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Sanctions & Crimea - Kerch Commercial Sea Port


Members will already be aware of various sanctions in place following the annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol in Spring 2014, as outlined in previous Club Circulars (click here) and News Alerts (click here). Additionally, the Club has been informed by Interlegal, a firm of Ukrainian lawyers, that Members transiting to and from the sea of Azov should be aware that Kerch Commercial Sea Port, which exerts control over the Strait of Kerch and the Kerch Canal, is a sanctioned entity under the US and EU Sanctions legislation. Members should therefore note that the payment of canal dues and any other payments made to the Kerch Commercial Sea Port would be in breach of sanctions legislation.

In the meantime, Members are reminded, as detailed in the Club’s News Alert of 16 July 2014 (click here), that the Ukrainian Ministry of Infrastructure issued a Directive “On Closure of Sea Ports”, officially closing all ports in the territory of Crimea, with the consequence that vessels calling in Ukrainian ports after trading to/from a Crimean Port, including Kerch, may face potential delays/detentions/fines.

17 Nov 2015

China – Penalties for waste discharged in Bohai Bay, Tianjin


Members proceeding to the North East coast of China should note that there has recently been an increase in the numbers of cases involving vessels being fined by the local Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) for discharging garbage/sewage into Bohai Bay, China. The Correspondent, Huatai Insurance Agency & Consultant Service Limited, Tianjin, has issued a detailed Circular clarifying the regulations concerning discharges of waste into the ocean in Bohai Bay area.

Annex V of Marpol 73/78 provides for food garbage only to be discharged at least 3 nautical miles from the territorial sea baseline, with stricter provisions for certain other types of waste. As, however, Bohai Bay is an area of nearly enclosed inland sea, the discharge of any garbage in Bohai Bay is prohibited. MSA officers attending on board vessels during PSC inspections have simply picked up on discharges of garbage/sewage as stated in the vessel’s records. The penalties imposed on those in breach range from the equivalent of USD 3,000 to USD 30,000, in accordance with Article 73 of the PRC’s law on Protection of the Marine Environment.

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

Members should refrain from discharging any waste/sewage in Bohai Bay to avoid such penalties and any potential delay arising as a consequence.  

05 Nov 2015

Bauxite Cargoes & Liquefaction – IMO’s conclusions following “Bulk Jupiter”


Following the loss of the bulk carrier “Bulk Jupiter” and 18 lives in January 2015, as reported in the Club’s News Alert dated 7 January 2015 (click here), the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Sub-Committee on Carriage of Cargoes and Containers has recently published a Circular on the carriage of bauxite that may liquefy.

The IMO Circular notes that the potential for bauxite to liquefy is not specifically addressed in the IMSBC Code, as it is only classified as a Group C cargo. It also includes guidance for Masters, who should not accept bauxite for loading unless:

  1. the cargo certificate indicates that the moisture content is below 10% and the particle size is as detailed in the IMSBC code schedule for BAUXITE, or

  2. the cargo is declared a Group A cargo and the Shipper declares the TML and moisture content in accordance with paragraph 4.3.1  of the IMSBC Code; or

  3. the competent authority has assessed the cargo in accordance with paragraph 1.2.1 of the IMSBC Code and determines that the particular cargo does not present Group A cargo properties.

A copy of the Circular can be accessed by clicking here.

Members who plan to fix or charter a ship to load bauxite, or are ordered to load bauxite under an existing fixture, should take extreme care when carrying bauxite in bulk and contact the Club for assistance as necessary.

04 Nov 2015

China – Distillers Dried Grains and Solubles cargoes


Members involved in the carriage of Distillers Dried Grains and Solubles (DDGS) cargoes for discharging in China should note that there have been recent instances where the colour of the cargo has been a quality issue.

DDGS is the solid remnants following ethanol manufacture. Most of the grain used in ethanol manufacture is maize, but there are varying contents of other grains such as rye and sorghum. Depending upon the grain, the temperature and moisture content during processing, the colour of DDGS can range from a very pale golden colour to a dark roast coffee colour.

DDGS is therefore not a homogeneous cargo and this is further exacerbated where it is loaded in bulk from multiple shippers, which can result in the layering of dark and pale cargo. Loading methods can also obscure the extent of the problem where, for example, cargo is loaded by spout and conveyor as the dust generated can obscure the colour of the stowed cargo. While colour differences are normal and may not have a bearing on quality in the US domestic market, the Chinese market preference is for pale DDGS.

Receivers can be quick to blame the vessel for the discolouration, resulting in demands for security while the affected cargo is segregated and analysed. Recently, the value of DDGS has plummeted, which may also have a bearing on the readiness of receivers to reject the cargo. While assessment of colour is often subjective, Members ordered to load a cargo of DDGS should be aware of the Chinese market’s preference for the paler shade. If darker cargoes are loaded, an appropriate protest may be made and the bills of lading claused as necessary.

DDGS is often used for livestock/poultry feed and the colour and nutritional value can be affected by heat. To help defend against potential claims Members should take care (and keep detailed records) during the voyage to ensure that the fuel tanks adjacent to cargo holds are not heated excessively.

28 Oct 2015

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

News Alerts Archive

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