|.: 16-Sep-2015 :.
|Sanctioned Arctech Helsinki Shipyard Hopes for Icebreaker Zeal in Arctic|
HELSINKI, Sept 15 (Reuters) - On a sunny day on the Helsinki seafront, sparks fly from steel welding at the bustling Arctech shipyard, which seems insulated from Finland’s economic recession as it strives to meet an order book that stretches into 2017.
The world's biggest manufacturer of icebreakers, or ships that can navigate ice-covered waters, Arctech is poised to benefit from an expected flurry of activity in the Arctic, which is being reinforced by U.S. President Barack Obama's Arctic push.
As climate change is melting sea ice and opening the Arctic to more shipping, mining and oil drilling, icebreakers will forge waterways for other ships, carry out rescue missions and do stand-by duties for oil platforms in the region.
"We are getting inquiries from several countries who have Arctic regions, or companies from such countries," said Esko Mustamaki, Arctech's managing director, sitting in his office at the vast shipyard as workers nearby still wearing helmets cycle off for lunch breaks on the compound.
The yard is currently building six vessels, four for Russian state-owned shipping company Sovcomflot and one each for the Russian and Finnish transport ministries. One will be for Arctic use and Mustamaki expects demand to grow.
"It is very possible that in the coming decades, there will be a lot of activity in the (Arctic) region," Mustamaki said.
That should be good for business, but there is a cloud on the horizon: the yard is now owned by Russia’s state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC), which was added to a list of U.S. sanctions against Russia last year in the wake of the conflict in Ukraine.
The shipyard was once owned by Norwegian companies Kvaerner and Aker Yards, and later by Korea's STX, whose financial problems eventually prompted the deal with Russia, completed last year.
So far Arctech has weathered the impact of sanctions but they are making business more difficult.
Nordea, the Nordic region's biggest bank, closed Arctech's account last year due to U.S. sanctions. Mustamaki said the shipyard has opened new bank accounts, declining to name the banks. But accessing finance now takes more time.
"Banks have compliance rules that require more checks for us now, so anything where we need banks takes time. But so far, it hasn't affected our order intake," Mustamaki said.
"That could happen if a client would not want to do business with us for that reason."
Shipping sources have said that U.S. and EU sanctions against the company's Russian clients could complicate their orders in the future.
As the Arctic opens to tourism and oil drilling and spurs more maritime traffic, the United States lags Russia's resources in the region and President Obama said this month that it needs to quickly acquire at least one new icebreaker.
While Russia has 40 icebreakers and another 11 planned or under construction, the U.S. Coast Guard has three, only one of which is a heavy duty vessel, the White House has said.
For Arctech, sanctions alone would rule out any business with the U.S. government, putting potentially some of the industry's most lucrative contracts in the next few years out of reach.
Mustamaki, however, is sanguine, arguing that even without sanctions, his company probably wouldn't win any U.S. orders because the U.S. Jones Act requires that basically all American vessels must be built in local shipyards - a law which he says will force the United States to pay sky high prices for icebreakers. A Congressional research service report has put the cost of a new U.S. icebreaker at about $1 billion.
"That sounds like quite a lot. We are currently building an icebreaker for the state of Finland for 123 million euros ($139 million)," said Mustamaki.
The Helsinki yard, founded in 1865 and renamed Arctech in 2010, has built 60 percent of all icebreakers operating in the world - most used by Russia, including for offshore energy production.
While standard shipbuilding has largely moved to Asia, Arctech's is one of a few niche shipyards left in Europe. Its competitors include Germany's Nordic Yards, Norway's Vard and the Netherlands-based Damen.
The Finnish company is currently building more energy-efficient ships able to operate in minus 35 degrees Celsius and navigate through 1.5 meters of ice.
Its icebreaker under construction for the Finnish transport ministry will be the world’s first to use liquefied natural gas as fuel, rather than relying on more polluting diesel.
"There are lots of details but no concrete list for building an Arctic vessel, it's more about tacit knowledge," Mustamaki said. ($1 = 0.8879 euros) (Editing by Susan Fenton)
(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2015.
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|New study highlights work-related mental health issues of female seafarers|
Around 60% of women working on cargo ships and tankers say stress, depression and anxiety is their biggest health complaint while at work, a new survey has revealed. Of these women, over 80% say the problems are work-related.
The findings are part of the new 2015 Women Seafarers' Health Survey, conducted by the International Seafarers' Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) and presented today at the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) conference, part of London International Shipping Week.
In the overall survey, which also included women working onboard passenger vessels, over 50% of female seafarers said joint/back pain was their main health issue while at work; 45% said it was stress, depression and anxiety.
Overall, 55% of respondents felt their health complaints were related to work, Caitlin Vaughan, ISWAN's project manager, told the conference.
ISWAN's survey found that 17% of the female seafarers had experienced sexual harassment at work. In ISWAN's pilot study of 100 respondents, the figure was 50%.
ISWAN said more awareness needed to be raised on the availability of bins for the disposal of sanitary items while at sea. The survey exposed that 40% of respondents had no access to such facilities.
According to most recent ITF data, just 2% of the world's estimated 1m seafarers are female. Of this number, 94% of women are working on passenger vessels (68% on ferries and 26% on cruise ships), most often in positions related to catering. Only 6% of the world’s female seafarers are employed on cargo vessels.
The exact number of female seafarers employed worldwide is not known and is surprisingly difficult to quantify, said Karin Orsel, president of WISTA and vice-chair of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), who also spoke in the conference session.
Before delivering her presentation, Orsel conducted research among national shipowner associations, many of whom were unable to come up with specific numbers of female seafarers.
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|Drone ships move closer to reality as Inmarsat gets on board|
Satellite communications group Inmarsat signs up to research project investigating how to build drone ships which can sail without a crew A prototype drone ship controlled by a captain hundreds of miles from the vessel could be plying the sealanes in 10 years' time after satellite communications group Inmarsat joined a research project developing systems to support autonomous vessels.
Shipping could be revolutionised by automatic cargo ships navigating the world’s oceans, only checking in with shore-based operators in emergencies.
Removing humans from long voyages would cut the cost of operating ships - crew can represent a third of a ship's running costs – and allow them to carry more cargo in the space normally taken up by people.
Inmarsat will provide expertise in data transfer and communications to the Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications (AAWA) initiative, with drone ships' ability to stay in contact with land bases while out on the oceans being seen as key to their viability.
How the Global Xpress satellites look in space once they have deployed their solar panels Last month Inmarsat launched its third Global Xpress satellite (pictured left) providing high-speed broadband connections from space, and when this satellite - located 22,000 miles above the Pacific - comes into service at the end of the year it will complete the FTSE 100's company's worldwide network.
This will mean that there will be no "coverage blackspots" on any of the world's seas where drone ships would lose contact with their human operators, meaning they have constant and virtually real-time connections.
"The Global Xpress mobile broadband network is a turning point for the future of the maritime industry and lends itself to the AAWA initiative," said Ronald Spithout, Inmarsat's maritime president, adding that satellite broadband is "fundamental" to autonomous ships.
"Global Xpress is the last big piece in the puzzle to bring about drone ships, although many other aspects need to be fleshed out, such as the legal and who is liable if something goes wrong."
While the AAWA programme, which is being led by fellow blue chip Rolls-Royce, is still in its early stages, Inmarsat expects the research to produce spin-off technology which should boost its revenues before the first experimental drone ship makes its maiden voyage - something expected to occur within 10 years.
Mr Spithout said: "Before we get fully autonomous ships, there should be increased demand for maritime satellite broadband traffic as companies develop applications such as remotely monitoring cargo."
Oskar Levander, Rolls-Royce's president of marine innovation said that while much of the technology required for drone ships is available today, it is integrating it and developing the systems to operate unmanned vessels that is the next step.
"This gives us the chance to redefine what a ship really is," he said. "How it looks, how it operates and how efficient it is."
Autonomous ships are increasingly catching the imagination of shipping companies looking for economies. While crews could still be needed for complex operations such as docking, when a ship is in the open ocean they have little to do other than navigate and monitor systems, tasks which can easily be automated.
Crews could be ferried on and off to handle docking, or airlifted to a ship which runs into trouble or needs repairs.
Removing humans would also reduce the price of shipbuilding, with no need for heating and water systems, which add complexity and cost.
With no need for these systems, the amount of power a ship needs would be reduced, making them more efficient - a vital factor as regulation forces ships to reduce pollution.
A single captain at a central base could also control several ships at a time, further reducing costs.
The threat of piracy could also be reduced, with ships being designed so they are harder to board or computer control meaning they can be shut off remotely, hampering criminals.
Mr Spithout added: "Without a crew on board, who is there for pirates to hijack?"
He added that cyber security would also need to be improved to prevent ships systems being hacked.
The AAWA project is being financed by Tekes, Finland's technical research funding agency.
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|Shipping looks to the future|
A study into the shipping sector, which was completed in July, has identified what needs to be done for Cyprus' maritime industry to remain competitive, President Nicos Anastasiades said.
In his address to the Maritime Cyprus conference, read out by Communications and Works Minister Marios Demetriades, Anastasiades said: "The study has highlighted several points where more attention is required in order to keep abreast of other competitive maritime centres, and a number of decisions have been made in relation to those recommendations while more are expected to be taken later this year."
He said new promotional campaigns, new incentives relating to fees and taxes, the further development of the shipping studies sector and a new modern and technologically updated image of Cyprus shipping, were underway.
The department of merchant shipping will also be restructured and the network of inspectors around the world will be upgraded, delegates at the Limassol conference heard.
"The shipping industry in Cyprus is a sector that operates on a global scale, and whose size and international importance go far beyond the size of the country. Today, Cyprus is an international shipping power and a renowned maritime centre combining a sovereign flag and a resident shipping industry with high quality services and standards of safety and security," Anastasaides said.
Despite the economic crisis of recent years, shipping related companies continue to trust Cyprus as a base for their operations providing that the island remains to be a good place to do business from.
He said the government was fully committed to safeguarding the shipping sector by doing its outmost to guarantee its continuous sustainable growth.
In addition, the discovery of hydrocarbons had brought new opportunities for the Cypriot shipping industry, as many Cyprus-based shipping companies are keen to be involved in this new venture and some had already broadened their services and activities, he said. ‘Maritime Cyprus', a biennial event, is being organised for the 14th time this year. Over the years, it has grown into one of the world's most significant shipping conferences.
The conference theme this year is 'game change', and is focusing on crucial matters concerning the international shipping industry including policy and regulatory matters and forthcoming changes in the international shipping scenery, economic matters, environmental matters and their interaction with technology, geopolitical and energy developments and forecasting for the recovery of the economy and for the freight markets.
Speaking to the press on the sidelines of the conference, Demetriades the shipping sector now contributed almost 7 per cent to GDP.
He said that the presence of the Secretary General of International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Koji Sekimizu at the conference highlighted the importance of the conference for the global shipping industry.
Source: Cyprus Mail
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|OSV naming ceremony|
Naming ceremony of three highly sophisticated offshore supply vessels was held on 10 September 2015 at Keppel Singmarine in Singapore: Bumi Uray and Bumi Pokachi built in China at Keppel Nantong Shipyard and Bumi Naryan-Mar built in Singapore. On 15 September the ships built to the class of Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS) will take a departure to the Caspian Sea where they will be operated at V. Filanovsky and Yury Korchagin oil-and-gas condensate fields.
The festive occasion was participated by Mr. Andrey Tatarinov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Singapore, Mr. Yuri Berkuta, Deputy Director General for Legal Services of LUKOIL Oil Company, Mr. Gennady Ordenov, Deputy Director General of OOO "LUKOIL-Nizhnevolzhskneft", Mr. Edmund Lek, President of Keppel Nantong, Directors of BUMI ARMADA and Keppel. On behalf of Russian Maritime Register of Shipping the ceremony was hosted by Mr. Andrey Fasolko, Director of the RS Branch Office in Singapore and Mr. Petr Vanyukov, Director of the RS Branch Office in China.
Bumi Uray and Bumi Pokachi have been assigned the RS class notation: КМ✪Arc4 AUT1-ICS FF3WS DYNPOS-2 supply vessel. The ships are designed for supply of offshore field facilities and provision of their safe operation; they are fitted with the systems for fire extinguishing on the fixed offshore platforms and offshore oil offloading system as well as with oil spill response (OSR) operations equipment.
Bumi Naryan-Mar has been assigned the RS class notation: КМ✪ Arc5 AUT1-ICS FF3WS DYNPOS-2 supply vessel. As compared with the similar supply vessels built in China, the ship is designed for 24-hour service in the hydrocarbon production regions and rescue operations, including fire extinguishing, OSR operations and other activity aimed at safe development of offshore field facilities. The Arctic ice class Arc5 will enable the ship to effectively operate both during the summer and winter navigation.
Source: Russian Maritime Register of Shipping
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