News Digest 29-Nov-2021

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Following Stories compiled in this News Digest for the week from 22 Nov 2021 to 28 Nov 2021 in descending order:


MPA hosts cybersecurity exercise with maritime partners

28 Nov 2021
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has held an inaugural sector-wide maritime cybersecurity exercise which tested the sector’s coordination on cybersecurity incident management, emergency response plans and crisis communications.

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Exercise CyberMaritime 2021 is a three-day tabletop exercise being held on 26, 29, and 30 November 2021.

The exercise will be conducted in a hybrid format involving around 90 participants from the MPA, as well as PSA Corporation Ltd (PSA), Jurong Port Pte Ltd (JP), and Pacific International Lines (PIL).

The scenarios covered in the exercise include data leaks, ransomware, web defacement, distributed denial of service (DDoS), supply chain attacks, and compromise of critical maritime and port infrastructure and systems. In the lead up to this event, participants undertook a series of scenario-planning sessions and workshops to update their incident management and mitigation plans.

“The maritime industry is undergoing rapid digitalisation. It is imperative to better prepare against the threat of cyber-attacks which have become more sophisticated,” said Mr Niam Chiang Meng, Chairman of the MPA.

Mr Ong Kim Pong, Regional Chief Executive Officer for the PSA, added “At PSA, we have committed to updating and adjusting our cybersecurity posture to deal with the increased complexity and proliferation of connected systems in the maritime industry. The exercise is timely with the current industry-wide digital transformation and worldwide disruptions to supply chains.

Mr Gan Chee Yen, Co-President and Executive Director of PIL, also commented “PIL is pleased to participate in Exercise CyberMaritime 2021. As a key member of Singapore’s maritime sector, PIL is committed to enhancing cybersecurity to protect our vessels, customers, and crew, as we move ahead to drive digitalisation efforts to improve business and operational efficiencies.

The MPA has also recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Dalian Maritime University (DMU) to drive talent and academic exchange. Reference


India: Paradip Port Trust will be number one in country: Union Minister

27 Nov 2021
A 10-year blueprint to overhaul the Indian maritime sector, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi under the Maritime India Vision 2030, will enhance the efficiency and productivity of Paradip port, said Union Minister of State, Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Shantanu Thakur during his visit to Paradip on Friday.

Image Source: Paradit Port – wikipedia

Speaking to mediapersons, Thakur, said, “The Ministry has envisaged a roadmap to double the production, cargo operation and make this the number one port in the country. This includes port operational efficiency management, capacity expansion and other developments.”

On privatisation of the port sector, Thakur clarified that the government has introduced PPP (Public Private Partnership) mode for infrastructure development and there is no intention to privatise the port. Steps have also been taken for the betterment of contractual workers by providing incentives along with wages to the tune of Rs 4,280 per month.

The Union government has directed the NHAI to handover the road from Dochakki to Atharbanki to the Paradip Port Trust (PPT). Extra pump sets along with desalination plant will be set up to supply drinking water to residents of the locality from local rivers. Measures to reduce pollution and enhance green cover will also be made in the next eight years, the minister further added.

Thakur, on his maiden visit to the port after assuming office, was welcomed by PPT chairman P L Haranadh and deputy chairman A K Bose. Reference


Marine services giant Swire Pacific Offshore hit by ransomware

27 Nov 2021
Marine services giant Swire Pacific Offshore (SPO) has suffered a Clop ransomware attack that allowed threat actors to steal company data.

Swire Pacific Offshore discovered an unauthorized network infiltration onto its IT systems, resulting in the compromise of some employee data.

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“Swire Pacific Offshore (SPO) has discovered that it was the target of a cyberattack which involved unauthorised access to its IT systems,” Swire Pacific Offshore said in a statement to BleepingComputer.

“The unauthorised access has resulted in the loss of some confidential proprietary commercial information and has resulted in the loss of some personal data. The cyberattack has not materially affected SPO’s global operations.”

As the company clarified, the cyberattack hasn’t affected SPO’s global operations, and neither has it resulted in the loss of confidential information.

The Clop ransomware group has claimed responsibility for the attack and posted screenshots of data during the attack.

The screenshots indicate that the ransomware gang stole passports, payroll information, ID numbers, bank account details, email addresses, and internal correspondence messages.

Targeting the shipping industry

Ransomware actors always aim for costly business disruptions, as this raises the chances of them receiving the ransom quickly and without much negotiation.

Some of the most notable recent incidents against firms in the industry include:

A.P. Møller-Maersk hit by NotPetya ransomware in January 2018
COSCO hit by an undetermined group of ransomware actors in July 2018
Pitney Bowes hit by an undetermined group of ransomware actors in October 2019
U.S. Coast Guard hit by Ryuk ransomware in December 2019

At this time, the shipping industry is going through a turbulent period, struggling to keep up with pressing demand in the post-pandemic world. Reference


Full speed ahead for Russia’s new fleet of giant icebreakers

27 Nov 2021
The inaugural nuclear-powered icebreaker “Arktika” of project 22220 undergoes acceptance tests at sea, as the “Sibir” is sailing her first round of sea trials.

Meanwhile, the sudden early-season freeze-up along the eastern parts of Russia’s Northern Sea Route gives a push to Rosatom’s long-term strategy that climate changes will not eliminate the need for powerful icebreakers to assist the goals of massive Arctic shipping.

The “Sibir” is the second in the series of five new nuclear-powered icebreakers. Over the last two weeks, the vessel has been tested in the Gulf of Finland. Photo: Baltiysky Zavod. Image Source:

The “Arktika” was commissioned last year and sailed a few voyages in the high north during the winter season, including to the North Pole and in the waters near the Yamal Peninsula. However, the 2020/2021 season was deeply troubled for the new vessel, mainly due to a malfunction in one of the propulsion motors that forced the huge vessel back to its shipyard in St. Petersburg where the motor was replaced.

“In the course of the test program, the factory commissioning team together with the icebreaker crew will check the performance of the starboard propulsion motor, which was replaced by the specialists,” the press service of the Baltiysky Zavod (Baltic Shipyard) writes.

If approved, the “Arktika” will sail north around Scandinavia to join Rosatomflot’s other icebreakers already working day and night to assist the ice-locked ships and coastal towns along the north coast of Siberia.

The second of the new icebreakers, the “Sibir” sailed out from the Baltic Shipyard on November 16 beginning a program of factory sea trials. The shipyard says the vessel will be at sea for three weeks, checking the operation of the mechanisms and equipment.

By the end of this year, also the “Sibir” is expected to sail north to her new homeport Murmansk on the coast to the Barents Sea and start working along the ice-covered parts of the Northern Sea Route.

Powered by two RITM-200 type nuclear reactors, the new class of icebreakers is the most powerful icebreaking ships ever built in the world. A total of five icebreakers of the class are expected to enter service within the next few years. After “Arktika” and “Sibir”, the “Ural” is next in line. Reference


New cyber security scheme launches to help shippers protect themselves against emerging threats

26 Nov 2021
A new Maritime Cyber Baseline scheme launched by IASME and supported by The Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA) will help shipping operators and vessel owners to improve their cyber security and align with the IMO Maritime Cyber Risk Management guidelines.

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The scheme is open to vessels of all sizes and classifications, including yachts, commercial, passenger ships and merchant vessels. It provides an affordable and practical way for operators and owners to improve their cyber security to counter emerging threats and to reduce the likelihood of a cyber-attack disrupting their day-to-day operations. The scheme has been developed in partnership with maritime experts Infosec Partners.

The IASME Maritime Cyber Baseline scheme enables shipping operators and vessel owners to reassure supply chain partners, passengers, flag and port authorities that a vessel has the suitable cyber security controls and processes in place. They can demonstrate compliance through an IASME Maritime Cyber Baseline digital certificate that can be displayed onboard a vessel and in any business communications.

The scheme is focussed on a set of core security controls that have maximum impact on cyber security and give the best return on the effort and investment in their implementation. It has two stages of assurance:

Verified self-assessment = basic level of assurance
Audited = higher level of assurance

The verified self-assessment requires ship owners/operators to answer a series of questions about their vessel using the IASME secure online portal. The owner is required to sign a declaration attesting that the answers to the questions are accurate. The applicant receives feedback from the assessor on how they can improve the security of their vessel depending on the answers provided to the various questions.

The audited stage involves a review of systems, processes and to verify the answers provided in the self-assessment. This level must be completed by all vessels 500 gwt or over to achieve certification.

If the vessel passes the assessment, it is awarded Maritime Cyber Baseline certification.

All vessels of 500 gwt or over are required to complete both the verified self-assessment stage and the audited stage to achieve certification. Reference


IMO appoints Special Advisor on Maritime Security

25 Nov 2021
The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Secretary-General Kitack Lim has appointed Peter Adams, Head, Maritime Security, Maritime Safety Division, as ‘Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Maritime Security’.

Image Source: IMO


In a statement posted on its website today (24 November), the IMO said: ‘The appointment of the special advisor will support the provision of assistance and advice at the highest levels in IMO on maritime security matters and facilitate external engagement support IMO efforts in this regard.’

Piracy, armed robbery against ships, drug smuggling and stowaways have long been areas of concern for the shipping industry and the IMO – but in recent years cyber security has also become more of an issue.

Adams is a former Royal Navy officer, Admiralty Pilot, and commercial harbour pilot. He has extensive operational and command experience, including enforcing UN sanctions in the former Yugoslavia; counter narcotics operations in the Caribbean; anti-piracy operations off the Horn of Africa; and suppressing maritime criminality in Hong Kong, China. Reference


BV hit by cyberattack, takes servers offline

25 Nov 2021
Classification society Bureau Veritas (BV) has taken its servers offline following a cyberattack at the weekend.

BV said its cybersecurity systems detected an attack on 20 November, and its cybersecurity procedures were immediately activated.

Image Source: Lloyd’s List – Informa

“A preventive decision has been made to temporarily take our servers and data offline to protect our clients and the company while further investigations and corrective measures are in progress,” BV said.

“This decision generates a partial unavailability or slowdown of our services and client interfaces.”

BV said its internal teams were working with third-party IT experts to ensure business continuity and minimise disruption to customers and business partners.

“Bureau Veritas has also actioned the relevant authorities, who will provide us with additional support to resume normal operations in short term,” the classification society said.

Arguably BV should be well placed to manage the impact of cyberattack as cybersecurity is one of the services offered the classification society offers to its clients. Reference



ABS Approves 3D-Printed Parts After Six Month Trial on U.S. Tanker

25 Nov 2021
A series of 3D-printed mechanical parts used aboard an in-service oil tanker have been validated in good working condition at the end of a six-month trial. According to ABS, which participated in the project along with ConocoPhillips Polar Tankers, Sembcorp Marine Ltd, and 3D Metalforge, the project marks a milestone for the technology that could revolutionize how parts are made and supplied to ships in need of repairs.

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The test project began in February 2021 with the fabrication and lab-testing of mechanical parts for use aboard the U.S.-flagged crude oil tanker Polar Endeavor. Built in 2001, the 141,740 dwt tanker was outfitted with a gear set and gear shaft for boiler fuel supply pump, flexible coupling used on a marine sanitation devices pump, and an ejector nozzle for a fresh water generator, all produced using additive manufacturing (AM) commonly known as 3D-printing.

After six months in operation, all the parts were retrieved and inspected by the vessel’s crew, followed by a remote survey by ABS that confirmed their good condition. ABS has now approved these spare parts after successful onboard testing on the tanker.

“We are delighted with the performance of the parts and the successful completion of the project,” said Patrick Ryan, Senior Vice President, Global Engineering and Technology for ABS. “It’s an important step forward for a technology that certainly has a significant role to play in the future of the marine industry. ABS is committed to ensuring these types of parts are introduced without compromising safety.”

According to ABS, the success of the trial and subsequent approval means 3D-printing can be used for products and components. The technology can permit parts to be fabricated locally or potentially on board ships and offshore assets. The result could be shrinking the supply chain and lead times for specialized and complex parts, introducing new efficiencies driven by design innovation, reduced manufacturing time, and improvements in parts availability.

“The superior performance of these parts in service is a testament to the rigorous engineering, manufacturing, and post-production testing put in place by the team involved with this venture,” said Robert Noyer, Engineering Superintendent for ConocoPhillips Polar Tankers which supplied the ship for the test. “We look forward to future opportunities to support our vessels with this technology.”

Traditional parts used in shipbuilding and repair are manufactured with casting or forging techniques. For this project, the consortium utilized AM to fabricate three types of parts that meet or may even exceed conventionally manufactured products in terms of quality. 3D-printing fabricated the parts by adding material layer by layer. Reference


Warning of future seafarer crisis due to pandemic suffering

24 Nov 2021
Maritime employers warn of a crisis brewing as seafarers quit due to Covid deprivations and young people turn away from the industry as a result of the suffering they can see.

Photo credit: Michelmädchen/Flickr. Image Source:


Although seafarers are shipping’s frontline workers many countries have not recognised them as such. As result they have endured travel restrictions, quarantine, being unable to leave their vessels when contracts expire, and denial of medical care ashore since the onset of the pandemic. Not to mention the toll all these have taken on seafarers’ mental health.

Speaking at Crew Connect Global Week Capt Ahmed Belal, chairman of the International Maritime Employers Council (IMEC), warned of a crisis ahead as both current and potential future seafarers turn their backs on the industry due to the hardships endured by crew during the pandemic.

“A lot of seafarers because of this continued suffering are not returning at the same number they’re signing off and coming back to the ship,” Capt Belal said. On top of this they were not encouraging their children to become seafarers, and young people knowing the suffering crew have endured in the pandemic are not enrolling to become seafarers.

“This to me is a crisis that is brewing and it’s going to hit the industry very hard,” he warned.

A comparison was drawn with the 1980’s recession when hundreds of thousands of seafarers left their jobs at sea and did not return.

“I believe we are in a similar situation where a lot of seafarers will not come back. We will be deprived a lot of young, motivated people that wanted to come to sea, but will not come,” he said. References


Tanker Master’s Fatigue Cited in $73 Million Marine Accident

24 Nov 2021
A tanker operating company’s decision to change masters without a handover period led to a $72.9 million marine accident off the coast of Louisiana, according to a National Transportation Safety Board Marine Accident Brief issued Tuesday.

Marine Accident Brief 21/24 details the NTSB’s investigation of the October 17, 2020 accident, in which the tanker Atina struck the oil and gas production platform SP-57B near Pilottown, Louisiana.

The Atina is pictured postaccident on the left and the SP-57B platform is pictured preaccident on the right. Sources: The U.S. Coast Guard (left) and Cox Operating (right). Credit: NTSB. Image Source: gCaptain

The Atina, with a crew of 21, was attempting to anchor in the Southwest Pass Fairway Anchorage in the Gulf of Mexico when it struck platform SP-57B. The platform’s four crewmembers and one technician evacuated to a nearby platform by helicopter after activating the emergency shutdown device to shut in wells to the SP-57B platform.

No pollution or injuries were reported. Estimated damages to the platform ($72.3 million) and ship ($598,400) totaled $72.9 million.

In its report, the NTSB says the company did not comply with its own safety management system (SMS) in the lead up to the accident.

Atina’s master at the time of the accident boarded the underway vessel outbound to the anchorage, only seeing the departing master on the tanker’s deck. The company placed the accident master into critical vessel evolutions, such as navigating downriver and anchoring at night, without any overlap with the departing master. The company’s SMS required a minimum one-day turnover between senior personnel aboard a company vessel if the oncoming senior person worked for the company, and seven days if the senior person was new to the company.

According to the report, the accident master told investigators he wanted to anchor the ship as soon as possible because he was tired. The accident master traveled from Turkey to join the vessel and told investigators he had no sleep for over 50 hours while traveling. The location he chose did not follow the passage plan anchoring location. According to Atina’s passage plan, the tanker’s intended anchorage was about 3.2 miles northeast of SP-57B. The actual anchoring location was about .7 miles from platform SP-57B.

Investigators determined the probable cause of the contact of tanker Atina with the oil and gas production platform SP-57B was the Atina’s operating company not ensuring sufficient time for the master’s turnover, which resulted in the master’s acute fatigue and poor situation awareness during an attempted nighttime anchoring evolution.

“Vessel operating companies should ensure that joining crewmembers/personnel are given the opportunity to obtain a sufficient handover period and adequate rest before taking over critical shipboard duties, such as navigation, that could impact the safety of crew, property, and the environment,” the report said. Reference


Container shipping earnings hit all time high

23 Nov 2021
Move over Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google, you’re currently being outperformed financially by the ocean carrier giants.

Actual net income for the container shipping industry in third quarter 2021 was $48.1 billion, a staggering $43.0 billion and nine-fold improvement from the $5.1 billion profit in the same quarter of last year. That year-ago profit was already approaching record levels. The remarkable third quarter profit was more than five times the record industry profit level first achieved in fourth quarter.

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These are some of the numbers to emerge from the latest McCown Container Results Observer prepared by John D. McCown, founder at Blue Alpha Capital, who writes that “these actual results are diametrically opposed to what anybody could have contemplated at the beginning of the pandemic a year and three quarters ago. Net income as a percent of revenue came in at 42.7% in 3Q21. By any and all financial measures, the 3Q21 results were the best actual quarterly performance by the container shipping industry in its history.”

“While the pandemic was initially expected to have a depressing effect on already poor industry results by reducing volume, through a series of events it has been the opposite in a pronounced way,” writes McCown. “Initially there was a volume impact but the aggressive laying up of 14% of vessel capacity by carriers more than compensated on what turned out to be a smaller actual decline. The short-lived volume impact then reversed as consumer purchases from the stay at home lifestyles driven by the pandemic resulted in actual volume gains. While most pronounced in the large Asia to U.S. lane, this was a phenomenon that would occur worldwide. These volume gains were more than could be handled even as laid up and additional vessel capacity was brought online. As other nodes within integrated container systems such as terminals reached capacity, this created bottlenecks that further exacerbated overall imbalances.

With the latest quarterly profits, the container shipping industry compares favorably to the actual financial performance of companies it has rarely if ever been linked with performance wise. For instance, a group of technology companies that have consistently reported growing actual earnings in recent years are referred to as FANG, an acronym for Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google.

The $48.1 billion in 3Q21 container shipping profits was almost 50% higher than total FANG profits and the 42.7% net income to revenue margin was almost three times higher. Reference


Kiribati seafarers return home after being in Fiji for months

23 Nov 2021
142 Kiribati seafarers are finally returning home to their families after being stuck in Fiji due to the pandemic.

FBC News understands some of these men who were working for international shipping lines have been in the country for almost two years.

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Following questions sent to the Kiribati High Commission, its Government has stated they have chartered the Reef Endeavor vessel owned by Captain Cook Cruises to take these men home.

It will take them six days to reach their destination.

Prior to their departures, these passengers have gone through strict travel procedures and tested three times for COVID-19 with all results coming back negative.

These nationals are accompanied by three medical officers who will assist the Reef Endeavor’s medical team in monitoring and carrying out medical check-ups and tests during the trip. Reference


Nigeria: Navy Warns Ship Owners Against Illegal Marine Activities

22 Nov 2021
The Nigerian Navy Service (NNS) has warned ship owners and companies operating in the Niger Delta communities to shun illegal marine activities or risk seizure of their vessels.

The Service also appealed to ship owners and other stakeholders to seek and obtain all necessary approvals before embarking on any maritime activity in the region.

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NSS made this known in a statement by its Executive Officer, NNS, Delta, Navy Capt.Levi Deyin, while handing over a vessel, MT Madam Esther, that was allegedly impounded to its owner, Snow White Energy Limited.

The Service explained that the vessel, MT Madam Esther, was impounded in respect of alleged illegal activities at Escravos in Delta State.
Deyin said the vessel which was released to the representatives of the company at the Warri Naval Base, was seized in January 2020 in Escravos by the Naval personnel following its alleged involvement in illegal activities.

He said that the vessel was released to its owner following the conclusion of the case and approval from the Naval headquarters.
“MT Madam Esther was arrested by the Base in January 2020 for its involvement in illegal activities.

“Following the conclusion of the case and the approval from the Naval headquarters, I, Capt. Levi Deyin, on behalf of the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), hereby handover the MT Madam Esther to you.

“You are hereby warned to desist from all forms of illegalities in the future and to always obtain the necessary approval for your activities’’, Deyin said.
The statement added that the manager of the company, Mr Okpoi Iteimo-owei, accompanied by some staff were present to receive the vessel on behalf of the firm. Reference


Port Congestion Eases in Asia While U.S. Battles Import Deluge

22 Nov 2021
Asia’s largest ports are showing signs that congestion is easing ahead of the holiday season, a potentially positive step for key trade gateways in the U.S. that are still battling an influx of imports.

Total traffic in Shanghai-Ningbo declined by 0.2% from the previous week and Hong Kong-Shenzhen’s ship count dropped 10.4%, according to an analysis of data by Bloomberg News. Singapore, Asia’s third-largest trade hub, saw a week-on-week drop of 14.7% as a backlog visible since early November looked to be largely cleared.

Port of Hong Kong. Photo credit: hxdyl/ Image Source: gCaptain

The same can’t be said yet across the Pacific, as queues of vessels remained elevated in Los Angeles and Long Beach, California. Congestion levels at those neighboring ports rose 6.7% from the prior week.

As of early Friday, at least 75 container ships were waiting for berth space to offload after politicians toured the ports two days ago, touting a 32% drop in the number of containers sitting on the docks for more than nine days.

The handoff between land and sea remains an issue for America’s largest container hub, as logistics operators on the ground are not picking up their containers quickly enough, and a steady stream of ships arrives to drop off more.

The White House said in a blog post on Wednesday that the number of containers sitting at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports for more than nine days fell to 87,000 in the week ended Nov. 15, compared with 127,000 on Nov. 1.

Still, analysts were reluctant to call the worst of the global supply snarls over.

Congestion wasn’t uniformly easing in Chinese ports. The congestion rate — the ratio of ships waiting to those in port — crept up 25% greater than the median in Tianjin, while a Covid-19 outbreak in the smaller port of Dalian drove down container ship counts to an April-to-November low of five ships. 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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