Currents Shipping Digest Logo

The shipping industry is constantly changing, and it’s essential to stay in the loop. That’s where ‘Currents’ comes in handy! It’s a daily summary of the most important news stories from the shipping world, so you can keep up-to-date without wasting time sifting through endless articles.

You’ll be the first to know about the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities that could impact the maritime sector. With ‘Currents,’ you can stay informed, make smarter decisions, and stay ahead of the competition.

You may submit your contact details below to receive ‘Currents’ daily in your inbox.

May 10, 2023

Colombian drug lord Oscar Adriano Quintero Rengifo, nicknamed “Guatala,” has been sentenced to 20 years and 10 months in a U.S. federal prison for his role in trafficking cocaine from South America to the United States. Quintero Rengifo was found guilty of smuggling drugs using self-propelled semi-submersible vessels that would travel from South America to Guatemala.

The drugs would then cross the Guatemalan/Mexican border and enter the United States. The organization was under the control of a former Guatemalan mayor, and Quintero Rengifo invested in shipments and secured investors. At least four vessels linked directly to Quintero Rengifo’s organization, involving more than 13,000 kilos of cocaine, were intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard from January 2015 through September 2019. The case was investigated by the Panama Express Strike Force, which is a standing Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) comprising agents and analysts from the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, the Coast Guard Investigative Service, and the U.S. Southern Command’s Joint Interagency Task Force South.

The ONE Stork, operated by Ocean Network Express (ONE), has become the largest container ship to ever dock at the Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) with a capacity of 14,000 TEUs. It marked a 60% increase in container carrying capacity over the previous record-holder, with the ONE Stork being the first of nine larger vessels to call JAXPORT weekly. Effective May 2023, the EC5 service has been upsized by THE Alliance, with six 14,000-TEU and three 13,000-TEU vessels replacing smaller ships.

The EC5 service now calls the SSA Jacksonville Container Terminal (JCT) at Blount Island, utilizing the terminal’s newly-deepened 47-foot harbor that accommodates larger vessels. The harbor deepening project involved deepening 11 miles of the federal shipping channel to Blount Island to a depth of 47 feet, from its previous depth of 40 feet, allowing larger ships to call Blount Island and existing ships calling Jacksonville to carry more cargo on board. JAXPORT CEO Eric Green said ONE Stork’s arrival represents another milestone for Jacksonville’s port and community, providing the capability for larger vessels to call Jacksonville, supporting jobs, and economic impact throughout the region and state.

Macquarie Group Ltd is planning to sell its North American port facilities business, Ceres Terminals, for around $1 billion.

The conglomerate took over the general cargo stevedoring operations in 2019 from Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK Line), and Ceres handles approximately 4.3 million containers annually at various major ports in the US. The sale is being prompted by the impending shutdown of the fund that currently manages operations, Macquarie Infrastructure Partners III. This decision comes amid industry-wide pressure caused by supply-chain bottlenecks from COVID-19 and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The infrastructure investment manager did not respond immediately to Reuters’ request for comment.

The Port of Long Beach has unveiled plans for Pier Wind, the most extensive floating offshore wind facility at any US seaport. This $4.7 billion project, located within the Harbor District southwest of the Long Beach International Gateway Bridge, will support the manufacture and assembly of offshore wind turbines, which can generate up to 20 megawatts of energy and will be transported by sea to offshore wind farms in Central and Northern California.

The facility will also create jobs and opportunities for communities disproportionately affected by climate change and port operations. Pier Wind is anticipated to aid California’s aim of producing 25 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2045 and reduce the national cost of offshore wind power by 70% by 2035. The project’s construction is expected to begin in January 2027, and the facility’s last 200 acres will come online in 2035.

Shell’s 49-year-old FPSO Fluminense will be recycled by Modern American Recycling Services Europe (MARS) after 20 years in operation. MARS’ EU-approved green recycling facility in Frederikshavn, Denmark, will dismantle the vessel after obtaining necessary approvals and complying with local and international regulations. The FPSO, capable of processing 81,000 bopd and compressing 75m cfd of natural gas, will arrive at the facility in 2024. MARS was previously selected to recycle Teekay Corporation’s FPSOs Petrojarl Foinaven and Petrojarl Banff.

Cyprus’s President, Nikos Christodoulides, is requesting the European Union to create a commissioner dedicated to covering shipping issues. He believes that the EU should recognize the importance of shipping and its geopolitical dimension, given the current international environment. Currently, shipping falls under the responsibility of the European Commissioner for Transport, Adina Ioana Vălean. Christodoulides has discussed the matter with his Greek counterparts and is set to submit a written request to the European Commission. The Cypriot president praised the growth potential of the country’s shipping industry.

The capping of oil wells or “plugging and abandoning” is an expensive solution, with over 14,000 unplugged and non-producing offshore and coastal wells just in the US waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Left unplugged, non-producing wells release harmful substances that are not good for the environment or human health.

Companies owning these wells are supposed to plug them when they are no longer useful, but in many cases, they don’t. Inactive wells are often left idle for possible future use, transferred to another owner, or abandoned. When wells no longer have an owner or entity responsible for them, they become “orphaned.” The responsibility for plugging and abandoning orphaned wells in federal waters can fall on states. Last year, the Biden administration set aside $4.7 billion for a new federal program to address orphaned wells, but the study indicates that much more money will be needed, particularly if the US transitions away from fossil fuels. The Nature Energy study suggests that the US prioritize shallower wells closer to shore, where plugging and abandoning is cheaper and has greater environmental payoff. Almost 90% of the offshore wells identified in federal waters in the US Gulf of Mexico were found to have belonged to oil giants including Chevron, Shell, Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, BP, TotalEnergies, and Eni. Previous owners of Fieldwood Energy’s Gulf of Mexico wells – Exxon Mobil, BP, Hess, and Royal Dutch Shell – were required to pay some of the cost of plugging them, estimated at $7.2 billion.

d’Amico International Shipping, an Italian shipping company, has recently exercised a second purchase option this month. The purchase was a medium-range product tanker built-in 2015, costing $30.1 million. d’Amico expects the delivery of the tanker by the end of June 2023. With this purchase, the company’s fleet will comprise 29 owned vessels, and the remaining 51 will be chartered. d’Amico has been active in the shipping industry for over 70 years, operating in the sectors of tankers, dry cargo, and offshore vessels. The company is committed to sustainable shipping practices and has recently introduced two biofuel-powered vessels into its fleet.

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.