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Tuesday, 24 February 2015

ITIC launches ship management e-learning seminar

International Transport Intermediaries Club (ITIC) has launched an e-learning seminar to help ship managers successfully negotiate the pitfalls they may encounter when asked to sign letters of undertaking.

Particularly in today’s difficult financial markets, ITIC is frequently asked to comment on letters of undertaking which ship managers are asked to sign. The e-learning seminar, conducted by ITIC legal adviser Mark Brattman, highlights some general points which ship managers should be aware of.

Letters of undertaking are traditionally documents provided by a bank or other lender or financial institution, and typically state that the ship manager will observe a number of undertakings relating mainly to claims priorities and the right to obtain security.

Mark Brattman says, “Ship managers must take care when asked to sign these documents. The original ship management agreement is with the owner, who remains the manager’s principal. The ship manager must not agree to any letter of undertaking unless the manager has the owner’s full permission to do so, because some of the terms can be contrary to the interests of the owner.

“If the letter of undertaking substantially alters the ship management agreement, the manager may need to consult with its professional indemnity insurer. It is important to remember that, in signing such an undertaking, the manager could be giving up its right to recover funds that it may be owed.”

The e-learning seminar guides ship managers through the purpose of a letter of undertaking, key issues to consider and how a letter of undertaking might affect cover with ITIC. A mock ship managers’ undertaking wording can be accessed and read in conjunction with the seminar.

For more details of the seminar, go to http://www.itic-insure.com/knowledge-zone/e-learning-seminars/ship-managers-undertakings/#seminar

ITIC is managed by Thomas Miller. More details about the club and the services it offers can be found on ITIC’s website at www.itic-insure.com

For more information:
Charlotte Kirk
Tel. +44 (0)20 7338 0150
Fax. +44 (0)20 7338 0151

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Monday, 23 February 2015

Oil price collapse should not impact on dual-fuel LNG carriers

Joe McGladdery, a partner with the London law offices of Wikborg Rein & Co, says that, while falling oil prices have exerted pressure on the LNG charter markets, the new generation of low-speed, dual-fuel LNG carriers now in service and on order remain an attractive option for owners and operators.

McGladdery notes, “As a result of the oil price collapse, energy companies are reducing capital budgets to protect against falling revenues. Given the investment levels needed to sustain an LNG production project, the final decision to proceed with a number of projects has been put on hold. This uncertainty over the progress of production projects has exerted further downward pressure on an already static charter market for LNG carriers, and the prospects are not looking favourable as the number of open ships grows and anticipated new cargoes fail to materialise.

“The economics of slow-speed diesel engines works when there is a marked differential between the relative prices of oil and LNG, but the recent collapse in the price of oil has been accompanied by a fall in the price of LNG as well. This has led to some doubt about the viability of dual-fuel gas-injection technology in the current market.

“The fact remains that converting an LNG carrier's engines so that it is capable of burning LNG as a low-sulphur fuel allows owners and operators to comply with the new requirements for ships operating in Emission Control Areas (ECAs). It also provides them with the flexibility to burn two types of fuel which other technologies, such as exhaust gas cleaning systems, or scrubbers, do not. So the application of dual-fuel, gas-injection technology to newbuildings and the conversion of slow-speed diesel engines on existing ships still make sense, despite the recent fall in the price of oil.”

Wikborg Rein is a pre-eminent law firm in the shipping and offshore sector, and a major player on the international scene. Services to the maritime industry include ship, project and lease finance, corporate, contract negotiation, offshore and construction projects, sale and purchase, ship registration, insurance, casualty response, carriage of goods, ship arrest and international dispute resolution. More information on the firm and its partners can be found at www.wr.no

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Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Bureau Veritas wins innovative Canadian gas fuel contracts

Leading international classification society Bureau Veritas is to class two innovative projects for gas-fuelled vessels to be built for Canadian owners in Turkish shipyards.

British Columbia-based Seaspan Ferries has chosen BV class for two hybrid LNG/diesel/battery-powered ro-ro cargo ferries which will be built at the Sedef yard in Turkey.

Quebec-based Transport Desgagnes, meanwhile, has chosen BV class for two 14,000 dwt gas-fuelled asphalt/product tankers to be built at Besiktas.

Philippe Donche-Gay, Executive Vice-President and Managing Director of the Marine & Offshore Division, Bureau Veritas, says, “BV really knows LNG. We have extensive experience of handling LNG and using LNG as a fuel with our gas carrier fleet. Our ability to deploy that expertise for the benefit of shipyards and owners who are both breaking new ground was crucial to these owners entrusting BV with the classification of these vessels.”

The 148.9 m Seaspan ferries are due for delivery in 2016 and will operate on Canada’s west coast, carrying up to 59 trailers at speeds of up to 16 knots propelled by azimuthing drives. Twin dual-fuel W9L 34DF generators will be able to burn LNG from one single 200 cbm Type C tank below the main deck and there will be a hybrid battery pack power supply for generating zero emissions energy at quay or during manoeuvring and for any low-load operation.

The Transport Desgagnes tankers will have two 300 cbm Type C LNG tanks on the deck  powering the dual-fuel ME 5RT Flex 50 DF main engine and two 6L20DF engines and one 8L20DF auxiliary engine and two 3000 kW boilers.

Donche-Gay says, “Now that IMO has updated and adopted the IGF Code, the regulatory worries which were holding back owners have been removed and there are a host of new gas fuel projects about to start as owners take advantage of this clean and economical fuel. BV’s expertise in risk assessment complements its experience with gas carriers, which is why we are the class of choice for innovative gas fuel projects. We are currently engaged in gas fuel conversion or newbuilding projects involving chemical tankers, small-scale LNG tankers, LNG bunker tankers, cargo and passenger ferries, product tankers and tugs, and we expect to announce more in the near future.”

For a graphic of the Seaspan ferries click on http://bit.ly/1jw4QLQ or e mail john@merlinco.com

Bureau Veritas is a world leader in laboratory testing, inspection and certification services. Created in 1828, the Group has more than 66,000 employees in around 1,400 offices and laboratories located all across the globe. Bureau Veritas helps its clients to improve their performance by offering services and innovative solutions in order to ensure that their assets, products, infrastructure and processes meet standards and regulations in terms of quality, health and safety, environmental protection and social responsibility. Bureau Veritas is listed on Euronext Paris and belongs to the Next 20 index.
Compartment A, ISIN code FR 0006174348, stock symbol: BVI.

www.bureauveritas.com for corporate information                              www.veristar.com  for marine information

For more information:

Martial Claudepierre
Bureau Veritas
+33 (0) 1 55 24 73 43

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Monday, 16 February 2015

Moore Stephens says shipping services providers should explore private equity funding

International accountant and shipping adviser Moore Stephens says the time is right for shipping to seek financial backing from the private equity sector to help fund investment in innovative products and services designed to keep the industry competitive and achieve regulatory compliance.

Alison Jarabo of maritime efficiency specialist Fathom Shipping told the recent Moore Stephens Opportunities in Shipping Services seminar in London that regulation and the need to control costs were the two main factors driving the growth of technology in the shipping industry. She emphasised, however, that, “Technology and innovation may abound but, without end-users able to access the finance to deploy, the market will fail.”

Jarabo identified scrubber technology, ballast water treatment systems and ship performance management systems as some of the main technology opportunities in the industry today. She cited unreliability of technology, lack of in-service history, and lack of acceptable clear parameters as some of the potential barriers to uptake, but also noted that the shipping industry excels at anticipating changes in regulations, at the timely implementation of R&D initiatives, and at the adoption of consistent and coherent regulation on a global basis.

Moore Stephens shipping partner Richard Greiner says: “Although we have seen a partial return to the shipping sector by banks during the past twelve months or so, there is still a shortfall in available finance. This comes at a critical time for the industry, with significant investment required in technology and services to achieve compliance with environmental regulation and to maximise commercial performance.

“Shipping services providers who have developed the technology to meet these requirements need the financial resources to bring them to market. Similarly, end-users who have identified the technology solutions which are right for them need the funding to access and implement them.

“The shipping services market is currently attracting a lot of interest from private equity, not least because it is a highly fragmented sector with a wide range of business sizes. It is providing services to a tightly regulated industry in which a large number of developments are taking place. Private equity investors who have a firm grasp on the potential risks and rewards available in today’s shipping services sector could be a good match for well-founded shipping services and technology providers who have a clearly identified market for their products. Indeed, it could be argued that recent developments have created something of a perfect storm to bring the two together.”

Moore Stephens LLP is noted for a number of industry specialisations and is widely acknowledged as a leading shipping, offshore maritime and insurance adviser. It is a member firm of Moore Stephens International Limited, one of the world's leading accounting and consulting associations, with 626 offices of independent member firms in 103 countries, employing 26,290 people and generating revenues in 2014 of $2.7 billion.


For more information:
Richard Greiner
Moore Stephens LLP
Tel: +44 (0)20 7334 9191

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Friday, 13 February 2015

Moore Stephens says offshore maritime sector must watch costs and risk exposure

International accountant and shipping adviser Moore Stephens says companies in the offshore maritime sector need to keep a close watch on costs and manage their exposure to risk in the wake of the dramatic fall in oil prices.

Cassie Forman, a director with the Moore Stephens Shipping & Offshore Maritime group, says: “It is remarkable how quickly the dramatic fall in oil prices has fed through to increasing levels of financial stress in the oil and gas services industry, where the sudden drop to around $50 a barrel is triggering cost-cutting across much of the sector. Oil and gas majors are already cutting costs, and several have recently announced cuts to investment in a number of major projects. Smaller players are also reconsidering their capital deployment.

“There was a significant increase in the number of insolvencies of UK oil and gas services companies last year. Although this increase is from a relatively low base, it is significant because insolvencies in the sector have been rare over the last five years.”

Referring to the recent bankruptcy of market-leading bunker supplier OW Bunker, Forman says: “This really set alarm bells ringing in the offshore maritime and shipping industries. Although the underlying reasons for the failure are still being analysed, the fall in oil prices is certain to have played a significant part.
Meanwhile, references to major risk management and fraud losses, and to unrecoverable credit, have been common throughout all reports to date involving the company’s collapse.

“Any industry which suffers what is effectively a 50 percent reduction in income over a three-month period is going to suffer. But any sector where the revenue is predicated on the price of oil, such as the offshore maritime industry, is particularly susceptible because of its exposure to counter-party risk and potential credit line difficulties.

“With oil prices now at their lowest level for five years or more, the offshore maritime sector needs to look at costs in light of its current reduced revenue stream. This is not a time for speculative or non-essential spending. Rather, it is a time for strategic financial planning with experienced advisers who understand the risks peculiar to the industry.

“The offshore maritime sector also needs to make sure that it has proper contingency planning in place, and effective risk management procedures embedded into the everyday activities of the company. Sound corporate governance and a proper management structure and technical support systems are central to the ability to identify, control and ultimately mitigate risk.”

Moore Stephens LLP is noted for a number of industry specialisations and is widely acknowledged as a leading shipping, offshore maritime and insurance adviser. Moore Stephens’ unique ship operating costs benchmarking tool, OpCost, now includes vessel data and future operating costs forecasting data on offshore support vessels, which could be invaluable for budget planning and transfer pricing studies. www.moorestephens.co.uk

Moore Stephens LLP is a member firm of Moore Stephens International Limited, one of the world's leading accounting and consulting associations, with 626 offices of independent member firms in 103 countries, employing 26,290 people and generating revenues in 2014 of $2.7 billion.

For more information:
Cassie Forman
Moore Stephens LLP
Tel: +44 (0)20 7334 9191

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Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Seacurus launches new South-East Asian petro-piracy cover

Specialist marine insurance intermediary Seacurus has developed a petro-piracy endorsement which can be added to existing Kidnap & Ransom (KR) insurance cover in response to the evolving threats to ships, their cargoes and crews when transiting the South China Sea, Malacca Straits, Indonesian Archipelago and Gulf of Guinea.

According to recent figures published by the International Maritime Bureau, South-East Asia accounted for three-quarters of global maritime piracy last year after a surge in tanker hijackings helped to fuel a 22 per cent jump in armed robbery and pirate attacks on ships in the region. There were 183 actual and attempted incidents of piracy and robbery involving ships in South-East Asian waters last year, compared to 150 in 2013. In the Gulf of Guinea, meanwhile, cargo theft is likely to remain on the agenda of Nigeria-based criminal gangs throughout 2015.

Denis Nifontov, Head of Marine K&R at Seacurus, says, “The criminal reach demonstrated by last year’s hijack of the tanker Kerala, coupled with the number of successful and attempted attacks in 2014 and the lack of any evidence that such gangs have been neutralised, suggests that further attempts at cargo theft will take place in 2015 across the region. Seacurus has recognised the need for traditional marine K&R cover to evolve to provide all interested parties with assurance that every eventuality is covered.

“The modus operandi of South-East Asian and Gulf of Guinea criminal gangs differs from the Somalian piracy model. Ships’ crews are regularly exposed to life-threatening situations as criminals take control of and ransack vessels, stealing valuable petro-chemical cargoes for commercial gain.”

The new cover from Seacurus recognises the need to protect crews against the potential for a kidnapping situation, and ship and cargo owners against the risk of business interruption and property theft. In addition to the benefits of a $1m marine K&R policy, the cover includes as standard such additional benefits as loss of hire ($500,000), loss or theft of cargo ($500,000), loss of bunkers ($250,000), and loss or theft of money ($50,000) - all within an aggregate policy limit of $5m.

Denis Nifontov says, “Given that, by its very nature, criminal activity is unpredictable, Seacurus believes that, for a small additional voyage cost, cover can be arranged to give all parties to the maritime adventure peace of mind that their interests are insured. Shipowners, charterers and cargo interests (who can be added to the policy as co-insureds to cover their own interests in the voyage), can buy $5m of cover for a seven-day voyage for a typical premium cost of $1,250, subject to an assessment of the usual underwriting information. In this way, all parties can protect their standard marine insurances and insurance records from the potential for costly claims, whilst negating the need for costly and time-consuming recovery actions and General Average settlements.”

Seacurus Ltd is an FCA-regulated insurance broker, founded in 2004, specialising in bespoke revenue protection cover for the maritime industry. It is a market leader in the design and implementation of solutions to protect companies from unforecasted balance-sheet impacts, including credit default, charter party cancellations, hijackings and voyage disruptions caused by political events. Seacurus established the first delegated underwriting binding authority for marine kidnap insurance and is an approved Lloyd’s Coverholder. www.seacurus.com

Formed in 2007, Barbican Group Holdings is an insurance group writing business predominantly through its syndicates at Lloyd’s. It also has a non-Lloyd’s financial solutions business based in Guernsey which offers insurance and reinsurance programmes to the global market. Barbican Syndicates 1955 and 6113 at Lloyd’s has a stamp capacity of £227.5m for the 2013 year of account and underwrites cyber liability, financial and professional lines, healthcare liability, international casualty reinsurance, marine insurance, marine reinsurance, North American casualty reinsurance, property, property reinsurance and corporate, middle market and scheme/affinity group clients in the UK and Ireland. www.barbicaninsurance.com

For more information:
Denis Nifontov
Seacurus Limited
Tel: +44 20 7082 1955
email: dnifontov@seacurus.com

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Vestdavit launches MissionEase multi-boat handling system

NORWAY-based boat handling system and specialised davit supplier Vestdavit has designed a multiple-boat handling system which will make boat handling safer and simpler in the hangars and mission bays of warships, seismic craft and expedition yachts. The MissionEase system can stow, launch and retrieve up to seven different RIBS, daughter boats and USVs in high seas from within a protected hangar.

Atle Kalve, Development Director, Vestdavit, says, “MissionEase is simpler, quicker, safer and cheaper than any boat handling system available. It brings together all our experience with naval and seismic ships to make the best use of a hangar or mission bay.”

MissionEase works on a system of hydraulic cradles which moves boats safely from stowage positions to maintenance, preparation or launch areas of the mission bay. It links seamlessly with dual or single-point davits to deploy or recover boats in high seas from either side of the vessel.

Kalve explains, “The ability to deploy and recover boats safely is part of the main armament of today’s warships, and critical to seismic work and for expedition cruise ships and yachts. A midships hangar or mission bay allows the boats to be stored, maintained, prepared and launched from a safe environment with a dry, high freeboard. But existing systems rely on overhead gantries to move the boats within the bay. When the ship is moving that is dangerous, and slinging and unslinging takes time. MissionEase allows the boats to be moved safely and quickly within the bay on the cradles, even in high seas or with a list on the vessel. The boats are fed directly to the davits for launch, or feed directly back into the stow when recovered.”

In addition to a wide range of types and sizes of boats and Unmanned Surface Vehicles MissionEase will also handle standard TEU containers for stores and armament when the vessel is in port.

Vestdavit is patenting the multi-cradle apparatus at the heart of the MissionEase system and is in discussions with major navies about fitting it to the next generation of warships.

To access a video showing the MissionEase system in operation please contact post@vestdavit.no
For downloadable photos of Vestdavit MissionEase systems go to   http://bit.ly/nfnCu5   or email john@merlinco.com

Vestdavit designs, supplies and supports tailor-made solutions for launching and recovering boats in difficult conditions at sea. Its range of boat handling systems and davits are the first choice of navies, coastguards, seismic survey operators, pilot authorities and offshore operators who need to be able to operate small boats safely from larger vessels. Since 1975 Bergen-based Vestdavit has supplied over 1,900 davits and side and stern launch systems. They have proven themselves over more than 30 years use in the North Sea and other harsh environments around the world. Self-tensioning and shock absorbing systems ensure crew safety and widen the operational window for the users. Vestdavit’s key focus is on operational effectiveness, safety and the reliability of its equipment. www.vestdavit.no

For more information:                               
Atle Kalve                                                    
Development Director
+ 47 90 89 39 39                                           

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