News & Media

15 January, 2021

Australian Newsletter - Issue 661

CHINA’S AUSSIE COAL BAN BACKFIRE SHOWS IT DOESN’T KNOW WHAT IT’S DOING
Source: Tarric Brooker (News.com.au)
Towards the end of last year, as the year of challenges that was 2020 began to end, multiple provinces across China were hit with unexpected blackouts, amid an unseasonably cold winter. Rather than being caused by power infrastructure failure or a storm, this blackout was arguably mostly avoidable. Which begs the question, how did China, a nation that prides itself on fastidious planning and a forward-looking viewpoint end up with millions of its citizens sitting around in the dark during the cold of winter, in some cases with no heat? Among other things, a ban on imports of Australian thermal coal. On paper, eliminating imports of Australian thermal coal should have been a perfectly achievable task for Beijing and accomplished with relatively little difficulty.  FULL STORY

LABOR FEARS HUMANITARIAN CRISIS ON AUSTRALIAN COAL SHIPS STRANDED OFF CHINA
Source: Daniel Hurst and Ben Butler (TheGuardian.com)
The opposition calls on the Morrison government to work to repair the relationship with Beijing as exporters face a ‘grim’ year. Australian exporters face another “grim” year driven by tensions with China while a standoff over more than 70 ships stranded with Australian coal on board threatens to cause an international humanitarian crisis, the opposition has said. While warning of the mounting economic costs to Australia, the shadow trade minister, Madeleine King, called on the Morrison government to take a step towards repairing the relationship by pledging to “eradicate deeply offensive anti-China rhetoric” from some backbench MPs.  FULL STORY

BUYER'S MISTAKES LIKELY TO BLAME FOR LNG PRICE SURGE, NOT ONLY WINTER WEATHER
Source: Clyde Russell
The surge to record highs for the price of spot LNG is being largely attributed to cold weather over much of northern Asia, but miscalculations are probably a larger factor. The weekly spot price assessment settled at $21.45 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) on Jan. 8, eclipsing the prior record of $20.50 from February 2014. Prices have rallied an astonishing 1,060% since they hit an all-time low of $1.85 in May. There are also media reports of at least one transaction in the past week with a price of around $33 to $35 per mmBtu, which shows just how desperate some buyers are to secure supplies of the super-chilled fuel.  FULL STORY 

HULL DAMAGED LIVE EXPORT SHIP HIT WITH UNPRECEDENTED TWO-YEAR-BAN BY AMSA
Source: James Nason (BeefCentral.com)
THE Australian  Maritime and Safety Authority (AMSA) has taken the extraordinary step of banning an Australian livestock vessel from entering any Australian port for two years, after it suffered hull damage in the Indian Ocean during a ballast voyage on return from Indonesia two months ago. After sustaining damage to its hull, the reason for which is still not known, the MV Barkly Pearl was moved to the Port of Geraldton, where it remained while the vessel’s owners worked with authorities to develop an appropriate repair solution.  FULL STORY

WISELY SERVICES WINS BOWEN WHARF REPAIR PROJECT
Source: Eldin Ganic (DredgingToday.com)
North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP) has announced Wisely Services Pty Ltd as the principal contractor for its Bowen Wharf Repair Project. Conducted as part of NQBP’s maintenance and repairs program, the project includes the repair or replacement of some of the Wharf’s timber members. NQBP Chief Executive Officer, Nicolas Fertin, said that the repairs will ensure the Wharf remains available to the public and continues to provide temporary towage infrastructure for Abbot Point’s towage operations. “NQBP’s condition assessment of the Wharf, completed last year, found elements of the timber superstructure to be in varying condition and in need of repairs,” Mr Fertin said.  FULL STORY

GLADSTONE PORTS PARTNERS WITH CSIRO FOR ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING
Source: Imogen Hartmann (InfrastructureMagazine.com.au)
Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) has partnered with Australia’s top science body, CSIRO, on a new water quality and wind monitoring station installed at the Port of Bundaberg. The station is expected to assist in better understanding the environment and improving safety systems. The equipment is located on top of a pylon in the mouth of the river and is expected to collect a  more in-depth reading of the water and deliver comprehensive data. The data collected will offer GPC and CSIRO scientists a better understanding of the environment surrounding the Port of Bundaberg.  FULL STORY

PORT OF BRISBANE IMPLEMENTS PORT DUES AT ITS NEW CRUISE TERMINAL
Source: EN.Portnews.RU
The Port of Brisbane will be using the digital port management module Port Dues to automatically calculate port dues, Port of Rotterdam said in its release. Every year, the Port of Brisbane in Queensland, Australia not only receives all manner of freight vessels, but also some 200 cruise liners. The port authority recently rounded off work on a new facility for these calls: the Brisbane International Cruise Terminal. The terminal is able to receive a range of cruise ships, including the very largest class worldwide. Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd’s Head of Technology Teresa Murphy said: “The Port of Brisbane was looking for an innovative digital solution to streamline our cruise ship booking and invoicing process and has selected Port of Rotterdam’s solution to deliver.”  FULL STORY

SHIPPING INDUSTRY BAULKS AT EXTRA FEES AT PORT HEDLAND FOR IRON ORE — AUSTRALIA'S MOST IMPORTANT EXPORT
Source: Karen Michelmore (ABC.net.au)
Ship operators who carry Australia's lucrative iron ore exports from Western Australia's Pilbara region have baulked at new charges aimed at solving nearby dust pollution problems. From March 1, the Pilbara Ports Authority will impose a $13,450 levy on every major ship load of iron ore from the world's largest bulk export port at Port Hedland, 1,650km north of Perth. The WA Government will use the money to compensate residents in up to 400 nearby dust-affected homes under a $200 million voluntary property buyback scheme negotiated with industry.  FULL STORY and MORE

GORGON LNG PERMITS SLASHED BY A DECADE
Source: Peter Ker (AFR.com)
Australia's second biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility has had the tenure of its environmental approvals halved by the Western Australian government after a sustained campaign of pressure by conservation groups. Oil and gas giant Chevron's permit to operate the Gorgon LNG hub will now expire in July 2028 rather than July 2038 after WA environment minister Stephen Dawson decided that 10 years was a more "reasonable" duration given Gorgon's unique carbon capture system. Gorgon is expected to export LNG for 40 years and the change consigns Chevron to more frequent cycles of review and permitting, but the US giant is not expected to fight the change.  FULL STORY

SHELL SAYS LNG CARGOES RESUME FROM AUSTRALIAN PRELUDE FACILITY
Source: EnergyWorld.com
Prelude had suspended full production since early last February following an electrical trip, with Shell facing a number of issues last year in trying to restart production. Royal Dutch Shell said on Monday that liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes have resumed from its Prelude floating LNG project off Australia, after being offline for nearly a year. Prelude had suspended full production since early last February following an electrical trip, with Shell facing a number of issues last year in trying to restart production. "LNG cargoes have resumed from Shell's Prelude FLNG facility," a company spokeswoman told Reuters, adding that the facility's focus remains on delivering sustained performance over the long-term.  FULL STORY

AUSTRALIA'S PORT HEDLAND IRON ORE SHIPMENTS TO CHINA JUMP 16% IN DECEMBER
Source: Reuters.com
Iron ore shipments to China from Australia’s Port Hedland rose by 16% in December from a month earlier, despite a short weather related shutdown, the Pilbara Ports Authority said on Friday. Iron ore exports to China rose to 40.0 million tonnes from 34.44 million tonnes in November, data from the authority showed. Total iron ore exports from Port Hedland rose to 46.5 million tonnes from 41.61 million tonnes in November. Strong shipments from the world’s largest iron ore export hub came even as the port of Port Hedland was closed for 26 hours from 10 December to due to significant swells generated by a tropical low, the authority said.  FULL STORY

PORT HEDLAND WELCOMES FIRST LNG-FUELLED VESSEL
Source: Lydia Woellwarth (LNGIndustry.com)
The bulk carrier HL Green received a special greeting when it arrived on its maiden voyage to Port Hedland on Wednesday 6 January. HL Green was the first LNG-fuelled vessel to berth at the Port of Port Hedland, as the maritime industry moves to reduce emissions from shipping operations. HL Green is one of two 180 000 t bulk carriers that was built in Korea and launched on 11 December 2020. The vessel is expected to make about 10 round trips a year between Korea and Australia. The HL Green is distinguished from other bulk carriers in the port by the two LNG fuel tanks at the stern. The tanks each have a storage capacity of 1600 m3. Transitioning iron ore exports from heavy fuel oil vessels to LNG-fuelled vessels will reduce carbon, sulfur, nitrogen, and other greenhouse gas emissions.  FULL STORY

TRAWLER WORKERS EVACUATED AFTER FIRE AT PORT NELSON
Source: Samantha Gee (Stuff.co.nz)
A fire on a deep sea trawler undergoing maintenance at Port Nelson forced the evacuation of the vessel. A Fire and Emergency NZ spokeswoman said fire crews were alerted to a ship fire at Talley’s Wharf on Akersten St, Port Nelson at 3.20pm. The fire started inside the deep sea trawler Amaltal Atlantis. Talley's chief executive Tony Hazlett said the Atlantis was undergoing regular maintenance when the fire started in the hold. Two fire watch staff on the vessel initiated its fire protocol, and the 30 to 35 people on board were safely evacuated. He said nobody required medical attention. St John communications advisor Beverley Tse said an ambulance crew had assessed five patients at the scene, all who were in a minor condition.  FULL STORY

TIMARU TO GET A CRUISE SHIP VISIT IN FEBRUARY
Source: Chris Toban (Stuff.co.nz)
One cruise ship will call at Timaru this summer –with New Zealand passengers only. New Zealand Cruise Association chief executive Kevin O’Sullivan confirmed that the Le Laperouse, owned by French company Ponant Cruises, will call at Timaru on February 28. There would be 100 New Zealand passengers only on board because of Covid-19 restrictions, which was fewer than the ship’s capacity for up to 264 passengers. Permission for the cruises was granted by the Government in late 2020. “Timaru is one of the fortunate ones,” O’Sullivan said.  FULL STORY

MASSIVE DAMAGE TO INSIDE OF SHIP THAT CAUGHT FIRE IN NAPIER PORT REVEALED
Source: Shannon Johnstone (NZHerald.co.nz)
Napier Port says it is unable to say how long a ship which caught fire in December will remain in port. Photos taken on Monday show the damage to the inside hold of the Kota Bahagia, which caught fire at Napier Port on December 18 and remains berthed on 4 Wharf. The blackened area where the fire burned appears to show steel twisted by the high temperatures of the blaze. A Napier Port spokesman said local cargo has already been discharged from the vessel, with the ship owner and cargo owners currently planning the removal of remaining cargo.  FULL STORY

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