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April 21, 2023

Gatik Ship Management, a company involved in transporting Russian oil, lost its protection and indemnity cover provided by the American Club, after informing the insurer that it intended to transport barrels bought above the $60 per barrel threshold set by the Group of Seven in early December. The loss of cover, which protects against risks such as spills and collisions, demonstrates that the G-7 price cap on Russian oil is being enforced. The American Club, one of the 12 organisations within the International Group of P&I Clubs, collectively provides industry standard cover. Gatik’s fleet has the capacity to haul about 31 million barrels of oil and fuels.

Russia’s Pacific Fleet has completed surprise combat drills, involving over 25,000 military personnel and 167 warships and support vessels, in the Sea of Japan, Sea of Okhotsk, and the Bering Sea. The exercises, which practiced searching and destroying submarines, repelling large-scale rocket and aviation attacks, and launching rockets, torpedoes, and artillery fire against seaborne and ground targets, were aimed at repelling potential enemy aggression. Strategic missile carriers and long-range bombers flew to the central part of the Pacific Ocean to imitate strikes on enemy targets. Air defense forces repelled a mock enemy air attack with the deployment of S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems, Pantsir-S missile and artillery systems, and radar stations.

The US Navy has set aside $8.8 million in research and development funding for the Light Replenishment Oiler (TAOL) program, aimed at developing a new class of smaller and more cost-efficient at-sea resupply ships. The program aims to support emerging naval tactics such as the Distributed Maritime Operations and Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations doctrines. However, there are concerns that the smaller vessels will not be adequate to meet the Navy’s logistical needs and that they are vulnerable to enemy attack as they have no missile defense systems. The Navy currently relies on the John Lewis class oilers, which cost over $800 million per vessel, in contrast to the TAOL program’s first ship, which is expected to cost $150 million. The US lacks the tonnage required to support a major conflict in the Pacific and has no identifiable roadmap to obtain it.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) announced a tentative agreement on certain key issues in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement for West Coast ports. However, the PMA responded that several key issues remain unresolved. The collective bargaining agreement covers more than 22,000 longshore workers at 29 US West Coast ports. Talks began in May 2022, and negotiations are continuing until a final agreement is reached. The tentative agreements’ terms have not been disclosed.

HMM plans to conduct field tests of a shipboard carbon capture system on one of its containerships in collaboration with Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) and eco energy system expert PANASIA. The carbon capture technology will reduce the vessel’s overall climate impact by capturing CO2 emissions from vessel operations. HMM partnered with PANASIA in 2022 to conduct a feasibility study of the carbon capture system on a multi-purpose vessel, which found that the technology can be installed on an containership without having to modify existing equipment or having any impact on vessel operations. HMM plans to fit one of its containerships with a carbon capture system later this year before conducting operational tests with SHI and PANASI.

The Mexican Navy (SEMAR) has suspended its search for three American mariners aboard the sailing vessel Ocean Bound, which was last heard from on April 4 near Mazatlán, Mexico. The search was suspended after SEMAR and the US Coast Guard conducted 281 cumulative search hours covering approximately 200,057 square nautical miles off Mexico’s northern Pacific coast. The missing sailors reportedly left Mazatlán on April 4 aboard the Ocean Bound en route to San Diego with plans to stop in Cabo San Lucas on April 6 to report in and load provisions, but there’s no indication they ever arrived in Cabo San Lucas.

Space Perspective, a US-based space travel company, plans to convert a former offshore supply vessel named MS Voyager into a marine spaceport for its commercial spaceship, Spaceship Neptune, to launch from an offshore location to 20 miles above the Earth. MS Voyager will retrieve the capsule that gently splashes down after the six-hour flight. The ship will use biofuel to reduce its carbon footprint and be homeported in Port Canaveral. The American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) will provide class, engineering review, and regulatory services for the vessel. The modifications to the near 300-foot-long OSV are already underway and will include the addition of the SpaceBalloon™ launch system and a space capsule A-frame. MS Voyager will begin operations this year..

Norwegian shipping company Höegh Autoliners has secured a five-year deal with a major Asian automaker to carry cars from Asia to Europe. The company did not disclose the numbers but said the contract, which starts this month, has a significant value. Höegh Autoliners operates around 40 roros and makes about 3,000 port calls each year. The company is building multi-fuel and zero-carbon ready 9,100 ceu vessels at China Merchants Heavy Industry that would have the lowest carbon footprint in the industry from next year.

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.