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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*
Cook Islands
Marshall Islands*

*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

Sanctions – STS transfer involving Iranian Crude Oil in Arabian Gulf


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 Arabian 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 Arabian 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

Bauxite Cargoes & Liquefaction


Members may be aware from recent press reports of the recent total loss of the “Bulk Jupiter”, which capsized and sank off Vietnam. 18 men are feared to have lost their lives in the casualty. At the time of the incident the ship was bound for China with a cargo of bauxite loaded in Kuantan, Malaysia.

Although it is not possible at this stage to identify the cause of the loss of “Bulk Jupiter”, Members are reminded that the potential for bauxite to liquefy has been covered in previous News Alerts, the most recent of which can be accessed by clicking here.

Any Member fixed to load bauxite from any Malaysian port should contact the Club for assistance.

07 Jan 2015

New Sulphur Fuel Regulations from 1 January 2015


As from 1 January 2015, all ocean going vessels travelling within the Emission Control Areas (the “ECAs” as defined in the MARPOL Convention, including the English Channel, Baltic Sea, North Sea, North American and US Caribbean Sea areas) must use fuel oil with less than 0.1% sulphur. The controls apply to all fuel oil, defined in MARPOL Annex VI Regulation 2.9 as “any fuel delivered to and intended for combustion purposes for propulsion or operation on board a ship including distillate and residual fuels”. More information about the Marpol Convention can be accessed on the IMO website by clicking here.  

Members should also note that the US Coast Guard has announced that the low sulphur measures will be strictly enforced in the North American and U.S. Caribbean Sea Emission Control Areas, with checks being made on Bunker Delivery Notes and other records during Port State and Flag State inspections, as well as fuel oil sampling and in-the-field screening for sulphur levels. Click here to access a copy of the US Coast Guard’s announcement. The US Environmental Protection Agency has  produced guidance for Owners in circumstances where compliant fuel oil is unavailable (click here). Essentially, Owners and operators are required to make best efforts to comply with the ECA rules so that, in circumstances where the standards are not met, Owners/operators have the opportunity to explain why. The guidance indicates that, in the event of non-compliance with ECA rules, Owners/operators must provide information that details their efforts to obtain compliant fuel. However, there is no clear guidance on what evidence will be sufficient so the Club recommends that, where brokers are involved, written, detailed reports from the brokers are obtained rather than simply reports of telcons and/or brief emails. Where Owners/operators are not using a broker, they should prepare such written, detailed evidence themselves.

In addition to the MARPOL ECAs, EU Directive 1999/32/EC as amended by Directive 2005/33/EC implements the Annex VI standards in EU territorial seas, exclusive economic zones and pollution control zones. This applies to owners of vessels flying flags of all countries, not just those of the EU.  Whilst the regulations on low sulphur fuel oil remain the same for most ship types, the EU Directive differs from MARPOL in respect of sulphur content  of fuel oil for passenger ships. In addition, Annex II of the EU Directive specifies the criteria for the use of emission abatement methods, including the use of liquefied natural gas, exhaust gas cleaning systems and biofuels. Click here to access a copy of the EU Directive.

Members who have not already done so, should seek urgent advice to ensure that they are ready to comply with the low sulphur limits within the approaching deadline.

19 Dec 2014

West Africa – Ebola Update


Members will already be aware of the risk of, and the precautions to be taken against, the spread of the Ebola virus, as outlined in the Club’s News Alert dated 8 August 2014 (click here). Members have an important role to play in this regard and in helping to ensure that there remains, as the World Health Organisation has recommended, no ban on international travel or trade.

We have received a helpful summary of the Ebola related measures relevant to vessels calling at West African ports from  Budd Group, a correspondent with offices in Algeria, Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea, and Togo.  To access the summary, please click here

27 Oct 2014

News Alerts Archive

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