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OFAC issues warning on possible evasion of Russian oil price cap

OFAC is aware of reports ESPO and other crudes exported via Pacific ports in Russian Federation may be trading above the price cap and may be using covered services provided by U.S. persons.

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The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on Monday (17 April) issued an alert to warn U.S. persons about possible evasion of the price cap on crude oil of Russian Federation origin (Russian oil), particularly involving oil exported through the Eastern Siberia Pacific Ocean (ESPO) pipeline and ports on the eastern coast of the Russian Federation: 

As explained in greater detail in OFAC Guidance on Implementation of the Price Cap Policy for Crude Oil and Petroleum Products of Russian Federation Origin (Price Cap Guidance), U.S. persons are authorized to provide certain services (covered services) related to the maritime transport of Russian oil as long as that oil was purchased at or below the relevant price cap. To implement the price cap policy, OFAC issued two determinations pursuant to Executive Order 14071, one for Russian oil and one for petroleum products (the crude determination and the petroleum products determination, or, collectively, the price cap determinations). U.S. persons providing covered services are required to reject participating in an evasive transaction or a transaction that violates the price cap determinations, and to report such a transaction to OFAC.

For ship owners, protection and indemnity clubs, and flagging registries

Deceptive Practices, Including AIS Manipulation to Disguise Russian Port Calls: OFAC is aware of reports that ESPO and other crudes exported via Pacific ports in the Russian Federation, such as Kozmino, may be trading above the price cap and may be using covered services provided by U.S. persons. These U.S. service providers may be unaware that they are providing covered services involving Russian oil purchased above the price cap, as the non-U.S. persons involved in the exports may have provided incomplete or false documentation or used other deceptive practices.

Specifically, some tankers may be manipulating their Automatic Identification Systems (AIS), a practice known as “spoofing,” to disguise the fact that they have called at the port of Kozmino or other ports on the Russian Federation’s eastern coastline. For example, basic vessel tracking data may show the tanker at one location, but more sophisticated reporting from maritime intelligence services may show that the vessel called at the port of Kozmino or another eastern port in the Russian Federation. Spoofing can also be used to mask ship-to-ship transfers carried out to disguise the origin of Russian oil. U.S. persons providing covered services to tankers should view AIS manipulation that disguises a tanker’s port of call in the Russian Federation as evidence of possible evasion of the price cap.

As explained in greater detail in OFAC Guidance on Implementation of the Price Cap Policy for Crude Oil and Petroleum Products of Russian Federation Origin (Price Cap Guidance), U.S. persons are authorized

to provide certain services (covered services) related to the maritime transport of Russian oil as long as that oil was purchased at or below the relevant price cap. To implement the price cap policy, OFAC

issued two determinations pursuant to Executive Order 14071, one for Russian oil and one for petroleum products (the crude determination and the petroleum products determination, or, collectively, the price cap determinations). U.S. persons providing covered services are required to

reject participating in an evasive transaction or a transaction that violates the price cap determinations, and to report such a transaction to OFAC.

Recommended Measures to Ensure Price Cap Compliance: Good-faith actors, including shipowners and

other service providers, can use the recordkeeping and attestations described in the Price Cap Guidance to be afforded safe harbor from OFAC enforcement if someone causes them to inadvertently violate the price cap determinations. At the same time, U.S. service providers, especially ship owners, protection and indemnity clubs, and flagging registries, should be mindful of the risk of evasion for some ESPO and other crudes exported via Pacific ports in the Russian Federation and should take appropriate due diligence measures, such as:

  • Disseminating this alert to counterparties or members.
  • Using maritime intelligence services to improve detection of AIS manipulate

For commodities brokers/oil traders

Opaque Shipping Costs: As noted in the Price Cap Guidance, shipping, freight, customs, and insurance costs are not included in the price caps. The failure to itemize these costs can be used to obfuscate the fact that Russian oil was purchased above the price cap. 

Recommended Measures to Ensure Price Cap Compliance: In order for Tier 1 actors (defined in the Price Cap Guidance as actors who regularly have direct access to price information, such as commodities traders) to be afforded the safe harbor explained in the Price Cap Guidance, they must retain documents showing that Russian oil or Russian petroleum products were purchased at or below the relevant price cap. Examples of these documents include invoices, contracts, and receipts/proof of payment. OFAC notes that such documents do not need to make any mention of the price cap in order for the Tier 1 actor to be afforded the safe harbor. However, shipping, freight, customs, and insurance costs must be invoiced separately from the purchase price of the Russian oil and must be at commercially reasonable rates. A refusal by a counterparty to provide documentation showing Russian oil or Russian petroleum products were purchased at or below the price cap (when, for example, the total price inclusive of other costs is above the cap) should be considered a red flag for possible evasion of the price cap. 

Related: IMO: Addressing ship-to-ship oil transfers and tankers in the ‘dark fleet’

 

Photo credit: CHUTTERSNAP from Unsplash
Published: 18 April, 2023

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Business

Singapore: DNV FuelBoss and Equatorial Marine Fuel enter digital bunkering MoU

To build digital delivery platforms that are interoperable, compliant to data and security standards set by the MPA and Singapore Standards Council.

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Singapore DNV FuelBoss and Equatorial Marine Fuel enter digital bunkering MoU cover

FuelBoss, a subsidiary of DNV, and Singapore bunker supplier Equatorial Marine Fuel Management Services (EMF) on Friday (19 April) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to further develop digital bunkering capabilities for all marine fuels.

The objective of the MoU is to strengthen the partnership between both organisations to build digital delivery platforms that are interoperable, compliant to data and security standards set by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and Singapore Standards Council.

The scope of the MoU allows the development of integrated services across both organisations’ technological platforms to provide seamless operations, real-time insights into bunker delivery processes to industry stakeholders, international shipowners, bunker suppliers, and bunker traders for all marine fuels.

It will also enable the sharing of experience, materials, and expertise between the two organisations with the industry to accelerate the pace of digitalisation and support companies in implementing digital bunkering solutions.

Singapore DNV FuelBoss and Equatorial Marine Fuel enter digital bunkering MoU 1

Singapore DNV FuelBoss and Equatorial Marine Fuel enter digital bunkering MoU

“We are committed to pioneering digital solutions that enhance the safety and trust in marine fuels transactions. This MoU with EMF underscores our dedication to advancing Digital Delivery and Live Delivery Insights in the maritime industry and we are honored to partner with them,” said Martin Wold, Head of FuelBoss.

“By collaboratively developing interoperable platforms that align with the latest data and security standards, we aim to set a new benchmark and replicate this for the rest of the industry.

“Our partnership with EMF will leverage both organisations' strengths to provide comprehensive, real-time insights into bunker delivery processes, benefiting all stakeholders in the maritime ecosystem.”

EMF is the leading supplier of marine fuels in Singapore in 2022 and 2023. As part of their growth strategy, EMF has been investing in digitally transforming the business and operations since 2018.

Over the years, EMF has integrated several of their systems to streamline operations and has built an in-house technology team to customise solutions to better serve their customers and stakeholders.

“We have always believed that digitalisation is one of the keys to the future for the Maritime industry. Over the years, we have participated in and supported the digital initiatives launched by MPA,” said Collin Ng, Chief Technology Officer of EMF.

“The digital bunkering initiative launched by MPA on 1 November 2023 is core to completing the digitalisation of the bunker supply chain for the industry.

“With the signing of the MoU with FuelBoss, we are looking forward to providing an extensive and comprehensive digital delivery platform for our collective customers and stakeholders.”

 

Photo credit: DNV FuelBoss
Published: 19 April 2024

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Alternative Fuels

SMW 2024: Yinson GreenTech partners with EPS on electric vessel trials

YGT’s marine electrification business, marinEV, and EPS will perform trials involving the first cargo delivery with an electric vessel and the first crew transfer with an electric vessel in Singapore.

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SMW 2024: Yinson GreenTech and EPS forge alliance on electric vessel trials

Yinson GreenTech (YGT), a leading green technology solutions provider, has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS), a global leader in maritime transportation, during Singapore Maritime Week 2024, both parties said in a joint statement on Thursday (18 April). 

This collaboration, spearheaded by YGT’s marine electrification business, marinEV, marks a significant step towards cleaner and more sustainable maritime operations in Singapore, with the following key milestones on the horizon:

Electric vessel deployments

  • First cargo delivery with an electric vessel in the Port of Singapore: marinEV and EPS aim to be at the forefront of maritime history by jointly facilitating the first cargo delivery using an electric vessel within the Port of Singapore. This aligns with both companies’ commitment to environmental responsibility and demonstrates their dedication to creating a net zero world.
  • First crew transfer with an electric vessel in Singapore: Recognising the critical role of crew transfers in maritime operations, marinEV and EPS will collaborate on the first crew transfer conducted by an electric vessel in Singapore. This trial will provide valuable data on the feasibility, efficiency, and safety of electric vessels for crew transportation, paving the way for wider industry adoption.

SMW 2024: Yinson GreenTech and EPS forge alliance on electric vessel trials

The Hydromover and Lake Herman

Building upon their commitment to sustainability, marinEV will enter into a collaborative agreement with EPS. This partnership aims to integrate electric vessels into last-mile delivery operations, significantly reducing Scope 3 emissions and contributing to a cleaner shipping industry. By jointly defining ambitious emission reduction goals, marinEV and EPS will work together to create a more sustainable future for maritime transportation.

“At Yinson GreenTech, we believe that collaboration is key to unlocking a cleaner future for our oceans. Our partnership with Eastern Pacific Shipping on these groundbreaking electric vessel deployments in Singapore signifies a major leap forward,” said Jan-Viggo Johansen, Managing Director of marinEV. 

“Together, we are not only making history but also paving the way for a future where clean and efficient transportation solutions become the norm. This is an exciting moment for us, and we are committed to working closely with EPS, our existing partners and other industry leaders to achieve a truly sustainable maritime landscape.

“It is heartening to see like-minded partners in the industry adopt the ‘act now’ approach like us, taking action and exploring innovative solutions on all fronts,” said Cyril Ducau, Chief Executive Officer of EPS.

“This collaboration with Yinson GreenTech not only offers a greener transportation alternative, it also builds on the industry’s collective commitment to accelerate the decarbonisation of shipping. We don’t do things because they are easy. We do it because they are difficult so that we leave no stones unturned in our efforts to decarbonise.”

Related: Yinson GreenTech all-electric crew transfer vessel to undergo sea trials in Singapore

 

Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 19 April 2024

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Bunker Fuel

SMW 2024: Maritime International Advisory Panel discusses decarbonisation, green financing, digitalisation

Panel noted that financial institutions were willing to provide lending for suitable projects to support maritime decarbonisation with sufficient assurance that the default risks were managed.

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SMW 2024: Maritime International Advisory Panel discusses decarbonisation, green financing, digitalisation

The Maritime International Advisory Panel (IAP) held its third annual meeting on 16 April 2024, during the Singapore Maritime Week 2024. 

This year, the Maritime IAP held in-depth discussions on the key developments in the maritime sector, including decarbonisation, green financing, digitalisation and cybersecurity. 

Members of the panel who were present included Hiroaki Sakashita, President and CEO, ClassNK, Stephen Fewster, Managing Director, Global Head, Shipping Finance, ING Bank, Nick Brown, CEO, Lloyd’s Register, and Jonathan Wright, Global Managing Partner, Global Finance and Supply Chain Transformation Service Line Leader, IBM.

Established in 2022 by the Ministry of Transport (MOT) and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), the Maritime IAP aims to seek international perspectives on key long-term trends and developments that will shape the maritime industry. 

It comprises global leaders from the maritime sector, adjacent industries and academia, and is chaired by Mr Chee Hong Tat, Minister for Transport and Second Minister for Finance. Local industry and union leaders also joined the meeting to share their perspectives.

IAP comprises global leaders from the maritime sector, adjacent industries and academia, and is chaired by Mr Chee Hong Tat, Minister for Transport and Second Minister for Finance.

IAP comprises global leaders from the maritime sector, adjacent industries and academia, and is chaired by Mr Chee Hong Tat, Minister for Transport and Second Minister for Finance.

Key Trends and Opportunities for the Maritime Sector

The Maritime IAP highlighted that despite geopolitical uncertainties and supply chain shifts, there were significant opportunities for the global maritime sector in the following areas:

  • Accelerating the green transition towards a low- and zero-carbon future, supported by important enablers such as financing for green shipping;
  • Deepening the utilisation of technology and digitalisation while strengthening cyber resilience; and
  • Training and re-skilling the maritime workforce to take on the new job opportunities of the future.

The Maritime IAP emphasised that Singapore plays an important role in facilitating global trade flows, supporting global maritime decarbonisation, and advancing maritime digitalisation and cyber-resilience. 

Singapore’s position as a trusted and established maritime eco-system could catalyse green financing solutions, unlock the benefits of deeper utilisation of technology and data, and position it as a training hub to develop the skills needed by the future maritime workforce.

Strengthening Maritime Ecosystem Amid Global Shifts and Green Transition

Against the backdrop of global uncertainties, the Maritime IAP highlighted that Singapore could be an important trade and maritime intermediary, given its status as a neutral, trusted, and leading maritime hub. With growing trade to emerging regions as trade flows shifted, the panel believed Singapore would be an important conduit for new trades going forward. The panel further suggested for Singapore to become a trusted maritime technology hub for the development, installation, and accreditation of critical technologies, especially for those fitted onboard ships.

The Maritime IAP noted that amidst the ongoing green transition, there would be competing demands for various low- or zero-carbon fuels (e.g. hydrogen, ammonia, methanol) from other sectors.

The Maritime IAP highlighted the need to draw on a wide range of green financing instruments and investments to catalyse change, address hurdles and accelerate the sector’s green transition. 

The panel also noted that financial institutions were willing to provide lending for suitable projects to support maritime decarbonisation with sufficient assurance that the default risks were managed. To address the financing needs of the sector, the panel suggested for maritime stakeholders to pool their needs, while demand aggregation would help smaller companies gain better access to suitable solutions and financing, and also allow financial institutions to better determine and manage the risks involved.

 

Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 19 April 2024

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