2020 has been the year that all the maritime industry anticipated with mixed feelings due to the implementation of sulphur cap. Although all lights were shed on COVID-19 , once again the regulatory agenda was busy within 2020 in order the maritime industry to stay on the pulse and remain sustainable reports Safety4Sea.
Namely, the latest regulatory impacting the industry within the year include the following updates:Read more
• Selecting a list of the most influential people in shipping is never an easy task. • There will always be those who disagree with certain inclusions, exclusions and positions within the top 100 and those disagreements will probably last until the following year. • But in 2020, there was no dispute over who would be number one. • Yes, the 11th edition of the Lloyd’s List Top 100 People, a ranking of the most influential people in shipping, was released late last week. • But in this strangest of all years, there was no disagreement on who should top the rankings — The Seafarer.
A recent news report published in the Lloyds List written by Adam Sharpe reveals that ‘Seafarer’ has been chosen as the Top of all of Lloyd’s List Top 100 People. Read more.
December 2, 2020, by Jasmina Ovcina
Pacific Carriers Limited (PCL), a Singapore-based company whose subsidiaries are engaged in international shipping, was fined $12 million for concealing illegal discharges of oily water and garbage and a hazardous condition.
On December 1, the company pleaded guilty before the U.S. federal court in New Bern, North Carolina to violations of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, obstruction of justice, and for a failure to notify the U.S. Coast Guard of a hazardous condition.
PCL pleaded guilty to eight felony offenses across three judicial districts – the Eastern District of North Carolina, the Southern District of Texas, and the Eastern District of Louisiana.
The court placed the company on probation for a period of four years, and ordered it to implement a comprehensive Environmental Compliance Plan as a special condition of probation.
In pleading guilty, the company admitted that crew members onboard the M/V Pac Antares, a 20,471 gross-ton bulk carrier knowingly failed to record in the vessel’s oil record book the overboard discharge of oily bilge water and oil waste without the use of required pollution-prevention equipment, from April 2019 to September 2019.
On Sept. 29, 2019, the M/V Pac Antares arrived in Morehead City, North Carolina. A crewmember walked off the ship and informed a Customs and Border Protection officer that he had information about illegal discharges that had taken place on the vessel.
The U.S. Coast Guard was sent that information and conducted an inspection and examination. Examiners discovered and seized a large trove of evidence that oily waste and garbage had been discharged from the vessel to include a configuration of drums, flexible hoses and flanges to bypass the vessel’s oily water separator.
It was also discovered that oily waste had been discharged through a laundry sink which subsequently discharged directly overboard or through the vessel’s sewage system. The sewage system was contaminated with oil.
PCL also admitted that the crew discharged oily garbage and plastic overboard and falsified the garbage record book.
Furthermore, the company admitted that a large space along the keel of the vessel, known as the duct keel, was being used to store oily waste which constituted a hazardous condition under the Ports and Waterways Safety Act and it should have been immediately reported to the U.S. Coast Guard Sector North Carolina.
The Chief Engineer, Wenguang Ye, pleaded guilty to falsifying the oil record book, and was sentenced to a fine of $5,500 and banned from entering the United States for one year after choosing to cooperate in the investigation.
“The defendants in this case knowingly, intentionally and illegally discharged oily waste and other garbage into the waters along the North Carolina coast,” said U.S. Attorney Robert J. Higdon Jr. of the Eastern District of North Carolina.
“That coastline is among the great natural treasures of this country and we are committed to its protection. To that end, we will hold companies and individuals responsible when they fail to follow federal law designed to protect these valuable resources.”
In 2008, the M/V Pac Antares was involved in another prosecution in Wilmington, North Carolina, for concealing the overboard discharge of oily bilge water and assessed a total criminal penalty of $2.1 million.
•Shipping experts updated the industry on upcoming IMO and regional emissions regulations at Riviera’s Maritime Air Pollution, Europe, virtual conference.
•Panellists said shipping will need to invest in technology to reduce carbon intensity as well as adopt alternative fuels to meet IMO’s ambitious environmental goals.
•Decarbonisation is the biggest challenge of our generation. The emerging regulations landscape will affect operations and also affect the way we evaluate ship assets.
Martyn Wingrove writes for Riviera on the recent virtual conference held in Eurpoe on Maritime Air Pollution. Read more:
A UK boat has just provided an impressive demonstration of the future of robotic maritime operations.
SEA-KIT International, which developed the craft, “skippered” the entire outing via satellite from its base in Tollesbury in eastern England.
The mission was part-funded by the European Space Agency.
Robot boats promise a dramatic change in the way we work at sea.
Already, many of the big survey companies that run traditional crewed vessels have started to invest heavily in the new, remotely operated technologies. Freight companies are also acknowledging the cost advantages that will come from running robot ships.
But “over-the-horizon” control has to show it’s practical and safe if it’s to gain wide acceptance. Hence, the demonstration from Maxlimer.Read more:
• Misuga Kaiun Co. Ltd. (MISUGA), Japanese shipping company has been fined $1.5 million for concealing illegal discharges of oily water. • The chief engineer of the vessel has also been convicted. • The company pleaded guilty to violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships for failing to accurately maintain oil record book that covered up discharges of oily water. • Apart from the penalty the company has been placed on a probation for a period of four years. • It also has to implement a comprehensive Environmental Compliance Plan as a special condition of probation.
A recent new published in the United States Department of Justice website highlights about the role of a Japanese company MISUGA in polluting the ocean. Consequently it has been convicted and fined to the tune of $1.5 Million for this wrong doing and concealing it, as it is an environmental crime at any means.
Authorities in Germany have discovered an illegally stored oily waste on board a Barbados-flagged cargo ship docked in Bremerhaven.
On March 3, the water police in Bremen made a routine check of the vessel’s engine room.
The officers found approximately 300 liters of oily waste stored inappropriately in a cofferdam that was not intended for this purpose. Usually, the cofferdam — an enclosure which ensures safety of the ship and its crew — is empty.
As informed, a 45-year old Syrian ship’s engineer has been found responsible. He has been ordered to pay a security deposit of EUR 1,900 (USD 2,140). In addition, a criminal charge due to illegal waste handling has been filed.
The unnamed ship will be allowed to leave the port when it fixes the deficiencies, according to the police.
The investigation carried out by the Bremen water police is still ongoing.
Shipping has been expecting a cyber virus related problem for some time but was not expecting a biological one. Its hard to know if the Coronavirus outbreak in China, now declared a global health emergency by WHO, will be a short lived phenomenon or whether it will last as long as the 18 months to two years of the related severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak that began in late 2002.
It does seem that this time around China has reacted quicker and with more transparency than it did 18 years ago but it would also appear that the fatality rate is higher. The 2002 outbreak that was declared over in late 2004, resulted in almost 800 known deaths. Ten years after SARS, another coronavirus outbreak known as MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) occurred in Saudi Arabia. It may have had less of an international impact, but more than 800 deaths were reported.
In just over a month the latest epidemic has claimed almost 200 victims. The spread of this latest disease also looks to be much more rapid with cases being reported from all corners of the globe – 15 countries to date – and more expected.
These sort of events obviously affect all manner of businesses and industries as well as shipping, but as the main artery of world trade, shipping can be both a means of spreading disease as well as a victim. Today more people travel internationally by air than by sea so the precautions taken against spreading the disease will first be concentrated on airports. Some airlines have already suspended services to affected cities and towns in China and no doubt more will follow suit. In some places, quarantine arrangements have been put in place. Britain, for example, is requiring 200 citizens evacuated from Wuhan to go into 14 days of quarantine. Elsewhere arrivals from China are being screened for signs of infection and some countries are suspending all flights.
There have also been some incidents affecting ships. In Civitavecchia on Thrusady the cruise ship Costa Smerelda was put in lockdown after a passenger recently arrived from Macau began suffering with symptoms that suggested coronavirus. No passengers were allowed to leave the vessel until the passenger received the all clear from health authorities. Another false alarm involved the container ship CMA CGM Ural which has also been given the all clear after several seafarers became ill after calling at a number of Asian ports.
It does not look as though there will be a rapid decline of the coronavirus so it can be expected that similar precautions will eventually be applied at sea ports. In an article earlier this week, ShipInsight reported on shipping law firm Hill Dickinson’s view on some of the contractual implications of coronavirus, but there are potential impacts beyond those as well. Since then, the ICS has also recommended following some WHO guidance aimed at limiting the spread of the virus. The trade body has urged all members to fully adopt the guidelines saying that doing so may help avoid the unnecessary closure of ports, that facilitate 90% of global trade, including the transportation of medicines that underpin the health industry, as well as food and fuel supplies.
The outbreak has coincided with what is traditionally a quiet time in the liner trades after the Christmas and New Year holidays and the later Chinese New Year which runs into early February. That means the hit on trade has been limited but already there are signs that less fuel is needed because of restrictions on travel and that in turn affects transport of oil and freight rates for tankers. Any port closures that might happen would be a further dampener and could impact other types of cargoes.
At the time of the 2002 SARS outbreak it was estimated by some analysts to have cost the world economy somewhere in the region of $50bn (estimates varied from $30Bn to $100Bn) with particular hits for China and Hong Kong in terms of GDP. Today the impact could be even higher especially as China has become much more important in terms of economic status and driver of trade across many sectors. In 2003 China generated 4% of global GDP but last year, it was 16%.
The US/China trade dispute has already damaged confidence and affected shipping so the coronavirus could be a heavy blow and delay a recovery. A prolonged downturn will exacerbate financial problems for shipowners caused by the need to install a ballast treatment system and also the expenses of complying with the 2020 sulphur cap. The latter may be offset to some extent if oil prices tumble and bunker prices follow suit.
Another casualty could be the Posidonia and SMM exhibitions in June and September respectively. The SARS outbreak in 2002/3 severely affected exhibitors and visitors to European trade shows with many not turning up. That would be an unfortunate development for the organisers but hardly important in the wider scheme of things.
The owner and operator, as well as Senior Officers, of oil tanker Ocean Princess have been convicted and sentenced for various pollution, recordkeeping, and obstruction of justice crimes, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Namely, Ionian Shipping & Trading Corp, Lily Shipping Ltd, as well as Stamatios Alekidis, Athanasios Pittas and Rey Espulgar used fuel that exceeded the maximum allowable sulfur concentration in the U.S. Caribbean Emission Control Area and attempted to deceive U.S. Coast Guard inspectors about the source of the fuel being used aboard the vessel.
Namely, the tanker was engaged in transporting petroleum products throughout the Caribbean including from Limetree Terminals, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.
While vessels are operating within the U.S. Caribbean ECA, they must not use fuel that exceeds 0.10% sulfur by weight in order to help protect air quality.
Between January 3, 2017, and July 10, 2018, the tanker Ocean Princess entered into, and operated within, the U.S. Caribbean ECA using fuel that contained excessive sulfur on twenty-six separate occasions.
Between March 2, 2016, and February 6, 2018, nineteen separate fictitious Bunker Delivery Notes were created on and kept aboard the vessel.
USCG inspectors boarded the tanker on July 10, 2018, to conduct an inspection. During the inspection, the inspectors discovered that the vessel was using fuel with an excessive sulfur content.
The companies will each pay a fine of USD 1.5 million, be placed on four years of probation, and implement an Environmental Compliance Plan. The Master, Chief Officer and Chief Engineer were sentenced to three years of probation and ordered not to return to the United States on a ship during that time. The Chief Officer was also fined USD 3,000.