News & Media

09 April, 2021

Australian Newsletter - Issue 673

INSIDE THE EVER GIVEN'S SUEZ CANAL RESCUE: HOW TIDES, TUGBOATS HELPED FREE THE BIG SHIP
Source: Yasmine Salam (NBCNews.com)
While the world marvelled at the skyscraper-size vessel, it was local workers and tugboat captains who toiled through sleepless nights to free the ship. Eslam Negm is no stranger to disarray on the Suez Canal. As a sailor on rescue tugboat Baraka 1, the Egyptian regularly confronts fires, evacuations and loading problems on the 50 or so cargo ships that transit the canal daily. But when Negm got a call from his manager last week to help refloat a stranded container vessel, he said pictures did not prepare him for the days of havoc ahead. The giant ship was traveling from China to the Netherlands, carrying upward of 20,000 shipping containers, when it turned sideways near the southern end of the canal early on March 23.  FULL STORY

LINERS SMASH DECADE-OLD RECORD FOR CONTAINER SHIP ORDERS
Source: Harry Dempsey (FT.com)
Shipping companies ordered a record volume of container ships last month in a sign of the industry’s confidence in booming global trade following the pandemic. The bumper month smashed the previous decade-old record and came close to matching orders for the whole of last year as liners used profits from soaring freight rates on the back of the ecommerce surge and container shortages to sign deals, according to data from shipping association Bimco and shipbroker Clarksons. It marks a turning point for the industry, which has veered away from ordering new capacity in recent years with order books at a three-decade low as a ratio to fleet size in 2020, and brings much needed relief for hard-hit shipbuilders in Asia.  FULL STORY

SHIPPING HIRES BOUNCE BACK IN 2021
Source: Sam Chambers (Splash247.com)
Shipping is back in hiring mode as the markets improve and the world economy attempts to build back better, post-Covid. The uptick is noticeable at Splash Jobs where the number of openings has increased by 40% this year. As of this week, there are 750 jobs across every strand of maritime and offshore posted on their site. Leading recruitment firms are also seeing plenty of HR moves this year. David Tubb, a director at UK-based Spinnaker, said: “Generally, it feels as though the number of available vacancies is increasing.” Crewing vacancies, particularly heads of crewing for several large owners, have been especially in demand.  FULL STORY

Q4 20 MOST PROFITABLE IN CONTAINER SHIPPING HISTORY, BUT 2021 WILL BE BETTER
Source: Mike Wackett (TheLoadStar.com)
Ocean carriers enjoyed their best quarter in container shipping history in the final three months of 2020, but are expected to have significantly topped that record in the first quarter of this year. According to New York-based Blue Alpha Capital, fourth-quarter net earnings for the 11 carriers that report their financials came in at $5.8bn, but assuming that the non-reporting operators, such as MSC, achieved similar results, based on the average for the 11 lines the consultancy estimated the cumulative net profit for the period was a staggering $9bn.  FULL STORY

IRON ORE BONANZA TO DELIVER UNTIL 2022 AS SUPPLY SQUEEZE LINGERS
Source: Nick Toscano (SMH.com.au)
Australia’s biggest miners are poised to benefit from better-than-expected iron ore prices for at least the rest of the year as global ratings agency S&P upgrades its forecasts. After surging Chinese steel output in 2020 propelled iron ore prices to a 10-year high and delivered bumper returns to shareholders of BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue, S&P Global on Friday upgraded its price assumption for the commodity from $US100 a tonne to $US130 a tonne for this year. For 2022, the firm has lifted its forecast from $US80 to $US100. FULL STORY

ANTARCTIC SUPPLY VESSEL DIVERTS TO CLOSEST PORT AFTER ENGINE ROOM FIRE
Source: Maritime-Executive.com
A vessel chartered by the Australian Antarctic Division to run crewing and supply missions to bases in the Antarctic is diverting to the closest port after a fire disabled one of the vessel’s engine rooms while it was sailing deep in the Southern Ocean. The crew and Antarctic personnel aboard are all reported to be safe and the vessel is making headway at reduced speed to “avoid some challenging Southern Ocean weather.” Australian Antarctic Division General Manager of Operations and Safety, Charlton Clark, said the captain of MPV Everest, a 476-foot-long multipurpose offshore construction vessel, has decided to head for the closest port. “MPV Everest is about 1,400 nautical miles south of Fremantle… about 5 to 7 days transit” Clark said.  FULL STORY

THE “GREAT CRUISE COMEBACK” – NORWEGIAN CLAIMS ITS SHIPS ARE “THE SAFEST PLACE ON EARTH”
Source: Peter Lynch (CruisePassenger.com.au)
Norwegian Cruise Line has come out swinging, announcing a series bullish comeback plans that reinforces international cruise ship operators are no longer prepared to wait for major governments to give the go-ahead to resume sailings. Norwegian plans to resume sailing in Greece, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic in July – with President & Chief Executive Officer Harry Sommer telling a press conference that the first Norwegian Spirit Australian season was set to go ahead at the end of the year with a ship that has seen over $100 million of refurbishment. He also said the line was hopeful Australians might be able to join the European sailings once travel resumes – possibly as early as September, 2021.  FULL STORY

WHARF ONE PROJECT PASSING THE HALF-WAY MARK
Source: Zlatan Hrvacevic (DredgingToday.com)
The Port of Mackay, Queensland, Australia, is making nice progress on the $17 million infrastructure package that will attract new trade at the port. The $17 million package, which was approved by the State Government through North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation, includes multiple projects. One of the projects is a $2.4 million extension to Wharf One, with construction now passing the half-way mark, according to NQBP. “Work is continuing come rain or shine by contractors Davbridge Constructions. The breakwater slope has been reprofiled, foundation columns and headstocks are in, and the installation of 27 deck units is underway,” said NQBP.  FULL STORY

VIVA IN ‘STRONG POSITION’ TO IMPORT LNG AS SHORTFALL LOOMS
Source: Nick Toscano (SMH.com.au)
Fuel supplier Viva Energy says importing liquefied natural gas at the site of its Geelong oil refinery could avert winter gas shortages forecast to hit Victoria within years after the Andrews government blocked AGL’s $250 million import terminal plan. In a blow to AGL’s hopes of developing the nation’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal at Crib Point, the state’s Planning Minister Richard Wynne last week determined the project would have “unacceptable effects on the environment in Western Port, which is listed as a Ramsar wetland of international significance”.  FULL STORY

PORT OF MELBOURNE WELCOMES LONGEST VESSEL TO DOCK IN MELBOURNE
Source: AJOT.com
The Port of Melbourne and Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT) recently welcomed the container vessel Soroe Maersk, the longest vessel to call at the port. Maersk deployed the Soroe Maersk to Sydney and Melbourne to load empty containers that need to be repositioned back to Asia where there is a shortage. The vessel has a total carrying capacity of 9,640 TEUs and a record length of 346.98 meters, 11.28 meters longer than the previous longest vessels to call at the port. Brendan Bourke, CEO Port of Melbourne, welcomed the record breaking arrival, noting that through its port development strategy and investment programs, the Port of Melbourne stands ready to accommodate the global trend of growing vessel sizes.  FULL STORY  

WORKER INJURED AT AUCKLAND PORT TWO DAYS AFTER DAMNING REPORT ON SAFETY CONCERNS
Source: Nita Blake-Persen (RNZ.co.nz)
An ambulance was called to treat an injured worker at the Ports of Auckland last week - just two days after a damning report revealed widespread safety concerns. The Ports have been linked to three deaths in recent years and last Tuesday an independent health and safety review found the need for significant improvements. Ports' chief executive Tony Gibson said things would change but on Thursday a stevedore fell six feet through a rusted hatch on a ship. Maritime Union Auckland spokesman Grant Williams said she landed on her tailbone and suffered a number of injuries.  FULL STORY 

PRESSURE MOUNTS ON PORTS OF AUCKLAND CHIEF EXECUTIVE TONY GIBSON TO RESIGN
Source: RNZ.co.nz
Campaigners, unionists and a councillor have ramped up calls for the resignation of the Ports of Auckland boss Tony Gibson, having hand delivered a letter this morning calling for him to quit. After three deaths linked to the port - two staff in work accidents, and a member of the public swimming in the harbour - the ports' owners Auckland Council commissioned an independent report into the ports' health and safety record and processes. The report found Ports of Auckland had "systemic problems" in relation to critical health and safety risk management.  FULL STORY

CREW REMAIN ON BOARD LIVE CATTLE CARRIER BERTHED AT TIMARU PORT
Source: Chris Tobin (Stoff.co.nz)
Crew on the live cattle carrier Al Kuwait will have remained on the ship after arriving at PrimePort Timaru from Brisbane, the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) has confirmed.The ship had been moored off Timaru since arriving on Sunday but berthed today at No1X wharf. MPI confirmed the ship was due to depart with 8861 cattle for China. “Ports, such as Timaru, have Covid-19 procedures to ensure the safety of those on port,” an MPI spokeswoman said. Al Kuwait was caught up in a Covid-19 scare in May last year when 20 of its 48 crew members tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Freemantle from the United Arab Emirates. It remained in Freemantle until cleaned and affected crew members recovered. The ship resumed operations later in the year.  FULL STORY

FIJIAN SHIPPING COMPANY ACCUSED OF INCORRECTLY REGISTERING FERRY
Source: Lim Fox (ABC.net.au)
The Fijian shipping company that is being investigated for allegedly mistreating its foreign workers is facing a new accusation that it incorrectly registered one of its ferries. The International Transport Workers Federation, ITF, said Goundar Shipping had registered the ferry Lomaiviti Princess 3 as being shorter and lighter than it actually is. "This ferry somehow, on its transit from Canada to Fiji, lost 14 metres," said ITF inspector Sarah Maguire. The ABC has seen a copy of the ferry's survey certificate, issued by the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji in January last year, that puts the vessel's length at 100 metres. But the Lloyd's register of ships puts its length at 114.6 metres.  FULL STORY 

CONTAINER VOLUME DROPS
Source: Laiseana Nasiga (FijiSun.com.fj)
Fiji Ports Terminal Limited (FPTL) has recorded an 11 per cent decrease in container cargo volume the last 10 months because of the challenges posed from COVID-19. Head of Corporate Services Salesh Kumar added that FPTL has also recorded a 19 per cent reduction in bulk cargo volume. “Fiji Ports Terminal Limited is continually investigating avenues to increase cargo volume handled in our ports since it is directly related to our revenue,” Mr Kumar said. “Our focus is to obtain more transshipment cargos to both the Ports of Suva and Lautoka and transform Fiji as a strategic transshipment hub for the shipping lines plying the region.  FULL STORY

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