25.5.15

MS Iran Shahed:unloaded / Undeclared voyages between Iran and Yemeni ports controlled by the Huthis

United Nations officials in the port of Djibouti say they have taken charge of aid cargo carried by  Iran Shahed .   The vessel  was carrying 2,500 tons of food aid for Yemen that will now be distributed by the UN World Food Program.
At least four large cargo ships made a "series of highly unusual and undeclared trips between Iran and Yemeni ports controlled by the Huthis in the first few months of the year," based on a search of maritime records.
While it is not known what cargo the Iranian ships were carrying, they "changed their ensigns, turned off their tracking devices at key points during their voyages, registered false information in international shipping logs, and met unidentified craft mid-ocean,"after the Huthi rebellion broke out in Yemen. The rebels since then have dislodged the government and taken over large swaths of the country, including the capital, Sanaa, and biggest port, Aden.

[May 17 docked at Djibouti
Just before 10 p.m. local time (8 p.m. GMT), the Iran Shahed moved into the port of Djibouti and docked. After undergoing inspection by U.N. or Red Cross officials in Djibouti, the Iran Shahed would be able to dock at a Yemeni port and deliver its aid cargo without being intercepted, stopped or boarded by Saudi or U.S. naval forces. The Saudis, for their part, will not have to choose between intercepting the vessel and maintaining the legitimacy of their naval blockade on Yemen, since the Iran Shahed will have been inspected by a neutral party.

If an official organization like the U.N or the International Committee of the Red Cross is willing to give the shipments on board the Iran Shahed the seal of approval, this will almost certainly deflate the controversy surrounding the ship. As the naval blockade continues, however, it is still unclear whether Iran will send more aid ships and whether they will also be willing to submit to inspection to avoid conflict.

[May 17  due in Hodeida May 21]
Aboard ms Iran Shahed

Tasnim, a news agency associated with Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard reported that the vessel had left Omani waters and was in the Gulf of Aden.   The vessel’s captain, Masoud Qazi Mir-Saeed, said that if weather remained fair it should dock in rebel-controlled Hodeida on May 21
It was under escort by a frigate, the reporter said, but that vessel was a foreign ship that is part of international antipiracy efforts, the Fars news agency said.   A Pentagon spokesman had said on May 12 that the United States was tracking the Iran Shahed, after an Iranian naval commander told state media that warships might escort it to Yemen. [May 17, 2015 Updated: May 17, 2015 06:40 PM]


[May 13 ]
m.s. IRAN SHAHED
MS Iran Shahed, which Tehran says is carrying humanitarian supplies. left on May 11 for the Yemeni port Hodaida, which is held by Iran-allied Houthi fighters.

"If the Iranians follow U.N. protocol, move the ship to a port in Djibouti, allow the humanitarian cargo they claim is on the ship to be distributed through U.N. channels, then they will have done the right thing in this case," Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said.   Iranian warships will accompany the self-discharger.

IRAN SHAHED
General Cargo  
IMO:  9184691
MMSI:  422517000
Call Sign:  9BHI
Flag:  Iran (IR)
AIS Type:  Cargo
Gross Tonnage:  2615
Deadweight:  3340 t
Length × Breadth:  92.85m × 15.85m
Year Built:  1999

[April 23 Iranian flotilla now sailing NE past Oman]

AL MUKALLA 
Iranian nine-ship convoy is south of Salalah, Oman, and now headed northeast in the Arabian Sea in the direction of home. The ships, which include seven freighters and two frigates, had sailed southwest along the coast of Yemen heading in the direction of Aden and the entrance to the Red Sea. They appeared to drop anchor in the north Arabian Sea.    Warships from Saudi Arabia and Egypt are positioned to the southwest of the convoy, forming a blockade of the Gulf of Aden and the port city of Aden.


[April 21 ]
 The Iranian ships are moving very slowly, about five knots, off the coast of Yemen.   Army Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman said the United States did not know what the Iranian cargo ships were carrying and declined to say whether the U.S. warships would stop and board Iranian vessels if they attempted to enter Yemeni territorial waters.   "I'm not going to telegraph anything," Warren said.
 “It is hard to believe that Mukalla could be controlled this quickly by Al Qaeda, amidst the complete absence of the security forces,” The relative ease with which the militants captured large parts of the city raised fears of a broader expansion by the Sunni extremists, who have proved adept in the past at exploiting turmoil in Yemen to capture territory.


Koosha 3  Info Received:  2015-03-09 20:50, Area:  Oman Gulf
ARDAVAN Info Received:  2015-04-20 11:15  Area:  Persian Gulf

Eight Iranian ships are heading toward Yemen and possibly carrying arms for the Houthis.   What's unusual about the new deployment is that the Iranians are not trying to conceal it.    Instead, they appear to be trying to "communicate it" to the U.S. and its allies in the Gulf.  Navy officials said there are about nine U.S. warships in the region, including cruisers and destroyers carrying teams that can board and search other vessels.   The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt was moving through the Arabian Sea off Yemen to beef up security and join other American ships that are prepared to intercept any Iranian vessels carrying weapons to the Houthi rebels fighting in Yemen.   The U.S. Navy generally conducts consensual boardings of ships.  

Alvand-class frigate


Iran's Bushehr logistic vessel and Alborz frigater, left Iran’s southern port city of Bandar Abbas on  April 8  bound for waters off Yemen.
Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said tthe ships would be part of an antipiracy campaign aimed at "safeguarding naval routes for vessels in the region."
Alborz  (F-72)
Class and type: Alvand-class frigate
Displacement: 1,100 tons (1,540 tons full load)
Length: 94.5 m (310 ft)
Beam: 11.07 m (36 ft)
Draught: 3.25 m (10.5 ft)
Propulsion: 2 shafts, 2 Paxman Ventura cruising diesels, 3,800 bhp, 17 knots (31 km/h)
2 Rolls Royce Olympus TM2 boost gas turbines, 46,000 shp, 39 knots (72 km/h)
Speed: 39 knots (72 km/h) max
Range: 5,000 nmi (9,000 km) at 15 knots (28 km/h)
Complement: 125-146
Armament: 4 x C-802 anti-ship missiles
1 × 4.5 inch (114 mm) Mark 8 gun
1 x twin 35 mm AAA, 2 x single 20 mm AAA
2 × 81 mm mortars
2 × 0.50cal machine guns
1 x Limbo ASW mortar
2 x triple 12.75 in torpedo tubes

[February 8 2014 Iran's frigate Sabalan,Kharg bound for U.S. waters ]




Sabalan (in Persian سبلان) is a British-made Vosper Mark V-class (or Alvand-class) frigate in the Iranian Navy.
Commissioned in June 1972 as part of a four-ship order, 

Commander of Iran's Northern Navy Fleet Admiral Afshin Rezayee Haddad announced on January 8. The admiral, who is also the commander of the Iranian Army's 4th Naval Zone said, "Iran's military fleet is approaching the United States' maritime borders, and this move has a message."
With task of securing shipping routes as well as training new personnel, Iran's Sabalan frigate and Kharg logistic helicopter carrier left for the Atlantic Ocean from the southern Iranian port of Bandar Abbas on a three-month voyage. "The Iranian Army's naval fleets have already started their voyage towards the Atlantic Ocean via the waters near South Africa," he said. The Associated Press says Iranian officials acknowledged last month that the fleet consisted of a destroyer and a logistic helicopter carrier.   

March 04, 2013 - CHINA - The Iranian Navy’s 24th fleet of warships has docked in the Chinese port of Zhanjiang, which is located in southwest China, the deputy commander of the Navy announced on March 4, 2013.
“The (Navy’s) 24th fleet of warships, comprised of the Kharg helicopter carrier and the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Sabalan frigate docked in  Zhanjiang Port  after sailing 13,000 kilometers in 40 days,”    

On the morning of April 18, 1988, the oil platforms were knocked out. The U.S. forces then turned to look for Iranian frigates in the Strait of Hormuz,... Another group of A-6 Intruders was sent to the reported location of the Sabalan in the strait, where, the frigate fired at the A-6s at 6.17 p.m. (Gulf time). At 6.18 p.m., an A-6 dropped a Mk-82 500 pound laser-guided bomb, which left the Sabalan paralyzed and on fire. At The Pentagon, Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. William J. Crowe Jr., and U.S. Central Command head Gen. George B. Crist monitored the situation. After discussion, the men decided to spare the moribund Sabalan, perhaps to prevent further escalation.
Iranian forces towed the damaged ship to the port of Bandar-Abbas, and it was eventually repaired and returned to service.   The Moudge class frigate is a modified Iranian-built version of the Alvand, with five either in service or building.

The U.S. Navy's 5th fleet is based in Bahrain — across the gulf from Iran.

[November 11, 2012]


Admiral Naghdi, DE 91






IS Kharg
Shahid, Kharg enter Mediterranean after crossing the Suez Canal on November 10

 [October 31]Two Iranian warships docked in Port Sudan have left the Sudanese port after a visit coinciding with Khartoum's denial that Iran is involved in making weapons in Sudan.   .Small Sudanese craft escorted the Kharg out of the harbour, after the departure of another Iranian warship, the corvette Admiral Naghdi. The Naghdi's crew stood in orange life jackets as the gunboat departed.

[October 29]An Iranian naval task force docked in Sudan on October 29 includes IS  Shahid Naqdi, a corvette-class vessel, and IS Kharg, a supply vessel that can carry three helicopters.   Sudan is often thought a waypoint for arms smuggled to Hamas.

[February 22,2011]After two days of violent street protests in one week, Iran's opposition Green Movement said Feb 21 it was pondering its next move and considering a continuation of street protests, according to opposition websites.
A new date hasn't been announced for antigovernment protests although supporters posted on the opposition's Facebook page that this Tuesday or Wednesday are possible.
Opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi have been under house arrest for over a week with little communication with the outside world.

IS Alvand, DE 71, passed through the Suez canal at Ismailia, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb.22, 2011, together with IS Kharg, replenishment ship 431.
The Iranian ships are headed for Latkia in Syria on a training mission.
The ships paid about $300,000 in fees for the passage, according to a Maritime agent.
earlier

20.5.15

The laughing contango: tankers used for floating storage.


Freight rates for dirty tankers in the East of Suez market have gone up sharply to hit their highest level so far in 2015 lately, amid strong demand to move crude and fuel oil and spike in interest for floating storage.   The long waiting time in Basrah for ships to load and delays in discharging at South Korea and China due to logistics and weather issues also reduced tonnage supply, contributing to firming rates.

[May 13 ]
More VLCCss were being used for storage over the last four – six weeks.   A third of the vessels taken on time charter earlier in the year are now used for floating storage. Most of these are in the Arabian Gulf, but there also some in Singapore, West Africa and the Mediterranean.

[April 24 tankers for crude storage]
Invalid locations?
As much as 90 percent of global oil storage capacity is “captive,” or controlled by major producers such as Royal Dutch Shell Plc, BP Plc or Chevron Corp. That means only a small part of land-based oil storage is available for independent traders to lease to exploit the market contango, which has prevailed since July.


Some of the world’s largest oil traders have moved to secure floating storage in tankers to take advantage of the market contango. Vitol, Koch Industries Inc., Shell and Trafigura Beheer BV, have booked tankers that could be used to store crude at sea for one-year charters, The last time the oil market moved into a significant contango during the global financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, traders stored 100 million barrels at sea.

[December 12 2014 ]
Seaborne oil trade will rise by 3.5 percent in 2015, against no change in the fleet,  83 very large crude carriers were bound for Chinese ports, at about 8:30 a.m. December 12in London. The ships would transport 166 million barrels, assuming standard cargoes, the largest number in data starting in October 2011. The cost of hiring the vessels surged to the highest in almost five years.   Part of the tanker freight-rate rally may be because of rising shipments from West Africa. Traders booked 33 cargoes of crude on VLCCs from the region this month, 43 percent more than a year earlier.

[October 29  Phantom Ships in the Northwest Passage]
To hide their crimes on the high-seas, hundreds of ships broadcast false identities by using transmitters taken from scrapped vessels on the black market and by typing in made-up ID numbers and hoping they don't arouse suspicion.    Fifteen percent of all ships transmitting fake identities are tankers, typically carrying oil or oil products.    Vessels smuggling oil shipments or other raw materials can lead to significant gaps in intelligence on supply and demand.    large shipping companies seeking to maintain market opaqueness, oil tankers circumventing international sanctions, and large oil producers concealing oil via floating storage in order to affect global oil prices. This group will likely be followed by far more ships seeking to conceal their information in the future.

The Northwest Passage is a sea route through the Arctic Ocean, along the northern coast of North America via waterways through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

[May 9 2010 Sitting Ducks for pirates: idling tankers]

At least 15 VLCC crude carriers are idling in the Persian Gulf, Gulf of Oman and Gulf of Suez. The tankers can store a combined 30 million barrels of oil.

Traders store oil hoping to benefit from a so-called contango structure in futures markets, in which prompt prices are lower than contracts for later delivery. Traders can make money when the difference in prices is greater than the cost to charter the ship.

The contango between the front-month crude contract traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange and the second-month contract to the highest level since Dec. 15. Dirty products usually include crude oil and may include fuel oil.

The VLCC rate was $43,876 a day as of April 23, according to the London-based Baltic Exchange. The rate has more than doubled this year. VLCCs can carry about 2 million barrels of oil.


Iran, OPEC’s second-biggest oil producer, added three supertankers to its fleet of vessels storing crude, matching a similar program in 2008 that helped freight rates to triple, ship tracking data show.

Two years ago, Iran used as many as 15 tankers for storage, constricting vessel supply and helping to more than triple freight rates in less than three months.

Iran is likely storing oil because of weakening demand as refineries across Asia, accounting for almost two-thirds of global demand for supertankers, carry out maintenance. National Iranian Tanker Co., which operates the supertankers, also has a laden suezmax tanker idling off Iran, ship-tracking data show. A suezmax can hold about 1 million barrels of oil.

15.5.15

Polar Pioneer , Marshall Is-flag , High Specification Semi-Submersible rig, for Chukchi

Transocean Polar Pioneer
Polar Pioneer is one of two drill rigs that Netherlands-based Royal Dutch Shell petroleum plans to use as it moves ahead with plans to use leased space at the Port of Seattle to load drilling rigs and other vessels with supplies and personnel. It is preparing to explore for oil this summer in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska's northwest coast.

Activists expect a large turnout May 16, when a flotilla rally is scheduled against the Polar Pioneer’s presence in Seattle. Another big event is planned for May 18 near Terminal 5.   Kayaks May 14 threw an “unwelcome party”.The Port is leasing Terminal 5 to Foss under a two-year, $13 million agreement. Foss plans to load drilling equipment and supplies for the summer onto the Polar Pioneer and the Noble Discoverer, a 514-foot-long drill ship now docked in Everett.   "That rig is freaky big and scary,” a protester said.

[February 21 NOBLE DISCOVERER: Plans to drill in the Chukchi]
Shell has not given up on the Noble Discoverer or plans to drill in the Chukchi.
It has filed plans with the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, calling for the Noble Discoverer and a second ship, Polar Pioneer, to drill as many as six wells.  The Noble Discoverer has been “ice strengthened,” claims the oil giant, with “state of the art drilling and well control equipment.”

Rig Name: Transocean Polar Pioneer
Rig Manager: Transocean Ltd.
Rig Owner: Transocean Ltd.
Competitive Rig: Yes
Rig Type: Semisub
Semisub Generation: 4
Rig Design: Hitachi Zosen Arctic
Rated Water Depth: 1,640 ft
Drilling Depth: 25,000 ft
rig photo
RIG CONTRACT & OPERATING STATUS
Operating Status: Drilling
Operator: Shell
 
RIG LOCATION
Region: N. America - US Alaska
Country: US
Classification: DNV
Rig Design: Hitachi Zosen Arctic
Shipyard: Japan
Delivery Year: 1985
Flag: Panama


[March 2 2012]

Noble Discoverer

Shipyard for arctic modifications



At mid-afternoon April 1, Royal Dutch Shell Oil's drillship  entered Elliott Bay enroute to Vigor Shipyards, where it is scheduled to undergo cold-weather modifications before departing for the Arctic. The ship has been granted permission by the EPA to drill exploration wells in Alaska's Beaufort and Chukchi seas, beginning this summer. Additional approvals are required before drilling can begin.









On February 26 Lucy Lawless, the actress who played Xena, [--b. 1968, 2011 Hunted: The Demon's Forge (Video Game) Seraphine (voice)] and six other Greenpeace activists illegally boarded a drilling ship leased to Shell Oil off New Zealand's western shore.
Lawless and the other activists have "occupied" the drillship to prevent it from departing on a "6,000 nautical mile journey from New Zealand to the remote Arctic to start an exploratory oil drilling program that threatens to devastate the Alaskan coastline,"
NOBLE DISCOVERER
Length x Breadth: 156 m X 26 m
Gross Tonnage: 13485, DeadWeight: 15296 t
Speed recorded (Max / Average): 5.7 / 5.4 knots
Flag: Liberia [LR]
Call Sign: A8XM6
IMO: 6608608, MMSI: 636014934

Ex Names History
Vessel's Name Flag Call Sign Last Reported
NOBLE DISCOVERER Liberia A8XM6 2012-02-25 22:48
FRONTIER DISCOVERER Panama 3FUS2 2010-08-17 07:17
DISCOVERER 511 2001-08-29 00:00
OFFSTAR 1982-04-18 00:00
JESSICA 1973-12-31 00:00
MATSUSHIRO MARU 1971-12-31 00:00
Rig Data: Noble Discoverer
Rig Name: Noble Discoverer
Rig Manager: Noble Drilling
Rig Owner: Noble Drilling
Competitive Rig: Yes
Rig Type: Drillship
Drillship Type: Turret Moored
Rig Design: Sonat Discoverer Class Rated Water Depth: 2,500 ft
Drilling Depth: 20,000 ft

14.5.15

mt Alpine Eternity: attacked by five IRGCN in Strait of Hormuz

Singapore-registered tanker Alpine Eternity
Five gunboats intercepted  in the Strait of Hormuz  a Singapore-flagged chemtanker, Alpine Eternity, and ordered it to halt, sending machine gun fire across the bow when it did not stop. The gunboats then fired shots directly into the ship's stern in an apparent attempt to disable the propellers, the officials said.   The Iranian vessels then called on nearby warships from the United Arab Emirates for help, but sped away when three Emerati coast guard vessels arrived.


It was not clear why the Iranian vessels attempted to stop the ship, or if any rounds of ammunition struck it. There were no U.S. citizens aboard, and although a U.S. Navy warship was 20 miles from the incident, it was not called upon to help and did not respond.
 ALPINE ETERNITY
Oil/Chemical Tanker  Oil/Chemical Tanker
IMO:  9430272
MMSI:  563944000
Call Sign:  9VGA8
Flag:  Singapore (SG)
AIS Type:  Tanker
Gross Tonnage:  29130
Deadweight:  46100 t
Length × Breadth:  183m × 32.23m

Year Built:  2009


[May 9 MV Maersk Tigris: U.S. Navy close monitoring of Hormuz ends]
U.S. Navy has stopped accompanying commercial ships through the Strait of Hormuz.   U.S. Army Col. Steve Warren said the mission's authorization "expired" at midnight in the Persian Gulf, or about 5 p.m. May 5 in Washington.
[May 7 Iran has released the cargo vessel detained by its authorities]
Iran has released a cargo vessel detained by its authorities last month, its official news agency reported. 

[May 4   “It's difficult to know exactly why the Iranians are operating this way,”
Coastal patrol ship USS Thunderbolt (PC 12) {added March 28}
“It's difficult to know exactly why the Iranians are operating this way,” Pentagon spokesman  Warren said. “We certainly call on them to respect all the internationally established rules of freedom of navigation, the law of the sea to which they are a signatory, and other established protocols.”
On April 28 at about 2:05 a.m. EST, Iranian patrol vessels approached the M/V Maersk Tigris, a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo vessel.
Maersk Tigris
The Republic of the Marshall Islands is a sovereign nation for which the United States has full authority and responsibility for security and defense under the terms of an amended security compact that entered into force in 2004.

The USS Farragut, a guided-missile destroyer, and three coastal patrol craft — the Thunderbolt, the Firebolt and the Typhoon — are operating in the area.

[May 1  6 ships passing the Strait of Hormuz under close Navy monitoring]



Six U.S.-flagged vessels are now in the Persian Gulf near the Strait of Hormuz, one container ship, three offshore supply ships and two vehicle carriers.   Four American-flagged vessels have transited the Strait of Hormuz , all four ships were Military Sealift Command or U.S. government contract vessels.   They are under close monitoring , a U.S. Navy ship in the area that can respond in the event it’s required.


Following the April 29 seizure of the M/V Maersk Tigris, U.S. Navy warships will now accompany American flagged merchant ships through the Strait of Hormuz to prevent harassment. U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) “would assign forces as they deem necessary” to “prevent harassment and possible interdiction by possible IRGCN costal patrols” . The ships at NAVCENT’s disposal for the accompanying mission in the strait and the Persian Gulf include five Cyclone-class patrol craft, four Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers (DDG51), mine counter measures (MCM-6)) ship USS Devastator and guided missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG-60).

[April 30 Marshall-Islands flag boxship seized in Strait of Hormuz,U.S.-flagged Maersk Kensington surrounded there on 24th]
Rickmers Shipmanagement, the Singapore-based company that has chartered the Maersk Tigris, said it was concerned for the 24 crew members on board, most of whom come from Eastern Europe and Asia.He said the vessel was running along a normal commercial route between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and that the company did not yet know why Iran had stopped it.


The M/V Maersk Tigris was seized at the request of Iran's Ports and Maritime Organization, Iran's semi-official news agency FARS is reporting, citing informed sources. The Marshall Islands-flagged vessel was seized after a relevant court order was issued, according to the source, indicating that the IPMO had monetary differences with the ship owner.
Even though the Strait of Hormuz is in Iranian territorial waters, "innocent passage" is applied -- ships are authorized to pass through the body of water assuming they abide by all the rules of the sea -- because it is an internationally recognized shipping lane.
A U.S.-flagged ship was recently intercepted by an Iran Revolutionary Guard naval patrol, .   The incident occurred on April 24th when four Iranian naval vessels surrounded the U.S.-flagged Maersk Kensington in the Strait of Hormuz. "the Iranians encircled the Kensington and followed the ship on its course for a period of time before withdrawing and breaking away." After that, the U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet issued a notice to mariners about the incident.  Referring to March 28's incident, Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said it was "inappropriate" for the Iranians to fire the warning shots.


USS Farragut, seen here, was dispatched to the Persian Gulf April 28 after Iranian forces seized a cargo ship, prompting its shipmaster to send a distress signal picked up the U.S. Navy.



53 min ago (2015-04-28 14:51)




“At approximately 0905 Zulu, April 28, M/V Maersk Tigris, a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo vessel, was approached by several Iranian IRGCN patrol vessels while crossing the Strait of Hormuz 'Iranian territorial waters'  transiting inbound in the Strait of Hormuz. The master was contacted and directed to proceed further into Iranian territorial waters. He declined and one of the IRGCN craft fired shots across the bridge of the Maersk Tigris. The master complied with the Iranian demand and proceeded into Iranian waters in the vicinity of Larak Island. NAVCENT directed a DDG (USS Farragut) to proceed at best speed to the nearest location of Maersk Tigris, and directed aircraft to observe the interaction between the Maersk vessel and the IRGCN craft. NAVCENT is communicating with representatives of the shipping company and we continue to monitor the situation. According to information received from the vessel’s operators, there are no Americans aboard.”

Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said the cargo ship’s master had initially refused an Iranian order to move further into Iranian waters, but after the warning shots were fired the MV Maersk Tigris complied.Warren said the cargo ship has been boarded by Iranians, but no one has been injured and no Americans are involved.Warren said the cargo ship issued a distress call and the US Naval Forces Central Command, based in the area, sent a US destroyer and an aircraft to the area of the incident to monitor the situation.  Pentagon says ship that Iran seized was from Marshall Islands   A cargo ship that Iran has seized was from the Marshall Islands and not the U.S., news services reported, citing a Pentagon spokesman. Earlier Middle East news reports said the ship was from the U.S. The Pentagon spokesman did confirm that Iranian patrol boats fired shots across the vessel's bow and ordered it deeper into Iranian waters.

VESSEL INFORMATION

MAERSK TIGRIS
TEU (Nominal)5466
Built 23 Dec 2014
IMO No.9694581
Call Sign V7GQ7
Class DNV + 1A1
Flag Marshall Islands

5.5.15

Finland detected Russian Submarine, firing depth charges

Finnish patrol boats


Finland detected an unidentified submarine along its coast April 26, firing depth charges at the vessel, while NATO-member Latvia, a former Soviet state, in April said it detected a Russian submarine near its waters.
"Russia has a right to be at sea, just as we do," Rear Admiral Brad Williamson, the commander of the exercise said. "But the incidents we have seen are not in line with international regulations... and that's been the cause of concern."
NATO launched one of its biggest-ever anti-submarine exercises in the North Sea on May 4, inviting non-member Sweden for the first time, amid increasing tensions between Russia and its northern neighbors. More than a dozen vessels from 11 countries are participating in the "Dynamic Mongoose" exercise.

[November 24 2014 ]
The Swedish military has called off its week-long search...
The vessel, whatever it was, is now believed to have left Sweden's territorial waters.

[October 23 NS Concord destined for original loading port, Primorsk

repairs to NS Concord?
'Still, no proven facts yet.
Except the behaviour of NS Concord... What did she do in S-Petersburg during her “repairs”?   Was it some kind of a special project?   It’s an aframax tanker, not a fishing vessel. Even a year ago I’d reject the story as absolutely absurd and impossible. Now, after Crimea annexation and war in Donbass, I can’t be so sure.'   Posted on October 20, 2014, 1:02 am Voytenko Mikhail


SCF October 20:'Tanker NS Concord owned by SCF Novoship...is presently chartered for transporting a cargo of oil from the port of Primorsk in Russia'   Primorsk is a coastal town near S-Petersburg and the largest Russian port on the Baltic.   2014-10-22 23:32 - Destination stated to be Primorsk.   Tanker is in Gulf of Finland.






22 OCTOBER 2014 KL: 10.34 'The Swedish Armed Forces has established a likelihood that foreign underwater activities are being conducted in the Stockholm archipelago. The Swedish Armed Forces' assessment is also based on a number of observations over the years in a specific area by the Kanholmsfjärden bay.
"I'm unable to comment on these observations in detail, but based on this pattern we can establish that this area is of interest to foreign powers",Rear admiral Anders Grenstad during a press briefing on October 21.

The Swedish Armed Forces has moved the operation area somewhat south but the scope of the operation remains the same.





Piranha-class (NATO reporting name Losos) 








Concord was spotted moving in a zigzag pattern in Swedish waters, as if in a search or rendezvous pattern,
“When the situation became more publicly known, NS Concord turned about and headed northeastwards towards Russian waters.

Concord was off the coast of Estonia and steaming in the direction of St. Petersburg, Russia as of October 21 pm, 

Russia has renewed its interest in midget submarines, including the Project 865 Piranha-class (NATO reporting name Losos) vessel, two of which have been based in the Baltic in the past. They are exceptionally quiet, stealthy, and with a low detection signature.   The submersible could be a Project 908 Triton II swimmer delivery vehicle (LSDV), a 6-ton craft capable of delivering six combat divers with a range of 60 nautical miles.

But as the search continues, the prospect of a Triton as the suspected craft is less likely given the sub’s 12-hour endurance.

[October 21.Russian sub: welcome back Domino]
Russia has renewed its interest in midget submarines, including the Project 865 Piranha-class (NATO reporting name Losos) vessel, two of which have been based in the Baltic in the past. They are exceptionally quiet, stealthy, and with a low detection signature.   The submersible could be a Project 908 Triton II swimmer delivery vehicle (LSDV), a 6-ton craft capable of delivering six combat divers with a range of 60 nautical miles.

But as the search continues, the prospect of a Triton as the suspected craft is less likely given the sub’s 12-hour endurance.

[October 21
From  Piranha-class (NATO reporting name Losos)  SDV / diver propulsion device
The military has asked civilian vessels to evacuate the area between Nattaro island and Danziger Gatt.

Radio Sweden P6. 20 oktober kl 10:23 :A Russian-owned oil tanker, the NS Concord, was reported to be sailing in circles in international water outside the archipelago.



[October 19]
from Thunderball

from Russia


Domino, we need you
Are the Russians testing out a prototype mini-submarine known as the Triton NN?
A  prototype underwent government testing in 2008. It is meant to combine the qualities of a speed boat and a submersile and might have been issued to navy special forces in Kaliningrad.  Former Triton models were so-called wet submarines, s completely water-filled craft that was technically easier to produce and are not as sensitive to the depth charges as they can not be compressed.   Speculation runs that NS Concord is outside the archipelago to relay radio traffic. Mini submarines underwater is quite poor communication capabilities.




[October 19 Russian research vessel seems headed for Russian sub]



 It was likely that a foreign power was undertaking “underwater activities” around the islands off the coast of Sweden’s capital city. a Russian research vessel equipped for underwater search operations was heading for Swedish waters. The ship, the Professor Logachev, has a stated destination of Las Palmas, but is currently in the Baltic to the south-west of Hangö in Finland. 

[earlier Liberian-flag NS Concord patrolling near damaged russian submarine ]

Sub? what sub?


NS Concord

Svenska Dagbladet claims
A distress signal in Russian preceded the submarine alert in the archipelago of Stockholm. When the military search operation started radio communication between a transmitter in the archipelago and a transmitter in Kaliningrad was detected. This indicates that there could be a damaged russian submarine in Swedish waters.

The Svenska Dagbladet daily reported that the Swedes had picked up an emergency message suggesting a Russian mini-submarine had run into trouble in Swedish waters and could be damaged.

But Russia’s Defense Ministry said Russian submarines and ships have been “fulfilling their tasks in the world’s oceans,” according to plan, Russian news agencies reported.

“There have been no emergencies or accidents with Russian military vessels,” an unnamed spokesman at the ministry was quoted as saying.

Anders Nordin from the Swedish Maritime Administration said a Russian-owned oil tanker, NS Concord, which had reportedly been circling near Swedish waters for days, started sailing in a northeasterly direction toward Russia on Sunday morning. But it suddenly turned around and headed back in the direction of Sweden, accordin g to Marine Traffic, a website which monitors vessels in the Baltic Sea.

Media reports said the movements of the Liberian-flagged tanker might be connected to the submarine search.

NS CONCORD
Crude Oil Tanker
IMO: 9299692
MMSI: 636012382
Call Sign: A8FD7
Flag: Liberia (LR)
AIS Type: Tanker
Gross Tonnage: 57248
Deadweight: 105902 t
Length × Breadth: 244m × 42.03m
Year Built: 2005
Status: Active


Flag: Liberia Signal Letters: A8FD7
Port: MONROVIA

Owner: Wyatt Marine Co GT (ITC 69): 57,248
(140058)   (LRF / Company identification no: 5210645) NT (ITC 69): 32,797
Manager: SCF Novoship Technical Management DWT: 109,919
(10133063)   (LRF / Company identification no: 5736481)
DocHolder: SCF Novoship Technical Management
(10133063)   (LRF / Company identification no: 5736481)
SCF Novoship Technical Management is the SCF Group`s new fleet technical manager. The company provides services to third-party ship-owners as well.

OAO Novoship owns one hundred percent of the new organisation’s authorised capital stock. OOO SCF Novoship Technical Management carries on the traditions of Novorossiysk Shipping Company in the field of high quality fleet management.

In December 2012, OAO Novoship`s board of directors took the decision to create a separate technical manager with the aim of unifying SCF Group activities and bringing Novoship’s company structure into line with SCF universal standards.

OOO SCF Novoship Technical Management employs 81 staff recruited from OAO Novoship`s former fleet management department. OAO Novoship remains in charge of crewing and all administrative functions, including both legal and accounting services.

On 1 July, 2013, OOO SCF Novoship Technical Management commenced operations in Novorossiysk, Russia.
    -  Today Novoship Group owns and operates 48 modern vessels aggregating more than 4.5 million deadweight tons.
     -  Novoship has one of the youngest fleets in the industry – the vessels are 8 years old on average.
     -  OOO SCF Novoship Technical Management operates the fleet of Novoship and a number of third-party vessels.
     -  The Company`s priorities include development of the Russian shipping industry, maintaining high safety standards, employing highly professional staff, and maximizing shareholders` value.
     -  Novoship is a major taxpayer both in Krasnodar region and the Russian Federation.
     -  Novoship Group employs nearly 4,000 seafarers and shore-based personnel.
     -  14 Russian subsidiaries are involved in marine and onshore businesses throughout the south of Russia.

27.4.15

Yemen, Aden:foreign warships shell Houthi emplacements

Egyptian navy Alexandria (F 911) FFG-7 frigate passing through the Suez Canal, on its way to the Red Sea, March 26, 2015.
Sun Apr 26, 2015 6:17 pm EDT Reuters: Eyewitnesses in Aden said foreign warships shelled Houthi emplacements around the city's main commercial port and dockyard, the first time they had been targeted.


March 26  Saudi naval blockade of Bab El-Mandab strait: GCC will keep straits open

 (Oct. 25, 2008) As-Sadiq class missile boat 525 Ouqbah (1982) (عُقبه)) of the Royal Saudi Navy

"We would work in conjunction with our GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) partners to ensure that those straits remain open," U.S. Army General Lloyd Austin t.   The Saudi-led Decisive Storm coalition has imposed a naval blockade of Bab El-Mandab strait which connects the Red Sea with the Indian Ocean


[January 10 2014 Egypt's Fast Missile Craft : first transferred]
The United States, concerned over a major Russian arms deal, has quietly transferred an advanced combat naval vessel to Egypt. The U.S. Navy oversaw the transfer of the first of four fast missile craft to Egypt despite a delivery halt of major combat platforms. On Nov. 19, the Egyptian Navy received the Ambassador-3 class FMC, produced by VT Halter Marine, during a ceremony in Pensacola, Fla.


The Obama administration is in the midst of a case-by-case review of aid programs for Egypt to determine whether any should be suspended in light of the actions of the military-backed government. So says the administration, which insists that the review does not equal a hold or a suspension of aid — yet.
Military assistance facing scrutiny includes contracts for four Fast Missile Craft -- patrol boats that are scheduled for delivery starting next month -- as well as Harpoon antiship missiles for delivery in November, according to the July document. Four Fast Missile Craft are due to be delivered from September to April 2014 under a contract with VT Halter Marine Inc. valued at $815.1 million, of which $724.8 million had been paid to the prime contractor. The program’s total value is $1.1 billion, of which $863.4 million had been disbursed.
The Egyptian Navy's fast missile craft (FMC), also called the Ambassador IV-Class patrol craft, is a missile boat developed by VT Halter Marine, a subsidiary of ST Engineering. The FMC can accommodate a crew of up to 40 sailors. It has been developed in the US for the Egyptian Navy under the foreign military sales (FMS) programme.
The Government of Egypt has been planning to replace many of its ageing fast attack craft (FACs), which have been in service since 1966 and since the 1990s. The navy has procured four fast missile boats from the US Navy.
The new FMC vessels will be used to defend armed surface and shipping threats in the coastal waterways of the Mediterranean Sea, Suez Canal and Red Sea. The FMC will perform coastal patrolling both independently and jointly for surveillance, surface strike operations, interdiction and task group support missions.

United Kalavryta:to Russia

now anchored Port Kavkaz, Kerch Strait, Crimea, Sea of Azov


Tanker anchored at Sekerpinar Turkey

 cargo delivered to established firms in Israel
Ship-tracking data showed the tanker sailing fully-laden towards the Israeli port of Ashkelon/Ashdod before its satellite transponder was turned off on Feb 22.

It reappeared unladen. Several of the oil tankers that have carried Iraqi Kurdistan crude from Turkey's Mediterranean port of Ceyhan have unloaded at Israeli ports, according to ship-tracking data and industry sources.

The KRG has in the past denied selling oil to Israel, which is not recognised by the vast majority of Arab states, including Iraq.

A source in the KRG said that all the oil was being delivered to established international trading companies.



[March 11 Off Canakkale Turkey (2015-03-12 00:36) at anchor

[March 3 ]
United Kalavryta is at Limassol, not under command, 0 knots. 


February 2   United Kalavryta: value of cargo declined by $60 million during wait off Texas




[January 27  Kurdish oil: United Kalavryta is heading to Gibraltar]
Energy Minister Taner Yıldız
 United Kalavryta is heading to Gibraltar, the British territory on the southern tip of Spain.   Iraq and the Kurds agreed in December to start selling oil jointly. The accord will allow them to supply about 550,000 barrels a day more oil from northern Iraq.   The autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) will receive its full 17 percent of the budget, the head of the Iraqi parliament’s oil committee said.     “Erbil will receive 17 percent of the national budget in reality and not just in theory, and this order will remain even in the future,”   The agreement with Erbil  on the export of 550 thousand barrels through the pipeline region to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, is without deals or secret treaties under this Agreement in regards to the export of oil.

[December 24 40th tanker loading - Turks not getting paid Kurdish oil has been shipped by 39 oil tankers from Ceyhan but Iraqi Kurdish authorities have not yet paid all payments to Turkey’s Halkbank, Energy Minister Taner Yıldız has told journalists.    The 39th tanker was loaded and we see one tanker is loaded once every two days. 
ISTANBUL,— Iraqi Kurdistan has shipped a total of nineteen tankers carrying 13.7 million barrels of crude oil since May via a pipeline to Turkey's Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, a Turkish energy official told Reuters on Thursday.



“Part of the Kurdish oil money has not been paid yet by the Kurdish authorities. They say they need to take the money from the contracting parties to make the payment to us. We have said to them the money needs to be paid and transferred to Halkbank in accordance with our deal,” he said.   Hawrami said he was “hopeful for the first time” the long-running dispute over independent Kurdish oil sales could be resolved due to a “big change in attitude” under the new Iraqi prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, who took office in September.   “The KRG will play its full role in helping Iraq to meet its energy export targets” in 2015, Hawrami said.
September 25, 2014



"The flow of Kurdish oil continues without any issues. The 20th tanker will be loaded in the coming days," the official said, adding that the storage tanks in Ceyhan currently held 445,000 barrels of oil.

Turkey's state-run lender Halkbank, where buyers of the Kurdish oil make their payments to, holds $400 million for the sold oil, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told reporters on Wednesday.

"This is a business in which so far $1.3 billion worth of revenues have been made," Yildiz added.


[September 20 mt Ultimate Freedom STS to mt  Northern Star, KRG oil to Singapore?]
mt Northern Star off Singapore



The Ultimate Freedom suezmax tanker, carrying 1 million barrels of Kurdish oil from Ceyhan, this week carried out a ship-to-ship transfer of its cargo to the Northern Star, a Very Large Crude Carrier that can hold 2 million barrels of oil. The vessels were just outside the Singapore Strait in Malaysian waters.

An official at the Malaysian Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) and the ship's captain confirmed a transfer between the two vessels took place.
Two more Kurdish tankers, the United Dynamic IMO: 9412309 and United Emblem IMO: 9419096, have sailed through the Suez Canal in the past week and are listed as heading to Asia 'for orders'.

Vessel's name: Ultimate Freedom Last updated: Sep 15, 2014
Ex-name(s): Huelva Spirit / Iria Tapias
IMO number: 9212759   Call sign: 3ESB9
Flag: Panama   Port of Registry: Panama
Owner: Ultimate Freedom Inc.   Operator: Wan Ship Management Inc
Summer DWT: 149990 MT
Type of vessel: Oil Tanker Built: Mar 28, 2001
Type of hull: Double Hull
Class Society: Bureau Veritas

Northern Star
IMO: 9183350
MMSI: 567493000
Call Sign: HSB4887
Flag: Thailand (TH)
AIS Type: Tanker
Gross Tonnage: 149407
Deadweight: 281050 t
Length × Breadth: 330m × 60.04m
Year Built: 1999
Status: Active

[September 8  United Kalavryta: Marine Management Services doesn't address the question - laden or unladen]
laden or unladen?

Two officials at vessel operator Marine Management Services M.C. of Piraeus, Greece, didn’t immediately respond to e-mails seeking comment on the status of the vessel and its cargo. They also didn’t address the question in several e-mail exchanges.

Four firms that handle lightering services for vessels entering the ports of Houston, Corpus Christi, Galveston and Port Arthur said yesterday they haven’t been hired to offload oil from the stranded ship onto smaller ships and bring it to shore.A fifth firm, AET Inc. (AET), had originally been hired to lighter the oil and later dropped the job after the dispute over the cargo arose

The case is Ministry of Oil of The Republic of Iraq v. 1,032,212 Barrels of Crude Oil, 3:14-249, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (Galveston).


[September 3 The vessel`s AIS is back.- Has Gregory Callimanopulos-controlled Marine Management Services STS United Kalavrvta ?]
The United Kalavryta is too large for the Houston Ship Channel, so it is anchored in an area where such vessels transfer their cargo to smaller ones in a process called lightering. The Coast Guard requires ships to file notice before lightering occurs, but the United Kalavryta had filed no such notice as of Thursday afternoon,


United Kalavrvta is managed by Gregory Callimanopulos-controlled Marine Management Services (MMS), which is the same company managing three suezmax tankers that have been involved in lifting Iraqi Kurdish oil from Ceyhan.
A Coast Guard official said that the vessel might have turned off its beacon in the Gulf of Mexico, which it is not supposed to do,  
or it was possible the ship had traveled outside the range of the U.S. Coastguard antennas which would account for it vanishing from the AIS ship-tracking system. 
Where did that $100 million worth of crude go?

[August 19 M.T. United Kalavrvta free to discharge KRG oil at Galveston [but stay tuned]]
Aug 26, 2014 12:01 AM ET   A U.S. judge threw out a court order that would have required federal agents to seize and hold the cargo for the Iraqi Oil Ministry until a court there decided which government owns it.   “Kurdistan’s unauthorized export of oil over land -– and later overseas –- may violate Iraqi law, but it does not violate U.S. maritime law,” Miller said.

Miller threw out a seizure order issued July 28 by a Houston magistrate judge, who questioned U.S. jurisdiction in the matter while agreeing to store the cargo onshore at Iraq’s expense as the debate continued in that nation’s Supreme Court.

M.T. United Kalavrvta intended to discharge its cargo into smaller vessels for delivery at the Texan port of Galveston.

August 19 MT Kamari: from Ceyhan sts United Carrier to Omisalj, $350 million for KRG
MT United Carrier has departed Omisalj




MT Kamari [below]has again loaded crude at Ceyhan, sailing to Malta where it executed a ship-to-ship transfer to a smaller vessel called the United Carrier.

The vessel is managed by Greece-based Marine Management Services, the same company that runs the Suezmax tankers lifting Kurdish oil.

The United Carrier discharged at  Omisalj for Croatia's refineries, which are partly-owned by Hungary's Mol Group, a company that has invested in oilfields in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The Croatian government owns the 100,000 barrel per day INA refining company jointly with Mol Group.

Based on international prices above $100 a barrel, total Kurdish crude sales from Ceyhan would total around $350 million, even if some tankers have been slightly discounted,  the fourth major sale of Kurdish crude.

"A tanker with 80,000 cubic metres of crude oil arrived at the Omisalj terminal and it should be unloaded on August 17". 
The Hungarian oil company, MOL Group, is listed as the buyer of the shipment.

[August 15 U.S. supports Kurds against ISIS,  ISIS oil selling but not KRG?]



A senior Turkish official has asked the U.S. to allow importers to buy KRG oil as  the US carries out air strikes against Isis in support of the Kurdistan Regional Government, even as officials in Washington discourage international purchases of Kurdish oil for fear such a trade could further fragment the Iraqi state.
“This is urgent: Isis is now selling its oil, but the Kurds are not allowed to sell their oil,”, referring to oilfields captured by the jihadist group in eastern Syria and around the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.
He claimed Isis was selling cut-price oil to the Syrian government – there are also allegations of widespread oil smuggling from the jihadist-controlled region, notably to Turkey itself – and compared those sales with the legal obstacles faced by KRG exports.
This week, Axeon, a US-based refiner said it would not proceed with a Kurdish buy because it was “controversial” – the latest in a series of rebuffs for tankers circling the globe with shipments of Kurdish oil.



[August 11]




Phoenix An


M / T Phoenix  An has departed Ceyhan, Turkey with crude oil from northern Iraq to international markets.   M / T Phoenix An, Manager: Ancora Investment Trust Inc.,  carries 260 thousand barrels of crude oil, according to Information received from the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources.    Thus, 6 ships are carrying Iraqi oil to international markets.
Meanwhile, the flow of oil from northern Iraq to Ceyhan started again. 2.6 million barrels of storage capacity at Ceyhan have been full and  the flow of oil cut , butb pumping was resumed on August 3. 

Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources reports that 75 thousand barrels per day are being received, northern Iraq's oil exports continuing despite all adversities. Legal steps taken by the Iraqi government and the United States oppose the sale of oil by KRG.


IMO: 9299496 MMSI: 229357000 Call Sign: 9HA3264 Flag : Malta (MT) AIS Type: Tanker Gross Tonnage: 24,048 DeadWeight: 38512 Length x Breadth: 27.4m 182.78mx Year Built: 2005


Flag: Malta
Port: VALLETTA
Owner: Phoenix An Shipping Limited GT (ITC 69): 24,048
(10125886)   NT (ITC 69): 11,096
Manager: Ancora Investment Trust Inc. DWT: 38,512
(190761)   (LRF / Company identification no: 1359648)
DocHolder: Unknown
(194737)   (LRF / Company identification no: 000000)
Yard: Guangzhou Shipyard International Co. Ltd. (102545) Year of Build: 2005
Type: 101 - Tanker for Oil Sister Vessels
Rule regime: Ship
Vessel shape: Monohull ship

Richard A. Barone founded Ancora in 2001 shortly after The Maxus Investment Group (which he established in 1973) was sold to Fifth Third Bank.

Theodoros Kottaridis, Chief operating Officer, ANCORA INVESTMENT TRUST INC

Richard A. Barone was President and CEO of Maxus Investment Group.  His career as a leader in the investment industry spans a period of more than 30 years.  As a Founder of Maxus Investment Group in 1973, he presides over one of the oldest and largest privately held investment advisory and securities brokerage firms in the Midwest.  In addition to his investment management responsibilities to institutional and high net worth clients, Mr. Barone is also the Manager of the Maxus Income Fund, the Maxus Equity Fund, and the Maxus Aggressive Value Fund.  He is a graduate of Georgetown University with a degree in Economics and has undertaken graduate studies at both Georgetown and Northwestern Universities

[August 11]



Heidmar currently has around 100 tankers in its pools. It is 49% owned by Russia's Rosneft






MT Kamari


MT Kamari, left Ceyhan on August 1 and was heading for Egypt’s Port Said.   It is carrying one million barrels of KRG crude oil.

Crude oil tanker
IMO: 9399492
MMSI: 240829000
Call Sign: SVAL3
Flag: Greece (GR)
AIS Type: Tanker
Gross Tonnage: 83545
DeadWeight: 156853
Length x Breadth: 274.5m x 48.04m
Year Built: 2009
Status: Active
Owner: Lilium Owning Company Limited
Operator: TMS Tankers Ltd
Former name(s):
- Kamari I (Until 2013 May)
- Kamari (Until 2012 Feb)
- Genmar Gulf (Until 2011 Feb)
- Crudegulf (Until 2003 May)
- Landsort (Until 1997 Oct)
Company Name Lilium Owning Co Ltd
Company Name Full Lilium Owning Co Ltd
Activity Owner, Manager
Addressc/o Heidmar Inc, 20, Glover Avenue, Norwalk CT 06850-1219, USA [Connecticut-based Heidmar currently has around 100 tankers in its pools. It is 49% owned byRussia's Rosneft, 49% owned by George Economou-controlled Shipping Pool Investors, and 2% owned by Heidmar management. ]
Town Norwalk CT
Country United States of America
Postal Code 06850-1219

[August 3  United Emblem STS transfer under MARINE MANAGEMENT SERVICES M.C.operator]
MT United Emblem, which is carrying more than 1 million barrels of oil, is one of three tankers loaded with oil from the autonomous Kurdish region, which is trying to sell oil independently. United Emblem – still holed up in the South China Sea off Malaysia – has managed to offload part of its cargo on to another tanker. The ship-to-ship transfer is a ploy also used by other countries, such as Iran in an effort to disguise the origin of crude, with moderate success. A senior executive at Marine Management Services confirmed the ship-to-ship transfer involving the United Emblem took place in a "legitimate operation". The ship is "fixed to a legitimate charterer and performing legitimate operations," said Kostas Georgopoulos, the chartering manager at Marine Management Services. "The ship is still in international waters," he added MARINE MANAGEMENT SERVICES M.C.

MMS took over personnel, premises and business of Trade & Transport Inc which was established back in 1960. T&T Inc and subsequently MMS, have ever since been providing management of tankers, bulkers and combination carriers including handysize bulkers, panamax bulkers, capsize vessels, panamax tankers, aframax tankers, suezmax tankers and VLCCs.


MMS has expertise in managing vessel operations, inspecting second-hand vessels for purchase, fleet maintenance, repairs and new building supervision.


Company Name: TALMAY TRADING DMCC
Address: Dubai - Dubai Multi-Commodities Centre (DMCC)
POBox: 
Telephone Number: 04-3915043
Fax Number: 04-3611077
E-mail: johan@sbsuae.com
Website: 
Business Activity: Energy
Talmay has offices here



A U.S. court has ordered U.S. Marshals to seize a $100 million cargo of Kurdish oil on a tanker off the coast of Galveston, Texas, if it is brought ashore, adding a new twist to the long-standing dispute between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government over oil sales.

In a complaint filed with a Texas court Monday, Iraq's ministry of oil accused the KRG of illegally producing and exporting the oil onboard the United Kalavrvta and secured a court order to seize the oil should it come to shore. The complaint didn't include a request to seize the tanker itself, which is too large to enter the Houston shipping channel and unload its cargo directly.

In a further blow to the KRG, the company hired to deliver oil from the United Kalavrvta to the U.S. shore, AET Offshore Services Inc., also filed a complaint Monday, seeking to clarify its legal position and relieve it from its obligations to lift the oil until the dispute over its ownership has been resolved.

"AET hasn't engaged in any lightering operations with this cargo and there's no intention to do so pending clarification from the court," a company spokesman said.

The court filings also revealed the biggest clue yet as to the potential identity of the oil's buyer, revealing that British Virgin Islands-registered Talmay Trading Inc. had chartered AET's services. However, it is unclear whether Talmay was indeed the final buyer or acting as a middleman.

[July 28 United Kalavrvta at Galveston from Ceyhan with KRG crude]
A tanker carrying crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan was anchored near the Port of Galveston, Texas, on July 27, a delivery that has infuriated Baghdad, which has threatened to sue anyone who buys the black gold.  

The Marshall Islands-flagged tanker United Kalavrvta sailed from the Turkish port of Ceyhan on June 23.   The United Kalavrvta spent a week hovering off the coast of Malta before striking across the Atlantic toward the U.S. Its final buyer is still unknown. 

The ship carries approximately 1 million barrels of crude, which would fetch more than $100 million at international prices. It must undergo a routine safety inspection by the U.S. Coast Guard on before it can unload its cargo, an official said.    
Washington has pressured companies and governments not to buy crude from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), but it has stopped short of banning U.S. firms from buying it outright.   A second ship - the United Leadership - is still waiting off the coast of Mohammedia, Morocco and a third tanker - the United Emblem - is sailing to Malaysia.

IMO: 9290397
Name: UNITED KALAVRVTA
MMSI: 538005501
Type: CRUDE OIL TANKER
Gross Tonnage: 81076 t
Summer DWT: 159156 t
Build: 2005
Flag: MARSHALL ISLANDS Owner: UNITED KALAVRYTA INC. Operator: Marine Management Services M.C.

[June 27]

2014-06-27 12:18 Tanker VALFOGLIA IMO: 9417309 MMSI: 247235700 Call Sign: ICLM Flag: Italy (IT) Type: Crude oil tanker Gross Tonnage: 60185 DeadWeight: 109060 Length x Breadth: 243m x 42.08m Year Built: 2009 Latitude / Longitude: 35.85376 / 30.82469 Speed/Course: 11.5kn / 271° [June 25]


PANAGIA ARMATA
 Malta Tanker
IMO: 9180126
MMSI: 229637000
Call Sign: 9HA3472
Flag: Malta (MT)
Type: Oil products tanker
Gross Tonnage: 53074
DeadWeight: 98774
Length x Breadth: 248m x 43.34m
Year Built: 1998
Status: Active 

Info Received:(2014-06-25 12:19)
Area: Mediterranean
Latitude / Longitude: 35.31068 / 29.7328
Speed/Course: 13.5kn / 257°
Last Known Port: CEYHAN [TR] (2014-06-24 13:21:00)

Kurdish authorities have continued floating tankers carrying their crude from Turkey's Mediterranean port of Ceyhan uninterrupted. Three tankers have sailed since May 22, and  a fourth tanker started loading June 22. While the first tanker is still idling off Morocco to discharge its load, the second cargo was delivered over the weekend to the Israeli port of Ashkelon, managed by Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Co.
The first tanker, the United Leadership, is still lingering off the Moroccan coast after it attempted to deliver oil to the North African country's Mohammedia refinery at the start of this month. The government told the vessel, laden with 1 million barrels of oil, to vacate its waters pending a final decision.
ERBIL, Iraq—The semiautonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq received $106 million for the first million barrels of oil it piped to Turkey and shipped to international markets, a steep discount compared to regional alternative sour grades.   The oil was sold at about a $13 per barrel discount when taking the current level of benchmark dated Brent, whereas Urals has been at a discount of $1.50 to $3/barrel this month.   The grade is a mix of Kurdistan's Tawke and Taq Taq grades and is expected to change over time as the first loadings from storage were mixed with some residue of Iraq's Kirkuk grade.
Buyers of oil from the Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, deposited $93 million of the $97 million owed on the first tanker of crude at Turkiye Halk Bankasi  



[June 22]

 Liberia flagged tanker SCF Altai

“The KRG categorically refutes the claim that it has sold oil to Israel,” a spokesman for the Ministry of Natural Resources said in an e-mail. “The KRG has not sold oil either directly or indirectly to such a destination.”

The spokesman did not comment on questions asking who the KRG had sold the oil to, or how crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan had been delivered to Israel.



[June 20]
mt SCF Altai arrived at Israel's Ashkelon port early onJ
une 20 ship tracking and industry sources said. By the evening, the tanker began unloading the Kurdish oil, a source at the port said.


[June 19]
Two more tankers will load Kurdish oil at Ceyhan by June 22.    Kurdish exports may double to as much as 250,000 barrels a day next month


On May 22, mt United Leadership filled with the disputed oil left the Ceyhan terminal with 1 million barrels for Europe.Then it appeared to be bound for the Americas, as a concerted Iraqi government effort to block its passage led to the tanker turning around on May 30 after getting almost 200 miles across the Atlantic Ocean. The tanker moored about 5 miles off Mohammedia port in Morocco on June 3.    With this much oil now flowing onto the international market from Kurdistan, with Turkey’s help, sooner or later it will find buyers.   Turkey sees Kurdish crude oil exports through its Mediterranean port of Ceyhan as “entirely legitimate” and will continue as long as oil is sold. The next shipment is scheduled for June 22.


[June 18]
After two days of waiting on the coast of Malta, United Emblem transferred its cargo [1.045mn barrels of crude] to the Liberia flagged tanker SCF Altai which headed for the Israeli Port Ashkelon.   
A third tanker carrying KRG oil stored in Ceyhan would transport oil for sale on the international market on June 22. On a daily basis 120,000 barrels of Kurdish oil flow to Ceyhan via the pipeline without interruption. Last December the KRG administration completed construction of the Taq Taq-Khurmala-Fish Khabur pipeline that connects the Taq Taq oil field to the entry point for the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline. Since then Kurdish oil exports have continued uninterrupted in a pipeline capable of sending a maximum of 300,000 barrels of oil per day to Turkey.
KRG oil exports from the port of Ceyhan began on May 23. The first tanker, United Leadership, which left the Turkish port in May, is currently positioned off the coast of Morocco. However the second tanker, United Emblem, sailed to Ceyhan yesterday afternoon.

Name: Scf Altai
IMO: 9224439
Flag: Liberia
MMSI: 636011490
Callsign: ELZP3
Gross tonnage: 81,085 tons
Summer DWT: 159,417 tons
Length: 273 m
Beam: 48 m
Draught: 17 m


While the fate of oil in the first two tankers is not yet clear, Irbil-based Kurdish news portal Rudaw reported on June 15 that Kurdish oil, the sale of which was impeded by Baghdad and Washington, has been sold to buyers in Austria and India.






United Leadership


United Emblem



At the time of writing, the cargo vessel United Leadership was moored in the Mediterranean, laden with 1 million barrels of oil taken from storage tanks at the Turkish port of Ceyhan. 

Kurds have now shipped a second crude cargo.   The United Emblem loaded 1.045mn barrels of crude at Ceyhan, Turkey, on June 9. The vessel is currently in international waters near Morocco.

  Baghdad says the semiautonomous northern Iraqi enclave of Kurdistan can't legally export its crude without going through the federal government in Baghdad. The Kurdistan Regional Government, meanwhile, has repeatedly challenged that position and in late December started piping oil from Kurdistan to Turkey for eventual export by tanker. Late last month, the KRG announced the departure of the United Leadership from the Turkish port of Ceyhan, marking it as a milestone for its nascent oil industry.

Baghdad immediately threatened to take legal action against anyone who bought the shipment. Since then, it has remained unclear who bought the cargo, where it was headed and whether any government would allow for it to be unloaded amid Iraq's threats.   Iraq  surpassed Iran in 2012 to become second in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.   The main pipeline is from Kirkuk to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, Turkey

The seizure of Iraq’s second-largest city by militants from a breakaway al-Qaeda group is hobbling the effort to fix its main pipeline for crude exports and boost output at one of its biggest oilfields.   Plans to pump more oil at Kirkuk with help from foreign partners such as BP Plc will be put on hold while the violence . The field is Iraq’s fourth-largest, with 8.9 billion barrels in estimated reserves.  It has been producing since the 1920s and currently pumps about 270,000 b/d.    
Growth in Iraq’s output has helped underpin OPEC’s supply to global markets as fighting in Libya has curbed production in the North African country and international sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program have cut that nation’s exports.   Fighting in the northern city of Mosul forced a halt in repairs to the main pipeline from Kirkuk to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan. Shipments through the pipeline, a frequent target of sabotage, have stopped since March 2.