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May 9, 2023

The European Union has proposed banning vessels that attempt to circumvent sanctions on Russian oil from accessing its ports. The move is part of a broader sanctions package on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, with the focus now on closing loopholes and more effective enforcement of the restrictions. The measure would apply to vessels suspected or found in breach of the sanctions by engaging in ship-to-ship transfers and will require the backing of all EU member states to be adopted. Russia is using a large fleet of older ships to get around the EU and G-7 restrictions, with many of those vessels pushing 20 years of service.

Greek shipping firm, Zeus Lines Management, has pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $2.25m for environmental violations carried out by the captain and chief engineer of one of its tankers. The Panama-flagged 2008-built chemical/product tanker Galissas discharged 9,544 gallons of oily bilge water directly into the ocean and failed to report a hazardous condition in the vessel’s cargo tanks to the US Coast Guard last year.

The violations occurred when the tanker was transporting a cargo of diesel from Rotterdam to Rhode Island. The penalty consists of a fine of nearly $1.7m and a community service payment of $562,500, which will fund projects to benefit marine and coastal natural resources located in the State of Rhode Island. Zeus will also serve a four-year term of probation, during which any vessels operated by the company and calling on US ports will be required to implement a robust environmental compliance plan.

Singapore’s bunker market has experienced a considerable increase in fuel viscosity since the outbreak of war in Ukraine in 2022. According to the latest data from the MPA, the average viscosity of VLSFO in Q1 2023 was 151.89 CST, up from 121.35 CST in the previous year, while the average viscosity of HSFO was 340.77 CST, up from 322.23 CST a year earlier.

However, the density of both fuels decreased slightly during the same period. The reason for the changes is believed to be a result of the shifting global fuel oil trade flows after the outbreak of war. More heavy Russian fuel oil, as well as fuel oil produced from heavier Russian crude blends, have ended up in the Asia-Pacific region, primarily due to Europe phasing out Russian oil imports. Although Verifuel’s global data for the same period showed less of an increase in viscosity, the average Q1 VLSFO viscosity was 152 CST, up from 142 CST in the previous year

Joint maritime patrols between the Philippines and the United States in the South China Sea could begin later this year, according to Jose Manuel Romualdez, the Philippine ambassador to the United States. The announcement follows discussions regarding the joint maritime patrols, which were declared in February, and the Philippine Defense Secretary’s statement that there were no formal discussions on the joint patrols with the United States and Australia.

Ties between the Philippines and the United States are improving under Duterte’s successor, Ferdinand Marcos Jr, who met President Joe Biden on a recent four-day visit to Washington. The Pentagon issued guidelines during the visit, clearly outlining the extent of U.S. defense treaty commitments to the Philippines in reference to attacks in the South China Sea, including on its coast guard. Discussions on combined maritime activities with the Philippines are ongoing, with military planners working on specific issues like logistics. Australia may also participate in the combined maritime activities. China claims most of the South China Sea, and rival claims are made by Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines, and Taiwan.

CMA CGM, the French shipping company, has agreed to purchase the logistics operations of Bollore, a family-owned conglomerate, for a total enterprise value of 5 billion euros ($5.5 billion). CMA CGM has granted Bollore the option to sell its logistics business, which brought in over 7 billion euros in revenue last year and employs 13,500 people. The acquisition would make CMA CGM one of the top five players in global logistics and would allow it to provide end-to-end transport services and supply chain management. The deal still requires the approval of employee representatives, and Bollore has yet to decide whether or not to exercise the option.

Seatrium, formerly known as Sembcorp Marine, has secured a $377 million contract to build two offshore wind farm substations for Empire Offshore Wind, a joint venture between Equinor and BP. Seatrium will undertake the engineering, procurement, construction, offshore hook-up, and commissioning of two offshore substation platforms for the 810MW Empire Wind 1 platform and the 1,260MW Empire Wind 2 platform, both located south of Long Island, New York. Construction is set to begin in the fourth quarter of 2023 and the second half of 2024, respectively, at Seatrium’s yards in Singapore and Indonesia. The contract win will help Seatrium bolster its expertise in delivering turnkey solutions for offshore renewables and wind energy sectors.

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.