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China – Tianjin Port Dangerous Cargoes Update


Members will already be aware of the situation at Tianjin Port following the recent explosions as outlined in the Club’s News Alert dated 25 August 2015 (click here). Members should note that we have received a further update from the Correspondent, Huatai Insurance Agency & Consultant Service Limited, Tianjin, reporting that the handling of dangerous cargoes at Tianjin Port has mostly returned to normal.

A copy of the Correspondent’s Circular with further details can be accessed by clicking here.

28 Aug 2015

China – Tianjin Port Update following recent explosions


Members calling at Tianjin Port in China should note that the Correspondent, Huatai Insurance Agency & Consultant Service Limited, Tianjin, has issued a recent Circular on the situation following the incident involving explosions at a warehouse in the port.

In short, the current situation at Tianjin Port is reported to be as follows:-

  1. Port operations in all terminals are normal, with Huisheng and Euroasia terminals (in closest proximity to the site of the explosion) being affected slightly by poor air quality;

  2. Dangerous cargo operations have been prohibited, but some operations for low-risk dangerous cargoes are being resumed;

  3. Air quality is being monitored. As the dust may affect cargo that is stored in the open, Members intending to load cargoes, particularly steel, should ensure that the surveyor carrying out a pre-loading survey notes the condition of the cargo carefully. Safety precautions to protect crew should also be considered.

A copy of the Correspondent’s Circular with further details can be accessed by clicking here.

25 Aug 2015

Suez Canal - New Lane and Charts


Members should note that the new lane of the Suez Canal opened earlier this month, with the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) issuing Circular No. 5/2015 (click here to access a copy) setting out information including the following:-

  1. Details of the traffic system and times of the Southbound and Northbound convoys; 
  2. The amended Suez Canal Rules of Navigation August Edition 2015 that have been issued – click here to access a copy;
  3. Availability of electronic charts and other publications (including paper charts) from Edward Company for Maritime Services - click here to access their website.

The correspondent in Port Said, Abou Ali Law Firm, has reported receiving a number of queries as to whether vessels transiting the Suez Canal without updated paper charts risk being fined by the Authorities. The correspondent has clarified that whilst the Arabic text of the Circular refers to paper charts, the reference to paper charts appears to have been omitted from the English text. Although no fines have - as yet - been imposed by the SCA on vessels without the updated paper charts, it is understood that the position is likely to change soon. Therefore Members arriving at Port Said/Suez intending to transit the Suez Canal are advised to ensure they have the updated paper charts on board the vessel, so as to avoid a potential fine from the SCA.

11 Aug 2015

Syria Sanctions – Port and Shipping Companies on the US SDN List


Members may be aware that the US Authorities/Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has recently added Tartous Port General Company and Lattakia Port General Company to its list of Syrian SDNs. Both companies are part of the Ministry of Transport and are understood to control and generally own the berth, tug and other facilities at Lattakia and Tartous. As they are the beneficiaries of port and other fees due when vessels call at these two ports, Members ordered under existing charters or who are considering agreeing to call at ports in Syria should review the position carefully.

Other companies recently added to OFAC’s SDN list include Syrian Shipping Agencies (a.k.a. Shipco), the Syrian Chamber of Shipping, and the General Directorate of Syrian Ports.

Members should note that claims involving SDNs will generally be in breach of the relevant sanctions legislation, and will almost certainly lead to cover issues. In such circumstances, the Club would be (i) unable to provide security for P&I liabilities for claims made directly or indirectly by an SDN and (ii) unable to pay any claim unless approved by OFAC and the relevant banks. Additions are made to the SDN lists at short notice and Members should continue to exercise reasonable and proportionate due diligence when engaging in activities with Syrian entities and/or connections.

Furthermore, although the above mentioned companies are not currently on the EU SDN list, Members should note that existing US legislation concerning Syria does not permit the routing of USD payments concerning Syrian trade (whether or not sanctions apply) through the US. As this applies extraterritorially to non US entities as well as US entities, those making USD payments for matters related to Syria are exposed to potentially severe penalties and other restrictions.

07 Aug 2015

Philippines – Nickel Ore Cargoes


The Club has received industry reports of cargo liquefaction occurring on a bulk carrier which had loaded a cargo of nickel ore at Suriago, Philippines. According to these reports, the crew were evacuated after the ship lost stability but one seafarer is said to have lost his life during the abandon ship operation.

Members will be aware of the dangers associated with the carriage of cargoes that can liquefy as outlined in previous Club Circulars, News Alerts and Stop Loss articles. As the rainy season in the Philippines runs from June until November, the current conditions present increased challenges for Members loading nickel ore cargoes in the next few months. Members are responsible for ensuring full compliance with the IMSBC Code and must take any measures necessary to ensure the safe carriage of nickel ore cargoes. The Club’s Circular containing detailed information on the Safe Carriage of Nickel Ore Cargoes can be accessed by clicking here.

Members who plan to fix or charter a ship to load Nickel Ore and the Philippines, or are ordered to load nickel ore under an existing fixture, are reminded that they must notify the Managers at the earliest opportunity and comply with the Mandatory Notification Requirements, otherwise they risk prejudicing Club cover. A copy of the Club’s Circular with details of the Mandatory Notification Requirements can be accessed by clicking here.

22 Jul 2015

Iran Sanctions – Limited Sanctions Relief until 14 January 2016


Members will be aware of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed in Vienna on 14 July 2015 that opens the way for the restoration of trade activities with Iran (click here for the News Alert of 15 July 2015).

The current sanctions against Iran, contained in EU Regulation 267/2012 (as amended), remain in effect whilst arrangements are made for implementation of the JCPOA. Members should note that the EU has, in the meantime, passed Council Decision 2015/1148 of 14 July 2015 (click here for a copy) to further extend the suspension of sanctions measures relating to certain trades under the Geneva Joint Plan of Action until 14 January 2016. The Club’s News Alert of 21 January 2014 (click here) sets out details of the suspended measures and the News Alert of 29 January 2014 (click here) gives an update on the P&I cover available.

As such, the current thresholds on transfers of funds that require notification or prior authorisation remain unchanged and HM Treasury’s guidance on this (click here) remains valid.

17 Jul 2015

China – Ship Routing and Reporting at Xiamen Port, Fujian Province


Members calling at Xiamen Port in Fujian Province, China, should note that the Correspondent, Huatai Insurance Agency and Consultant Service Limited, Xiamen, has recently issued a detailed Circular on the Ship Routing and Reporting System being implemented by the China Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) since 1 July 2015.

In essence, the MSA’s Announcement dated 29 April 2015 on Ship Routing and Reporting concerns:-

  1. Vessels over 50,000 DWT or with a draft exceeding 12.5m to use the deep-water route to enter and depart Xiamen Port; and,

  2. Requirements for foreign ships to report various details to Xiamen VTS at various specified reporting lines/points, including detailed vessel information, calling/destination ports, draft, and any defects and limitations.

A copy of the Correspondent’s Circular, which includes a translation of the MSA’s Announcement containing details/charts of the deep-water route as well as the reporting lines and information required, can be found by clicking here.

16 Jul 2015

Iran Sanctions – The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action


The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the diplomatic agreement signed in Vienna on 14 July 2015 between the E3/EU+3 and the Islamic Republic of Iran, opens the way for the restoration of trade activities with Iran by lifting the trade, energy, insurance and banking embargoes that have been incrementally imposed by the EU and US since 2009.

Full details of the way in which implementation of the JCPOA will be managed in the EU and US is yet to emerge, but it is clearly intended that all UN Security Council sanctions as well as multilateral and national sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear programme will be lifted, subject to the terms of the JCPOA.

It is difficult, at this early stage in the process, to anticipate the timescale by which the current legislation in the EU and US will be repealed or rolled back. It is, however, clear that the prohibition on the provision of insurance or reinsurance to Iran or the Government of Iran, an Iranian legal person, entity or body, or a natural person or a legal person, entity or body acting on their behalf or at their direction will eventually be lifted, and the current prohibition in respect of the transport of oil, petrochemical and gas products will also be lifted in due course.

The JCPOA provides that adoption will occur 90 days after the JCPOA is endorsed by the UN Security Council or at an earlier date by mutual consent of all JCPOA participants, at which point the JCPOA comes into effect. The EU and its Member States will adopt an EU Regulation, taking effect on the date of implementation, terminating all provisions of the EU Regulation implementing all nuclear-related economic and financial EU sanctions.

For the time being and until further notice, the current sanctions remain in effect and Members should continue to exercise due diligence in their dealings with potentially Iran-related cargoes and entities.

15 Jul 2015

Cyber Fraud – Payments of Agent’s Fees to Fraudulent Accounts

Over the past year, the Club has become aware of an increasing number of instances of cyber fraud involving Members.  The vehicle for the fraud in each of those instances was the interception of the ship’s agent’s emails and/or the hacking of the ship’s agent’s email account resulting in a request to send expected funds (e.g. anticipated disbursement accounts or cash for the Master) to a new bank account. 

The fraudulent emails on most occasions originated from the agent’s own email address (if their server had been hacked) or an email address extremely similar to the agent’s genuine email address and provided bank account details with only subtle differences from the agent’s genuine bank account. Since Members do not have any control over the security of an agent’s email accounts, as a precaution it is suggested that an additional check be implemented for any requests to make payments to new bank accounts (either where the agent has not been paid by Members previously or because the account details are different to an account that has received funds previously).  In particular, the Club suggests that the check includes independent verification of the bank details provided with a known contact by telephone or through a fresh email (rather than responding to the email requesting the change in bank account details which may itself be fraudulent).  Whilst this will inevitably increase the amount of administration associated with payments for Members, it offers protection against the loss of potentially significant sums.

01 Jul 2015

News Alerts Archive

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