Currents Shipping Digest Logo

The shipping industry is constantly changing, and it’s essential to stay in the loop. That’s where ‘Currents’ comes in handy! It’s a daily summary of the most important news stories from the shipping world, so you can keep up-to-date without wasting time sifting through endless articles.

You’ll be the first to know about the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities that could impact the maritime sector. With ‘Currents,’ you can stay informed, make smarter decisions, and stay ahead of the competition.

You may submit your contact details below to receive ‘Currents’ daily in your inbox.

April 28, 2023

US authorities had seized a Greek-controlled tanker, Suez Rajan, suspected of carrying Iranian crude oil. The seizure was made before Iran detained a Chevron-chartered vessel in the Middle East, leading to speculation that the Iranian Navy’s seizure of the suezmax tanker Advantage Sweet was in retaliation. The vessel had been held in Singapore for over a year in efforts to seize its oil cargo to satisfy US judgments against Iran. US authorities sought to seize the ship’s oil cargo to apply the proceeds to a $3.61bn 2018 judgment against Iran. However, last month, a judge declined to order Oaktree, whose Fleetscape Capital division was the ship’s financial lessor, to bring the ship to US shores. The families of victims of the 1983 terrorist attacks on a US Marines barracks in Beirut by Iran-supported Hezbollah have appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

India emerges as Europe’s largest refined fuel supplier despite the EU’s ban on Russian crude oil and refined fuels. India’s rising imports of Russian crude have led to it shipping more refined fuels to Europe, a significant change in trade flow that increases demand for Moscow’s barrels and extra freight costs for the EU. The shift has made it difficult for Europe’s oil refiners, as they cannot access cheap Russian crude. According to Kpler’s data, Europe’s refined fuel imports from India will rise to over 360,000 barrels per day, surpassing Saudi Arabia’s exports. Meanwhile, Russia’s crude oil imports to India are expected to exceed two million barrels per day this April, accounting for almost 44% of the country’s total oil imports.

A fire erupted on the inoperable car carrier, MV Diamond Highway, on Friday during salvage operations in the central Philippines. The vessel had run aground in Punta Engano village in Lapu-Lapu City during Typhoon Rai in December 2021 and remained stranded since. The ship’s operations manager stated that workers were cutting metal scraps when the fire began on the starboard bow. All workers were safely evacuated, and the Philippine Coastguard responded to the fire with one of its tugboats. Typhoon Rai caused over 100 vessels to be affected, and the Diamond Highway was one of them.

As the Arctic warms and loses sea ice, trans-Arctic shipping has increased, reducing travel time and costs for international trade. However, as ice recedes, cold air is exposed to more warm water, and warm vapour condenses into fog in those new passages. A new study shows that the Arctic Ocean is getting foggier as ice disappears, reducing visibility and causing costly delays as ships slow to avoid hitting dangerous sea ice. The study found that fog could pose a significant challenge to shipping in the Arctic. The Northwest Passage is more likely to encounter fog than the Northern Sea Route. Shipping could continue to slow unless routes are adjusted.

Tanker orders are picking up, but are not expected to affect fleet fundamentals until after 2026. According to analysis by BRS, firm orders for 61 oil tankers of MR1s and above have been placed from January to mid-April 2023. The ratio of orders to fleet stands at 4.1%, the lowest in over three decades. The combined crude and product tanker fleet growth over the next two years is unlikely to exceed 2% in nominal terms, according to BRS. Many experts suggest the market is set fair for 2023 and 2024.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) continues its work to develop a regulatory framework for autonomous ships. The Joint MSC-LEG-FAL Working Group on Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) held its second session to address high-priority safety, legal, and facilitation issues regarding MASS and to identify any regulatory gaps. An updated work plan was agreed upon, pending approval by the three committees. The third session will take place in September, with a seminar on implications, challenges, and opportunities of MASS operations for ports and public authorities before the meeting.

MSC, the Swiss/Italian box carrier, has announced updates to its India Africa Service (IAS) and India to South Africa Service to enhance its offerings between Africa, the Middle East, and India. The IAS rotation will be updated with direct calls at Coega, Abu Dhabi, and Jebel Ali, while the India to South Africa Service rotation will be updated to connect the ports of Durban, Jebel Ali, and Abu Dhabi, creating a direct connection between Durban and the Middle East. The new calls at strategic ports aim to provide MSC customers with improved connections and transit times between Africa, the Middle East Gulf, and India, benefiting customers with reefer cargo. The first vessel on the new rotation for IAS and the India to South Africa Service will be MSC Esthi and MSC Roberta, respectively, arriving on 11 May and 10 May 2023.

Germany plans to double its import capacities for liquefied natural gas (LNG) on the Baltic Sea island of Rügen to prepare for the risk that the Nord Stream pipeline from Norway could be disrupted by acts of sabotage. The country’s largest gas supplier is Norway, and any damage to its links could threaten the nation’s energy security. The government plans to have at least one floating LNG terminal up and running at Rügen’s Mukran port by early next year, with discussions ongoing for a second floating LNG ship. The country aims to fully replace Russian pipeline gas imports by 2030 and is trying to bolster its energy security as the region recovers from a historic supply crisis. Six more LNG import terminals are expected to be opened in the next few years, for which around €10 billion is earmarked. Critics argue that installing additional fossil fuel infrastructure will lock in carbon emissions for years, but Germany views the LNG terminals as crucial for the security of its neighbors and itself.

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.