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.

April 17, 2023

The Success 9, a small oil tanker that was attacked by pirates in international waters off the coast of Africa earlier this week, has been found safe. The vessel was recovered off the coast of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and the crew was reported safe. The Success 9’s owners had been unable to contact the ship since it was boarded on Monday night. After the boarding, the ship’s owner and several multinational agencies conducted a coordinated search and alerted nearby commercial ships to assist in locating the vessel.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s 417-foot Koru superyacht has left a shipyard in the Netherlands and is currently undergoing testing off the coast of Spain. Estimated to have cost more than $500 million, the three-masted superyacht is registered under the Cayman Islands flag and is one of the biggest to be built by Alblasserdam, Netherlands-based Oceanco. The yacht was originally going to force the city of Rotterdam to dismantle a historic steel bridge due to the height of its masts, but the shipbuilder eventually towed the vessel out to sea without its masts. Due to its size, the yacht can’t have a helipad on board, and Bezos and his helicopter pilot partner will rely on a support boat, which is currently crossing the Atlantic with a destination of Gibraltar.

Poland and Hungary have decided to ban imports of grain and other food from neighboring Ukraine to protect the local agricultural sector. The flood of supply from Ukraine, which is cheaper than that produced in the European Union, depressed prices across the region. The impact of the oversupply has created a political problem for Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) in an election year, with the economy mired in stagflation. The ban contradicts existing bilateral agreements on exports, and Ukraine expressed regret about the Polish decision. The Hungarian government hopes for changes in regulation at the EU level, including a rethinking of the elimination of import duties on Ukrainian produce.

South Korea, the United States, and Japan conducted joint naval missile defense exercises on Monday to better counter North Korea’s evolving missile threats. The drills were held in international waters between Korea and Japan and focused on mastering response procedures from detection to tracking to information sharing by creating a virtual target under the scenario of a North Korean ballistic missile provocation. The move comes days after the three countries agreed at their trilateral talks in Washington to conduct regular missile defense and anti-submarine exercises as part of efforts to scale up diplomatic and military cooperation.

SEA-LNG, a lobby group promoting LNG as an alternative shipping fuel, has hit out at new NGO Say No to LNG’s call to urgently rule LNG out of any shipping decarbonization scenario. SEA-LNG argued that the industry has been open about methane emissions, maintaining that levels of methane slip have been reduced by a factor of four since LNG-fuelled engines were introduced in the early 2000s. LNG remains the number one alternative fuel chosen by owners when ordering new builds, with the number of LNG-fuelled ships soaring in recent years.

California is taking innovative steps to address the persistent water scarcity issue. A state-funded pilot project aims to reduce water evaporation and generate renewable energy by installing solar panels on California’s canals and aqueducts. The project has received a $20 million grant and will cover two miles of canals initially. Solar AquaGrid, the University of California Merced, and the state of California are collaborating on the project, which is set to begin in the fall. The concept has not been tried in the US before, but the project’s design and supervision CEO, Jordan Harris, believes it is a common-sense solution. Covering California’s canals with solar panels could reduce water evaporation by up to 90%, saving 63 billion gallons of water per year, as per a 2021 study by the University of California Merced. The project has the potential to generate renewable energy and improve air quality.

Denmark’s Uni-Tankers is expanding its stainless steel fleet with four new time charter ships, including Marex Now, which it purchased and will rename Jutlandia Swan. Uni-Tankers has also signed a contract for a long-term time charter on two J19 vessels built in 2016 and 2017. The two sister vessels, Marex Nina and Marex Mia, will be delivered in 2024 and 2025 and placed on long-term time charter contracts with Uni-Tankers. The CEO of Uni-Tankers, Per Ekmann, believes that these new vessels will provide better service to clients worldwide.

Vortexa, a data analytics firm, has reported that the tanker fleet that is engaged in Russian trade post-sanctions is predominantly Greek-operated and mostly composed of older Aframax and MR tankers. The size of the Greek-operated fleet is nearly 2.5 times bigger than the next fleet, Russia’s. However, the market share Greeks enjoy of this lucrative trade is falling. The data shows that Greek operators had a 40% market share of Russian crude leaving Baltic and Black Sea ports last year, a share that has now fallen to 33%. The Greeks are far more dominant in the clean tanker trades out of Russia. Nearly 20% of the global Aframax and Suezmax tanker fleet is now involved in the Russian crude and residual fuel oil trade, and increasingly shifting towards operating exclusively in Russian trade. Recent behaviour is also seen in the clean tanker segment, particularly in MR tankers, which has consequently reduced the size of the mainstream tanker fleet and added more volatility to freight rates in recent weeks. Russian crude exports have remained robust, shipped volumes averaging over 5m barrels per day so far in 2023 versus 4.6m barrels per day in 2022.

The US Navy and Pentagon have expressed concerns over the Biden administration’s plans to develop offshore wind projects along the central Atlantic coast of the United States. The areas earmarked for leasing off the coasts of North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware have been deemed highly problematic and conflicted with military operations. The Defense Department’s concerns, which are on top of other conflicts identified by the US Coast Guard, could imperil President Biden’s bid to install 30 GW of offshore wind power by the end of the decade, and it also represents the latest threat to the fledgling industry. However, supporters argue that the shift to renewable power sources can enhance national security by providing a clean and affordable source of energy protected from the whims of global commodity prices.

BW Group-backed offshore wind construction player Cadeler has signed a contract with Siemens Gamesa to install 26 turbines of 11 MW capacity at the Aflandshage offshore wind farm in Denmark. The contract, which comes at a day rate above €375,000, will utilize one of Cadeler’s O-class vessels, Wind Orca or Wind Osprey, and the installation will begin in 2026. The wind farm, developed by HOFOR, will have a capacity of up to 300 MW, enough to power 300,000 Danish households, and will be located in Øresund, approximately 10 km off the south coast of Copenhagen. The CEO of Cadeler, Mikkel Gleerup, expressed his excitement to be part of the well-planned project together with HOFOR and Siemens Gamesa.

You can read yesterday’s 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.