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Oon & Bazul to shipowners: Measures to take before anchoring, conducting STS ops in Malaysian waters

Prakaash Silvam of law firm Oon & Bazul LLP shared with Manifold Times on steps shipowners should keep in mind before anchoring and conducting STS operations in Malaysian waters to avoid detention.

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Oon & Bazul to shipowners: Measures to take before anchoring, conducting STS ops in Malaysian waters

Prakaash Silvam, who heads the Shipping Department at Oon & Bazul LLP, shared with Singapore-based bunkering publication Manifold Times what shipowners should keep in mind before anchoring and conducting STS operations in Malaysian waters as well as steps to avoid ships being detained by local  authorities:

On 5 November 2023, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) detained two vessels in Kapar waters, Selangor, for conducting STS oil transfer activities, without obtaining the due authorisation. Such enforcement operations are a frequent occurrence. Just in 2023 alone, more than 70 vessels have been detained so far for illegal anchoring and STS transfers.

What do shipowners need to do to avoid detention?

Pursuant to the Merchant Shipping Ordinance 1952, it is illegal to anchor in Malaysian waters without obtaining a permit. Section 491B of the ordinance mandates that the vessels must notify the director of the marine or port office, regarding their planned activities within Malaysian waters, and obtain due authorisation. Failure to do so results in detention by the Malaysian authorities.

In addition to the lack of awareness of what the local laws require, it is not uncommon for there to be a misunderstanding as to where Malaysia’s territorial waters begin. For instance, the territorial limits in Southern Johor waters, often inaccurately referred as ‘Singapore OPL East’, extend as much as 60 Nautical Miles from the main coastline in Malaysia. There are no “international waters” outside Singapore waters and vessels are either in Malaysian or Indonesian territorial waters.

Shipowners are recommended to take the following measures prior to anchoring:

• Take additional efforts to check their exact location, such as keeping the “1979 Malaysian Territorial Waters Chart” onboard. The Malaysian authorities rely on this chart to determine if a vessel has entered its territorial waters. The regular navigational charts of this area may not be accurate with regards to the national boundaries.

• Obtain information on the designated anchorage area, by contacting the relevant authorities.

• Appoint a local agent and get permission from local port authority prior to carrying out their intended act.

What is the process should a vessel be detained?

Once a vessel has been detained, owners can expect the following investigative steps to be taken by the MMEA:

The Master and Chief Officer/Chief Engineer are usually taken ashore to MMEA’s office to give their statements. They are questioned about their qualifications and experience, details of the voyage undertaken, and reasons for anchoring at that specific location. The MMEA confiscates the ship’s documents and the passports of the crew members.

Once the crew’s statements have been taken, the MMEA hands over the matter to the Marine Department to prosecute the matter and a hearing before the magistrate will be fixed.

As per section 314 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), the owners are required to pay a bond in order to procure the release of the vessel. The bond is to secure any fine that may be levied on the shipowners at a later date.

After the bond has been paid and the documents of the ship are returned to the vessel, the vessel can sail. Subsequently, owners can choose either to admit liability or to dispute the charges. The maximum fine for each offence is RM 100,000 (approximately USD 24,000). The entire process of getting the vessel released can take up to a few weeks. Our Malaysian associate office, TS Oon & Partners, has substantial experience handling such matters and have represented numerous shipowners to release their vessels (some as quick as within a week of being detained) and substantially reduce the fines which are payable.

Related: MMEA detains two Malaysia-registered tankers for illegal STS oil transfer

Photo credit: Oon & Bazul
Published: 27 November, 2023

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Winding up

Singapore: Liquidators schedule final meeting for Sejahtera Shipping and related companies

Final meetings will be held at 9 Raffles Place, #19-21 Republic Plaza Tower 2, Singapore 048619 for Sejahtera Shipping, Molek Shipping and Madu Shipping.

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The final meetings of Sejahtera Shipping Pte Ltd and its related companies have been scheduled to take place on 21 June, according to the company’s liquidators on a notice posted on Monday (20 May) on the Government Gazette.

The other companies are Molek Shipping Pte Ltd and Madu Shipping Pte Ltd. 

The meetings will be held at 9 Raffles Place, #19-21 Republic Plaza Tower 2, Singapore 048619 at the following times:

  1. Sejahtera Shipping at 11am
  2. Molek Shipping at 10.30am
  3. Madu Shipping at 10am

They will be held for the purposes of having accounts laid before the meeting showing the manner in which the winding-up has been conducted and the property of the company disposed of, and of hearing any explanation that may be given by the liquidator.

The details of the liquidators are as follows:

Cheng Sam Tai Catherine
Liquidator
c/o Crowe Horwath First Trust Corporate Advisory Pte. Ltd.
9 Raffles Place, #19-20 Republic Plaza Tower 2, Singapore 048619

A member entitled to attend and vote at the meeting is entitled to appoint a proxy to attend and vote in his stead. A proxy need not be a member of the company. The instrument appointing a proxy must be deposited at the Registered Office of the company not less than 48 hours before the time set for holding the meeting.

Related: Singapore: Sejahtera Shipping and related companies to be wound up voluntarily

 

Photo credit: Benjamin-child
Published: 21 May 2024

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Winding up

Singapore: Final meeting scheduled for World Fuel Singapore Holding Company I

Final meeting will be held on 19 June at 4pm at 8 Marina View, #40-04/05, Asia Square Tower 1, Singapore 018960.

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The final general meeting of World Fuel Singapore Holding Company I, has been scheduled to take place on 19 June, according to the company’s liquidator on a notice posted on Friday (17 May) on the Government Gazette.

The meeting will be held at 4pm at 8 Marina View, #40-04/05, Asia Square Tower 1, Singapore 018960. 

It will be held for the purposes of having accounts laid before the meeting showing the manner in which the winding-up has been conducted and hearing any explanations that may be given by the liquidators.

The details of the liquidator are as follows:

Ho May Kee
Liquidator
c/o 8 Marina View
#40-04/05, Asia Square Tower 1
Singapore 018960

An Annual Report of World Fuel Services Corporation, before it was renamed to World Kinect Corporation, was filed on 24 February 2023 on the US Securities and Exchange Commission website. 

According to the report, World Fuel Singapore Holding Company I was listed as one of its subsidiaries.

Related: World Fuel Singapore Holding Company I to be wound up voluntarily, creditors to submit claims

 

Photo credit: Jo_Johnston from Pixabay
Published: 20 May 2024

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Bunker Fuel

Allianz: ‘Shadow fleet’ of tankers involved in at least 50 incidents including oil spills

Vessels have been involved in at least 50 incidents to date, including fires, engine failures, collisions, loss of steerage, and oil spills; shadow tankers also participate in ‘dangerous practice of STS transfers in the open ocean’.

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Allianz Commercial marine experts shared some of the major consequences of growing volatility and uncertainties from war and geopolitical events, climate change risk, including the threat the rise of the ‘shadow fleet’ poses to vessels and the environment and the multi-faceted impacts of rerouting. 

The following are excerpts from the original expert risk article by insurer Allianz :

Recent incidents in the wake of the conflict in Gaza have demonstrated the increasing vulnerability of global shipping to proxy wars and disputes. Between November 19, 2023, and the beginning of April 2024, there were more than 50 attacks against merchant shipping in the Red Sea by Houthi militants in response to the conflict. We have also seen the first total loss of a vessel, the first fatal attack, as well as signs that the crisis may have spread following the seizure of a container ship by Iranian forces in the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most important chokepoint for oil shipping. The Houthi military group has also warned it would target any ships heading to Israeli ports if they are within range.

Disruption to shipping has persisted longer than expected and is likely to remain for the foreseeable future, says Captain Rahul Khanna, Global Head of Marine Risk Consulting, Allianz Commercial. “While we have seen sporadic attacks in the past, the conflict in Gaza has opened the flood gates. Even if a political solution is reached, we may see attacks continue as there is clearly now an opportunity for those wishing to disrupt shipping in the Red Sea and beyond. Ultimately, shipping has become a ripe target for those wishing to wage a proxy war. It opens avenues for terrorists or militia groups to get recognition and hit global markets.”

Rerouting brings supply chain, trade, risk, inflation, and environmental challenges

Attacks against shipping in the Red Sea and Middle East waters, closely following on from the ongoing disruption caused by drought in the Panama Canal, have amounted to a double strike for shipping, causing yet more issues for global supply chains, as well as significantly adding to the distance vessels must sail.

The attacks in the Red Sea have severely impacted Suez Canal transits, while a lack of rain and the El Nino phenomenon contributed to the second driest year in the Panama Canal’s history, also affecting transits.  Both routes are critical for the transport of manufactured goods and energy between Asia, Europe, and the US East Coast.

At the start of 2024 transits in the Suez and Panama canals were down by more than 42% and 49% respectively, compared to their peaks. Whichever route vessels take, they face lengthy diversions and increased costs. For example, avoiding the Suez Canal adds at least 3,000 nautical miles and 10 days sailing time to each trip, rerouting via the Cape of Good Hope.

Businesses that source goods and components from factories in China and South-East Asia have faced delays and higher costs from longer transit times. Some reported rises of 300% for container hire, and logistical delays, adding up to three to four weeks to delivery times, creating cashflow difficulties, and component shortages on production lines.

Such experiences have thrown the shipping industry and the issue of supply chain resilience into the public consciousness, says Khanna.

“Supply chains have been disrupted by a series of events in recent years, from extreme weather and climate incidents, container ship fires and groundings, through to the pandemic and conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, not forgetting the recent Baltimore bridge collapse.

“How should the shipping industry and its customers address this challenge? In today’s interconnected environment it is even more important to have a ‘Plan B’ and alternative options. An unexpected event can have a domino effect globally. Shippers around the world should consider diversification of their supply chains and in some cases nearshoring and onshoring might be an option.”

Increased transparency is also part of the solution, particularly when it comes to tracking cargo. While the global risk environment for shipping has changed significantly in recent years, the average shipper still knows very little about the location of their cargo, which makes it very difficult for them to put effective contingency plans in place to minimize disruption. Ultimately businesses will need to update their approach to cargo risk management and business continuity planning, says Régis Broudin, Global Head of Marine Claims, Allianz Commercial.

Rerouting will also require a shift in the shipping industry supply chain, if large numbers of vessels switch to alternative routes around the Cape of Good Hope for a prolonged period. Container lines tend to ply the same established trade routes, but rerouting will require alternative bunkering, supply, repair, and maintenance facilities. The risk environment could be impacted suggests Wayne Steel, Senior Marine Risk Consultant, Allianz Commercial. For example, storms and rough seas could be more challenging for smaller vessels used to plying coastal waters, especially where crews may not be sufficiently trained and equipped for such conditions.

Other areas impacted include container capacity, older vessels being kept in service as longer journeys means an increasing demand for ships, inflation – according to Allianz Trade analysis, a prolonged period of disruption in the Red Sea could cause it to increase by +0.5% – as well as the environment. The disruption in the Red Sea, combined with factors linked to the Panama Canal and the Black Sea in the wake of the Ukraine war, could erode the environmental gains achieved through ‘slow steaming’, as rerouted vessels increase speeds to cover longer distances. The longer distances caused by rerouting container ships from the Suez Canal to the Cape of Good Hope result in an estimated 70% increase in greenhouse gas emissions for a round trip from Singapore to Northern Europe. Shipping diversions from the Red Sea are already cited as being a primary cause of a 14% surge in the carbon emissions of the EU shipping sector during the first two months of 2024.

Ukraine war: ‘shadow fleet’ risk to vessels and environment

A gradual tightening of international sanctions on Russian oil and gas exports over the past three years since its invasion of Ukraine has resulted in the emergence of a sizable ‘shadow fleet’ of tankers, mostly older vessels that operate outside international regulation and often without proper insurance. This situation presents serious environmental and safety risks in key chokepoints where oil is shipped.

Russia is not the only country to operate a shadow fleet. Iran and Venezuela have used such tankers to circumvent sanctions and maintain oil exports. Estimates put the size of the dark fleet at between 600 to 1,400 vessels, roughly a fifth of the overall global crude oil tanker fleet.

Much of the shadow fleet is likely poorly maintained and may not have undergone appropriate inspections. Shadow tankers also participate in the dangerous practice of ship-to-ship transfers in the open ocean, as well as turning off Automatic Identification System (AIS) transponders to obscure their identity. Vessels have been involved in at least 50 incidents to date, including fires, engine failures, collisions, loss of steerage, and oil spills. The cost of dealing with these incidents often falls on governments or other vessels’ insurers if one is involved in an incident.

“As long as there are sanctions on countries like Russia and Iran, the shadow fleet looks here to stay,” says Justus Heinrich, Global Product Leader Marine Hull, Allianz Commercial. “Given the age of the vessels in the shadow fleet, safety is a big concern. Often these vessels are at the end of their operational lives and are used in a high-risk business.”

Note: The full article by Allianz can be found here

 

Photo credit: Shaah Shahidh on Unsplash
Published: 20 May 2024

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