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June 9, 2023

Italian special forces have taken action by boarding a Turkish cargo vessel after the crew reported the presence of a group of unidentified individuals, some of whom were armed. The operation is ongoing, with the aim of securing the ship and ensuring the safety of the crew. The vessel, named Galata Seaways, was en route from Yalova, Turkey, to Sete, France. The crew detected the intruders through security cameras, prompting them to lock themselves in the engine room and alert maritime authorities in Turkey, who then contacted Italy and France. The ship is currently headed towards Naples, Italy.

Local opposition in the Amazon region has led to a tense standoff between PetroTal, a Canadian oil firm, and the Indigenous Association for Development and Conservation of Bajo Puinahua (AIDECOBAP). AIDECOBAP has seized two oil transport convoys: one Brazilian convoy, empty and with a crew of six, and a Peruvian convoy carrying approximately 40,000 barrels of oil destined for the Iquitos refinery. These actions have caused PetroTal’s operations in the area to come to a halt. During the takeover, a navy sailor was injured by a spear, necessitating minor medical attention. The Peruvian navy is now monitoring the situation and ensuring the safety of the crew.

Cargill, a prominent food production and processing company, has partnered with Kotug International, a maritime services provider, to introduce an innovative solution for sustainable cocoa transportation. Together, they have launched the world’s first fully electric pusher tug and barges. This groundbreaking initiative aims to transport cocoa beans from the Port of Amsterdam to Cargill’s cocoa factory in Zaandam, the Netherlands, with zero emissions and minimal noise. The electric vessel, called E-Pusher 1, incorporates state-of-the-art technology, eliminating harmful emissions and reducing carbon dioxide, sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter. The vessel is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 190,000 kg annually, contributing to Cargill’s commitment to responsible and sustainable practices.

Labour disputes along the North American west coast have created a fluid situation for shipping, with potential consequences for the supply chain. Container vessels are experiencing delays of about a day or two, as the number of ships waiting at key ports such as Los Angeles and Long Beach has reached its peak. Ships are spending significantly more time at dock than usual, causing concerns among industry experts. The ongoing disruptions and potential strike action further exacerbate the situation. Retailers are considering alternative gateways to avoid disruptions, and liners may implement surcharges for US west coast-bound cargoes. The impact on capacity and freight rates is expected to be felt in the coming weeks, emphasizing the need for swift resolution to avoid further supply chain challenges.

Enterprise Products Partners, a pipeline operator, announced that its Sea Port crude oil export terminal off the coast of Texas is expected to commence operations between the second half of 2026 and early 2027. The terminal, located about 30 miles off the Texas coast, is part of several deepwater projects proposed during the peak of the U.S. shale oil production boom. The disclosure of the start date was made by Enterprise’s Co-CEO, Jim Teague, during an export conference in Houston.

Energy Transfer, another pipeline operator, also expects to receive a license from the U.S. Maritime Administration in the second quarter of next year for its Blue Marlin Offshore Port project, which involves converting an existing offshore platform in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico to load large crude tankers with up to 2 million barrels of oil per day from Texas. Approval from the Maritime Administration and U.S. Coast Guard is required for offshore projects, and Enterprise Product Partners already received its Record of Decision for the Sea Port project from MARAD in November.

Hamburg Süd, a subsidiary of Maersk, was hit with a $9.8 million penalty by a judge from the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) in Washington DC. This fine, the largest since the expansion of FMC’s powers last summer, came as a result of a case filed by Florida-based furniture importer OJ Commerce (OJC). OJC accused Maersk of price gouging, collusion, and contract breaches, alleging that the carrier failed to honor its contract and cut off the company, forcing it to navigate the expensive spot market. Although OJC sought $100 million in damages, the FMC ruled that $9.8 million was an appropriate penalty, which is more than three times higher than any other fine issued by the FMC this year. The case involved complex legal issues related to refusal to deal claims, retaliation claims, and reparations calculation, with extensive litigation and motions to compel evidence filed by both parties.

Malaysian offshore services provider Sapura Energy has won 10 new contracts totaling RM1.4 billion ($304.5 million) for projects in the Asia Pacific and Atlantic regions. Over 70% of the combined contract value comes from projects outside of Malaysia. The company’s engineering and construction (E&C) business segment secured RM979 million in contracts from Eni in the Republic of Congo, Chevron in Thailand, Woodside in Australia, and authorities in New Zealand for work on the Tui field. Sapura Energy’s drilling unit also inked deals worth RM352 million with contractors Vestigo Petroleum and Shell, along with additional contracts for four semisub tender-assist rigs. The operations and maintenance segment secured RM34 million in contracts, including work for Petronas. Furthermore, Sapura Energy is currently negotiating with clients to redefine four ongoing contracts due to changes made during project execution.

Stockholm-based developer OX2 and Ingka Investments, the owner of Ikea, are moving forward with their Triton offshore wind farm project in Sweden after receiving permission from the County Administrative Board of Skåne. OX2 had previously applied for a concession to connect Triton to the general grid, and pending final approval from the government, construction could begin in 2027, with power generation expected before 2030.

The planned wind farm, with a capacity of up to 1.5 GW, will be situated approximately 23 km off the coast of Skåne and has the potential to supply about half of the electricity consumption in Sweden’s southernmost county. OX2 is developing two other projects with Ingka Investments in Sweden: Galene on the west coast, which recently received government approval, and Aurora between the islands of Gotland and Öland. The Swedish government will make decisions regarding all three projects, which collectively have the potential to produce up to 30 TWh of electricity annually.

You can read previous issue of ‘Currents’ here.

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