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May 31, 2023

A fishing vessel collided with a pilot boat at the Port of Virginia, causing the fishing vessel to sink. The U.S. Coast Guard and local authorities responded to the incident, ensuring the safety of the fishermen involved. The cause of the collision is under investigation, and efforts are underway to remove the sunken vessel from the area.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has made changes to its participation in a U.S.-led task force safeguarding Gulf shipping. The decision comes in response to recent tanker seizures by Iranian naval forces. While the UAE remains a partner in the Combined Maritime Forces, it has withdrawn from active operations. The UAE emphasizes its commitment to regional security, diplomatic engagement, and adherence to international law.

Norwegian shipping billionaire John Fredriksen is embroiled in a dispute with another tanker company following the abandonment of his attempted acquisition of Euronav NV. Fredriksen’s Seatankers Group has expressed dissatisfaction with International Seaways Inc. and intends to withhold votes for the re-election of two board members. International Seaways has countered the claims, highlighting misleading statements and an apparent targeting of female board members.

A study conducted by Norsepower, NAPA, and Sumitomo Heavy Industries Marine & Engineering reveals the potential for significant fuel savings and emissions reduction through the combination of Norsepower’s Rotor Sails and NAPA Voyage Optimization. Initial simulations indicate an average emissions reduction of 28% on the New York to Amsterdam route, with NAPA Voyage Optimization contributing 12% to the savings. Further research aims to optimize vessel performance and enhance operational efficiency, supporting the industry’s decarbonization efforts.

A SMIT salvage team has initiated the operation to remove over one million barrels of oil from the decaying FSO Safer in the Red Sea. Boskalis’ multi-purpose vessel, Ndeavor, arrived at the site to carry out the oil removal phase. The oil will be transferred to a UN-purchased Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) named Nautica. The operation marks a crucial step in mitigating the risk of a major oil spill, which could have devastating environmental and economic consequences. Additional funding is needed to complete the project and ensure the safe disposal of the vessel.

Amidst recent extraordinary heatwaves in multiple Asian countries, the demand for coal has surged, exceeding typical levels for this time of year. Notably, new data from ship tracking firm Kpler reveals that China, India, the Philippines, and Vietnam collectively account for over half of all thermal coal imports and more than 70% of global power sector emissions from coal use. In the first four months of 2023, these four nations were responsible for 53% of worldwide thermal coal imports, compared to 40% during the same period in 2022. Seaborne thermal coal imports in Asia are expected to reach a record high in May, with an estimated 78.38 million tonnes set to be offloaded across the region, according to Kpler.

Frontline, led by John Frederiksen, has successfully sold its suezmax tanker, Front Njord, built in 2010, to an undisclosed buyer for $44.5 million. With a listed value of $40.7 million, the 156,000 deadweight tonnage (dwt) vessel is projected to change ownership in the second quarter of 2023. This transaction is expected to generate net cash proceeds of approximately $28.2 million for Cyprus-based Frontline, after repaying existing debt, resulting in a $9.4 million gain on the sale during the second quarter. To further strengthen their financial position, Frontline recently secured $129.4 million through favorable terms to refinance an existing loan that matures in August. These refinancing proceeds, combined with the funds obtained from the sale of Front Njord, will be utilized to partially repay Frontline’s $275 million senior unsecured revolving credit. As of March, Frontline possessed a fleet of 69 ships, including 26 suezmaxes.

Houston-based offshore energy services player, Helix Energy Solutions, has secured a significant decommissioning contract set to commence in mid-2023 in the US Gulf of Mexico. The company’s subsidiary, Helix Alliance, will oversee the contract’s execution, which encompasses the plug and abandonment of 39 wells, 15 pipelines, and seven structures. The Louisiana-based unit plans to employ various assets throughout the campaign, including the EPIC Hedron heavy lift derrick barge for structure removals, liftboats for plug and abandonment activities, the Triton Explorer dive support vessel for pipeline abandonments, and multiple offshore supply vessels (OSVs). The North American decommissioning market is projected to see expenditures of nearly $3 billion between 2022 and 2025. Helix’s President and CEO, Owen Kratz, emphasized the company’s position as a leading player in full-field decommissioning in the Gulf of Mexico shelf and highlighted their expanded decommissioning services following the acquisition of Alliance last year.

Hong Kong-listed Seacon Shipping has expanded its orderbook by securing a newbuild deal with Murakami Hide Shipbuilding in Japan. The agreement entails the construction of a 13,500 deadweight tonnage (dwt) general cargo vessel, expected to be delivered by June 2026, for approximately $16.8 million. This follows Seacon Shipping’s previous contract with Tsuneishi Shipbuilding for two handysize bulk carriers, each valued at approximately $31.7 million. The latest order marks the fifth newbuild project for Seacon Shipping since their $52 million listing in March of this year. Among their projects are also two 62,000 dwt multipurpose dry cargo vessels at Huanghai Shipbuilding.

Norway’s Grieg Maritime Group has entered into a contract with Huangpu Wenchong Longxue, a CSSC-affiliated yard, to build up to four ammonia-ready vessels with a capacity of 82,300 deadweight tonnes (dwt). The order includes two confirmed vessels, with an option for an additional two. The first vessel is expected to be delivered in spring 2026, followed by the remaining three throughout the year. These newbuilds, which surpass the size of Grieg’s previous largest vessels, the 50,800 dwt L-class, will be equipped with MAN B&W 5S60ME engines and designed to meet EEDI Phase 3 requirements. With a length of 225 meters, the ships will be Norwegian-flagged and DVN-classed. The design, internally referred to as “PulpMax,” has been developed in collaboration with Grieg Shipbrokers and G2 Ocean. Grieg Maritime Group aims to lead in climate action and adhere to the Norwegian Shipowner’s Association’s climate targets, ensuring new ship orders only incorporate zero-emission technology from 2030. Nicolai Grieg, Head of Shipowning at Grieg Maritime Group, expressed enthusiasm for the vessels’ design and specifications, emphasizing their flexibility to operate with different fuels as technology evolves, with a preference for ammonia.

You can read previous issue of ‘Currents’ here.

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