News & Media

07 August, 2020

Australian Newsletter - Issue 638

BEIRUT PORT TRAGEDY: PORTS AND DANGEROUS CHEMICALS
Source: Philip Teoh (The Maritime Executive)
The tragedy at Beirut on August 4 highlights what happens when dangerous chemicals are not stored with care. The explosion tore through the city, registering a force as strong as a 3.3 magnitude earthquake. Residents claimed that the scenes looked “like an apocalypse” and that the port was “totally destroyed.” This was not the first time such an incident occurred in a port. On August 12, 2015, a series of explosions killed 173 people and injured hundreds of others at a container storage station at the Port of Tianjin. The first two explosions occurred within 30 seconds of each other at the facility, which was located in the Binhai New Area of Tianjin, China. Fires caused by the initial explosions continued to burn uncontrolled throughout the weekend, resulting in eight additional explosions on August 15. Of the 173 fatalities, 104 were firefighters.  FULL STORY

MAJOR SHIP EMISSIONS STUDY FLAGS A BIGGER ROLE FOR GOVERNMENTS
Source: Megan Darby (ClimateChangeNews.com)
Greenhouse gas emissions from shipping increased by 9.6% from 2012 to 2018, as rising demand outweighed efficiency improvements. That was revealed on Tuesday in a study commissioned by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the first comprehensive analysis of ship emissions worldwide since 2014. While the coronavirus pandemic is temporarily slowing the flow of cargo and savaging the cruise industry, emissions are expected to rebound in the longer term. By 2050, ship emissions are forecast to reach 90-130% of 2008 levels, in the absence of further action.  FULL STORY

EIGHT IMO MEMBER STATES COME TOGETHER ON AUTONOMOUS SHIPS/PORTS INTERFACE
Source: International Maritime Organisation
Trials of Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) will be key towards developing an appropriate regulatory regime that addresses the specific challenges of autonomous ships. Eight IMO Member States* have come together to form the MASSPorts, an initiative promoted by Singapore to address the challenges and achieve alignment of standards for the trials and operation of MASS in ports. The IMO Secretariat joined the initiative's virtual discussions at its first meeting (4 August 2020), where objectives including detailed guidelines, common terminology, ship reporting and data exchange, and facilitating port-to-port trials were set out.  FULL STORY

CHINA BUYS MORE FROM AUSTRALIA DESPITE RISING TENSION
Source: InkstoneNews.com
China is heavily reliant on Australia for iron ore, a key material for construction projects. This is partly why China imported more goods from Australia despite slapping punitive tariffs on Australian beef and barley over rising geopolitical tension. The rise in Chinese import of Australian materials crucial for China’s infrastructure projects made up for drops in other products Australia exports to China. In May, Beijing slapped tariffs on Australian barley and suspended imports of Australian beef from four producers.  FULL STORY

AUSTRALIA BRACES FOR LOWER THERMAL COAL OUTPUT
Source: ArgusMedia.com
Australia's thermal coal exports during January-June were slightly ahead of the same period in 2019, although the outlook for the second half is for lower sales as mining firms react to loss-making weaker prices.
Australia exported 17.67mn t of thermal coal in June, up from a revised 15.95mn t in May but down from 18.07mn t in June 2019, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Exports fell in July because of weaker demand and bad weather, with early shipping data indicating a 23pc fall in shipments at the key Newcastle thermal coal port in New South Wales compared with June.  FULL STORY

WATERFRONT STRIKE THREAT: HOW THE INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ENVIRONMENT HAS BEEN – LEGALLY – MANIPULATED TO AUSTRALIA’S DETRIMENT
Source: Shipping Australia
Widespread strike action on the waterfront is now possible. Transport unions have arranged matters so that all of the major container stevedores are now operating with expired enterprise agreements. The last major container stevedore had its enterprise agreement expire in June. Nation-wide and sector-wide protected industrial action by unions is now therefore possible under the Fair Work Act. Some of those enterprise bargaining arrangements have in fact been expired for years because the unions have refused to make a new agreement.  FULL STORY

INPEX BOOKS $1.3B WRITEDOWN ON AUSTRALIAN LNG ASSETS, OMITTING ICHTHYS
Source: Yuka Obayashi (Offshore Engineer)
Japan's biggest oil and gas company, Inpex Corp, booked charges of 140 billion yen ($1.33 billion) on its liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in Australia, it said on Thursday, due to a slump in prices caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The losses bring to more than $13 billion the charges on Australian LNG projects taken by energy companies due to the collapse in prices from the pandemic. Australia is one of the world's largest exporters of LNG. Oil and gas majors such as Shell and BP have written down tens of billions of dollars on oil and gas assets elsewhere in the world as pandemic lockdowns have cut travel and industrial activity, crushing demand for fuels.  FULL STORY

$4.5 MILLION TOWNSVILLE PORT TRUCK STAGING CONTRACT AWARDED
Source: Imogen Hartmann (Infrastructure Magazine)
The $4.5 million Townsville Port truck staging upgrade contract has been awarded, with the project set to accommodate 20 triple road trains upon completion. Local Townsville firm RMS Engineering and Construction was awarded the contract. The project is due to commence shortly and is expected to be completed in early 2021. The local company is experienced with major civil projects in the port area. RMS most recently completed civil construction work includes the Berth 4 Cargo Terminal, which involved excavation and removal of a range of materials from site, erosion and sediment control, drainage works, earthworks and pavements. RMS Managing Director, Richard McDonald, said that the truck staging project would support the company’s growth in Northern Australia.  FULL STORY

NSW CHEMICAL PILE DIFFERENT TO BEIRUT: PM
Source: Matt Coughlan (Port Lincoln Times)
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has hosed down concerns Australia is at risk of a similar explosion to the catastrophe that killed at least 137 people in Lebanon. The massive ammonium nitrate blast in Beirut has trigged fears about Newcastle's stockpile of the substance, three kilometres from the NSW city's CBD. While 2750 tonnes detonated in the Lebanese capital, between 6000 and 12,000 tonnes are believed to be in Newcastle. But the prime minister is adamant strict regulation in Australia is the key difference between the two countries.  FULL STORY

COVID QUARANTINE FOR NEWCASTLE ALUMINA SHIP CREW. VESSEL UNABLE TO LEAVE KOORAGANG WHARF - UPDATE
Source: Ian Kirkwood (Maitland Mercury)
Crew of ship detained in Newcastle taken to Sydney for COVID isolation
The Tomago Aluminium alumina ship tied up at Newcastle because of underpayment of crew would not be going anywhere soon, International Transport Federation (ITF) co-ordinator Dean Summers said on Saturday night. Mr Summers said the vessel, the Unison Jasper, had been detained at Koorgang Island on Friday by a federal government agency, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, because of pay breaches under an International Labour Organisation convention recognised by Australia.  FULL STORY

VICTORIAN RESTRICTIONS: BEGINNING OF THE END OF AN EFFICIENT SUPPLY CHAIN
Source: Shipping Australia
Victoria is extensively locking-down its population and its economic activity, particularly in Melbourne, to combat a sustained surge in COVID-19 transmission. Commenting on the changes, Shipping Australia CEO Rod Nairn said: “Changes to Stage Four restrictions impacting on the warehousing sector late in the evening of Friday 7 August 2020 may have significant negative impacts on the international logistics sector. “Warehouses will be required to reduce their staff levels by a third which will impact on their ability to unpack containers and distribute to supermarkets and other retail outlets.  FULL STORY

BP CHARTERS SOLSTAD VESSELS FOR WESTERN AUSTRALIA EXPLORATION EFFORT
Source: The Maritime Executive
Solstad Offshore ASA and BP Developments Australia have entered into a contract to support BP’s upcoming LNG exploration efforts off Western Australia. BP is contracting for three of Solstad’s vessels, the AHTS’s Normand Saracen and Far Senator, along with the PSV Normand Leader, to support BP’s Ironbark Campaign in the Carnarvon Basin offshore Western Australia. “The vessels will be working with the semi-submersible drilling rig Ocean Apex throughout the one well campaign,” said Solstad.  FULL STORY

FISHERMEN, HONEYMOONERS BACK IN NZ AFTER VOYAGE FROM FALKLAND ISLANDS
Source: Samesh Mohanlall (Stuff.co.nz)
Fifty-nine days after it departed Timaru on a mission to retrieve stranded fishermen from the Falkland Islands, the San Aotea II returned to the port on Tuesday morning - its passengers and crew ecstatic to finally be home.
The longliner departed Timaru on June 6, to collect 15 fishermen who had been fishing in the South Atlantic for toothfish when Covid-19 forced the closure of international borders, leaving them stranded in the Falklands. Crew members would usually fly back to New Zealand from the Falklands via South America but, by the time they were ready to head home, there was just one flight a week leaving the Islands for the United Kingdom.  FULL STORY

GAS LEAK THAT HELD UP FERRIES AND CRUISE SHIP DISCOVERED HOURS EARLIER
Source: Alice Angeloni (Stuff.co.nz)
A gas leak which held up two ferries and a cruise ship was noticed hours earlier during a Cook Strait crossing. Interislander workers could “faintly smell” LPG during a cargo check of the Wellington to Picton dangerous goods sailing, but the source of the “minor leak” could not be picked up by automatic detection sensors or staff using hand-held detectors. A KiwiRail spokesman said this was because the leak was “very small” and behind an enclosed cabinet.  FULL STORY

WORLD'S LARGEST LIVESTOCK CARRIER DOCKS IN TIMARU
Source: Alice Geary (Stuff.co.nz)
The world’s largest livestock carrier, the Ocean Drover, entered Timaru’s port on Saturday night for its first visit in two years. A Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) spokesperson said the Ocean Drover was in Timaru to collect up to 14,000 cattle bound for China. Saturday's arrival marked the third time the boat has docked in Timaru. The vessel was due to depart, carrying a mix of dairy and beef cattle, in a few days’ time once loading was complete, they said. “The Animal Welfare Export Certificate sets stock numbers for this export at no more than 14,000 cattle, predominantly dairy – friesian and jersey – with some beef – hereford and angus,” they said.  FULL STORY

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained herein, Inchcape Shipping Services accepts no liability nor makes any representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to its completeness, accuracy, reliability or suitability