV GL NOx TIER III compliance guide

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"Classification society DNV GL has developed a new brochure to offer a set of best practices for the design of ships subject to NOx Tier III requirements. It also offers guidance on the considerations that should be taken into account at the newbuilding stage. To ensure the success of any newbuilding plan, shipowners should carefully consider the future operation of their vessels in the newbuilding planning stage, including the implications of the different technological solutions for reducing NOx emissions and how to fulfil the NOx Tier III requirements. In order to fulfil the stricter NOx Tier III emission limits, ship operators have the possibility of choosing from various options. The optimal compliance option will depend upon many factors, including a vessel’s individual trading pattern, engine size and speed. The brochure examines selective catalytic reduction (SCR), exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), the use of alternative fuels, internal engine modifications, direct water injection (DWI), fuel-water emulsion (FWE) and intake air humidification. Installing NOx Tier III-compliant technology can offer benefits beyond simply achieving compliance with emissions regulations. Demonstrating a company’s commitment to ensuring sustainable operations has become increasingly important. In addition, the installation of Tier III-compliant technology also goes hand in hand with direct financial benefits, as many major ports offer substantial discounts on harbour fees if a vessel complies with third party environmental schemes such as the ESI."

10 Jul 2017

Ship Financing Drops by $42.5 billion as Traditional Bankers Exit the Market

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"2016 marked a substantial drop in bank ship lending. The fall by US$42.5bn is mainly attributed to the removal of Commerzbank and Royal Bank of Scotland, the lower bank portfolios by many banks, as well as a stabilization of exposure by Chinese banks, as a result of the sharp increase of Chinese Leasing. Global bank finance now stands at the 2007 levels. Bank sentiment is still affected by loan losses and high provisions, sales of portfolios to financial institutional funds, international and European restrictions and the still not so bright outlook of shipping, which makes shipping banks quite cautious and seeking safety through known and large clients, higher margins and low finance percentages, as well as stringent terms. We note that although bank finance is coming down, the global fleet is expanding. This implies a) lower average bank finance per vessel, and b) new vessels are being financed by a combination of equity, leasing, funds and private individuals’ equity. The fall is mostly attributed to the decline of interest and ability by Western banks to maintain their loan portfolios. The outlook for 2018 and beyond Shipping markets are maintaining their cyclicality. The dry bulk market did recover from its lows in the early part of 2017, but since then has retraced a large part of its gains. Nevertheless, the rise in vessel values and earnings has provided some comfort to both owners and the banks, as well as a glimmer of hope. The dirty and clean tanker markets are looking especially weak with very little in the way of immediate recovery prospects. The same and more applies to the offshore and LPG sectors and, to some extent, to the chemical markets. There was a brief rise in the container market, but it was short lived. In general, therefore, shipping markets across the board are not supportive to fresh bank lending. Loan portfolios of banks have slimmed as a result of vessel sales, write offs, loan sales and normal reductions via repayments. This has been useful for Western banks seeking to contract their lending as a result of capital constraints. The one ray of hope is the US banks who are coming out of the difficult years in a more robust way and whose capital ratios are stronger and which have room to expand. As outlined in the global ship finance survey, the Far East is showing a slowdown with shipfinance down and being taken up by leasing and export finance. In addition, Japanese banks have recently restarted lending to their domestic clients especially in the dry sector. However, it is obvious, that these options are not open to medium / small owners. Chinese Leasing companies heavily rely on the size of the owner’s company in order to discuss any transaction. As traditional bank finance has decreased substantially, this has left the medium to small owners relying on own funds and private equity. Nevertheless, some banks are preparing to join ship finance, which seem to cater for the medium to smaller owners. As these banks appear to have started committing funds during 2015-2016, we are bound to see them featuring in our research, in due course. Some examples are Warburg Bank and Maritime and Merchant Bank. As a general conclusion, we anticipate that over the next couple of years, global shipfinance may form a base. The departure of the previous big lenders, RBS and Commerzbank and the reduction of HSH Nordbank, plus a lot of retrenchment by others, is expected to complete soon. On the other hand, successful banks with a bigger appetite for shipping, such as Credit Suisse, ING, BNP Paribas, ABN Amro and DVB should assist in the above base being formed. Quality large Greek owners have begun to receive direct interest from Japanese and Chinese lenders in support of local newbuildings. Those owners with a good record in dealing with Far Eastern yards have an advantage. Finally, for the banking sector as a whole, a recovery may only be anticipated when public market conditions shall be able to support fresh capital increases via public markets. Such capital for banks would allow them to grow again and it is expected that their interest in shipfinance shall return especially as the available margins are attractive and the clients and loans involved, of a very high level. We shall continue to monitor global shipfinance via regular reports and the publication of our annual global index."

06 Jul 2017

Modern Slavery ‘Alive and Kicking’ in Merseyside According to Union Maritime Trade Union Nautilus International

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"Seafarers onboard a flag of convenience ship detained in the UK port of Runcorn have been suffering atrocious conditions in British waters, being paid wages as low as US$0.85 an hour. They were also found to be owed almost US$43,000 in back pay following checks by a maritime union inspector. Nautilus International/ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) ship inspector Tommy Molloy has lodged protests with the Turkish owners of the 1,596 Gross Tonnage general cargo ship Seccadi and the Panama ship registry over the shocking conditions onboard the vessel. Wages identified on the contracts for the Turkish and Indian crew of the ship were below International Labour Organisation minimums and ranged between US$250 and US$700 per month for Able Seamen (ABs). Mr Molloy said there was no fresh fruit, vegetables or meat onboard the ship and there was a cockroach infestation in the galley. He comments: “When crew are not paid for more than two months, not repatriated and do not have the basic food requirements to sustain a healthy diet, then they are considered to have been abandoned.” Mr Molloy said the crew had been promised owed wages when the ship called at Rijeka, Croatia, in May but nothing was forthcoming. The deficiencies amounted to a clear breach of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), he added, and the owners have another vessel detained in the port of Sharpness and another in Thirsk – both with similar problems. “Despite the MLC 2006 we still see too many owners operating in this way,’ he added. ‘Human beings - in the form of crew - seem to be nothing more than a necessary evil to them. 85 cents per hour - when lucky enough to get paid - and no food or repatriation doesn’t seem like too many levels up from slavery to me.” Mr Molloy added: “The North West Port Welfare Committee and the good people of Merseyside are rallying round and have taken it upon themselves to look after the crew’s welfare. Fresh fruit and vegetables have been provided by the Seafarers Centre, who are also ensuring they have adequate shore leave as a diversion from their plight. Others have offered cash donations to cover their basic needs. That they do so speaks volumes for their good hearts. That they have to in 2017 is a disgrace.” He said an appeal had also been made to the vessel’s insurers – Lodestar Marine – to meet their obligations to pay and repatriate the crew. “They have told us their enquiries are continuing and in the meantime the UK Border Force has given notice to remove – deport – the crew, and I can only conclude that the insurers would prefer this, with all of the negative ramifications for the crew, rather than paying out as we believe they are required to.” To continue pressuring the government to change the outdated system, join Nautilus’s CEC campaign and send a letter to your MP by visiting: https://nautilusint.org/en/what-we-say/nautilus-news/nautilus-uk-committee-launches-certificate-campaign/ "

04 Jul 2017

"Alfa Laval signs major frame agreements for ballast water treatment retrofits "

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"In June, Alfa Laval signed frame agreements with two different shipowners for the supply of Alfa Laval PureBallast systems. The systems will be delivered during a three-year period and retrofitted on tankers and bulk carriers. The fleet orders were received from a tanker operator in the Middle East and a bulk carrier operator in Europe, who will time the booking of individual PureBallast orders with the scheduled dry docking of their vessels. Alfa Laval will make the first of its PureBallast system deliveries to the shipowners during the latter part of 2017. “The Ballast Water Management Convention enters into force on 8 September of this year, and these frame agreements are a clear sign that the ballast water treatment market is moving forward,” says Kristina Effler, Manager Global Business Management, Alfa Laval PureBallast. “Shipowners are beginning to look beyond individual installations towards long-term solutions that will ensure compliance for their entire fleet.” Many large-capacity Alfa Laval PureBallast systems The framework agreements Alfa Laval has signed for PureBallast cover 45 systems and 8 systems respectively, many of which will handle a significant ballast water flow. The first order includes 22 systems with capacities of 2000 m3/h or 3000 m3/h, while the second order comprises four systems of 1500 m3/h and an additional four of 3000 m3/h. “Low power consumption, a small footprint and high installation flexibility make PureBallast competitive for larger flows as well as smaller ones,” says Effler. “Flow rates of up to 3000 m3/h can be handled with a single, easily retrofitted PureBallast system. The signing of major orders involving so many large PureBallast systems shows that PureBallast is attractive across its capacity range.”"

28 Jun 2017

Fate of IMO’s Ballast Water Convention to be decided at MEPC 71, says Coldharbour CEO

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"Delegates at the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee 71, due to gather in London during the first week of July, may well have the last chance to ensure that the long-delayed Ballast Water Convention is implemented, as intended, in an orderly fashion when ships undergo their special surveys, once every five years. This, says Coldharbour Chief Executive Andrew Marshall, will ultimately decide whether the Convention’s requirements are finally fulfilled across the many thousands of ships which require ballast water treatment system installations. “It is a couple of minutes to midnight for this Convention,” Marshall declares, “and the outcome of this next MEPC meeting will surely decide its fate. They will be discussing a possible postponement of the Convention’s entry-into-force by two years, and this may be no bad thing. But delegates at the meeting have a real chance to demonstrate that the IMO does indeed have teeth and will not put up with deliberate flouting of its best intentions.” The Coldharbour CEO reports that some flag states are now actively marketing a decoupling of the special survey – the time when practically all ballast water treatment system retrofit installations will take place – from renewal of the International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate (IOPPC). This is the point in time that IMO set as the trigger for system installations because the IOPPC renewal normally takes place during a ship’s special survey. Decoupling of the two events is a cynical means of enabling ship owners to buy more time, Marshall believes, which flies in the face of the IMO’s intentions. A two-year postponement of the Convention’s entry-into-force could prove helpful for the industry in several ways, Marshall says, even though it is already 13 years since the Convention was adopted. However, he insists that any postponement must come as part of a package which sees shipboard treatment system installations timed, as the IMO has always intended, to coincide with renewal of the IOPPC at the next special survey. Decoupling must stop. Marshall also warns that for ship operators whose vessels trade or may trade in US waters, any IMO postponement of the entry-into-force is entirely irrelevant. The US is not a party to the IMO Convention and, under US regulations, the trigger for installing treatment systems – either type-approved by the US Coast Guard or authorised for up to five years from a ship’s compliance date under its Alternate Management System – is the first drydocking after January 1, 2014 or January 1, 2016 depending on a vessel’s ballast water capacity. Marshall believes some flag states are using the IOPPC decoupling process as a means of winning more tonnage from ship operators who wish to delay system installations as long as possible. And some ship operators are only too pleased to have more wriggle room, he suggests. But this is likely to have some unwelcome consequences for ship owners. “If a two-year postponement is agreed at MEPC 71, and the decoupling process is not stopped, the IMO’s most-delayed Convention will have no impact on many ships for possibly another seven years from today,” Marshall observes. “This would be iniquitous for proactive owners who have already invested in the installation of treatment systems and have the Convention’s best interests at heart. “It would also mean that many of the independent ballast water system manufacturers will have given up or gone bust by the time the market emerges, and as a result ship operators will be restricted in their choice of system to the large corporate manufacturers which have diversified product lines that are revenue generating and thus allow them to simply wait for the sector to come good. “We already know that no single technology is suitable for all ship types, and having plenty of choice is essential if operators are to undertake effective due diligence before deciding on a particular treatment system that is not only fit for purpose but also, most importantly, reflects the actual operational requirements of their vessels,” Marshall says. “I urge delegates at MEPC 71 to take a strong line on these issues which will ultimately seal the fate of the Ballast Water Convention. As an industry, we must have an unambiguous timeline and a chance to see through the IMO’s best intentions to completion.” "

27 Jun 2017

Antwerp start-up T-Mining develops Blockchain solution for safe, efficient container release

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"T-Mining is currently working on a pilot project that will make container handling in the port of Antwerp more efficient and secure. Using blockchain technology, processes that involve several parties – carriers, terminals, forwarders, hauliers, drivers, shippers etc. – are securely digitised without any central middleman being involved. Just getting a container from point A to point B frequently involves more than 30 different parties, with an average of 200 interactions between them. Given that many of these interactions are carried out by e-mail, phone and even (still, nowadays) by fax, paperwork accounts for up to half of the cost of container transport. “We aim to do something about this,” says Nico Wauters, CEO of T-Mining. This Antwerp start-up has developed a solution for a recognised problem in the port. When a container arrives in the port it is collected from the terminal by a truck driver or shipper. To ensure that the right person picks up the right container a PIN code is used. However, the PIN code is transmitted via a number of parties, which of course is not without risk. Somebody with bad intentions can simply copy the PIN code, which naturally can cause great problems. “We have developed a very secure solution for this,” explains Nico Wauters. “Currently, when we want to transfer a valuable object we generally make use of a trusted intermediary to carry out the transfer. For instance, when you want to sell a house the notary not only carries out all the paperwork but also ensures that the money lands safely in your bank account while the buyer receives full title to the property, without any unpleasant surprises for either party. But this intermediary naturally does not work for free, and furthermore the additional step causes extra delay.” The blockchain solution overcomes these issues, permitting safer and faster transfer of valuable objects, fully digitally and without a middleman. “With our blockchain platform the right truck driver is given clearance to collect a particular container, without any possibility of the process being intercepted. Furthermore our blockchain platform uses a distributed network, so that the transaction can go ahead only if there is consensus among all participating parties, thus excluding any attempts at fraud or undesired manipulations.” A pilot project is currently running in the port of Antwerp with a limited number of parties. “We want to test whether it all works smoothly in practice,” says Nico Wauters. “Together with PSA, MSC, a forwarder and a transporter, we ensure secure handling of the first containers on our blockchain platform. Thanks to the City of Antwerp we even have an office in Singapore where we are working hard to introduce our solution there too. Our ambition is to serve the first paying customers by the end of this year,” Nico Wauters concludes."

27 Jun 2017

Marine Catering Trainees Join Ship Owners And Managers Globally In Celebrating Day Of The Seafarer

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"Trainees currently participating in a catering training programme in The Philippines marked Day of the Seafarer with a baking competition. Marine Catering Training Consultancy (MCTC) marked the special occasion by encouraging students to bake and decorate their own cakes under the IMO theme for the day of Seafarers Matter. The students are partway through the three-month Maritime Culinary Development Programme at the MCTC Far East training establishment, based in Makati, The Philippines. The programme is a three-month onshore course that teaches the students the valuable introductory catering skills needed to launch their careers in the marine catering industry. Gabriel Sua, President of MCTC Far East, said: “We had a great day celebrating Day of the Seafarer and our cooks really got into the spirit of the Seafarers Matter theme. As a training centre it was really important to us to do something to mark the occasion. “Crew welfare is extremely important to us and is something that MCTC has built its foundations on. Food is something that can lift spirits and give seafarers something to look forward to every day. Catering crews hold a lot of responsibility in this regard and ensuring that delicious and nutritious meals are available for hardworking seafarers.”"

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