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May 22, 2023

As record-breaking temperatures grip South Asia, countries in the region are turning to Russia for their energy needs. Russia’s thermal coal and natural gas exports to Asia have surged, providing an alternative to fuel shortages caused by the scorching weather. Additionally, Asian nations are importing Russian fuel oil as a cheaper option for power generation. The increasing reliance on Russian energy reflects both the declining influence of the US and the pressing situation faced by countries seeking affordable energy solutions.

South Africa plans to address its blackout crisis by utilizing ship-mounted power plants, a move met with opposition from environmental groups. The government has granted permission to Turkish company Karpowership to dock its power ships at South African harbors. However, environmentalists argue that the long-term contracts would bind the country to fossil fuel usage. Despite potential legal fights, the government is determined to proceed with gas and petroleum exploration to tackle the electricity supply challenges that have plagued the nation’s economy.

Greenpeace Russia has announced its closure after being declared an “undesirable organization” by Russian authorities. The government accused the environmental group of interfering in internal affairs and engaging in anti-Russian propaganda. The classification effectively bans Greenpeace from operating in the country. The decision comes after previous legal battles between Greenpeace and Russia, notably the criminal proceedings against activists who protested Arctic oil production. The closure raises concerns about the future of environmental work in Russia and the potential persecution of individuals involved.

A Glencore-owned refinery in Cape Town, South Africa, is receiving its first shipment of U.S. oil in two years. The tanker Sonangol Porto Amboim, carrying light sweet oil, departed from Corpus Christi, Texas, and is headed for Saldanha Bay. South Africa traditionally sources its oil from West and Central Africa and Saudi Arabia, but the competitive pricing of U.S. crude and changes in oil flows have opened up new markets. The cargo of West Texas Light, totaling 850,000 barrels, was purchased by Swiss-commodities trader Glencore. Astron Energy, the majority-owned company of Glencore, has recently restarted its Cape Town refinery after a deadly explosion in 2020.

The competition authorities have given their approval for the merger of OSM Maritime Group and Thome Group. The merged company, called OSM Thome, will be headquartered in Arendal, Norway. With ship management responsibilities for nearly 450 ships and crewing duties for about 550 additional ships, OSM Thome aims to be a leading global provider of ship management services. The company’s CEO, Finn Amund Nordbye, expressed excitement about the merger, highlighting the combination of traditions and ambitions. The management team will focus on integrating the two companies, a process estimated to take up to a year.

Wan Hai Lines, primarily an intra-Asia carrier, has included a call at Colombo, Sri Lanka, in its Asia-US East Coast service. The move aims to tap into the growing cargo volumes from the Indian subcontinent, particularly Sri Lanka’s textile exports. The adjusted AA7 service now includes stops at Shanghai, Ningbo, Taipei, Shekou, Cai Mep, Singapore, Colombo, New York, Norfolk, Charleston, and Savannah. Wan Hai has been operating in the Indian and Sri Lankan markets for over 20 years, demonstrating its commitment to the subcontinental market. Sri Lanka’s government is actively working to improve the country’s container throughput, and recent investments and promotions aim to enhance port facilities and attract more shipping activity.

Approximately 1,800 cattle were offloaded from a livestock carrier in the Australian port of Darwin. The animals had been stranded onboard the Nine Eagle vessel for six nights due to a significant engine failure. The cattle, originally destined for Indonesia, have been relocated to a quarantine yard south of Darwin while urgent spare parts are being sought to repair the ship’s engine.

Leading shipbuilders in Japan, Mitsubishi Shipbuilding and Nihon Shipyard, have partnered to develop a liquified CO2 carrier with the aim of completing construction by 2027. Anticipating the growth of carbon capture and storage projects in Asia, the shipbuilders seek to meet the demand for vessels capable of transporting large volumes of liquified carbon dioxide. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has been actively pursuing the commercialization of liquified CO2 carriers, while Nihon Shipyard has been focusing on LNG and ammonia-fueled ships. The partners have not disclosed specific design details for the vessel, but it is expected to have a significant carrying capacity.

Dubai-based shipping company Densay Shipping is expanding its fleet through the placement of orders for ultramax bulk carriers in Chinese shipyards. The company, led by Tayfun Gunerhan, has booked two units each at China Merchants Jinling Shipyard, Nantong Xiangyu Shipbuilding and Offshore Engineering, and New Dayang Shipbuilding. These 64,000 DWT units, scheduled for delivery in 2024 and 2025, will be equipped with scrubbers, be ammonia-ready, and comply with the International Maritime Organization’s Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) Phase 3 specifications and NOx Tier 3 requirements.

Transworld Holdings, based in Dubai, has announced its intention to voluntarily delist the equity shares of its Indian subsidiary, Shreyas Shipping & Logistics, a container feeder operator. The decision to go private is driven by the desire for enhanced operational flexibility and reduced costs. Transworld currently holds 70.44% of the shareholding and can take the company private under Indian stock market rules once it reaches 90%. Sivaswamy Ramakrishnan, chairman of the Transworld Group, stated that the proposed transaction aligns with the group’s strategy, offering a fair exit price to minority shareholders and the potential to reshape the business for the future.

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.