20 June 2013

Ship Breaking, Ship Recycling Board Act finalises soon:

Industries Minister Dilip Barua on Wednesday said the government is going to finalise Ship Breaking and Ship Recycling Board Act soon as it wants green industrialisation in the country with zero risk as well as zero pollution.

Seeking cooperation from world community to establish a green shipbreaking industrial sector in Bangladesh, he urged foreign experts to invest their knowledge, expertise, wisdom and finance for setting up a hi-tech ship recycling sector for the betterment of the future generation.

The minister was addressing as the chief guest a roundtable discussion on Promoting Sustainable Finance in Ship Recycling Industry in Bangladesh.

Dutch and German embassies in collaboration with different development financial institutions and partners like- FMO, DEG, IFC, Proparco organised the roundtable at a hotel in Dhaka on Wednesday.

SK Sur Chowdhury, Deputy Governor of Bangladesh Bank, Gerben Sjoerd De Jong, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Bangladesh, Dr. Ralf Reusch, Deputy Head of Mission of Germany in Bangladesh, Jurgen Rigterink, Chief Investment Officer, FMO, Nikos Mikelis, Industry Expert, former head of Ship Recycling Unit, IMO, Ali Reza Iftekhar, Managing Director and CEO of Eastern Bank Limited, attended.

Highlighting the strength of Bangladesh economy, Barua said, despite the recent global economic crisis, Bangladesh’s undisturbed and consistent growth over the past decade has proved the resilience of its economy. Its favorable investment climate has been lauded by many around the world.

Bangladesh, as a vibrant economy, maintained a consistent growth rate over 6 percent. With a population of 160 million, the country boasts of an efficient and entrepreneur workforce that is changing the profile of the economy, he said.

Laying emplasis on drawing a meaningful roadmap, he said the roadmap would help establish the much desired ship recycling industrial sector in line with the spirit of National Industrial Policy-2010 of the present grand alliance government, he expected.

“We are giving more thrust on the establishment of knowledge based hi-tech industries. Our vision is to make an industrialised Digital Bangladesh by 2021. In order to materialise our dream into reality we have been pursuing a liberal investment and industrial policy for foreign investors with huge attractive incentive package,” said the minister.

He invited the investors of the Netherlands, Norway and Germany to invest directly or relocate their sophisticated hi-tech ship recycling industries in Bangladesh.

Ship building, breaking and recycling is a profitable industry in Bangladesh and the Chittagong shipbreaking zone is becoming the hub of shipbreaking industries gradually, mentioned the minister.

At present Bangladesh is the second largest shipbreaker of the world with around 25 percent of world’s recycling capacity.

Source: Daily Sun. 20 June 2013

Company takes custody of abandoned ships:

A company which recycles ships has taken the custody of two abandoned oil tankers owned by the Pratibha Shipping Company, and is now in the process of taking the custody of two other oil tankers owned by them, i.e. the Pratibha Tapi and Indrayani, which are dangerously drifting and may run aground the Mumbai coast affecting the marine life and erosion of the coast.

The Best Oasis Ltd (BOL), which is also into ship recycling, has given the high court an assurance that it would carry out and pay for the salvage operation of Pratibha Tapi, which is less than two nautical miles away from Madh Island.

But, adding to the unfavourable weather condition is the engine failure of the 175 metre-long oil vessel Tapi, which is making the salvage operation even more difficult.

A senior DG Shipping official said that Tapi has lost all its certificates and could be scrapped but could be refurbished and reused. However, the BOL, which will get its custody, will decide on it.

BOL has already taken custody of Pratibha Cauvery and Pratibha Varna, which were lying in the scrap yard. In an accident off the Chennai coast, six sailors of Cauvery were killed in November last year. Varna too was stranded off its coast.

The Pratibha Shipping Company, which is reportedly bankrupt, has five more ships abandoned on different coasts, including two in India and rest three overseas. While one is in Goa, the other is in Visakhapatnam. It is still not clear whether BOL will also buy these ships to recover the money for the salvage operation of Tapi. A DG Shipping official made it clear that they will not bear the cost for the salvage operation of Tapi.

Source: asian age. By Joy Prkash Naidu. 20 June 2013

Call to take serious notice: Shipbreaking industry still enjoying special exemptions

While government is considering all options to increase tax earnings through budgetary measures, shipbreaking industry is still enjoying special exemptions and duties. Shipbreaking industry pays sales tax at the rate of Rs 4,133 per ton at the import stage and an additional five percent withholding tax at the rate of Rs 430 per metric ton.

According to the FBR sources, ship-breakers are however neither paying 20 percent customs duty nor 16 percent standard sales tax (now 17 percent after recent budget) and are not subjected to any tax on 29.5 percent of the weight of the scrap since the past five years and the country has lost billions of rupees due to this criminal exemption and non-collection by FBR's field formations.

Apart from steel ship plates and meltable scrap on which FBR is not collecting five percent sales tax, shipbreakers get countless expensive revenue generating items from a ship including aluminium, copper, brass, steel ropes, chains, electric cables and switches, machines kitchen items, wood, bunker oil, lubricants and paints which are sold separately at good rates. According to sources, if FBR charges custom duty and sales tax on the remaining 29.5 percent of a ship, national exchequer can earn hundreds of millions of rupees every year and can recover billions in back duties and sales tax not collected for the past five years.

This unfair and unjustified tax and duty exemption to shipbreaking industry is also discouraging steel manufacturers who pay all the duties and taxes as well as producing finished products after value addition for the consumption in the economy. The sources said Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had also been requested to take serious notice of the unjustified exemption offered to shipbreakers by the FBR.

Source: business recorder. 19 June 2013

19 June 2013

Stranded vessel M.V. OSM Arena to be towed to Bangladesh:

M.V. OSM Arena, a stranded ship in the outer-anchorage of the Chennai Port Trust (ChPT), is to be towed out to the Chittagong shipbreaking yard in Bangladesh soon.

M.V. OSM Arena.

The new owners have agreed to pay Rs.17.10 crore towards the settlement of dues of all stakeholders. They have also changed the Korean-flagged cargo vessel’s name to M.V. Yashwi. Talking to The Hindu, the port sources said a tug had been placed alongside the vessel and one more would arrive soon. The Indian Register of Shipping would carry out classification survey on Sunday. Thereafter, the vessel would be towed out to the ship breaking yard as the vessel is said to be unsafe for sailing.

Earlier, it was decided to take the vessel to Alang ship recycling yard in Gujarat. However, the idea was given up due to heavy rains lashing the western coast. While it might take nearly two weeks to reach Alang, Chittagong was seen as a viable alternative, the sources said.

The 28-year-old vessel has been in the high seas since February 2010 following an arrest order issued by the Calcutta High Court. The vessel drifted towards Napier Bridge on December 30, 2011, when cyclone Thane crossed the coast, resulting in loss of one of its anchors. The vessel was salvaged by a ChPT team.

In fact, the first set of 14 Mynmar sailors was replaced by new crew members. Food, provision and drinking water were supplied to the crew members by the Port and Chennai Seafarer’s Club, whenever their agents failed to do so.

Unable to bear the distress conditions they were subjected to, the sailors disembarked from the vessel during the first week of April. They were replaced by a couple of sailors to carry out maintenance and guard duty.

As the court has given permission for the vessel to sail, it will move out soon.

MT Pratibha Cauvery sailed out of Chennai Port to Chittagong last week, the sources said.

Source: The Hindu. 18 June 2013

Decommissioned Navy oiler scrapped at Southern Recycling:

JUNE 17, 2013—Old Navy ships don’t die, they are reborn as girders, washing machines or razor blades. That could be the future for the decommissioned Cimarron Class fleet oiler USS Merrimack, which served in the U.S. Navy’s Atlantic Fleet during its 30-plus-year career. The ship is set to be scrapped at Louisiana ship recycler, Southern Recycling.

The decommissioned USS Merrimack docked at Southern Recycling's Amelia, LA, facility

Built back in 1981 by Avondale Shipyards in New Orleans, the 700 foot-long ship is docked at Southern Recycling’s Amelia, LA, facility, waiting to be cut into “chunks” for recycling. Until it was decommissioned in December 1998, the USS Merrimack was used to refuel underway Navy ships. After it was decommissioned, the oiler was transferred to the U.S. Maritime Administration and became part of the National Defense Reserve Fleet.

Now the USS Merrimack has been sold by MarAd to Southern Recycling for scrapping, which should take four to five months to complete. Ships such as the Merrimack contain both ferrous and non-ferrous metals such as aluminum, copper and lead. Southern Recycling can then sell the scrap metal on the domestic and international markets.

Awaiting a similar fate at the Amelia facility was the 43-year-old tug Coastal Sun, which was built by Gulfport Shipbuilding, Orange, TX.

Owned by EMR, one of the world’s largest metal recyclers, Southern Recycling has waterfront facilities in New Orleans, Amelia, Morgan City, and Calcasieu, LA, and Brownsville, TX, with derrick cranes capable of lifting huge sections of steel weighing up to 350 tons.

Besides vessels, Southern Recycling also handles the scrapping of decommissioned offshore platforms. This is a growing market, which by some estimates has a value between $30 billion to $40 billion. Under the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s idle iron policy released in October 2010, platforms and offshore structures must be removed no later than 5 years after they become idle. A report by the Bureau of Safety, Environment and Enforcement estimates at least 359 of the 2,996 platforms in the Gulf of Mexico are expected to be decommissioned by the end of 2013.

Source: marine log. 17 June 2013

South Asian anxiety over EU shipbreaking moves:

Asia/Europe: European plans to prohibit the use of potentially hazardous ship recycling operations in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have run aground owing to an 'outcry' from these South Asian countries, the 'Wall Street Journal' has reported.

'The EU is asking for something that will cripple the economy of South Asia,' it has been declared by Shafi Chaudhari, who ran one of Bangladesh's first beaching operations. 'It is a way for keeping our economies permanently poor.' Yasmin Sultana, deputy secretary of policy at Bangladesh's Ministry of Industries, has added: 'I can't stop the business suddenly - there are 300 000 people dependent on the industry.' She has argued that the move would be 'counterproductive' as it would undermine existing international efforts to improve the industry's performance.

'Precautionary steps'

Also, many shipyard operators claim they have raised their standards already by outsourcing the handling of hazardous waste. Periodic audits by regulators and medical check-ups for workers are also said to be taking place. 'We have introduced a number of precautionary steps before ships are allowed to beach,' J.K Sinha, a member of India’s National Disaster Management Authority, has explained. 'The safety measures are very good. Accidents may occur once in a while, but there is no scope for disasters.'

The European Parliament had proposed legislation to keep ships flying EU flags from being dismantled at 'informal shipyards'. However, it now seems that pressure from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh - which represent over 70% of the global ship recycling industry - has persuaded the EU Council of Ministers to oppose the beaching ban.

Final approval by the council, which includes the heads of EU member states, is needed to ratify the legislation. Carl Schlyter, member of Sweden’s Green Party, says the European Parliament has scheduled more talks this week, noting that 'we are coming closer to a deal'.

European ship owners sent a record 365 vessels to South Asia's beaches last year, according to shipping industry data provider Lloyd's List. This is largely because South Asia pays top dollar for metal scrap - said to be US$ 410 per ton of steel compared to US$ 300 in Turkey and US$ 340 in China. In total, Asian scrap yards generated US$ 6.3 billion from beaching last year, Lloyd's List estimates.

'No adequate response'

At the same time, the World Bank argues that some 79 000 tons of asbestos and 250 000 tons of other carcinogenic chemicals will be dumped on Bangladesh's beaches over the next 20 years. 'When shipbreaking takes place directly on the beaches, full containment of the pollutants is impossible,' states Patrizia Heidegger, executive director of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform.

Citing 40 deaths last year alone throughout India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, she adds: 'No adequate emergency response is available. How can an ambulance reach a vessel stuck in mud?'

Source: recycling international. 18 June 2013

GMS weekly report on Bangladesh ship breaking industry for WEEK 24 of 2013:

As levels on dry vessels tumbled well below the USD 400/LT LDT mark, there has been a relative dearth of sales into the Bangladesh market of late.

The recent "non-event" of a budget that saw no changes / new taxes imposed on the ship-recycling sector, has not vet had the positive impact on prices that many were hoping for.

Indeed, Chittagong buyers saw two of their favored types of vessel bypass the market altogether this week to head to Gadani shores (as has been the form of late). The high LDT Suezmax tanker VENETIA and VLOC PACIFIC BEAUTY were both positioned in the East and vet have ended up making the longer voyage to Pakistan due to the relatively poor prices on show in Bangladesh.

One sale that was concluded for the week saw the Hanjin of South Korea controlled gearless bulker HANJIN PITTSBURG (8,123 LDT), that was committed for a strong USD 372/LT LDT 'as is' Hong Kong with 120 T bunkers included in the sale. Whilst there is no guarantee the vessel will eventually end up in Bangladesh, the high price, lack of bunkers and proximity to Chittagong all mean she is likely to end up there.

Source: steelguru. 18 Jun 2013

GMS weekly report on Indian ship breaking industry for WEEK 24 of 2013:

A hugely damaging week saw the Indian Rupee slip to a HISTORICAL low of INR 58.99 against the US Dollar, and had all recyclers in panic mode. There was even speculation on the shorefront that the currency could continue to fall and end up trading into the 60s, leaving a virtual shutdown in the industry and huge losses on all end buyer inventory stocking yards (which is bought in USD and sold on locally in Rupees).

The rollercoaster week however saw steel prices settle somewhat and the currency back down from the suicidal levels of early week, to close at INR 57.21 to the Dollar. It did not quite turn out to be the crisis that many were anticipating and the neutral outcome in both, Bangladesh and Pakistan budgets leaves some hope for the future.

Of the deals done, the smaller container ST. NIKOLAOS (6,850 LDT) fetched a speculative USD 445/LT LDT. The UK ownership and West German build in 1994 largely attributable to the high price on show.

When not being outmuscled by either Pakistan or even Bangladesh on new tonnage, it may be a quieter few weeks in the Indian market (especially with monsoon season fully underway), as end buyers wait and watch to see a semblance of stability in both currency and steel prices before recommencing their buying activities.

Source: steelguru. 18 Jun 2013

GMS weekly report on Chinese ship breaking industry for WEEK 24 of 2013:

As Chinese recyclers saw vet more tonnage slip from their hands this week (owing to the low levels on show), the reality set in of what a bleak few months it has been and how this looks set to continue for some time yet.

Many of the vessels eluding their grasp are finishing in the Far East and it is simply proving more economical for owners to sell their tonnage 'as is' so that cash buyers can reposition to the Indian sub-continent.

There was yet more speculation this week that the two small general cargo vessels WIN and LARSEN had entered difficulties due to the unrealistic last fixing price of USD 300/LT LDT (with resale levels unlikely to be much above USD 260/LT LDT today).

Source: steelguru. 18 Jun 2013

GMS weekly report on ship breaking industry for WEEK 24 of 2013:

A dramatic week in the Indian sub-continent saw the Indian rupee reach a historical low of Rs. 58.99 against the U.S Dollar along with the announcement of the Bangladesh and Pakistan budgets.

First off to Bangladesh, where the budget has remained neutral for the most part. In Pakistan as well, news of a comparatively neutral budget left the market relatively unchanged. This outcome maintained a bullishness in cash buyer offers for almost all sub-continent markets.

Meanwhile, the news of the currency in India was not quite so encouraging, even though the Indian Rupee had started to settle back down in the low 57s to the US Dollar, as the week ended. Steel prices also saw some marginal gains to offset some of the dramatic falls in the last few weeks.

Indeed, news of the Bangladesh and Pakistan budgets should push prices up in the Indian sub-continent, where demand and sentiment have been overly sluggish of late.

On the other side, a disastrous last few months in China have left prices marooned well below the USD 300/LT LDT and just above on different types of tonnage. These levels are no longer competitive at all with the Indian sub-continent as local end buyers are losing out on man' vessels as a result.

Despite the ongoing monsoon season and volatility in steel prices / currency in India, the week has concluded with some optimism.

For week 24 of 2013, GMS demo rankings for the week are as below:

Market Sentiment
USD 400/lt ldt
USD 425/lt ldt
USD 420/lt ldt
USD 420/lt ldt
USD 310/lt ldt
USD 330/lt ldt

Source: steelguru. 18 Jun 2013

GMS weekly report on Pakistan ship breaking industry for WEEK 24 of 2013:

The much-anticipated news of the Pakistan budget was at last forthcoming this week and overall, the first assessment has come back positive.

Considering that local recyclers were expecting a 4% increase in taxes, it was a welcome surprise to see a marginal increase in general sales tax from 16% to 17% and an increase in duty from 0% to 1% (a total 2% increase). At the same time, taxes affecting the domestic steel industry were re-adjusted thereby negating the increase, which could have reduced prices for ships by about USD 7-8/LT LDT.

As a result, cash buyers decided to speculate on new tonnage once again, with two particularly interesting sales concluded.

The Goulandris controlled suezmax tanker VENETIA (22,344 LDT) was confirmed for an astonishing USD 438/LT LDT gas free for man entry only, basis 'as is' Singapore with about 250 T bunkers. After delivery costs are taken into account, the final resale price harks back to the optimistic levels of last month (although the vessel is reported to be in exceptionally good condition).

Cido also sold their VLOC PACIFIC BEAUTY (39,950 LDT) for an excellent USD 425/LT LDT. The vessel was converted from VLCC in China in 2008 and is exactly the type of high profile and high LDT tonnage that Pakistan buyers have been targeting of late.

Source: steelguru. 18 Jun 2013

17 June 2013

NGO Shipbreaking campaigning with "Off the beach":

Brussels -- The NGO Shipbreaking Platform has launched a data-driven website which lists all the ships that have been sent for breaking on the beaches of South Asia since 2009. On the website, more than 1,000 shipping companies that commercially benefited from selling their ships for breaking in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan are listed. It is well documented that shipbreaking on the South Asian beaches causes labour rights violations and severe environmental degradation.

The offthebeach.org website is the backbone of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform’s "Off the Beach!" campaign, which aims to raise awareness on harmful shipbreaking practices and to promote clean and safe ship recycling. The campaign is not only targeted at the shipowners‘ community, but also at consumers and cargo owners by enabling them to choose responsible shipowners to carry their goods around the world.

More ships beached since Hong Kong Convention

The database documents more than 2,600 ships that were scrapped in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan since 15 May 2009, the date when the International Maritime Organization’s Hong Kong Convention was adopted by the international community. It is obvious that the Hong Kong Convention does nothing to prevent the dangerous beaching practices widely used today, nor does it have the aim to prevent such practices in the future. In fact, more ships have been beached annually since Hong Kong was adopted.

The "Off the Beach!" database includes information on the shipping companies that sold these vessels to substandard shipbreaking facilities, including an overview of their operational fleet (more than 14,000 ships), so that cargo owners can make an informed decision on who they choose to do business with.

Some of the shipping companies listed for having sent ships to substandard facilities since 2009 have meanwhile changed their recycling policies. These success stories are featured in the blog section of the website, where the Platform will also showcase disappointing setbacks.

Majority of shipping companies continues to dump

“Despite the rhetoric to the contrary, the vast majority of shipping companies continue to dump their old toxic ships on the beaches and labourers in South Asia, a practice which would, for instance, never be allowed in Europe, the US, Japan or China where most shipowners are based“, says Patrizia Heidegger, Executive Director of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform. “Today, we witness the launch of the first-ever transparent web application where information on shipping companies breaking practices dating back four years can be accessed, and used as a basis for making responsible choices. We call not only on ship owners, but also on all companies that use shipping to carry their goods and on the banking sector which invests in these companies to integrate safe and clean ship recycling in their corporate social responsibility plans.”

Source: NGO Shipbreaking Platform

Database Logs Ships Beached at Substandard Recycling Yards in Asia:

The shipbreaking yards of Gadani, Pakistan in 2010 

Over 1000 shipping companies which sent end-of-life vessels for recycling at breaking yards on the beaches of South Asia have been listed on a new data-driven website developed by the NGO, Shipbreaking Platform.

The organisation said that the site lists all of the ships that have been sent to such facilities in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan since 2009.

According to the NGO it is well documented that shipbreaking on the South Asian beaches causes labour rights violations and severe environmental degradation.

The www.offthebeach.org website is the backbone of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform’s OFF THE BEACH! campaign, which it said aims to raise awareness on harmful shipbreaking practices and to promote clean and safe ship recycling.

Shipbreaking Platform said that the campaign is not only targeted at ship owners, but also at consumers and cargo owners to enabling them to choose responsible operators to carry their goods around the world.

The database documents more than 2600 ships that were scrapped in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan since 15 May 2009, the date when the International Maritime Organization’s Hong Kong Convention was adopted by the international community.

Hong Kong Convention not working

“It is obvious that the Hong Kong Convention does nothing to prevent the dangerous beaching practices widely used today, nor does it have the aim to prevent such practices in the future,” Shipbreaking Platform said in a statement.

“In fact, more ships have been beached annually since Hong Kong was adopted,” the organisation added.

The OFF THE BEACH! database includes information on the shipping companies that the NGO claimed have sold these vessels to substandard shipbreaking facilities, including an overview of their operational fleet (more than 14,000 ships).

However, the NGO also noted that some of the shipping companies listed for having sent ships to substandard facilities since 2009 have meanwhile changed their recycling policies.

“Despite the rhetoric to the contrary, the vast majority of shipping companies continue to dump their old toxic ships on the beaches and labourers in South Asia, a practice which would, for instance, never be allowed in Europe, the U.S., Japan or China where most ship owners are based,” commented Patrizia Heidegger, executive director of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform.

EU Legislation in doubt

According to a recent report by the Wall Street Journal, European effort to outlaw the use of substandard facilities in South Asia has run into trouble. (See WMW Story)

While the European Parliament has approved measures that would ban the beaching of vessels and fine EU ship owners for violations, under pressure from South Asia, the European Council has opposed the ban on beaching.

The report noted that approval by the council, which includes the heads of EU member states, is necessary to ratify the legislation, and that politicians from the European Parliament lawmakers and the council are due to meet to discuss the situation.

Source: waste management world. By Ben Messenger. 17 June 2013

16 June 2013

European ship recycling ban crumbles under pressure from South Asia:

Dive Summary:
  • European Parliament proposed legislation that would ban vessels from sitting on shore as they are dismantled for scrap, but the European Council opposed the ban amid objections and mounting pressure from South Asia.
  • The South Asian countries, who are responsible for 70% of the global ship recycling industry, include India, Pakistan and Bangladesh who collectively employ one million workers in this multi-billion dollar industry.
  • Ship recycling has been criticized for its hazardous waste and safety issues by advocacy groups who are pushing for shipbreaking to occur on piers or while dry docked so water is not contaminated.
From the article:

"Asian scrap yards generated $6.3 billion from beaching last year, according to shipping-industry data provider Lloyd's List."

"Shipowners, recyclers and the three South Asian governments say a ban on beaching would be counterproductive, undermining existing international efforts to improve the industry's performance and exacting a huge cost to the economies..."

"South Asian ship breakers typically will recycle not only the steel, but the contents of a ship, for example its furniture and dinnerware, as well."

Source: waste dive. By Nicole Wrona. 14 June 2013

15 June 2013

Nothing’s shocking? Braemar on shipping’s demolition derby:

In a downtrodden market with an excess of ships, owners can afford to be choosey but according to international shipbroking firm Braemar Seascope, an increase in scrapping has meant a return to the trend for early demolitions, with tankers as young as 12 heading for the scrapyard.

Sebastian Davenport-Thomas, Managing Director, Braemar Seascope, recently said: “Demolition is increasing; globally, there were 44 million tonnes sold for scrap last year (80% up on the previous year), which is our highest ever, and I believe we are on course to do a similar amount this year.”

Confirming that these figures show a kind of ‘magnitude’ unseen in scrapping since shipping’s worse period three decades ago, James Kidwell, Chief Executive, Braemar Seascope, said: “I think if you look at demolition trends, relative to the last big newbuilding boom in the early 1980s, the tanker fleet halved back then, so you might argue that the level of demolition now is relatively small compared with 30 years ago. But we are living in a credit crunch and one of the major drivers is that tankers approaching their special survey are being sent for scrap.”

When asked if he believes tankers being sent for scrap are getting younger, Denis Petropoulos (pictured), Braemar Seascope’s Executive Director and Regional Group Director (Singapore), said this is undoubtedly the case: “When you’ve got an oversupplied market you can afford to be quite choosy. The way the market was back in 2007/2008, if it floated, it got fixed and that’s how it was.”

But has Mr Petropoulos seen anything that’s truly shocked him in terms of young vessels going for demolition? “Because I’ve been through this before, I’m not shocked, I’ve seen it before. I remember when I started in broking, hearing a story about a VLCC which was built in Japan, went into layup for two years and then went to the scrapyard. I was a youngster, just learning the ropes when I heard of that. I thought to myself ‘Wow, all that metal, it’s come from Japan, its cost them millions!’ But now, I’ve seen it before and so, it’s not shocking.”

Although Mr Petropoulos sees young demolitions as familiar territory, younger brokers at Braemar have been surprised by this trend. Sebastian Davenport-Thomas again: “If you look at the demolition market, last year I think the youngest tanker that was sold on the VLCC side was 12 years old and while this didn’t shock everyone, it certainly surprised some people in the market who hadn’t been around that long, to see a 12-year-old VLCC get scrapped. Ships may be much younger than 20 or 25 years old before going to scrap nowadays,”

Mr Petropoulos concluded by noting that 12 is quite a rare age for a vessel to be scrapped in the current market, particularly compared to shipping’s struggles 30 years ago: “Though 12 is unusual now, that was the average age of tankers being scrapped in the 1980s, during the worse point in shipping – the average! That number has stuck with me.”

Source: ship management international. 12 June 2013

Sunken cargo ship was to be scrapped after the voyage:

While the Indian Coast Guard braved inclement weather and roaring seas to rescue all the 22 crew of the Maldivian-flagged cargo vessel m.v. Asian Express, which sank off Minicoy on Thursday following engine failure, the ship was apparently on the terminal leg of its last voyage before being sold for scrapping.

Captain Ahamed Shakir, master of the sunken vessel for five years, told The Hindu on Friday aboard Coast Guard vessel Varuna which carried out the rescue operations that the management of Asian Express — Lily Enterprises Private Limited, Maldives — was to take a call on the fate of the ship after this voyage.

m.v. Asian Express, built in 1977, was sailing from Port Md Bin Qasim in Karachi to Male with a cargo of 4,000 tonnes of cement and 2,400 tonnes of sand when its engine broke down, which sent it adrift in the rough seas. On receiving a distress alert, CGS Varuna, which was positioned near the Lakshadweep islands some 110 nautical miles away from Asian Express, diverted its course to offer assistance.

Capt Shakir had told Coast Guard officials that the fuel filled from Port Bin Qasim could have been contaminated, which caused the vessel’s turbocharger to pack up, resulting in engine shutdown.

Commander K.M. Arun Kumar, commanding officer of CGS Varuna, which is part of the Navy’s First Training Squadron, said that heavy sea swell, up to three-metres, poor visibility (less than 1 km in rain) and winds of up to 25 knots (50 km) posed challenges to the rescue operation.

“To top it all, Asian Express had no satellite phone and a message was relayed to it through a nearby vessel, m.v. Golden Shui before we reached the area, he said.

“The vessel’s agent, in the meantime, informed that tug Villa-2 which had been asked to tow the vessel to safety had not yet started from Male. In any case, the tug would not have reached the site before July 14 morning. Meanwhile, the master informed us that the three hatches of the ship were flooded up to 10 metres after a wide crack on its starboard side.

“Soon, he said they would be abandoning the vessel and was instructed to use the life boats. However, the two lifeboats were non-operational and had to be pulled manually, even as the drifting vessel and the heavy swell posed a real danger to Varuna itself.

“It was already dark when every crewmember of the vessel in distress was taken on board Varuna and given food and medicines.”

Capt Shakir, a seafarer for 25 years, was all gratitude to the Coast Guard for their help and hospitality.

Source: the hindu. 15 June 2013