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.:Maritime News :.
.: 28-Jan-2020 :.
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EUR 250 Mn Fund for Dutch Shipping Launched
Dutch shipowners will now be able to benefit from a newly-inaugurated EUR 250 million (USD 275.5 million) fund, the NesecShipping Debt Fund.
The fund provides mortgage-backed loans for short-sea vessels, and it is partly backed by the Dutch state.
It has attracted interest from institutional investors such as the Nederlandse Waterschapsbank, the Province of Groningen and clients of both NN Investment Partners (NNIP) and Waterland Investment Services.
As informed, the NSDF is now fully funded and open for credit applications from shipowners.
"NSDF s lending is supplemental to existing credit capacity from banks," explains Pieter van der Burg, managing director of Nesec, a Dutch financing institution supporting shipping and shipbuilding.
"The introduction of a range of measures has steadily reduced lending activities of banks towards shipowners."
Nesec expects to develop several funds in the future that will focus on, among other things, maritime and offshore assets, and renewable energy.
"The maritime sector continues to be one of the jewels in the crown of the Dutch economy, generating added value of 26 billion euros and jobs for 275,000 people. Shipbuilding and shipping deliver innovations and export opportunities. The current government is therefore pleased to support Dutch expertise in this sector by issuing guarantees for this fund," Mona Keijzer, the Dutch State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, said.
Henk Staghouwer, a member of the Groningen provincial executive, said that some 112 short-sea vessels were launched from northern shipyards between 2012 and 2017.
"We are happy to provide the forty shipping companies active in this field with access to financing for the construction of new, innovative vessels. With a turnover of 1.3 billion euros and 4,300 employees in some 100 companies, shipbuilding is vital to the economy and jobs in the north of the Netherlands as a whole and in Groningen in particular," he added.
Pieter van der Burg of Nesec welcomed the fund as an additional source of financing for shipowners, especially since banks have reduced their long-term ship financing since 2012.
"Aging vessels and new emission regulations mean the fleet requires renewal. The Nesec Shipping Debt Fund focuses specifically on the acquisition of new or existing ships, or modifications to them. For example to comply with new requirements for ballast water, sulphur and other emissions," he concluded.
Scorpio Bulkers Reports Lower Vessel Revenues
Monaco-based shipping company Scorpio Bulkers closed the fourth quarter of 2019 with a profit.
The company posted a net income of USD 15.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, compared to a net loss of USD 7.4 million seen in the corresponding period a year earlier.
EBITDA for the fourth quarter rose to USD 41.5 million from USD 23.3 million recorded in the fourth quarter of 2018.
However, vessel revenues declined to USD 60.3 million in Q4 2019 from USD 65.2 million reported in Q4 2018.
Specifically, vessel revenues for the companyís Ultramax operations decreased to USD 35.2 million for the fourth quarter of 2019 from USD 42.4 million in the prior year period. On the other hand, vessel revenues for Kamsarmax operations increased to USD 25.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2019 from USD 22.8 million in the Q4 2018.
In October 2019, Scorpio Bulkers completed the sale of the Ultramax ships SBI Puma and SBI Cougar, for USD 37.9 million. As a result, the company suffered a loss of approximately USD 4.9 million in the second quarter of 2019 and wrote-off deferred financing costs of approximately USD 0.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2019 upon the repayment of USD 21.9 million of outstanding debt.
The company is currently in the process of installing scrubbers on all of the owned and finance leased vessels in its fleet. A total of 26 Ultramaxes and 14 Kamsarmaxes are expected to be fitted with exhaust gas cleaning systems by the end of Q1 2021, according to the company s data. As of January 24, Scorpio has completed the scrubber retrofits on eight of its bulkers.
Scorpio Bulkers has an operating fleet of 58 vessels consisting of 52 owned or finance leased dry bulk vessels and six time chartered-in ships, with a total carrying capacity of about 3.6 million dwt.
Eagle Shipping Settles Sanctions Violations Case
Eagle Shipping, a Marshall Islands ship management company owned by Eagle Bulk Shipping, has agreed to pay USD 1.1 million to settle its potential civil liability for violations of the Burmese Sanctions Regulations.
The U.S. passed the regulations in 1997, having determined that the Government of Burma, then ruled by a military junta, had committed large-scale repression of the democratic opposition in Burma, and thus banned all investments to U.S. companies and persons in the country.
The 36 violations cited by the U.S. Treasury Department involve Eagle Shipping s dealings in the property interests of Myawaddy Trading Limited, which was designated by OFAC, and the provision of transportation services from Burma to Singapore for a land reclamation project for the benefit of Myawaddy.
The total transaction value of the 36 Apparent Violations was USD 1,796,400.
Eagle Bulk Shipping voluntarily disclosed the violations that occurred in 2011 and 2014 to OFAC after new management took over the company in 2014, following the company s emergence from bankruptcy proceedings.
The questionable shipping deal
According to OFACís disclosure, in June 2011, Eagle Shipping s affiliate in Singapore, Eagle Bulk Pte Ltd, entered into a chartering agreement with a sand buyer in Singapore to carry sea sand from Kawthaung, Burma to Singapore onboard an Eagle vessel.
After loading the sand cargo onto the vessel, on June 28, 2011, the Singaporean Company sent Eagle Pte a set of sample shipping documents, including a bill of lading and export cargo manifest, as an example for Eagle Pte s documentation of the sand cargo.
However, the sample documents raised concerns for the former management of Eagle because the documents listed Myawaddy, an entity on the SDN List at that time, as the shipper. On June 29, 2011, in response to Eagle Pte s demand for clarification, the Singaporean Company sent Eagle another sample bill of lading that listed an alternate shipper of the sand.
A former manager of Eagle instructed the captain of the Eagle vessel that he may sign the departure documentation.
The captain, however, refused to sign the departure documentation because he learned that some of the additional shipping documents (such as mate s receipt and export declaration) presented by the shipping agents explicitly listed Myawaddy as the shipper of the cargo.
On June 30, 2011, the Singaporean Company s local agent sent the captain a set of revised shipping documents after changing the shipper s name from Myawaddy to the alternate shipper. The captain forwarded a copy of the revised documents to a former manager and other staff of Eagle for a review and approval, and in an email exchange, warned that according to the information from a port officer, the alternative shipper did not sell sea sand in this region, and the Burmese government had a contract only with Myawaddy and only Myawaddy was the shipper.
On the same day, Eagle received a message from the Singaporean Company that continued delays would result in negative repercussions with the Burmese government.
Additionally, the captain reported to Eagle that Burmese local officials had taken the crew s passports and refused to clear the vessel for departure.
Eagle applied for an OFAC license authorizing the Eagle vessel to carry the sand cargo to Singapore due to the evidence suggesting an SDN s involvement in the shipping transaction.
However, before OFAC responded to the license request, on or about July 2, 2011, Eagle, citing crew safety concerns, signed the revised shipping documents and obtained the return of the crew s passports. The Eagle Vessel then left Burma and subsequently discharged the cargo in Singapore.
After this first sand voyage, on May 18, 2012, Eagle filed a new application with OFAC requesting a license that would authorize Eagle vessels to carry more sand cargoes procured, partially or wholly, directly or indirectly, from Myawaddy. On October 11, 2012, OFAC denied the application.
"While the application was pending with OFAC, and despite the absence of OFAC s authorization, Eagle resumed shipping sand procured from Myawaddy. The former President of Eagle Shipping later received OFAC s denial letter, but allegedly failed to forward it to others within Eagle. Eagle thereafter continued carrying sand cargoes supplied by Myawaddy from Burma to Singapore," OFAC said.
As informed, Eagle Bulk has since terminated the conduct and introduced remedial measures as part of its compliance commitments to minimize the risk of recurrence of similar cases in the future.
These measures include the appointment of a dedicated Compliance Officer, development and implementation of a formal sanctions compliance program, sanctions training to employees and preparation of contingency plans in the event that Eagle identifies the interest of an OFAC-blocked or -prohibited party after cargo is loaded on an Eagle vessel.
"This case demonstrates the importance for companies operating in high-risk industries (e.g., international shipping and trading) to implement risk-based compliance measures, especially when engaging in transactions involving exposure to jurisdictions or persons implicated by U.S. sanctions. It is essential that companies engaging in international transactions consider and respond to sanctions-related warning signs, such as information that goods originated from or were supplied by a person or entity subject to U.S. economic and trade sanctions. The failure to adhere to formal responses from OFAC, such as the adjudication of license applications or requests for guidance, can represent serious sanctions infractions," OFAC concluded.
QTerminals Wins 35-Year Concession for Port of Olvia in Ukraine
Qatar-based terminal operating company QTerminals has won a UAH 3.4 billion (USD 138 million) concession to operate Port of Olvia in Ukraine.
The State Enterprise "Stevedoring Company "Olvia" (SC Olvia) is a stevedoring company, one of the operators in the Mykolaiv region.
V.Ships: Kidnapped Seafarer Received Medical Help from Pirates
A kidnapped seafarer of the oil tanker MV Duke was provided with medical help by pirates but they did not manage to save him, V.Ships Management (India) has revealed.
During the attack and subsequent sea passage, the crew member became very ill and, despite receiving medical assistance, died on December 23, 2019, according to the ship manager.
Shipyard Worker Dies at Fukuoka Shipbuilding
A shipyard worker has lost his life while working on a newbuilding vessel at the Fukuoka Shipbuilding in Japan.
The worker reportedly succumbed to fatal injuries he suffered while cleaning the ship s cargo tank.
The man, in his late fifties, reportedly fell while working in the cargo tank of the chemical tanker newbuild.
India: Cargo handling at ports gains momentum
In an early indication of economic recovery, cargo handling in Indian ports is witnessing a spike. The trend was noticed since mid-December and gained momentum in January.
Cargo handling at ports normally improves in December-January. But this year has been different due to sluggish economic growth during the last two quarters. The manufacturing sector suffered contraction for nearly five months with trailing effect on port operations.
U.S. Long Beach Port executives upbeat about trade this year after downturn
Looking ahead into 2020 and beyond, U.S. Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero anticipated "better times ahead" in which markets will open again to U.S. goods, and energy exports will increase as well.
At the Port of Long Beach annual State of the Port luncheon on Wednesday, Cordero acknowledged that the trade dispute with China had put a spoke in the port s wheel this past year.
Gwadar port offers new opportunity for Afghan economy
The port of Gwadar now plays a new role, facilitating the transit trade for Afghanistan, by providing a most economical trade route for the war-torn nation.
Afghan traders have been using two Pakistani ports - Karachi and Port Qasim in Sindh - for the transit trade, but now the Gwadar port in neighbouring Balochistan provides an additional facility, which is closer to Afghanistan, and moreover, it gives quick clearance of their goods.