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May 20, 2023

The Indian navy has successfully located the Chinese fishing vessel, “Lupeng Yuanyu 028,” which capsized in the Indian Ocean with 39 crew members onboard. The vessel was discovered through an extensive search conducted by the Indian Navy’s P8I aircraft. The Indian navy stands ready to provide further assistance in the ongoing search-and-rescue operation.

The Panama Canal is grappling with a severe drought, leading to water supply shortages and the need for cargo restrictions. Container vessels will be required to reduce their drafts, resulting in delays and increased costs for goods passing through the canal. The drought conditions have caused a decrease in rainfall, causing water levels to reach historic lows by July. Major ocean carriers have responded by imposing new fees, affecting cargo shipments. Importers and retailers may face additional expenses of up to $1,500 per container. Alternative routes and transportation options are being considered to mitigate the impact on trade.

Russia and Iran have signed a deal to finance and construct the Rasht-Astara railway, an essential link in the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC). The INSTC, a multi-mode transport network spanning 7,200 km, aims to enhance trade connectivity between major cities such as Mumbai, Moscow, Tehran, and Baku. The railway along the Caspian Sea coast will facilitate the movement of freight between Russian and Iranian ports, strengthening the corridor’s potential to rival the Suez Canal.

The United States and the United Kingdom have announced a new wave of sanctions targeting Russia’s economy and shipping sectors. The comprehensive measures aim to limit Russia’s ability to finance and sustain the conflict in Ukraine. The US has imposed sanctions on over 300 individuals and entities, including those involved in energy, military procurement, shipbuilding, and logistic networks with Iran. The UK has also introduced sanctions on 86 individuals and entities, with a focus on energy, metals, military, and transport sectors. Both countries are committed to holding Russia accountable and seek reparations for the damage caused in Ukraine.

The US Department of Defense has awarded Fincantieri Marinette Marine a $526 million contract for the construction of a fourth Constellation-class frigate for the US Navy. This contract follows the initial $795 million contract for the first frigate, the USS Constellation, awarded in April 2020. The Constellation-class frigates are versatile surface combatants capable of various missions. The contract includes options for up to nine additional vessels, potentially reaching a total value of $5.5 billion. All frigates will be built at Fincantieri’s Marinette Marine shipyard in Wisconsin.

French authorities have detained four individuals who posed as tourists but were actually hired Brazilian drug smugglers aboard a cruise ship. The Costa Favolosa, on a cruise from Italy to Morocco, became the target of suspicion when two passengers exhibited suspicious behavior during a port call in Marseille. The French police discovered 95 kilograms of cocaine, valued at over $5 million, hidden in their possession and in their cabins. This incident reveals an emerging trend of drug cartels targeting repositioning cruises from Brazil to Europe, with similar arrests made in the past.

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has announced that Ocean Network Express (ONE) and Wan Hai Lines will collectively pay $2.65 million to settle FMC actions related to detention and demurrage fees. These settlements were independent of the individual complaints filed by shippers against various carriers. The FMC has been actively addressing the issue of these fees, issuing directives to carriers and terminals prior to the Ocean Shipping Reform Act. The settlements include significant provisions such as restitution to impacted shippers and have been hailed as a clear message to the shipping community to comply with US legal obligations.

A new bill introduced in the US House of Representatives aims to prohibit the use of Chinese-manufactured cranes in US ports and requires a security review of existing cranes. The proposed legislation, responding to concerns over potential security threats, received support during a hearing held by the House Homeland Security Subcommittee. The bill’s sponsors argue that reliance on Chinese cranes poses risks, while the American Association of Port Authorities refutes claims of espionage, emphasizing that rigorous security inspections are conducted and that cranes do not track cargo details. The bill, if passed, would mandate inspections of new cranes and restrict the use of foreign-manufactured cranes and software in US ports.

Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) has showcased its latest ship designs during a technology roadshow in Europe, targeting European customers. The designs include new concepts for LNG carriers and eco containerships. The LNG unit design, developed in collaboration with French LNG specialist GTT and approved by Lloyd’s Register, features three cargo tanks, improved boil-off rate, and reduced maintenance costs. The containership design presented in Athens introduces the possibility of methanol and ammonia propulsion and includes a separate living area to increase loading space. SHI has also emphasized its focus on developing carbon capture, fuel cell, ammonia, hydrogen, autonomous, and smart ship technologies, as well as a next-generation floating liquefied natural gas production facility.

Austal USA, a subsidiary of Austal Limited, has been awarded a contract by the US Navy for up to seven Auxiliary General Ocean Surveillance Ship (T-AGOS) 25 Class surveillance ships. The contract, valued at up to $3.2 billion, includes the detail design and potential construction of the vessels. The T-AGOS 25 Class ships, operated by the Military Sealift Command, support anti-submarine warfare missions with their Surveillance Towed-Array Sensor System (SURTASS) equipment for underwater acoustical data gathering. Austal USA will collaborate with several partners for the project and utilize its steel shipbuilding facility in Mobile, Alabama. The company’s expertise in lean manufacturing principles and modular construction has contributed to its successful execution of other US Naval projects, including Littoral Combat Ships and Expeditionary Fast Transports.

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.