At this point in the COVID-19 pandemic, seafarers have become all too used to bureaucratic obstacles to crew change. But a different form of inertia has stranded more than 60 bulkers and their crews off the coast of China, where they await resolution to a diplomatic standoff between Beijing and the government of Australia.
The French oil major Total has ended its membership in the American Petroleum Institute, the industry and lobbying group representing U.S. oil and gas production interests. Total has an active presence in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico offshore sector, including the new Anchor field and the North Platte discovery off Louisiana.
A group of 85 institutional investors representing over $2 trillion in assets, joined forces calling on the United Nations to take further action to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis for seafarers brought on by the global restrictions enacted to control the coronavirus. In an open letter to the UN Secretary-General, the investors in consultation with key marine organizations such as the International Labor Organisation and the International Transport Workers’ Federation added their voice to the call to recognize seafarers as key workers and specific actions to ensure crews’ health and safety while maintaining global trade.
Cyber-crime connected with fraudulent demands for payment continues to plague the maritime sector, according to the shipping insurer International Transport Intermediaries Club (ITIC). Cases of email-driven scams that result in six-figure losses have been reported previously, and ITIC says that it continues to see serious instances of theft using the same basic techniques.
After months of trying and international support, Indian officials announced an agreement to permit one of the vessels caught off China to complete a crew change. Two Indian vessels stranded for months off the coast of China unable to unload shipments of coal they had transported from Australia became the face of the growing humanitarian crisis as a growing armada of vessels found themselves caught in a trade dispute between China and Australia.
When it comes to shipowning nations, the likes of Greece, China, and the USA are the first countries that come to mind. Despite playing a major part in world trade, India's domestically-owned fleet has been small for some time now, with the state-owned Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) dominating the market when it comes to fleet size and tonnage.
Norway awarded grants to support development projects both for a green ammonia tanker and two hydrogen ro-ro short sea vessels. Both projects aim to launch their vessels by 2024 as part of the effort to transition the shipping industry to zero-emission fuels.
The global shortage of shipping containers has become one of the most hotly discussed issues in the shipping industry as 2020 draws to a close. There have been reports that exporters have not been able to ship their goods while carriers have been struggling to get containers where they need them. One shipping executive quipped on a media call that he would pay a reward if anyone could tell him where to find 20,000 boxes.
After China, the U.S., the EU and Australia, the next country to be badly hit because of containers (either surplus or deficit) in the pandemic era is India. The reason: low imports and, obviously, China.