News Digest 15-Nov-2021

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Following Stories compiled in this News Digest for the week from 08 Nov 2021 to 14 Nov 2021 in descending order:


300 spots in conversion programme for mid-career switch in maritime sector

14 Nov 2021
Up to 300 individuals can tap an enhanced career conversion programme for a mid-career switch to the maritime sector, said Senior Minister of State for Transport Chee Hong Tat on Saturday (Nov 13).

The enhanced programme aims to upskill those who are keen to take up job roles such as port operations manager, shipping analyst, assistant technical superintendent and ship agent.

The hiring outlook for the maritime sector remains positive despite Covid-19.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG. Image Source:

Speaking at the Maritime Singapore Connect Maritime Digital Challenge grand finals on Saturday, Mr Chee said there are job opportunities in the maritime sector for mid-career individuals who bring “useful skills and knowledge from other industries”.

“(The expanded programme) will equip mid-career switchers and existing maritime employees who are taking on different roles with new competencies in areas such as automation, data analytics, decarbonisation and cyber security,” said Mr Chee.

The enhanced Career Conversion Programme for Sea Transport Professionals and Associates is rolled out by Workforce Singapore (WSG) and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).

To build up a local talent pipeline of maritime superintendents, WSG and MPA will pilot 20 placements under the new specialisation track.

Such officers oversee ships’ compliance with regulatory requirements and are in charge of ground-level crew management, while assistant technical superintendents manage ships’, including ship expenditures, and ensure their seaworthiness.

Individuals on this track will be awarded a specialist diploma in maritime superintendency by Singapore Polytechnic after they complete six modules and on-the-job training.Reference



Shipping needs a ringside seat at international debates says InterManager

13 Nov 2021
Shipping needs a “King Arthur-style” round table of many relevant bodies to fully represent its views at international level and “do it justice”, InterManager’s President Mark O’Neil said during the association’s Annual General Meeting this week.


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Highlighting the shipping industry’s distant position in relation to important global events such as the recent COP26 environmental discussions, Mark O’Neil, InterManager President and CEO of Columbia Shipmanagement, said shipping’s arena seat is ‘in the gods’ and we need to be ringside. “We need to control the narrative and be involved. InterManager is crucial to that voice.”

He stated that third party ship and crew managers, who today employ 90% of the world’s seafarers, are well-placed to “drive the debate”. “I’m fed up with others taking the lead. We need to have opinions on important issues to serve our members and our respective crews,” he said.

He said it was important for ship managers to demonstrate to the world “that we are a highly professional group of companies”. Members are considering a first draft of the new Standard which will be implemented throughout the InterManager membership. It looks set to give members a competitive edge by demonstrating verifiable standards across a range of areas of operation, while setting out a recognised path to success.

The meeting concluded with a dynamic debate on environmental concerns and shipping’s role in meeting climate change targets. Speakers included Alastair Evitt of V.Ships, who is a former InterManager President; Sunil Kapoor of Fleet Management; David Furnival of BSM; Capt Eugen Adami of Mastermind; Capt John Albrecht of SCF Management Services; Sotiris Raptis of ECSA; as well as Captain Kuba Szymanski, InterManager Secretary General, and Mark O’Neil. Reference


New AI system identifies terrorist threats in Singapore waters in real time

13 Nov 2021
The Republic’s shores will soon be safer with a new artificial intelligence data processing system that can identify threatening ships along Singapore’s shores in real time.

The “sense-making system”, which will be used by the Singapore Maritime Crisis Centre (SMCC), automatically takes in updated information from local and foreign governmental and commercial sources and uses anything from the crew’s criminal records to the route the ship is sailing to determine threat levels.

A screen showing the new AI sense-making system, which can determine threat levels of the more than 2,000 ships parked in Singapore waters in real time. PHOTO: MINDEF. Image Source:

This information and the vessel profile is then instantly shared with other maritime security agencies, allowing them to calibrate coordinated responses.

Such responses include boarding a ship by force, diverting and managing maritime traffic, extinguishing fires on board a vessel or, as in a case of a chemical tanker in 2019, banning the crew of a suspicious ship from disembarking.

The agencies using the sense-making system together are the Republic of Singapore Navy, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, Singapore Customs, the police and the Singapore Civil Defence Force.

Colonel Desmond Low, director of the national maritime sense-making group, said: “With thousands of ships in Singapore waters and hundreds arriving each day, we cannot board or search every single one. We need to sense-make and focus on those of a higher risk. For SMCC, the objective is to detect threats early and as far away as possible.”

The crisis centre was created after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, when 10 members of Lashkar-e-Taiba carried out 12 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks lasting four days, killing 175 people.

Agencies here decided that Singapore needed a centralised organisation to make sure intelligence data is shared effectively and responses are coordinated – key gaps in India’s 2008 response. It marks its 10th anniversary this year. Reference


“Snake Robot” Eelume to Enter Into Service

13 Nov 2021
The Norwegian subsea inspection startup Argeo has become the first commercial customer for the Eelume, an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) with an unusual snake-like form.

Argeo aims to use robotics, sensors and analytics to conduct inspections without large surface vessels, reducing the carbon footprint (and the cost) of offshore operations. It plans to deploy the Kongsberg-backed Eelume as a resident on-site inspection device, capable of staying at the installation for extended periods without repeated launch and recovery.

Illustration courtesy Kongsberg. Image Source: Maritime Executive

In operation, one Eelume robot can provide a service footprint of up to about 20 square nautical miles. The flexible, slender body can fit into tight spaces, and it is designed to stay below in a “hibernating” mode when not in use.

“We believe that this is just the beginning of a major shift in how the industry conducts underwater operations,” says Trond Crantz, CEO of Argeo. “In addition to lowering carbon footprint and increasing efficiency, Eelume technology will enable Argeo to significantly reduce the costs related to inspection, light intervention and monitoring (IMR) of subsea assets and infrastructure. Currently, 90 percent of these costs are vessel-related. Implementing Eelume as a resident inspection tool for offshore wind and oil and gas will replace up to 70 percent of vessel activities.”

In the offshore energy sector, Eelume and Argeo see a growing demand for autonomous underwater robots, which require much less human involvement in at-sea operations. With support from Kongsberg, Eelume wants to become a leading player in this market. Reference


COP26: new task force to support seafarers through green transition

12 Nov 2021
A Just Transition Maritime Task Force has been formed at COP26 to drive decarbonisation of the industry and support millions of seafarers through shipping’s green transition.

As informed, the task force will push forward shipping’s climate goals while protecting its works and their communities, ensuring opportunity for all.

It will focus on the development of new green skills and green and decent work, identifying best practice across the value chain and providing policy recommendations for an equitable transition – with a specific focus on developing economies.

Image Source: Offshore Energy

The task force was agreed during high-level discussions at COP26, including in discussions with the shipping lead, UN climate champions team, whose founding members include the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), representing shipowners, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), representing seafarers and port workers, and the United Nations Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative.

Other influential UN organisations including the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will join the task force as formal partners.

The world’s largest economies reiterated the importance of Just Transition this week as 30 nations committed to strategies ensuring that workers, businesses and communities are supported as countries transition to greener economies. Global shipping is responsible for the movement of 90% of world trade and currently accounts for nearly 3% of global GHG emissions.

There are over 1.4 million seafarers globally, with the majority of this workforce originating from emerging economies.

The move is said to represent the first of its kind for shipping and will provide clear leadership and steer for the industry to coordinate efforts and work with governments, industry, workers and their representatives to ensure a people-centred transition for the maritime industry.. Reference



Ship management revenues up in H1

12 Nov 2021
Revenue from ship management showed a small increase in the first half of 2021, reflecting the recovery in global shipping after the disruption caused by the Covid pandemic.

According to the Central Bank’s ship management survey for the period between January and June 2021, revenues reached €447m, or 4.1 per cent of GDP, compared with €430m between July and December 2020.

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The increase, marked “a gradual recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and the associated decline in economic activity observed during 2020,” the CBC said.

In terms of country or origin, Germany remains Cyprus’ biggest market with a share of 45 per cent of total revenue, (compared with 42 per cent in the second half of 2020), followed by Greece, whose share rose to 13 per cent from 12 per cent in the second half of 2020.

On the other hand, Singapore, Malta and the Marshal Islands’ share marked a slight drop to 7 per cent, 3 per cent and 3 per cent respectively, compared with 9 per cent, 7 per cent, and 4 per cent in the second half of 2020.

According to data, the Cyprus ship management sector remains broadly international, as 59 per cent of revenue came from ships under foreign registries, while the rest was revenue from ships under the Cypriot flag, the CBC added.

Of the €447m of revenue, full ship management services declined slightly to 47 per cent, crew ship management rose to 49 per cent of total revenue while technical management remained steady at 3 per cent. According to the CBC, these shares are close to the levels observed in the second half of 2019.

Ship management expenditure rose to €425m in the fist half of 2021 compared with €416m in the second half of 2020, an increase of 2.2 per cent compared with the second half of 2020 and broadly stable (0.5 per cent) compared with the first half of 2020.

According to the CBC, 60 per cent of total spending concerned crew payments, of which 44 per cent to non-EU seafarers and 16 per cent in EU nationals.

Ship management expenditure (such as spare parts, lubricants and dry-docking) accounted for 27 per cent of spending, while 13 per cent of spending concerned administrative expenses.

Cyprus is considered the EU’s largest ship management centre and among the top three globally. Reference


IMO Council sets International Day for Women in Maritime

12 Nov 2021
International Day for Women in Maritime will be observed on 18 May every year

The IMO Council, meeting from 8-12 November, today decided to establish an International Day for Women in Maritime, to be observed on 18 May every year.

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Once adopted by the IMO Assembly in December 2021, the observance will celebrate women in the industry, promote the recruitment, retention and sustained employment of women in the maritime sector, raise the profile of women in maritime, strengthen IMO’s commitment to Sustainable Development Goal 5 (gender equality) and support work to address the current gender imbalance in maritime.

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said: “I welcome the Council’s adoption of this proposal. Not only does it further efforts to achieve SDG 5 on gender equality, but it is a perfect follow-on action to the IMO Assembly’s resolution and call to achieve a barrier-free environment for women, so that all women can participate fully, safely and without hindrance in the activities of the maritime community, including seafaring and shipbuilding.”

The proposal to establish an International Day for Women in Maritime was first addressed by IMO’s Technical Cooperation Committee (TCC) in September 2021 following the momentum of the World Maritime Theme in 2019 “Empowering women in the maritime community.” The proposal received wide support from the TCC Technical Cooperation Committee in forwarding the proposal to the Council. Reference



What Norwegians are learning as they pioneer autonomous ships

11 Nov 2021
Norway is leading the world in developing autonomous ship technology – and the world should pay attention to its latest developments

Norway is the perfect place to develop autonomous ships. Norwegians love boats, they love technology, and they love to cooperate. On top of that, autonomous ships have practical applications that could affect the lives of many in Norway.

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Mary Ann Lundteigen manages SFI AutoShip, an eight-year programme funded by the Research Council on Autonomous Ships and Operations and 22 partners. She is a professor at the department of engineering cybernetics at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), where the centre is hosted.

“Even though some people think fully autonomous ships exist, as far as I know, all first commercial ships with autonomy will start at degree 2,” says Lundteigen. “Degree 2 means the ship is remotely controlled but has at least one seafarer on board.

“Reaching degree 3 – remote control and with no crew on board – is a bigger challenge, so a test period at degree 2 is a good way to gain experience. And then there’s degree 4, which is fully autonomous – where the ship can operate fully on its own and with no seafarers on board. Degree 4 is out of the question for now – at least commercially. But it is an area of active research here in Norway.”

NTNU is currently working with partners to test a prototype of an autonomous passenger ferry, and a control room to intervene remotely as needed. Unlike self-driving cars, autonomous boats can be run by a remote operator in a cost-effective manner. But when the person controlling the vessel is not on board, a new set of challenges arise, including the fact that the captain may not be the one who goes down with the ship.

“We are making shore-based control rooms to monitor and potentially take over control of autonomous ships,” says Ole Andreas Alsos, head of NTNU Shore Control Lab, which is part of SFI AutoShip. “Our lab does not serve as a control room for a specific purpose. Instead, it’s a shore control lab where we do research on different control room designs. We want to learn how to build the best control rooms for different applications: urban ferries, maritime autonomous surface ships, big deep-sea shipping, short sea shipping, car ferries, and so on.”

“Our control room has extra features that help us study how operators behave,” says Alsos. “We have cameras, of course, to see what is happening in the control room. But operators also wear wrist bands so we can measure their heart rate variability and their skin conductance, which indicates their stress levels.

“We use glasses with eye-tracking so we can see where they are looking. That is a good indication of where they have their attention. We also measure their pupil dilation. From the size of their pupils, we can get a good impression of their cognitive loads – a large pupil means high cognitive load; a small pupil means lower cognitive load,” he explains.

“The system that is supposed to steer and navigate a vessel through dense fairways, interacting with conventional vessels, needs to act in accordance with the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972 (COLREGs). Data models are needed for systems to recognise situations and react to surrounding traffic.”

Thanks to what Norway is doing now, some time in the future, ships will operate without crews. A day-shift captain will be able to go into work in the morning, operate one or more ships from a control room, and be home in time for dinner. When this becomes a reality, the captain will never again have to go down with the ship – and nor will anybody else. Reference


Sky Perfect JSAT launches new maritime satellite broadband service

10 Nov 2021
SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation (Head Office: Minato-ku, Tokyo; Representative Director, President & Chief Executive Officer: Eiichi Yonekura; “SKY Perfect JSAT”) announced today the launch of its new maritime broadband service “JSATMarine”. “JSATMarine” will be the one of the world’s top GEO satellite based maritime service*1 in terms of speed and will commence service from January 2022.

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In response to accelerating digitalization in the maritime industry and ever-growing demand for crew internet connectivity, SKY Perfect JSAT will use its own HTS (high throughput satellite) to provide high-speed internet access as fast as 50Mbps (shore-to-ship) and 3Mbps (ship-to-shore) at monthly fixed rates. “JSATMarine” platform will operate from SKY Perfect JSAT’s teleport using the newly procured Velocity® system from ST Engineering iDirect, together with enhanced network security such as encryption and managed firewalls. “JSATMarine” service will cover major shipping routes from Western Pacific Ocean region to Indian Ocean region.

With the introduction of “JSATMarine”, shipping companies can take advantage of its connectivity in promoting maritime IoT solutions to achieve higher standards of safety navigation and operational efficiency. Also, by having faster Wi-Fi access, it can support more video communications and improve crew welfare as the maritime industry cope with COVID-19 crew change crises. In addition, SKY Perfect JSAT will continue to work towards developments of autonomous ships in the future of the Japanese maritime industry.

Since 2010, SKY Perfect JSAT has been the industry leader in the advancement of VSAT service in the Japanese maritime broadband market. Through innovative activities, our legacy service “OceanBB” and its successor service “OceanBB plus” have contributed to improving the broadband environment of over 300+ vessels and driving the digitalization of Japanese maritime industry. Reference


United States Looks to Move Quickly on $17 Billion Revamp of U.S. Ports

10 Nov 2021
The White House plans to move quickly on a $17 billion revamp of U.S. ports approved by Congress as part of President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill.

Biden is due to visit the Port Of Baltimore on Wednesday to tout funding for revamping U.S. ports facing huge backlogs.

A commercial freight train carries a load of shipping containers at the Port of Savannah, Georgia, U.S. October 17, 2021. REUTERS/Octavio Jones. Image Source: gCaptain

The $17 billion will “improve infrastructure at coastal ports, inland ports and waterways, and land ports of entry along the border,” the White House said.

Many U.S. ports have bridge or depth limitations that restrict their ability to receive larger vessels, while a surge of cargo is straining land operations at some ports.

The project aims:

* To identify projects for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers construction at coastal ports and inland waterways within the next 60 days.

* To provide a roadmap for more than $4 billion in funding to repair outdated infrastructure and to deepen harbors for larger cargo ships.

* To prioritize key ports of entry for modernization and expansion within the next 90 days.

* To identify $3.4 billion in investments to upgrade obsolete inspection facilities and allow more efficient international trade through the northern and southern borders.

The Biden administration aims to alleviate congestion at the Port of Savannah by funding a project by the Georgia Port Authority. Reference


Methanol Powered Ships: A Rapidly Progressing Niche in Shipping

10 Nov 2021
Mitsui O.S.K lines (MOL) has recently acquired the dual-fuel vessel, CAPILANO SUN, making it the most recent addition to the company’s methanol fleet. Mitsui O.S.K lines currently operates 4 of the 13 dual-fuel tankers that can use methanol as a fuel. CAPILANO SUN is the most advanced methanol-powered ship so far, being able to meet IMO’s Tier III regulations by mixing water and raising the temperature of the fuel.

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Methanol dual-fuel ships can reduce the emission of sulfur compounds (SOx) by 99%, Particulate matter by 95%, Carbon dioxide by 15%, and Nitrogen oxide (NOx) compounds by 80%. While this paints a rosy picture, methanol does produce carbon dioxide and can become carbon neutral as a whole only when the process of production of said methanol is carbon negative (which is to say the process absorbs more carbon than it emits). This might just be the best possible compromise for now as LNG powered ships have the problem of methane slip, methane being 28 times more potent than CO2, Ammonia can produce Nitrogen compounds, N20 being 300 times worse than CO2, and hydrogen, which has zero emissions, but producing hydrogen in a carbon-negative manner is not economical so far. Methanol is largely unexplored as a fuel alternative and can yield promising results. Reference


Inmarsat Acquired by US-Based Viasat for $7.3 Billion

09 Nov 2021
California-based communications company Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT) has announced an agreement to acquire Inmarsat for $7.3 billion.

The combination will create a leading global communications company with portfolio of spectrum licenses across the Ka-, L- and S-bands through a fleet of 19 satellites in service with an additional 10 spacecraft under construction and planned for launch within the next three years.

A member of staff at satellite communications company Inmarsat poses in front of a section of the screen showing the southern Indian Ocean to the west of Australia, at their headquarters in London March 25, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Winning. Image Source: gCaptain

Inmarsat is a global leader in mobile satellite communications in the maritime, aviation and government sectors. The company was taken private in 2019 after it was sold for $3.4 billion to a consortium of UK-based Apax Partners, U.S.-based Warburg Pincus, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

Viasat said the transaction is valued at $7.3 billion, comprising $850.0 million in cash, approximately 46.36 million shares of Viasat common stock valued at $3.1 billion based on the closing price on November 5, 2021, and the assumption of $3.4 billion of net debt.

The combined company intends to integrate the spectrum, satellite and terrestrial assets of both companies into a global high-capacity hybrid space and terrestrial network, capable of delivering superior services in fast-growing commercial and government sectors, Viasat said. This will create “a framework incorporating the most favorable characteristics of multi-band, multi-orbit satellites and terrestrial air-to-ground systems that can deliver higher speeds, more bandwidth, greater density of bandwidth at high demand locations like airport and shipping hubs and lower latency at lower cost than either company could provide alone,” the company said.

“Joining with Viasat is the right combination for Inmarsat at the right time,” said Rajeev Suri, CEO of Inmarsat. “Viasat is a terrific innovator and Inmarsat brings some powerful additions: global reach, a broad distribution channel, robust business momentum and a presence in highly attractive global mobility segments. Together, the two companies will create a new global player with the scale and scope to help shape the future of a dynamic and growing industry. Reference


Carnival Cruise Line Continues Epic Holiday Tradition for Crew Members

08 Nov 2021
During the height of the pandemic, thousands of individuals, organizations, and businesses made a massive difference for crew members onboard Carnival Cruise Line ships by sending them more than 10,000 Christmas and holiday cards. This year the cruise line hopes to expand on the efforts from last year.

Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line. Image Source:

With only a few crew members on board last year, getting the cards to the ships was relatively easy. With more than 25,000 crew members on board now, it might be just a little bit harder to accomplish. Nonetheless, Carnival Brand Ambassador John Heald hopes everyone will chip in once again.

Being a crew member on board a crew ship is great fun most of the year, but as you would expect, the holiday season can be tough on the thousands of people far removed from their families.

The efforts last year were exceptionally well received by the crew members on board, and hopefully, this is an effort that can be repeated this year.

John Heald, Carnival’s Brand Ambassador: “Last year you were all so amazingly kind when I asked you to send Christmas and holiday cards for our crew on the ships. Over 10,000 of you sent them and words cannot express how brilliant this was and how touched and grateful the crew were. So here I am again asking that we keep the tradition going. It will be a challenge this year to try and get a card for each crew member on all the ships as we will need 25,000 of them to assure each person gets one card.” Reference


Cargo Ships Are Trying To Avoid Big Ports

08 Nov 2021
Congestion at many of the world’s major ports offered a snapshot of supply chains trying to avoid unprecedented bottlenecks, as cargo handlers searched for the quickest way to route goods through the clogged arteries of global commerce.

The number of container ships off China’s largest trade hub, the combined anchorage area of Shanghai-Ningbo, stood at 248 on Friday, 31 less than the April-to-October median, while its smaller neighbor to the north, the regional port of Tianjin, was saddled with 14 waiting container carriers, 11 more than usual.

FILE PHOTO: Container ships and oil tankers wait outside the Port of Long Beach-Port of Los Angeles complex. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson. Image Source: gCaptain

Southern California remained a logistical mess, with at least 79 vessels waiting to offload in Los Angeles and Long Beach, the largest container complex in the Americas.

In Asia’s second-largest combined anchorage spot, Hong Kong-Shenzhen, the ship count stood at 221 — 30 more than the median, while its smaller southern neighbor, Qinzhou, saw a more modest high of 10 container ships over the same study period.

Singapore, which drew down from Monday’s high of 53 waiting ships, had 17 more waylaid vessels than usual, creating a congestion rate of 48.2%, or 10.5 percentage points higher than the median. In neighboring Malaysia, Tanjung Pelepas saw its net congestion jump 30.5 points to 57.1% and Port Klang’s rose 7.5 points to 37.1%.

The trend was similar in the U.S. The number of ships off Savannah, Georgia, the nation’s fourth-largest port, dropped to the lowest since Oct. 4. The neighboring anchorages near Charleston, South Carolina, and Florida’s Fort Lauderdale saw their highest counts since Bloomberg starting tracking the data — Charleston had 11 container ships waiting and Fort Lauderdale had 10.

United Arab Emirates’ combined hub of Jebel Ali and Dubai tied its highest counts from April to November at 55 container ships, with congestion at 22.2%, well below the global average of 32.8%. The Greek port of Piraeus continued to set new highs, as the 29 ships counted in its anchorage topped a count earlier this week by one. 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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