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June 30, 2023

Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has given the green light to 19 oil and gas projects on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, with investments exceeding $18.5 billion. These projects encompass new developments, further development of existing fields, and investments to enhance extraction from current fields. The approved projects not only aim to sustain production levels but also have the potential to create around 158,000 full-time jobs by 2029. The implementation of these projects not only secures employment but also paves the way for technology advancements in various industries such as carbon capture and storage, hydrogen, offshore wind, aquaculture, and minerals. Norway’s position as Europe’s sole net exporter of oil and gas is reinforced by these endeavors, ensuring high deliveries and bolstering the continent’s energy security.

Survivors of a devastating boat incident near Greece have shared their accounts of being crammed into a dilapidated fishing trawler by traffickers in North Africa. They described horrific conditions without food or water, both above and below deck. Some survivors also attribute the tragic outcome to the actions of the Greek coastguard, claiming that a misguided towing attempt led to the capsizing of the overloaded vessel. The statements from survivors contradict the official statements made by the Greek coastguard and government. The incident, which occurred within Greece’s search-and-rescue jurisdiction, resulted in the loss of potentially hundreds of lives. While the investigation into the causes of the tragedy is ongoing, a group of suspected traffickers has been detained, denying any wrongdoing. The survivors’ accounts shed light on the perilous journey migrants undertake in an attempt to reach Europe, highlighting the urgent need for safer migration solutions and enhanced cooperation among nations.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reached settlements with Swire Shipping and MMS Co. over Clean Water Act violations related to the EPA’s Vessel General Permit. Singapore-based Swire Shipping’s settlement focuses on ballast water treatment violations by three of its vessels that visited American Samoa and the U.S., resulting in penalties totaling $137,000. MMS Co., a privately-owned Japanese company, failed to comply with ballast water limitations and accurate reporting at U.S. ports, leading to penalties of $200,000 for two of its vessels. These settlements address the importance of vessel owners and operators adhering to discharge regulations, monitoring requirements, and reporting obligations. The EPA emphasizes the significance of managing oceanic discharges properly to protect aquatic ecosystems from pollutants and invasive species. Compliance with the Vessel General Permit plays a critical role in maintaining the quality of the nation’s waters, especially considering the existing challenges posed by port operations.

Fashion brands are playing a significant role in the demand for environmentally-friendly shipping fuels, as the industry faces increasing pressure to reduce its carbon footprint. The textile sector, which is responsible for 2% to 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, heavily relies on shipping to transport clothes from production centers to consumers worldwide. In response to consumer and regulatory demands, the shipping industry, aiming for net-zero emissions by 2050, has started offering low-emission fuels like biofuels and methanol.

Maersk, a prominent shipping group, revealed that the fashion industry accounted for 26% of the containers shipped with biofuels last year. Fashion brands are proactively embracing this alternative fuel service due to consumer pressure and their commitment to environmental sustainability. Companies like H&M, Amazon, and IKEA have also pledged to transition to zero-carbon fuel shipping by 2040. Despite the progress, vessels utilizing biofuels constituted only 2% of Maersk’s total seaborne volumes in the past year. Methanol is emerging as another viable option, with Maersk ordering 25 methanol-powered vessels. The fashion industry’s demand for greener fuels contributes to the industry’s development and adoption of alternative shipping options.

The United States Navy has taken delivery of its initial Flight III destroyer, the USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125), from Ingalls Shipbuilding division, a subsidiary of Huntington Ingalls Industries. Following a series of trials to demonstrate its readiness, the Flight III Destroyers were officially transferred to the Navy on June 27. The USS Jack H. Lucas, the first of its kind, incorporates design modifications that enhance its capabilities, including offensive and defensive weapons such as the AN/SPY-6(V)1 Air and Missile Defense Radar and the Aegis Baseline 10 Combat System, which bolster maritime defense needs.

This destroyer is named after Pfc. Jack Lucas, a World War II Medal of Honor recipient renowned for his heroism during the Battle of Iwo Jima. Ingalls Shipbuilding has delivered 35 destroyers to the U.S. Navy thus far, with four additional Flight III vessels currently under construction and three more planned for future construction. The delivery of the USS Jack H. Lucas marks a historic milestone and showcases the dedication of the Navy, industry team, and the AEGIS Shipbuilding program in delivering the most advanced Integrated Air and Missile Defense capability to the fleet.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is commencing the environmental review of a proposed 2.4-gigawatt (GW) wind energy project off the coast of Massachusetts. Beacon Wind, a joint venture between Equinor and BP, submitted the Construction and Operations Plan (COP) for the project, triggering the review process. This initiative marks the 11th offshore wind energy COP review during the Biden-Harris administration. The lease area for the Beacon Wind project is situated approximately 17 nautical miles south of Nantucket, Massachusetts, and 52 nm east of Montauk, New York.

The project’s development and construction phases are expected to generate up to 6,491 jobs. Beacon Wind’s proposal includes the construction and operation of two wind energy facilities, with a combined capacity of at least 2,430 megawatts, sufficient to power over 850,000 homes annually. The plan entails the installation of up to 155 turbines, two offshore substation platforms, and two offshore export cables that will connect to Astoria, New York, and Waterford, Connecticut.

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.