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Asian refiners may lift some middle east crude in smaller vessels post sabotage

Various Asian buyers of Middle Eastern crude oil expressed some concerns over the safe passage of their term cargoes following the recent sabotage attack on Saudi oil tankers, prompting several refiners to consider lifting Persian Gulf barrels in smaller vessels as a means of reducing supply disruption risk.

Saudi Aramco’s term crude oil customers in South Korea, China, Thailand and Japan have adopted additional precautionary measures in lifting and bringing in their May-loading term cargoes, refinery sources told S&P Global Platts.

The tankers were on their way to cross the Arabian Gulf, with one of them scheduled to load Saudi crude from the port of Ras Tanura for delivery to Saudi Aramco’s customers in the US, SPA said, citing Falih.

According to a survey of major refiners in Asia conducted by S&P Global Platts, at least five companies in South Korea, China, Japan and Southeast Asia said they may consider lifting some Saudi or other Middle Eastern crude and condensate in smaller vessels in the event of additional hostilities on oil tankers in the region.

Trade battle looks set to roil container shipping

The escalating US-China tariff tensions could curtail growth in trans-Pacific seaborne trade this year if no settlement is reached, and container ships that carry consumer goods likely will be directly affected. Jonathan Roach, a container analyst at London-based shipbroker Braemar ACM, expects demand growth in the sector to be reduced to around 2percent this year from 4.5 percent in 2018, hitting the finances of carriers that are still trying to recover from a steep downturn.

The increase in tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on Chinese products to the US could severely reduce current and future growth on the trans-Pacific trade and immediately create significant overcapacity of ships in the water. The higher levies the Trump administration plans to impose on Chinese products starting June 1 include finished electronics, furniture and a host of other retail goods that move on the world’s big container vessels. Other parts of the shipping industry such as dry-bulk carriers and tanker operators will be hit less as China will continue to import of products like grain and crude oil from countries other than the US.

Coal-carrying ships departing us coasts cut-down to last week

Coal-carrying ships departing from US ports totaled 103 in the week ended May 11, down four from the previous week, Platts cFlow trade flow software data shows. From the year-ago week coal departures were up by four. Departures off the US Gulf Coast made up the majority with 50 carriers, up eight from the prior week, followed by 33 off the Atlantic Coast, down from 48 the week before, and 20 off the West Coast, up three.

The most recent week had the most US coal-vessel departures off the Gulf Coast and the West Coast since the weeks ended March 23 and March 2, respectively. Year over year, Gulf Coast departures were up nine, the West Coast was up three and the Atlantic Coast was down eight. The main destination for coal carriers from US coasts was North Asia, with 18 arrivals, followed by Brazil with 16 and then the Mediterranean with 13. In the year-ago week, North Asia was also the top destination, with 14, followed by the Gibraltar and the Mediterranean, with 13 and 11, respectively.


Shell conducts 19 successful Vlsfo trials with shipowners

Global oil major Shell on Monday said it had carried out 19 successful trials of the 0.5 percent sulfur fuel oil with shipowners at key ports globally, and will be carrying out further trials in New Orleans, Rotterdam, and Singapore. This comes as less than eight months remain for the International Maritime Organization’s global sulfur limit rule for marine fuels.

The IMO will cap global sulfur content in marine fuels at 0.5percent from January 1, 2020, down from the current 3.5percent. That will apply outside designated emission control areas where the limit is already 0.1percent. Shipowners will have to burn cleaner, more expensive fuels or install scrubber units for burning high sulfur fuel oil to comply with the rule. Shell said in a statement that all trials showed that with the correct preparation, the fuels performed well in the engine, crews were comfortable using them and changeovers between grades did not result in any extra workload for the engine crew.

Singapore April container throughput up 2.4pc to 2.99 million teu

The Port of Singapore’s April container volume increased 2.4 per cent year on year to 2.99 million TEU, said the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA). But April bunker sales went in the opposite direction and plunged 12.3 per cent year on year, according to MPA data. Month to month, however, April’s throughout fell six per cent vis-a-vis March volume of 3.2 million TEU. From January to April 2019, Singapore moved a total throughput of 11.93 million TEU, down 1.2 per cent year on year.

Two oil tankers damaged by sabotage attacks

Saudi Arabia said Monday two of its oil tankers were sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates in attacks that caused “significant damage” to the vessels, one of them as it was en route to pick up Saudi oil to take to the United States (US). Khalid al-Falih’s comments came as the US issued a new warning to sailors and the UAE’s regional allies condemned the reported sabotage Sunday of four ships off the coast of the port city of Fujairah. The announcement came just hours after Iranian and Lebanese media outlets aired false reports of explosions at the city’s port. Emirati officials have declined to elaborate on the nature of the sabotage or say who might have been responsible. However, the reports come as the US has warned ships that “Iran or its proxies” could be targeting maritime traffic in the region, and as America is deploying an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf to counter alleged threats from Tehran.

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