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Dangerous times for shipping and seafarers

THOSE of us who can remember the Tanker War in the Middle East Gulf 30 years ago will have been dismayed by the latest news coming from the region.

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Fewer ships lost, but still lots of accidents

LARGE shipping losses are now at their lowest level this century having declined by over 50 per cent year on year, according to insurance company Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty's Safety & Shipping Review 2019. Now one might validly point out that this century is not yet very old...

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Look, no hands? It won't be for a long while yet

LAST night I watched horrified as a news report showed large cruise ship MSC Opera running into the quay at some speed and crashing into a large tourist boat, the River Countess, luckily without sinking her. From press reports, it appeared that five tourists on the smaller vessel were injured,...

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Practical responses to climate change

LAST week's column looked at the political responses to the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) latest meeting considering how to achieve massive cuts in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships.

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Getting serious about zero CO2 emissions

IT IS interesting to see how the same event can generate very different reactions. On Friday the most recent, the 74th, session of the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 74) came to an end after a fortnight of deliberations at the UN agency'...

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Slow progress on recycling

TWENTY years ago, how to dispose of old ships past their useful lives was not really an issue. It was accepted that they would end up on a beach and cut into pieces.

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LNG, a fuel for the future? Not everyone agrees

IN A significant milestone in the journey towards routine LNG (liquified natural gas) bunkering in Singapore, Pavilion Energy has performed the first commercial ship-to-ship LNG bunkering. In the operation 2,000 cubic metres of LNG was loaded on to a dedicated LNG bunker tanker at the newly-...

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When things go wrong at sea . . .

FEWER ships get into real trouble these days than a few decades ago, but when they do, the risks can be much greater now, with very large vessels and massive quantities of pollutive substances often on board.

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More people, more trade, more shipping demand?

THE United Nations has revised its projections for population growth upwards to 8.6 billion in 2030, from 7.7 billion last year. Those figures were quoted by Simon Bennett, the deputy secretary-general of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the shipowners global representative body.

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Stamping out corruption in the maritime sector

ABOUT 50 years ago, I was a cadet on a ship picking up the pilot before proceeding up a major river in...well it doesn't matter where. The salient point is that the pilot rushed to the bridge and ordered "stop engine". The captain, not surprisingly, enquired why the pilot had given that order....

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Positioning Singapore's maritime sector for the future

READERS will not need this column to inform them that this is a very busy time in Singapore. We are halfway through this nine-day "week" and a huge range of topics have been debated.

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Shipping confidence up despite ongoing geopolitical uncertainty

SINCE 2008, shipping accountant Moore Stephens has produced its insightful quarterly Shipping Confidence Survey. However, back in February a press release announced that the firm had merged with another accountancy group, BDO, and the Moore Stephens name would disappear. So it is now the BDO...

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Keeping the same crew on one ship can boost efficiency

IS it a good idea for seafarers, or at least senior officers, to keep returning to the same ship time after time following a period of leave? In industry-speak, this practice is known as "back-to-back" or "stable" manning....

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What will fuel the fleet in 2050?

THE shipping industry can be forgiven for focusing on how it will cope with next January's mandatory global 0.50 per cent sulphur in fuel cap. Understandably short and medium term factors are going to be decisive....

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Food for thought on grounding of Costa Concordia

LAST week I attended a lecture in London which was the most thought provoking I have heard for a very long time. The speaker was Captain Michael Lloyd, a retired ship's master with many years of experience at sea behind him and a formidable reputation as a campaigner on maritime safety...

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No easy way out of those sulphur rules

LAST week, about a 1,000 members of the International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) from around the world gathered in London for the organisation's annual dinner. As usual, Singapore was well represented and, also as usual, active discussion prolonged the evening. I am reliably...

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Farewell to the freight forwarder?

FOR those of us who have been in the shipping industry since the beginning of the seventies, constant unsettling change has been a fact of life. Practically every aspect of the shipping industry has changed almost beyond recognition over the past five decades.

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A case for preventing accidents the old-fashioned way

WHEN I worked at sea - admittedly rather a long time ago now - the master's rounds (or captain's rounds, as some would say) were an integral part of ship-board life. Back then, we probably viewed these weekly walkabouts either as a quaint ritual or an irritation, when they were really...

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Who is to blame for use of illegal fuel?

IN NOVEMBER last year, the US master of the cruise ship Azura, owned by Carnival Corp subsidiary P&O Cruises, was fined 100,000 euros (S$154,500) by a court in Marseilles.

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Methanol a dark horse in 'alternative fuel' race?

IT IS almost inconceivable anybody in the shipping industry is still unaware that the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) global 0.50 per cent sulphur-in-fuel cap comes into force in less than a year....

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Liner shipping under attack - yet again

JUST over a decade ago, the European Union (EU) unilaterally banned the operation of rate-setting, capacity-controlling liner shipping "conferences" on the trades calling at EU ports. It has, however, continued to grant exemptions that allow shipping lines to enter into vessel-...

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Shipping confidence dips as New Year approaches

THOSE who had hoped 2018 would see a general resurgence in shipping markets will have been disappointed, although some trades did reasonably well. So it comes as no great surprise that international accountant and shipping adviser Moore Stephens's latest Confidence Survey shows that...

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Salvors under pressure as casualties dip

THE last quarter of the year is when salvage companies, or salvors, take stock. This year, those that belong to the International Salvage Union (ISU) held their annual general meeting (AGM) in Cape Town, South Africa in October and then, a couple of weeks ago, hosted a press lunch in London...

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Clearing the air on scrubber discharges

A couple of weeks ago, the Singapore Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) unexpectedly announced that the use of open loop scrubbers within territorial waters would be banned from Jan 1, 2020, provoking some criticism from parts of the maritime community. The implementation date, of course,...

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Shipping and the trade war torpedo

THE weekend's news that US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have agreed to halt new trade tariffs for 90 days to allow for talks will be widely welcomed, and especially in the global shipping industry....