World Maritime News
Stored ammonium nitrate cargo link to Beirut blast
Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab has said 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in a port side warehouse was probably the cause of the huge explosion in Beirut.
The substance has also been a factor in numerous other explosions on ships and in ports over the last century. Its main legitimate uses are the production of fertilizer, cold packs for medical applications, and commercial explosives, particularly for the mining sector. Two huge explosions have killed at least 100 people and wounded more than 4,000.
Investigation to determine cause of Wakashio disaster could take months
M.V. Wakashio, 203,130 dwt, flag Panama, built 2007 Owner NAGASHIKI SHIPPING CO., LTD. Japan, Charterer MOL, grounded off Pointe d’Esny Mauritius on 25 July. She was sailing in ballast with about 4,000 mt of very low sulphur fuel aboard and started leaking bunker on 6 August during the salvage work. According to the Mauritius National Crisis Committee, a crack in cargo hold No 8 to the stern side of the vessel worsened at 1400 hrs. local time on 15 August and at around 1630 hrs., a major detachment of the vessel’s forward section was observed. While about 3,000 mt of fuel was transferred to small tankers by 12 August, some 1,000 mt seeped into the ocean after a fuel tank breached on 6 August. The Master has been arrested. The IMO, which sent a technical expert to the site, said that until it had a full casualty investigation report, which is mandatory following major environmental damage, any comments on why or how the incident occurred would be speculation. This is the first major oil spill incident after the new IMO sulphur-cap regulation took effect from 1 January 2020.
Container port capacity growth to contract with declining trade
Expansion of container port capacity is expected to contract by at least 40% over the next five years in the wake of the slowdown in port throughput induced by the coronavirus outbreak.
Drewry Shipping Consultants expects boxship terminal capacity to grow by an average 25 million container a year, which is “well below” the annual average increase of more than 40 million containers added over the past decade.
Read more: Lloyd’s List
COVID-19 triggers early trans-Pacific peak season
Retailers are forecasting that August could be the busiest month of an early and highly unusual trans-Pacific peak season following a July that saw US imports from Asia grow year on year for the first time since September 2019. Imports from Asia to remain strong at least through September. Normally, US imports remain elevated for the three-month peak season of August through October. Most of the holiday season merchandise arrives at US ports by early November in order to hit the store shelves for the Black Friday sales after Thanksgiving. This year, imports began to build in July due to a combination of retailers replenishing inventories that drew down once stores began to reopen in the late spring and consumers stepped up purchases of home-office equipment and personal protective equipment.
Read more: JOC
Volume rebound on Asia-Europe raises peak season hopes
The Asia-Europe trade could be heading for a traditional peak season this year with fast-improving volumes bouncing back from the lows seen in April during the height of the COVID-19 lockdowns. Asia to Europe container volume in June was 1.39 million TEU, down just 3.8% from the year-ago month, according to the latest data from Container Trades Statistics. Peter Sand, chief shipping analyst at BIMCO, said the Asia-Europe trade was heading for a peak season, but added, “I doubt that we will see the same volumes as in 2019, but we could reach those of 2018.”
Read more: JOC
Japanese firms combine to develop liquefied ammonia carrier
NYK Line, Japan Marine United and Class NK have teamed up to develop a liquefied ammonia carrier that can be fueled by the same gas a part of efforts to decarbonize the shipping sector. The three have signed a joint research and development agreement, under which they will also work together on creating the world’s first ammonia floating storage and regasification barge. In the projects, NYK will mainly be responsible for the establishment of operation methods, consideration of legal compliance and economic evaluation, while JMU will focus on research and development for the vessels. Class NK will focus on the technical verification of safety aspects and the development of guidelines.