World Maritime News
IAPH issues guidance on COVID-19 crisis response
IAPH through its World Ports Sustainability Programs (WPSP) has set up a dedicated task force and online portal to offer support and information to port authorities about the COVID-19 outbreaks. The move comes in response to a request from members of the IAPH, which combined handle more than 60% of global maritime trade, for further guidance surrounding the pandemic. The task force will see experts team up from eight ports from across the world, including those in Guangzhou, Rotterdam and Los Angeles. Digital trade logistics consultancy Maritime Street will also lend its support.
Terminal operator allegedly hid positive COVID-19 result of worker
Hutchison Ports has refuted claims made by Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) of allegedly withholding knowledge of a confirmed COVID-19 test result, exposing stevedores to the virus in Port Botany, New South Wales (NSW) Australia. A statement issued on April 6 by Hutchison Ports says that the COVID-19 positive cases were not workplace transmissions. It states that it was informed of the positive test result of workers on April 3 and it then consulted with the local health authorities and SafeWork NSW, the state’s workplace health and safety regulator, and immediately implemented recommended measures. A contract tracking exercise was carried out with the port, collaborating with the NSW Health Department and the affected employee. The MUA have said in a statement that despite the confirmed cases of COVID-19, Hutchison Ports still refuses to share potential exposure and contact information with the workforce of the union. The MUA is demanding an urgent meeting with NSW Health and the company, seeking full disclosure around all matters and allowing it to become involved and assist in future plans.
Read more: Safety at Sea
MSC and CMA CGM offer container storage at transshipment hubs
The need to slow inbound container flows is growing as some retailers and manufactures fail to pick up containers because warehouses are full or closed due to not being deemed essential service providers responding to the coronavirus, or because retailers have requested delayed deliveries at distribution centers. MSC and CMA CGM are offering ”Suspension of Transit” and “Delay in Transit” option that will allow shippers to store import containers at a certain numbers of its transshipment hubs in Asia, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean Sea where cargo owners can store cargo outside the marine terminal. Maersk is offering storage at origin ports in Asia, where goods can be quickly located once demand return.
In addition to so called blank-sailings, CMA CGM expects to deploy some of its vessels on the Asia-Europe trade lane via the Cape of Good Hope avoiding Suez Canal to mitigate potential port congestion. Container lines are warning that the world’s supply chains would break down if ports become congested due to importers not picking up containers.
MSC network outage sparks cyber-attack concerns
Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC)’s company website and online booking platform were offline for four days from April 4. MSC has not ruled out the culprit for the server outage at its headquarters in Geneva being malware. The length of the disruption, however, lends credence to suspicions that an outside actor was behind the server outage. The outage underscores the fact that advancements in online booking also come with risks, and that like other industries, container shipping is increasingly under threat from cyber-attacks.
Putin orders new safety system on the Northern Sea Route
The Russian government has been instructed to create a new system of controlling cargo flows in the Arctic and ensure ship safety in the region. President Vladimir Putin stipulated the degree titled ‘On the Basics of Safety Policy of the Russian Federation in Arctic for the period until 2035’, and signed it on March 13, 2020. This would include research in the hydrometeorological, navigational, and hydrographic fields, plus the establishment of a fleet for year-round navigation on the Northern Sea Route (NSR). Russian government agencies have also been instructed to design a new system of satellite monitoring for the Arctic, but gave no further details to its key purpose.
Read more: Safety at Sea
Commercial shipping’s future could be in the air
Among the many zero-emission propulsion projects under development, Airseas’ Seawing appears the most unconventional. The Seawing is described as a para-foil kite made from polyesters fabric, attached to the ship by a complex cable that can stretch up to 500m in length. Sensors in a control box close to the kite will gather data of wind speed and direction and send it back through the cable to the ship’s bridge system. Vincent Bernatets, the founder of Airseas, a company spun off from Airbus but independent of the aircraft manufacturer, is hoping the initial launch of the Seawing on “Ville de Bordeaux” (Built 2004 Flag France LOA 154m Owner Louis Drefus Armateurs/Leif Höegh) will prove the concept.
He tells the para-foil is just one element of the concept. Just as important is the data analytics that will not only calculate the best time to launch and retract the Seawing but will also propose an optimized route that draws on wind conditions and sea state. The system can be installed in just two days, and the para-foil can be swapped between ships. Once installed, operation is fully automated, so will need very little officer training, He adds.