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Monday, September 23, 2019

Washington News

AdobeStock / © Rawf8

Trump warns China Against Trade Talk Delays

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned he would be "tougher" on Beijing in a second term if trade talks dragged on, compounding market fears that ongoing trade disputes between the United States and China could trigger a U.S. recession.The world's two largest economies imposed fresh tariffs on each other on Sunday, ratcheting up a tit-for-tat tariff war that has unsettled financial markets and raised the specter of a global recession. U.S. and Chinese negotiators are due to meet in person in Washington this month, but no date has yet been set.U.S.

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.

Brian King (Photo: Elliott Bay Design Group)

EBDG Appoints King as President

Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG) has announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Brian King as President - Chief Engineer. King will have direct supervision of the business and affairs of the company. He will be responsible for advancing EBDG's major strategic objectives while leading the team on planning, business management, engineering, personnel development and sales.Since joining the company in 1988, Brian has made numerous contributions to the organization including developing engineering standards…

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.

Australia Joins U.S.-led Gulf Security Mission

Australia will join the United States in a security mission to protect merchant vessels travelling through key Middle East waterways after Iran seized a British-flagged vessel, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday.Foremost among the areas to be patrolled is the Strait of Hormuz, between Oman and Iran, through which about one-fifth of the world's seaborne crude flows out of the Gulf.Global commodity trading has been rocked in recent months by the seizure of the British tanker and a series of attacks on international merchant vessels that the U.S.

A US Navy fleet oiler on station. CREDIT: USN

Iran: Waterways Won't be Safe if its Oil Exports

If Iran's oil exports are cut to zero, international waterways will not have the same security as before, its president said on Wednesday, cautioning Washington against upping pressure on Tehran in an angry confrontation between the longtime foes.The comment by President Hassan Rouhani coincided with a remark by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that Tehran might act "unpredictably" in response to "unpredictable" U.S. policies under President Donald Trump."World powers know that in the case that oil is completely sanctioned and Iran's oil exports are brought down to zero…

Lisa Lefeber (Photo: Port of Everett Commission)

Lefeber Named Port of Everett CEO

On August 13, the Port of Everett Commission voted 3-0 to approve a contract naming the Port’s Deputy Executive Director Lisa Lefeber the next CEO, effective October 16, 2019. Lefeber is the first female to be selected for this top leadership role in the Port’s 100-year history.Prior to her role as Deputy Executive Director, Lefeber served as the Port’s Chief of Policy and Communications, a position she held for more than 13 years. In this role, she managed the Port’s communication and government affairs program…

A southern resident Killer whale leaping out of the waters of Haro Strait, British Columbia, Canada © Natalie Bowes

Cruise Ships Dump 90% of Grey Water in BC

1.54 billion liters of grey water were generated by ships off the British Columbia coast in 2017 - the equivalent of more than 600 Olympic-size swimming pools, said a study.World Wildlife Fund Canada says cruise ships traveling between Washington state and Alaska are responsible for dumping "the vast majority" of the potentially toxic grey water that ends up off the B.C. coast each year.Cruise ships accounted for 1.37 billion (almost 90%) of the 1.54 billion liters of grey water generated off the B.C.

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China in Talks with U.S. Trade Officials

Senior Chinese and U.S. trade officials spoke by telephone on Tuesday as the Chinese side lodged solemn representation on additional tariffs on Chinese goods scheduled to start next month, China's Ministry of Commerce said in a statement.The statement was issued at around the same time that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer's office said the United States will delay imposing a 10% tariff on certain of the products, including laptops and cell phones.The Chinese statement made no mention of this planned delay.Chinese Vice Premier Liu He spoke with Lighthizer and U.S.

Peter C. Anderson (Photo: Carnival Corp)

Carnival Names Anderson as Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer

Carnival Corporation announced the appointment of Peter C. Anderson to the newly created position of chief ethics and compliance officer. Based at the company’s headquarters in Miami, Anderson will be a member of the executive leadership team and report directly to Carnival Corporation President and CEO Arnold Donald.Anderson is a former federal prosecutor with over 20 years of experience in corporate compliance. He had previously been the head of the White Collar and Compliance Group at the law firm of Beveridge & Diamond…

File Image: AdobeStock / © Taras

Marad: Send Gulf Transit Plans in Advance

The U.S. maritime agency has told U.S.-flagged commercial vessels they should send transit plans in advance to American and British naval authorities if they intend to sail in Gulf waters following several incidents over tankers involving Iran.The seizure of commercial vessels and attacks on tankers near the Strait of Hormuz have unsettled shipping lanes that link Middle Eastern oil producers to global markets.The United States, which has increased its military forces in the region…

File Image: A Chinese Naval Frigate underway. CREDIT: AdobeStock / © Vanderwolf

China Mulls Hormuz Naval Escort Role

China might escort Chinese commercial vessels in Gulf waters under a U.S. proposal for a maritime coalition to secure oil shipping lanes following attacks on tankers, its envoy to the United Arab Emirates said on Tuesday."If there happens to be a very unsafe situation we will consider having our navy escort our commercial vessels," Ambassador Ni Jian told Reuters in Abu Dhabi."We are studying the U.S. proposal on Gulf escort arrangements," China's embassy later said in a text…

(Pictured: Michael Lapeyrouse, president and CEO of AEU, and Peter Burke, president and co-founder of Best Companies Group) (Photo: AEU)

AEU Named an Alabama 'Best Company to Work for'

The American Equity Underwriters, Inc. (AEU) was recently named as one of the Best Companies to Work for in Alabama in an annual ranking compiled by Business Alabama and Best Companies Group.This survey and awards program was designed to identify, recognize, and honor the best employers in Alabama, benefiting the economy, workforce, and businesses. 22 companies received the coveted award.In the small-to-medium company category (15 to 249 employees), AEU ranked 5th among the 13 companies receiving the award.

File image: A crude vessel alongside and loading at the U.S. port of Corpus Christi, Texas

U.S. Crude Exports Reach a Record of 3.16 mln bpd

U.S. crude oil exports surged 260,000 barrels per day (bpd) in June to a monthly record of 3.16 million bpd as South Korea bought record volumes and China resumed purchases, data from the U.S. Census Bureau showed on Friday.South Korea surpassed Canada to become the biggest purchaser of U.S. crude at about 605,000 bpd. China purchased about 292,000 bpd, the most since June last year and was the third-largest buyer of U.S. crude in June, the data showed.China, once the top buyer of U.S.

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Beijing: U.S.-China Trade Talks 'constructive'

U.S. and Chinese negotiators wrapped up a brief round of trade talks on Wednesday that Beijing described as "constructive", including discussion of further purchases of American farm goods and an agreement to reconvene in September.The first face-to-face trade talks since a ceasefire was agreed last month amounted to a working dinner on Tuesday at Shanghai's historic Fairmont Peace Hotel and a half-day meeting on Wednesday, before U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin flew out."Both sides…

Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao

U.S. DOT Names Nine Marine Highway Projects

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) today announced the designation of nine Marine Highway Projects and a Marine Highway Route that will benefit Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington State and American Samoa. Marine highways are navigable waterways that can be used as alternate options to traditional shipping methods. “The designation of marine highways by Congress will help move cargo and people to help grow the economy and shift freight off of congested highways,” said Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

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…

Attendees represent the competition authorities responsible for regulating international liner shipping in the world’s largest liner trade lanes.

Fourth Global Regulatory Summit Held at FMC

Senior government officials from the European Union (EU), the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and the United States met Wednesday at the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to participate in the Fourth Global Regulatory Summit.Attendees represent the competition authorities responsible for regulating international liner shipping in the world’s largest liner trade lanes. The delegations were led by Director Henrik Morch from the Directorate General for Competition of the European Commission and Deputy Director-General YI Jiyong of the Water Transport Bureau…

Photo: © halberg/Adobe Stock

Regulatory Crewing Challenges for Offshore Wind Vessels

Every day we see more and more news about how the planning for new offshore wind projects continues to expand with the increasing investment from both domestic and foreign interests in these projects. This is resulting in both developers and contractors making logistics plans to secure vessels and crew for the purposes of meeting the demands necessary to crew and operate vessels in support of future wind farm operations. Unfortunately, there are challenges associated with the…

USN File photo: flight operations underway on the USS Boxer, the warship credited this week with downing an Iranian drone.

Stakeholders Ignore U.S. Middle East Coalition Proposals

The United States is struggling to win its allies' support for an initiative to heighten surveillance of vital Middle East oil shipping lanes because of fears it will increase tension with Iran, six sources familiar with the matter said.Washington proposed on July 9 stepping up efforts to safeguard strategic waters off Iran and Yemen where it blames Iran and its proxies for tanker attacks. Iran denies the charges.But with Washington's allies reluctant to commit new weaponry or fighting forces…

File Image: A UK Navy warship on patrol (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © Peter Cripps)

Britain Foils Iranian Attempt to Block Tanker

Three Iranian vessels tried to block a BP-operated tanker passing through the Strait of Hormuz but backed off when confronted by a Royal Navy warship, the UK government said on Thursday.Britain urged Iran to "de-escalate the situation in the region" after the British Heritage, a Suezmax oil tanker operated by BP under an Isle of Man flag, was approached."HMS Montrose was forced to position herself between the Iranian vessels and British Heritage and issue verbal warnings to the Iranian vessels…

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…

The Tanker riah (File Image: CREDIT MarineTraffic.com / © Marinko)

U.S. Unsure About Details of Tanker Towed to Iran

U.S. officials say they are unsure whether an oil tanker towed into Iranian waters was seized by Iran or rescued after facing mechanical faults as Tehran asserts, creating a mystery at sea at a time of high tension in the Gulf.The MT Riah disappeared from ship tracking maps when its transponder was switched off in the Strait of Hormuz on July 14. Its last position was off the coast of the Iranian island of Qeshm in the strait.Iran says it towed a vessel into its waters from the strait after the ship issued a distress call.

file image of US Navy assets underway (CREDIT: USN)

US to Work "aggressively" for Free Gulf Passage

U.S. Central Command chief General Kenneth McKenzie said on Thursday it was talking to other countries about freedom of navigation in the Gulf and would work "aggressively" to find a solution to enable free passage.The United States has beefed up its military presence in the Middle East over a perceived Iranian threat and is asking allies to help protect strategic waters off Iran and Yemen, following attacks on oil tankers in Gulf waters in recent months."We are currently talking…

A UH-1Y Venom helicopter assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 163 (Reinforced), 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), takes off from the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) during a strait transit. The Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and the 11th MEU are deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the wester

Strait of Hormuz: Ships urged to alert Navies before Sailing Through

Shipping associations have called on ship owners to inform Britain's navy of their movements before sailing into the Middle East Gulf and Strait of Hormuz because of the escalating international crisis in the region.About a fifth of the world's oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz and shipping companies are already deploying more unarmed security guards as an extra safeguard.However, in a joint note issued by the leading trade associations on Monday, ship captains were requested to register with the Royal Navy's liaison body…