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International Group - Annual Review - 2014/15

 

The International Group Annual Review 2014/15 was published recently and can be accessed by clicking here. The Review covers many of the key activities undertaken by the Group during the last P&I policy year and includes summaries of the work carried out by a number of its Sub-Committees and Working Groups on a range of issues, including the review of large casualties, places of refuge and the Maritime Labour Convention, which may be of interest to Members.

27 Apr 2015

Sudan Sanctions – US amends General Licence

 

Members will be aware of the ongoing US and EU sanctions against Sudan. Members should therefore note that on 18 February 2015, the US Authorities/Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued an amended general licence allowing the exportation and provision to Sudan of certain hardware, software and services incidental to personal communications.  As a consequence, Members may see exports of hardware such as smartphones, satellite phones, residential consumer satellite terminal and receiver equipment, laptop computers, and other electronic equipment being shipped to Sudan, probably in containers.  A copy of the licence can be accessed here.

Members are reminded that, despite this particular limited relaxation of sanctions against Sudan by the US, there are still both US and EU sanctions in place against Sudan. 

The EU sanctions focus mainly on a trade embargo on arms and related material (ie. military ammunition, weapons and goods) and a few targeted individuals (click here for the current EU sanctions).

However, the US maintains much broader trade and financial sanctions on Sudanese goods, persons and entities including wide prohibitions on the assistance/facilitation that can be given by a US person/entity. OFAC’s overview of the US Regulations with regard to Sudan sanctions can be accessed by clicking here. 

27 Feb 2015

South Africa – Stowaways

 

The Club has been advised by P&I Associates, a correspondent in South Africa, of a change in the approach taken by the Department of Home Affairs in Cape Town to foreign nationals who are found, before a vessel has departed, to have unlawfully boarded a vessel in Cape Town. Previously such persons were treated as “trespassers”, so that the costs of repatriation did not fall on the vessel. However, the new approach means that foreign nationals found on board a vessel without the requisite permits will be treated as stowaways so that the cost of repatriation will fall on the vessel. This change is effective immediately and is already being applied in Durban. 

The Correspondent advises that Members should be vigilant to ensure that any person boarding a vessel in Cape Town or Durban, including stevedores, agents, ship chandlers, cleaners, immigration, ship repairers, marine surveyors and contractors are in possession of a Transnet National Port Authority (TNPA) permit. Absent a permit, the Correspondent further advises that a person should be asked to leave the vessel and, if need be, taken to the bottom of the gangway and port security notified. The port, as the landlord, will then have the person detained and charged as a trespasser on their property.

Members should be guided by the above advice from the Correspondent. This is, of course, in addition to Members’ obligations to ensure that access to the vessel is controlled in accordance with the ISPS Code. 

18 Feb 2015

Brazil – Fire at Suzano Terminal, Itaqui Port

 

The Club has just received news of a fire that broke out earlier today at Suzano’s premises in Itaqui Port. Brazmar Marine Services Ltda, a correspondent in São Luis, reports that:-

“… the fire occurred in the premises of Messrs Suzano, one of the biggest cellulose exporters in the region. Although not yet confirmed, we understand that the Terminal's grain loading conveyor belt system has also been affected. No victims have been reported to date but the physical damage appears extensive. As a result of the incident, it is reasonable to foresee considerable delays to the loading / discharge operations.

The Terminal is currently not operating pending further instructions from the local authorities.”

Whilst the extent of the fire and resulting damage is not yet known, Members whose vessels are at or en route to load cargo from Suzano’s Terminal/Itaqui, or are ordered to do so in the future under existing charterparty arrangements, should be aware that there may be some delays. In the meantime, Members considering fixing a voyage to Itaqui may wish to give the above due consideration when negotiating contract terms. 

29 Jan 2015

Asian Gypsy Moth – New BIMCO Clause

 

In advance of the high risk season for Asian Gypsy Moth (AGM) that commences in March, BIMCO has issued a new AGM Clause for Time Charterparties. The background to and wording of the AGM Clause are set out in the BIMCO Special Circular (click here).

Details of the AGM Regulations and links to websites of the relevant Authorities have been the subject of a previous News Alert, which can be accessed by clicking here.

27 Jan 2015

The Entry into Force of the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks (WRC)

 

As reported in the Association’s circulars of 5 November and 23 December 2014, the WRC enters into force on 14 April 2015.

The 23 December circular (which can be accessed by clicking here) included information on the WRC States that had, at that date, agreed in principle to assist shipowners by issuing certificates to ships flagged in countries that are not party to the Convention. In addition to the four such WRC States referred to in the circular (UK, Germany, Denmark and Marshall Islands), Liberia and the Cook Islands have now agreed to issue WRC certificates to ships flagged in a State which has not ratified the Convention. 

The 23 December 2014 circular also included details of the contracting States to the WRC as at that date.  Since then the Convention has also been ratified by Liberia and Antigua & Barbuda. Ships flying the flags of a State which is party to the Convention should obtain their WRC certificates from their own registry.  The updated list of current contracting States is shown below: 

Wreck Removal Convention States**

Antigua & Barbuda*
Bulgaria*
Cook Islands
Congo
Denmark*
Germany
India
Iran
Liberia*
Malaysia
Marshall Islands*
Morocco
Nigeria
Palau
UK*

*denotes that the State Party has extended the application of the Convention to wrecks located within its territory, including the territorial sea.
**at 19 January 2015
 

19 Jan 2015

Egypt – Caution advised at Suez Canal

 

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), in the final paragraph of a Circular issued yesterday, has alerted shipowners to an increased risk of attack in the approaches to, and in, the Suez Canal.  The Circular states as follows:-

“The recent hijacking of an Egyptian warship indicates a capability on the part of militants in the Sinai Peninsula to operate in the maritime environment and to attack maritime targets, and along with the rocket attack against the Cosco Asia in 2013 indications are that a threat may exist to commercial shipping in the area.  As such, the general advice must be to exercise increased caution and maintain vigilance particularly when ships are waiting in the approaches to the Canal.”

To access a copy of the Circular, please click here. In the circumstances, it is recommended that Members follow the ICS advice if trading via the Suez Canal.

16 Jan 2015

Libya - Airstrikes at Libyan ports

  

Members may be aware from news reports of an escalation of civil strife within Libya. Until recently, this was not thought to affect the safety of vessels calling at Libyan ports. However, in early January the tanker “Araevo” was attacked by the Libyan Airforce at the port of Derna (for a report of the incident, please click here) and Lloyds List report that a second tanker was attacked yesterday at the port of Misrata. Further, there has also been a report in the Libya Herald that the Libyan air force has threatened to strike any Misrata bound ships.

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) yesterday published a Circular setting out the position, which indicates that there is an increased risk of commercial vessels being attacked due to this significant security concern. Importantly, the Circular expressly states as follows:

“ICS has learned that ‘vessels transiting through the Mediterranean are advised to remain clear of Libyan waters.  Vessels intending to call at Misrata are advised to contact port and flag State authorities and local shipping agents for further instructions’.

The Secretariat has been advised that some flag Administrations have issued notices to the effect that shipowners should carefully consider whether to continue with scheduled calls at Libyan ports given the change in the security situation.  Notices pertaining to the situation are uploaded to the NATO Shipping Centre Website (click here) to which reference should be made on a regular  basis. 

ICS strongly recommends that shipowners should contact the P&I Club and War Risk Underwriters for further advice on each specific voyage.”

For a full copy of the ICS Circular click here. Members should be guided by the ICS recommendations.

16 Jan 2015

Iran Sanctions – STS transfer involving Iranian Crude Oil

 

Members will be aware of the ongoing sanctions regarding export of Iranian crude oil from previous News Alerts (click here and here). Whilst a temporary suspension of certain sanctions (currently until 30 June 2015) is in place, including for the export of Iranian crude oil, the suspension in relation to crude only applies to the carriage from Iran to US waiver countries outside the EU (currently China, India, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey).

In recent weeks it has become apparent that sophisticated attempts are being made to dupe shipowners into transporting Iranian crude to non US waiver countries by loading it at Khor Fakkan in the UAE.  Shippers appear to be transporting the sanctioned cargo from Iran to Khor Fakkan using feeder ships and then, using falsified cargo documentation, by way of STS transfer to innocent vessels at Khor Fakkan. The documentation describes the cargo as having an origin other than Iran (so far Iraqi ports have been named) and may also misdescribe the shippers. Leaving aside that shipment of such cargoes is likely to lead to an absence of insurance cover, carriage is also likely to result in serious consequences for Members under the applicable sanctions regime.

In the circumstances, Members considering fixing to load crude oil cargoes by way of STS transfer in Khor Fakkan or elsewhere in the Persian Gulf, and those who are ordered to do so under an existing charter, are urged to investigate the origin of the cargo well in advance and certainly before loading. Investigations should include, but not be limited to, checking the previous trading pattern of the vessel that is providing the cargo by way of STS transfer. Of course, should Members be ordered to load a crude cargo by way of STS transfer in the Persian Gulf under existing contractual arrangements, Members’ options could be limited by the absence of specific contractual provisions and so Members are reminded that BIMCO, working together with the International Group of P&I Clubs, has drafted a sanctions clause for time charterparties (click here for the BIMCO sanctions clause).  

15 Jan 2015

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