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March 24, 2023

A “shadow” fleet of tankers carrying oil from countries hit by Western sanctions has grown in recent years, increasing the risk of accidents at sea, according to an analysis by Reuters. Rising Iranian oil exports and restrictions imposed on Russian energy sales have seen hundreds of additional ships join the parallel trade. Many of these vessels are not well-maintained or certified and less oversight is given to the flammable cargoes they transport.

Last year, there were at least eight groundings, collisions or near misses involving tankers carrying sanctioned crude or oil products. The shadow fleet is thought to consist of more than 400 ships, or around a fifth of the overall global crude oil tanker fleet.

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Eva Birgitte Bisgaard has resigned from her position as Chief Commercial Officer at Maersk Tankers, and will be replaced by Christian M. Ingerslev who will also continue as the company’s CEO. Bisgaard’s departure comes after a period during which partner satisfaction with the company’s services increased, and new digital solutions were launched to enhance vessel performance.

She had joined the company in 2020 after almost two decades with Danish telco TDC.

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A new consortium led by Global Maritime Forum will explore the development of a maritime green corridor for zero-emission shipping of iron ore between South Africa and Europe, which would be the first such project on the continent. The consortium, made up of players from the iron ore, steel, shipping, freeport and energy sectors, will evaluate bunkering and offtake arrangements, green fuel supplies, and business models for the South Africa-EU green corridor.

Members include Anglo American, Tata Steel, CMB, VUKA Marine, Freeport Saldanha, and ENGIE. The initiative aims to boost the deployment of low-carbon vessels on the trade route.

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Mitsui OSK Lines, Tabuchi Kaiun, Niihama Kaiun, and others will build a coastal tanker that will run on methanol fuel. The 65.5m vessel will be owned jointly by MOL Coastal Shipping, Tabuchi Kaiun, and Niihama Kaiun, and is expected to be delivered in December 2024. It will be chartered to Niihama Shipping and time-chartered to MOL Coastal Shipping.

Mitsubishi Corporation has already signed a time charter contract with MOL Coastal Shipping, and the tanker will transport methanol domestically. According to MOL, methanol fuel is available at about 130 major ports worldwide.

A new project, Task Force 59, is deploying up to 100 drones along 8,000 km of shipping lanes near the Arabian Peninsula, an area that has been fraught with security issues. Led by the US 5th Fleet based in Bahrain, the unmanned surface vessels are equipped with sensors, radars, and cameras, with operators using AI to process the data.

The US and its partners, including the UK, Canada, France, and Germany, aim to address the significant threats to commercial shipping in the region, which they have identified as being posed by Iran and Yemen.

Euronav has announced that John Fredriksen and Marc Saverys will be joining its supervisory board, while Anne-Helene Monsellato and Steven Smith failed to win votes of confidence from shareholders. Grace Reksten Skaugen, Anita Odedra, and Carl Trowell will remain on the board, while the Saverys family’s Compagnie Maritime Belge (CMB) saw three proposed candidates voted against by an average of around 64%. Despite the loss of two independent directors, the majority of the company’s proposals were approved by shareholders.

Jefferies suggested in a report that the make-up of the new board could provide the “perfect antidote” for CMB and Fredriksen to work together on a long-term solution for Euronav.

The European Parliament and Council have agreed on reducing ship emissions by 2% from 2025 and by 80% from 2050.

These emission-cutting requirements will apply to ships above a gross tonnage of 5,000, and to all energy used onboard in or between European Union ports, as well as to 50% of energy used on voyages where the departure or arrival port is outside of the EU. Containerships and passenger ships will be required to use onshore power supply for all electricity needs while moored at the quayside in major EU ports as of 2030.

This regulation is part of the Fit for 55 in 2030 package, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels in line with the European Climate Law.

Greek shipping firms have increased their market share in transporting Russian crude oil, according to data from Vortexa.

Despite a ban on Russian oil exports in December, Greek and other foreign owners can transport crude and products from Russia under a price cap. Vortexa suggests that Greek operators were initially reluctant to operate under the new restrictions until compliance was understood, but their involvement is approaching pre-ban levels this month. The majority of the 1,900 vessels with a wider potential for risk in regard to Russian sanctions are Greek-owned, and Greek ships are also responsible for almost half of all Russian ship-to-ship crude transfers off the port of Kalamata.

The Ukrainian government is putting pressure on some well-known Greek shipping names, including TMS Tankers and Delta Tankers, to stop trading with Russia.

Harbour Energy Plc has appointed Belgacem Chariag and Louise Hough as independent Non-Executive Directors, who will join the board on 1 May 2023.

They will stand for election by shareholders at the company’s Annual General Meeting to be held on 10 May 2023. Belgacem has extensive experience in the energy, materials, and chemicals industries, and most recently served as Chairman and CEO of Ecovyst Inc. Louise has significant experience advising investors, boards, and executive management teams on capital markets-related activity and sustainability and governance issues. Both will also join the board’s committees, with Belgacem joining the Health, Safety, Environment & Security Committee and the Nomination Committee, while Louise will be a part of the Audit & Risk Committee and the Remuneration Committee.

Harbour Energy Chairman R. Blair Thomas welcomed both to the Board and praised their experience in oil and gas equity markets and global industry expertise.

Scorpio Tankers, a Monaco-based shipping company, has secured a long-term charter agreement for one of its scrubber-fitted LR2 vessels, worth approximately $44 million. The three-year charter, beginning in April 2023, was signed with an undisclosed client at a daily rate of $40,000.

Scorpio Tankers, led by Emanuele Lauro, currently operates a fleet of 113 product tankers and has reduced its debt by nearly $150 million by repurchasing six of its ships under a sale and leaseback deal.

You can read yesterday’s issue of ‘Currents’ here.

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