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Ukraine – Port Situation Update

 

Members will already be aware of the political unrest and movement of troops in various parts of Ukraine, as reported in the Club’s News Alert of 7 March 2014 (click here).

The latest update from Dias Marine Consulting, Odessa, dated 16 April 2014 is as follows:-

“Armed conflicts between authorities and separatists in Eastern regions of country still develops. Army troops have been moved into Donetsk region.

In spite of the above mentioned all Ukrainian ports without exception operate in usual manner. Ports of Crimea - Sevastopol, Kerch and Theodosia also operate trouble-free. Even Ukrainian cargoes are loading in ports of Crimea. Customs outward clearance of these cargoes (export) is carried out by Ukrainian customs at port Yuzhny Outer Roads.”

Members are also reminded of the Correspondent’s previous recommendation for crew members to keep away from areas where any demonstrations are taking place, with the exception of the small port of Kherson where crew should refrain from coming ashore.

17 Apr 2014

United Kingdom – European Health Insurance Cards for Crew

 

Members should note that we have been informed by the Marine Advisory Medical Service about changes to the necessity for European crew members to have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in order to obtain free medical treatment in the UK under the National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 2011.
 

The Guidance on Implementing the Overseas Visitors Hospital Charging Regulations (October 2013) (click here) specifically states that health care trusts in the UK must obtain from the patient a copy of the EHIC, enabling the trusts to collect the costs incurred for treatment from the reciprocal EU country. Previously, patients with European passports (but without a EHIC) were being treated in the UK in any event in certain circumstances. However, as a number of countries failed to reimburse the costs incurred where treatment was provided on the basis of a European passport, the United Kingdom has now refused to accept a passport to determine eligibility for free treatment of European nationals and an EHIC will be insisted upon before free treatment is provided.
 

Accordingly, it is recommended that eligible European crew should obtain an EHIC from their home government before joining the ship. EHIC cards are valid for 5 years from date of issue.
 

16 Apr 2014

Ukraine – Port Situation and Sanctions

 

Port Situation

As Members will be aware, following the movement of Russian troops into Ukraine and into the Crimean region, there have been political demonstrations and violence in some limited areas.

Most ports in Ukraine are reported to be functioning as normal but the local correspondent recommends that foreign crew members keep away from areas where any demonstrations are taking place, with the exception of the small port of Kherson where crew should refrain from coming ashore. The update from Dias Maine Consulting, Odessa, on this dated 4 March can be accessed here.

Members whose vessels are due to load cargoes from Kerch and Theodosia, Crimea, however, should be aware that customs/local authorities may deny Ukrainian cargoes customs clearance and may prevent and/or cause delays to loading. The latest report from Dias Maine Consulting, Odessa, dated 7 March can be accessed here.

Sanctions

In response to the situation in Ukraine, the EU and the US have now introduced limited sanctions as follows:

  1. The EU has issued Decision 2014/119/CFSP and  Council Regulation No. 208/2014 which relate to the freezing of funds and economic resources of designated persons identified as responsible for misappropriation of Ukrainian state funds and violence.

  2. In the US, the President has signed a new Executive Order imposing sanctions against any individual or entity responsible for or complicit in actions that undermine the democratic process or threaten the peace, security and stability of Ukraine.

As with other activities that potentially involve sanctions, Members will need to exercise due diligence when dealing with any Ukrainian persons/entities.

07 Mar 2014

Canada & United States – Asian Gypsy Moth

 

Members are reminded that the high risk season for the Asian Gypsy Moth (“AGM”) is now commencing. This is a serious pest of coniferous and deciduous trees to the extent that both Canadian and USA authorities have detailed regulations as to measures to prevent the entry of AGM on vessels calling at ports in Canada and USA. Members calling in high risk areas for AGM, including eastern Russia, northern China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, should ensure they comply with the applicable regulations. For a detailed review of the regulations, including links to the websites of the relevant authorities, see our previous News Alert on this issue, click here.

05 Mar 2014

United States – Pet Coke from Bayou Casotte Terminal, Mississippi

 

Members due to load cargoes of petroleum coke from Bayou Casotte terminal in Pascagoula, Mississippi, should note that the Club has been advised of various incidents in which access by surveyors/correspondents to attend vessels has been restricted and/or refused by the terminal without explanation in circumstances where issues have arisen due quality/quantity. No difficulties have been encountered with access to vessels at the Chevron refinery terminal.

The full report from the Correspondent in Mobile, Maynard Cooper & Gale PC, can be accessed here.

18 Feb 2014

South Africa - Resumption of Operations at Richards Bay

 

As Members will be aware from our News Alert of last week (click here), a power failure stopped operations at Richards Bay Coal Terminal (“RBCT”) from 31 January 2014.

The Correspondent in Durban P&I Associates (Pty) Ltd, now reports that limited operations resumed at RBCT on Sunday 9 February 2014 and according to the RBCT website press release (click here) “operations are back up and running with full terminal capacity available”. The terminal expects to be able to clear the backlog and return to normal operations by 31 March 2014, so Members should expect some delays until then. 

13 Feb 2014

South Africa - Power failure at Richards Bay

 

As Members may already be aware from various press reports, a power failure has occurred in Richards Bay, apparently after electrical cables supplying power from uMhlatuze municipality failed last Friday 31 January. The power failure has stopped operations at Richards Bay Coal Terminal (“RBCT”), but it is expected that RBCT will be operational again by Sunday 9 February 2014. 

Given that the terminal has not been operational for one week already, the power failure is likely to have a significant impact not only on vessels already waiting to load coal but also those waiting at anchorage. The Correspondent in Durban, P&I Associates (Pty) Ltd, reports that there are over 25 ships waiting at anchorage with the number of vessels growing. Vessels en route to load coal at RBCT are likely to experience knock-on effects for some time. 

Accordingly, Members whose vessels are at or en route to load coal at RBCT, or are ordered to do so in the future under existing charterparty arrangements, should expect significant delays. In the meantime, Members considering fixing a voyage to load at RBCT may wish to give the above due consideration when negotiating contract terms. 

07 Feb 2014

Hong Kong – Low-Sulphur Fuel

 

Members who call at Hong Kong should note that the Hong Kong Legislative Council is due to vote in mid-2014 on whether to make the use of low-sulphur fuel compulsory. Low-sulphur fuel is likely to be defined as having a sulphur content of not more than 0.5%. Should the proposed legislation become law, the current timetable indicates that emissions of ocean going vessels will be subject to regulation in Hong Kong from an as yet unspecified date in 2015. It is proposed that there will be a fine of up to HKD200,000 and up to 6 months imprisonment for a breach in the proposed law.

In the meantime, Members may already be aware of a voluntary incentive scheme to promote the use of low-sulphur fuel whilst in Hong Kong. This scheme, which has been active for a number of years, was introduced to try to reduce air pollution. The incentive for ocean going vessels to join the scheme is that the current port facilities and light dues charge of HKD43 per 100 mt will be reduced by half.  More details can be found by clicking here.

We should also highlight the Air Pollution Control (Marine Light Diesel (“MLD”)) Regulation (the “Regulation”), which will be effective from 1 April 2014, subject to the final approval of the Hong Kong Legislative Council. The Regulation seeks to control the quality of MLD supplied in Hong Kong and, amongst other things, requires MLD to have a sulphur content of no more than 0.05%. It will be an offence for anyone to supply MLD that does not comply with the Regulation. There are fines of HKD50,000 and 3 months imprisonment for suppliers of MLD who breach the Regulations. The Regulation does not require vessels to use the supplied fuel in Hong Kong. For the full text of the Regulation click here.

For further assistance and/or clarification in relation to the above, Members should approach their usual Club contact. 

07 Feb 2014

Iran Sanctions - Update on the Geneva Joint Plan of Action and P&I cover available

 

Members will be aware of the recent suspension of sanctions measures relating to certain trades with Iran for a six month period between 20 January 2014 and 20 July 2014 (click here for the News Alert of 21 January 2014 for further details).

The International Group has been continuing to engage with the relevant US and EU regulators to clarify the intended operation of the suspension of sanctions in relation to the provision of insurance. As regards the US implementation of the suspension measures, one issue on which the International Group has been seeking clarification is the extent to which Clubs will be able to respond to liabilities arising during the suspension period, but which may not be crystallised or presented until after 20 July 2014.

The US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has advised that it is not presently able to confirm whether insurance cover, in respect of liabilities arising during the six month period, will be prohibited from responding after 20 July 2014.

Click here for the full text of the International Group update.

If it is the case that insurance for liabilities which arose during the period whilst the sanctions were suspended may not respond after 20 July 2014, then this would appear to have the effect of rendering the current suspension of sanctions to be of very limited (if any) value in terms of Club cover provided to Members. Members should exercise caution when entering into contracts for the transportation of crude oil, petroleum oil and petrochemical products that are temporarily permissible by the Geneva Joint Plan of Action.

The International Group is continuing its efforts to obtain clarification of the US position and the Club will provide a further update when this is available. 

Members requiring further assistance and/or clarification in relation to the above, and in particular any Iran-related matters that may affect Club cover, should approach their usual Club contact.

29 Jan 2014

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