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Saturday, August 8, 2020

Gibraltar News

© Alexey Seafarer / Adobe Stock

Shipowners Struggle to Bring Home Crews Amid Coronavirus Chaos

Shipping companies are still struggling to get hundreds of thousands of crew members back home after many months at sea despite pledges by countries to ease transit restrictions for seafarers, industry officials say.Countries including the UK, the United States, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and the Philippines pledged this month to boost efforts to help seafarers, many of whom have been on ships longer than the 11-month limit laid out in a maritime labor convention.Other countries…

© Eddy Ulin / MarineTraffic.com

Tankers Carrying Venezuelan Oil Stuck at Sea

Tankers carrying nearly two months worth of Venezuelan oil output are stuck at sea as global refiners shun the nation’s crude to avoid falling foul of U.S. sanctions, according to industry sources, PDVSA documents and shipping data.Washington is tightening sanctions to cut Venezuela’s oil exports and deprive the government of socialist President Nicolas Maduro of its main source of revenue.The OPEC member’s exports are hovering near their lowest levels in more than 70 years and the economy has collapsed, but Maduro has held on - to the frustration of the administration of U.S.

Photo: Gibdock

Gibdock Momentum Builds On Variety

High levels of occupancy during the first two months of 2020 and strong forward bookings are sustaining momentum for Gibdock, following a surge in demand for the Gibraltar repair yard in the last quarter of 2019.One standout project involving significant complexity saw Gibdock undertake extensive repairs to Juvel at the end of 2019, after the Aker Biomarine fishing vessel suffered extensive fire damage off South America. Over several months, the 99.5-meter-long Juvel required retrofitting across four decks…

Image: Stena Line

Stena Estrid Begins 10K Mile Journey from China Shipyard

European ferry operator Stena Line announced that its newest ferry Stena Estrid has departed the AVIC Weihai Shipyard in north-western China, bound for its new home on the Irish Sea between Britain and Ireland.Manned by a much-reduced crew of 27, with no passengers on board, the ship will travel on a journey of well over 10,000 miles, taking just over one month and making a number of stops on the way.Stena Estrid is the first of five next generation Stena Line RoPax vessels to…

L to R: Sergio Delatorre (Agency Coordinator), Manuel Tirado (CEO & Captain of the Port of Gibraltar), Herman Jorgensen (MD, GAC UK), John Ghio (Deputy Captain of the Port) and Ivo Verheyen (GAC Group VP, Europe). (Photo: GAC)

GAC Opens in Gibraltar

The GAC Group has opened an office in Gibraltar.Strategically located at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea, the port of Gibraltar serves as the primary supply point for passing ships. According to the Gibraltar Port Authority, approximately 60,000 vessels transit the Strait of Gibraltar every year, with nearly 240 million gross tonnes of vessel calls in 2018 alone.

Map: CMA CGM

CMA CGM Set to Launch Guinea Gulf Express

French container transportation and shipping company CMA CGM plans to introduce its new product GUINEA GULF EXPRESS (GGX) service in complement of the current 6 weekly services as part of improving its  offer on the trade Europe and Mediterranean to West Africa strategic markets.The new Guinea Gulf Express is the second service from Gibraltar hubs linking European, Med and North America to Tema, Ghana, Nigeria Lagos port and Conakry, Guinea.It will provide perfect answers to Customers’ needs with transit times amongst the best on the market…

The seized tanker Stena Impero / image credit: MarineTraffic.com / © Irwin Willemse

Iran Releases Seven Stena Impero Mariners

Iran has released seven of the 23 crew members of the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero that was seized earlier this summer, Sweden's foreign minister said on Wednesday.The Swedish-owned Stena Impero was detained by Iran's Revolutionary Guards on July 19 in the Strait of Hormuz waterway for alleged marine violations, two weeks after Britain detained an Iranian tanker off the territory of Gibraltar. That vessel was released in August.Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom…

U.S. Blacklists IRG Oil Shipping Network

The United States on Wednesday sanctioned a sprawling network of firms, ships and individuals allegedly directed by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps that supplied Syria with oil worth tens of millions of dollars in a breach of U.S. sanctions.The individuals included a former Iranian oil minister and his son, the U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement. Also hit were subsidiaries of an Indian firm with an interest in the Adrian Darya, the Iranian tanker that has been cruising the Mediterranean since its release from detention by authorities in Gibraltar in July…

Trouble on the high seas: tensions grow over Gulf shipping security

(Photo: ©Carabay / Adobe Stock)

UK highlights Gulf shipping threats

The UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is to call for more international support to protect shipping in the Strait of Hormuz when he meets his French and German counterparts later today (Friday, August 31) for talks about Iran. Last month, Iran seized a British-flagged oil tanker in the Strait in apparent retaliation for the UK’s seizure in Gibraltar of an Iranian ship accused of violating European sanctions by taking oil to Syria.The UK joined a U.S.-led mission to escort merchant vessels through the Strait of Hormuz at the start of this month but Germany and France declined to take part…

File Image: the former Grace 1 underway (MarineTraffic.com)

Iranian Tanker Deviates from Turkish Destination

Iranian tanker Adrian Darya, at the centre of a dispute between Washington and Tehran, has changed course away from the Turkish coast, Refinitiv ship tracking data showed on Thursday.The tanker, formerly called Grace 1, was released from detention off Gibraltar in mid-August after a five-week standoff over whether it was carrying Iranian oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions.A Turkish official told Reuters earlier on Thursday that the Iranian tanker had not entered Turkish waters.

File Image: the former M/T Grace 1 at sea (CREDIT: MarineTraffic.com)

Iran: Oil Sold from Tanker Released by Gibraltar

Iran has sold the oil from a tanker released by Gibraltar after weeks in the custody of British Royal Marines and the vessel's owner will decide on its next destination, IRIB news agency quoted an Iranian government spokesman as saying on Monday.Separately, Tehran - embroiled in a spiralling confrontation with Washington over U.S. sanctions meant to strangle Iranian oil exports - announced that it had deployed a naval destroyer with cruise missiles to help secure Iranian ships.The Iranian government spokesman did not identify the recipient of the oil carried by the Adrian Darya tanker.

© vintagepix/AdobeStock

Ships from Venezuela can still transit Panama Canal

The Panama Canal will allow vessels coming from Venezuela to transit the waterway provided they present the necessary paperwork, the canal authority's chief said on Wednesday, suggesting a new round of U.S. sanctions on the South American country may not make any difference to canal traffic.President Donald Trump's administration last week issued an executive order freezing all Venezuelan government assets in the United States. Shortly thereafter, U.S. officials ratcheted up threats against companies that do business with Venezuela.The measure did not explicitly place sanctions on non-U.S.

File Image: The Grace 1 (CREDIT: MarineTraffic.com)

Gibraltar: Iran Tanker Release Report Incorrect

A highly placed Gibraltarian government source denied on Tuesday an Iranian news agency report which said the Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 would be leaving the British overseas territory on Tuesday.British Royal Marines seized the tanker on July 4 off the coast of the British Mediterranean territory of Gibraltar on suspicion of violating EU sanctions by taking oil to Syria, which Tehran denies.Iran's semi-official Fars news agency quoted unidentified Gibraltar authorities as saying…

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi. Photo PIB

Stena Seeks India's Help to Release Ship

Stena Bulk  chief executive and president Erik Hanell wrote to Indian prime minister Narendra Modi to personally enter the efforts to secure the release of UK-flagged tanker ship Stena Impero and its primarily Indian crew members, who have been detained in Iran since mid-July.According to media reports, the owner of British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero, which was seized by Iran on July 19 with 23 crew, including 18 Indians on board, has appealed to  Modi personally intervene to negotiate with Tehran.The oil tanker Stena Impero was seized by Iran while passing through the Hormuz Strait.

HMS Kent (Image: Royal Navy website)

UK Warship Sails for Gulf Mission

British warship HMS Kent set sail for the Gulf on Monday to join a U.S.-led mission protecting commercial shipping vessels in the region amid heightened political tension between the West and Iran.Britain has joined the United States in a maritime security mission in the Gulf to protect merchant vessels.That comes after Iran seized a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. On July 4 British marines seized an Iranian vessel, which is suspected of smuggling oil to Syria, off the coast of Gibraltar.“Our focus in the Gulf remains firmly one of de-escalating the current tensions…

File Image: AdobeStock / © JJAVA

P&O Cancels Dubai, Gulf Voyages amid Iran Tensions

P&O Cruises has cancelled cruises around Dubai and the Arabian Gulf after Iran seized a British-flagged tanker in the region.Citing increased tensions, the company said it has cancelled its planned programme in the region from October until at least March next year and all guests be issued a full refund.Last month, Iran's Revolutionary Guards seized a British tanker, Stena Impero, near the Strait of Hormuz for alleged marine violations.

File Image of the seized tanker Stena Impero (CREDIT: MarineTraffic.com / © Irwin Willemse

Owner: Detention of UK-flag Tanker Unacceptable

The continued detention of British-flagged tanker Stena Impero is "unacceptable and unjustifiable" and there are concerns for the welfare of the crew after 19 days in confinement, the vessel's owner said on Tuesday.Iran's Revolutionary Guards on July 19 seized the Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz waterway for alleged marine violations. That came two weeks after Britain seized an Iranian oil tanker near Gibraltar, accusing it of violating sanctions on Syria.Britain has repeatedly…

File Image: AdobeStock / © Taras

U.S.: Ships Should Keep AIS On

The United States wants all ships to keep their tracking transponders on to cut down on illicit activity and smuggling, and to increase transparency with movements of ships around the world, a senior State Department official told Reuters.Automatic identification systems trackers are the most accessible way of observing where ships are located.The practice of turning off AIS by some vessels from countries such as Iran has become common to evade closer scrutiny as the United States pushes to cut off Iranian oil exports.The official…

Grace 1 remains impounded, not because of its flag but because it was suspected of taking oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions, an allegation that Iran denies. Image Credit: © MarineTraffic.com

INSIGHTS: Noose Tightens Around Iranian Shipping

Somewhere on its journey from the waters off Iran, around Africa's southern tip and into the Mediterranean, the Grace 1 oil tanker lost the flag under which it sailed and ceased to be registered to Panama. Iran later claimed it as its own.The ship carrying 2 million barrels of Iranian crude was seized by British Royal Marines off Gibraltar, raising tensions in the Gulf where Iran detained a UK-flagged ship in retaliation.Grace 1 remains impounded, not because of its flag but because it was suspected of taking oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions…

Logo: Hiscox

New Protection for Seized Shipping

Hiscox, a specialist global insurer, has developed a new security product to help protect shipping targeted by nation states. Malicious Vessel Seizure will respond to a single peril of a ship taken by a foreign government, providing Loss of Hire costs and the services of leading crisis management consultancy – Control Risks.Heightened tension in the Middle East and particularly in the politically sensitive area in and around the Strait of Hormuz recently saw a British flagged tanker boarded by Iranian forces and diverted into Iranian waters.

Britain Seeks to Thwart Iran's 'Piracy'

Britain will seek to put together a European-led maritime protection mission to ensure safe shipping through the Strait of Hormuz after Iran seized a British-flagged vessel in what London said was an act of "state piracy".Iran's Revolutionary Guards seized the Stena Impero in the Strait on Friday. British Royal Marines seized an Iranian tanker off the coast of Gibraltar two weeks ago."Under international law Iran had no right to obstruct the ship's passage - let alone board her.

File Image of the Stena Impero (CREDIT: MarineTraffic.com / © Erwin Willemse

Iran: British-flagged Tanker Seized in Gulf

Iran's Revolutionary Guards said on Friday they had captured a British-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf after Britain seized an Iranian vessel earlier this month, further raising tensions along a vital international oil shipping route.Britain said it was urgently seeking information about the Stena Impero after the tanker, which had been heading to a port in Saudi Arabia, suddenly changed course after passing through the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf.The Revolutionary…

UK PM to Discuss Grace 1 Tanker with Gibraltar

British Prime Minister Theresa May will meet with Gibraltar's Chief Minister Fabian Picardo later on Wednesday to discuss the detained Iranian oil tanker Grace 1, a spokesman for May said.The tanker was seized earlier this month by British Royal Marines off the coast of the British Mediterranean territory of Gibraltar on suspicion of violating sanctions against Syria.May and Picardo will also discuss Brexit, the spokesman said.Reporting by Elizabeth Piper

File Image: AdobeStock / © Taras

Unarmed Guards Deployed to Navigate Gulf

Shipping companies are hiring unarmed security guards for voyages through the Middle East Gulf as an extra safeguard after a wave of attacks in the region, security companies involved said.Relations between Iran and the West are increasingly strained after Britain seized an Iranian tanker in Gibraltar this month. Britain also said last week that one of its warships had to fend off Iranian vessels seeking to block a UK-owned tanker from passing through the Strait of Hormuz.As the risk of escalation grows…

Civilian Mariner Kevin Sauls, Ship's master aboard the Henry J. Kaiser-class fleet replenishment oiler USNS Guadalupe (T-AO 200), observes the Royal Navy Duke-class frigate HMS Montrose (F 236) during a replenishment-at-sea drill. Guadalupe is conducting operations, providing logistical support to U.S. Navy and allied forces operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tristin Barth)

Iran Attempts UK Tanker Block, Fails

Britain says it fended off Iranian attempt to block its oil tankerThree Iranian vessels tried to block a British-owned tanker passing through the strait that controls the flow of Middle East oil to the world, but backed off when confronted by a Royal Navy warship, Britain said on Thursday.A week after Britain seized an Iranian tanker accused of violating sanctions on Syria, London said the British Heritage, operated by oil company BP, had been approached in the Strait of Hormuz…

File Image / AdobeStock © Peter Cripps

UK Does Not Want to Escalate Hormuz Tensions

Britain does not intend to escort every British-flagged merchant vessel through the Strait of Hormuz, a security source said on Thursday, after a Royal Navy warship had to stop three Iranian vessels from blocking the passage of a BP-operated tanker.The source said London would be resolute in defending its maritime interests in the Gulf but it does not want to escalate the situation with Iran.Exactly a week after Britain seized an Iranian tanker in Gibraltar accused of violating sanctions on Syria…