News Digest 11-Oct-2021

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Following Stories compiled in this News Digest for the week from 04 Oct 2021 to 10 Oct 2021 in descending order:


Crews Are Abandoned on Ships in Record Numbers Without Pay, Food or a Way Home

10 Oct 2021
The $14 trillion shipping industry, responsible for 90% of world trade, has left in its wake what appears to be a record number of cargo-ship castaways. Abandonment cases are counted when shipowners fail to pay crews two or more months in wages or don’t cover the cost to send crew members home, according to the International Maritime Organization, a United Nations agency.

Image via NUSPM Source:

Last year, the number of such cases reported to the agency more than doubled to 85 from 40 in 2019. This year is on track to be worse.

More than 1,000 seafarers are currently abandoned on container ships and bulk carriers, according to estimates by the International Transport Workers’ Federation, a labor union. The true toll is likely higher because many crew members are reluctant to speak out for fear of being blacklisted, according to interviews with seafarers on abandoned vessels, shipowners, agents, maritime organizations and union officials.

The surge in cases prompted three of the world’s largest seafaring nations—China, Indonesia and the Philippines—to propose in August the establishment of a seafarers’ mutual emergency fund to help abandoned crews.

Some governments require sailors to remain aboard as guarantors until shipowners pay port authorities for berth fees and other charges.

Under the Maritime Labour Convention, a U.N.-backed treaty in effect since 2013, cargo-ship owners are required to hold insurance to care for abandoned crews. Many Middle Eastern nations didn’t sign the treaty and don’t enforce its rules, allowing their coastlines to become graveyards for dumped ships.

In Egypt’s Suez anchorage, at the mouth of one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, several sailors have been trapped aboard a vessel for years. Reference


VLCC Crew’s Appeal for Help Highlights Crew Abandonment

09 Oct 2021
The crew aboard a VLCC under arrest in Singapore sent out an international appeal for help. Their efforts to call attention to their individual plight highlight the broader issue of an increase in crew abandonment.

Chole V’s crew is appealing for help (supplied) source: Maritiem-Executive

The Chloe V, a 320,000 dwt VLCC registered in the Marshall Islands, arrived in Singapore in late May from Ulsan, South Korea. Caught in a legal dispute between its manager Hermes Marine Management, controlled by Lebanon’s Ghandour Ghassan, and Koch Shipping, the vessel remained in Singapore. Two months later, on July 30, the Supreme Court of Singapore officially placed the vessel under arrest.

“The personnel on board of VLCC Chloe V is held against their will onboard, not being paid since July 2021,” they write in their email message. “The owners unilaterally severed their ties and stated their position that no one gets paid from their end, which is a definition of abandonment!”

The VLCC’s crew reports that they have informed local Singaporean authorities like MPA, Supreme Court, Marshall Islands Flag, ITF, P&I, IMO, ILO, etc., but have received ignorance and lack of attendance! Also their employment contracts expired months ago. Reference

US Coast Guard Declares San Pedro Bay Pipeline Fracture a Major Marine Casualty

09 Oct 2021
The United States Coast Guard Commandant has designated the oil spill as a Major Marine Casualty “due to the potential involvement of a vessel” and resulting damages, the Coast Guard said Thursday. A joint investigation will be led by the Coast Guard, with assistance from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

Shoreline crews conduct cleanup operations on Huntington Beach, Calif., Oct. 4, 2021. In the top left, you can see ships anchored off the coast as they await to enter the San Pedro Bay Port Complex, home to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Credit: Southern California Spill Response. Source: gCaptain

A Major Marine Casualty is defined as a marine casualty involving a vessel that involves the loss of six or more lives; the loss of a mechanically propelled vessel of 100 or more gross tons; property damage initially estimated as $500,000 or more; and/or serious threat, as determined by the Commandant and concurred with by the NTSB chairman, to life, property, or the environment by hazardous materials.

The “Pipeline P00547 Spill” has been deemed a Major Marine Casualty due to the potential involvement of a vessel and the resulting damages estimated in excess of $500,000.

According to information released by a Unified Command responding to the incident, divers and ROV footage confirmed that a 4,000-foot stretch of the more than 17-mile-long San Pedro Bay Pipeline was found to be displaced on the ocean floor by 105 feet, with a 13-inch gash that is believed to be the source of the oil spill that has impacted vast stretches of Southern California’s pristine beaches. Reference


MACN expands Collective Action program to India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh

08 Oct 2021
The Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN), the Indian National Shipowners Association (INSA), and the UN Global Compact Networks in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh have announced the launch of a new regional maritime anti-corruption Collective Action Initiative. The project, which is supported by the Siemens Integrity Initiative, will enable MACN to expand its Collective Action methodology to Pakistan and Bangladesh and deepens MACN’s ongoing engagement in India, building the capacity to report, prevent, and mitigate corruption through Collective Action.

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“Building a culture of integrity through Collective Action and public-private partnerships will enable us to provide anti-corruption tools to strengthen compliance and training to seafarers. INSA and MACN will promote corruption prevention in the maritime industry and contribute to a more conducive business environment across the region – to the benefit of all in society” says Anil Devli, CEO of the Indian National Shipowners Association.

The project will provide integrity training to the next generation of seafarers as well as public officials interacting with the shipping industry. It will also equip maritime professionals and companies in the region with innovative, streamlined, and community-driven compliance tools. MACN’s successful Anti-Corruption HelpDesk, which has helped resolve corruption incidents in Ukraine and Nigeria, will also be implemented in India.

“The MACN HelpDesk has proven to be an effective mechanism to ensure adherence to established procedures and resolve potential corruption cases. It provides a specific pathway to establish dialogue with authorities when there are irregularities in vessel clearances procedures.” says Cecilia Müller Torbrand, CEO of MACN. Reference


How ports and marine services benefit from digitalisation

08 Oct 2021
Digitalisation will provide key tools to enable maritime logistics, ports and towage service providers to reduce emissions, giving the industry time to formulate longer-term strategies to cut greenhouse gas pollution and other emissions.

Associated British Ports (ABP) head of strategy and architecture Beatriz Moore said ports and vessel operators are “moving into the digitalisation world to improve connectivity and services in ports”. She said digitalisation in the port sector is helping operators to deliver “better services for customers and optimise port calls”.

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5G connectivity was rolled out in Southampton port and internet of things (IoT) has been introduced in other ports “to get data and information to marine services”.

Another digitalisation benefit is the increased use of remote services to tug and vessel operators from flag states and classification societies, enabling crew to perform some tasks surveyors would usually carry out when on board.

During LISW, Lloyd’s Register director of marine and offshore Mark Darley said the society was working with Inmarsat to enable remote surveys. “The world has become more collaborative,” he said, “and connectivity is key to using data to drive decarbonisation.”

Digitalisation and connectivity investment is enabling remote control and autonomous applications on tugs. Wärtsilä Voyage director of rapid innovation Clayton van Welter said both facilitated development of IntelliTug, a tug with a semi-autonomous, sense-controlled manoeuvring solution on board, with PSA Marine and Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority (MPA).

Digitalisation also helps with smart docking and contributes to “smart routeing and voyage planning, better situational awareness and maturing of autonomous and remote-control capabilities,” said Mr van Welter.

For now, connectivity is enabling IoT applications and remote assistance to crews. During LISW, StratumFive strategy director Mike Powell said the maritime industry was still at an early stage of digitalisation. “It is exciting times as we are still embarking on this digital journey in shipping,” he said.

“KVH Watch provides third-party access for IoT, surveyors and technical experts for remote monitoring, interventions, troubleshooting and inspections,” said Mr Brooks. Crew on vessels can use tablets, phones and wearable technology to provide information remotely to surveyors or technical experts located on shore. “There is a trend to do more work remotely for monitoring and compliance.”

CyberOwl chief executive Daniel Ng brought a message of caution for adopting digitalisation and IoT, as this could make operational technology (OT) susceptible to cyber threats. He urged vessel operators to ensure OT is separated from the IT and internet. Reference


Shipping Industry Outlines Roadmap to Achieve Net Zero CO2 Emissions by 2050

07 Oct 2021
The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) submitted plans to the industry’s UN regulator, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), detailing urgent measures which governments must take to help the industry achieve net zero CO2 by 2050.

Just one month ahead of the shipping industry’s flagship COP26 decarbonization conference (‘Shaping the Future of Shipping’), the ICS is pushing governments to double the ambition of the IMO’s current target, which is to reduce emissions from international shipping by 50% by 2050.

MartinLueke / Image source:

The plans include a mandatory R&D fund to develop zero-carbon technologies, and the development of a carbon tax for shipping to expedite the transition to more expensive zero-carbon fuels.

In its submission, shipping accepts the vital need to accelerate decarbonization timelines. But it also states that a net zero target by 2050 will only be achievable if governments take the necessary actions. To facilitate this, the industry has taken the unique step of setting out the specific measures that governments must be take to make decarbonization by 2050 a reality.

The ICS says the adoption by IMO of a net zero target will send a very strong message sought by the industry, as well as energy providers, shipbuilders and engine manufacturers, so that investments in green fuels and technology can be accelerated and scaled.

Given the typical 25-year life of new ocean-going ships, thousands of zero-emission ships will need to be in the water by 2030 if the industry is to meet an ambitious net zero target.

Therefore, it is critical for the IMO to adopt those urgent measures required to accelerate an increase in what it calls “Technology Readiness Levels”. A key step is for governments to approve the establishment of the $5 billion IMO-backed R&D fund, known as the International Maritime Research Fund (IMRF), at a critical IMO meeting in November, just two weeks after COP 26.

To expedite the transition to net zero, ICS has also made a comprehensive proposal setting out the framework for a broader carbon tax applicable to shipping, which will be considered by IMO Member States at a meeting in mid-October, to help close the price gap between zero-carbon and conventional fuels. This could be used to provide the billions of dollars needed to deploy new bunkering infrastructure required in ports worldwide and ensure consistency in the industry’s green transition, for both developed and developing economies, in the run up to 2050. Reference


POEA bans employers of Filipino seafarers stranded in China

07 Oct 2021
THE PHILIPPINE Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has blacklisted the employers of 29 Filipino seafarers stranded in Xiamen, China, who were abandoned after their respective vessels ceased operations in May.   

In a news briefing on Wednesday, POEA Administrator Bernard P. Olalia said in Filipino that “these employers know their responsibility to bring home our seafarers but they abandoned them, hence they are blacklisted in POEA and cannot anymore hire seafarers and fishermen.”  

The manning agencies who hired the seafarers were also suspended by the POEA, Mr. Olalia said.  

On Sept. 17, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported that 29 seafarers aboard three Chinese-flagged fishing vessels have been stranded along the coast of Xiamen, China.   Reference


Shipping data sharing takes the next step forward

06 Oct 2021
A challenge for a faster uptake in the utilisation and sharing of data in shipping is the lack of trust in data and its sharing mechanisms. To counter the issue, the International Data Space Association (IDSA) has developed an architecture aimed at setting a standard for exchanging data on a trustworthy and self-regulated basis.

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A group of Norwegian partners used the IDSA structure to form the basis for their Maritime Data Space project to develop an open maritime data exchange ecosystem for secure sharing of ship-related data among trusted stakeholders – paving the way for rapid development of new data analysis services while securing proper governance of the data.

The Maritime Data Space project involves Navtor, Veracity by DNV, Neuron Solution and SINTEF together with Wilhelmsen Ship Management. Since its start in 2019, the project has delivered a proof-of-concept that demonstrates transparent access to vessel-related data from anywhere onboard or ashore, while securing proper governance of access by the data owners. It also provided automated and secure communication between ship and shore as well as digitalisation and simplification of the provision of trusted services for day-to-day vessel operations. Reference


Coca-Cola Turns to Bulkers Amid Container Shipping’s Chaos

06 Oct 2021
The chaos in container shipping has forced some brands like Home Depot, Ikea and Costco to get creative with their supply chains. We can now add The Coca-Cola Company to the list.

By Tappasan Phurisamrit / Shutterstock Image Source:

According to Alan Smith, a Procurement Director of Global Logistics at the beverage giant, the shortage of shipping containers and space on ships has had the company thinking outside the box (or containers) for its supply chain.

In a social media post, Smith revealed the company loaded 3 bulk carriers last week with 60,000 tonnes of materials to keep productions lines running across the world. This is equivalent of 2,800 TEU that would have been shipped on containerships, Smith said. Reference


Navigator Gas and Northern Marine prepare seafarers for future fuels

06 Oct 2021
Navigator Holdings Ltd. (“Navigator”) (NYSE: NVGS), a leading provider of seaborne transportation and distribution of liquified gases, is delighted to announce a seafarer training collaboration with Northern Marine Group (“Northern Marine”) which will prepare RO-PAX ferry officers to operate gas-fuelled vessels of the future.

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To obtain their certification to operate LNG-fuelled ferry vessels, the Northern Marine officers are experiencing working life onboard Navigator Gas’s 37,500 cbm ethylene capable gas carrier Navigator Aurora.

The Ethylene/LPG Carrier vessel provides an environment where the officers can gain their 30-day sea time working with a low-flashpoint fuel by shadowing officers onboard.

Sean McCormack, Ship Management Director, Northern Marine, said: “We are very grateful to Navigator Gas for kindly providing berths to assist our Officers in their IGF Code Training.

“The utilization of low flashpoint fuels on RoRo and Ro-Pax ferries is still in its infancy, and therefore the opportunity for our Officers to experience time on board the Navigator Aurora demonstrates the benefit of working with innovative clients such as Navigator Gas, who operate at the vanguard of tanker industry engineering.

Oeyvind Lindeman, Chief Commercial Officer, at Navigator Gas commented: “Helping our long-time partner Northern Marine to strengthen their competencies in low-emission gas fuelled vessel operations aligns perfectly with Navigator’s goal to reduce carbon footprint in the maritime industry. Reference


Regent’s ‘flying ferry’ concept gains ground

06 Oct 2021
Regent Craft has unveiled how its take on wing-in-ground-effect vehicles mean that for the first time, this technology can be used for commercial adoption within the high-speed ferry maritime sector

The company has moved closer to delivering its Seaglider wing-in-ground-effect vehicle as it has completed aerodynamic and hydrodynamic modelling of the hydrofoils and wing system and is building a quarter-scale vehicle made of carbon fibre to demonstrate the first operation.

Regent Craft moved forward with its seaglider Wing-in-ground-effect vhicle (Source: Regent Craft)

Bureau Veritas will evaluate its initial wing-in-ground-effect vehicle, the 12-passenger seaglider named Viceroy, with the objective of obtaining a certificate of classification for the vessel type.

Regent chief executive Billy Thalheimer unveiled the technology to delegates at the Interferry 2021 Santander conference, “The need to innovate has never been higher, we need to go green and increase the speed of our service operations, we need to come up with new technology.”

Introducing Regent’s ‘flying ferries’ concept, Mr Thalheimer explained that Seagliders fly within a wingspan to the water’s surface on a cushion of air called ‘ground effect’.

He said, “We build Seagliders, all-electric zero-emissions flying ferries for high-speed transport, it is like two vessels in one, a hydrofoil ferry in a harbour and one that can take off on the wings, in a regime called wing-in-ground effect, always staying within a wingspan on water 2-10 m water as it flies at aircraft speed.”

While this technology has been proven and existed since the 1960s, three key problems have prevented widespread adoption: one is poor wave tolerance. Mr Thalheimer said in the past, wing-in-ground-effect vehicles required high speed to take off on the wings – and if the waves were too high, they can’t take off.

For the first time, hydrofoils are being incorporated that give wave tolerance in harbours and allow it to take off on winds when it leaves harbour.

The second problem that wing-in-ground-effect vehicles have encountered is unmaneuverability as they go to 100+ knots on take-off, and they are further restricted as they cannot take off and leave the harbour. Furthermore, if they go too fast, they can suffer from cavitation. To combat these issues and lower the take-off speed so that they take off directly from hydrofoils, Seagliders use electric propulsion. Reference


Australia Bans Third Ship This Year for Underpaying Seafarers

05 Oct 2021
For the third time in a year, Australian officials have banned a ship from operating in their waters and visiting their ports over labor contract violations. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said the bulker was being banned after its inspectors have found repeated violations by the Singapore-based ship management company Bright Star Shipmanagement. 

The bulker was detained at Port Adelaide (file photo) Image source:

AMSA inspected the 37,000 dwt bulker Western Callao when it arrived at Port Adelaide on September 6 and immediately issued a detention order on the vessel for multiple breaches of the Maritime Labour Convention. The vessel was later permitted to move to Brisbane to carry out a crew change and after the violations were resolved and AMSA was satisfied that the crew had been paid back wages they permitted the ship to depart. Now that the vessel is on its way to Indonesia, it has been banned from returning to Australian ports for six months. 

This latest incident began when AMSA received a complaint regarding the underpayment of seafarers and repatriation issues. During the inspection, AMSA found evidence that the employment agreement with the 13 seafarers on board the ship had not been met, and that the seafarers were collectively owed approximately A$40,000 (US$29,000). AMSA also found evidence that the seafarers had been on board for over 12 months, despite ongoing commitments to repatriate the seafarers at the end of their original nine-month contracts. Reference


Seafarer situation improving slowly Neptune Indicator shows

05 Oct 2021
Improving seafarer vaccination rate, suggests Neptune Indicator. The Crew Change Indicator points to a small improvement of the situation and a significant increase in vaccination rates, nonetheless many of the challenges the industry has been facing in repatriating and sourcing crew still remain.

According to the Global maritime Forum’s Neptune Indicator, travel restrictions, strict crew change requirements, and national lockdowns are still preventing seafarers from going back home and have accentuated continuing seafarer shortages. Yet, a positive trend of stabilisation first reported in August is also shown in the October Indicator, which reports further improvement of the situation. The latest Indicator shows that the number of seafarers onboard vessels beyond the expiry of their contract has decreased from 8.9% to 7.9% in the last month.

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Similarly, the number of seafarers onboard vessels for over 11 months has slightly decreased from 1.2% to 1.0%. The October Indicator also sheds encouraging light on seafarer vaccinations picking up pace. The percentage from the past month is up from 21.9% to 31.1% of vaccinated seafarers from the sample. This uptick in the number of vaccinated seafarers rose from 6.6 percentage points between August and September to 9.2 percentage points in the last month, suggesting that seafarers are gaining increasing access to vaccines. These numbers are still lagging behind the rates of many large shipowning nations, the European Union, or the US.

“It is encouraging to see the vaccination rate for seafarers going up and the number of seafarers onboard their vessels beyond the expiry of contracts is decreasing slightly. However, lockdowns, flight cancellations, and travel restrictions persist, thus posing continued challenges to crew changes globally,” said Kasper Søgaard, Managing Director, Head of Institutional Strategy and Development, Global Maritime Forum.

Nevertheless, the crew change crisis is far from over as ship managers still report difficulties in securing vaccines and carrying out crew changes. Continued lockdowns, strict crew change requirements, flight cancellations, and high infection rates still pose the same challenges in on- and off-boarding crew that the industry has been grappling with since the start of the pandemic. Reference


Will Port Congestion Cancel Christmas This Year?

04 Oct 2021
Santa’s sleigh is coming out of its garage a little earlier this year.

Target, Pottery Barn, Ulta Beauty, Gap, and PacSun are among retailers promoting holiday decor and gifts as early as mid-September amid a global supply-chain logjam that threatens to limit the availability of some merchandise later during the holiday season.

Container ships wait off the coast of the congested Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in Long Beach, California, U.S., October 1, 2021. REUTERS/ Alan Devall Image Source:

Americans are expected to spend about $1.3 trillion this holiday season, a 7% to 9% increase over last year, according to Deloitte. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, generally marks the start of the season in the United States, although major retailers typically start advertising holiday merchandise in early November.

This year, they face shipping snarls and other logistics challenges that could leave them unable to meet consumer demand during the fourth quarter if people wait until the last minute to make gift purchases. Target is launching holiday promotions between Oct. 10 and 12, compared to Oct. 13 last year.

“We think advertisers will start advertising very soon to persuade consumers” to buy Christmas gifts and merchandise, said Jed Meyer, senior vice president media domain leader at data analytics firm Kantar.

“That’s compounded by the fact that there’s a lot of anticipation that there may be delivery delays from online shopping, especially … close to the holidays. 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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