Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Industry Snapshots

Oil tanker catches fire off Jebel Ali port after collision with container ship. It is believed that both the vessels had pilots on board at the time. The tanker Kashmir caught fire after colliding with the Sima Saman on Tuesday but there was no leakage and no casualties, said Sarah Lockie, senior vice president of corporate communicatio, senior vice president of corporate communicationsSenior Vice President, Corporate Communications of DP world, the port operator at Dubai. The two ships are now at Jebel Ali and port operations are said to be normal. The Kashmir, loaded with 30,000 tons of flammable fuel worth $10 million was en route to Dubai from Iran when it hit the Sima Saman bound for Sharjah, UAE and Bandar Abbas, Iran. The accident occurred in the Jebel Ali Port Channel in visibility of around 100 metres. The crew of the Kashmir abandoned the vessel and were later rescued, two with minor injuries. The fire on the Kashmir was brought under control; tugs were rushed to the scene to clear the ships from the channel. Investigations are now underway into one of the worst maritime accidents in UAE waters.

Taiwan based TMT’s Chief Nobo Su intends to offer supertankers to oil speculators, reports say. TMT may hire out the VLCC’s at below market rates to speculators betting on an increase in crude prices later this year. It will also take a percentage of any profit in addition to the hire charges. Analysts are intrigued by this unusual offer; Nobu Su is reputed to be a smart operator who had predicted the overcapacity threat to the industry more than a year ago, when TMT stopped making any significant purchases. Each of his VLCCs can store around 2 million barrels of oil; added up, the TMT fleet can store enough oil to supply the whole of Europe for a couple of days. “The oil price is very cheap,” Su said in London, implying that a price rise was likely in the future. Plans include TMT involving itself in the oil market, coordinating oil purchases for investors, storing the oil within the Persian Gulf region on single hulled tankers and transporting them if required on more modern double hulled ones. Bloomberg reports that oil companies such as BP and Citigroup have stored up to 80 million barrels of crude at sea already, at a storage cost of less than a dollar a barrel per month.

Cochin, India’s first E-port: Enterprise Resource Planning takes off at Cochin Port; the ERP project being implemented will computerise all port processes and integrate them seamlessly and effectively. The Economic Times quotes CPT Chairman N Ramachandran saying that Tata Consultancy Services are involved in the 13 crore rupee project which will provide a single window facility to the industry for “for filing applications, receiving bills, payments and enquiries”. The Indian Port Association is simultaneously implementing a port community system. The system is now working, but duplication with the older manual system will continue until the end of this financial year to ensure that there are no hiccups. Meanwhile, TCS will train more than three thousand CPT employees to ensure that the seamless integration required works well. The move is slated to dramatically increase efficiency and reduce cost at CPT, besides offering real time improved service to its customers.

Hebei Spirit owners file lawsuit against Samsung Heavy Industries, reports Lloyd’s List. The joint move along with Skuld, the insurance company involved, pertains to the infamous Hebei Spirit case of December 2007, when a Samsung owned barge collided with the Spirit at anchor in Korea and resulted in the worst oil spill in South Korean history. Ocean Shipping (the owners of the Spirit) and Skuld now want to recover the 400 million dollars which may be payable under the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage (CLC), 1969 (The convention ensures that adequate compensation is available to persons who suffer oil pollution damage from maritime casualties.) Interestingly, the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds are also involved in the legal action. The lawsuit has been filed in Ningbo, China; observers say that the intent is to break Samsung’s limitation of liability, resulting in the conglomerate having to pay for the entire cost of the cleanup. Present Samsung limitation is less than 4 million USD and the total compensation available from the Hebei Spirit’s insurers and the IOPC is around $317 million USD. Actual cleanup costs may be more than 30 percent higher


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