News Digest 17-Oct-2022

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India stands for rules-based maritime borders in Indo-Pacific: Rajnath

16 Oct 2022
India stands for rules-based maritime boundaries in the Indo-Pacific in which no nation, howsoever big, may be allowed to exclude others from its fair use, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Saturday, amid China’s increasing assertiveness in the region.

Image Source: News24

In his address to the heads of Asian Coast Guard agencies, the defence minister also called for effective collaboration among maritime nations to deal with challenges to maritime safety.

Singh asserted that India, throughout history, has been a peace-loving society which has never invaded any foreign land and has always respected the territorial integrity of other countries, while treating them as equal partners.

He stressed that oceanic space should be respected as a global commons to benefit all humanity in an environmentally sustainable way.

He emphasised that India is also encouraged by the effectiveness of agreements like the Regional Cooperation Agreement for Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships in Asia and considers mutual cooperation alone the most effective way to ensure safety and security at sea.

Singh said India’s ‘SAGAR’ (Security and Growth of All in Region) and ‘Rule Based Order at Sea’ complement its approach to inclusive growth and lasting collaboration in the region.

Singh hoped that the maritime domain can be made conducive by ensuring a safe and secure maritime environment and cleaner seas with joint efforts. Reference

World’s first ethylene voyage using biofuel successfully completed

16 Oct 2022
Marubeni conducted a trial voyage on one of its chartered vessels using a marine biofuel blend, from Vlissingen, the Netherlands to Morgan’s Point, Texas, USA. This is the first biofuel supply to an ethylene carrier in the world.

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The ethylene carrier GasChem Dollart was supplied with B25 marine biofuel in Vlissingen, the Netherlands on September 21 2022, consisting of approximately 25% fatty acid methyl ester (FAME), blended with very low sulfur fuel oil (VLSFO).

The FAME component of the marine biofuel blend used in this trial led to a reduction in the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the voyage on a lifecycle, well-to-wake approach.

Biofuel blends are particularly helpful as a “drop-in” solution available to existing fleets without the need for modifications to the engine or infrastructure in most applications.

The FAME component of the marine biofuel blend used in this trial led to a reduction in the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the voyage on a lifecycle, well-to-wake approach. Biofuel blends are particularly helpful as a “drop-in” solution available to existing fleets without the need for modifications to the engine or infrastructure in most applications. FAME is a biofuel – more commonly known as biodiesel – which is largely produced from recycled used cooking oils and renewable oil sources. FAME has physical properties similar to those of conventional diesel and is biodegradable. The Voyage was aimed at understanding whether technical issues such as combustibility and stability arise when biofuel is used. Reference

IBM’s Autonomous Ship Tech to Power Future Ocean Vessels

15 Oct 2022
The AI technology used to power IBM’s autonomous ship may soon find its way into research and commercial ocean vessels.

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Earlier this year, IBM’s Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS) navigated the Atlantic Ocean from Plymouth, England to Halifax, Nova Scotia without a human crew on board.

Now, there is commercial interest in this technology whose original vision was to raise the level of ocean research by sending autonomous ships to places too difficult for human beings to reach.

Speaking at a press gathering, Andy Stanford-Clark, master inventor and CTO for IBM U.K., revealed that there is interest in the potential use of the underlying technology on research ships.

“They’re not so much interested in replacing the captain on their ship anytime soon. It’s a very slow-moving, conservative industry. But they are recognizing that autonomy is coming,” Stanford-Clark said.

Instead, the master inventor floated the idea of an AI-powered first officer to add “a second set of eyes next to the human capital on the bridge, always awake, always alert, never distracted.”

Stanford-Clark said that trials of using the AI captain technology as a first officer can be expected soon, under the name Guardian AI. Reference

World’s first zero-energy cruise terminal to be opened at Port of Galveston

15 Oct 2022
US-based cruise company Royal Caribbean Group has revealed its plans to open a new cruise terminal at the Port of Galveston that will generate 100% of its needed energy through on-site solar panels.

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In developing the new $125 million terminal, Royal Caribbean Group approached design strategies that aligned with its environmental goals, its focus to advance the development of sustainable infrastructure as well as the decarbonization strategy. 

To remind, in May this year, the company joined the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, a nonprofit, independent R&D centre focusing on decarbonisation strategies.

During the construction, materials and transportation processes were used that produce less carbon. Furthermore, the company minimized interior sources of pollution through the installation of materials with low or zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs) content, and enhanced air filtration media, focusing on occupant thermal comfort and controllability.

Specifically, the terminal will rely on 30,000 square feet of on-site photovoltaic solar panels, enabling the port’s self-sufficient energy usage. Any remaining energy not used by the terminal will be sent to the local power grid, according to the company.

The new cruise terminal at the Port of Galveston will be the first in Texas to achieve LEED Gold certification, an industry-leading certification expected to be received within the first two quarters of 2023. This makes the terminal, which will be used by the company’s Royal Caribbean International brand, the first LEED Zero Energy facility in the world.

The Galveston terminal marks the cruise company’s fourth LEED certified facility and its first Gold certified. Reference

The top concerns for leaders in the global maritime industry

14 Oct 2022
The Global Maritime Forum, Marsh and the International Union of Marine Insurance have released the 2022 edition of their Global Maritime Issues Monitor – an in-depth report highlighting the top concerns that will impact the global maritime industry over the next 10 years.

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The Global Maritime Issues Monitor is based on a survey of maritime industry decision makers from six continents and commentary from more than a dozen leaders and experts, and sheds light on the critical issues – and priorities – facing the maritime industry.

For the second consecutive year, decarbonization of shipping and new environmental regulations were the top two issues in terms of impact.

The authors found that maritime leaders are becoming increasingly aware of the urgent need to decarbonize their operations and fleets. This is driven by expectations from stakeholders such as investors and customers, but also by the growing number of regulations that are entering the maritime scene.

Regulations include the Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI), which aims to halve the total CO2 emissions of international shipping by 2050 compared to 2008, and the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII), a metric that measures how CO2 efficient a ship transports goods or passengers over the distance it travelled.

The report highlights that technology will play a key role in reducing carbon emissions, as well as and zero carbon fuels.

Not surprising, fuel price increases and geopolitical tensions rose to the high positions in terms of likelihood and impact, reflecting the outbreak of war in Ukraine and the spiralling prices for fuel.

Talent is another area that is keeping leaders awake at night. In the last two years, both the expected impact and the likelihood of workforce and skill shortages have increased markedly. Reference

Philippines: DOTr working double time to keep PH seafarers’ int’l certifications

14 Oct 2022
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is working double time with other government agencies and maritime schools to ensure that Filipino seafarers will meet the standards of training, certification and watchkeeping for seafarers (STCW) required by the international maritime sector.

Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista, on the sidelines of an event in Makati City on Thursday, said they were in talks as well with the European Maritime Safety Agency, which previously flagged some Philippine maritime schools for noncompliance to the STCW, which are basic requirements for seafarers who want to work abroad.

To address the issue with training, Bautista said they were coordinating with the Commission on Higher Education, the Department of Migrant Workers and the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina).

Sen. Joel Villanueva earlier said that 30,000 Filipino seafarers might lose their jobs due to lingering concerns about the quality of maritime education in the Philippines.

The European Union had given Marina until March 10 this year to respond to the reported deficiencies. The government has since informed the EU of steps so far taken that it hopes will address these concerns. Reference

Cruise Industry To Become More Luxurious As Four Seasons Ready To Unveil A 95-Suite Cruise Ship

14 Oct 2022
The cruise industry is geared to become even more luxurious: Renowned hospitality firm, Four Seasons, has introduced the new cruise arm, appropriately named the Four Seasons Yachts.

Credits: Four Seasons. Image Source: Marine Insight

Despite ongoing fears of a forthcoming recession, the luxury cruise market has been off the charts for a while while the pricing for the 2023 cruises has gone up, the UBS analysts mentioned in an 11 October report.

But eager, enthusiastic, and high-paying travellers will have to wait more years before vacationing at sea on the new, floating Four Seasons hotel. Its yacht-like cruise vessel is unlikely to set sail until the end of 2025 with itineraries in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean.

The hotel-to-cruise pipeline appears to be promising. In 2017, the equally luxurious brand Ritz-Carlton declared the one-of-its-kind “Yacht Collection” and the first cruise vessel, the Evirma, even though the vessel has since been delayed many times amid the ongoing COVID-19 and budget issues reports.

And while not as plentiful, hospitality major Margaritaville — known for Jimmy Buffett-branded hotels, restaurants, and RV parks — has also debuted Margaritaville at-sea cruise line. Reference

Singapore supports maritime decarbonisation projects with new funding

13 Oct 2022
The Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI) has awarded an additional funding of S$12 million (about $8.3 million) to the local Nanyang Technological University (NTU) to support maritime decarbonisation projects.

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The funding will serve NTU to support the research efforts of the Maritime Energy & Sustainable Development (MESD) Centre of Excellence over a new five-year period until 30 September 2027 from this September. The funding targets a total of 14 maritime decarbonisation R&D projects that were developed in Phase One for industry deployment in Phase Two. 

The research centre was launched in October 2017 and jointly funded by SMI and NTU with the mission to deepen Singapore’s maritime capability in the field of energy and sustainable development, with a focus on future port and shipping operations.

Specifically, MESD will initiate joint projects on 16 R&D areas which it has identified with the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and industry partners. These projects include trials on alternative fuels and energy sources, as well as associated adoption pathways.

SMI will also be awarding an additional funding of S$10 million over the next five-year period to the C4NGP, which is part of the College of Design and Engineering at National University of Singapore (NUS), to translate the centre’s advanced digital twinning technologies for adoption by local port and the maritime industry. Reference

Container shipping to hit bottom in mid-2023 forecasts HSBC

13 Oct 2022
Container freight rates are expected to hit a trough in mid-2023 forecasts HSBC Global Research as spot rates fall at 7.5% a week.

Image Source: Seatrade Maritime News

Parash Jain, Head of Shipping & Ports & Asia Transport Research, was one of the first to flag a sharp decline ahead in container shipping’s fortunes at the start of September when he predicted shipping lines profits would plunge by 80% in 2023 – 24.

Far from being overly negative as some in the industry felt at the time Jain has now accelerated the timeline for the sector to hit bottom after spot rates have tumbled far quicker than anyone expected.

In a research note entitled “Fast and furious” HSBC noted spot rates reported by the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI) had fallen by 51% since the end of July – a decline of 7.5% per week.

HSBC has brought forward its expected trough of freight rates to mid-2023 from 2024 with a lower demand forecast and a higher than expected effective capacity increase due to the unwinding of congestion. Sector profitability is set to hit bottom in second half 2023.

The analyst expects Q3 2022 earnings to remain resilient, but profit guidance statements may provide clues as to whether lines have been able to defend contract rates in renegotiations. Reference

Seafarer mental health and geopolitics

13 Oct 2022
The IUMI 2022 Policy Forum Workshop in Chicago focused on the war in Ukraine and its impact on marine and war risk insurance.  At the workshop, Gard’s global head of People claims, Lene-Camilla Nordlie, turned her attention to seafarers and the challenges they face, not just due to the current geopolitical situation, but also generally due to the stresses and strains of their occupation.

Image Source: Gard

The COVID pandemic has made the last couple of years very difficult for seafarers and continues to be a challenge in some parts of the world. Now, the pandemic is overshadowed by the war in Ukraine which has had a direct toll on crew wellbeing and mental health. Both the Ukraine and Russia have strong seafaring traditions with approximately 100,000 Ukrainian seafarers and about 200,000 Russian seafarers sailing today sometimes on board the same ship. 

Challenges to seafarer mental health and well-being include concerns for family and friends whilst away at sea and, in the case of the current situation in Ukraine, even whether there will be a home to return to. Some crew members wish to end contracts early while others wish to extend their time aboard.  Access to medical treatment may be compromised and payment of wages and settlement of disability and death benefits is difficult due to sanctions with respect to Russian crew or crew resident in Russian occupied/annexed territories, and the displacement with respect to crew resident in Ukraine.

Thanks to the UN’s Black Sea Grain Initiative, many of the blocked bulk ships have now sailed.  This is good news for the seafarers and will lessen the looming global food shortages. While this is good news for Marine insurance in that constructive total losses may be thus avoided, we must not forget or understate out obligations to the human rights and the physical and mental well-being of seafarers manning those ships.  Reference

How to address homesickness onboard

13 Oct 2022
Homesickness is the emotional distress that people experience when adjusting to new circumstances or surroundings when away from home and feeling cut off from our regular support system.

Analyzing this phenomenon for seafarers , the UK Club notes that homesickness has very little to do with the specifics of the past situation or the new, current circumstances. Reference

Maritime UK makes recommendations to improve shipping sector

12 Oct 2022
Maritime UK published its Programme for Government, setting out the maritime sector’s policy objectives for the new Prime Minister and Ministers, having been developed jointly with Maritime UK’s member associations.

Image Source: Safety4sea

Maritime UK has already briefed Ministers and Shadow Ministers holding key portfolios on the policy proposals at both the Conservative and Labour Party conferences held in Birmingham and Liverpool respectively.

The Maritime UK Programme for Government sets out over forty policy recommendations across five key priority areas.

Environmental recommendations include scaling up co-investment in research, development, and deployment of pro-green technologies, with a key focus on green infrastructure for vessels.

That is supported by a commitment to international regulation, led by the IMO. Recognising an increasingly competitive global maritime environment, there are policy proposals designed to attract new maritime business to the UK.

With the UK’s research and innovation budget increasing, the programme has a significant focus on innovation, and seeks relevant funding rounds for maritime businesses. Reference

Protecting vessels with lightweight fire-proof solutions

12 Oct 2022
Passenger ship operators are installing CBG System’s fire insulation panels and products to improve the safety of passenger and crew onboard their ships.

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Australian-based company CBG Systems’ (CBG) lightweight fire insulation panels provide a simple solution for ensuring fire safety at sea.  

Passenger ship operators can install Rapid Access Composite (RAC) Plus, a lightweight panelised structural fire protection system that can withstand temperatures of more than 1,000C. The solution comprises a stainless-steel structure and non-metallic, non-corrosive panels with a thermal non-intumescent protective coating to ensure they retain their structure in extreme heat. 

Designed in collaboration with Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, RAC Plus is approved for use on steel ships and aluminium high-speed craft and has been successfully installed on ferries for Fred Olsen, Baleària and Molslinjen. The lightweight system has decreased the overall weight of the ships, reducing fuel consumption, operating costs and carbon dioxide emissions.  

CBG is currently developing a lightweight B15 panel, which will provide significant weight-saving advantages.  Reference

Japan’s First Commercial Offshore Wind Farm Takes Shape

11 Oct 2022
All 33 offshore wind turbines have now been installed at Japan’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm.

Image Source: gCaptain

The installation was carried out by Seajacks International’s Seajacks Zaratan jackup vessel at the Akita and Noshiro offshore wind farm situated off the Japanese Akita Prefecture.

The project, which is owned by Akita Offshore Wind Corporation (AOW), is the first commercial-scale fixed-bottom wind farm to be constructed in Japan. It is being constructed at two locations just off Akita Port and the nearby Noshiro Port.

The two locations have a total capacity of 140 megawatts (MW), enough to power approximately 150,000 homes. The power will be sold to Tohoku Electric Power Co. under a 20-year purchase agreement.

Commercial operations of the wind farm are planned to begin later this year. Reference

Soon, MBA and yacht training at state’s maritime institute

11 Oct 2022
The state government has decided to start 22 long-term, short-term, mandatory and optional courses at the Goa Institute of Maritime Excellence (GIME) at Britona, which will include a new entrant training course, advanced refresher training course, maritime MBA courses and yacht training courses.

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A government officer said the concessionaire will have to run six mandatory courses and the government has shortlisted 16 optional courses which can be run at GIME.

Mandatory courses in long-term category are new entrant training course (NETC), advanced refresher training course (ARTC) and in short-term category, power boat operator for inland canoes, personal craft operator, high speed craft operator and crowd management and passenger safety.

Long-term optional courses in the short-term category include maritime MBA courses such as shipping and logistics management, port and shipping management, shipping and finances. In yacht training, such courses include master (coastal) yachts, master (open sea) yachts and master (ocean going) yachts.

The Captain of Ports has invited bids as per the request for proposal (RFP) conditions from interested national and international educational institutions and developers to redevelop the existing maritime school, GIME, into a world-class institute.

A senior officer said that development of Waterfront Infrastructure shall involve the redevelopment and reconstruction of the existing jetty and related infrastructure. Reference

Inmarsat Fleet Hotspot Wins Mission to Seafarers Innovation Award

11 Oct 2022
Inmarsat’s Fleet Hotspot has won the Mission to Seafarers Innovation Award at the Seafarers Awards Singapore 2022. Presented in a ceremony at the Regent Singapore hotel on 6 October, the award recognises Inmarsat, the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications, for its outstanding contribution to crew welfare.

Image Source: The Maritime Executive

With the well-being of seafarers under heightened scrutiny since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuing crew-change crisis, recent amendments to the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 have made crew connectivity a requirement for shipowners. Against this background, demand for Inmarsat’s Fleet Hotspot has increased significantly in recent months.

Powered by Inmarsat’s industry-leading Fleet Xpress service, Fleet Hotspot allows seafarers to stay in contact with loved ones and stream online entertainment in their free time. Through the user-friendly Fleet Hotspot portal, crew can monitor their usage or top up their balances using their own devices.

For shipowners, the benefits of Fleet Hotspot go beyond regulatory compliance. By providing a dedicated network, the solution ensures that crew can access the internet without interfering with mission-critical bandwidth or exposing business operations to cyber threats. Reference


11 Oct 2022
Dutch yacht builder U-Boat Worx has been surprising us repeatedly with their submersibles – this time it’s no different. The Breda-based company currently offers more than 20 submersibles including ones for personal use, and has many concepts in their kitty for a cyberpunk future.

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1250-ton Nautilus is powered by a hybrid diesel-electric propulsion system that hurls it at a top speed of nine knots on the surface (in yacht mode) and four knots while in submerged mode. The maximum depth the vessel can dive without any problem is 656 feet, so one can expect to explore unprecedented underwater life like never seen before on a personal watercraft.

The luxury carrier comes with four staterooms for passengers, quarters for the six crew members, and the owner gets to stay in the flamboyant main suite. There’s a dining room, full galley, lounge area with panoramic windows under the water line, and a whole lot of modern amenities to make the stay rememberable. When above the water, the craft has a huge sundeck, freshwater pool, a bar and an alfresco dining table to bask in luxury for summer holidays. For underwater divers, there’s a pressure-resistant electric tender called the Aronnax. It can ferry up to five seafarers, and the all-electric tender boat is stored below the aft desk when the superyacht takes a dive underwater. Reference

Cheap surveys dilute returns

10 Oct 2022
In a world where things are no longer made to last one would not imagine that vessel surveys and their resulting reports would be added to the list of poorly put together stackable templates completed by a non-marine experienced individual and remotely verified by a shore-based expert.

Image Source: Splash247

A lot of attention ought to be placed on the current condition, survey status, major capex expenditure likely to take place in the near term and other replacement issues that will affect both the purchase price and the residual value of a vessel. In possession of reliable information owners, investors and banks can then decide on current and expected value of an asset and the earnings profile in between. From what we can see that is no longer necessarily the case.

With the asset markets hotter than in many years ships are flying off the shelf with the new owners finding themselves in proud possession of an asset that suddenly needs to pull the stern tube, repair the main/aux engines because of breakdowns or cargo system underperformance. All seriously affecting the revenue generating capability of the ship and as with any asset intended to generate a return it is always difficult to catch up on a poor start. Additional working capital to perform the repairs may be needed and that may not come cheap further eroding the nice initial expected return calculation.

A ship is only an empty vessel and not a revenue generating asset if all the above and more are not fully operational from day one of ownership. Clearly ships are sometimes bought with drydock and other items due (typically in a distressed or rushed sale) but even then, how do we make sure we do not acquire more headaches than we bargained for?

A proper survey by trained professionals with years of experience and an ability to not only see the superficial aspects and capabilities of a ship but also dig deeper through conversations with the Officers and crew onboard to understand the full history and commercial performance of the ship. 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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