News Digest 06-Dec-2021

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Following Stories compiled in this News Digest for the week from 29 Nov 2021 to 05 Dec 2021 in descending order:


Indian Navy unveils world’s largest national flag in Mumbai

05 Dec 2021
Marking the Navy Day 2021, the Indian Navy on Saturday, 04 Dec 2021, exhibited the world’s largest national flag at the Western Naval Command here, opposite the iconic Gateway of India, an official said.

The Indian Tricolour made of khadi, measures 225 in length and 150 feet wide, weighing a staggering 1.40 tonnes (around 1,400 kg).

The world’s largest National Flag unveiled by the Western Naval Command near Gateway of India on the occasion of Navy Day, at Naval Dockyard, in Mumbai on Saturday. Image Credit: AFP. Image Source:

It was designed and manufactured by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission as part of the 75th Anniversary of Indian Independence.

“As the Indian Navy re-dedicates itself to the service of the nation on Navy Day, it renews its pledge and commitment to protect and promote national interests and serve the people of India through this small but important gesture of exhibiting the monumental national flag,” said an official.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier extended his greetings on the occasion of Navy Day and said Indian Navy personnel have always been at the forefront of mitigating crisis situations like natural disasters.

Sharing a snippet of one of his old episodes of ‘Mann Ki Baat’ radio programme where he talked about the Navy day, PM Modi tweeted, “Greetings on Navy Day. We are proud of the exemplary contributions of the Indian navy. Our navy is widely respected for its professionalism and outstanding courage. Our navy personnel have always been at the forefront of mitigating crisis situations like natural disasters.”

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh sharing a video of the Indian Navy on his Twitter wrote “On this special day commemorating Indian Navy’s daring ‘Operation Trident’ during 1971 war, my greetings and best wishes to all personnel of this outstanding force which continues to protect our national interest through maritime security.”

Union Home Minister Amit Shah also extended his greetings to Navy personnel and their families.

“Greetings to our brave Indian Navy personnel and their families on the special occasion of Navy Day. The nation is proud of our valorous Naval force for their commitment towards securing India’s maritime interests and helping the countrymen during the civil emergencies,” Shah tweeted. Reference


India: Few takers for shipping exam in coastal district

04 Dec 2021
Lack of awareness has led to few candidates appearing for the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS) Professional Qualifying Examinations (PQE), said Prashant C G, a senior ICS member and representative, on behalf of the ICS East India Branch, Chennai.

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One does not need too many educational qualifications to appear for the examination, where a candidate can make a career in shipping, marine and logistic fields, that has seen a dip in admissions in the coastal region, he said, adding this year only five people had appeared for the exam. When it started its exam centre in Mangaluru in 2001, there were more than 24 candidates.

“The Mangaluru centre has been conducting the examinations successfully, for more than a decade now. However, the numbers are going down over the period. It is because no awareness has been created about the examination,” said Prashant. Another ICS branch in India is in Mumbai.

He explained that the course duration is about five years, with a total of seven exams. The examination is held every year on the same dates, across the world. “When there were more candidates from Mangaluru, crash courses were held in the city itself. However, due to fewer people taking the exam, the crash course has been stopped. The ICS question papers are set and answer sheets are evaluated in London,” said Prashant.

The ICS PQE is a well respected educational benchmark of the shipping and marine industry worldwide. The educational syllabus is continuously revised to cater to the latest in the shipping business, legal principles of shipping, the economics of sea transport and international trade, apart from 12 specialised disciplines. Reference


Largest shipping lines hit “a whooping” $80 billion profit so far this year

04 Dec 2021
The world’s largest shipping lines have made nearly USD 80bn in operating profit so far this year, a new report published by Sea Intelligence shows.

As informed, all global shipping lines saw revenues increase substantially as a consequence of the record-high freight rates. In terms of EBIT, the companies made $37.24 billion in operating profit in the third quarter of 2021 alone.

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Combined with the profit of $42.10 billion in the first half of the year, the numbers rise to carriers nearly $80 billion, according to the report. The data provided in the report include the largest shipping companies such as Danish shipping giant Maersk and French major CMA CGM.

Maersk closed the third quarter of 2021 with record earnings. EBIT was up almost five times to $5.9 billion in Q3 2021 and EBITDA tripled to $6.9 billion, compared to $1.3 billion and $2.3 billion seen in Q3 2020, respectively.

On the other hand, CMA CGM has also delivered a strong financial performance for the third quarter of 2021 with a net income rising to $5.6 billion from $567 million seen in Q3 2020.

To put the numbers into perspective, the combined 2010-2020 operating profit for the largest shipowners across all quarters was $37.86 billion. In short, the industry has doubled its operating profit in three quarters of 2021 compared to the entire 2010-2020., which shows “an unprecedented level of profitability,” the report states.

However, the report does not contain data from Swiss containership giant MSC, the currently second-largest carrier, which as a privately held company is not required to publish their accounts. Reference


Hapag-Lloyd Agrees to ’Eye-Watering’ $130,000 a Day for Panamax Charter

04 Dec 2021
Ocean carriers face ‘Hobson’s choice’ on the containership charter market: agreeing to owners’ hugely inflated daily hire rates or risking losing the vessel to a competitor.

Hapag-Lloyd has just agreed a three-month charter commencing in January of the 4,253 teu Synergy Oakland for an eye-watering $130,000 a day from Greek non-operating owner Euroseas.

File Photo: Sheila Fitzgerald/Shutterstock. Image Source: gCaptain

The carrier’s in-house charter desk will no doubt have baulked at a charter rate some $50,000 a day above the current bull market, but was clearly unable to fix an alternative to cover a vital commitment. It will now pay the owner some $11.5m for the duration of the time charter.

Putting the Hapag-Lloyd fixture into context of today’s market, Euroseas paid just $10m for the Synergy Oakland in November 2019, as part of an en-bloc purchase and, four years ago, owners of similar panamax ships would have been happy to achieve $8,000 a day for a three-month charter.

Following the expiry of the Hapag-Lloyd fixture, the 2009-built ship will be handed over to Zim, the Israeli carrier snapping-up the in-demand vessel for a daily hire of $42,000 on a four-year time charter.

Euroseas chairman and CEO Aristides Pittas said the fixtures were “indicative of the strength and recovery of the market”.

He added: “We expect to be able to continue benefiting from the present market, as there are another four of our vessels which open for re-chartering within the next four months and another two later in 2022.”

It is an ominous sign from Euroseas for current charterers, and is being echoed by NOO peers, and carriers face losing some of their fleet to the highest bidders, obliging them to discontinue services and postpone their growth aspirations.

Faced with the threat of conceding market share, Alphaliner said, carriers may have “no other choice but to buy, rather than charter, vessels to cover their requirements”.

This is a strategy led by MSC which, since August last year, has purchased a phenomenal 124 second-hand containerships – an unprecedented buying spree. Reference


Kongsberg Starts Up World’s First Ship-Sized Hydrogen Powertrain

04 Dec 2021
On Thursday 02 Dec 2021, Kongsberg announced the startup of the world’s first “full-scale, full-size” hydrogen fuel cell drivetrain for ships. According to the firm, the shoreside test installation shows that the technology is nearing maturity for vessel operations.

Courtesy CMAL. Image Source: Maritime Executive

The test system is the third and final section of the EU-funded project “HySeas,” which has been running since 2013. The eight-year effort has involved participants from Scotland, Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden and England.

For the final stage, Kongsberg and its contractors built a full-scale electric propulsion system based on hydrogen-powered fuel cells at a site near Bergen. The system will now undergo a four-month testing regimen for validation.

“This project is yet another proof of the internationally leading competence in the Norwegian maritime cluster. Now we have both taken the next step for solutions in Norway, and the next step for the Norwegian maritime industry to succeed in exporting hydrogen-based technology and solutions internationally,” said Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry Jan Christian Vestre.

The testing cycle is based on the power demands for a vessel on a real route between Kirkwall and Shapinsay in Orkney, Scotland. The findings will be provided to the design team at ferry operator Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) in Scotland. CMAL plans to complete the H2-powered design for a small 16-car ropax ferry in March 2022, and will seek funding for its construction.

“Orkney will be the first practical usage of this technology while the Norwegian maritime cluster has the opportunity develop our own pilots and projects here in Norway,” said Egil Haugsdal, CEO of Kongsberg Maritime. Reference


ClassNK adds world’s 1st liquefied hydrogen carrier to its register

04 Dec 2021
Classification Society ClassNK has added the world’s first liquefied hydrogen carrier built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) to its register.

Hydrogen is clean energy that does not emit CO2 when burned. The use of hydrogen is expected to expand worldwide, and efforts are being made to build a supply chain to realise a Hydrogen Society. Suiso Frontier is the world’s first liquefied hydrogen carrier built by KHI, a member of the CO2-free Hydrogen Energy Supply-chain Technology Research Association (HySTRA).

‘Suiso Frontier’ – the world’s first liquefied hydrogen carrier built by KHI (photo: HySTRA) Image Source:

Hydrogen is liquefied at an extremely low temperature of -253° Celsius and has hazards such as flammability, permeability, and more. To contribute to the safe seaborne transportation of hydrogen, which needs intensive measures for handling, in 2017 ClassNK published the “Guidelines for Liquefied Hydrogen Carriers” describing the safety requirements based on the IMO’s Interim Recommendations for Carriage of Liquefied Hydrogen in Bulk.

For Suiso Frontier’s hull structure, machinery, onboard equipment, materials, etc. ClassNK completed the prescribed surveys on in line with its class rules and “Guidelines for Liquefied Hydrogen Carriers” and added the vessel to its register on 3 December 2021.

ClassNK will continuously support the safe operation of the vessel through surveys in service, while utilise the knowledge and experience gained from the upcoming surveys for keeping its guidelines up to date and contributing to establish the appropriate international standard, thereby working to the social implementation of hydrogen transportation. Reference


17 Rescued From Sinking Bulker in Sea of Japan

03 Dec 2021
The Japan Coast Guard and the South Korean Coast Guard have rescued 17 seafarers from a sinking bulker off the coast of Shimane Prefecture, Japan.

The crew of the Vietnamese bulker Houei Crystal sent a distress signal on Wednesday afternoon at about 0830 hours and reported that a crewmember had been washed overboard by a wave. At 1630 hours, they called again to report that the vessel was in distress in heavy weather, Japan’s 8th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters told media.

File image courtesy Houei Transport. Image Source: Maritime Executive

The vessel was under way from Nakhodka to Kinuura with a load of coal, and it was located about 200 nm to the northwest of the Oki Islands. All remaining 17 crewmembers safely abandoned ship in a lifeboat, and shortly after, the Houei Crystal sank.

According to the Vladivostok Marine Rescue Coordination Center, a Russian good samaritan vessel – the bulker Region 87 – was near the scene and attempted to rescue the crew. The effort was not successful because of heavy seas, so Region 87 stood by to await the arrival of a South Korean patrol vessel.

A South Korean Coast Guard cutter arrived in the early hours of Thursday morning and took all 17 survivors safely aboard. Four of the crewmembers sustained minor injuries, none life-threatening. All were brought safely ashore at Donghae on Thursday and were provided with a medical evaluation. Reference


Crew change on ships face challenges as Omicron induce fresh restrictions

03 Dec 2021
Restrictions imposed by some countries to deal with the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, first detected in South Africa, is making the global shipping industry jittery, specially when it was slowly emerging from the challenges in changing crew on board since the outbreak of the pandemic about 18 months ago.

Image Source: The Hindu Business Line

Singapore has banned the entry of vessels from Africa. Meanwhile, Hong Kong has listed 44 countries as high-risk, which make it impossible to undertake crew change on ships coming from these nations prior to 21 days or less, before arrival at Hong Kong.

India has ordered passengers coming from ‘at risk’ countries to undergo RT-PCR testing on arrival at the airport besides compulsory institutional quarantine for one week.

The countries that are designated ‘at risk’ include European countries, the UK, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Israel, and Hong Kong.

The Maharashtra government has instructed domestic airlines not to board any passenger for landing in Mumbai without RT PCR test with negative result taken within 72 hours of departure.

“This will create problems for seafarers coming to Mumbai for onward travel to global crew change hubs,” said a shipping company executive.

“Effecting crew change is still very challenging; that hasn’t changed in the last 18 months. This will make it harder,” the executive said.

Ship managers such as Captain Rajesh Unni, Founder and CEO at Singapore-based Synergy Group, says that the travel restrictions being implemented in response to the Omicron variant “are nothing short of deeply alarming”.

“They are already adversely impacting crew changeovers and we are concerned that, once again, seafarers will be the victims,” he said.

Flights are being cancelled leading to reduced availability of seats while visa regimes and quarantine periods are being significantly tightened.

“Some of our seafarers who signed off in South Africa, for example, are finding it very difficult to even find flights. In one instance, crew were turned back from an airport in South Africa. They were devastated – they were looking forward to going home after having spent months on board, without shore leave in most cases,” Unni said.

“Given that we’ve already had a humanitarian crisis at sea in 2020, by now systems should be in place globally to enable smooth crew changes, priority air travel, immediate medical assistance and rapid repatriation,” he noted.

“There should be global recognition that seafarers are key workers. And they should have access to green channels to enable them to work and return home so they can keep world trade moving. Yet still we have no legal framework for this, either to cope now or in future when new ‘variants of concern’ emerge, or we’re faced with the next pandemic. We also have a patchwork of vaccine recognition rules that make very little sense,” he added. Reference


Indian Coast Guard Tows Stranded Passenger Ship After Engine Room Fire

03 Dec 2021
An Indian passenger-cargo vessel was left stranded at sea on December 1 after a fire on board and was rescued by the Indian Coast Guard after a nearly 24-hour ordeal. The Coast Guard reports that all the passengers and crew were safe.

Kavaratti was stranded with 624 passengers after an engine room fire. Image Source: Maritime Executive

The Kavaratti is a 394-foot-long ship able to transport up to 700 passengers and 2,000 tons of cargo. Built in 2008, the vessel was designed specifically for the trade between Kochi on the southwest coast of India and the Lakshadweep Islands located about 200 nautical miles west of the Indian coast. The vessel provides transportation to residents of the islands as well as a tourist service to the tropical destination.

The ship departed Kochi on November 30 and had made its first stop in the Lakshadweep Islands before starting the trip to the second port at Androth. According to the Coast Guard, they received reports of an engine room fire on December 1 and dispatched a vessel in the area to provide assistance. The crew of the passenger ship was able to extinguish the fire, although the vessel was left without power and drifting approximately 30 miles off the Kavaratti islands.

Reports indicated that there were 624 passengers and 85 crew aboard the Kavaratti. The Coast Guard considered transferring the passenger at sea but reported that sea conditions were not ideal and without power the vessel’s hatch doors were closed further complicating an evacuation.

The decision was made for the Indian Coast Guard vessel Samar to take the passenger ship in tow. The tow began at approximately 6:15 pm Wednesday evening and was expected to take up to 17 hours to reach Androth. Passengers complemented the crews’ efforts but noted that no food or water was available after the fire.

When they finally arrived at the island, 274 passengers disembarked. An additional 350 passengers were later transferred to a second passenger ship, the Coral, to continue their voyage to the other islands and to return to Kochi. Reference


Maersk Will Give $80 Million to Employees

02 Dec 2021
A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S is giving $1,000 to each of its roughly 80,000 employees as the world’s largest shipping company heads for record profits this year.

Sheila Fitzgerald / Image Source: gCaptain

The bonus will be in December or January paychecks, according to an internal memo seen by Bloomberg News. The top 400 managers at the Copenhagen-based company aren’t included in the program.

Maersk is set to report net income of more than $17 billion for 2021, according to analyst estimates. The record-breaking performance comes after global supply-chain disruptions have doubled freight rates several times over.

“In a massive team effort our colleagues across the globe have risen beyond the call of duty to respond to our customers’ needs,” Chief Executive Officer Soren Skou said in the memo. “And this has not been easy given the unknowns and disruptions that we had to deal with, the impacted supply chains, congestions, and capacity shortages.”

Maersk also paid a $1,000 bonus to most employees in 2020 when the company reported a profit of $2.9 billion after losing money in three of the previous four years. The 2021 bonus was first reported by the Borsen newspaper earlier on Wednesday. Reference


Maritime union to pay over $2 million for organising unlawful stoppages

02 Dec 2021
Patrick Stevedores and Qube Logistics have been awarded a combined total of over $2 million in compensation and penalties following unlawful stoppages of work at Port Botany organised by the maritime union and 2 officials in 2017.

Patrick Stevedores Holdings and Patrick Stevedores Operations operate container stevedoring terminals, including at Port Botany in New South Wales. Qube Logistics provides transport logistics services including transporting freight and empty containers by road and rail.

Approximately 90% of the relevant employees were members of the Maritime Union Australia, now amalgamated to form the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union, and were covered by the Patrick Terminals Enterprise Agreement 2016 (the enterprise agreement).

In separate proceedings brought by Patrick Stevedores and Qube, Lee J found that the union and 2 officials, Mr McAleer and Mr Keating, contravened ss 417, 421 and 340 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) by organising and being involved in industrial action taken by Patrick Stevedores employees on a number of shifts in April and May 2017. The industrial action included a ban on loading empty containers onto trains and a general stoppage of work.

The industrial action related to a decision by Patrick Stevedores to sublease space to Qube that it was not using for its stevedoring operations. The union was extremely suspicious about this action, as it viewed it as part of a “longer-term strategy to remove wharfies from the future of rail work at the Port Botany terminal”, and a dispute ensued.

Qube was awarded a total of approximately $1.8 million relating to the costs of engaging subcontractors to transport containers that would otherwise have been transported by rail, engaging truck drivers and trucks from related entities to help clear the backlog of shopping containers, import and export detention fees, wages paid to rail crew when they could not usefully be employed and loss of revenue due to cancelled services.

Qube’s claims for compensation for loss of a major customer and wages paid to rail crew when they could not usefully be employed were not accepted.

The union was also penalised $30,000 with Mr McAleer and Mr Keating penalised $7,500 and $5,000 respectively. Reference


India: Admiral R Hari Kumar takes charge as new Navy chief

01 Dec 2021
Admiral R Hari Kumar on Tuesday took over as the new chief of Navy as Admiral Karambir Singh, who has been at the helm for two years, retired from service.

Admiral Singh has served the Navy for 41 years.

Admiral R Hari Kumar with Admiral Karambir Singh at South Block in New Delhi on Tuesday (Express photo by Praveen Khanna). Image Source: The Indian Express

Admiral Kumar was the Western Naval Commander before taking over as the country’s 25th Chief of Naval Staff. He is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy and was commissioned into the Navy on January 1, 1983. In his 38-year career he has held several prestigious positions, including commanding the Coast Guard Ship C-01, Indian Naval Ships as well as being in charge of vessels like Nishank, Kora, Ranvir and Aircraft Carrier INS Viraat.

He is a gunnery specialist and has held key appointments, including Fleet Operations Officer and Fleet Gunnery Officer of Western Fleet, Executive Officer (EXO) of INS Vipul, Gunnery Officer (GO) of INS Ranjit, commissioning GO of INS Kuthar and commissioning crew of INS Ranvir.

In his capacity of being a Flag Officer, he has been the Commandant of the Naval War College at Goa, Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST), Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet (FOCWF), Chief of Staff, Western Naval Command, Controller Personnel Services and Chief of Personnel (COP) at Naval Headquarters.

Kumar also had a stint as the Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee “at the critical junction during the creation of the institution of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and Department of Military Affairs (DMA)”, the Navy stated.

He has been decorated with various medals, including the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, the Ati the Vishisht Seva Medal and the Vishisht Seva Medal. Reference


Fresh concerns over piracy in Gulf of Guinea

01 Dec 2021
Last week, the Danish military killed four pirates in the Gulf of Guinea, a global hotspot for piracy. The incident raises fresh concerns about the safety of seafarers and vessels operating in West African waters.

The Danish crew in a frigate were responding to reports of an “increased risk of piracy” in waters south of Nigeria. The ship and a helicopter were deployed to observe any activity, according to a statement by the Danish military.

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In an area with merchant ships, the helicopter crew spotted a fast-moving motorboat with eight men on board with tools associated with piracy, including ladders. Soldiers called on the pirates to let them board. When the pirates did not respond, the Danish forces fired warning shots. The pirates opened fire on the soldiers with the military firing shots back. The exchange killed four pirates and left one injured.

The Danish government announced plans to deploy the frigate to combat piracy in the region in March. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen had been scheduled to visit nearby Ghana on November 24, the day of the incident, to observe Denmark’s work patrolling the region.

Nigerian newspaper Punch has reported that the Nigerian Maritime Law Association (NMLA) has raised concerns over the killing of the pirates by the Danish naval forces.

“The association supports all efforts to rid the Gulf of Guinea of piracy, maritime offences and all forms of criminality. It is concerned, however, about the sanctity of Nigeria’s sovereignty, application of the rule of law and respect for protocols of engagement with regard to the… incident,” reads a statement by NMLA published by the paper.

Despite the incident, figures from the IMB last month note a decrease in piracy attacks in the Gulf of Guinea this year. The body said the region recorded 28 incidents of piracy and armed robbery in the first nine months of 2021, in comparison with 46 for the same period in 2020.

However, it warns the “risk to crew remains high in the region and that… efforts must therefore be sustained”. In the briefing, IMB also points to “worrying signs” in the Singapore Strait and concerns about the area off the coast of Peru.

Regional efforts are being ramped up to improve maritime safety. Earlier this month, Nigeria agreed to implement the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Whole of Government Approach to Maritime Security programme to boost safety. The scheme is made up of integrated workshops and tailored support aimed at helping IMO member states to develop national maritime security committees, risk registers and strategies.

This year, after a rise in piracy incidents in 2020, Nigeria launched its US$195mn “Deep Blue Project” to secure Gulf of Guinea waters. The project is being implemented by Nimasa and “provides both land and surveillance capabilities”. The programme involves the acquisition and deployment of high-tech equipment, including vessels, weapons, drones, helicopters and satellite communication systems.

The efforts follow IMO secretary-general Kitack Lim writing a letter in February to all agencies of the United Nations about piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. He said it presents a “serious and immediate threat” to crews and vessels operating in West African waters.

Lim called for better co-ordination between stakeholders and regional organisations to improve safety for ships and their operatives, while also highlighting a fatal incident involving a container ship in late January as the catalyst for action. Reference


First-Ever Hydrogen Fueling of Maritime Vessel in US Completes

01 Dec 2021
SWITCH Maritime is pleased to announce the world’s first hydrogen fueling of a commercial marine vessel was successfully completed on November 18th at All American Marine shipyard, and the vessel is now beginning its final sea trials before delivery. The event is monumental step towards decarbonization of the worldwide shipping industry and showcases the United States’ energy transition away from fossil fuels.

Sea Change – SWITCH Maritime’s flagship zero-emissions vessel, a 75-passenger ferry powered by hydrogen fuel cells and batteries. (Photo: Business Wire). Image Source:

The new 75-passenger ferry, called the Sea Change, received hydrogen into its 242 kg tanks on the upper deck. It uses that hydrogen in fuel cells producing electricity to power electric motors for distances up to 300 nautical miles, and speeds up to 20 knots – similar capabilities as diesel-powered vessels – with the added benefits of zero exhaust smoke or other emissions and very little vibration and noise.

The fuel loaded in the vessel’s tanks includes green hydrogen, produced in California by an electrolyzer powered with renewable solar power, which results in zero carbon emissions in the production of the fuel as well.

“While it’s taken us years to get to this point, the timing couldn’t be better,” says Pace Ralli, CEO of SWITCH Maritime. “In this moment, our nation is more committed than ever to making the transition to a carbon-free economy. Hydrogen will play a major role in that future, and major players in the maritime industry are ready to decarbonize. We are grateful to all our partners, and proud to play a small role in accelerating the widescale adoption of hydrogen power. Hopefully this is just the first domino to fall.”

Zero Emission Industries (ZEI), formerly Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine, is responsible for the design and development of the first-of-its-kind maritime hydrogen and fuel cell system as well as the vessel’s unique fueling system that allows it to be fueled directly from a hydrogen truck, and was responsible for the successful regulatory approvals of all hydrogen-related aspects onboard. ZEI is a cutting-edge hydrogen technology company that develops and sells turnkey hydrogen power systems, advanced fuel cell balance of plant sub-systems, fueling systems, and proprietary safety systems for a range of applications.

“We’re super excited to see the Sea Change start sea trials, and I felt proud watching our fueling and hydrogen systems operate in the real world for the first time,” said Danny Terlip, Lead Engineer at ZEI. “Our whole mission at ZEI is to build new technology that makes hydrogen accessible and easy to use, and this event demonstrates how far we’ve come.” Reference


DNV Publishes Standards For Remote Control Vessel

30 Nov 2021
Classification society DNV has introduced the shipping industry’s first competence standard for vessel remote control center operators (RCCO). The standard is supported by a new recommended practice that offers a certification scheme for RCCOs. Together, they provide a framework for training, assessing, and certifying personnel working in remote-control centers that support or manage operations at sea.

(Photo: DNV). Image Source:

Intelligent software systems and enhanced ship-to-shore-connectivity have laid the groundwork for the growth of remote solutions and autonomy in shipping. Unmanned vessels are already expected to begin operations in the near future.

Ensuring that these vessels operate at an equivalent level of safety is essential to building confidence and realizing the potential of these technologies. However, despite the technical solutions being in place, competence requirements for those monitoring, supporting and/or controlling these ships have not been defined.

The new DNV competence standard for remote control center operators (DNV-ST-0324) and the supporting recommended practice (DNV-RP-0323) change this. They were developed in collaboration with Kongsberg Maritime, Wilhelmsen, as well as the University of South-Eastern Norway, and the Norwegian Maritime Authority.

“Making sure that shore-based staff are prepared for autonomous, remote-controlled or remotely supported operations at sea is a big challenge,” said Torsten Schröder, SeaSkill Service Manager, Competence & Learning at DNV Maritime. “Because when it comes the wider application of these technologies, trust in the systems, and the people managing these operations is paramount. This is why we are so pleased to have developed the RP with expert partners from across the industry. Having a wide range of expertise was essential to devising a uniform and controlled approach to the training, assessment and certification of RCCOs.”

The recommended practice, DNV-RP-0323, gives guidance to centers conducting examinations of remote-control center operators and issuing personnel certificates as a certification body. It also covers the competence building process for candidates before undertaking an RCCO examination, for example learning programs and practice sessions in the centers themselves.

The DNV SeaSkill standard ST-0324 provides a foundation for the entire process. It lists the required competencies for the operation of autonomous or remotely controlled and/or supported ships.

It also covers competency in emergency handling and resource management within a remote control center (RCC), communication with 3rd parties on behalf of the ship under remote-control and man-machine interaction.

RCCO certificates can be registered in an existing DNV online database, making it possible for interested parties to verify qualifications and validity of an RCCO certificate.

To ensure transparency in this emerging field and build trust among users and the public, examination centers, certification bodies, as well as the training centers, their RCC simulators and learning programs for RCCOs can also be certified by DNV. Reference


MSC Cruises hosts MSC Virtuosa naming ceremony in UAE

29 Nov 2021
MSC Cruises christened the new MSC Virtuosa during a ceremony held at Port Rashid in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) on 27 November.

“We are honoured to host this maritime tradition ceremony in the UAE during its Golden Jubilee year and with it, to mark our long-standing and long-term commitment to this region,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises. “Cruising is an integral part of the UAE’s dynamic tourism industry, and thanks to our uniquely global distribution network we will continue to promote the country and the Middle East all around the world as an attractive holiday option to support the further growth of the tourism industry locally.”

MSC Cruises. Image Source:

The naming ceremony was hosted by UAE TV personality Omar Butti and Italian actress Sophia Loren who officially christened MSC Virtuosa by cutting the ribbon which broke a champagne bottle on the ship’s hull in accordance with maritime tradition. Guests included royals, the master of the vessel, Captain Francesco Veniero and other officials from across the world. The ceremony also included a firework display, celebratory dinner and a performance by Rag’n’Bone Man.

“Hosting the naming ceremony for MSC Cruises’ newest flagship vessel, MSC Virtuosa, in Dubai, is testament to the popularity of the city as the cruise gateway to the region,” said Helal Saeed Almarri, director general of Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism. “Dubai’s reputation as a cruise hub continues to grow in stature and iconic moments and milestone events such as these reflect the crucial contribution of cruising to the city’s tourism industry.”

The ship, which can carry 6,334 passengers and 1,704 crew, features a wide selection of restaurants, bars, lounges, swimming pools and contributes towards the UAE’s shared goal of net zero emissions by 2050. MSC Virtuosa will depart from Dubai on 28 November for her maiden Gulf voyage, visiting Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island and Doha, Qatar. Reference



Note: All above news items compiled in this digest should be considered as news in brief. For detailed news, please refer to reference link, mentioned with each item.

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