Planet MUNZ Local 10

International Longshore and Warehouse UnionSolidarity helps seafarers on cruise ships

Speaking out: Local 10 President Trent Willis (center) and Local 34 President Keith Shanklin (left) rallied with members and community leaders on March 20 at the Port of Oakland. The group called on employer SSA to sanitize equipment and facilities, including the terminal where the Grand Princess had docked before heading to Hunters Point in San Francisco. Other speakers included Bishop Bob Jackson of the Acts Full Gospel Church in West Oakland and Local 10 Business Agent John Hughes. Locals 75 and 91 also supported the call for protecting workers and the community from COVID-19. “It is imperative for us as workers, as well as the public, that the equipment we work with every day, be sanitized to prevent the spread of Coronavirus,” said Shanklin, who noted that other employers at the Port had complied with Safety Code requirements – except SSA.

The cruise ship industry gained notoriety early this year after several Princess vessels became high-profile hotspots for COVID-19 outbreaks, spreading the virus to hundreds of passengers. The cruise industry operates 272 vessels worldwide that host 300 million customers a year. While companies initially responded to the outbreaks with an eye toward protecting their public image and profits, treatment of crewmembers before and after the virus struck seemed to be a lower priority.

The cruise industry depends on massive numbers of low-wage workers to care for guests and operate the giant vessels. Typical crew sizes range from 25% to 50% of the total guests, with ratios of one crew member for every three customers being common.

Longstanding abuses

Crewmembers on cruise and cargo vessels have long struggled against low pay, abusive management and dangerous working conditions. Vessel owners perpetuate this abuse by exploiting a loophole in maritime law, allowing ships to register in countries that provide little or no enforcement of labor, environmental and tax laws.

Most large vessels, whether carrying passengers or cargo, now fly a “flag of convenience” which allows them to carry passengers from wealthy nations while bypassing stronger labor, environmental and tax laws.

COVID-19 flourishes under FOCs

Flying a flag of convenience (FOC) has made responding to the COVID-19 outbreaks more difficult for passengers and crewmembers. When the virus outbreaks occurred, vessels were far from the countries where they were registered, and those countries had neither the funding or infrastructure to offer any meaningful medical, public health and scientific assistance. That left responsibility to states, nations and nongovernmental organizations (NGO’s) to respond as best they could while epidemics raged aboard the giant vessels.

The national governments of passengers and crew members were called to help, with some offering sympathy and support, while others turned their backs on both citizens and workers.

Tale of two vessels

The experience of two different Princess vessels illustrates how the FOC system allows seafarers from around the world to be exploited. In February, the Diamond Princess attempted to quarantine at the Port of Yokohama in Japan, following a COVID-19 outbreak. Japanese officials were limited in their ability to intervene because the ship was registered in Bermuda and subject to that nation’s laws, not Japan’s.

COVID-19 strikes second Princess

A few weeks later, a different vessel, the Grand Princess, was sailing in circles off Northern California. They needed to dock at a nearby port because COVID-19 was spreading among passengers and crewmembers. After high-level consultations with California Governor Gavin Newsom and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, the Grand Princess was allowed to dock in Oakland on March 9th. Two passengers and 19 crew had tested positive for the virus, confirmed by test kits that were delivered and recovered from the vessel via helicopter while the ship circled off the coast. Once again, efforts to enforce federal and state health and safety standards were limited because the ship was registered in Bermuda. That complication didn’t stop local community groups and longshore leaders from voicing concerns at rallies and sharing those concerns with reporters.

Protecting workers & community

Local 10 President Trent Willis joined with Local 34 President Keith Shanklin, Local 75 Secretary Ryan Murphy and Local 91 President Billy Keypoo to express concern for the safety of seafarers – and ensure that refuse offloaded from the Grand Princess was properly handled to protect longshore workers and the community from COVID-19-contamination. The team of union leaders began coordinating their efforts before the cruise ship arrived, using their Joint Port Labor Relations Committee as a forum to raise concerns with employers. Local officers sought and received support from the ILWU Coast Committee and International Officers, including President Willie Adams.

“It wasn’t easy, we had to make them do everything,” said Trent Willis, “and that includes making them follow the grievance procedures,” he added.

ITF Inspectors involved

As events were unfolding in Northern California, longtime ILWU member Sam Levens was completing a training in London, England, as the Bay Area’s new International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) Inspector. West Coast ITF Coordinator Jeff Engels from Seattle temporarily filled-in during the brief absence, coordinating events on the ground in Oakland until Levens returned. Engles kept in touch with local activists, the union in Italy (FITCISL) that represented workers on the Grand Princess, U.S. Coast Guard officials and Princess Cruise Lines representatives.

He also consulted with ITF leaders in London and with the ILWU International Officers. Levens returned and quickly hit the ground running as the area’s newly-trained ITF Inspector.

Advocating for work

Levens worked hard to advocate for crewmembers under trying circumstances – made more difficult because the vessel is registered in Bermuda under a flag of convenience. No representative from Bermuda helped with the lengthy and sometimes difficult negotiations needed to protect the health and safety of crewmembers, longshore and transportation workers, passengers and residents of Oakland. Another complication involved crewmembers’ desire to return to their homes in China, the Philippines and other nations – but some countries were reluctant to repatriate their own citizens because they had been exposed to COVID-19 while working on cruise ships.

President Willie Adams used his experience and connections as a longtime San Francisco Port Commissioner to assist Levens and Engels in their efforts to protect workers and the community.

Cruise ship flotilla

On April 8, the Grand Princess left the Bay Area and sailed for Southern California where she anchored with roughly a dozen other cruise ships, seeking to enter the Port of Los Angeles on April 23. Meanwhile, her sister vessel, the Royal Princess, sailed from Southern California on April 18, filled with seafarers bound for the Philippines, then Indonesia and India – bringing workers home who were unable to secure passage on a charter flight. Princess officials have told Bay Area longshore leaders that they have now sanitized the Princess Grand and intend to shuttle her between LA and Oakland every 7-10 days, using a skeleton crew to keep the engines and systems operational.

Passengers gone, problems persist

Cruise ships around the world are in the final stages of unloading all their remaining passengers, a process that should be finished by the end of April. Then comes the work to assure seafarers will not languish before being repatriated to their homes. Time is running out for some seafarers with personal contracts that expire soon.

Non-essential crewmembers are only entitled to room and board – without pay – until they can get home. Cruise Lines are also imposing industry-wide pay cuts for crewmembers who remain on duty, beginning in May. Companies are screaming poverty after decades of healthy profits, made easier by exploiting crewmembers and avoiding taxes – thanks to their flags of convenience.

Seeking taxpayer subsidies

Registering with foreign flags to dodge labor laws and avoid paying taxes hasn’t stopped the world’s largest cruise line from seeking a massive bailout from U.S. taxpayers. Carnival, the massive parent company for Princess Lines, Holland America, Cunard, Seaborn, Costa and other lines, is seeking a public bailout for their foreign-flagged fleet. Jeff Engels predicts that we should “expect to hear lobbyists and their friends in Congress crying about the need to ‘protect jobs’ for a company that spent decades refusing to pay living wages, sign decent contracts or pay their fair share of taxes.”

“The industry’s effort has failed so far,” says Engels, “but we’ll need to be vigilant to see that they don’t cut a deal with the current administration.”

More than cruise ships

Problems for seafarers aren’t confined to cruise ships. The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic depression have hammered the cargo industry – causing some crew to be stranded and abandoned on vessels around the world. Many companies have instituted temporary freezes on crew changes or limited them to emergencies.

The ITF and its maritime affiliates – including the ILWU – are pressing the International Maritime Organization and other bodies to see that seafarers and transport workers are treated fairly during the COVID-19 crisis – and in the future when it eases.

Fund to help workers

Seafarers were in a precarious situation long before the COVID-19 crisis struck early this year. Many workers are now stranded on ships at sea, and others are afraid to return home for fear of losing their jobs in the future.

To help, the ITF has set-up a $3 million emergency fund to assist seafarers abandoned, stranded or otherwise affected by this pandemic. Funds can be accessed through the ITF Inspectors or ITF affiliated unions. Repatriating crewmembers

As The Dispatcher was going to press, industry reports noted that some cruise ships, including a Princess vessel from the Port of Los Angeles, were being used to repatriate crewmembers to the Philippines and other ports in the Pacific.

Thanks to Jeff Engels, West Coast USA ITF Coordinator, and Bay Area Inspector Sam Levens for their contributions to this report.


Felixstowe DockersHistory of the Port of Rotterdam

Port of Rotterdam catches up in innovation | Port of Rotterdam

The Port of Rotterdam is one of the oldest and largest seaports in Europe. The port, which was the world’s busiest port from 1962 to 1986, has now been overshadowed by Asian ports such as Singapore and Shanghai.

The Rotterdam port is considered to be a strategically important distribution point in Europe as it is surrounded by Europe’s highly-populated and industrialised centres – the German Ruhr district, Paris and London.

Port of Rotterdam History
The Port of Rotterdam came into existence in 1283 when a small fishing village was created at the mouth of the Rotte River by reclaiming a tract of land. 

The port became a major seaport in 1360 after the construction of a canal to the Schie. This development allowed the port to gain access to larger cities in the north, and to facilitate the transport of goods between England and Germany.

The Port of Rotterdam became the country’s second most important port after its expansion along the Meuse. Discovery of the sea route to the Indies in the 17th century led to a boom period in shipping and commerce sectors.

“The port became a major seaport in 1360.”
French occupation of the port from 1795 to 1815 drastically reduced trade. Trade  increased again after the fall of Napoleon.

In 1940, almost one-third of the port facilities were destroyed when it was attacked by Germany.

The port started its rebuilding operation after the end of World War II. The old traditional buildings, destroyed during the war, were replaced by modern-style buildings.

Port Operator
Rotterdam’s port and industrial area are managed and operated by the Port of Rotterdam Authority (PoRA). It is a non-listed public limited company, with shares held by the Municipality of Rotterdam (75%) and the Dutch State (25%).

The port authority is responsible for handling shipping traffic, and developing public infrastructure, existing port areas and new port sites. The main goal of the company is to strengthen the competitive position of the port in terms of size and quality.

In 2009, the port authority invested €34m, while the turnover was around €500m. The company has about 1,200 employees.

Industrial Growth
As is the case with a lot of locations, the Industrial Revolution left an irreversible impression on the city. The growth of industry allowed Rotterdam to grow slowly and steadily as a global port town, and it became an important location for the Dutch East India Company. 

The most significant development in this era came near the end of the 1800’s in response to the ineffectiveness of the natural coastal features for industrial shipping. 

The marshy, shallow delta caused issues for industrial vessels, and a custom created shipping canal was conceived. 

This Nieuwe Waterweg (“New Waterway”) was completed in 1872, also serving to connect industry along the Rhine and Meuse rivers to the North Sea.

Design and construction
The Port of Rotterdam occupies 10,500ha with industrial sites covering an area of 5,300ha, and infrastructure and water surface covering the remaining area. The length of the port is 40km, while its quay length is 89km. The port also includes 1,500km of pipelines.

“Rotterdam’s port and industrial area are managed and operated by the Port of Rotterdam Authority.”
A railroad over the Meuse River was built in 1877, providing the southern Netherlands with access to the Port of Rotterdam. Some bridges were also built to open the river’s south banks for the development of a larger harbour in 1890.

The Rotterdam’s Waal Harbour, which was built between 1906 and 1930, is one of the biggest dredged harbours in the world.

The port’s harbour territory was further enlarged with the construction of the Europort complex along the mouth of the Nieuwe Waterweg.

Construction of Maasvlakte 2 harbour began in 2008 as the existing port is expected to run out of space by 2014. This harbour is expecting the first ship to anchor in 2013.

The contract for the construction of the first site of Maasvlakte 2 was given to a contracting consortium PUMA (Project Uitbreiding Maasvlakte). The consortium consists of Koninklijke Boskalis Westminster and Van Oord. The consortium will also be responsible for maintaining the seawalls for five years. The Port of Rotterdam Authority will finance Maasvlakte 2.

Port facilities
The Port of Rotterdam has tank storage capacity of over 30m cubic metres, crude oil storage capacity of 12m cubic metres and mineral oil products storage capacity of 6.7m cubic metres. It also facilitates independent storage of mineral oil products, chemical products, and vegetable oils and fats.

The port includes 122 jetties and 23 berths, and has six pilot boats and 29 tug boats. There are over 90 terminals, 35 reserved for liquid bulk cargoes, 15 for dry bulk cargo and 17 for multi-purpose use.

The port has nine container terminals to handle short-sea, deep-sea and inland shipping. Other terminals at the port include seven roll-on/roll-off, three juice, two fruit terminals, and one each for steel and paper, cars, and cruise vessels.

The port also has a unique hospital with special accommodation arrangements for seamen of all ranks and nationalities.

Port of Rotterdam security
The three-level security at the port meets the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code standards. Level one is covered with standard protective security procedures.

“Cargo-handling equipment at the Port of Rotterdam includes ten sheer leg cranes.”
Additional protective measures are taken at level two as the risk of a security incident is higher here. The highest is at level three, where probability of security incidents is greater.

The Port of Rotterdam Command and Control centre is fitted with massive screens to track and analyse vessels.

The port also has an X-ray based cargo container screening system, capable of screening nearly 150 containers per hour.

Cargo-handling equipment at the Port of Rotterdam includes ten sheer leg cranes, 12 container cranes, 22 ship-to-shore bulk cranes, 25 floating cranes, 103 container gantry cranes, and 162 multi-purpose cranes.

The port has three shipyards. There are five graving, one graving and covered, and seven floating docks. A slipway maintains inland vessels.


International Longshore and Warehouse UnionPresident’s message

The year 2020 will be remembered as the Great Lockdown. The lengthy interruption of our lives will continue and so will the economic trauma. Consumer confidence may fail to improve and an economic reset will be essential for us to move forward. We have been waiting for a surge in shipping — work that has not happened and may not happen this year. Trade restrictions have not lifted.

Tourism is down. Ridership on ferries is down. Our members have been laid off and some of our members are being sent back to the hall. Work is down across the board and the unknown looms large. In the 40 years I have been a member of this great union, I have never seen a time when our members cannot have union meetings in person until now. All of this is due to a pandemic over which we have no control.

Our members are facing constant demands including new policies over the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitation protocols on the job. We continue the never-ending fight with employers to secure PPE, to put safety first, and to provide COVID-19-related sick leave for all. These safety measures should be a human right in order to maintain dignity on the job and in the hall.

We should not have to struggle for these basic protections; we should not have to fight, for example, for two weeks of paid sick leave when a longshore worker gets sick with COVID-19 while working to keep the ports open and supplies moving during a global pandemic. Similarly, testing should be available for all. In the weeks and months ahead, the ILWU officers, local officers, and the membership will need to have painful conversations about the kind of sacrifices required by all of us in order to protect our people, our union, and our communities.

One thing that we won’t need to debate is the heart of the ILWU, the resolve of our members, and the need for us to step into the void and demand more for workers. The COVID-19 pandemic has had an overwhelming impact on millions of people across the globe.

The United States has been especially hard hit as the country with the highest number of cases to date. People have fallen ill in staggering numbers and the number of people losing their lives continues to grow. State and local government officials along the West Coast have taken this seriously from the beginning.

As a result, we have been fortunate that the rate of infection is low in comparison to other areas. However, as the pandemic persists, we continue to see the devastating consequences in our families and communities.

In addition to the ongoing public health crisis, we have a jobs crisis with unemployment at an all-time high since the Great Depression. To date, we have suffered significant layoffs in Local 5, Local 6, Local 142, the IBU, and the Alaska Longshore Division. For the longshore locals, although work at the grain elevators is steady, shipping has slowed and many B men are not seeing work opportunities. In the smaller ports, work has all but dried up.

In spite of the tragedy from the COVID-19 pandemic, there are glimmers of hope in the midst of all the turmoil. A renewed sense of community in our neighborhoods as we shelter in place together. Recognition and gratitude to the frontline workers who are doing their job to keep us safe. Acts of kindness to those that are in need. People helping people.

Bay Area ILWU members and community allies have been donating resources to the laid-off workers from Tartine, who just voted to join Local 6. Young workers in Local 23 have been reaching out to pensioners to assist with things like grocery shopping and dropping off household items. Members from across the union are reaching out to assist others in ways large and small.

Our strength comes from our membership and local leadership and we cannot thank you enough for your dedication. Please let us know whatever actions our members and locals are taking to help out during this terrible pandemic. We all need to be engaged because our families and communities are at risk. Solidarity is important now and always, and we will continue to search for opportunities where we can play a positive role. I want to give a special thank you to International Vice President Bobby Olvera Jr., International Secretary-Treasurer Ed Ferris, Coast Committeemen

Cam Williams and Fran Ponce De Leon, and all the hard-working staff at the International and the Coast Longshore Division. Without them, this union would not continue to function and for that, we owe them all a debt of gratitude.

Moving forward, we must continue to maintain a first-class temperament as we face the new norm. May we always remember the 4th guiding principle of the ILWU and let it guide us during this season of life: “To help any worker in distress” must be a daily guide in the life of every trade union and its individual members.

An injury to one is an injury to all.

International Longshore and Warehouse UnionILWU honors International Vice President (Hawaii) Wesley Furtado

ILWU International Vice President (Hawaii) Wesley Furtado passed away on March 15, 2020 at the age of 64. Wes rose from humble beginnings as a second-generation longshore worker in a working-class family who became a widely respected leader within the ILWU and the labor movement for his fierce commitment to unions, devotion to social justice and considerable organizing and negotiating skills.

ILWU International President Willie Adams recalled his longtime relationship with Furtado. “Wes was a labor warrior, and I had a great amount of respect for him and how he worked. He was mentored by Bobo Lapena and Tommy Trask—two powerful ILWU leaders with very different styles but who both got results,” Adams said. “Wes took the best of both their styles and created his own style. Like them, Wes was old school—he understood the importance of politics and he had a personality that put people at ease. Wes could get along in any situation and relate to every person he met. This gained him respect from the employers, ILWU members, and union brothers and sisters all over the world. Wes was a true internationalist.”

Early years

Wes was born on September 4, 1955 in Honolulu, Hawaii. He attended school in Kailua when it was still a small town just 12 miles from Honolulu, but a world apart because of its location on the other “windward” side of Oahu. During high school, he held a part-time job, stocking shelves in a local supermarket in the morning, then returned after school to bag groceries.

Plans to enter the trades

After graduating, Wes got a job at an air conditioning and refrigeration supply warehouse where he met workers in the trade and applied to an apprenticeship program run by the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union.

While waiting for his application to be approved, Wes’ father encouraged him to apply for work on the docks. He took his father’s advice and started working on the waterfront in 1978 at the age of 22.

Beginning on the waterfront

As his seniority and experience on the waterfront grew, Wes’ abilities were increasingly recognized by his peers. Co-workers elected him to serve as their Shop Steward, then Longshore Unit officer, and eventually a member of the Longshore Negotiating Committee.

Becoming an organizer

It was through helping non-union workers to organize that Wes began to distinguish himself. He started as a rank-and-file organizer in 1986. His first major assignment involved helping workers at a Kauai hotel to organize for better pay and working conditions.

That experience helped Wes find his calling in life, as he explained during an interview with ILWU Historian Harvey Schwartz in 2014.

“I found a passion to help people to stand up as equals to the employers,” Wes said, “To ask for what they deserve for the work they perform. That’s what drives me. When we organize a new house and negotiate over the table and look at the employer, we can tell them what we think we deserve. We deal as equals.”

International Representative

Local 142 President Donna Domingo knew Wes well because they both grew up together in Kailua. “I worked for Wesley’s mom when I was in high school and our family lived just up the street from them,” she recalls. They lost touch after graduating, then met fifteen years later in a surprising way.

In August 1989 Wes was appointed to serve as an International Representative by ILWU International President Jimmy Herman. In that new position, Wes kept on organizing, negotiated numerous difficult first contracts and oversaw challenging renewals. It’s also how Domingo met him again.

“I saw this guy who looked familiar at one of the big hotels on Maui where the ILWU was organizing,” said Domingo, “and it turned out to be Wesley, so we both ended up in the union movement together.”

“Even back then, I could see that Wesley had courage and the patience to understand organizing was a longterm commitment. He knew how to bring people together and he understood politics, so he used those skills to negotiate and finesse contracts that improved conditions for workers,” said Domingo.

Challenging & winning the VP race

In the year 2000, Wes decided to run against International Vice President (Hawaii) Leonard Hoshijo. Wes narrowly lost by 291 votes out of 11,000 cast. A controversy ensued with Wes challenging the results. His protest was rejected by the union’s International Election Procedures Committee, but upheld by the International Executive Board, which ordered a new election. Wes won the re-run by 850 votes – making him the new International Vice President for Hawaii.

ILWU President Emeritus Robert “Big Bob” McEllrath recalled his many years of friendship, comradery, and hard work with Wesley during his time as International Vice President (Hawaii). “The first time I remember meeting Wesley, he was an International Rep at one of the longshore caucuses in the 1990s. In 2000, Wesley and I both ran and were elected to the position of Vice President. At the time, (ILWU President Emeritus Jim Spinosa) Spinner would send me out to travel and I told him, ‘I’m taking Wesley with me.’ That’s when we became not just co-workers but really good friends. We got to trust and understand the way each other worked.” McEllrath continued, “When I first became International President, I remember having a meeting with the Titled Officers to go over roles and responsibilities. Wes was by far the best organizer I have ever seen. For me to tell him how to do his job would be crazy. He knew everything better than anyone out there.” Big Bob concluded, “With Wes’ passing, the ILWU lost a great labor leader. And for me, I lost a great friend.”

Legacy of a leader

Throughout the more than thirty years that he held office, first as an International Representative and then as International Vice President, Wes’ biggest contribution was furthering the ILWU’s organizing program in Hawaii, as the state’s economy continued shifting from agricultural to service work.

Longtime ILWU Organizer Tracy Takano recalls working with Wesley for over 24 years, spending their first five together as organizers for Local 142.

“When he was elected International Vice President, Wesley’s duties greatly expanded,” explained Takano. “He played a key role in building solidarity with unions around the world and representing ILWU members to top government officials and employers. But when we got together, either in Hawaii or over the phone, the conversation usually turned to organizing. Sometimes it was about specific drives, sometimes on strategic organizing. He liked to remind me by saying: ‘I’m an organizer.’”

“Wesley was very proud to be an International Vice President, and he was always clear on what it meant to hold union office. For him, respect didn’t come from the title. Respect had to be earned – and throughout his long union career, Wesley earned widespread respect for himself and the ILWU.”

It’s about the union

Wesley met his wife Marla 32 years ago through the ILWU: “It was funny because I used to see him (Wesley) on the Big Island working. Wesley knew my brother because they would rope (do rodeo) together so he was a familiar face. I was working at an ILWU hotel on the Kohala Coast while going to school part-time and Wes was organizing on the Big Island.” Marla said. “I was drawn to his charisma, his intelligence, and his passion for the things he loves, including the union. We had the same kind of humanitarian heart.”

Marla recalled his commitment to the ILWU. “The union was more than a position or a title for him. It was his life. He loved the union and what it stood for and saw his fellow ILWU members as part of his family. His job was everything to him and he sacrificed a lot for other people. He knew how important it was to never forget where we came from because we are here to help the people not to help ourselves. Wesley always said it’s not about the individual leader, it’s about the union and how you can make it better and stronger.”

Recent accomplishment

One of Wes’ last major accomplishments was the creation of Local 100 which represents newly-organized longshore supervisors. In addition to working with Hawaii’s powerhouse, Local 142, he also assisted the Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific, Hawaii Region, with their organizing efforts.

Condolences from afar

After Wes’ passing in March, letters of condolence arrived to the ILWU from dockworker unions all over the globe. One heartfelt message came from the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) President Paddy Crumlin.

“Wesley’s union journey from the docks of Honolulu was as long as it was meaningful. It was founded on the hard rock of his belief in social and economic justice for all workers, and blessed with a gentle but pervasive charisma.

His achievements and actions bettered the lives of all he touched and were as steady as the Kona winds of his home,” Crumlin wrote. “The words and workings of Wes’ life were not solely dedicated to his fellow longshore and dock workers. He was a formidable and relentless activist for peace, an advocate for sovereign rights and true political independence and accountability, and of course, a warrior for justice, equality and universal access to all material benefits regardless of race, gender, age or religious denomination.”

ILWU Canada’s Local 502 lowered their flags to half-mast at the Vancouver union hall to honor Brother Wes’ memory.

A legacy remembered

ILWU International Vice President (Mainland) Bobby Olvera Jr., remembered Wes as a mentor and a selfless union leader. “Brother Wes was instrumental in mentoring me over the past 10 years,” he said. “Wes was an example of rank-and-file leadership, he demonstrated selfless commitment to the membership of the ILWU. He was a progressive advocate for workers’ rights around the world and his is a legacy that will live on forever.”

“The ILWU and the entire International trade union movement has lost an icon with the passing of Brother Wesley Furtado,” said ILWU International Secretary-Treasurer Ed Ferris.

“I will always fondly remember Brother Wes’ kind and gentle nature, his wonderful sense of humor, and his strong dedication and commitment to his family and his union.

“My sincerest condolences and prayers go out to his entire family during his difficult time. May our good Brother Wes always rest in peace.”

Coast Committeeman Cameron Williams said, “Wesley Furtado is a true labor icon who dedicated his life’s work for the betterment of the ILWU family. I will greatly miss the subtle conversations and charisma Brother Furtado expressed as he entered a room. May his legacy live on through the Furtado family, and never forget the precious time we all enjoyed in the presence of our dear friend.”

Coast Committeeman Frank Ponce De Leon said, “I would like to express my heartfelt sympathies and condolences on the passing of Wesley to his family, Marla, Levana and Kyan, and to his brothers, sisters and friends in the State of Hawaii. My thoughts and prayers are with you all during these difficult days. Wesley’s passing will not only leave a void in our hearts but also as a leader in the ILWU as well. Wesley may be gone from our sights but never from our individual memories. May Wesley’s journey on the sands of theshore find him much peace and comfort. Aloha Brother Wes!”

Danny Miranda, President of Local 94, recalled the friendship he and Wes cultivated through the years and his admiration for Wes’ negotiating style.

“What made Wes so special as a leader was his passion for his work, his love for the Hawaiian culture and his love for the Hawaiian people. He treated the union like family. Wes wanted a better way of life for people, and he wanted them to feel good about their work, so he always stressed working conditions when negotiating. Wes always told me that in negotiations, you have to be a listener first and speak last. He always stayed calm and people trusted him. That’s what made him so effective.” ILWU Hawaii Longshore member Dustin Dawson recounted his many years working with and learning from Furtado. “Wes always gave everyone a chance to learn and teach what he knew. There are a lot of things that Wes doesn’t get credit for. He had the ear of a lot of powerful and influential people.

Whether they agreed with him or not, believed in the union or not, were Democrat or Republican, employer or worker—he had their ear. This was not because of his position but because of the person he was. He was always willing to sit down, listen, and talk story. Wes was always there for the members, not himself. We will never forget all the hard work Wes put into the ILWU. Because Wes trained and passed on his knowledge, his legacy will never die.”

James Spinosa, who served as ILWU International President from 2000-2006, remembered Wes’ work ethic and reliability. “He was a delightful guy to be around. Anytime I asked him for something, he was always there for me,” Spinosa said. “This is a great loss for the ILWU. He was someone who was always working to move the union forward.”

Eusebio “Bobo” Lapenia Jr., who was elected President of Local 142 in 1991 until 2003, first met Wes when while Wes was serving as a rank-and-file organizer in the 1980’s.

“Wesley was a very good organizer who was instrumental in organizing several major hotels on the Big Island,” Lapenia said. “He was a terrific leader and a testament to his generation. Hopefully he inspired a new generation of longshoremen to become leaders.”

ILWU President Willie Adams concluded with his favorite words of wisdom from Wesley: “Wes always told me, ‘Discussions are always better than arguments. An argument is to find out who is right. A discussion is to find out what is right.’ Wesley “The Hurricane” Furatado will always be remembered as the spirit of Hawaii and a labor leader for all seasons.”

Wes is survived by his wife Marla, his daughter Levana Solidum, his son Kyan Alaka’i Furtado, and three grandchildren.

Felixstowe DockersOOCL Indonesia arrives from Singapore, 13 May 2020

With a good ENE breeze blowing into the Harwich Harbour, OOCL Indonesia arrives directly from Singapore via the Suez Canal.

Felixstowe DockersHistory of the Port of Felixstowe

Founded by Colonel George Tomline in 1875, the Port of Felixstowe began life as the Felixstowe Railway and Pier Company. The Port survived two World Wars and a number of changes of ownership, and in 1966 work began on the New South Quay. 

Opening on the 1st July 1967, and later renamed Landguard Container Terminal, it was the UK's first purpose-built container terminal.

This development helped establish Felixstowe as the UK's largest container port. 

Its first dedicated container terminal, originally known as the New South Quay, opened with just 500ft (152m) of quay and a single Paceco Vickers portainer crane.

The operation today bears no real resemblance to those early years. The scale and level of technical innovation have grown beyond recognition. But not everything has changed. 

In 1967 Felixstowe was developed because of its proximity to the main shipping lanes and the major ports of Northern Europe. That remains a key differentiator. But since then its position has been improved by the development of road and rail links.

Change has been a constant at Felixstowe over the last 50 years. The second phase of Landguard Terminal was completed in the 1970s, followed by Dooley, Walton and Trinity Terminal, the UK's first post-panamax facility, which was built in phases through the 1980s and 1990s, with the final phase completed in 2004.

Clemence Cheng, Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Felixstowe and Managing Director of Hutchison Ports Europe, said: “The Port of Felixstowe has come a long way over the last 50 years. From a single-berth operation with one crane we now have nine berths providing over 3,000 metres of deep-water container quay serviced by 33 ship-to-shore gantry cranes.

“The operation today bears no real resemblance to those early years. The scale and level of technical innovation have grown beyond recognition. But not everything has changed. Felixstowe was chosen in 1967 because of its proximity to the main shipping lanes and the main ports of Northern Europe. That remains a key differentiator but the position today has been improved by the development of road and rail links that are second to none.”

Since then growth has continued. 

The most recent phase of development, Berths 8 & 9, was opened in 2011 and was extended in 2015. The creation of the newest terminal involved the reclamation of additional land from the River Orwell but also included the site of the New South Quay, bringing the story full-circle and ensuring that the largest container ships in the world are handled where the very first container ships visited 50 years ago. 

The 50th anniversary of that major event was celebrated throughout 2017.

Continual investment over the last 50 years has ensured that the Port of Felixstowe has maintained its position as the clear market leader. Today, the port handles the world's largest container ships and boasts nine berths providing over 3,000 metres of deep-water container quay serviced by 33 ship-to-shore gantry cranes.

Timeline of events at the Port of Felixstowe

1875 The Company was founded by Colonel George Tomline, a prominent local landowner. Business commenced under the name of ‘The Felixstowe Railway and Pier Company’. 

1877 The first F. R. & P. Co. passenger train ran from Westerfield to Felixstowe, but in 1879 this line was transferred to the Great Eastern Railway. 

1879 The company title was changed to the ‘Felixstowe Railway and Dock Company’, and powers were given to construct a dock, warehouses and rail sidings. Later in the same year, the company title was again changed, to the ‘Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company’, as it is today. 

1882 Work commenced on the Dock Basin. 

1886 The Dock was opened for trade, and the first commercial vessel entered on 7th April. 

1889 Colonel Tomline died. The Dock was left to Captain Ernest Pretyman. 

1904 A flour mill and grain storage silo were built on the north side of the Basin. 

1914-18 The port was requisitioned as a Royal Navy Destroyer and Mine-sweeper Base. 

1939-45 The port was requisitioned as a Royal Navy MTB and Air Sea Rescue Base. 

1951 The port was acquired by Mr. Gordon Parker, an agricultural merchant. New warehouses were erected for copra, wheat, maize and sugar. RN oil tanks were leased for the storage of linseed, ground-nut and palm oils. 

1953 The port suffered a severe set-back, when the disastrous East coast floods swept over the entire Dock area, causing extensive damage, and destroying the two wooden piers at the basin entrance. 

1959 Work commenced on the new East Quay. Bulk grain and liquid tanks were added. 

1961 Felixstowe Tank Developments Ltd. was formed. More tanks were added. 

1963 Two million cubic feet of warehousing were added. The Felixstowe Cold Store was opened. 

1964 The Oil Jetty was constructed, extending 1,100 feet into the waters of Harwich Harbour. 

1965 No.1 ro-ro berth was completed, and made available at all states of the tide. 

1966 Building work commenced on Landguard Container Terminal. 

1967-68 The first 500 feet of Landguard Container Terminal, together with one Paceco Vickers Portainer Crane, was completed and in use by 1st July. By March 1968, the remainder of the new container quay (a further 800 feet) had been completed, including one extra Paceco crane, and ro-ro berth (No.2 ro-ro). In addition, 13 acres of land had been reclaimed. 

1972 Work began on a further extension of Landguard Container Terminal. Work also commenced on the development of facilities in the north of the port. 

1973 The 700 feet extension of Landguard Container Terminal was completed, and another Paceco crane was added (now a total of three cranes in operation). During May, the Southern bypass was completed, diverting Dock traffic from the town of Felixstowe. During November, the Freightliner Terminal opened, and No.3 ro-ro Bridge on the Northern Development became operational. 

1974 The first passenger service, operated by Townsend Thoresen, commenced out of Felixstowe, with a twice-daily service to Zeebrugge. 

1975 No.4 ro-ro Bridge on the Northern Development was opened on 10th February. During April, the first Tor passenger service commenced to Gothenburg. 

1976 The company was taken over by European Ferries Limited. 

1978 A purpose-built passenger and freight terminal opened for Townsend Thoresen. 

1979 Work began on the expansion in the north of the port, which was to double the port’s container handling capacity to approximately 500,000 containers. 

1980 With 252,802 containers handled in 1980, Felixstowe became the largest container port in the United Kingdom. 

1981 In April, the two new terminals, Dooley and Walton, became operational, Walton Container Terminal being a separately operated company, a subsidiary of the Orient Overseas Container Line in the C.H. Tung Group. 

1982 Work commenced on a second Railfreight Terminal at the port to serve Dooley and Walton Terminals. 

1984 Felixstowe became the first seaport in the UK to introduce computerised Customs’ clearance. 

1985 During 1985, a new Private Bill began its progress through Parliament. This was completed in May 1988. It secured a further 220 acres on the northern bank of Harwich Harbour and the Orwell Estuary for future expansion requirements. Work commenced on Trinity Container Terminal (Phase I). 

1986 Phase I of the development became operational in January. This provided the port with 550 metres of quay, and 24 hectares of back-up storage space. A depth of water alongside of 13.4 metres also provided Felixstowe with the ability to handle the largest container vessels in the world. On 7th April, the port celebrated 100 years as a working port. 

1987 The port was acquired by the P&0 Group. Felixstowe became the first port in the UK to handle over one million TEUs in one year. 

1988 At the end of this year, construction work began on a £50 million project to double the size of Trinity Container Terminal. 

1990 Trinity Terminal Phase II opened. 

1991 In August, 75% of the port was acquired by the Hutchison Whampoa Group, Hong Kong. The separately- operated container-handling facility, Walton Container Terminal (owned by Orient Overseas Holdings Limited), amalgamated with Trinity Terminal (75% of Port of Felixstowe owned by Hutchison Whampoa Limited, 25% by Orient Overseas Holdings Limited). 

1993 Dredging work to deepen the main channel to a minimum depth of 12.5 metres started. A new warehouse for Forest Products was completed (94 Shed), giving the port just over one million square feet of warehousing. 

1994 Hutchison Whampoa purchased the remaining 25% of the port from OOHL, giving Hutchison 100% ownership of the Port. The port was given the goahead to undertake a new 630-metre expansion of Trinity Terminal (Trinity III). The A14 dual carriageway right from the port’s entrance, linking up with the M1/M6 junction, was completed and opened 1996 3rd April – Trinity III was officially opened by their Royal Highnesses, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent. The port handled its two millionth TEU for 1996 on 30th December. 

1997 In May, fire destroyed the original Dock Office, which dated back to 1888. In December, for the first time ever, the Port handled 200,000 containers on the Rail Terminal in one year. 

1998 Hutchison acquired Thamesport on the Isle of Grain, and Harwich International Port, formerly known as Parkeston Quay. The North Rail Terminal was extended by 56 metres and upgraded. The main navigational approach channel was dredged from -12.5m below Chart Datum to -14.5m. 

2002 Approval was given, following a Public Inquiry in May, for the Trinity III.2 extension. Plans of intent were announced for the reconfiguration of the southern part of the port. 

2006 In February approval was given, following a Public Inquiry in 2004, for the Felixstowe South Reconfiguration scheme. The scheme provides a quay length of 1350m, refurbishment and extension of the existing Landguard container park and a new north rail terminal. 

2008 Costain was appointed in May as the main contractor for the Felixstowe South project and, following a major demolition programme, the start of construction was marked with a ceremony held on 1st September. 

2011 The port celebrated the 125th anniversary of the first commercial vessel working at the port. September 28th saw the official opening of Berths 8&9, phase 1 of the new deep-water facility comprising 730m of quay with a depth alongside of -16m below chart datum and seven ship-to-shore cranes from ZPMC. HRH Princess Anne loaded the inaugural box on to the vessel MSC Esti. Upgrades to the Dockspur Roundabout and Copdock Interchanges were completed. 

2013 The opening of a further nine rail tracks was carried out in June by HRH the Duke of York doubling the port’s rail capacity. The new North Rail Terminal allows 30 x 60ft wagon sets to work on a single track. (The previous North Rail Terminal was renamed as the Central Rail Terminal). In October the port worked the world’s largest container ship, the Majestic Maersk, on her maiden voyage with a capacity of 18,000teu.

Felixstowe DockersCOVID-19 Crisis: Global Freight Forwarding Market to Shrink by 7.5%

What a Shrinking Stock Market Means for You - Barron's

The impact of Covid-19 has amplified pre-existing troubles in freight forwarding. Transport Intelligence’s (Ti) latest research reveals the global freight forwarding market could contract by 7.5% in 2020 as a result of the crisis. With the global market having limped to a contraction of 1.7% in 2019, Ti now projects second consecutive year of negative growth.

Ti’s analysis of the impact COVID-19 has so far had on the global forwarding market indicates an extremely challenging year ahead for forwarders. In particular the projections will make for tough reading for those exposed to the air forwarding market, which was already struggling amid strong headwinds from the US-China trade war, falling production in key verticals such as automotive, and a wider economic slowdown.

The new research shows that, in a best-case scenario, the impact of COVID-19 will drain 2.0% from global market value. Ti’s proprietary forecasting shows the slowdown will be broad based and relies on the easing of social and economic restrictions in the second half of the year to reinvigorate activity on both the supply and demand sides. If the public health crisis endures, however, and the lockdown measures seen across much of the world so far in 2020 remain, the fall in market value will be much steeper at 7.5%. Such a worst-case scenario would impact regional and country markets hard – under these circumstances, the US market is projected to contract by 10.8%, for example.

“2020 looks all but guaranteed to be a painful year for forwarders and the numbers here make for some grim reading. There are reasons for hope, however, with signs that Asian markets are emerging from the crisis and increasing momentum in Europe and North America behind an easing of restrictions, at least in certain sectors of the economy. The obvious hope is that this continues and that we’ll see a bounce in activity and volumes in the second half of the year,” said Michael Clover, Ti’s Head of Commercial Development.

Ti’s Global Freight Forwarding Market Sizing: COVID-19 Impact Analysis also reveals best- and worst-case scenarios for growth in the air and sea markets. Under the best-case scenario, contractions of 2.8% and 1.1% are projected for air and sea freight respectively. The downside could be more than 7.0% in both under worst-case conditions.

“Over the medium- and long-term, a great deal of uncertainty remains and COVID-19 has raised important questions for the future of both the air and sea markets – has the air freight market become too reliant on belly-hold capacity in passenger transportation, and what might it do to reduce that exposure? Will region-based production and consumption undermine demand for globalised container shipping supply chains? We’re already seeing signs of change in the structure of the forwarding market that point to profound upheaval in the years ahead,” commented Nick Bailey, Head of Research at Ti.

Ti’s new whitepaper, Ti’s Global Freight Forwarding Market Sizing: COVID-19 Impact Analysis, provides a snapshot of market growth potential. The paper includes global and regional projections for the impact of COVID-19 on the global air and sea forwarding markets. Ti’s Global Supply Chain intelligence (GSCi) database includes these projections, as well as projection for 23 individual countries including China, Japan, South Korea, Germany, the UK and US.

Felixstowe DockersWhat have we learnt from COVID-19 so far?

The markets, particularly for shipping, oil and stocks, have been highly volatile over the last few months and the news cycle endless. In these times of uncertainty, real time and objective data is critical to understand and take advantage of the ever evolving situation. Below are three thoughts on what we have recently learnt from our data over this time, and one comment on how the world may finally be perceiving cargo shipping in a new positive light.

Shipping demand can be used to predict the stock markets

As we all know, March 2020 was a poor month for the stock markets. This was driven by a global sell off in equities due to the expected reduced economic activity from the effects of COVID-19. April 2020 was a great month, with the global markets pricing in a quick recovery.

Interestingly, daily trends in global cargo mile demand data, as observed through our Trade service, forecasted this sharp decline and the recovery in the stock markets. This can be seen in the charts below relating to daily updated Capsize and Post Panamax cargo mile demand (red line) to the S&P 500 (grey line).

For Capsizes, a bell weather of industrial activity, cargo miles started to decline sharply in mid January, about a month before the stock markets started to crash. Cargo miles started to recover early March, again about a month before the stock markets started reaching their inflection point and started their recent upwards trajectory. For Post Panamax Containerships, a good indicator for trade in consumer goods, the decline in demand came slightly later at the start of February but still preceded the stock market selloff in early March. The shape and speed of recovery was similar, starting in early March and foreshadowing the recovery in the stock markets in from the start of April.

Hindsight is a great thing, and these calls would have been very hard to make while watching the stock markets dive through March. However, there was potentially a lot of money to be made by reading the tea leaves of shipping for those who know where to look and how.

When it comes to the fate of the Tanker market, politics really does trump oil demand

The Tanker market is undeniably affected by politics and the level of oil supply. It is also reasonable to believe that the demand for the finished products of oil, such as for transportation and petrochemicals, is as significant to the fate of the market as supply volumes. However, events throughout the COVID-19 pandemic should really make us question this belief that consumer demand for oil is at all relevant to short term Tanker rates.

The world has never experienced such a massive and widespread drop in oil demand as we are currently seeing. Ask a person on the street what this should mean to the market for transportation of oil, and they would likely answer that it should be awful. Low demand should mean less oil transportation, negative rates and laid up Tankers.

This could not be further from reality. We are in fact seeing the best crude Tanker market in history. Political manoeuvres have conspired to send oil supply skyrocketing, prices crashing, contango arriving and offshore storage thriving. The effects of demand have been pretty much irrelevant.

Sometimes it takes colossal events, such as a global pandemic, to separate the signals from the noise. In this case, it has confirmed that the short term fates of the Tanker market are all about oil supply, and it really doesn’t matter if the demand isn’t there.

From an economist’s point of view, this may be somewhat counter intuitive to classic supply and demand analysis. The way to settle this is to see that oil supply sets the short term Tanker market levels, and oil demand sets the long term trend.

Asia, particularly China, is amazingly nimble for a heavyweight

Asia, and particularly China’s, rapid recovery in demand for Container vessels and their capacities is an incredible testament to the region’s agility.

It is no surprise that Asia, especially China, is the driving force behind the demand for vessels. When COVID-19 hit there it had a massive impact on industry and business. This resulted in immediate and significant falls in demand for vessels, their imported cargoes and exporting capacity. However, as quickly as the numbers fell through late January and February, they recovered rapidly through the later half of March and April.

This can be seen in the charts below looking at daily updated cargo mile demand for Post Panamax Container ships leaving China.

This is an encouraging sign for the Container markets, and really the world economy as a whole. It is impressive how quickly China can get back to work, as evidenced by this objectively observed data.

Shipping finally steps out of the shadows

“It’s all about the supply chain, stupid”

COVID-19 has focused many people’s minds on the importance of an effective and flexible supply chain. Ships are an integral part of this and are finally being appreciated for the critical benefits they give to the world.

There was a recent article in the UK’s top populist tabloid, the Sun, about five large cargo vessels appearing off the coast of Wales. Many of the papers readers were speculating what they were carrying and hoping that they were bringing the critical PPE supplies for the healthcare workers. These speculations were most probably wrong, but highlights that cargo vessels are now being discussed in a positive light rather than the usual negatives of pollution, oil spills, sanctions busting and piracy.

Shipping has been like a shadow economy for many decades now. As ship sizes and land prices grew, major cargo shipping ports moved out of urban centres and into the outskirts. This has led to ships and what they do becoming less and less visible. This is especially true in the west, with London over the centuries, being the prime example and first mover. You can still see ships near city centres in Asia such as Singapore and Shanghai, but not likely for much longer.

It looks like the world’s new, and correct obsession with supply chains, is bringing shipping out of the shadows. This may not last for long but will hopefully bring more appreciation and support for one of the world’s oldest and most important industries.

(Source: VesselsValue)

Felixstowe DockersMaritime transport body warns UK government over quarantine of global freight workers

Docks: Shipping relies on a steady flow of workers into the UK

The UK Chamber of Shipping on Monday called on the government to exempt people who work at sea from quarantine rules amid fears it could disrupt global supply chains.

The UK government is set to bring in new rules forcing people entering the UK to stay indoors for 14 days.

The Chamber of Shipping, which represents firms like BP, Shell, Maersk, Stena Line and P&O Ferries, said the measures would disrupt key workers who keep global supply chains moving.

UK Chamber of Shipping chief Bob Sanguinetti said: “The UK shipping industry employs nearly 200,000 people and it is imperative the UK government avoids applying quarantine restrictions to seafarers and other maritime workers.

“If we want to ensure supply chains remain open, and essential goods including food, fuel, raw materials and vital medical supplies continue to flow into the country, it is vital that seafarers and maritime workers can move between countries without imposition. We urgently call on the government to provide the industry with clarity on this issue.”

The Chamber said it had been privately assured by government officials on telephone calls that seafarers would be exempt.

However it wanted to raise the issue to ensure they would be top of the agenda.

The government rules are currently exempt for so-called short sea journeys, which include fishermen going off the coast for fishing and trips between Calais and Dover, but could hit deep-sea journeys, which involves the transport of commodities across oceans.

The Chamber of Shipping has 200 members.

Felixstowe DockersShip Recyclers On their Knees, But Glimmer of Hope is Starting to Appear

Lockdown measures, cancellations of contracts and financing issues are threatening to put a significant part of the ship recycling industry in the Southeast Asia under water. However, a glimmer of hope has started to emerge in the past few days.

In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Clarkson Platou Hellas said that “despite the lockdown being extended this week in India and Bangladesh (17th and 15th May respectively), there was finally some positive news to cling on to that the Governments in both countries wish to re-start the ship recycling industry again. As previously reported, India had allowed cutting to resume at yards who adhered to strict social distancing and precautions amongst its workers. 

This is because the country is now divided in Red, Orange and Green zones, with Alang being a Green zone and being declared safe by the Government for workers to return to work, but with a limited workforce and strict distancing procedures in place. Furthermore, it has now been announced that vessels with Indian crew only can proceed into the inner anchorage at Alang and start Custom formalities followed by finally beaching the vessel, with one vessel having already beached this week. However, there are still no plans in place for vessels arriving with foreign crew. 

In Bangladesh, there has been staggered rumours that the ship recycling business is fully functional at the yard level again and that beaching permission has been granted by the local authorities, who will now start to release an NOC to beach the vessels that have been held in quarantine at the anchorage since the lockdown began. The problem is that, those units all seem to be undergoing new negotiations from what reports suggest having missed previously agreed cancelling dates. It remains to be seen however if this process can return as there are still logistical issues to overcome on how foreign Crew will be repatriated post beaching with restrictions still in place on International flights”, Clarkson Platou Hellas noted.

The shipbroker added that “there are also further obstacles surrounding the issuing of Letters of Credit (L/C) by banks for the recycling of ships. Many yards pre Covid-19 were already struggling financially due to a lack of local currency and now with the economy experiencing a negative downturn due to the Pandemic, there seems to be little optimism that this destination will return with any real force for some time, unless the Government steps in and assists the industry further. 

Some interesting reports emanating from Pakistan today is that the Government are ready to end the country’s lockdown this coming weekend. Despite a daily increase in recorded cases, it would be a surprise for this phase out to begin but whether any easing of restrictions in the ship recycling industry will be determined once any official announcement is made”, Clarkson Platou Hellas said.

Source: Clarkson Platou

Meanwhile, in a separate note, GMS, the world’s leading cash buyer said that “there has been a slow and cautious easing of restrictions in ship recycling sectors across the Indian subcontinent markets as certain yards get back to work in Alang and a few vessels waiting for special permissions in Bangladesh have finally been allowed to beach this week. However, lockdown measures for India, Bangladesh and Pakistan as a whole, remain in place until May 16th at least – with all flights grounded and restrictions on foreign crew entering the country still in place. 

In fact, rumours abound in India that the lockdown may likely extend until June. As it stands, due to the ongoing virus scare, nearly 70% of the workforce in Alang has returned to their home towns on specially arranged trains by the Gujarat authorities. So those yards that did begin to cautiously open have been left with a decimated workforce and may as well remain closed at this time. It therefore remains extremely difficult to solicit any serious offers above USD 300/LDT at present, with most ship recyclers waiting on official reopening permissions on incoming vessels from government authorities, which may likely not be forthcoming for at least a few weeks.

 Many deals that have missed cancelling dates due to force majeure conditions, have now been recommitted at much lower levels, with Ship Owners and Cash Buyers having to face the harsh realities of a much reduced market due to the pandemic”, GMS concluded.

Source: GMS

Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

Felixstowe DockersDevelopment of First Fully Autonomous Ship Put on Hold Due Coronavirus

Sailing Toward Autonomy: Future of Self-Driving Cargo Ships - ASME

Development of the world’s first fully autonomous containership has been put on hold indefinitely amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In 2017, Norwegian fertilizer producer Yara teamed up with maritime technology company Kongsberg to develop the first fully autonomous and zero-emission containership. The 120 TEU ship, named Yara Birkeland, was planned cut emissions and reduce road transport by up to 40,000 truckloads per year while transporting fertilizer products from Yara’s Porsgrunn plant to Norway’s Brevik and Larvik ports.

The coronavirus pandemic, however, has thrown a wrench in those plans.

“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the changed global outlook, Yara has decided to pause further development of the vessel and will assess next steps together with its partners,” Yara said in a statement.

The Yara Birkeland was initially planned to start off with manned operations this year before transitioning to autonomous and unmmanned operations by 2022. 

The hull of the Yara Birkeland was launched in Romania in February and was scheduled to arrive at the Vard Brevik shipyard in Norway this month for final outfitting and testing before delivery to Yara. 

Felixstowe DockersWorkers Start to Fall ill at Brazil’s Busiest Port

Brazilian port workers are starting to fall ill as the coronavirus pandemic reaches one of Latin America’s busiest shipping hubs.

At least three privately-run terminals that handle soybeans, corn, sugar and coffee at Brazil’s Santos port have registered two cases each of Covid-19 in the past two weeks, according to people with direct knowledge who asked not to be identified because the matter hasn’t been made public.

While the infections haven’t restricted operations yet, the terminals are fighting to contain the outbreak at a time of all-time high exports and queues of vessels.

One of the terminals has implemented strict social-distancing measures as well as a contingency plan that includes bringing in outsourced workers if absenteeism among its 500-strong staff puts operations at risk, one of the people said. The two infected workers have recovered and may return to work this week, said the person. Two employees who fell ill at a coffee terminal at Santos have also recovered, another person said.

The coronavirus threat is also on the other side of the Santos port. Two container ships that arrived at Santos are in quarantine with confirmed cases of Covid-19 among their crews, health regulator Anvisa said on its website.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 17 crew members of vessels passing through the port needed medical assistance for respiratory conditions, 13 of whom tested positive for Covid-19, the Santos health department said.

The coronavirus has spread quickly in Brazil, triggering local officials to toughen restrictions. Large cities including Fortaleza and Belem have instituted strict lockdowns, while the city of Sao Paulo is clamping down on automobile travel and Rio de Janeiro is extending quarantines.

In the city of Santos, where the port is located, the number of cases and deaths have jumped with intensive care units almost full at about 80%, according to the city health secretariat.

Luke Smout Felixstowe

International Longshore and Warehouse UnionLocal 94 donates to food to first responders & healthcare workers (Video)

International Longshore and Warehouse UnionInternational Executive Board endorses Joe Biden for President

Members of the ILWU International Executive Board (IEB) voted to endorse JoeBiden for President of the United States on May 11, 2020.

“We must protect the interests of working-class people in this election. We cannot afford another four years of Trump. Joe Biden is the candidate who can beat Trump and work with labor to better the lives of workers and their families.” said International President Willie Adams. “The majority of Americans are being underserved from the current administration when it comes to economic, social, and environmental justice. We are confident we can work with Vice-President Biden to make those critical improvements a reality.

The endorsement statement adopted on May 11, 2020, appears below.

Felixstowe DockersWATCH: Container ship Monte Cervantes arrives from the Med; 6 May 2020

Just after 6am LT, container ship Monte Cervantes rounds Beach End Turn and enters Harwich Harbour, heading for berth 3 on Felixstowe's Trinity Terminal.

Felixstowe DockersRotterdam boosts hydrogen economy with new infrastructure

Exploring the option of geothermal for Port of Rotterdam ...

The hydrogen economy is quickly gathering momentum after Shell announced its plans to take a green hydrogen plant into operation as early as 2023. This plant will be constructed at Maasvlakte 2. From here, the produced hydrogen will be transported via a pipeline to Shell’s refinery in Pernis. Gasunie and the Port of Rotterdam Authority intend to realise the new pipeline in a joint venture.

The green hydrogen plant and the pipeline are part of a series of projects associated with the production, import, use and transfer of hydrogen in which the Port Authority is working together with a variety of partners. These concrete projects seamlessly tie in with the hydrogen outlook recently published by the Dutch government.

Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority: ‘We are currently expediting our plans to construct a public hydrogen network in the port area. The work on this backbone for Rotterdam’s industrial sector will be rounded off concurrently with Shell’s electrolyser. A main transport network like this can be used to connect producers and users. This in turn helps to create a market and boosts the production and consumption of hydrogen. Besides accommodating production, in the longer term Rotterdam will also play a crucial part in the import of hydrogen thanks to the realisation of multiple hydrogen terminals. Hydrogen promises to become the energy carrier of the 21st century. In Northwest Europe, we will not be able to produce sufficient hydrogen locally, meaning that a large volume will need to be imported. Rotterdam will play a central role in this process – similar to its current role in the oil sector. This allows us to reinforce the port of Rotterdam’s position as an important pillar of the Dutch economy.”

Hydrogen pipeline
The Port Authority and Gasunie plan to jointly construct and operate the hydrogen pipeline, which will run parallel with the A15 motorway between Maasvlakte and Pernis. The parties plan to take the definite decision to greenlight construction in the first half of 2021. In the near future, Rotterdam’s hydrogen pipeline will be hooked up to the national hydrogen network developed by Gasunie.

Shell will be constructing its hydrogen plant at a dedicated industrial site realised by the Port Authority at Maasvlakte for electrolysers operated by various companies. Another project planned at this site is H2-Fifty (the construction of a 250 MW electrolyser operated by BP and Nouryon). This facility is expected to become operational in 2025. Situated on the coast of the North Sea, this special industrial site (named a ‘conversion farm’) uses offshore wind power to produce hydrogen. The hydrogen produced at the plant will be transported to users via a pipeline.

Blue and green
Apart from these two mega electrolysers, various companies in the port area are working on plans for smaller models with capacities ranging from 5 to 100 MW (for the sake of comparison: the largest electrolyser currently operating in the Netherlands has a capacity of 1 MW). In addition, a consortium is working on plans for the production of the hydrogen variant known as blue hydrogen. The objective within this H-vision project is to produce hydrogen from gas sourced from refineries or natural gas, while capturing the carbon released by this process and storing it under the North Sea seabed. The large-scale production of blue hydrogen could be set up well before 2030. By contrast, the production of green hydrogen via electrolysis requires a huge volume of green electric power – which will at any rate be in short supply for another decade.

Another project that has therefore been initiated is the realisation of 2 GW of extra offshore wind capacity (extra when compared to the existing plans for wind farms out on the North Sea) that will be reserved for the production of green hydrogen. This has been recognised as an option in the government’s Climate Agreement, and the Port Authority is currently conferring with the national authorities regarding the landing of this project. The electrolysers that will be sourcing this offshore power can be set up at the Maasvlakte conversion park.

Carbon reduction
The H-Vision project will yield around 2.2 to 4.3 Mt in carbon savings. The 2 GW electrolysis ‘conversion park’ will reduce carbon emissions by 3.3 Mt (based on the electrolysers running 8,000 hours per year, and compared to the production of grey hydrogen).

Transport, heating
The Port Authority is also closely involved in various projects that are intended to promote hydrogen as a transport fuel – both in road haulage and inland shipping. In the road transport sector, parties are setting up a consortium that aims to have 500 trucks running on hydrogen by 2025. Inland shipping can also move from diesel to hydrogen. In the longer term, hydrogen can also be used to heat greenhouses and buildings – particularly locations that are less suited for heating via a heat network or a ground source heat pump.

Large-scale import
Northwest Europe consumes far more power than can be generated locally from renewable sources. That is why the region is required to import hydrogen (or hydrogen bonds like ammonia) on a large scale. The national government has asked the Port Authority to map out the various options to import hydrogen from abroad, so the port of Rotterdam can retain its pivotal role in international power transport. Similar to how the port presently imports large volumes of oil and coal for the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium, in the near future, Rotterdam will serve as a major hub for renewable energy flows.

The domestic demand for hydrogen is expected to increase to approximately 14 Mt per year by 2050. If half of this volume is sourced via Rotterdam, the port will be handling some 7 Mt in throughput. According to prognoses, there will also be a sizeable demand from neighbouring countries (and specifically Germany) for hydrogen via Rotterdam: approximately 13 Mt by 2050. This puts the required volume of hydrogen produced or imported in Rotterdam at 20 Mt. This volume would require 200 GW in operational wind farm capacity. The Dutch section of the North Sea currently accommodates 1 GW in wind farm capacity. This can be increased to 60-70 GW by 2050. The lion’s share of the required hydrogen will therefore need to be imported. This calls for import terminals and pipelines similar to the facilities that have been set up for oil and oil products. From 2030 on, forecasts therefor include the large-scale import and transport of hydrogen to the hinterland – to raise the sustainability of industrial activities in Geleen and North Rhine-Westphalia, among other things.

The Port of Rotterdam Authority recently drew up a hydrogen outlook that describes and quantifies the aforementioned trends. This document is based on a series of studies performed by various large corporations and Dutch and international organisations in the energy sector.

Hydrogen resembles natural gas as an energy carrier: it is gaseous and generates exceptionally high temperatures during combustion. This makes it eminently suited as a fuel for industrial processes and transport. But it can also be used as a base material for the production of all sorts of plastics that are currently still made from petroleum.
Hydrogen is a sustainable alternative to natural gas. It can be separated from natural gas – during which the carbon dioxide released by this process is captured and stored in the North Sea seabed. This yields what is known as blue hydrogen. Another way to produce hydrogen is by separating water molecules (H2O) into H2 and O with the aid of electric power – from renewable sources or otherwise. This product is called green hydrogen.

Felixstowe DockersDutch cargo ship collided with ferry in Kiel Canal

Dutch cargo ship collided with ferry in Kiel Canal

General cargo ship SCHELDEBANK collided with Kiel Canal ferry HOCHDONN (MMSI 211594520) in the morning May 8 in HOCHDONN area, while transiting in northern direction. 

Ferry sustained serious damages, one car on board was also damaged. SCHELDEBANK resumed transit in some 3 hours, understood she suffered slight or no damages. she’s en route from Netherlands to Finland.

Felixstowe DockersPhilippine Navy patrol ship damaged by fire, two crew injured

Philippine Navy patrol ship damaged by fire, two crew injured

Fire erupted in engine room of Philippine Navy patrol ship BRP RAMON ALCARAZ at night May 6, shortly the ship left Cochin India, together with patrol ship BRP Davao del Sur (LD602), with cargo of donated personal protective equipment. 

Fire reportedly was extinguished by crew in about 10 minutes. 2 sailors suffered burns, to be airlifted to Cochin hospital. Understood ship’s machinery sustained damages, it is not yet known if the ship is to continue voyage to Philippines, or to return to Coching for repairs.

BRP RAMON ALCARAZ (PS-16), MMSI 367270000, offshore patrol vessel in the Philippine Navy, built 1968, decommissioned from US CG in 2012, acquired by Philippines. Displacement 3250, speed 29 knots, armament guns.

Felixstowe DockersPort of Felixstowe Donates PPE to Ipswich Hospital

The Port of Felixstowe donated 3000 face masks to NHS Ipswich Hospital to assist with the COVID-19 epidemic.

10 Downing Street said (as of 1st May 2020) that 177,454 people are now confirmed to have Corona Virus, 15,000 are in hospital and 27,010 have sadly died. 

Stay At Home, Protect The NHS, Save Lives

Thank You to all of our Key and Quay Workers!

Felixstowe DockersUltra Large OOCL United Kingdom Sails for Zeebrugge

After arriving direct from Singapore, ultra large container ship OOCL United Kingdom has completed her UK container work, and sails for her next port,  Zeebrugge, Belgium.

Felixstowe DockersClass 1 ADR Driver Job Vacancy: Port of Felixstowe

A unique opportunity has arisen in Felixstowe as a class 1 Tanker Driver

We are currently seeking experienced Class 1 Tanker Drivers for our client based in Felixstowe. Driver Support Services is a leading UK driving agency specialising in petrochemical and fuel logistics.

Long term ongoing agency work.


Full UK Driving Licence with Cat C+E and 2 Years experience (Essential)
ADR in Tanks with Class 3 (Essential)
CPC and Digital Tach Card (Essential)
Max 6 points none of which relate to CD, DD, DR. (Essential)...
Previous Class 1 experience as a Tanker Driver (preferably Fuel)

3 Years Forecourt experience (Preferably)

Job Description:

Delivering to retail outlets
Representing the company in a professional and polite manner at all time
Loading and making deliveries in a safe and professional manner
Complying with all company policies at all times
Ensuring all vehicle checks are done and reporting any defects
Completing all paperwork as required
Representing the company in a professional and polite manner at all time
This is an ongoing agency role

Contact: Valentin Strimbei
Reference: Totaljobs/cls1
Job ID: 90081816


Felixstowe DockersShips Sounded Horns in Solidarity

May Day Ship Horn Call for Seafarers COVID19 Solidarity! -

Ships in ports across the world sounded their horns in solidarity and to protest government travel restrictions which have kept seafarers at sea for extended periods of time amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The initiative is an opportunity to recognize the 1.6 million workers who are at sea and maintaining global supply chains. 

The event was coordinated by International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). Ships around the world were asked to sound their horns when in port at 12.00 local time on May 1, International Labour Day. 

 According to the ICS, there are currently about 1.2 million seafarers at sea and about 150,000 of them will be up for crew change on May 15 after spending lengthy periods at sea. 

In many cases, however, government-imposed travel restrictions prevent seafarers from traveling to and from their ships, putting seafarers and their ships at risk.

“Globally there are 1.2million seafarers onboard 65,000 ships at sea. For the past two months crew change has all but completely stopped,” says Guy Platten, Secretary General at ICS. “This means that crew have not been able to disembark or embark ships at port and terms have had to be extended, but this is not sustainable.”

The inability of seafarers to continue regular crew changes has been highlighted as one of the biggest issues facing the global shipping industry amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only does the current situation risk the safety and mental wellbeing of seafarers, but the continued inability to rotate seafarers on and off ships poses a serious threat to keeping the supply chains open and operating efficiently.

“The new data indicates that 150,000 seafarers are in need of immediate crew change, with the potential for this number to increase significantly until travel restrictions are eased,” adds Platten. “On Friday 1st May, ships around the world will sound their horns in a salute to these unsung heroes of global trade. We are asking governments to support our seafarers, as they support us, and facilitate coordinated action.”

Felixstowe DockersShips sunk in D-Day rehearsal disaster given protected status

The gun sight on American Landing Ship LST-531 (Photo: Global Underwater Explorer)
The gun sight on American Landing Ship LST-531 (Photo: Global Underwater Explorer)

By Cahal Milmo

Nearly 800 American soldiers and sailors were killed during a botched exercise off the Devon coast 

When explosions first lit up the night sky around two landing ships taking part in a D-Day rehearsal some 76 years ago, some on board assumed it was the live fire they had been warned to expect to make the exercise as realistic as possible.  

Others on board the lumbering American vessels LST-507 and LST-531 knew immediately, however, that things had gone terribly wrong. The ships had been struck by torpedoes fired from high-speed German E-Boats under cover of darkness as they sailed some 12 miles off the Devon coast at Slapton Sands.

Within a few short hours on 28 April 1944 nearly 800 American servicemen would be dead as the German vessels exploited the absence of a Royal Navy escort ship and mistakes by Allied to wreak havoc. Both landing ships sank, trapping hundreds of soldiers and sailors in their hulls as their cargoes of tanks, vehicles and ammunition exploded.


Amid horrific scenes, it was found that lifeboat cranes had seized with rust and many personnel drowned as they jumped into freezing waters alight with burning oil and were unable to right themselves because they had put on their lifejackets back to front. In total at least 749 American servicemen died.

Both wrecks have now been granted special protected status ahead of next week’s VE Day commemorations, ensuring the remains of the vessels cannot be interfered with and their status as reminders of the human cost of preparing for the Normandy landings is recognised.

The disaster during Exercise Tiger, which involved up to 30,000 troops taking part in a mock landing at Slapton Sands, was kept strictly secret at the time for fear of damaging morale and disclosing details of just how and where D-Day was going to happen.

Radio frequencies

A series of errors, including a mix-up over radio frequencies which meant British naval commanders were unable to warn their American counterparts that the E-Boats had been spotted on radar, added to official reticence over the sinkings.

Relatives of those who perished were told only that their loved ones were either missing in action or had been killed in action. Many families did not find out the details of the catastrophe until decades later when a Devon hotelier - Ken Small - located and salvaged one of the Sherman tanks that sank off Slapton Sands and turned it into a memorial.

'Struggle for liberty'

Duncan Wilson, chief executive of heritage watchdog Historic England, said: “The underwater remains of ships involved in the D-Day rehearsals are a tangible reminder of the sacrifices made in planning and delivering this huge military operation on a scale never previously attempted.

“By protecting the wrecks of two United States landing ships we are remembering all of those who lost their lives in the struggle for liberty during the Second World War.”

Protected status means that any attempt to access the vessels or retrieve items from the seabed will be illegal, though divers will still be able to pass over the wreck sites.

'Not in vain'

Mark Dunkley, maritime archaeologist with Historic England, said that the deaths of those on board had to be remembered in the context of subsequent actions by Allied commanders on D-Day itself, a little over two months after the sinking.

He said: “Lessons were learned from what happened during Exercise Tiger. By D-Day, they made sure that instructions had been issued about how to use life jackets and the issue with radio frequencies had been resolved. They also made sure lifeboats could be launched. 

The sacrifice of these men was terrible but it was not in vain - they gave their lives to enable D-Day to be a success.”

Felixstowe DockersThousands of cruise ship crew members remain out at sea amid clash over CDC's rules

Thousands of cruise ship employees trapped near U.S. coast after coronavirus concerns

Thousands of cruise ship crew members remain stuck at sea amid the coronavirus pandemic as their companies clash with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over rules to get them home.

Carnival Cruise Line said it has more than 10,000 healthy crew members onboard its ships and is planning to have them home to their respective countries over the next week. About 10,000 crew have already been repatriated, the company said in a news release.

"The safety and well-being of our team members continues to be a top priority," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "Given the pause in our operations, we are committed to getting our crew members safely home to their families. We sincerely thank them for their hard work, patience and understanding during this process."

Ryan Driscoll, a resident guest entertainer, has been out at sea since Feb. 23. Driscoll, 26, of Las Vegas, said he was originally on the Seabourn Quest but was transferred to its sister ship, the Odyssey, about a week ago.

The Quest took on European crew members to get them home, he said. People from the United States, Central America and South America were put on the Odyssey, which is anchored off Bridgetown, Barbados.

"It's been very strange," Driscoll told NBC News from his cabin Thursday. "We call it the twilight zone. Everyone's got cabin fever. We've been confined to our cabins now for two weeks."

Part of the reason crew members have been unable to disembark and travel home is a conflict regarding guidelines issued by the CDC, a situation first reported by The Miami Herald.

Following coronavirus outbreaks on cruise ships and the spread of the disease, the CDC extended its No Sail Order, which says cruise line companies must implement plans to get crew members home safely.

The agency will allow crew members to disembark only if the cruise line signs an agreement stating that it has complied with the CDC's requirements, which say the companies need to provide noncommercial transportation.

A CDC spokesperson told The Herald that cruise companies have complained that arranging private transportation for crew members would be too expensive.

Driscoll said that he thinks Seabourn Cruise Line, a subsidiary of Carnival Corp., is handling the unprecedented situation the best it can but that he doesn't want to be kept in the dark about what's going on. As of now, he doesn't know when he will be able to head home.

He said he hopes he will be allowed to disembark in Barbados so he can catch a flight back to the U.S. He said he's been in contact with the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown and is working with the ship's management, as well as the cruise company.

"We're all very frustrated. [We] want to get home, see our families. Especially when every day you're looking out your window and you see land 200 yards away knowing I can leave but I'm not allowed off the ship," Driscoll said.

"Nine ships will sail to their destinations with crew members from North American-based ships on board," the company said. "The remaining nine ships will spend most of their time in anchorage positions in The Bahamas or Panama and eventually all ships will reduce their crew numbers to safe operational manning levels."

Carnival said all crew members who are able to return home have undergone health checks, including temperature checks, and have been cleared by their medical teams to travel.

Alex Adkins, a Royal Caribbean employee, has been stuck on his ship for weeks with about 1,000 other crew members. The vessel originally left San Juan, Puerto Rico, but couldn't return there because the ports are closed.

The ship, which Adkins asked not to be identified, let guests off in Miami on March 17 while the crew stayed onboard. The vessel is now off the coast of Barbados.

According to Adkins, 25, of Dallas, crew members have been told that the company has sent the CDC its repatriation plans but that either the CDC hasn't responded or the company's request for a charter flight has been denied.

"We've been told that there are 'plans' to get us on these flights. None of these flights so far have been confirmed," Adkins said. "There were two flights this past week that I was supposed to be on that for whatever reason didn't happen."

He said he doesn't blame Royal Caribbean or the CDC. Both Adkins and Driscoll said there have been no known coronavirus cases on either of their ships.

"It's just frustrating that we seem to just kind of be citizens of not our country, but we seem to be citizens of the company that we work for," Adkins said.

Royal Caribbean said in a statement that it has been working closely with health officials to get its crew members home.

"We submitted a plan to the CDC and are awaiting their feedback," the statement read. "We continue to work with all appropriate authorities to establish a safe and secure way for all of our crew members to return home as soon as possible."

Felixstowe DockersThe impact of coronavirus on vessel traffic and the shipping industry

The shipping industry experienced major disruptions in Q1 of 2020 due to both the Coronavirus and the crude oil price crash. As major parts of the global economy shut down, so have pockets of international trade – yet, not all vessel types have experienced the same disruption.
Not all vessel types need a bailout

Our analysis using Vesseltracker shows that cruise ship activity has collapsed in the wake of reduced tourism due to the coronavirus pandemic, with global port calls falling from 900 port calls per week in January to fewer than 100 port calls per week in April, with an overall drop of 35% in total year to date activity compared to 2019.

Other vessel types have fared better than the cruise ship activity but remain at lower levels of activity compared to 2019. We see declines for vehicles roll-on/roll-off (-15%), containers and crude oil (-3%) and bulk (-1%) vessel traffic.

China: how quickly can its vessel activity return to normal?
When will the sector see some relief? We partnered with our sister company, AIR, that pioneered catastrophe modelling since 1987, to shed insight. We project China is past its apex and over four weeks ahead of other countries, so we began to look at how its maritime traffic has recovered using Vesseltracker, the most accurate global shipping database.

The double impact of the coronavirus and the Lunar New Year was felt in Chinese shipping activity. While activity is expected to fall during the holiday, the reduction in container vessel activity was steeper and longer compared to 2019. The full recovery in container vessel activity from the holiday decrease in activity lasted 47 days, compared to 60 days this year.

As the coronavirus spreads globally, global container vessel activity is significantly down from January levels, and the Chinese recovery could provide further guidance on recovery on a global level.

Source: Wood Mackenzie

Felixstowe DockersThe Port of Britain: The Port of Felixstowe

The Port of Felixstowe is Britain's busiest container port and one of the largest in Europe.

Over 40% of Britain's containerised trade passes through the port. Its optimal location, scale advantage and operational excellence, coupled with unrivalled connections to the domestic and global market, ensures the Port of Felixstowe delivers best on the real needs of our industry.

Felixstowe DockersWATCH: new Shipping TV video: Maersk Kingston sails from Felixstowe

Maersk Kingston sails from Felixstowe On the sunny and breezy morning of Thursday, 30 April.

Maersk Kingston sails towards Rotterdam from the port of Felixstowe.

Felixstowe DockersDriverless Lorries Could Dominate UK Ferry Traffic Within A Generation

Driverless lorries to be trialled on UK motorways - ITV News

Driverless HGVs to replace much of the UK’s conventional lorry and container transport within a generation, they would transform the way the RORO market works in Great Britain.

Changes anticipated include significant growth in the market share of ‘driverless accompanied’ RORO traffic – particularly through North Sea and Western English Channel ports.

This is according to a new white paper published by the British Ports Association in collaboration with the specialist freight transport consultancy MDS Transmodal.

Technical developments and commercial and environmental pressures are expected to encourage freight operators to look at new and innovative ways to ship the relatively high-value trade that will be transported in trailers through the British ports of the future.

The study examines how freight traffic between the British Isles and the Continent could change in the longer term after Brexit. 

It plots how a large proportion of the UK’s maritime traffic will fare in 2050 under an ‘autonomy and carbon reduction’ scenario in which autonomous and ultra-low emission HGVs have been widely deployed. 

This will have impacts on UK ports and shipping but also UK roads and other national infrastructure such as rail links.

‘The Impact of Autonomous and Ultra-Low Emission HGVs on the British RORO Port Market’ White Paper is released as part of the BPA’s Port Futures Programme which examines emerging trends in the maritime industries and explores the opportunities and challenges to British ports that may present themselves over the next 50 years.

Commenting, Phoebe Warneford-Thomson, Policy and Economic Analyst, at the British Ports Association said:

There are undoubtedly significant challenges ahead for the RORO sector and the wider ports industry, such as the transformation to net-zero carbon emissions and moves towards automation. 

However, with detailed analysis and forward-thinking as shown in this report, we can plan for the changes ahead and turn these into lucrative opportunities. 

By forecasting the future trends in the RORO sector and ensuring ports can cater for the potential growth in the ‘driverless accompanied’ type of traffic, they can anticipate these changes and be ready to maximise economic advantage.

Commenting, Chris Rowland, Managing Director, at MDS Transmodal said:

Technical, regulatory and economic barriers remain with regards to the deployment of autonomous HGVs on the British highways network by 2050. 

However, given the policy imperative of reducing emissions and the market-based need to increase the efficiency of road freight transport, particularly given rising HGV driver costs, we anticipate a significant industry-wide effort to overcome these barriers

The modelling of scenarios using MDS Transmodal’s GB Freight Model (GBFM) suggests that:

The roll-out of autonomous HGVs would lead to a boost for the accompanied RORO mode, which would secure an 80% market share in 2050.
As this boost in share is largely due to lower driver costs, a new type of RORO traffic – ‘driverless accompanied’ – would be created.

This increase in autonomous HGVs and subsequent rise in the RORO ‘driverless accompanied’ traffic would lead to growth in traffic through ports in almost all parts of Great Britain, but particularly through the Humber and on the Western English Channel.

The impacts on specific ports vary according to their existing mix of traffic between accompanied and unaccompanied RORO and their geographic location.

The report concludes that despite hurdles to be overcome before autonomous and ultra-low emission HGVs are operating on British highways, there is likely to be a significant future focus on overcoming these obstacles as operators seek to reduce costs and remain competitive. 

Furthermore, it would lead to Britain’s short sea transport chains becoming both more efficient economically and more sustainable.

Luke Smout Felixstowe

Felixstowe DockersUSS Kidd Arrives in San Diego After COVID-19 Outbreak

The guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100) arrived in San Diego on Tuesday to treat sailors after a COVID-19 outbreak on board. 

The USS Kidd was at sea participating in counter-narcotics operations in the U.S. South Command area of responsibility when several sailors began exhibiting influenza-like symptoms.

As of Tuesday, 64 sailors on guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG-100) have tested positive for the virus, with 63 percent of the crew tested, USNI New reported. 

Prior to its arrival, two sailors were medically evacuated to the United States, while another fifteen were transferred to the USS Makin Island (LHD 8) for closer observation out of an abundance of caution. 

While in San Diego, all sailors will be isolated off-ship with twice-daily medical screenings. Crewmembers who have tested negative will enter quarantine for a period of observation. A small number of COVID-19 negative sailors will remain on the ship for essential services and deep-cleaning.

“San Diego may not be USS Kidd’s home port, but we are definitely being made to feel at home,” said the ship’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Nathan Wemett. USS Kidd is based out of Naval Station Everett, Washington. 

The ship will also undergo a full deep-cleaning which is expected to take two weeks.  

“The USS Kidd Sailors continue to fight through this pandemic in order to get back to sea as soon as possible and execute their mission,” the Navy said.

Felixstowe DockersSaudi Oil Flotilla Faces Congested U.S. Ports

tanker at sea

By Stephen Cunningham and Robert Tuttle (Bloomberg) — 

A fleet of supertankers carrying Saudi oil will add to the growing congestion at U.S. ports in coming weeks at the same time producers are shutting in output as they run out of space to store unwanted supplies.

A total of 43 million barrels of Saudi oil is set to arrive on the U.S. Gulf and West coasts by May 24, according to Rystad Energy. The flotilla — comprising 28 tankers, including 14 very large crude carriers, or VLCCs — will join a queue of 76 tankers waiting to unload in U.S. ports as the greatest oil glut in history plays out.

Dozens of tankers are lined up off the two coasts with demand for motor and jet fuel destroyed by the Covid-19 pandemic. There are 34 tankers already waiting in line to offload about 25 million barrels on the West Coast, and 31 tankers lined up off the U.S. Gulf Coast.

“The congestion at U.S. ports has reached new highs,” Paola Rodriguez-Masiu, Rystad Energy’s senior oil markets analyst, said in a statement. “We find it unlikely that all tankers will be able to unload upon arrival.”

The growing glut of oil have caused futures prices for oil to plunge 75% this year as available storage filled up in Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for West Texas Intermediate futures. If the Saudi tankers can unload, their cargoes will offset almost all of the U.S. production cutbacks from March levels, according to Rystad. That will maintain the high rate of oil in storage, potentially keeping prices low.

U.S. President Donald Trump has come under pressure from Republican senators to stop the tankers hauling Saudi oil from unloading and adding to a domestic glut spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, refiners countered that some U.S. plants are configured to run on the type of medium and heavy sour crude that’s typically imported from Saudi Arabia.

As of Monday, about 14 million barrels of oil sitting in tankers off the West Coast was classified as being in storage, twice as much as off the Gulf Coast, the world’s biggest refining center, according to Paris-based Kpler, which tracks tankers. Traditional oil tanks are less numerous on the West Coast than they are on Gulf Coast, leaving giant tankers as a key alternative, according to Emmanuel Belostrino, a crude oil market analyst.

“The increase in oil in floating storage is a lot more significant for the West Coast compared with the Gulf Coast since the former has significantly less onshore crude storage capacity,” Belostrino said by email. “West Coast states were quicker to respond in their social distancing and quarantine measures, causing demand for petroleum products to drop more quickly.

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P

Felixstowe DockersPort authorities vow to keep trade going in fight against the pandemic

Hamburg port

Twenty port authorities from different parts of the world have signed a declaration calling for collaboration and sharing of best practices in ensuring port operations remain open to trade as part of the global efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ports across the globe have been declared essential services and have been working around the clock to maintain trade of goods, especially of food and medicines, uninterrupted.

However, there have been numerous challenges in ensuring the safety of port workers and seafarers while continuing to keep the operations going.

The declaration initiated by Singapore was signed by members of the Port Authorities Roundtable (PAR) including Abu Dhabi Ports, Antwerp, Hamburg and Rotterdam ports, Port Klang, Busan, Shanghai, Yokohama as well as Seattle, Long Beach and Los Angeles Ports.

It was the first virtual declaration for PAR members.

Through this joint declaration, the signatories committed to work together and ensure that merchant ships can continue to berth at port terminals to carry out cargo operations and keep the global supply chain going.

The ports also agreed to adopt best practices according to national circumstances, including precautionary measures for the shipping community, advisories and assistance for shore personnel and ship crew, and safe handling of cargoes during this period.

Furthermore, the port authorities vowed to continue to share experiences in combating COVID-19 while safeguarding unimpeded maritime trade.

“As the world battles with the COVID-19 pandemic, it has never been more critical to keep our ports open and goods moving. Shipping is chartering into many unknowns and new challenges. Port authorities have to take enhanced precautions for their ports and on ships, as well as manage the stress faced by our seafarers and maritime personnel. We have come together to make a declaration of our commitment, exchange experiences and share best practices,” Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive at the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), said.

“We came out of the session gaining more valuable knowledge to ensure that necessities and essential medical supplies continue to be transported seamlessly across the world and into our respective countries.”

 PAR has shared the declaration with the International Maritime Organization and the International Association of Ports and Harbours to rally other port authorities to join this declaration.

Felixstowe DockersCOVID-19 is no excuse to cut seafarers’ wages

At a time when seafarers are keeping the world moving, COVID-19 cannot be used as an excuse to lower the wage and working conditions of seafarers, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) said. 

Seafarers are vital employees because they keep the global supply chains moving. Seafarers, including those on ferries, transport around 90 per cent of the world’s goods, including necessary medical supplies, equipment, products and passengers.

Amid the ongoing pandemic, seafarers continue to work to ensure vital goods and passengers are transported, selflessly and in spite of the risks of contracting COVID-19. Despite the vital role that seafarers play, some companies are seeking to use the pandemic to undermine national standards in the industry, including replacing existing crews with seafarers on international terms and conditions that are substantially lower than national conditions, according to ITF.

“The pandemic cannot be used as an excuse for shipowners, managers or crewing agencies to dismiss their obligation to protect local jobs, local conditions or health, safety and economic standards in an industry for any work – especially for key workers including seafarers,” ITF stressed.

“Regardless of the nationality of a seafarer, they deserve the national terms and conditions applicable in national trade.”

In the United Kingdom, multiple companies, including Condor Ferries, Stena Line and P&O Ferries, have laid off seafarers, and asked them to choose between taking unpaid leave or being furloughed, ITF said. This is putting a serious economic strain on the seafarers and their livelihoods. Further, companies are using the pandemic to undermine long-existing collective bargaining agreements, the union remarked.

“National governments must play a necessary role in ensuring market downturns due to Covid-19 do not turn into unfair redundancies for seafarers or undercut current wages. Now more than ever, critical trade routes that deliver essential supplies should be crewed with national seafarers,” James Given, president of Seafarers International Union of Canada and chair of the ITF Cabotage Taskforce, commented.

“To use this pandemic as an opportunity to further erode conditions on ferry routes is opportunism at its worst.”

Companies who receive government funds have an obligation to ensure jobs for national seafarers since those funds are taxpayers’ money. Further, national governments must place conditions on employers who receive public funds that they must protect the wages of furloughed seafarers, including the preservation of existing and pre-existing terms and conditions of employment, ITF added.

The United Kingdom is one of the countries that introduced a government support package to keep the flow of goods and services running smoothly in and out of the UK, and around the country, throughout the pandemic. The package for essential freight services includes up to £17 million ($21 million) for critical routes between Northern Ireland and Great Britain and up to £10.5 million for lifeline ferry and freight services to the Isle of Wight and the Scilly Isles.

What is more, ITF said that the battle against COVID-19 will not be won without transport workers, seeking urgent protection for ITF members globally.

On the occasion of International Workers Memorial Day 2020 on 28 April, the global trade union movement called upon governments and occupational health and safety bodies around the world to recognise SARS-CoV-2 as an occupational hazard, and COVID-19 as an occupational decease.

Due to the pandemic, many countries have closed their borders and restricted port entry. Consequently, seafarers found themselves being unable to embark and disembark from vessels.

The International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners (INTERCARGO) once again drew attention to this issue.

As International Labour Day on 1 May approaches, it is more important than ever to remember the critical role played by seafarers in continuing to transport food, medicines and other essential goods during the COVID-19 pandemic, INTERCARGO said.

“Seafarers must not be forgotten in these extraordinary times. The issue of crew change must be at the top of the industry’s agenda,” Dimitris Fafalios, Chairman of INTERCARGO, said.

“Without efficient crew changes, the supply chain would break down leading to basic product shortages and greater hardships for people around the world,” he added.

“Maritime authorities of port states should join hands with their immigration departments to empathise with crews, our unsung heroes at sea, treat them as key workers as requested by the IMO Secretary General and permit crew change without undue restrictions in their ports to ensure safety at sea and of their territorial waters,” Jay K. Pillai, INTERCARGO’s Vice-Chairman, concluded.

Felixstowe DockersPilot fall accident, Durban

Pilot fall accident, Durban

Sea Rescue South Africa informed on pilot accident, which took place on Apr 28 in Durban Harbor:

At 07h45, Tuesday, 28th April, NSRI Durban duty crew were activated by Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) following reports of a 35 year old male TNPA ships Pilot fallen into the sea off a crude oil tanker in the vicinity of N Shed Wharf in the Port of Durban. 

A securing rope on a rope ladder reportedly severed from undetermined causes while the man was disembarking from the crude oil tanker that was under sail departing the Port of Durban. 

The Pilot vessel Lufafa went to his rescue and he was recovered and brought to T Jetty where they were met by Police S&R, Metro Police S&R and Life Healthcare paramedics.

He was treated for mild hypothermia and as a precaution, has been transported to hospital by ambulance in a stable condition for further medical evaluation and medical care and is expected to fully recover.

Felixstowe DockersContainer ship involved in hit-and-run identified

Container ship involved in hit-and-run identified

Container ship PACIFIC EXPRESS was identified by Vietnamese Maritime Authorities and Coast Guard, as the ship involved in hit-and-run accident, said Quy Nhon Maritime Port Authority in a statement, issued on Apr 25. 

Container ship struck fishing boat off Quy Nhon Port, Binh Ding Province, central Vietnam, on Apr 10. Fishing boat sank, 3 fishermen on board were thrown into water. Container ship didn’t stop and continued sailing, fishermen were rescued by nearby fishing boats. 

Owner of container ship is to compensate fishermen for lost boat and other losses.

Felixstowe DockersHutchison Ports First to Introduce Autonomous Trucks to Thailand

Hutchison Ports Thailand, the nation’s leading port operator and an innovator in global ‘smart port’ port development, announced today that it is now the first port operator in Thailand and among the first in the world to acquire and test autonomous trucks at its Terminal D facility at Laem Chabang Port, Chon Buri.

The announcement marks a huge step forward for the development of the nation’s ‘smart’ infrastructure along the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), with the autonomous, ‘Qomolo’ trucks promising to improve efficiency and safety at its operations at Terminal D. 

The investment will not only benefit Hutchison Ports Thailand’s customers and port users at Terminal D, but other stakeholders along the EEC; a key gateway to the greater Mekong region.

The six electric ‘Qomolo’ trucks (also known as the ‘Q-Truck’), arrived at Terminal D from Shanghai, China on 26 April, with the testing phase set to run for one year. During this period, the trucks will be integrated with the existing conventional fleet of trucks to transfer containers between the quay and the yard.

Equipped with advanced AI machine-learning technology and a wireless charging system, the Q Truck can operate non-stop for more than 24 hours. 

The trucks utilise the advanced ‘LiDAR’ light detection and range technology, through which it can instantaneously (and accurately) detect and survey its surroundings in all directions, generating a precise, internal 3D map, enabling it to accurately analyse and avoid obstacles and collisions.

The operation of the trucks will be integrated into – and controlled by – Hutchison Ports’ Next Generation Terminal Management System (“nGen”), which works in conjunction with other innovations – such as remote controlled-cranes – to plan transportation routes, manage operation time schedules and arrival patterns.

Mr. Stephen Ashworth, Managing Director – Thailand & South East Asia of Hutchison Ports, said, “The autonomous ‘Q-Trucks’ utilize the latest technology and innovation, and are part of our ongoing plan to transform Terminal D into the most technologically advanced and efficient container terminal in the region. 

The Q Truck continues to push the envelope for port innovation and along with our other already and soon-to-be implemented innovations, such as remote controlled crane-technology, online e-tracking services, gate automation and blockchain technology, we are rapidly approaching our goal of becoming the nation’s first fully-developed ‘smart port.”

Luke Smout Felixstowe

Felixstowe DockersLuke Smout: My First Job on a Ferry

Luke Smout- feeling a bit giddy!
Back in 2019, I saw an advertisement on Facebook for a job vacancy on the Harwich Harbour Ferry and at that point in my life I was trying to try all different things, so I decided to apply for the job.

For the avoidance of doubt, I suffer with really bad sea sickness- I even felt a bit giddy on a canal barge on our last family holiday. So a job on a small passenger foot ferry in the Orwell Estuary may not have been my greatest idea to date.

A bit of history of the Harwich Harbour Ferry. In it's previous life, The Ferry was actually a life boat on the SS Canberra ocean liner.  

She was built at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Northern Ireland at a cost of £17,000,000. The ship was named on 17 March 1958, after the federal capital of Australia, Canberra. 

She was launched on 16 March 1960, sponsored by Dame Pattie Menzies, GBE, wife of the then Prime Minister of Australia, Robert Menzies. 

She entered service in May 1961, and made her maiden voyage starting in June. She appeared in the 1971 James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever. 

In the 1982 Falklands War she served as a troop ship. In 1997 the singer and songwriter Gerard Kenny released the single "Farewell Canberra" which was specially composed for the last voyage.

On 2 April 1982, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, which initiated the Falklands War. At the time, Canberra was cruising in the Mediterranean. 

The next day, her captain Dennis Scott-Masson received a message asking his time of arrival at Gibraltar, which was not on his itinerary. When he called at Gibraltar, he learnt that the Ministry of Defence had requisitioned Canberra for use as a troopship. 

Canberra sailed to Southampton, Hampshire where she was quickly refitted, sailing on 9 April for the South Atlantic.

Rough seas. . . Credit: Luke Smout

I really enjoyed my short stint on the ferry and surprisingly I was never actually sea sick- the skipper told me that it was because of the short distance of the crossing and that no one to date has ever been sick on the boat, even when it gets a bit choppy. 

Although I thoroughly enjoyed my time and felt proud to have contributed in a small way in the Ferry's 104 year history, I live in Felixstowe, which meant I had to commute to Harwich quite frequently, which wasn't exactly ideal! 

If you are ever given a chance to work on the Ferry, I would 100% recommend that you should give it a go, even if it is to combat your seasickness!

Luke Smout

Felixstowe DockersWATCH: Ever Govern gathers way towards Hamburg, part 2; 27 April 2020

In part 2 of our coverage of her departure, ultra large container ship Ever Govern settles onto her heading and gets underway. Svitzer Shotley leaves the bow station and moves to the quarter, while Svitzer Deben stays on the stern and moves out to provide swing power on the Beach End Turn.

Felixstowe DockersWorlds Largest Container Ships

10. MV Barzan

Built by Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea in 2015 for the United Arab Shipping Company, MV Barzan is an ultra-large container ship. Having a DWT of 199,744 and a gross tonnage of 195,636, MV Barzan was the largest container ship when it was produced.

Another thing that made MV Barzan famous was that it has carbon emissions far lower than the Maersk EEE class container ships. MV Barzan is likely to continue to be very popular in the maritime industry since it has the lowest per-container level of carbon emissions which is almost 50% less than the IMO’s new limit set for 2025.

9. COSCO Shipping Taurus

COSCO SHIPPING TAURUS, Container ship, IMO 9783459 | Vessel ...

COSCO Shipping Taurus was built in 2018 by Waigaoqiao Shipbuilging for the China Ocean Shipping Company Limited. This mono-hull ship’s only purpose is container carriage, with a capacity of 20,119 TEU. It has a length of 399.8 meters and a breadth of 58.7 meters. COSCO Shipping Taurus is registered and sailing under the flag of Hong Kong.

8. MOL Triumph

Equipped with highly advanced energy-saving technologies, MOL Triumph was built in 2017 by Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea for the Mitsui O.S.K. Lines. When it was built, it immediately made the headlines as the world’s first 20,000 TEU-class container ship (20,170 TEU, to be exact).
With an overall length of 400 meters, a width of 58.8 meters (193 ft), and a maximum summer draft of 16.0 meters (52.5 ft), MOL Triumph has a deadweight of 192,672 DWT.

Its service speed is 22.0 knots, and the maximum recorded speed is 24.0 knots.

7. MOL Truth

MOL Truth was manufactured by Imabari Shipbuilding Company Limited for the Ocean Network Express group of Japan in 2017. Its length overall is 400 meters, the beam is 58.5 meters. With a container capacity is of 20,182 TEU, MOL Truth is sailing under the flag of Panama. Its optimized hull shape and other advanced technologies used to built it are able to reduce the CO2 emissions of MOL Truth by up to 30%.

6. Ever Golden

Another container ship built by Imabari Shipbuilding Company Limited and sailing under the flag of Panama is Ever Golden. Built in 2018, its length overall is 400 meters and the beam is 58.8 meters. The ship has a gross tonnage of 21,7612, a deadweight of 199,692, and a container capacity of 20,000 TEU. One thing Ever Golden lacks is the ability to serve with very high speed. Its maximum recorded speed is 11.4 knots.

5. Madrid Maersk

Madrid Maersk was built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Shipyard for Maersk Line. It is the first of 11 second-generation Maersk Triple E-class container ships. During its launch in 2017, it became the second 20,000 TEU-class container ship ever (with 20,568 TEU). With a deadweight Tonnage of 192,672MT, Madrid Maersk measures 399 meters in length and 58.8 meters in breadth.

4. CMA CGM Antoine De Saint Exupery

Named after the French author Antoine de Saint Exupery, who wrote the famous Little Prince, CMA CGM Antoine De Saint Exupery is the largest container ship to sail under the French flag. It’s also the largest Europe-based ship.

CMA CGM Antoine De Saint Exupery was built in 2017 by Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction for the French shipping company CMA CGM. It is 400 meters long and 59 meters wide and has a dead-weight of 202684 MT. This environment-friendly vessel’s new generation engine reduces its oil consumption by up to 25% and its carbon-di-oxide emission by up to 4%.

3. COSCO Shipping Universe

COSCO Shipping Universe was built it 2018 by the China State Shipbuilding Corporation for China Ocean Shipping Company Limited. Registered and sailing under the flag of Hong Kong, it is the largest cargo ship in China with a carrying capacity of 21,237 TEU. It’s 400 meters long, 58.6 meters wide and has a maximum speed of 22 knots.

With a deadweight of 199,000 MT, COSCO Shipping Universe is a flagship vessel of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

2. OOCL Hong Kong

When it was built in 2017 by the Samsung Heavy Industries, it became the third container ship to surpass the 20,000 TEU. It’s 399.87 meters long and has a breadth of 58.8 meters and a depth of 32.5 meters. As the leading ship of the G-Class, OOCL Hong Kong can also carry 14,904 cubic meters of fuel.

1. HMM Aleciras

World's largest container carrier named HMM Algeciras at Daewoo ...

Felixstowe DockersAmid Covid-19 crisis, Panama flies the flag for global shipping industry and for humanitarian values

Ambassador´s Bio | Embassy and Consulate General of Panama in London

Her Excellency Natalia Royo, Panama’s Ambassador in the United Kingdom

Amid Covid-19 crisis, Panama flies the flag for global shipping industry and for humanitarian values

Panama is showing strong leadership to the world in humanitarian assistance to its vital maritime sector and to  society more widely, Her Excellency Natalia Royo, newly-appointed Ambassador of the Republic of Panama to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, tells Allaboutshipping in an interview. Ambassador Royo said that thanks to its geographical position Panama can distribute aid to the region quickly and efficiently amid the disruption the covid19 crisis has caused. The nation is taking robust measures to assist its economy, said the Ambassador, and is ready to extend deadlines where necessary for procedures involving shipowners and seafarers.

For many years, the Panama flag has maintained by far the top position in number of ships covered and in company registration, and the Panama Canal with its new locks that doubled capacity meets the demands size-wise for most of the shipping industry’s tonnage.

With the Coronavirus “tsunami” shaking Planet Ocean to its foundations, Panama is there to assist business in its entirety, the Ambassador assures its clients and partners, and keep the world on the move. At this critical time for Panama’s continuing development John Faraclas put some challenging questions to Ambassador Royo. Here are her comprehensive and incisive answers.

1)The Panama Canal Authority is requiring all ships transiting the waterway or planning port calls in Panama that have called at countries with confirmed cases of the Coronavirus to report contact. What effect is this having on ships planning the transit – is it slowing their progress, or even deterring some from this route? Are many ships being boarded? Do Panama officials have enough personal protective equipment including masks to carry out this task? Have any ships been detained for such reasons?

The Panama Canal plays a critical role in facilitating the safe passage of international goods and people and will continue to adapt its COVID-19 response protocols, in coordination with the Ministry of Health of Panama (MINSA) and the Panama Maritime Authority, to guarantee its safe and sustained operations as the situation evolves.

Currently, the Canal continues operating with its high standards and with the personnel needed for our transit operations.

It is important to emphasize the fact that the Panama Canal’s inspection and control personnel work tirelessly to ensure compliance with regulations on health and prevention of contagious diseases within its waters. These inspections for contagious risk issues have been carried out for years and are required for all vessels that arrive in the Panama Canal waters. To mention some, they include:

The vessel is required to report its conditions on board and does so through the Panama Maritime Single Window System (VUMPA, for its acronym in Spanish). In the case of non-compliance and/or providing false information, the vessel is subject to penalties and/or restrictions.
A Panama Canal inspector embarks and confirms the inquiries included in the Maritime Health Declaration through a form previously completed in the VUMPA.
The inspector also interviews the vessel’s captain or officer in charge to reconfirm that there are no sick people or crewmembers showing symptoms on board.
If there are any confirmed or suspected cases on board and depending on the symptoms it is concluded that there is a relevant disease aboard. When concluded that there is a relevant disease on a vessel then the Maritime Health Unit of MINSA, is called onboard. During this time, boarding and disembarking are prohibited for people and a yellow flag is hoisted, announcing the ship is under quarantine.

Next steps are determined, following MINSA’s inspection.

Nevertheless, in response to COVID-19, the following additional measures have been implemented at the Panama Canal:

Vessels are required to report if and when crew changes occurred within 14 days of arrival at ports with COVID-19 cases to MINSA.

Panama Canal’s inspectors must contact vessels via radio before boarding to confirm all crewmembers onboard are healthy and to verify any recent crew changes.
Panama Canal personnel are equipped with alcohol-based hand sanitizer gel and masks.
Also, the Panama Maritime Authority send Maritime Safety Information to all vessels arriving at Panama Ports Facilities, notifying strictly that only the crew involved in cargo operations can be on deck, while the rest of the crew have to be in their cabins or accommodations; with this measure, the contact between ports personnel and crew members will be reduced.
Constant communication is maintained between the Panama Canal and MINSA’s maritime health unit.

We have had cases of vessels that reported people with symptoms on board, but upon reviewing the cases, transit was allowed when it was confirmed that it was not COVID-19 or other contagious diseases.

Just recently we had two cruise ships, Zardamm and the MS Rotterdam, with 4 people who died on board allegedly due to COVID-19.  The Ministry of Health, in coordination with the Panama Canal Authority and Panama Maritime Authority, authorized the transit of these ships through the Panama Canal understanding the situation of the passengers and the humanitarian aid required for the vessels to disembark on a safe port. The Canal took extreme sanitary measures to assist on the safe transit of these two vessels, including the use of the Neopanamax Locks to reduce to a minimum the number of the Canal’s operators involved in the operation.

Panama was the only country in the area to aid these vessels and it was done for humanitarian reasons. Our president Laurentino Cortizo has been prompt to promote solidarity among Panamanians and has shown a strong leadership to the world regarding humanitarian assistance.

Due to our assistance on the transit of both cruise ships, our government received messages of appreciation from many countries of the world, such as the United Kingdom, Canada, France and the Netherlands. Around 1,800 people on board from the countries mentioned were aboard these vessels. The Panamanian government is also aiding and cooperating with other countries on this difficult situation and we already have established a hub for humanitarian assistance to cover from Panama 24 Latin American countries. Thanks to our geographical position we can distribute aid to the region, quickly and efficiently and on the crisis covid19 has caused, this hub, which is the first one on the region and used by the Red Cross and United Nations, has become an important tool to help other countries.

2) The Canal is a vital support to the economy of Panama. How will the current difficulties impact its ability to help balance the national budget?

It is too early to measure the economic impact on the traffic throughout the waterway, but it is true that the Canal is vital for our economy. Even if the Canal represents around 5% of our economy, all the maritime and logistics activities that surround it represent approximately 30% of our GDP. The Canal contributes with around 20% of the government’s income that goes directly to social investments. Just for contextualizing the importance of the Canal to Panamá´s economy, in 2019 the state received 1,786 million USD. Having said that, we have a very diversified economy and a very resilient population. All will depend on the duration of the crisis but I am confident that, after the crisis, we will find new ways to prevail and cope with the world’s new social dynamics. Also, we have to take into account that the Canal works with a very well-prepared group of professionals and independently from the government so hopefully the situation will be transitory, and economies will be restored. Regardless of everything that’s happening, the Panama Canal acts, will react and has acted accordingly to the dynamics of the world economies.

3) Fitch Ratings has downgraded Panama’s rating from stable to negative, and the country is still listed in the Financial Action Task Force’s money laundering watchlist. What is being done to improve the situation, and how will the coronavirus emergency add to these pressures on the Panamanian economy?

President Laurentino Cortizo’s administration is fully committed to ensuring that the FATF Action Plan is carried out on time to ensure Panama’s prompt removal from the list. Besides, it is important to mention that the country’s banking centre is in compliance with FATF recommendations and that the sector financials are solid and stable, with robust liquidity and solvency. Only 8 months into the new administration, President Cortizo’s government has been working on strengthening the effectiveness and transparency of Panamanian institutions to also guarantee the rule of law and fair competitive conditions for local and international investments. In summary, these are some of the actions taken for the development of a more adequate framework:

1. The creation of the International Services Competitiveness Unit within the Ministry of the Presidency to align government agencies with a new mission, strategy and roadmap to enhance the financial services centre.

The government holds weekly high-level meetings with President Cortizo, the National Commission against Money Laundering, representatives from the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Prosecutor’s Office to ensure coordination of the FATF action plan and strategy and to achieve an effective AML/CTF/PWMD national system.
Enhanced coordination and communication protocols between inter-government offices, throughout standard operations procedures to identify, investigate, and prosecute cases related to AML/CTF/PWMD.

Four bills approved in Cabinet and Congress that:
(i) Suspends the access of companies that haven’t paid their annual tax for more than three consecutive years and/or have not reported their resident agent with the Public Registry;

(ii) Modifies the Penal Code to ensure that the appropriate law is implemented as a deterrent for tax evasion;

(iii) Imposes sanctions (5-8 years in prison) to those who carry out the money transfer service commercially without a license;

(iv) Guarantees full autonomy to the supervision entity.

The government is working towards the implementation of a Registry for Resident Agents and a Registry for Ultimate Beneficiary Owners.
Panama’s AML/CTF regulation will be modified to homologate the responsibilities of all obliged subjects and to establish more proportional and dissuasive sanctions.
Amendment of the law that requires accounting records to be kept by all Panamanian corporate vehicles operating abroad.

Updates of Chapter V (financial terrorism) of the country’s National Risk Assessment and updates to understand the major risks and apply the corresponding mitigation measures and controls.
Panama is committed to becoming the best Latin American business, services, and financial hub by mitigating the risk posed by criminal activities and complying with the required international standards.

Finally, the Latin American Anti-Money Laundering Group, GAFILAT, recognised the country’s progress and welcomed the significant improvements in the recommendations: Panama went from complying with 35 requirements to complying with 38 requirements out of a total of 40, securing a current technical compliance score of 95%.

In terms of COVID-19, naturally, the pandemic is affecting the global economy and it is in the hands of our world leaders and the leaders of every sector of our economy to take action. In Panama, the economic measures and relief efforts include initiatives from both the private and public sector, such as freezing some bank payments and obligations, the suspension or delay of several public bills and tax payment extensions.

Panama has already taken a total of 27 economic measures; there are 50 under evaluation to be implemented in the next 45 days, and 29 projects and additional measures are being reviewed for the aftermath of the pandemic. Panama´s measures are being replicated by other countries of the region.

Moreover, the Panamanian government has implemented a program of economic solidarity, “Plan Panama Solidario”, which is an emergency plan of social assistance and humanitarian relief for vulnerable communities in Panama that will help approximately 1.35 million people in the country. This program includes benefits such as physical and electronic (accessed via their national ID) coupons for food and medicine, food supplies, and donations.

I have to admit that I feel proud of how this government is dealing with the crisis, humanitarian and cooperative approach above all, as well as the rapid, coordinated and unified response of all governmental entities.

4)A big slowdown is forecast in global trade growth. How is Panama and the Canal going to be impacted and how will they cope with that?

This is an unprecedented situation, therefore anticipating the economic impact at the moment would be very premature. The impact will depend on how quickly the economies of the countries that use the Canal recover. This situation is still so recent, and we have not received the impact of the market yet. For instance, if ports on the east coast of the United States reduce or suspend operations or when production and manufacturing restart for inventory replenishment in Asia. We continue to monitor the situation closely as shipping companies inform us of their transit schedule.

Nevertheless, it is more than probable that there will be an impact. The Panama Canal Administrator just recently informed that 52 transits have been cancelled, 35 cruise ships and 17 cargo vessels. Since we are the channel that connects 1,700 ports in 160 countries, there will probably be a slowdown. The reduction on oil prices can also have an impact so maybe ships would not mind taking the longer route through Cape Horn. But, at the same time, vessels have to consider that taking a longer route can be more damaging to the climate and Panama offers several incentives to use oil without sulfur, as it was approved by the International Maritime Organization, so even that alternative it is not completely certain. We must wait to know the consequences and our country is ready to respond to the needs of this trade.

5) On March 11, the presidents of Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, and the Dominican Republic signed a joint declaration in which they committed to preparing a regional contingency plan to combat the pandemic, aimed at complementing national efforts. How well equipped is Panama’s health system generally in medical terms to cope with rising numbers of victims and suspects? What else is being done to alleviate the humanitarian crisis?

The Central American Economic Integration System, with the help of the Central American Bank for Economic Integration, approved a fund of one thousand nine hundred (1,900) million US dollars that will be used on a Regional Contingency Plan. Amid this difficult situation, it is very gratifying to see how all central American countries are trying to help each other in a united way. I have to say that all Latin American countries have been, as never before, working together to cope with the crisis in a coordinated and cooperative manner and making lots of efforts to find solutions, sharing best practices and common strategies.

Specifically about Panama´s health system, it is well known that this crisis has affected the health systems of all the countries where COVID-19 has been spread, therefore Panama has also been affected by this. Nevertheless, with the quick response our Government, led by President Laurentino Cortizo strict measures from the beginning have been implemented to alleviate our health system.

Panama has been considered a model for rapid response to Covid19 virus by United Nations health officials and as they said Panama´s response measures can be exported to other countries of Latin America and the world. The government have been behind these efforts from the start, and all Ministries have been working in a coordinated way. In my case, I felt truly supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; since the very beginning, all Embassies received clear guidelines, accompaniment and support from the Ministry. As it is said, you will know how things and people work in a time of crisis, I have to say that the Panamanian government response was admirable, one step ahead compared to other countries and will continue aiding our fellow countries who require humanitarian assistance.

At the celebration of Panama IMO ‘s candidature with the Minister and Administrator of Maritime Affairs of Panama, Noriel Arauz, IMO’s Secreary-General Kitack Lim and other Panamanian officials

6) How will Panamanian companies and organisations – the international registry, shipowners and agents, ship suppliers and so on – be supported if their finances are badly hit?

The Panama Maritime Authority led by the Minister of Maritime Affairs and Administrator, Noriel Arauz, is taking the necessary measures to avoid the potential risks this pandemic may produce, taking into account that the maritime business must continue operating and that we must cooperate efficiently for its recovery.

We are committed to providing the best services; our personnel is ready to assist all our international clients 24 hours a day/7days a week to continue ensuring the expeditious service our clients are accustomed to, even during this unprecedented times.

It is crucial to remember that our registry is currently supported by 53 Consular Offices around the world and 13 International Technical Offices (SEGUMAR) that operate globally. It must be noted that our Registry is backed by the State and not by a consortium or private entity, therefore, we do not have the risk of going bankrupt on this sanitary crisis.

As Minister Arauz said, we are providing continuity ensuring that the operations will not be interrupted by any external factor since we have the appropriate equipment and technological platforms to solve all operations rapidly and remotely. The Panama Ship Registry has the mechanisms to facilitate our users in the registration of their property titles and ship mortgages electronically and remotely, avoiding the physical presence of the persons for the registration of such documents. All Panamanian Consular offices and Embassies worldwide are at the client’s disposal to provide them with all the notary services needed for the registration of property and licenses for the vessel’s operations, in an agile, efficient, remote and safe way, respecting and guaranteeing with each of our actions all the principles of legal security that have characterized us throughout the years.

The Panama Maritime Authority reaffirms the commitment to banking institutions worldwide that trust our ship registry to ensure their credit guarantees through the ship mortgage.

Additionally, Minister Arauz has issued instructions to all approved organizations that any audit, inspection or survey expiration date could be extended for 90 days, as well as dry docking is also extended for the same period. Also, an extension to Statutory Certification & Services and Certificate of Registry/Patents (in all its forms), Radio Station License (in all its forms), Exemption Certificates, Minimum Safe Manning Certificates issued to Mobile Offshore Units (MODU/MOU) has been issued. These benefits are focused on our direct clients of merchant marine. (Ref. Merchant Marine Notice. MMN-07/2020 and merchant marine circular MMC-313)

Furthermore, on Resolution JD No. 032-2020 our Administration suspends, for ninety (90) calendar days, the payment for the anchorage of passenger ships, port charges, berths, anchorage areas and marinas of the national territory, to all ships registered under the Panamanian flag; as well as an additional 50% off in the certification services of foreign seafarers onboard an economic group that keeps more than ten (10) passenger ships registered with the Panamanian flag.

Regarding the welfare of our seafarers around the world, the General Directorate of Seafarers offers to extend payments and licensing procedures to sailors and crew members on board the Panamanian flagship, Seafarers employment agreement SEA and certificates endorsements for 90 days.

At no cost, the ship owners and operator companies can request these special extensions for their crew members through any SEGUMAR office around the world. After reviewing each case and the compliance of the requirements established the Merchant Marine Notice MMN-03/2020, the SEGUMAR office will grant the necessary extensions/crew dispensation letter/authorizations following the good maritime practices and always ensuring the safe and uninterrupted navigation of ships on the Panamanian registry.

We encourage all the ship owners and operator companies to always follow the most updated PMA guidelines, circulars and marine notices through our consular offices, SEGUMAR offices and our governmental official maritime website:

Concluding this interview I must state that our team is here to help on this difficult and unprecedented times, so please if you or anyone on the maritime sector needs advice, do not hesitate to contact us at:

The Panama Consulate in London:
Telephone: +442074092255


SEGUMAR office in London
Telephone: +442076293616 , +442076293649,      +442076293650

Felixstowe DockersSMS Group keeps Britain trading

UK Border Force vessel docked at SMS Lowestoft
SMS proudly supports ports & harbours, plans for the future and looks towards innovations
THE SMS Group, trading from seven key ports in the UK, is playing an integral role in helping to keep Britain trading – supporting maritime infrastructure, crucial freight operators and the nation’s Defence sector.

SMS has an enviable reputation as specialists in ship repair, marine engineering and major fabrication projects in the Commercial marine, Defence and Superyacht sectors.  The company also operates a diving and sub-surface marine engineering business.

Nicholas Warren, Commercial Director of The SMS Group, said: “From our seven sites we support the likes of the Royal Navy, via Babcock and BAE Systems, UK Border Force, Trinity House and various inter-island freight operators as well as numerous ports, harbours and tug/towage operations.

“We’re a small, but important part of the country’s maritime infrastructure and, as Island nation, we must keep trading.”

He added: “We’ve just this week docked a UK Border Force vessel in Lowestoft, provisioned support to aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines, and completed two emergency call-outs for two differing tug operators.

“We’ve also supported the vital inter-island ferry operators that help serve both the communities of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Wight.

“It’s key that we follow Government advice, take all precautions, keep colleagues and customers safe, and develop our own business processes, and then of course carry on.”

In these challenging times The SMS Group is looking to innovate too. The company has established a small, focused team, to provision mobile sanitation services to key customers with ship-side and shore-side assets that are in need of either one-off sanitation pre-recommencement of service, or routine sanitation whilst in service or in refit.

On the subject of innovation, Nicholas said: “As a business we try to put the customer at the centre of what we do; their problems are often our problems.

“Sanitation is now a challenge.  We’ve seen interest from both Commercial and Defence customers alike.

“Our ‘fogging’ solution allows the operatives, working in two-man teams, to safely and quickly sanitise all the spaces on vessels that have historically proven difficult to do so by conventional methods.

“We can ‘fog’ machinery spaces, voids and bilges, small cabins, stair wells and both crew and passenger spaces with ease.

“This service is offered on a one-off, or scheduled basis.  Our intent is to sanitise any given area against Covid-19, and at the same time ensure that passengers, crew and/or shipyard workers are aware of these higher standards of routine sanitisation.

“We want to reassure all stakeholders and end users.”

He added: “As the ‘lockdown’ eases we will see various marine platforms, across all our markets, with many of our key customers, being ‘reactivated’.

“You’ll also see shipyards return to work.  If we can ‘fog’ vessel/shipyard spaces as part of the ‘reactivation’, and then thereafter between crew/shift changes, overnight, or on passenger turnarounds, then we hope to help our customers maintain the highest standards of onboard and shore-side sanitation.

“We want to stay safe and help keep Britain trading.”

The SMS Group has positioned ‘foggers’ and trained operatives throughout the businesses seven locations to try to ensure the geographical reach that we anticipate may be required.

Felixstowe DockersWATCH: Maiden call - MSC Samar: big - but no longer biggest!

At 23,756 TEU, MSC's current-building class of Ultra Large Container Ships have been pushed into second-largest place with the launch of 24,000 TEU HMM Algeciras recently. But MSC Samar, seen making her maiden call at Felixstowe is still a very large ship indeed.

Felixstowe Dockers“You are not alone” – IMO Secretary-General’s Message to Seafarers

Personal message from IMO Secretary-General to seafarers

“You are not alone. You are not forgotten”. So said IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim in a moving personal message to seafarers everywhere, assuring them that IMO understands the unique problems they face during the coronavirus pandemic and has been working tirelessly at all levels to find solutions for them.

Hundreds of ship sailings have been cancelled as trade has been reduced in line with the slowing global economy and ports all over the world have either closed or drastically cut their operations.

But restrictions on travel and personal movement adopted by most countries have left many seafarers stranded on board ships, unable to disembark or be replaced by relief crews. Others find themselves stuck in hotels, without pay and unable to get flights home.

Estimates suggest that, every month, 100,000 seafarers finish their contracts and would normally be flown home – but the coronavirus has had a huge negative impact on this repatriation process.

Since the start of the global lockdown, IMO has been in urgent contact with trade unions, seafarer welfare organizations, shipowners, governments and fellow United Nations agencies, especially the International Labour Organization, to try and find solutions.

Mr Lim said he had been “deeply touched by the many stories we have heard from individual seafarers of the challenges, hardships and sacrifices that seafarers have made to keep the global supply chain moving while helping the global population.”

He noted the difficulties the maritime industry has faced in conducting crew changeovers, providing medical care for sick and injured crew and allowing for shore leave, and added “the inability to resupply or repatriate crews concerns me greatly”.

Describing seafarers as being in the “front line’’ of the global fight against the pandemic, Mr Lim said, “All of us at IMO understand the challenges you face. ” He added “To all seafarers, my message to you is strong and clear: We are listening. We hear you.”

Secretary-General Lim has written to all IMO Member States, urging them to recognize all seafarers as “key workers”, remove any barriers to their documentation and lift national travel restrictions so that they can get home on conclusion of their contracts, and rejoin their families. And, wherever possible, IMO staff have been working round the clock to help bring individual cases to a speedy resolution.

Felixstowe Dockers“K” Line to participate in the United Nations Global Compact

By Baibhav Mishra 

Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. (“K” Line) has signed the United Nations Global Compact (the “UNGC”), an initiative proposed by the United Nations, and has been registered as a participating company on April 20, 2020. We have also joined Global Compact Network Japan, which is UNGC’s local network in Japan.

The UNGC is a voluntary initiative in which companies and organizations act as good members of society and participate in the creation of a global framework for sustainable growth by demonstrating responsible and creative leadership. Signatory companies and organizations are required to support and implement the UNGC’s 10 principles on human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption.

“K” Line has defined ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) initiatives as an important management issue. On the occasion of participating in the UNGC, we will further strengthen our efforts so as to contribute to the realization of a sustainable society, hence strive to improve our corporate value.

The Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact

Human Rights

Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and

Principle 2: make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses


Principle 3: Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;

Principle 4: the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour;

Principle 5: the effective abolition of child labour;

Principle 6: the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.


Principle 7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;

Principle 8: undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and

Principle 9: encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.


Principle10: Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.

Sea News

Felixstowe DockersCOVID-19 Disruption: Container Shipping Can be Protected By More Automation

Mike Wychocki, Chairman & CEO of EagleRail Container Logistics (Sea News File Photo)
We should remember that any future disruptions may be larger than this one, and also that this will not be the last disruption. So what should the container shipping industry do?

COVID-19 has taken the world by surprise. The whole world today is struggling, holding on to hope that normalcy will be restored soon. But for now, humanity and the economic trajectories are staring into an unpredictable tomorrow. In these troubled waters, protecting our container shipping supply chain is one of the keys to protecting the global economy, an insight provided on the industry by Mike Wychocki, Chairman & CEO of EagleRail Container Logistics.

Current industry volume has decreased by over 20% across the globe and worse, it might go lower in the near and mid-term explains Mr. Wychocki.

This is a situation similar to the 2008-2009 global economic downturn, in particular, when global container volume fell by 20%. Besides this similarity, were is what’s unique about the situation during the current Downturn.

Factories Output and Consumer Demand is Out of Sync:

In the beginning of the outbreak, people were still buying things all over the world but then the Chinese factories had to be closed. Now, that these Chinese factories have returned to full capacity, there is much lower consumer demand for the global supply chain. So, it is naturally hurting the sales right now.

The Spring Selling Season was Lost:

In the northern hemisphere it was the Spring merchandise selling season. Everyone comes out of winter and there is a spike in demand of consumer goods. Summer and Spring are large selling seasons globally. This whole period is being interrupted.

Discretionary Products Are Staying Out of Demand:

Except life-sustaining demand products like groceries and some cleaning supplies and hardware, most seasonal product or any discretionary purchase order were not asked for in the markets. We have missed the entire peak of selling seasons and this is hurting the global economy and so, the shipping industry.

The Missing Manpower:

In the scenario where mobility has been reduced to near-zero, manpower shortages initially impacted the industry and worse hit were the Chinese export side. When COVID-19 began, there was a shortage of port workers, truck drivers and even customs officials. This adversely impacted the exports out of the Chinese factories. Mike adds: “When we talk about the rest of the world, it wasn’t really that bad primarily because when supply chain is reduced, less and less manpower is required. For example if on a typical route there were four ships coming into the European or American ports and now that are only 2, the manpower requirement also decreases. They would only need 50% of the earlier manpower requirement.  So, the manpower shortage impact was more felt by the export side of China than the import side of the rest of the world.”

Discussing the problem, the EagleRail CEO also suggested the additional automation alternatives that can be adopted to avert such manpower problems in the future. The alternative to this would be a more intermodal automation and that’s the part where EagleRail addresses. “Any additional automation at the ports, in rail yards, in trucking or in customs – we would be able to extend that outside the port. In last 30 days, we have been getting a lot of positive response from various ports and port consultants.” The most interesting part is to look at intermodal automation as a missing part in preventing any further supply chain disruption.

“EagleRail feels very confident about its technology being even more in demand in the near-term future. Even if container volumes go down temporarily for the next year, in next five years consumer demand will still be for sure greater than it is today. We should remember that any future disruptions may be larger than this one, also this will not be the last disruption”, alerts Wychocki. “This is the right time to invest in future supply chain disruptions,” he added.

This society is becoming more inter-connected. We can see that if one country sneezes, the whole world catches the cold. We are so connected right now that we need to build more and more defences against supply chain disruptions, he added.

Ripple Effects – Apprehensions, investigations & Re-negotiations:

Yes, this is what is happening because volume is down can be down for about 12- to 18-months there will be job losses in the shipping industry in the port industry and in the local industry.

What is happening is that the shipping lines are re-negotiating contracts with the manufacturing side and the retail side and the port side for everybody’s agreement that were based on projections of how much volume will come out of each factory, and what would be the frequency of the ship and work how much volume will be carried out.

There is usually a contract that is based on 12-months projection. And now that the projections are down by 20-25% and the future is uncertain, everybody has started tearing up previous contracts and are re-negotiating for the late 2020/ early 2021 seasons.

Shipping Line executives say that technically in April is when they are negotiating for next year’s contract, and all that was agreed upon earlier are being re-done now.

Also, another new factor in the short-term is that the shipping line are now actively looking at financial health of the manufacturers and retailers to know what price to quote, based on their financial health. Some carrier companies are healthy, cash-wise and can survive this, while some are highly leveraged and have incurred a great deal of debt. Everybody is now very much interested in doing financial research on the other partner in the supply chain and nobody is going to take it for granted so that everybody can pay their bills.

And there will be a lot more retailers going out of business and some of the biggest stores like Amazon will go bigger, many of the smaller factories will not be able to supply the larger chains and also go out of business. Therefore, there is going to be a pretty good shake up here in the consumer goods supply chain and this can lead to some solution in the shipping line port, operating-wise.

When All This Ends:

The priorities will be different; first and foremost, the industry will aim at getting volumes to the pre-COVID-19 levels in the shortest time possible. Shortest being probably 12 months and the longest being 18 months. It is going to be very painful. To achieve this the first concern will be how soon can people go back to work? Here, the economic stimulus programs are going to be very important. It will have to be looked after that these programs are strong enough to send people back to work at the earliest.

Second, some of the countries may pull back some specific goods from the supply chain on in order to survive the economic situation. They might hold certain products entering or existing borders and as a result the global supply chain might have a reduction in certain areas. Here, top consuming countries like the USA, India and China will have to come back into manufacturing shape, in order to have a healthy and more self-sustaining economy.

Have to be Future Ready:

Digital automation will be that solution which will make the industry stronger against such disruptions in the future. There will be a huge push towards increased supply chain automation to reduce dependency on people not coming to work in the face of such pandemic situations and EagleRail will ready to extend that port automation outside the gate and into intermodal as well.

Felixstowe DockersFinnlines Green 5th Generation vessels supervision contract awarded to SeaQuest

SeaQuest Marine Project Management has been entrusted with the prestigious construction supervision job for three Green 5th Generation zero emission NB Ro-Ro vessels for Finnlines at China Merchants Group’s Nanjing Jinling Shipyard.

Finnlines Plc, a Finnish shipping company and part of the Grimaldi Group, had placed the order of the three Hybrid Ro-Ro Ultra-Large Green vessels at Jinling Shipyard back in 2018.

The vessels, whose basic design was developed by Danish ship designer Knud E. Hansen, are based on the same hull as the Grimaldi Green 5th Generation (GG5G) vessels under construction at the same yard (238m length, 34m beam), but customized to the needs of Finnlines allowing for heavy cargo and operation in cold climates with the highest Finnish/Swedish ice class 1A Super. They aim to be flexible enough for all types of Ro-Ro cargoes, with a capacity of 5,800 lane meters and more than 5,000 square meters of vehicle decks.

The vessels will be built with the latest technological and environmental solutions in mind. The new Ro-Ros will implement green features such as lithium batteries to provide electricity, guaranteeing zero emissions whilst in port and an innovative air lubrication system to reduce hull resistance using a thin layer of bubbles below the keel to ensure the lowest CO2 emissions.

The supervision site office at Jinling yard will open at beginning of June 2020 and function until the delivery of the last vessel which is expected by the end April 2022.

Announcing the contract, SeaQuest Managing Director and Chief Executive, Jan Andersson, said:

“We are extremely pleased to be selected to look after the construction of these challenging and advanced vessels, which will be the most innovative and efficient ro-ro vessels in the world. Finnlines has invested heavily in technology and sustainability of the fleet operations and the company is a forerunner in green shipping.”

He added: “We shall prove once more that our experience in supervision and familiarity with Far Eastern builders can serve a newbuilding project like no one else. This is the second time Finnlines have bestowed their trust in SeaQuest for a project in China, we are privileged and look forward to collaborating with them again in future”.

The site team, composed of a SeaQuest Site Manager and specialist supervisors for machinery & outfitting, hull & structure, electrical & automation, coating and a secretary / document controller, will also include Finnlines inspectors along with support of the Finnlines newbuilding department, and operate in accordance with SeaQuest’s ISO 9001:2015 certified QA system. Particular attention will be paid to the special requirements of these large vessels which include ice-class, winterization, green & energy saving solutions and operational flexibility.

The site team will operate under the mentorship and guidance of Jan Andersson who is a Far East resident. As the Project Manager for the newbuild project he will provide guidance, support and direction for any major or strategic issue which may impact on key events, ships’ delivery or cost.

Sea News

Felixstowe DockersMajor Expansion of the Port of Hanstholm near Completion

By Baibhav Mishra 

With a EUR 55 million three-year major expansion plan set for completion this summer, the Danish Port of Hanstholm is poised to become Europe’s leading consumer fishing port and the European gateway for Britain’s fishing industry.

With the largest concentration of fishing industries on the continent as well as being home to Denmark’s largest fish auction, the Port of Hanstholm is on course to become Europe’s leading consumer fishing port with the completion of a EUR 55 million three-year major expansion plan this summer.

The expansion will bring a new basin, a new entry to northern Denmark, increased quay area and water depth, better navigation conditions and an expanded hinterland. It is also expected to attract 450 new jobs to Denmark’s youngest port in the coming years at an economic hub that already employs 1,000 and another 1,300 people in secondary industries.

With vessels landing more than 600 tonnes of fish a day for human consumption and industrial use, 2019 saw the value of fish coming through the port scaling EUR 140 million. With the expansion near completion, Niels Clemensen, CEO of the Port of Hanstholm, expects a surge in activities at the port in the coming years:

“Alongside the port expansion, we want to consolidate our position in Denmark and set course on becoming Europe’s leading consumer fishing port. One third of the new hinterland is already rented out, and new activities and projects are coming into the port. It serves as a boost of confidence to our ambitious plans.,” he said.

“We hope to attract more businesses that can see the potential in establishing activities in what we consider the northwest maritime gateway to the entire European and Scandinavian market, Niels Clemensen continues,” Clemensen added.

Location Is Key

With some of the North Sea’s best fishing grounds within range, the Port of Hanstholm boasts an ideal location for a top European fishing port. Fish is sold to customers all over Europe, with rules ensuring that fresh fish from Hanstholm must reach their destinations in the EU within 24 hours of sale.

Attracting both foreign and Danish vessels, the fish auction trades more than 40,000 tonnes of consumer fish annually, which amounts to EUR 67 million in revenue. Among fishermen, the Port of Hanstholm is well-known for offering the highest prices in Northern Europe. This is not least due to the vast network of buyers in Hanstholm and a state-of-the-art fish auction with a very high quantity of goods.

The impact of Brexit, however, could pose both challenges and opportunities for the ambitious Danish port.

“Everyone is looking into the impact of Brexit, and our hope is that we shall continue to see British fishing people coming to Hanstholm. In our case, we hope that the attractive location of the Port of Hanstholm could lead to British companies in the fishing or energy industry establishing European subsidiaries on our newly developed port areas to spearhead their operations in the northern parts of the EU,” Niels Clemensen explained.

Freight, Aquaculture and Wind Power

While increasing fishing-related capacity and activity is the major priority, the expansion plan also involves the Port of Hanstholm’s other key business areas; cargo, aquaculture and wind energy.

The volume of freight transport is increasing across Europe, and the Port of Hanstholm is no exception to this development due to its ideal location on the North Sea coast of Denmark. Hence, an additional 30,000 sqm of space is being made available to the west in the form of a multi-terminal with 140-meter-long berth – ideal for freight activities.

A key to cargo expansion here is the new northern breakwater, extending out from the shore in a curve to provide protection for the new quay, and with a new spending beach on the south pier to absorb wave energy.

The new quays will align with the existing inner breakwater line, enclosing a sizeable hard standing area – adding about one third to the harbour area – suitable for a variety of uses. As a result, the port will now have space to accommodate larger and heavier vessels as well as the storage, assembly, and shipping of wind farm components.

Port of Hanstholm

The Port of Hanstholm is Denmark’s leading port for edible fish and home to Denmark’s largest fish auction. The port was inaugurated in 1967, making it the youngest port in Denmark.

The port is currently undergoing a large expansion through a development project that will be finished in the summer of 2020. The expansion project includes e.g. a new entry to the port towards the north east, a deepening of its waters and new, larger quays as well as hinterland areas.

The port generates around 2,300 local jobs in Thisted Municipality, Denmark of which approximately 1,000 people are employed directly at or by the port, while approximately 1,300 are employed in related industries.

Sea News Feature

Felixstowe DockersCOVID-19 Crisis: New £2 Million Fund from Seafarers UK

By Baibhav Mishra 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on merchant seafarers, fishers and their families, the London-based charity Seafarers UK has created a new Seafarers UK COVID-19 Emergency Fund of £2 million ($2.46 million), with grants being awarded immediately to delivery partners providing advice and support for individual seafarers affected by the widespread coronavirus impacts.

The new fund is intended for distribution in 2020/2021, with 75% allocated to the international merchant seafaring community and 25% to UK coastal fishing fleets. Effective partnership working with front line service delivery organisations across the UK plus those acting globally is already ensuring a rapid response to meet urgent welfare needs.

Seafarers UK chairman Vice Admiral Peter Wilkinson CB CVO BA said: ‘The trustees of Seafarers UK are releasing £2 million of new funds to help seafarers and fishers recover from the widespread impact on their well being and livelihoods as a result of the coronavirus. We will work with our charity partners to provide both hardship funding and innovative new projects to support our seafarers through and beyond the current crisis. Our long history of helping those who work at sea enables us to target effective and meaningful support to where it is most needed.’

Grants from Seafarers UK are offered to charities and other organisations providing front line and support services to merchant seafarers, UK fishers and their families. Applications should be made via email to Guidance to applicants is available at or phone 020 7932 0000.

For individual seafarers working globally, advice and support is available from ISWAN*, a delivery partner funded by Seafarers UK. In the UK, seafarers and fishers requiring assistance can contact SAIL#, a dedicated free Citizens Advice facility that receives an annual grant from Seafarers UK.

The new Seafarers UK COVID-19 Emergency Fund of £2m is in addition to Seafarers UK’s existing annual budget of £2m grants to support delivery partner organisations. The extra £2m is in addition to new funding announced earlier this month by the ITF Seafarers’ Trust and The TK Foundation, both organisations that work in collaboration with Seafarers UK.

Sea News Feature, April 20

Felixstowe DockersWATCH: Maersk Guayaquil Arrives From Rotterdam, 25 April 2020

Operating on a rotation which includes calls on the west coast of India, Maersk Guayaquil arrives at Felixstowe from Rotterdam, her first call on the Northern European leg of her never-ending journey.

Video: Shipping TV

Felixstowe DockersCoronavirus: Royal Navy submarine crew had lockdown party

HMS Trenchant: Nuclear submarine commander holds BBQ for crew ...

HMS Trenchant had been on patrol before having to return to Devonport to undergo repairs.

A submarine crew were filmed having a party during the coronavirus lockdown, prompting a Royal Navy investigation.

The captain of HMS Trenchant, a nuclear-powered attack submarine based at Devonport in Plymouth, has been sent home on leave.

Video of the crew enjoying a party and barbecue while the submarine was tied up have been shared on social media.

It shows sailors dancing and laughing, and a source confirmed some were drinking alcohol.

HMS Trenchant had been on patrol before having to return to Devonport to undergo repairs.

The crew were required to stay with the submarine in isolation while the repairs were completed.

BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Beale said it was understood the captain had gone ahead with the entertainment despite being advised it might be inappropriate.

A Royal Navy spokesman said: "An investigation is under way. It would be inappropriate to comment further."

Felixstowe DockersA Message from Retired Docker Worker Freddie Cook


Felixstowe DockersConnecting the world: Implication of Covid-19 virus on the Chinese business climate

Port of Rotterdam - Wikipedia

On March 19, China reported no new locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 for the first day since the outbreak of the virus in the Hubei province capital of Wuhan in December last year. Here in Shanghai economy is resuming activity, offices are reopening, and consumers are tentatively venturing outdoors and returning to stores since a few weeks. Elsewhere in China factories are restarting production, and although the overall situation is moving steadily in a positive direction, the virus is still spreading rapidly overseas, posing increasing challenges to China’s economy as well.

Impact on Chinese ports and foreign trade
Many analysts believe that China’s ports could face a second, more prolonged period of supply chain disruptions as international demand slows; it is expected the near-term impact on trade growth in coming quarters (Q2 & Q3) is likely to be the worst ever, as economies stall and external demand faces imminent collapse on large scale quarantine measures across global major economies.

China’s total container throughput fell 10.6% in the first two months of 2020 compared to the year before, while exports dropped 17.2%. Second-quarter figures are expected to be harder hit especially for foreign trade; however domestic trade might be picking up which would be stimulated by the government, in order to compensate overall losses.

Major effect on shipping & logistics sector in China
The container shipping alliances have recently announced the cancellation of quite some sailings especially on the Asia-Europe, Transpacific & Transatlantic trades.

China’s ports and shipping firms are gearing up for a second round of supply chain disruptions as the spread of the coronavirus pandemic globally strangles off international demand.

China’s port association expects container handling volumes in China to fall 5 – 10% in the second quarter compared to last year, while imports of industrial materials such as coal and ores are also expected to slow alongside falling domestic production. China’s logistics sector especially road transport has returned to normal compared to a 80% decline in February 2020.

However, Sino-Europe railway transportation is showing a steady growth, with 1.941 departures (+15%) and transported some 174.000 TEU (+18%) during Q1, among which laden boxes over 98%.

Influence on China’s industries
Now that the COVID-19 has become a pandemic, China’s foreign trade in general is facing huge challenges and uncertainties in the coming months. Especially for the labor-intensive exporters of fashion products, they already saw a decline of 18.8% in Jan-Feb 2020. And the situation is very likely to continue or worsen in Q2 since lots of their orders have been suspended, delayed or even cancelled due to the shutdown of retail stores in EU and the U.S.

China’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are recovering slowly, according to Standard Chartered, with a full recovery expected in the second quarter. China has rolled out a string of policies to support the SMEs. SMEs are the major economic driver for the Chinese economy, there are over 100 million SMEs in China, which contribute over 60% of China’s overall GDP & about 80% of employment in China.

Auto sales to accelerate: Echoing optimism from other companies in the sector, Volkswagen hopes to see its China sales pick up to 1 million units in March, up from 250,000 in February, said the auto company’s CEO. “In 2020, Volkswagen expects a decline of 3-15% in the Chinese market but confirmed plans to invest more than 4 billion euros ($4.4 billion) this year there, with about 40% of that sum earmarked for electric driving.”

The manufacturing industry in general gained pace in March and resumed expansion, while all other industries continued to contract. The services and technology sectors performed slightly better than wholesale and retail and other industries including real estate, logistics, construction and food processing.

The COVID-19 crisis, however, has brought fresh investment opportunities in sectors including medical science and artificial intelligence. Also, there might be of potential in meat and meat products (especially pork) import, which is worth USD 4.57 billion and up 121.8% year on year, the highest growth rate among all Chinese imports in the first 2 months of 2020.

Digitisation in shipping & logistics will grow even faster
Most large manufacturing companies will re-consider their current just-in-time inventory management and their reliance on global networks of suppliers. Raw material stocks will be increased as additional reserve cushions in order to prevent exhausted inventory and production disruption due to a global shutdown as the one we are currently facing. Logistics’ hubs will also be re-considered so that they are better positioned.
Source: Port Of Rotterdam

International Longshore and Warehouse UnionPresident Adams’ address to the membership (Video)

ILWU International President Willie Adams addresses the membership on the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

Felixstowe DockersPraise for HK Terminal Operators During Pandemic

HKSPA praises work of 4 terminal operators at HK port during outbreak

THE Hong Kong Seaport Alliance is paying tribute to all stakeholders who have kept the port of Hong Kong running smoothly during the global Coronavirus pandemic.

Expressing its gratitude and appreciation to all port and logistics workers, seafarers, port pilots, shipping lines and the authorities in Hong Kong, the HKSPA said it has made every single effort to minimise disruption to the supply chain which is crucial for the city's economy and the daily life of all Hong Kong residents.

Hong Kong led by example with reference to recommendations published by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) at the end of March by exempting crew members travelling to or from cargo ships when the Hong Kong government restricted entry for non-residents on March 25.

The IMO recommends that governments around the world designate seafarers and port service personnel as "key workers" because they provide an essential service, facilitating shipping and keeping supply chains open.

Hong Kong Liner Shipping Association chairman Roberto Giannetta praised the Hong Kong government for allowing the shipping and logistics industries to maintain smooth cargo flows.

"The Port of Hong Kong is renowned for its efficiency and flexibility as a catch-up port that can accommodate last-minute changes. At this difficult time, Hong Kong has not let us down and continues to provide the same high level of service we have come to expect from a leading international maritime centre like Hong Kong," Mr Giannetta said.

Modern Terminals managing director Horace Lo said that the role played by the port of Hong Kong is critical. "The port and logistics industry contributes 3.1 per cent of Hong Kong's GDP and supports about 180,000 jobs.

"During this unprecedented period of the novel coronavirus pandemic, it is of even greater importance to ensure smooth supply chains to deliver fundamental goods to places and people in need."

All members of HKSPA have been taking extra measures to maintain the usual high efficiency and service levels. While HKSPA encourages ship crew members to stay on board during port stays as a precaution, members are offering flexibility to facilitate crew change at terminals, which is crucial for the continued operation of shipping, an essential part of world trade. FAXTEXT = Also, serving customer needs during challenging times of shortage of reefer facilities in other ports, HKSPA has proactively worked with shipping lines to divert and relocate their reefer shipments to Hong Kong in these last couple of months to ensure temperature-controlled commodities reach final destinations in good condition.

The HKSPA consists of four terminal operators: Hongkong International Terminals, Modern Terminals, COSCO-HIT Terminals and Asia Container Terminals.

Felixstowe DockersWind Farm Offshore Tender Collides with Wind Turbine

Wind farm offshore tender collided with wind turbine, 3 people injured, Netherlands

High-speed offshore tender NJORD FORSETI collided with basement of a wind turbine at Borkum Rifgrund wind farm, North sea, in the evening Apr 23. Three people on board were injured. Vessel returned to Eemshaven Netherlands.

There is no information on damages.

Felixstowe DockersTankers: A Return to Normality or More Headwinds Moving Forward?

by Hellenic Shipping News 

Tanker owners will have to answer a series of questions in order to determine future demand for their services, once the global economy returns to some sort of normality, after the lockdown measures adopted by dozens of countries worldwide. 

The hope will be that not too much structural change in oil consumption patterns, will have occurred.
In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Allied Shipbroking said that “in the midst of these troubling economic conditions, the tanker market has enjoyed a renewed tail wind in its sails.

The brawl that spawned between Russia and Saudi Arabia in late March has as a consequence caused the complete opening of the “taps” by some of the largest oil producers in the world, with Saudi Arabia itself saying it would ship an astonishing 12.3m barrels a day in April”, said the shipbroker.

Source: Allied Shipbroking

According to Allied’s Head of Research & Valuations, Mr. George Lazaridis, “this increased supply coupled with the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the world to stand still, inevitably led to the most dramatic plunge (more than 50%) in crude oil prices, with Brent closing below US$ 23 a barrel, a price level last seen back in 1999. 

With demand having been shattered and the world overflowing with all this cheap oil, crude oil tankers were quick to capitalise, with many traders looking to stock pile at these cheap levels, while some even taking up the option to hire large tankers for use as temporary storage, further boosting the freight market conditions in the favour of the owners. At play however we have troubles brewing under the surface”.

Lazaridis said that “attention may well have been placed on the increased oil production figures, but it’s the demand side of things that should be the main concern. 

World consumption has dropped dramatically, while even when looking at demand forecasts from a couple of months back the expectation was for an only modest rise in demand for 2020. The current slump in consumption is part of all the lockdown measures in place around the world as part of the wider effort to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, yet it could end up leaving a much bigger scar than what most anticipate”.

He added that “once the measures are taken back and consumers return back to “normality”, their spending patterns may well have forever changed. More people may be tasked to work remotely from here on out, companies may seek to shorten supply chains and look for greater reliance on local resources so as to avert future disruptions, while international travel could be curbed as people come to terms with alternatives and look to cut back on what may from now on be seen as unnecessary”.

Source: Allied Shipbroking

Allied’s analyst noted that “the market landscape for crude oil may well have shifted, while at the same time the wind fall for tankers may now be cut shorter than expected with OPEC and Russia now finally coming to an agreement on oil output cuts. An agreement was reached to cut back oil production by 9.7m barrels a day in May and June (equal to roughly 10% of global supply), after which the cuts would scale back to 7.7m barrels for the rest of the year and 5.8m barrels between January 2021 and April 2022. 

As impressive as these figures look at first sight they might end up not being enough to significantly shave off the supply glut, while they are surely enough to halt the freight market rally that took place for crude oil tankers these past few weeks”.

“What’s left for the tanker market to stay hopeful for moving forward is tough to call. Oil consumption is the only thing right now that could thwart any sharp decline in earnings. The hope is that not much structural change will have taken place in oil consumption and that once the world economy begins to reopen up after the pandemic, there will even be some increased splurge that could take place as most look to recuperate the losses made during the lockdown. 

It’s too early to tell how the pendulum will swing and a whole lot will eventually depend on duration. Let’s hope things return back to normality sooner rather than later”, Lazaridis concluded.

Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

Felixstowe DockersRussian Firms to Build World’s Most Powerful Nuclear Icebreaker

A Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker escorts ships on the Northern Sea Route, July 14 2016
by Reuters

A Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker escorts ships on the Northern Sea Route, July 14 2016

MOSCOW, April 23 (Reuters) – Two Russian companies signed a deal on Thursday to build the world’s most powerful nuclear icebreaker to help boost trade on a northern sea route crucial to forging closer links with Asia.

Atomflot, a subsidiary of Russian nuclear group Rosatom, and the Zvezda shipyard, owned by a consortium led by oil giant Rosneft, said they would work together to build the Lider (Leader) icebreaker.

President Vladimir Putin has said that Arctic shipping routes along Russia’s northern coast could rival the Suez Canal as a short-cut trade route between Europe and Asia.

Rosatom said the icebreaker, fitted with a nuclear power unit, would be able to smash through ice as thick as 4 metres. The vessel, with the propulsion power of 120 megawatts, is scheduled to be constructed in 2027.

Russian government plans envisage the Northern Sea Route, which trims 4,000 nautical miles off the southern alternative via the Suez Canal, exporting 80 million tonnes of cargoes per year by 2024 to Europe and Asia

Russian companies are developing projects for the route in areas including liquefied natural gas, gas condensate, oil, coal and precious metals, among others. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Mark Potter)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

Felixstowe DockersCaptain Murdered on Isle of Man-Registered Containership in Colombia

by Mike Schuler

The captain of an Isle of Man-registered containership was murdered onboard his ship at the Port of Cartagena, Colombia, the ship’s manager has confirmed.  

The exact details of the incident are still being investigated.

The incident took place last Thursday, April 16, 2020.

A statement from Zeaborn Ship Management on Saturday said that a seafarer on its managed containership Spirit of Hamburg was killed by an intruder onboard the ship. An update from the company on Monday confirmed the victim as Captain Myo Tun Zaw, the ship’s master.

Initial details of the incident published last week were conflicting. Colombian media reports said that the Captain was killed by members of his crew. These details were not confirmed by Zeaborn.

“The exact circumstances of the violent incident are yet unknown and police have started an official investigation into the events and conducted interviews with the crew of Spirit of Hamburg,” Zeeborn’s statement from Saturday said. 

As of Monday, the ship was at anchor in Cartagena.

Zeaborn could not confirm additional details due to the ongoing  investigation. The company on Saturday provided an update on the status of additional crew members on board. 

“We would like to add that three senior officers are one month beyond their contractual relief date, but they are showing great professionalism in making the best of the current relief/repatriation restrictions. All other crew are due for relief between now and October,” Zeaborn said.  

Monday’s statement from Zeaborn provided some additional details:

“As the official investigation is still ongoing we have no further information on the culprit(s) of this terrible crime. In the meantime we have noticed a lot of speculation on social media and in some of the traditional press on what might have happened. As long as the authorities have not finished their investigation and announced official results we believe it is inappropriate to draw any conclusions which are not only premature but also are extremely upsetting for our crew and their families at home,” the update said.

The Isle of Man Registry said the Colombian authorities have jurisdiction over the ship and are currently carrying out an investigation.

The crew of the vessel originated from Myanmar, Ethiopia and Russia, Zeaborn said on Monday.

Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, representatives from Zeaborn have been unable to travel to the vessel.

“They are all professional seafarers whom we are supporting to the best of our ability and who have been offered psychological help,” Zeaborn said on Monday.

“Through local representatives in Myanmar we are doing our utmost to support the family of Captain Myo Tun Zaw as well as the direct family of the other seafarers at this extremely difficult time. Again travel restrictions prevent us regrettably from travelling to Myanmar to express our personal respect and condolences. Similar contact was made with the families of the other nationalities seafarers.

“The events on board the Spirit of Hamburg represents a great tragedy. Once more we want to emphasise that we have to support and wait for the Colombian Authorities whom we are sure are making every effort to bring their investigation to a conclusive end,” Zeaborn added.

Felixstowe DockersForced to Store Fuel at Sea, Oil Refiners at Breaking Point

crude oil import terminal vlcc tanker china
by Bloomberg

Oil refiners are hunting for vessels to store jet-fuel and gasoline that nobody is buying, sending freight rates sharply higher, an indication that the global refining system is fast approaching a breaking point.

Until now refiners had mostly been storing unwanted product on site, but the latest indication from the tanker market suggests they are now being forced to place their output into ships. With local demand sharply down, if they can’t find storage, they’ll be forced to trim output, or even shut down completely.

“The shipping market is now the main bottleneck,” said Torbjorn Tornqvist, head of commodity trading giant Gunvor Group Ltd. “We are fast approaching the crunch point whereby it will be hard to find any ships, and shipping rates are currently? stratospheric,” he added in an interview.

If the refiners are forced to reduce their processing rates, it would mean even less demand for crude, creating a ricochet effect through the oil market.

The sign of a global hunt for tankers to store products is clear in the eye-watering prices traders are paying for the vessels. It now costs almost $7.5 million to haul an 80,000-ton cargo of naphtha, a material used to make gasoline and plastics, to Asia from Europe. Just a few years ago, the same route was paying little more than $1 million. Rates are soaring on all routes and ship sizes, according to the Baltic Exchange in London.

“The main driver for the rocketing clean tanker rates is that the production of clean product exceeds the current demand and that land-based storages are filling, which drives storage onto product tankers at sea,” said Joakim Norholm Vasehus, a spokesman at Torm A/S, a 131-year old Copenhagen-based owner that operates dozens of refined-fuel tankers.

Across the oil market, traders are looking for any ships they can get their hands on to store supplies at sea because on-land facilities are pretty much full — or fully booked. The glut — India’s shore tanks for fuels are now 95% filled — is also making it harder and harder to discharge cargoes into onshore facilities, delaying vessels for their next voyages, in turn driving up rates.

Torm estimates that about 7% of the global fleet of refined fuel tankers is now involved in some form of storage.

Oil trader Gunvor estimates that around the world refiners have cut processing rates by about 17 million barrels a day already, but that’s likely to increase to about 20 million barrels a day by early May. Then, oil producers would find it even harder to find a home for their barrels, a view that’s widely shared by other traders and oil companies.

“In a couple of weeks, the shipping market may force cuts in refining runs,” Tornqvist said. “And a few weeks later we may see a lack of crude oil shipping force cuts in productions rates beyond the agreed OPEC+ cuts.”

The impact of the lack of fuel demand is becoming more evident each day. Over the past week, Marathon Petroleum Corp., one of the biggest U.S. refiners, announced it would stop production at one refinery near San Francisco completely. Royal Dutch Shell Plc. idled several units in three U.S. refineries in Alabama and Louisiana.

The shortage of tankers to ship or store products is exacerbated by the fact that vessels that traders hoped to become available around now after hauling product remain anchored at ports, waiting to discharge. Oil traders say many import terminals are completely full, forcing tankers to wait on demurrage for weeks until they are able to offload, further tightening fleet availability.

Handysize tankers, among the smallest mainstream ocean-going tankers, are making in excess of $90,000 a day from hauling fuel across the Mediterranean Sea, the Baltic’s data show. That’s an extraordinarily high earnings rate for the ships, and compares with just $12,000 at the start of this year.

“The whole market’s gone absolutely nuts,” said Richard Matthews, head of research at E.A. Gibson Shipbrokers Ltd. “It’s absolutely unbelievable.”

Compounding the issue has been a recent trend for owners to ‘dirty up’ the ships — industry speak for switching over from transporting refined, or clean, fuels to crude or fuel oil instead. That eroded fleet capacity that’s now desperately needed to move or store products like gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

Tankers are also sailing on longer routes than usual in order to capitalize on a so-called contango structure that now dominates oil and fuel markets, whereby later dated contracts are at a premium to prompt prices. Charterers are also asking for slower voyage speeds of 11-12 knots rather than 13, taking yet more capacity out of the tanker market, Matthews said.

Multiple long-range vessels, among the largest to typically haul fuels, have also been used for three- to six-month floating storage of diesel, jet fuel, and gasoline, diminishing vessel supply across the market, according to Randy Giveans, senior vice president for equity research at Jefferies LLC in Houston.

“There absolutely have been many older refined products tankers switching to carry crude,” he said. “This is rapidly tightening the products tanker market, pushing spot rates to record levels and time charter rates to decade highs.”

–With assistance from Elizabeth Low, Christian Wienberg and Barbara Powell.

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P

Felixstowe DockersPile-Driving Completed in Golden Ray Salvage

by Mike Schuler

A Weeks Marine crane prepares to drive a pile using a vibratory hammer Feb. 26, 2020, near St. Simons Island, Georgia, as part of the construction of the environmental protection barrier (EPB) around the MV Golden Ray. Photo: St. Simons Sound Unified Command.

Weeks Marine has completed the pile driving operation in the salvage of the Golden Ray vehicle carrier in Georgia’s St. Simons Sound. 

In total, 80 piles had to be driven into the seabed using Weeks’ derrick crane barges. The piles will hold the environmental protection barrier being built around the wreck, The EPB will include a large floating containment barrier to help contain surface pollutants, as well as large netting for debris in the water.

The pile-driving operation is considered the first phase in the construction of the EPB.

Meanwhile, crews T&T Salvage has been working on installing lifting lugs that will be used the connection point between the rigging of the VB-10,000 heavy lift barge and each section of the Golden Ray. In total, 16 lugs are scheduled to be installed with two lugs installed on each of the eight sections once the ship is cut up.

The 656-foot M/V Golden Ray capsized and became grounded as it departed the Port of Brunswick with over 4,000 vehicles back in September 2019. The Unified Command overseeing the salvage has opted for a salvage plan that involves cutting the ship into sections and removing each using the twin-gantry crane heavy lift catamaran VB-10,000.

The salvage operation is expected to take at least a year, putting it well into and possibly beyond the 2020 hurricane season.

Felixstowe DockersHigh-Seas Energy Fight Off Malaysia Draws U.S., Chinese Warships

The Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Parramatta (FFH 154), left, is underway with the USS America (LHA 6), USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) and USS Barry (DDG 52), in the South China Sea, April 18, 2020. U.S. Navy Photo

By Bloomberg

By Philip J. Heijmans (Bloomberg) — Malaysia’s push to explore energy blocks off its coast has turned into a five-nation face off involving U.S. and Chinese warships, raising the risk of a direct confrontation as broader tensions grow between the world’s biggest economies.

The episode began in December, when Malaysia’s state-run energy giant Petroliam Nasional Bhd. contracted a vessel to explore two areas in the South China Sea in its extended continental shelf. Those waters are also claimed by Vietnam and China, which immediately sent ships to shadow the boat.

The situation took a turn for the worse on April 16 with the arrival of a Chinese surveyor known as the Haiyang Dizhi 8, which last year was engaged in a standoff with Vietnam over offshore energy blocks. The U.S. this week sent at least two warships within some 50 nautical miles of the Malaysian ship, according to defense analysts privy to the information who asked not to be identified.

 U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Thursday accused China of “exploiting” the world’s focus on the Covid-19 pandemic with provocations in the South China Sea. In a statement issued on the same day he held a video call with 10 Southeast Asian foreign ministers, he said China “dispatched a flotilla that included an energy survey vessel for the sole purpose of intimidating other claimants from engaging in offshore hydrocarbon development.”

“The U.S. strongly opposes China’s bullying and we hope other nations will hold them to account too,” Pompeo said.

Territorial Disputes 
The U.S. doesn’t take a position on territorial disputes in the region even while staking a national interest in freedom of navigation, which involves challenging any claims that aren’t consistent with international laws. As China gets more assertive in enforcing its claims, it’s increased the risk of a potential confrontation with the U.S. that could quickly escalate.

The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command confirmed Wednesday that three ships — the USS America, an amphibious assault ship; the USS Bunker Hill, a guided missile cruiser; and the USS Barry, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer — were operating in the South China Sea, without giving a precise location. They were joined by an Australian Anzac-class frigate on April 18, according to the U.S. 7th Fleet.

“The risk of a new incident is rising, as tension elsewhere in the relationship could inflame the situation on the ground, or rather, in the water,” New York-based risk consultancy Eurasia Group said in an analysis on Wednesday. “Growing animosity between the two sides would it make it difficult to prevent an accidental collision from becoming a full-blown crisis.”

Without a direct threat from the U.S., China has increasingly disrupted the efforts of Vietnam, the Philippines — and increasingly Malaysia — to exploit oil, gas and fishing resources off their shores. China claims about 80% of the South China Sea through its so-called “nine-dash line,” and its increasing economic might has allowed it to invest in bigger ships that can operate ever-further from its shores.

It’s unknown how much recoverable oil and gas is in the disputed Malaysian blocks at the center of the standoff. But if China blocks all future exploration activities within the nine-dash line, the Malaysian company known as Petronas would be robbed of domestic drilling opportunities at a time when it’s trying to boost spending at home amid an economic slump.

‘Overt Challenge’
This is “by far the biggest and most overt challenge yet to Malaysia’s South China Sea energy interests,” said Collin Koh Swee Lean, research fellow at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.

The West Capella drillship entered & began operations within the “Joint Defined Area” on December 21, 2019. This move created a 3 way standoff between Malaysia, China & Vietnam involving warships, coastguard, militia, and civilian vessels.— Indo-Pacific News (@IndoPac_Info) April 18, 2020

Malaysia sought to tamp down tensions on Thursday, with Minister of Foreign Affairs Hishammuddin Hussein calling for all parties to work together to maintain peace.

“We must avoid unintended, accidental incidents in these waters,” he said. “While international law guarantees the freedom of navigation, the presence of warships and vessels in the South China Sea has the potential to increase tensions that in turn may result in miscalculations which may affect peace, security and stability in the region.”

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang this week said its survey ship was “conducting normal activities in waters under Chinese jurisdiction” and called the situation “basically stable.” At least half a dozen armed Chinese coast guard ships and several militia were involved, according to Greg Poling, director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative in Washington.

Poling said China last year took similar actions against Petronas and Royal Dutch Shell Plc in Malaysian waters as they conducted at least two other surveys of its continental shelf.

That was similar to China’s actions against Vietnam, when it repeatedly sent coast guard ships and the Haiyang Dizhi 8 to an energy block operated by Russia’s state-owned Rosneft Oil Co PJSC. The situation drew criticism from the U.S. and the European Union.

“It’s the exact same operation we saw conducted against Vietnam when Rosneft was drilling a new well last year,” Poling said by email. “But this is more problematic because it has become so public, and because Petronas has invested so much time and expense in exploring fields this far out. I have no idea whether they’re likely to be commercially viable, but I do know that there’s no chance of Petronas actually producing hydrocarbons from them in the current environment.”

Petronas did not immediately reply to a request to comment.

Other incidents are occurring elsewhere in the South China Sea. Earlier this month, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus condemned China for reportedly sinking a Vietnamese fishing vessel on April 2.

China on Saturday announced the establishment of districts on the disputed Paracel and Spratly islands, drawing protests from both the Philippines and Vietnam. Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin also accused China of pointing a radar gun at a Philippine Navy ship in the country’s waters.

At 5:17 pm today the Chinese embassy received 2 diplomatic protests: 1. on the pointing of a radar gun at a Philippine Navy ship in PH waters & 2. declaring parts of Philippine territory as part of Hainan province—both violations of international law & Philippine sovereignty.— Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) April 22, 2020

China and Southeast Asian claimants have sparred over which claims are valid under the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea, known as Unclos. Both sides have also been working on a code of conduct meant to resolve these types of confrontations in the South China Sea, though talks have dragged on for more than a decade.

“China is pushing the Southeast Asian countries to give up their Unclos rights and share their ‘exclusive’ economic zones with it,” said Bill Hayton, author of “The South China Sea: The Struggle for Power in Asia.” “If they try to develop their resources on their own, as is their right, China punishes them.”

–With assistance from Elffie Chew, Anisah Shukry and Dan Murtaugh.

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P
Luke Smout Felixstowe