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Monday, July 22, 2019

South China Sea News

Captain Andrew Kinsey, Senior Risk Marine Consultant with Allianz Risk Consultant (ARC)

Shipping Losses Lowest This Century as New Dangers Emerge

The Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty AGCS) Safety & Shipping Review 2019 provides a unique and in-depth look at the emerging risks facing international shipping stakeholders.Large shipping losses are now at their lowest level this century having declined by over 50% year-on-year, according to Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE’s (AGCS) Safety & Shipping Review 2019. The annual study analyzes reported shipping losses over 100 gross tons (GT). AGCS provides global marine and shipping insurance for all types of marine risk…

© windy Li/AdobeStock

Mnuchin: China Talks "So far, so good"

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said talks with China went well on Wednesday, as the world's two largest economies try to iron out an agreement to resolve their trade dispute."So far, so good," he said when asked by reporters on how the meetings in Beijing went. He did not say who he met.Mnuchin said earlier he hoped for "productive" trade meetings as the two countries seek to end a festering dispute that has seen both sides level tariffs at one other.U.S. tariffs on $200…

Image:  Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction

Chinese Eye Philippines Hanjin Shipyard

Two Chinese shipbuilding companies have expressed intent to invest in the largest Philippine shipyard, debt-riddled Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines, the Department of Trade Industry (DTI) said.Drowning in debt,  the Philippine business of the Hanjin Group of South Korea, has asked the government for help in search of an investor who would take over the business and save the troubled shipbuilder.Philippines Rodrigo Duterte administration has stepped in to help save the troubled investor in Subic.According to local media reports…

File Image: AdobeStock / © Leeylutung

Diesel-Loaded Tankers Stranded off Asia as Demand Wanes

Several tankers carrying diesel fuel are floating off Taiwan and Southeast Asian waters as a steep fall in oil prices kept buyers at bay, trade and shipping sources said on Friday, helping push rates to their highest since January 2016.With tanker rates also boosted by strong Chinese oil exports, it was a big relief for an industry that has been in the doldrums for the past three years.About seven to nine long-range tankers carrying about 5 to 7 million barrels of diesel are currently floating off Taiwan waters largely due to a drop in bunker fuel demand from the South China Sea…

Image: Ocean Installer

Ocean Installer Wins First Contract in China

Ocean Installer has been awarded a contract for 3rd Party Verification and Engineering Support work for the Liuhua 29-1 Gas Field Development located in the South China Sea.The work scope encompasses 3rd party verification of detailed design and subsea construction engineering, as well as various other support functions to the client’s engineering team.This is the company’s first job in China, and Ocean Installer will conduct the work as a subcontractor to COOEC Subsea Technology Co.…

© Wojciech Wrzesien / Adobe Stock photo

Phoenix Petroleum, CNOOC Partner for LNG Terminal

Philippine fuel retailer Phoenix Petroleum said it had agreed to partner with a subsidiary of state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) to explore building a receiving terminal for liquefied natural gas in the country.The Philippines is seeking investors to build a storage and distribution facility for imported LNG as it moves to replace its Malampaya gas reserves, expected to be depleted by 2024.Phoenix Petroleum, owned by a local businessman who helped bankroll President Rodrigo Duterte's 2016 election campaign…

Plans Emerge for Strategic Indian Ocean Naval Port

Indonesia and India pledged on Wednesday to step up defense and maritime cooperation, with plans to develop a strategic Indonesian naval port in the Indian Ocean, the leaders of the two countries said after meeting in Jakarta. Indonesian President Joko Widodo met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss, among other issues, developing infrastructure and an economic zone at Sabang, on the tip of Sumatra island and at the mouth of the Malacca Strait, one of the busiest shipping channels for global trade.

© lindbrielle / MarineTraffic.com

Tanker Rescues Castaway in South China Sea

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. announced that on April 14, 2018, the MOL-operated/managed crude oil tanker Altair Trader rescued a castaway in the South China Sea.At 19:10 local time on April 14, while underway in the South China Sea toward the port of Kawasaki, Japan, the Altair Trader noticed a light on the sea surface ahead the starboard and spotted a castaway.The vessel immediately turned around and started rescue operations, and by 20:28 the same day, the survivor was safely rescued.At 22:30 on April 15…

U.S., China Stumble into the Thucydides Trap: Kemp

The United States and China have fired the opening shots in a trade war that may be hard to stop. Washington has published a target list of 1,300 items imported from China worth an estimated $50 billion that would be hit with an extra tariff of 25 percent (“Notice of determination”, USTR, April 3). Beijing has responded with a target list of 106 items imported from the United States worth a similar amount that would be hit by the same ad valorem tariff (“China retaliates for U.S. tariffs”, Reuters, April 4).

Location of the five actual incidents and two attempted incidents reported in January 2018. Map: ReCAAP ISC

Piracy, Armed Robbery in Asia Drop in January: ReCAAP

A total of seven incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported in Asia - five actual incidents and two attempted incidents - in January 2018, compared to 16 incidents reported in December 2017, according to regional piracy watchdog ReCAAP ISC. Out of the seven reported, five were actual and two were attempted incidents. One of these was a piracy incident and six were armed robberies against ships. Five incidents occurred on board ships while at anchor/berth…

Image: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore

Two Missing after Ship Sinks in South China Sea

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said that a ship sank in South China Sea on Friday, 11 out of 13 crew were rescued and two remained missing. According to the survivors, there were 13 crew on board the sunken vessel. Two persons are still unaccounted for. MPA has been providing navigational broadcasts to vessels in the vicinity to report any sightings of persons overboard and to navigate with caution in the vicinity of the incident. The Republic of Singapore…

Photo by the state media Xinhua

China Unveils Huge Island Building Vessel

China has has unveiled a massive island-building vessel, which has been called “a magic island-maker” by its designer and is considered the most powerful vessel of its type in Asia, the state media reported. Named Tian Kun Hao, the ship is reported to have a deck the size of nine basketball courts and be capable of dredging up to 6,000 cubic meters an hour and digging as deep as 35 meters under the sea floor. The ship, capable of building artificial islands of the sort the country has constructed in the contested South China Sea…

Photo: Department of Transportation - DOTr Philippines

Philippines-Indonesia Shipping Route Soon

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced plans to open a shorter shipping route between the Philippines and Indonesia, a move meant to strengthen trade relations between the two neighboring countries, reported  Manila Times. The maiden voyage scheduled on April 28 will originate from Davao City, the hometown of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte. Agricultural products will be among the first batches of cargo to be transported on the new shipping route, the trade department said.

Photo courtesy of IMRF

IMRF Reveals Hero Long List

The International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) has revealed the long list of entries for its H.E.R.O. awards – launched in April this year. The 30 finalists range from companies, maritime search and rescue organizations and individuals involved in technological developments to those involved with design and innovation, services and training, as well as those actively engaged in saving lives in the world’s waters. Entries come from across the world including organizations and individuals as far afield as China and the United States to Bangladesh and New Zealand. The H.E.R.O.

Japan Navy Chief Urges Resumption of China Port Visits

The head of Japan's navy on Monday repeated criticisms of China's pursuit of territorial claims in Asia but called for a resumption of port and personnel visits suspended for several years amid rising tensions between the two Asian powers. Admiral Tomohisa Takei said exchange visits by senior naval personnel and warships were effective in improving relationships between armed forces. "They should be resumed as soon as possible," he told a Washington think tank. While criticizing China's for its actions in the East China Sea…

Liaison officers from participating countries of Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) 2016 review a training brief to prepare for the exercise at Yankee Station

SEACAT Enhances Maritime Security Between Navies in SE Asia

The 15th annual Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) exercise commenced at the Republic of Singapore Navy's Multinational Operations and Exercises Centre (MOEC) Aug 22. SEACAT focuses on regional cooperation to address shared maritime security challenges like smuggling, piracy and other illicit activities at sea by bringing together liaison officers (LNOs) from Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Bangladesh, Cambodia, and the United States to collaborate and execute practical maritime responses to multiple realistic scenarios.

Gaofen-3 onboard the Long March 4C rocket. Image Courtesy: Xinhua

China Launches Maritime Satellite

China’s Academy of Space Technology in Beijing has launched a new high-tech satellite, called the Gaofen 3 high-resolution Earth observation satellite, which has been designed to protect its maritime interests, as well as warn of natural disasters, according to China Daily. The satellite was delivered by a Long March 4C rocket that blasted off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Shanxi province. "The satellite will play an important role in monitoring the marine environment…

Photo: U.S.-China Perception Monitor

Japan Slams China Over Maritime Issues

Japan has accused China of being assertive over maritime issues, taking actions that effectively amount to a "fait accompli", reports Strait Times. In its 484-page annual defence white paper on Tuesday (Aug 2), the defence ministry said the aggressive actions by China could "cause unintended consequences", referring to past incidents including one where a China naval frigate entered Japan's contiguous zone this year, near a crop of islets in the East China Sea that has been claimed by both countries.

Photo Permanent Court of Arbitration

ASEAN in Discord Ahead of Meeting with top China, U.S. Diplomats

Southeast Asian nations were thrown into disarray after Cambodia on Saturday blocked them from issuing a statement referring to an international court ruling against China's territorial claims in the South China Sea, diplomats said. The U.N.-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague handed an emphatic legal victory to the Philippines in the maritime dispute earlier this month, denying China's sweeping claims in the strategic seaway. Foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will meet for the first time since the ruling on Sunday, before hosting U.S.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Official Portrait Photo John Kerry -@JohnKerry

Kerry to Press ASEAN meeting for talks on SCS Disputes

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will urge Southeast Asian nations in meetings in Laos next week to find diplomatic ways to launch talks with China on easing tension over the South China Sea following an international court ruling that denies China's claims in the sea. Kerry travels to Laos' capital Vientiane on Monday for meetings of foreign ministers from the 10-member Association of South East Asia Nations where tensions between China and several ASEAN members, in particular the Philippines and Vietnam, over the South China Sea is expected to dominate talks.

Vice President Joe Biden with Sailors in the hangar bay aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) during the Rim of the Pacific maritime exercise, the world's largest international maritime exercise. RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Luke MoyerReleased)

Biden Visits Stennis

Vice President Joe Biden visited the Sailors aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) July 14, while the ship and John C. Stennis Strike Group (JCSSG) were participating in the Rim of the Pacific maritime exercise. The visit, which occurred just one day before the six-month mark of their current deployment, gave Biden an opportunity to thank the crew, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9, and embarked Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 21 and strike group staffs, for the work they have done operating in the the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations and specifically the South China Sea.

China Loses on South China Sea Ruling

The United States urged all parties to avoid provocative statements or actions after an arbitration court ruled on Tuesday that China has no historic title over the waters of the South China Sea. "The decision today by the Tribunal in the Philippines-China arbitration is an important contribution to the shared goal of a peaceful resolution to disputes in the South China Sea," State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement. The United States is still studying the decision…

File photo: Aurelie Moulin

Oil and Shipping Markets on Edge After South China Sea Ruling

Global oil and shipping markets reacted nervously on Tuesday after an international arbitration court ruled against Beijing's claims across large swathes of the South China Sea, fuelling geopolitical tensions in the vital waterway. A tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, found China had breached the sovereign rights of the Philippines and had no legal basis to its historic claims in the South China Sea, a major shipping lane between Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The ruling will be seen as a victory by other regional claimants such the Philippines and Vietnam…

Islands Disputed in the South China Sea. Sources: Lowy Institute | National Public Radio | Additional Research by Graphiq. As of January, 2016

China to Hold Military Drill in South China Sea

China’s maritime safety administration announced China’s military's plans exercises in the disputed South China Sea this week, adding to tensions ahead of an international tribunal’s ruling that is expected to challenge Beijing’s maritime claims in the area. The naval drills, which will cover the area east of China’s Hainan Island all the way to and including the Paracels, will be held on July 5-11, Reuters reports, citing a brief statement published online. The drills will be ending July 11, the day before the United Nations-backed tribunal in The Hague is expected to issue its ruling.

Image: COSCO Shipping Corp

COSCO to Roll out Cruise to Xisha Islands

China’s state-owned COSCO Shipping Corp plans to launch cruise services in the South China Sea in July, reports Reuters. The first route is expected to travel from Sanya to the Yongle Island, part of the Xisha Islands in Hainan province. Its part of Beijing’s plans to transform several islands in the disputed waterway into tourist destinations to bolster its territorial claims. "It is practical to stimulate the local economy through development of tourism, logistics and infrastructure facilities," Xu Lirong, chairman of COSCO Shipping, said.

South China Sea Disputed Areas Map courtesy AFP

Vietnam Urges "Fair" Ruling from Court Handling S. China Sea Case

Vietnam has called for an international tribunal in The Hague to deliver a "fair and objective" ruling in an arbitration case lodged by the Philippines that challenges China's expansive claims in the South China Sea. In a carefully worded statement two days after the court announced July 12 as the verdict date, Vietnam's foreign ministry said it hoped the ruling would provide a basis for peacefully resolving rows. Vietnam is not a direct party to the case but stands to gain if the verdict favours Manila.