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April 26, 2023

The U.S. and Philippine armed forces conducted live fire drills on a decommissioned navy corvette in the South China Sea as part of the annual “Balikatan” exercises. This is the first time live fire drills were held at sea, near the contested Scarborough Shoal which China has occupied for over a decade. The exercise, watched by Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, is a sign of strengthening ties between the two defense treaty partners after a period of strain under previous Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Marcos plans to discuss a 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty with U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington next week. China has criticized the exercises, claiming that the U.S.-Philippine alliance must not interfere in sea disputes or harm China’s territorial sovereignty and security interests.

The Joint War Committee, which comprises syndicate members from the Lloyd’s Market Association and representatives from the London insurance company market, added Sudan to its list of areas deemed high risk due to ongoing fighting and a humanitarian crisis. Any ships sailing into the country will now need to pay an additional war risk premium and seek approval from their insurer. Global container lines A.P. Moller Maersk and Hapag Lloyd have stopped taking new bookings for Sudan due to the impact of the ongoing clashes on logistics operations. Port Sudan is a key trade hub for the country and insurers such as Skuld have warned of the elevated threat of military activity around the port, posing a substantial threat of stray ordnance.

A private yacht with three Russians and two Egyptians on board has been reported missing near the coast of Yemen for several days. The yacht, named “30 Minutes,” was headed to Djibouti to be sent onwards by ship to Dubai but sent a distress signal to the Saudi Coastguard early on Wednesday. It was not fitted with the standard AIS ship tracking system, which shipping data trackers use. Several vessels have been attacked in recent years off the coast of Yemen, which has been torn apart by an eight-year conflict. The U.S. Navy’s Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet and the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) are investigating the incident. The European Union anti-piracy operation in the region called Operation Atalanta did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Russian embassy in Saudi Arabia is working with Saudi authorities to locate the missing yacht.

The CAD $2 billion Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project has been approved by the Canadian government, following a comprehensive environmental assessment. The project will involve the construction of a new land and a three-berth marine container terminal near Roberts Bank’s existing terminals in Delta, British Columbia. The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority will lead the project, which is expected to create over 18,000 construction jobs and 17,300 ongoing jobs, increasing the west coast container capacity by roughly one-third. The project has received criticism from environmental groups for its potential negative effects on marine life.

Maersk and CMA CGM’s Australian subsidiary ANL have signed a memorandum of understanding to examine the commercial feasibility of establishing a green methanol bunkering hub at the Port of Melbourne. The partnership, which includes Svitzer, Stolthaven Terminals, HAMR Energy, ABEL Energy, and the Port of Melbourne, will explore the transportation of green methanol from production sites in Bell Bay, Tasmania and Portland, Victoria to Port of Melbourne for storage and bunkering services. The move comes as Maersk works to secure the fuel for its upcoming newbuilds from South Korea.

Singapore has announced plans to launch a call for proposals later this year to establish a drone port for the delivery of ship supplies. The call will act as a pathfinder for public agencies and private companies to develop a concept of operations suited to Singapore’s busy hub port operating environment. F-drones, which conducted the first beyond visual line of sight drone deliveries to ships in Singapore, has teamed up with offshore vessel owner and operator Marco Polo Marine to co-develop the world’s first large-scale, electric aerial delivery drones for offshore wind farms.

Maersk Tankers is expanding its services to shipowners with a new voyage management service. The service will initially manage seven LPG carriers owned by Petredec Global, and will include day-to-day vessel operations, fuel optimization, and claims handling. The service will cover full post-fixture support from the time the vessel is fixed for a voyage, through its successful execution, to the closure of the voyage books.

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.