As the world battles the coronavirus pandemic, the global maritime transport industry is playing a critical role in the response to the virus, according to United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) sent a letter-call to all governments on 19 March to keep maritime trade moving and UNCTAD marks the high importance of that in the fight against Covid-19.

Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD, says “it is more important than ever to keep supply chains open and to allow maritime trade and cross-border transport to continue,” as around 80% of global trade is transported by commercial shipping.

“This means keeping the world’s ports open for ship calls and the movement of ships’ crews with as few obstacles as possible,” adds Dr. Kituyi.

He highlights that transit needs to be facilitated, too and landlocked countries need access to food and medical supplies through neighbouring countries’ seaports.

Facing the current pandemic, cross-border movements of relief goods such as food and medical supplies will increase dramatically. Restrictions on trade and cross-border transport may interrupt needed aid and technical support, could disrupt businesses and have negative social and economic effects on the affected countries, according to a statement.

UNCTAD believes that governments should therefore continue to facilitate movement of, not only relief goods, but also goods in general, to minimise the negative impact of the coronavirus outbreak.


Source: container-news

Twenty members of the Port Authorities Roundtable from Asia, Europe, Middle East and North America met on April 24 to declare their commitment to ensuring their ports remain open amidst the current pandemic.

The declaration, initiated by Singapore, calls for port authorities to collaborate and share best practices in ensuring that port operations are not disrupted.

Through this joint declaration, the signatories are 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;
•  Best practices are adopted, 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; and
•  Port authorities continue to share experiences in combating COVID-19 while safeguarding unimpeded maritime trade.

The Roundtable has shared the declaration with the IMO and the International Association of Ports and Harbours to rally other port authorities to join the declaration.

List of 20 members who signed the declaration

Abu Dhabi Ports
Antwerp Port Authority
Bureau of Port and Harbor, Tokyo Metropolitan Government
Busan Port Authority
Guangzhou Port Authority
Hamburg Port Authority
Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Montreal Port Authority
Ningbo Municipal Port Administration Bureau
Port Authority of Thailand (Bangkok Port)
Port of Barcelona
Port and Harbor Bureau, City of Yokohama
Port and Harbor Bureau, Kobe City Government
Port Klang Authority
Port of Long Beach
Port of Los Angeles
Port of Rotterdam
Port of Seattle
Shanghai Municipal Transportation Commission
Port of Le Havre


Source: maritime-executive

All available oxygen supplies in India, including those used by ship recycling yards, have been diverted to hospitals as a significant number of the 218,000 deaths so far are reported to be a result of oxygen shortages. Almost 20 million people have now been infected in India but only about 2% of the population has been vaccinated so far, according to reports. Meanwhile, observers claim that the official death count falls far short of the real number.

Sharp increases in infection rates in neighbouring Bangladesh and Pakistan are hampering recycling activity in those countries too. In this week’s recycling market report, the world’s largest cash buyer of end-of-life ships, GMS, noted that ships’ crews from these countries used in ‘as is’ sales are now barred from many ports around the world, making ‘as is’ deliveries increasingly difficult.

Meanwhile, GMS noted that rising infections in Turkey have prompted the government to introduce a lockdown that will extend until 17 May, the end of the Eid al-Fitr celebrations following the month of Ramadan, which ends on 12 May.

Indicative recycling prices, meanwhile, are holding up, according to GMS, with Bangladeshi breakers leading the market. Prices there are typically around $500 per light displacement ton for bulk carriers, $510 for tankers, and $520 for container ships.


Source: seatrade-maritime

Bunkering operations could also come in the ambit of this catastrophic wave that has engulfed India, although no major disruptions have been noted yet as demand has been lackluster, bunker industry sources said.

The impact on global shipping logistics from India’s isolation could become a very significant market disruptor by causing delay in supply of ships, said Ole-Rikard Hammer, oil and shipping analyst with Oslo-based Arctic Securities. This will obviously tighten the tankers’ supply, Hammer told S&P Global Platts.

There are serious concerns over several ports refusing to allow crew changes in those ships which have called on Indian ports over the previous 14 days.

Singapore has already banned ship crew changes for those with recent India-related travel history while Fujairah — another major bunkering hub — has also prohibited such crew changes from vessels arriving from India.

Voyage from India to several ports in Asia is less than two weeks, and this implies that the ship will have to idle away for a few days before being eligible to enter its next port of call for bunkering, loading, unloading, crew change, dry docking or even routine maintenance.

Bunkering schedules will go awry, daily earnings will be hit and ships will seek to offset it by seeking higher freight for India-bound voyages, several shipping sources in Asia and Europe said.

If things play out similar to what was seen last year during the first lockdown in India, there will be a sharp drop in local demand and most of this difference will be diverted for exports, said Ralph Leszczynski, who heads research at Genoa-based shipping broker and consultancy, Banchero Costa.

Due to ongoing refinery maintenance season in North Asia, Indian refiners may capitalize on this by giving a boost to product exports, particularly to Southeast Asia and Australia, Leszczynski said. This will help revive freight of Long Range I and II tankers, as until now refinery utilization levels in India has remained high, he said.

According to the latest government data, India’s average run for all categories of refineries in India rose to 99% in March compared with 97% in the previous month. An Indian refinery source said in the week ended May 8 that run rates were still around 90%-95% and there was no immediate plan to cut them.


Source: spglobal

These are challenging times, for the maritime industry and the society at large. Seafarers in international trade are constantly facing the risk of being infected by COVID-19 and measures implemented by some countries to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 bring serious operational consequences for ships and crews. Travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult to effect crew-change on ships. Ports around the world are denying entry to certain ships and accessing healthcare ashore when needed is challenging. Supply chain disruptions, shortage of workforce and implementation of social distancing measures in ports and shipyards are causing delays.

Ona positive note, several effective COVID-19 vaccines have now been approved and bring renewed hope for the pandemic to finally come to an end. However, it has also become clear that the production and distribution of vaccines are complex processes that will take time. The roll-out of vaccination programs varies enormously from country to country and it may take years before most of the global population has been vaccinated. In the meantime, basic public health measures remain the foundation of the world’s response. For public health authorities this means testing, contact tracing, isolation, supported quarantine and quality care. For individuals it means avoiding crowds, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and masks. For the shipping industry, it means continuing restrictions on travel and port operations resulting in sustained challenges relating to crew changes, repatriation of sick crew and concerns for the wellbeing of seafarers.

Below we have provided links to some relevant websites and guidelines that may assist ship operators, masters, and crews to stay alert and prepare and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. An overview of Gard’s relevant loss prevention material is also included.

We would, however, like to emphasise that Gard is guided by the views and recommendations issued by the WHO, IMO, flag states, and other expert agencies in respect of this pandemic. As the situation evolves, so will recommendations and measures to prevent and reduce spread of the infection and we advise Members and clients to remain vigilant.

General information and advice

For the latest official information and advice related to the COVID-19 outbreak, we recommend consulting the following organizations’ websites dedicated to COVID-19:

Geographical information and advice

We strongly recommend that ship operators and masters, well in advance of arriving at any port, seek guidance from local port authorities and ships’ agents on restrictions and other preventive measures currently in effect. However, the following sources of information may be useful when assessing the situation:

  • The WHO’s situation reports describe the evolution of the outbreak and the areas affected by COVID-19 at a given time. The organization has also established a dashboard displaying the cases reported each day. Its latest travel advice should also be consulted.
  • The International Group of P&I Clubs has launched an online COVID-19 tracker to assist shipowners, charterers, operators and other parties in the maritime sector to track country and port specific advice around the world.
  • Some industry organizations and companies, such as our correspondent Gulf Agency Company Ltd., the shipping company Wilhelmsen, and BIMCO, provide regular and useful updates on control measures implemented by countries and ports around the world.

Recommendations supported by the IMO

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has established a website dedicated to COVID-19 with advice for IMO Member States, seafarers and shipping: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Travel restrictions imposed by governments around the world have created significant hurdles to crew changes and repatriation of seafarers. This has led to a growing humanitarian crisis as well as significant concerns for the safety of seafarers and shipping in general. IMO has intervened promptly by urging its Member States to designate seafarers as key workers, so they can travel between the ships that constitute their workplace, and their countries of residence. More recently, the IMO and other UN Organizations have also issued a joint statement to call on governments to prioritize seafarers in their national COVID-19 vaccination programs. Ship operators are advised to pay particular attention to the following IMO recommendations:


The IMO has also established a Frequently Asked Questions about crew changes and repatriation of seafarers as well as a Seafarer Crisis Action Team (SCAT) to help resolve individual cases.

As Governments around worldwide are implementing policies and measures to protect public health and address COVID-19, it is important that these are developed without the introduction of obstacles to ship and port operations, including the movement of seafarers and marine personnel. On 27 March 2020, the IMO circulated a Preliminary list of recommendations for Governments and relevant national authorities on the facilitation of maritime trade during the COVID-19 pandemic (Circular Letter No.4204/Add.6) addressing:

  • Ships’ access to berth in port
  • Measures to facilitate crew changes in ports
  • Measures to facilitate port (and related) operations
  • Measures to ensure health protection in ports

It is hoped that these recommendations, as fully supported by the International Group of P&I Clubs, assist Governments and their relevant national authorities to take a pragmatic and practical approach to the facilitation of shipping and port operations at this difficult time.

One of the many challenges facing international shipping during the COVID-19 pandemic has been arranging access for seafarers to medical care ashore. Prompt and efficient disembarkation of seafarers to receive medical care is essential for the protection of seafarers and public health, and vital for the maintenance of global supply chains. Circular Letter No. 4204/Add.23of 1 July 2020 summarises previous guidance published by the IMO on this issue and endorses a new set of the recommendations issued by a cross section of organisations representing the maritime transport sector and providing guidance to the relevant authorities in port and coastal States so they can ensure seafarers’ access to medical care.


Source: gard

  • Albania has confirmed more than 131,000 cases of COVID-19 within its borders.
  • Commercial flights returned to Albania on June 15, 2020.  Lufthansa and Austrian Air continue with reduced weekly flights to/from Tirana until further notice. We recommend that you contact your airline regarding any boarding restrictions that may be in place, especially for any travelers transiting the Schengen area, as circumstances can change rapidly, and air carriers have the final decision as to who they will and will not board.
  • The Albanian government announced (newest on top):
    • As of May 5, 2021, the 14-day quarantine for all travelers who enter Albania from Greece and North Macedonia, has been lifted.
    • As of April 12, 2021, there will be a daily curfew from 10:00pm to 6:00am, until further notice.  Bars, restaurants, fast food, and other similar activities are prohibited from operating between 10:00pm and 6:00am, except for delivery services.  Public movement is restricted during these hours except for work reasons, health care emergencies, or urgent needs. The e-Albania portal must be used for special permission to move during this time.
    • As of April 12, 2021, direct civilian air traffic to and from Great Britain has resumed.
    • As of November 17, 2020, indoor and outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people until are restricted until further notice. The measure includes a wide range of activities, such as: conferences/meetings, political gatherings, holiday parties, wedding ceremonies, or funerals.
    • As of October 15, 2020, wearing a mask in public areas, indoors and outdoors, for any individual 11 years old and above is mandatory.  Non-compliance with this rule may result in a fine up to 3,000 ALL.
    • As of June 1, 2020:
      — Preschools and kindergartens reopened.
      — All cultural events and other large public gatherings in Albania are cancelled indefinitely.
      — Professional sporting events have resumed, with no spectators allowed to attend.
      — Malls and shops are open with strict social distancing guidelines in place.
      — Hairdressers and dentists are open with strict social distancing guidelines in place.
      — Restaurants and cafes are open.
      — All indoor activity centers reopened.
      — Beaches are open.
      — Outdoor exercise is permitted.
      — Libraries and museums are open.
      — Public transportation has resumed.
      — All maritime and air borders have reopened.


Source: al.usembassy

The foundations for the future development of a regulatory framework for Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) will be laid at the 103rd session of IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), held in remote sessionfrom 05 to14 May 2021.  The Committee will consider the outcome of a regulatory scoping exercise onMASS carried outover the last couple of years and identify priorities for further work. In addition to discussing the most appropriate ways of addressing MASS operations from the regulatory perspective, meeting attendees will also consider submissions relating to MASS trials.

MSC 103 will also explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on shipping and seafarers. The Committee is expected to discussa number ofsubmissions, including a proposal for adoption of a resolution on prioritising seafarers for COVID-19 vaccination.

Another important item on the agenda is maritime security, including cybersecurity, piracy and armed robbery.  The Committee is expected to discuss in particular theongoing piracy problems in the Gulf of Guinea.

Fuel safety is also high on the agenda, with the Committee expected to establish a working group to examine issues including fuel flashpoint, blended fuels and fuel sampling and testing.

In response to the growing need for safer operation of domestic ferries, the Committee will be considering a set of draft model regulations on domestic ferry safety that can be incorporatedinto national law.


Source: miragenews

The Human Rights Due Diligence Tool, provides a wide-ranging checklist co-developed by the UN Global Compact, the UN Human Rights Office, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO), for all businesses involved in the maritime industry.

The agencies are warning about a possible surge in the number of crewmembers stranded at sea due to new COVID-19 variants and government-imposed travel restrictions.

Unchecked, they fear the situation could return to the heights of the September 2020 crew change crisis, when 400,000 seafarers were stranded at sea around the world.

“Seafarers are at the heart of the global supply chain. They are also at the mercy of COVID-19 restrictions on travel and transit. This has led to hundreds of thousands of seafarers being denied repatriation, crew changes, shore leave and ultimately being forced to stay working on ships long beyond their contracts”, explained IMO Secretary General, Kitack Lim.

He added that the new tool represents an important step forward for the maritime industry. It provides a practical approach for cargo owners, charterers, and logistics providers to “ensure [seafarers] are put first and foremost as they work to deliver the goods that people need and want”.


Source: news.un

Viking Life-Saving Equipment has acquired HydroPen, the company behind the unique HydroPen container firefighting solution.

HydroPen, attached to a ship’s hose and raised on a telescopic arm by a single crew member, uses water pressure alone to power its ‘drill and spray’ nozzle to penetrate a container door before switching to spray mode to extinguish a fire with water, foam or CO2 – directly at its source.

HydroPen was founded in 2016 by Martin Winkel, CEO and Jesper Rosenfeldt Hansen, CTO and system inventor, to help revolutionize a persistent problem in maritime: firefighting on board container vessels.

“This is a significant acquisition for VIKING ,” said Lasse Boesen, Senior Product Manager, VIKING.

“We approached the HydroPen originators shortly after the system won the 2017 Danish Tech Challenge accelerator prize. From its official launch at SMM 2018, VIKING became HydroPen’s exclusive distributor, going on to support orders from some of the industry’s biggest names.”

“Once crews familiarize themselves with HydroPen, there is no going back – and since its introduction, the system has already proven itself in live firefighting situations. Recently, HydroPen has also generated interest among land-based fire-fighting operators who have been quick to recognize its value, adds Boesen.”


Source: maritimeprofessional

Singapore-based Sembcorp Marine expects losses to continue this year as it faces headwinds from COVID-19 and a shortage of skilled workers.

Sembcorp Marine provided the outlook in an interim business update for the first quarter of 2021 released Monday, which also provided an update on the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Group continues to face COVID-19 supply chain constraints and a shortage of skilled workers. Foreign workers who left Singapore over the past year were unable to return due to ongoing border controls in countries such as India and Bangladesh. Singapore’s improving economy has also led to increased competition for foreign labor already here, resulting in labor attrition to competing industries. The shortage of skilled workers has impacted the execution and scheduled completion of some of our projects,” the update said.

Sembcorp Marine said that coordinating and rescheduling project completion with customers remains a “key priority,” adding that the group has not experienced any cancellations to date on existing projects. The group is also “actively seeking” skilled workers from other countries and working with authorities to accelerate its entry into Singapore.

The group also highlighted the winning of a major contract in the renewable energy sector, as well as securing a long-term repair and upgrade contract with a European cruise ship owner and the completion of a floating storage regasification unit.

In the first quarter, GE Renewable Energy’s Sembcorp Marine and Grid Solutions jointly secured a $900 million contract from RWE Renewables to supply the high-voltage direct current (HVDC) power transmission system for the 1.4 gigawatt (GW) Sofia offshore wind farm. The scope of the contract includes the design, construction, installation and commissioning of the offshore converter platform (OCP), comprising an 18,000-ton top and deck foundation structure piled on the seabed.

“The award of the Sofia contract validates the Group’s thrust in the renewable energy market and adds to our list of secured projects in the offshore wind sector,” the update stated. Sembcorp Marine is also currently constructing two decks for the offshore substations at Orsted’s 1.4 GW Hornsea 2 offshore wind farm in the UK North Sea. In addition, it is fabricating 15 foundations for the Formosa 2 offshore wind farm in Taiwan.

In February, Sembcorp Marine secured a $375 million sustainability-linked loan, believed to be the first in Singapore’s offshore sector.

Summary of the most significant transactions

In mid-March, Sembcorp Marine delivered a floating regasification unit (FSRU) to KARMOL ahead of its deployment in Senegal. The 125,000 cubic meter vessel, KARMOL’s first FSRU, will bring cleaner LNG-fueled electricity to locations where domestic gas production or infrastructure is not yet available.

Our Repairs and Upgrades division carried out the following key projects in 1Q21:
– Major upgrade of the heavy lift vessel Aegir for Heerema Marine Contractors for deployment at the Changhua offshore wind project in Taiwan.
– Major upgrades of the FPSO Ningaloo Vision and the FPSO Tantawan.
– Major repairs of four LNG carriers.
– The Group continued to focus on the safe and timely execution of its existing order book of over $1.89 billion, including $290 million of repairs and upgrades underway for delivery in 2021.

The Group secured multiple repair and upgrade contracts, including a long-term contract with a European owner and operator of luxury cruise ships and yachts. With this award, Sembcorp Marine is working with four global operators that collectively own more than 15 cruise ship brands.

In terms of future orders, market sentiment has improved, although the post-COVID-19 recovery remains uncertain. There are increasing signs of active review of FIDs (final investment decisions) and improving order visibility. However, competition for new projects remains intense.

The Group is actively tendering for more than 10 projects, especially in the Renewable Energy and Gas Solutions segment. A similar number of tenders are in progress for the Process Solutions segment covering FPSOs, FSOs and FPUs.

In terms of outlook, Sembcorp Marine offered the following:

Notwithstanding the challenging operating environment, the Group’s strategic investments have positioned us well for the global transition to a low-carbon economy and the pivot towards cleaner and greener energy sources.

With the re-introduction of COVID-19 measures in recent weeks, including tighter border controls, the Group’s operations could be further impacted by workforce supply and quarantine restraints. Current and future restrictions on travel and transportation could also disrupt global supply chains. Resolving the skilled manpower shortage on a timely basis is the Group’s key priority to address the risk of project delays or terminations.


Source: fullavantenews