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Explosion onboard a Chemical Tanker in Yangtze River


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An explosion took place on a Chemical Tanker, Qiu Feng 6, a Chinese-flagged vessel, on May 20 and injured two crew members of the ship.

A video of the incident has surfaced online, indicating that the crew was possibly washing the tanks when the said explosion took place.

The fire was successfully put out and Chinese authorities have started the investigation.

We understand that the vessel was undergoing a tank Cleanlines Operation.

In a desperate attempt to save their lives, three crew members jumped into the water, who were later saved by the rescue teams. The two injured crew members were immediately rushed to the hospital, while the other four crew members remained unharmed.

The said vessel is owned by Yangzhou Yuhua Shipping.

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How a Shipwrecked Crew Survived 10 Days Lost at Sea

By Eric Barton, OutsideOnline

On November 25, 2019, Chris Carney and his two-man crew, Pete Brown and Jun “Sumi” Sumiyama, set off from Japan on their way to Hawaii in a 42-foot sailboat, the Coco-Haz III. They had four weeks to cross the world’s largest ocean. The boat’s owner, a retired Japanese dentist, needed the trip done in a hurry—he’d lose a boat slip he’d rented if it didn’t arrive in time. Carney didn’t think they would make it on schedule, even if everything went right. But things went far worse than he imagined when two catastrophes left them stranded in the middle of the sea.

Here is Carney’s story, as told to Outside.

It was morning when it happened. I got my raingear on and went up on the deck to make some changes to our course. I stuck my head up, and I couldn’t believe it—the mast was gone.

One of the shrouds that connected it to the ship just broke, I guess from metal fatigue. I’ve been sailing most of my life, and not only has this never happened on any boat I’ve been on, but I don’t know anybody else who’s had this happen to them, the mast just snapping like that. 

It was December 19, and we were about a thousand miles from Oahu, Hawaii. We had lots of fuel, so we thought we could just motor in. The next day, a storm hit us. The seas were at 10 to 13 feet, nothing too dangerous. But as soon as night fell, there was one wave that went by, and we all looked at each other thinking, Whoa, that was a big one

The next wave didn’t just roll us, it picked us up and threw us. We landed upside down in the sea.

It was incredibly violent. What they show on TV, when the camera goes up and down and things are falling? It doesn’t do it justice. Stuff was flying everywhere. The battery came blasting out of the engine compartment and shot through the cabin like a rocket. We got thrown around pretty good, and we were all bruised and cut. Sumi hit his head. We didn’t know how bad it was until later.

The three of us were standing on the ceiling, and the water was coming in fast. At first it was shin-deep, and then it came up to our knees. In no time it was at our thighs. The hatch was up in the front, underwater. I kept picturing what that would be like, opening that hatch and coming out on the surface during a storm. We would be in the middle of the ocean with nothing.

I was sure that this waswhere we were going to die, right here in this storm, in this water. I was thinking, God, this boat’s got to right itself. Sailboats are designed to flip back over if they roll, but you never know what’s going to happen at sea.

Finally, it did roll. But even though the boat was upright, we were waist-deep in water, with the storm sending in more every time a wave broke over us. The engine was flooded. Most of our fuel went into the ocean. We lost our navigation, all our electronics, nearly all of our fresh water—everything. We were dead in the water and adrift. 

We did our best to bail. The waves were slamming into us, and the hull started to crack. If we had a breach, the boat was going to sink in about 30 seconds. 

The storm didn’t break, and it was miserable. We were cold, and everything was wet. No dry clothes, no dry beds. We went on starvation rations, like five almonds per day. By rationing what little water and food we had left, we thought we could make it maybe 40 or 50 days. I had never seriously faced my mortality before. Everyone knows they’re going to die. But they don’t think that they are going die in 50 days. 

The storm finally broke after 36 hours. We estimated that we had about 700 miles to go, so we rigged up a makeshift sail from the boat’s bimini top, kind of like a convertible top for a car. With that, we could make one or two knots, but if the current is one or two knots against you, you’re not going anywhere. 

At that point, our biggest issue was morale. Each of us was entertaining our worst fears. Sumi kind of withdrew. He had a severe concussion, and he was sleeping 18 hours a day. He became very silent. Pete, who’s from Tennessee, kept coming up with these songs on the banjo. They were pretty morose. He was singing about how he’d never see his family again and how the sea was going to get him.

I gave us about a 10 percent chance. Pete was giving us much less. We had a compass but no maps and only a moderate indication of where we might be. Dead reckoning is a sketchy way to navigate; it’s just guessing the direction you’re going and how fast you’re traveling, but that’s what we did. The wind rarely shifts in that part of the ocean, so we used little ribbons tied around the boat to see where it was coming from. At night we relied on the feel of the wind on our cheeks. We thought we were at about 24 degrees north latitude when the rogue wave hit, so I figured that if we got down to 21 degrees, we might end up in the shipping lanes. 

During the days, our time was occupied by tinkering with things. One guy would be driving, one guy who had been on watch the night before would be napping, and the other would be tinkering. Nothing we did could get that engine working. The satellite phone was wet, so we put it in rice at first and then dried it in the sun. To no avail. It never did get working.

Out of the 15 or so flashlights we had on board, only one was fully waterproof, so it was the only one that survived. At night you could use the moon and the stars to navigate. But occasionally you’d have to look at the compass. So that flashlight was key.

One night Pete fumbled for the flashlight and knocked it into the ocean. It was floating in the water, and we were heading away from it. Pete jumped in and swam. He was getting pretty far away from the boat. When he found it, he put it in his mouth, but the light was facing him, blinding him. He couldn’t see to swim back. I tried to wake up Sumi so I could go in and help, but he was in a trance, still concussed. I was screaming to Pete: “Swim to my voice!” I was thinking I’d have to turn the boat around and go back for him. But he swam hard and made it. His tooth was chipped from biting down on that flashlight. 

Two days later, we finally had some luck. The wind magically started coming from behind us, and we made headway. Each day I would wake up and think, This a beautiful day to get rescued. 

By day nine, we were feeling pretty good, and we were all inside trying to figure out how much drinking water was left. I started thinking we had spent too much time inside, and I popped my head up, and there was a freaking ship—right there,just a half-mile away. We sent up rockets and smoke bombs and stood on the deck screaming and waving. But it didn’t see us and just passed by.

Pete was supposed to have been up on deck at that moment. He felt pretty bad after that. He’s normally not a potty mouth, but he started swearing, saying, “This is a fucking shitshow.” It was the first ship we’d seen in three weeks, and it just went right by us. 

But at least we knew that we were in a shipping lane. That gave us some hope.

Sumi started to feel better. His hand and head were both numb, and he was still concussed. But he was sleeping less and more upbeat. He was driving the next day when we saw a second ship.

It was a container ship called Nobility. It was a long way off. So we ripped the mirrors from the bathroom and used them to reflect the sun to signal the ship. For the longest time, it didn’t see us. We thought it might just pass us by, like the last one. Luckily, it eventually changed course, slowed way down, and blew its horn.

This was December29. The Coast Guard had been searching since the 24th and was going to cancel the search on the 30th. The Nobility was headed to Korea. It took the Coast Guard about four hours to find the Kalamazoo, a Good Samaritan vessel that could bring us to Hawaii instead. It came up alongside us. They threw ropes down and tied us up. 

I was reluctant to leave. I had never abandoned a boat in the middle of the ocean. You know how they say captains should go down with the ship? There’s an element of shame attached to not completing your voyage. 

If I thought there was a 10 percent chance that we could find Hawaii, I probably would have said, “Let’s just take some water and we’ll be on our way.” Pete felt the same. He said, “Our mission is a failure.” But if we died out there, then our mission would have definitely been a failure. 

We climbed on the Kalamazoo at sunset. The first thing they gave us was some steak and potatoes, which was their Sunday meal. As we ate, we laughed about our twist of fate. Just a day before, we were pretty sure we were not going to make it.

If someone finds themselves in the same spot I was in, I would say to use your noggin. Make your best guess. Say, “This is our plan, and let’s stick to it.” That’swhat we did. After ten days, we were only eight miles off our guess of where we were. 

While we were lost, I thought about how much I love my family. I’ve got a two-year-old son and a girlfriend in the Philippines. Thankfully, he will never have to say, “I never knew my father. He died when I was two, lost at sea.” Now I’ve got a chance to watch him grow up. I cherish the time that I have to spend with them. Maybe I took them for granted before? I don’t know. 

My girlfriend has said she wasn’t worried. She said, “You promised me you’d come back.” Isn’t that what everybody says? 

Eric Barton

Home Marine Services Contact

How Africa risks reeling from a health crisis to a food crisis


By Libby George

LAGOS (Reuters) – In Nigeria’s Benue state, the food basket of the country, Mercy Yialase sits in front of her idle rice mill. Demand is high across the nation, but she already has mounds of paddy rice that are going nowhere amid the COVID-19 lockdown.

“I can’t mill because the marketers are not coming,” Yialase said, referring to wholesale buyers, as she sat at a market stall in the city of Makurdi with dozens of other millers.

Although food truck drivers are meant to be exempt from lockdown restrictions, many are afraid for their own safety, or fear they will be fined or arrested by overzealous police.

The situation in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, is reflected across sub-Saharan Africa.

Trucking logistics firm Kobo360 said 30% of its fleet across Nigeria, Kenya, Togo, Ghana and Uganda was not operating as a result. Several farmers said crops were rotting in the fields or at the depots waiting for trucks that never arrive. And millers cannot get their milled rice to buyers.

“There is no clarity around what can move around … or what is essential transportation,” said Kobo360 co-founder Ife Oyedele, adding that truck bosses were afraid. “They’re scared to go out and have their drivers on the road.”

Millions of people in the region are at risk of not getting the food they need due to coronavirus disruptions, according to the United Nations and World Bank.

While domestic crops and capacity go to waste, the imports the region relies on have also dried up as major suppliers, including India, Vietnam and Cambodia, have reduced or even banned rice exports to make sure their countries have enough food to cope with the pandemic.

Meanwhile, scarcity has driven up prices of the main staple food beyond the reach of some people since lockdowns were announced in three states at the end of March to tame the spread of the virus.

Sub-Saharan Africa, the world’s largest rice-importing region, could be heading from a health crisis straight into a food security crisis, the World Bank warns.

More widely, the United Nations says coronavirus disruptions could double the number of people globally without reliable access to nutritious food, to 265 million.

“There is no question about it that there is an imminent problem of food insecurity, not only in Nigeria, but also in nations all over the world,” Nigeria’s Agriculture Minister Muhammed Sabo Nanono told Reuters.


Nanono said Nigeria had at least 38,000 tonnes of grains in government-controlled strategic reserves. It is looking to replenish with 100,000 additional tonnes.

However the region has among the lowest inventories relative to consumption, so export restrictions mean rice shortages “could happen very quickly,” according to John Hurley, lead regional economist for west and central Africa for the U.N.’s International Fund for Agricultural Development.

Nigeria has substantially increased domestic rice production in recent years. But figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) show it still imports at least a third of what it consumes. Across sub-Saharan Africa, countries rely on imports for roughly 40% of rice consumption. 

This puts these countries at particular risk.

India, the world’s largest rice exporter, temporarily stopped new export agreements earlier this month, while lockdowns and supply chain disruptions in Pakistan, Vietnam and Cambodia have limited available exports.

Since only 9% of global output is traded internationally, the curbs hit prices immediately, the USDA said.

“We need to make sure we’re not taking policy measures that are going to hurt the rural poor and people in developing countries, said Hurley.

The price of a bag of imported rice rose by more than 7.5% in Abuja and Lagos between the third week of March and early April, according to SBM Intelligence, while bags of local rice became about 6%-8% more expensive.


In Kenya, panic-buying and government programmes to distribute rice to low-income households have already depleted reserves.

If imports don’t pick up, East Africa alone could face a shortfall of at least 50,000-60,000 tonnes by the end of the month, said Mital Shah, managing director of Kenya-based Sunrice, one of the region’s largest rice importers.

“The entire supply chain has been disrupted,” Shah said. “In the next couple of weeks, East Africa is going to have a huge shortage.”

Getting the bills of loading for imports into Kenya has also stretched from three to four days to three to four weeks. In Nigeria, clearing imports has gone from weeks to months.

Senegal’s rice imports have fallen by around 30% due to international supply disruptions, said Ousmane Sy Ndiaye, executive director of UNACOIS, a Senegalese commerce industry group. He estimated the nation had enough in storage to cover two months.

Growing rice in nations outside East Africa, such as Nigeria, is also more important now due to a plague of locusts in East Africa that has decimated crops this year.


Domestic movement restrictions and import delays are also hindering farmers, and some are warning that production will fall if governments do not act.

A survey by AFEX Commodities Exchange Limited, a Nigerian company that assists the agriculture sector with logistics and financing, found that Nigeria’s fertilizer stocks are currently 20% below normal levels. There are only enough seeds and other inputs to farm 1 million hectares out of the roughly 30 million typically farmed, the study showed.

Other farmers say the lockdowns are hindering farm inspections by banks, putting their financing at risk, and creating problems physically getting tractors – which are often hired – to fields. Planting rice would typically start in May.

“Most people in the industry I speak with are worried,” said Dimieari Von Kemedi, managing director of Alluvial Agriculture, a farm collective.

Nigeria’s government has created a task force to minimize the coronavirus’s impact on agriculture. Nanono said it was creating ID cards for those in the agriculture sector, from farmhands to food truck drivers, to enable them to move freely.

He said the government was taking steps to make sure farmers, millers and marketers could operate. The agriculture ministry is working to increase locally produced fertilizers, while the central bank would look to expand financing for farmers, he added.

Help cannot come soon enough for Yialase in Benue, who is awaiting the day marketers return.

“When they start to come, I can mill everything here, and they will buy.”

(Reporting by Libby George; Additional reporting by Abraham Achirga in Abuja, Christian Akorlie in Accra, Loucoumane Coulibaly in Abidjan, Ayenat Mersie and Duncan Miriri in Nairobi; Graphics by Gavin Maguire; Editing by Alexis Akwagyiram and Pravin Char)

Observater EA : Marine Services Draft Survey

Crude tanker storage, orderbook dynamics could balance demand lull

Source: S&P global

Teekay Tankers is looking toward potentially bullish tanker supply factors, namely discharge delays, floating storage and the orderbook environment to combat depressed crude cargo demand in the near and medium term, CEO Kevin Mackay said Thursday.

“In the near term, we anticipate that rates will remain volatile due to a continued mismatch between oil supply and demand and an ongoing need for floating storage,” Mackay said in the company’s first-quarter earnings call.

The company recorded the highest spot rates for their mid-size tanker fleet in more than 10 years in Q1 2020, as a collapse in crude prices from a failure of OPEC+ countries to reach a supply cut agreement led to a deep contango structure that boosted charterer interest in floating storage utilization and healthy spot cargo demand.

Entering Q1 2020, the cost of taking an Aframax on a USGC-UK Continent/Mediterranean run was at sky-high levels, averaging $45.55/mt in January, only to peak again on March 16 at w197.5, or $40.25/mt, and April 23 at w205, or $41.78/mt. Freight for the route has since dropped to w85, or $17.32/mt, a total decline of 58.5% since the April spike.

Freight across all major dirty tanker ship classes has been on the decline since the beginning of May as production cuts of at least 9.7 million b/d by OPEC+ countries came into play and as continued demand destruction from the coronavirus outbreak has left cargo inquiry dismal.

Global crude demand is expected to fall by 8.6 million b/d in 2020, according to the most recent estimates released May 14 by the International Energy Agency.

Increased floating storage demand has lent support to freight rates across the board since the mid-March crude price fallout but has since declined as the crude contango structure continues to narrow. Although fresh inquiry has fallen, impacts from high activity in March and April could continue to lend support to rates, including discharge delays at ports and timely unwinding of floating storage deals.

Teekay estimated that over 100 crude tankers are currently being utilized for traditional floating storage, defined by being idle for at least 30 days, while an additional 100 ships are seeing delays at ports, sitting on demurrage for periods of seven-20 days, Mackay said on the call.

“All told around 10% of the crude tanker fleet is being used as some form of floating storage, thereby reducing the number of ships available for transporting cargo,” Mackay said. “This tightening of available fleet supply combined with healthy cargo supply caused a significant increase in tanker utilization during the first quarter.”

Other dirty tanker owners, who jumped on the opportunity to lock in high daily earnings on storage or time charter deals at the end of Q1 and the beginning of Q2 2020, are expecting to see positive fallout from the fixing spree in the coming year.

Since the start of the year, Teekay has entered into five one-year charter agreements for Suezmaxes at an average of $45,600/d one six-month charter at $52,500/d, and three one- to two-year Aframax charters at an average of $26,750/d, the company said.

At least 20% of total spot available days for Teekay’s fleet will be booked for the next 12 months.

Teekay also expects fleet growth to lend support to freight into the coming years as newbuild orders remain depressed on owner uncertainty of upcoming environmental regulations.

“Very low tanker fleet growth due to a small orderbook and high scrapping may lead to a faster rebalancing than in previous market cycles,” Mackay said.

The current order book as it stands is extremely bullish, with newbuild orders at only 8% of the total global fleet, a 23-year low, according to the company.

In addition, the company expects higher rates of scrapping in the near future, with approximately 19% of the mid-size tanker fleet 15 years or older.

The post Crude tanker storage, orderbook dynamics could balance demand lull: Teekay appeared first on Nucleus Marine .

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