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July 2020 Review

The crew change conundrum became even more acute in July with 600,000 seafarers now snared in the crisis and many nations, fearing renewed waves of the coronavirus pandemic, creating greater barriers at their borders. Three months since the International Maritime Organization (IMO) endorsed a 12-step set of protocols to ensure safe crew changes and three weeks on from a UK-convened international crew change summit there are still just 17 countries that have fully opened to crew movements

The European Union splintered global shipping regulation, taking more firm, decisive action on the environment than the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has managed in years. The Environment Committee at the EU voted on July 7 to include CO2 emissions from the maritime sector in the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS).

Dubai-headquartered DP World is being tipped to buy Shreyas Shipping and Logistics and freight forwarder Avana Global Logistek from Transworld Group. Shreyas has 13 Indian-flagged ships in its fleet and would represent the third feeder outlet DP World has bought in recent years, going alongside Scandinavian Unifeeder and Singapore’s Feedertech. Neither party has confirmed the deal. In a confirmed deal, DP World on Monday revealed it had bought Korean NVOCC Unico Logistics.

Malaysian national shipping group MISC is entering the ethane trades, buying six newbuild 98,000 cu m very large ethane carriers (VLECs) from China’s Zhejiang Satellite Petrochemical for $726m.

BW Group’s product tanker arm Hafnia proposed a combination with New York-listed product tanker owner Ardmore Shipping Corp in an all-stock transaction. Ardmore rejected the initial offer but acquisitive BW is expected to make a new bid soon. BW Tankers merged with Hafnia Tankers in January last year to create the world’s largest product tanker fleet.

In a landmark decision that could shake up the ship recycling trades irrevocably, a judge in London ruled earlier this month that the Bangladeshi widow of a shipbreaker who fell to his death while working on an ex-Maran VLCC can sue the shipowner for negligence.

MPC Container Ships completed a rapid recapitalisation process. Having first flagged severe liquidity concerns in May, the Oslo-listed firm negotiated with shareholders, bondholders and creditors to fix its survival. Parent MPC Capital also sold a 50% stake in its shipmanagement subsidiary, Ahrenkiel Steamship, to Wilhelmsen Ship Management.

China Navigation (CNCo) announced it will separate out its dry bulk shipping activities from its liner shipping and fleet management business and establish Swire Bulk as a standalone privately held company headquartered in Singapore. Swire Bulk was founded in 2012 and has grown rapidly to become far larger than its liner sister firm.

Danish owner J. Lauritzen established its gas and dry bulk businesses as independent companies, Lauritzen Kosan and Lauritzen Bulkers. The change also saw the departure of group CEO Mads Peter Zacho.

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