World Maritime News
Stronger coronavirus protection urged for supply chains
Global supply chains must be protected from the impact of coronavirus, leading maritime associations have warned an open letter issued by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH). In light of certain governments choosing to limit access to ports and allow free passage of seafarers in response to the coronavirus outbreak, the letter aims to remind the G20 Leaders the importance of keeping maritime trade and transport moving unhindered. The joint letter was sent to G20 government leaders and UN bodies ahead of the G20 summit taking place by teleconference on March 24.
Free trade in medicines and supplies is the healthiest approach
Leading US ports and stakeholders in the supply chain have vowed to fast-track medical supplies coming into the country as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread throughout the nation at alarming rates. Port of Los Angeles executive director Gene Seroka said the port had been in touch with supply chain partners that need medical supplies and large companies that provide the materials. He said the port was able to identify containers with medical supplies and could speed them through the network. But it is safe to say that none of the containers held any medical-grade N95 masks, for example, made almost entirely in China, according to the Associated Press news agency, have arrived at US ports in March. One of the greatest challenges at the moment is the tariff bans on Chinese products. Bans on pharmaceutical and medical product supply chains make it more difficult for health care workers to stem the spread of the virus, the Hinrich Foundation said in a recent statement.
Singapore eases up on crew change restrictions
Singapore is easing up on its restrictions on crew changes under certain circumstances.
Similar to many other countries, Singapore has suspended crew changes during the coronavirus pandemic, amid a heightened risk of imported cases resulting in increasing infections within the country. However, on March 27, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said that exceptions may be made under certain circumstances. Among some of these reasons are if the crew members have completed their work contract on the ships and no further extension of the contract on board is offered. Crew change may also be permitted if any of the crew members is found to be medically unfit to perform tasks on the vessels.
Por operations in Shanghai and Ningbo-Zhoushan bolster partnership
Shanghai and Ningbo-Zhoushan ports have entered a strategic co-operation agreement as Beijing pushes for port and regional economic consolidation. The partnership will be developed in several aspects, the foremost of which is for the Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) acquire a 5% stake in Ningbo-Zhoushan Co (NZC). The deal was proposed in January this year and has already been approved by the buyer’s board. The outlook changed after Beijing unveiled its plan to make the Yangtze River Delta region an integrated economic zone as a national strategy to spur further growth. Apart from the share acquisition, SIPG said in an exchange filing that it will partner with NZC to develop a new port area on an island near the Yangshan terminals, as part of the three-year agreement. The two companies will also make investments together in shipping, transport and energy, among others.
Read more: Lloyd’s List
Wärtsilä trials ammonia fuel for ships
Finnish technology company Wärtsilä has launched engine trials for ammonia, as part of an effort to develop supply chain services for zero-carbon fuel. The company announced on March 25 that it has begun testing ammonia on a combustion research unit, which has shown promising results so far. Wärtsilä wants to develop ammonia engines, fuel supply and storage services and is working with shipowners, shipbuilders, classification societies and fuel suppliers to learn more about the fuel. But it is not a commercial option now and has several operational hurdles that need to be addressed, a reality that the company recognized. Burning ammonia could also lead to higher NOx emissions unless controlled by after-treatment or by optimizing the combustion process, it said. Ammonia as a bunker fuel would require a regulatory framework and class rules, Wärtsilä added.
Liquefied bio and synthetic methane could decarbonize shipping
Liquefied biomethane (LBM) and liquefied synthetic methane (LSM) have the potential to be competitive zero-carbon fuels, but carbon pricing policies and greater renewable electricity supply will be necessary, according to a new study. The report by CE Delft, commissioned by pro-LNG lobby group SEA/LNG, found that these two fuels have solid foundations to serve the maritime industry but will require additional support, as the race to develop commercially viable zero-carbon fuels continues. LBM is based on biomass feedstocks while LSM is derived by combining electrolysis-based hydrogen with air-captured CO2. Both fuels can use the LNG bunkering infrastructure and LNG-powered vessels would require only minor modifications to use them. CE Delft warned that a carbon tax of U$ 50 to U$ 100 per ton of CO2 would not be sufficient to stimulate a move from fossil marine fuels, including LNG, to LBM or LSM in 2030. CE Delft also suggests that to scale up the use of LSM and LBM, issues have to be addressed concerning methane slip, which can happen in a ship engine during an incomplete combustion, and the fuel’s broader climate impact. SEA/LNG general manager Steven Esau said SEA/LNG was planning to commission another study that examined the lifecycle emissions impact of LBM and LSM.
Asahi Tanker to build first battery-powered tankers
Asahi Tanker, a Japanese chemical and product tanker company, has decided to build two battery-powered vessels. The vessels, which will have large-capacity lithium-ion batteries, will be the first of their kind with zero-emissions. They will operate as marine fuel supply vessels in Tokyo Bay area. Last August, Asahi Tanker joined three other Japanese firms to establish a new company that would work to develop fully electric vessels.
Seven crew kidnapped in Gulf of Guinea
The 11,815-dwt containership “MSC TALIA F” was boarded in the early hours of the morning on March 22 en route from Lomé (Togo) to Libreville (Gabon), where pirates abducted seven crew members. The Portuguese flagged vessel’s remaining 10 crew members, all Ukrainian citizens, continued sailing after the attack and arrived in Libreville a few hours later. The vessel had turned its AIS off for three hours prior to the attack, a common counter piracy tactic to avoid detention, which had made the vessel hard to identify. It appears the Gulf of Guinea will remain a piracy hotspot for 2020 despite calls on behalf of Nigerian law enforcement agencies for further collaboration to combat this trend.