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May 4, 2023

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy has seized the Panama-flagged VLCC Niovi in the Strait of Hormuz. The vessel was forced to change course by 11 small boats and sail for Iranian waters. The vessel was reportedly heading southbound in Omani territorial waters when the AIS signal went offline. The Public and Revolution Prosecutor’s office in Tehran announced that the Niovi had been seized due to a private complaint and a subsequent order by relevant judicial authorities. Maritime security consultants believe that the incident was staged because the tanker’s history shows that it has received Iranian oil during the sanctions era and is currently empty of cargo. The US Naval Forces Central Command said Iran’s actions were contrary to international law and disruptive to regional security and stability. This marks the second such incident in less than a week, after the seizure of the Marshall Islands-flagged suezmax tanker, Advantage Sweet.

Breakwave Advisors has launched the world’s first tanker shipping exchange-traded fund (ETF) on the New York Stock Exchange. The Breakwave Tanker Shipping ETF (BWET) offers long exposure to the crude oil tanker shipping market through a portfolio of near-dated futures contracts on indices that measure the cost of shipping crude oil. The fund will hold crude oil tanker futures contracts with a weighted average of around three months to expiration, using a mix of one- to six-month freight futures, rebalancing annually. The initial tanker crude oil freight futures allocation will be 90% VLCC contracts and 10% suezmax contracts.

CEVA Logistics, a subsidiary of French liner CMA CGM, has chartered four dual-fuel Eastern Pacific ships on ten-year charters to enter the car carrier trades. The 7,000 ceu ships are currently under construction at China Merchants Jinling Shipyard and the first vessel is expected to be delivered in December. The car carrier trades have been experiencing record rates for the last year, leading to a slew of new builds being contracted. CEVA is also strengthening its Cars in Containers solution to offer a more flexible option for shippers who need to transport small quantities of finished vehicles to strategic ports or in-land locations that are not easily served by its own vessels or other carrier partners.

Philly Shipyard has celebrated the keel laying of the third of five vessels under the National Security Multi-Mission Vessel (NSMV) programme. The programme was commissioned by the Maritime Administration (MARAD) in the US Department of Transportation to provide modern training opportunities for America’s future mariners. Philly Shipyard and TOTE Services, LLC are working on the project. The third vessel is set to be delivered to Maine Maritime Academy in 2024. The NSMV vessels will be equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, a full training bridge, and accommodation for up to 600 cadets. State maritime academies are responsible for graduating more than half of all new officers each year, and many also support US national security by crewing military sealift vessels.

Noble Corporation has added more work for its floaters and two jackups in Malaysia to its contract backlog. ExxonMobil Guyana added 6.3 years of backlog to four Noble drillships operating under a commercial enabling agreement. Noble Discoverer has recently been awarded a one-well contract with Ecopetrol in Colombia. Noble Valiant has also been booked to execute one well in the Gulf of Mexico. In Malaysia, the 2014-built jackup Noble Tom Prosser has been awarded contracts with two undisclosed customers for a combined term of 650 days. Noble’s backlog as of May 3, 2023, stands at $4.6bn. The company expects to see up to $2.3bn of its contract backlog to be recognised as revenue in 2023.

Norwegian energy company Equinor has awarded additional firm work scope for two of Odfjell Drilling’s semisub rigs. The Deepsea Aberdeen will be drilling wells on the Svalin field from Q4 2023 with an estimated duration of 174 days. This extends the rig’s firm backlog into Q2 2025, and the added firm scope is worth around $67m. The Deepsea Stavanger, on the other hand, has been extended into Q1 2024, and Equinor has options to exercise further wells for both rigs.

Nasdaq-listed company Toro has sold its nineteen-year-old aframax LR2 Wonder Avior for $30.1m, nearly tripling its money from the deal. The vessel will be delivered to an unaffiliated third party in Q2 2023, and Toro expects to score a net gain of approximately $19.6m, excluding any transaction-related costs. The Petros Panagiotidis-led company expects to conclude the sale and deliver the 106,200 dwt vessel, which trades in Navig8’s V8 Plus Pool. Currently, Toro’s owned fleet stands at eight tankers, with four LPG vessels expected to deliver in the second and third quarters of this year.

You can read previous issue of ‘Currents’ here.

Disclaimer: ‘Currents’ is an online shipping news service by Earl’s Rock Trading (Pvt) Ltd that reports on the latest developments and trends in the maritime industry. We do not take any responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information provided in our news stories or for any opinions expressed by the people quoted in them. Our aim is to provide our readers with up-to-date news and insights from reliable sources. However, we do not endorse or take any responsibility for any actions taken by our readers based on the information provided in our news articles. We also want to make it clear that we do not own any of the images used in our news stories, unless stated otherwise. All images belong to their respective owners, and we use them solely for illustrative purposes. If you are the owner of any image used in our news stories and want it to be removed or credited, please contact us, and we will take the necessary action.