Royal IHC has completed a conversion that has transformed a 2014-built pipelay vessel into a J-lay vessel that owner McDermott International says will “redefine what’s possible in deepwater construction.”Now called the Amazon, the then Ceona Amazon, delivered by shipbuilder Lloyd Werft, Bremerhaven in 2014, was acquired by McDermott in early 2017 after it had been in layup since former owner Ceona went into administration in September 2015.

In the conversion project, Royal IHC has converted Amazon into a state-of-the-art J-lay vessel. The patented lay system, with dynamic top tension capacity of 1.500 tonnes, can handle a variety of pipes including normal flowlines, export lines and pipe-in-pipe configurations, ranging in size from 4.5 inch to 25 inches in diameter and inline assemblies. Other modifications included highly automated onboard operation processes for optimized safety performance and production efficiency. This also resulted in a reduced number of personnel requirements for process supervision.

As McDermott International’s only J-lay vessel with a holding capacity of 10.000 tonnes of pipe on board, and ability to produce hex joints from single or double joints in the multi-joint facility, the Amazon gives McDermott a unique key asset for ultra-deepwater projects.

“Completing the Amazon conversion has been challenging at times,” said Jan-Pieter Klaver, CEO Royal IHC. “However, we remain incredibly proud of her and the teams on both sides whose collaboration made this possible. This project compelled us to design a one of a kind system, with specifications that can redefine the pipelaying industry and the worlds understanding of what is possible in ultra-deepwater construction. Redelivering the Amazon is the outcome of dedication, knowledge and passion of all those involved.’’


The first ship to bring a cargo of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to a new terminal at the Dutch port of Eemshaven has docked and has started the unloading process, the gas grid operator said on Thursday, part of Europe’s bid to cut reliance on Russian gas.

The LNG tanker Murex berthed alongside the regasification unit at the new EemsEnergyTerminal, which can handle 8 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas a year, a Gasunie spokesperson said.

“Everything is going perfectly,” Marie-Lou Gregoire of Gasunie said.

The terminal, near Groningen, has two Floating Storage Regasification Units (FSRUs) that Gasunie leased at the request of the Dutch government.

Capacity has been booked by Shell, France’s Engie SA and CEZ of the Czech Republic.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala and Dutch Energy Minister Rob Jetten will declare the facility formally open at a ceremony on Thursday evening.

Gas from the terminal is expected to start entering the Dutch grid for the first time next week, although the station will not operate at full capacity until November or December.

The capacity in Eemshaven will complement the larger Gate Terminal in Rotterdam, now operating at 16 bcm capacity and which is planning a further 4 bcm expansion by 2025.




CREWEXPRESS STCW REST HOURS SOFTWARE - Paris and Tokyo MoU have announced that they will jointly launch a new Concentrated Inspection Campaign (CIC) on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) from 1st September 2022 to 30th November 2022


On 22 July, Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement to allow grain exports from three ports in Ukraine during a period of 120 days. On 7 September, Putin expressed concerns over the agreement, giving rise to uncertainty about its scope and renewal.

More than 40 days have passed since the agreement was signed, and 2.1 million tonnes of grain have been exported through the ports of Chornomorsk, Odesa and Yuzhne. After a slow start, around 0.5 million weekly tonnes of grains are now being exported. At this pace, monthly exports will surpass 2 million tonnes.

“In spite of limited exports so far, the grain agreement has helped cool down global food prices. These are now back to February levels according to FAO’s food price index. If Russia attempts to alter or stop the deal, this progress could be reversed,” says BIMCO’s Chief Shipping Analyst, Niels Rasmussen.

Russia has recently criticised the agreement claiming most shipments are headed towards the European Union and Türkiye rather than the emerging economies in Africa it was designed to aid. Out of Ukraine’s grain shipments under the agreement, approximately 70% of volumes had Türkiye and the EU as their destination. Russia has expressed an intent to renegotiate the deal and restrict grain exports to the EU.

In August, Ukraine showed interest in expanding the deal to include cargoes such as metals. In addition, the country expressed hope of opening the port of Mykolaiv under the deal, another key port for grain exports.

While a restriction of exports to Europe could benefit bulk shipping through increased average haul, a risk to loss in volumes remains. Crop spoilage remains a risk in Ukraine with storage at capacity and the ongoing maize harvest adding further pressure.

“Insecurity remains a factor among those shipping Ukrainian grain. The ships operating in Ukraine are on average six years older and 32.9% smaller than a year ago, reflecting risk aversion and higher insurance premiums on hull value. Russia’s dissatisfaction with the deal is likely to further hinder Ukrainian exports as decision makers remain hesitant to risk their assets,” says Rasmussen.
Source: BIMCO, By Neils Rasmussen, Chief Shipping Analyst


CREWEXPRESS STCW REST HOURS SOFTWARE - Paris and Tokyo MoU have announced that they will jointly launch a new Concentrated Inspection Campaign (CIC) on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) from 1st September 2022 to 30th November 2022


The global shipping industry should brace for a widespread crisis that would result in a surge in operational costs, loss of ships, and delays if China actualizes its rhetoric and goes ahead to invade Taiwan, a new report suggests. At the same time, the report prepared by the Mercatus Center think tank at George Mason University, hypostatizes that China would cut undersea Internet cables vital to the semiconductor industry and providing a key link for data between Asia and North America.

As tension between China and Taiwan escalated in recent weeks, the report draws on Chinese data to illustrate the potential scenarios and impact on the global economy. The authors report that China’s People’s Liberation Army has prepared hundreds of scenarios as part of the country’s long-held ambitions of reunification.

If actualized, the invasion they conclude is bound to have significant trade and economic effects that could easily exceed those of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Pointing to the potential for the likely impact on container shipping, the report says that the U.S. economy would likely bear the biggest brunt due to its huge exposure to the economies of the two Asian countries not only in trade volumes but also in the share of value the two countries add in U.S. final demand.

The report contends that an outright invasion of Taiwan by China, a Taiwanese declaration of independence, or an accidental clash at sea between China and Taiwan or the U.S could lead to a crisis in the Taiwan Strait. The result they conclude would pose two immediate risks to the U.S. economy, first in the form of delays or disruption of container shipments in the Taiwan Strait, the South China Sea, and the East China Sea, as well as the potential disruptions to digital flows from vulnerable submarine cables with landing stations in Taiwan.

“The potential effects of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan on the U.S. economy are far greater than those of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Container shipments to and from major ports in the region, as well as digital flows, would be at direct risk,” writes senior research fellows Christine McDaniel and Weifeng Zhong at the Mercatus Center

According to the report, a Chinese invasion would significantly disrupt container shipping operations through the Taiwan Strait, one of the world’s busiest sea routes. They cite estimates showing that $3.4 trillion in trade passed through the South China Sea, or 21 percent of the global trade, using the Taiwan Strait as a vital route. The disruption could affect containerized shipments to or from major ports in China, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam. The report shows that one of the busiest shipping routes is in the Straits of Malacca, given that it is the shortest sea route between the Indian and Pacific oceans.

An invasion would lead to shipping routes that normally go through the Taiwan Strait being delayed, or force vessels to reroute. As was seen with bulkers and other shipping in the Black Sea, any form of hostilities would ignite a surge in insurance premiums. While rerouting to avoid the war-risk premium is possible, the authors note that it would result in additional costs and also lengthens shipping times. Costs of rerouting all traffic around the Straits of Malacca are estimated between $279 million per month (if rerouting through Indonesia) and $2.8 billion per month (if rerouting through Australia).

“Any geographic expansion of a crisis that begins in the Taiwan Strait would easily make rerouting harder, if not impossible,” notes the report.

Another impact would be substantial delays in supply chains, a development that would have ripple effects across various industries. In the U.S., for instance, most technology firms rely on Taiwanese manufacturers to produce up to 90 percent of semiconductor chips. Disruptions to the supply of the chips would disrupt entire value chain ecosystems for every industry that uses advanced computer chips.

Apart from disrupting the container shipping industry, China’s invasion of Taiwan has the potential to disrupt digital flows from vulnerable submarine cables with landing stations in Taiwan. As of August 2022, Taiwan was connected to 15 submarine cables that come to shore at landing stations in the city of New Taipei, the town of Toucheng in the north, and the town of Fangshan in the south. The landing stations connect high-capacity cables in which U.S technology companies have made significant investments.

The report concludes that economic risks underscore the need for the U.S to work with Taiwanese authorities and other Indo-Pacific allies and partners to improve the security of submarine cables and their landing stations. They also cite the need for contingency planning for container shipping traffic and essential intermediate inputs to U.S. production and value chains.



CREWEXPRESS STCW REST HOURS SOFTWARE - Paris and Tokyo MoU have announced that they will jointly launch a new Concentrated Inspection Campaign (CIC) on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) from 1st September 2022 to 30th November 2022

A foreign-flagged ship arrived in Ukraine on Saturday for the first time since the war started in February, and will be loaded with grain, Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said.

Ukraine is starting to resume grain exports in an effort overseen by a Joint Coordination Centre in Istanbul where Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and U.N. personnel are working.

The United Nations and Turkey brokered a deal after U.N. warnings of possible outbreaks of famine due to a halt in grain shipments from Ukraine. Before the invasion, Russia and Ukraine together accounted for nearly a third of global wheat exports.

Kubrakov said the Barbados-flagged general cargo ship Fulmar S was in the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk.

“We are doing (everything) possible to ensure that our ports can receive and handle more vessels. In particular, we plan to reach the level of at least three to five vessels per day in two weeks’ (time),” he wrote on Facebook.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the resumption of exports was positive, adding that security risks remained.

“The threat of Russian provocations and terrorist acts remains. Everyone should be aware of this,” he said in a late-night video address on Saturday.

“But if our partners fulfill their part of the commitment and guarantee the security of supplies, this will really solve the global food crisis.”

Ukraine eventually aims to ship out 3 million tonnes a month from its Black Sea ports, Kubrakov said.

“This event is an important market signal that the (grain shipment deal) is a safe and, most importantly, profitable business opportunity for ship owners to return to Ukrainian ports,” he added.

Roughly 20 million tonnes of grain from last year’s crops are still stuck in the country.


Jul 31, 2022 (Bloomberg) –Lebanon has seized a ship loaded with barley and wheat flour while it determines whether the cargo may have been stolen from Ukraine, said Public Prosecutor Ghassan Oueidat.

The Ukrainian embassy in Beirut said the vessel was loaded at Feodosia in the Russian-occupied peninsula of Crimea, and that the commodities originated from Zaporizhzhia, Mykolaiv and Kherson in southeastern Ukraine.

The embassy accused Russia of stealing more than 500,000 tons during its occupation of the three regions. While Russia denies stealing grain, it has publicly touted the resumption of grain shipments from occupied ports.

Grain shipments from Crimea have surged since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, which analysts say indicates Ukrainian grain is being exported. Exports from Crimea are sanctioned by the European Union and the US.

The cargo ship Laodicea arrived at Tripoli in northern Lebanon on July 27, according to ship-tracking data monitored by Bloomberg. It will be held while Lebanon carries out an investigation into the cargo’s origin, Oueidat told Bloomberg.

The ship’s registered owner is Syria Mar Shipping Ltd., according to European database Equasis. Syria Mar Shipping Ltd. wasn’t immediately available to comment. Both the company and the ship were sanctioned by the US in 2015 for their association with the Syrian government of President Bashar Assad.


General cargo ship NARVA ran aground at around 0300 LT (UTC +10) Jul 27 at Cape Ostrovnoy, east of Nakhodka, Primorye, Russia, Japan sea. The ship is en route from Vladivostok to Okhotsk Port, Okhotsk sea. As of 0100 LT Jul 28, the ship was still aground, according to track. No information on damages, salvage, oil leak if any.

New FleetMon Vessel Safety Risk Reports Available:

The jv will provide aims to provide a stable supply chain service for car export of China, as well as global automobile transportation market.

Cosco Shipping Specialized Carriers, SIPG Logistics and Anji Logistics will hold 42.5%, 37.5% and 20% stakes in the new jv respectively.

After the foundation of the jv, it will purchase or charter car carriers from Cosco Shipping Specialized Carriers and will progressively expand fleet size via building, purchase or chartering more vessels



By Michael Grey*

It’s those darned “stakeholders” who are the trouble once again. It is one of those words which was unknown in an earlier era of free speech, when you could be quite clear about identifying those you were talking about, without having the lawyers or twitterati on your back. Now it has become common parlance. Those pesky stakeholders came to mind the other day, reading the INTERCARGO bulk carrier casualty report, which covers the latest ten year period to 2021.

In many respects, there would appear to be room for some optimism, as the sector has moved on substantially from the disastrous times of the 1980s and 90s, when large numbers of predominantly elderly bulkers were being lost, usually with their crews. Better maintenance, closer surveillance by people who know what they are looking for and more responsible behaviour by terminal operators, all combined to relegate this awful period to the history books.

The sector also learned valuable lessons about quality and supervision from colleagues running tankers, with the emergence of quality drivers like Rightship preventing any backsliding. One might conclude that the organisation, which has worked hard to promote safety and quality, has some room for satisfaction.

However, there is included in the report a warning against any complacency, as it notes that the menace of liquefaction remains a problem, illustrated by the five big bulk carriers lost with the deaths of 70 of their crews after their cargoes of nickel ore and bauxite liquefied on passage. Altogether, during the ten-year period under review, 27 ships over 10,000 dwt were lost and 92 crew died in these casualties.

According to INTERCARGO vice chairman Uttam Kumar Jaiswal, who focused particularly on the continuing risks of liquefaction, systems, codes and procedures for testing and sampling which are designed to protect the vessels were not being followed. And while emphasising that his remarks were not directed at ship operators, there was “a lack of consolidated effort by stakeholders” when it came to following codes that would keep ships safe.

It was those stakeholders again, whose attitudes, one might suggest, are relics of those found in the past, when casualties were regular occurrences. People like charterers, who would put all manner of pressure on masters to load cargo which they knew had excessive water content, in some rackety bulk terminal, with its stockpiles awash in rain-soaked slurry. People whose attitude to the bulk cargo codes was cavalier, to say the least, with inadequate testing procedures by so-called “surveyors” who were neither expert nor independent, but just a cog in the machine to get the ship loaded and away to sea.

You might suggest that the actual number of casualties, with four attributed to wet nickel ore and one to bauxite was small, over a ten-year period. Yet these were not rustbuckets, but modern ships and those 70 dead seafarers should not have met such a fate. And in the warning against complacency, there is more than a hint that in some soggy creek in South East Asia or West Africa, there will still be “stakeholders” prepared to take short cuts over proper water content testing and pressure still being applied on masters to open their hatches and get the cargo aboard, wet season or not. They don’t seem to realise, or perhaps they just don’t care, what is at stake.

Apart from the completely avoidable liquefaction casualties, the report to the IMO also suggests that grounding played a role in the totality of loss and you have to admit that this is also a cause of loss generally associated with some degree of incompetence. But you have to wonder whether, at least at the end of this period under review, there were more accidents in which the miserable lives being lived by ships’ crew might have been a contributor. Trapped aboard their steel boxes, unable to get ashore or home on leave at the end of their contracts, it would not be a perfect recipe for a focussed and committed workforce, as the long months ticked away.

It will be interesting to see whether there is any related movement in the casualty statistics covering this miserable period of pandemic, when the next report comes around. A rather different set of stakeholders, perhaps, although their influence on casualties should not be altogether discounted.


French energy major TotalEnergies will supply, install and operate a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) for Germany’s Deutsche ReGas to help the country import more liquefied natural gas this year

Deutsche ReGas is developing the Deutsche Ostsee LNG terminal in Lubmin, the exit point of the Nord Stream pipelines which flow from Russia. In recent weeks, flows from the Nord Stream pipelines have decreased as maintenance work on the pipeline begins, but there are fears the shutdown might extend given the war in Ukraine.

Germany has no LNG terminals and in June, the country’s economic ministry warned a prolonged shutdown could be catastrophic for its industries.

The FSRU will help Germany keep the gas flowing and is expected to be operational by December 2022 and capable of feeding 4.5Bn m3 of natural gas annually into the country’s transmission network.



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