Second tanker to load crude at Eastern Libyan Marsa El Hariga

A second tanker would dock later on November 23 at the port located in Tobruk to load 600,000 barrels of oil, NOC spokesman Mohammad el-Harari said.

IMO: 9188764
MMSI: 255805270
Gross Tonnage: 22848
Summer DWT: 35407 t
Build: 1999
Tb Marine Shipmanagement
Hamburg, Germany

With the exception of fishing vessels, MADEIRA INTERNATIONAL REGISTER accepts the registration of all types of commercial vessels, including oil rig platforms, as well as commercial and pleasure yachts. 

Madeira’s Register also offers a very competitive tax regime, applicable to both vessels and shipping companies licensed within the legal framework of the International Business Centre of Madeira.

For the convenience of our clients, the process of provisional registration of a vessel in MAR may now be initiated on-line.
 the licence is deemed to be granted in favour of the company once the applicant furnishes proof of the formation and registration of such company.

previous ports
MISURATA [LY] (2014-11-05 18:28:00)
AUGUSTA [IT] (2014-11-14 19:48:00)

[November 10 Tobruk guards block tanker loading ]

A tanker had been waiting for three days to lift oil from Hariga, located in Tobruk, but the guards did not allow it to do so,. The port was only open for fuel imports and the exports of refinery products,   The protesters at Hariga were part of a state security oil force that has gone on strike over pay several times this year.

[July 3 2011 Captain X Kyriakou: last crude out of Tobruk, Libya]

Captain X Kyriakou, Suezmax tanker, MH-flag, was chartered from Athenian Sea Carriers Ltd. by Swiss-based trading house Vitol earlier in July and is now leaving a position off Sarroch, Sardinia on a course of 157° perhaps towards Suez. It had been seen off Marsa El Hariga near Tobruk and Benghazi in eastern Libya, the rebels' stronghold.

The ship can carry up to 1 million barrels but was only partially loaded. The oil was from storage tanks rather than being fresh barrels from oilfields.

The cargo is the second export from the rebels and it may be the last before Libyan production restarts.

Athenian Sea Carriers Ltd.
Minos Kyriakou (b. 1942) established in 1965 Athenian Tankers Inc., with two small tankers he already owned. He initially built his business on the transportation of vegetable oils. In 1976, he established two oil trading corporations, Bacoil International and Athenian Oil Trading Inc., which trade petroleum products worldwide. At the age of 38, Minos became the youngest member of the Lloyd's Register of Shipping Committee in London, which oversees some 60 committees.
In 1999 Minos Kyriakou expanded his activities by establishing Antenna Group, the leading media group in Greece and the Greek-speaking world. In 1997, Kyriakou took over the Panellinios athletics club. The club organizes the Athens Tsiklitiria international meeting; in 1999, Maurice Green ran the 100 m in 9"79 (world record). In 2002, the IAAF decided to include the Athens meeting among the seven meetings of the Super Grand Prix. Kyriakou is also President of the the Hellenic Olympic Committee

Ship Type: Tanker
Year Built: 2003
Length x Breadth: 274 m X 48 m
DeadWeight: 159113 t
Speed recorded (Max / Average): 12.7 / 7.4 knots
Flag: Marshall Is [MH]
Call Sign: V7FD6
IMO: 9269087, MMSI: 538001913


Phantom Ships in the Northwest Passage

Invalid locations?
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.


Russian sub: vessel, whatever it was, is gone

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.

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

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.


MV Rena: Bay of Plenty boaties stay away!

11 Sep 2014: "MV Rena  operations are still under way, and they need to be able to work without other vessels getting in the way."
Bay of Plenty boaties are being reminded they aren't allowed near the Rena wreck after a spate of vessels breached the exclusion zone.
There have been 56 recorded breaches since the start of 2014 of the two nautical mile exclusion zone around the wreckage of the vessel, which ran aground on Astrolabe Reef near Tauranga in October 2011.

[April 2 2012 Rena: Interim Report -took a short cut to be on time]

An interim report on the Rena cargo ship grounding has revealed that the crew may have been taking a short cut which caused the incident.
The New Zealand Transport Accident Investigation Commission's report into the grounding of Rena on the Astrolabe Reef in October last year has stated that the crew were desperately trying to meet the deadline to reach port.
Several course changes were made in order to do this which resulted in the vessel trying to pass the reef at just 2km, as opposed to the recommended 4.8km.
After the grounding, the Rena leaked hundred of tonnes of fuel, in what has been called New Zealand’s worst maritime environmental disaster. New Zealand’s government has estimated the cost of the clean up at NZ$130m.
Both the captain and the navigating officer have pleaded guilty to mishandling the vessel and then doctoring documents after the crash – they’re due to be sentenced on 25 May.
The commission's final report is due out next year.
So far it has been difficult to ascertain what can be learnt from the Rena disaster and what, if any, changes need to be made to safety regulations to prevent a similar incident happening again.

[October 15, 2011]There were claims today that the Rena hit the Astrolabe Reef because someone on board deliberately changed its course.

One expert 3 News spoke to said the ship used only one navigational aid - a beacon around 20 kilometres away, and never checked its own charts because if it had it would have been obvious it was on a collision course.

Marine accident specialist John Riding says the Rena is not there because of bad luck, but because of bad decision making.

Mr Riding believes a massive error in navigation means the course of the boat was deliberately changed long before it hit the Astrolabe.

He says about an hour from the port of Tauranga the Rena’s radar picked up a signal from the port's entry beacon.

It then changed course, slowly turning towards the beacon. The new route set a collision course with the reef.

“It appears to me that if he'd looked at the chart it would have been obvious what would happen,” says Mr Riding. “We are genuinely talking about the ‘ABCs’ of navigation, these are the basics that have gone wrong.”

All ships must eventually line up with the entry beacon where a pilot boards the ship to help guide it safely into the port.

3 news understands the Rena was meant to meet its pilot at 3.30am that morning. It hit the reef at 2.15, still on schedule to meet that deadline.

Port of Tauranga CEO Mark Carins says if ships miss their rendezvous time they simply do not come in to port.

“We won't risk the safety on that, so if they miss the window, they miss the window, and depending on the size of the ship they would have to wait for a few hours.”

But waiting at sea with a fully laden ship is expensive. Even the government is questioning whether the Rena was racing to get into Tauranga.

Environment Minister Nick Smith says it appears from the charts that they were in a rush to get to port.

“[They] went full bore, cut the corner and hit the reef and there's a proper inquiry that needs to take place to confirm that course of events.”

Mr Riding says every ship is under pressure to arrive on time, otherwise it costs money.

“The master's job is to make sure you do it safely. Every master has that on his shoulders.”

MV Cape Ray returned to its home port

MV Cape Ray returned to its home port in Portsmouth, Virginia, Sept. 17 at the conclusion of its successful mission of neutralizing and destroying Syrian chemical weapons in the Mediterranean Sea.“We went around the Mediterranean while the specialists were processing the chemicals. The days soon began to go by and it became pretty much routine for us,” Squire added. “All in all though, it was a good trip.”

[June 25 Cape Ray departs Rota, MVArk Futura takes final Syrian shipment]

the MV Cape Ray left for the southern Italian port of Gioia Tauro to retrieve an estimated 560 tons of mustard blister agent and other materials extracted from Syria's war-fractured territory. The move took place two days after President Bashar Assad's regime delivered the last of its declared chemical-warfare stockpile into international custody, enabling the commencement of a destruction operation slated to take place in the Mediterranean Sea.

Defense Department spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said the boat's initial trip to Italy "is expected to take several days."   Upon arriving at Gioia Tauro, the Cape Ray would receive chemicals shipped from Syria on board the Danish vessel Ark Futura. The U.S. vessel would then embark for international waters, where it would employ a chemical process to render the substances largely harmless.

[April 10]

Captain of the MV Cape Ray, Rick Jordan, speaks to the press. 

The MV Cape Ray, which is on a mission to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons, will be held up indefinitely in Rota, Spain, while the international community waits for the Syrian regime to hand over the remainder of its stockpile,

[January 30] The MV Cape Ray left Portsmouth, Va., on January 27 and is due to arrive in the southern port of Gioia Tauro in about “two to three weeks.”

[January 30]

The Norwegian cargo ship Taiko docked in preparation for shipment of chemicals
 Norwegian cargo ship Taiko today has been a new turn in Syria and brought containers of chemical warfare agents. Photo: Rune Thomas Ege
Posted 01/27/14 - 6:48 p.m. , changed 27/01/14 - 7:03 p.m.

The Norwegian cargo ship Taiko went out to fetch the second shipment of chemical weapons and weapons as Monday was carried out from Syria.   A second shipment of chemical weapons materials has been removed from Syria under a deal to eliminate its arsenal, the joint U.N. mission overseeing the disarmament said January 27.

[January 16]

In the transfer of the primary agents at an Italian port from the Danish vessel to an American one, where they will be destroyed at sea, The Calabrian port of Gioia Tauro has been chosen for the chemical transfer, an Italian government source said.
HMS Montrose on anti-pirate patrol

A Royal Navy ship, HMS Montrose, is about to join the escort of the Danish and Norwegian vessels transporting the chemical stocks from Syria.

Class & type: Type 23 Frigate
Displacement: 4,900 tonnes, standard
Length: 133 m (436 ft 4 in)
Beam: 16.1 m (52 ft 10 in)
Draught: 7.3 m (23 ft 9 in)
Propulsion: CODLAG with four 1510 kW (2,025 shp) Paxman Valenta 12CM diesel generators powering two GEC electric motors delivering 2980kW (4000 shp) and two Rolls-Royce Spey SM1A delivering 23,190 kW (31,100 shp) to two shafts
Speed: 28 knots (52 km/h; 32 mph) (higher speeds have been recorded in trials)
Range: 14,485 kilometres (9,001 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Complement: 185 (plus up to 20 augmentees (Royal Marines, etc))
Electronic warfare
& decoys: 4 x 6-barrel Seagnat decoy launchers
DFL3 offboard decoys
Anti-air missiles:
1× 32-cell Sea Wolf GWS.26 VLS canisters for 32 Sea Wolf missiles (range 1-10 km)
Anti-ship missiles:
2 × quad Harpoon launchers
Anti-submarine torpedoes:
2 × Twin 12.75 in (324 mm) Sting Ray torpedo tubes
1 × BAE 4.5 inch Mk8 gun 2 × 30mm DS30M automated guns, or, 2× 30mm DS30B guns 2 × Miniguns 4 × General-purpose machine guns
Aircraft carried:
1×Lynx HMA8, armed with; 4× Sea Skua anti ship missiles, or 2× anti submarine torpedoes or 1×Westland Merlin HM1, armed with; 4× anti submarine torpedoes
Aviation facilities:
Flight deck Enclosed hangar
Chinese sailor aboard Yancheng
Chinese guided missile frigate Yancheng arrived in Syrian territorial waters on January 7, proceeding to dock at Latakia Port and then escort the first batch of chemical weapons out of Syrian territory. Joining Yancheng in the escort of Danish and Norwegian ships was Russian missile cruiser Peter the Great. All four ships first rendezvoused in international waters off Syria before commencing the mission, during which China and Russia are reportedly working in coordination with, rather than under the command of, European forces.

[January 9]
Russian cruiser Pyotr Veliky
From the Russian side, the heavy nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser Pyotr Veliky (Peter the Great) is participating in the operation, Spokesman Eystein Kvarving said. Kvarving emphaszed that the Russian and Chinese ships would not be under the Danish-Norwegian command but would coordinate their actions with it. [January 7]

The Chinese frigate 运城/ Yuncheng docked at Limassol port on January 5, 2014, Cyprus. -- A Chinese ship arrived to escort ships picking up chemical weapons materials from Syria on January 7. The frigate Yancheng is working closely with other ships from Russia and Europe.

Type: Frigate
Length: 134.1 m (440 ft)(CCTV report)
Beam: 16 m (52 ft) (CCTV report)
Propulsion: CODAD, 4 x Shaanxi 16 PA6 STC diesels, 5700 kW (7600+ hp @ 1084 rpm) each
Speed: 27 kn estimated
Range: 8025 nautical miles estimated
Complement: 165
Sensors and processing systems:
Type 382 Radar (Upgraded from Type 381 Radar "Sea Eagle S/C") 3D air/surface search radar
Type 344 Radar (Mineral-ME Band Stand) OTH target acquisition and SSM fire control radar
4 x Type 345 Radar(MR-90 Front Dome) SAM fire control radars
MR-36A surface search radar, I-band
Type 347G 76 mm gun fire control radar
2 x Racal RM-1290 navigation radars, I-band
MGK-335 medium frequency active/passive sonar system
ZKJ-4B/6 (developed from Thomson-CSF TAVITAC) combat data system
HN-900 Data link (Chinese equivalent of Link 11A/B, to be upgraded)
AKD5000S Ku band SATCOM
Electronic warfare
& decoys: Type 922-1 radar warning receiver
HZ-100 ECM & ELINT system
Kashtan-3 missile jamming system
Armament: 1 x32-cell VLS HQ-16 SAM / anti submarine rocket launcher
2 x 4 C-803 anti-ship / land attack cruise missiles
1 x PJ26 76 mm dual purpose gun
2 x Type 730 7-barrel 30 mm CIWS guns
2 x 3 324mm YU-7 ASW torpedo launchers
2 x 6 Type 87 240mm anti-submarine rocket launcher (36 rockets carried)
2 x Type 726-4 18-tube decoy rocket launchers
Aircraft carried: 1 Kamov Ka-28 'Helix' or Harbin Z-9C
Aviation facilities: hangar

Danish Ark Futura across the bay

December 7, the UN confirmed that a small number of containers with “priority one chemical materials” were on board the Ark Futura cargo ship, one of two vessels in charge of collecting the materials. They will wait in international waters for additional chemicals to be delivered to Latakia for collection. A spokeswoman said the loading took only “a couple of hours”, but this delicate phase of the operation had been “months in the planning”.

[December 5]

Frank Kendall, undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, speaks to reporters during a visit to the Cape Ray, in Portsmouth, Va., Jan. 2, 2014, to discuss the ship`s upcoming mission to destroy chemical weapons from Syria. The Cape May is expected to depart for the mission about January 16 with 64 specialists from the Army`s Edgewood Chemical Biological Center on Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.

Tent housing a filtration system.

Inside the plastic tent are two storage tanks, each containing a cistern where the lethal agents will be mixed with water and other chemicals.

The roughly 500 tonnes of highly toxic chemicals which Bashar al-Assad's regime had stockpiled for the manufacture of Sarin and VX nerve agents are still in 12 bases around the country, three days after they were due to arrive in Latakia for loading on to Danish and Norwegian ships. Those freighters – the Ark Futura and the Taiko – have returned to the Cypriot port of Limassol since it became clear how far the schedule laid down by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had slipped.

Some of the materials have been packed into US-provided drums, but none of them have been loaded, a diplomat said. It is not clear whether the armoured Russian trucks flown into Syria to transport the chemical weapons have reached all 12 locations. Meanwhile, US trucks carrying equipment like such as GPS tracking devices to help the movement of the chemicals have been held up at the Jordanian border, apparently by bureaucratic delays.

A handout picture taken on December 29, 2013, and released by Norwegian Armed Forces, shows a Norwegian officer on deck watching the cargo vessel "Taiko", IMO number: 8204975 earmarked to transport chemical agents from war torn Syria.

Ark Futura IMO: 9129598

 Syria apparently has not begun to move weapons toward the port staging areas.   An official from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said security concerns and bureaucracy are the primary reasons President Bashar al-Assad's government missed Tuesday's deadline.

Bad weather and a complex multinational procurement effort for equipment have also delayed the operation.

For now, the delay is not raising concern in Washington, which characterized the deadline as ambitious. The State Department said it was satisfied to see "forward progress."

HDMS Esbern Snare (L17) is an Absalon-class support ship, and is along with her sister ship, the HDMS Absalon, the largest combat vessel currently commissioned in the Royal Danish Navy.

Two cargo ships and their warship escorts are waiting at Cyprus’ Limassol port for word on when they can travel to Syria to begin hauling out more than 1,000 tons of chemical agents. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the U.N. said Saturday that a Dec. 31 deadline to remove the most toxic chemicals was unlikely to be met. They urged President Bashar Assad’s government to “intensify efforts” to meet internationally set deadlines

[December 27] Danish chemical expert Bjorn Schmidt speaks to reporters aboard the Danish frigate HDMS Esbern Snare in Cyprus’ Limassol port on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013. Schmidt said that Danish and Norwegian cargo vessels can safely ferry up to 500 tons of Syria’s most dangerous chemical weapons out of the strife-torn country. He said sealed containers full of chemical compounds that when mixed can create lethal Sarin and VX gasses will be loaded at opposite ends of the two cargo ships.(AP Photo/Pavlos Vrionides)(Credit: AP) Esbern Snare has since October been pirate hunting on the Somali coast during NATO's Operation Ocean Shield.

Italy has agreed to let the Norwegian and Danish ships use one of its ports — it has not yet said which port — to transfer the most toxic chemicals to a U.S. ship.
The United States is supplying nearly 3,000 container drums, loading, transportation, and decontamination equipment. Washington also is providing GPS locators that will let authorities track the chemicals. Russia is providing large capacity and armoured trucks, water tanks, and other logistical supplies. It has also indicated the possibility of helping with security for cargo operations at the port and in Syrian territorial waters. China is providing surveillance cameras and 10 ambulances.

Denmark and Norway are providing cargo vessels and military escorts in the form of two navy frigates to ship the chemicals out of Latakia. They first will take the most toxic chemicals, which are the top priority for destruction, and later return to pick up hundreds of tons of less dangerous chemicals. Finland will provide a chemical weapons emergency-response team

[December 7]

The MV Cape Ray, a retired cargo ship currently docked at a Virginia private shipyard on the Elizabeth River near the Midtown Tunnel, December 5th, 2013. The Cap Ray is preparing for a high-profile mission to destroy Syria's chemical weapons

The Cape Ray was activated twice in the past decade, each time to help move military supplies for the Iraq war.

It was buzzing with activity again on December 5. Department of Defense civilians began mounting the two mobile hydrolysis units below deck, defense officials said. The units will be enclosed in a special tent equipped with an advanced filtration system, ensuring that any chemical leaks would be contained. The entire neutralization operation would take place below deck, defense officials said.

If it gets the green light on the mission, the ship would come under the control of the Navy's Military Sealift Command. It would be staffed with a crew of about 100 people - a mix of Defense Department civilians and private contractors, defense officials said.

Under the working plan, several hundred tons of chemicals would be loaded into shipping containers in Syria, moved to Latakia, a Syrian city on the Mediterranean Sea, and transferred to a non-Syrian port. To avoid docking in the war-torn country, the Cape Ray would pick up the containers from a third country, destroy the chemicals while at sea, then offload the waste at a commercial treatment facility, defense officials said.

The Pentagon began developing the field-deployable hydrolysis system in response to the Syrian civil war. The system - which takes an existing technology and makes it mobile - went through final testing this summer.

Neutralization is achieved by mixing hazardous chemical agents with water and other chemicals, and then heating the mixture.

[December 5]

frigate "Helge Ingstad"

Norwegian frigate will, December 9, sail for Syria, to assist in the work of freighting chemicals from the Syrian weapons programme. Norway has also offered the use of a transport vessel.

The frigate "Helge Ingstad" will be used to escort the freighters which will be used to transport the chemicals to the US, where they will be destroyed.

Bestykning 1 × Mk 41 VLS for missiler
32 × RIM-162 ESSM SAM
8 × Naval Strike Missile
4 × 324 mm torpedorør for Sting Ray torpedoer
1 × 76 mm OTO Melara SR kanon
4 × 12,7 mm Browning M2HB mitraljøser
Sensorer AN/SPY-1F (luft/overflate)
CAPTAS MK II V1 aktiv/passiv tauet sonar
MRS 2000 skrogmontert sonar
Kommandokontroll Link 16, Link 11
Mannskap ca. 120
Fly NH90 Nato Frigate Helicopter

Norway has granted NOK 90 million in support to the UN's work to destroy Syria's store of chemical weapons.
Destruction of so-called "category 3" chemical weapons, which are unfilled munitions, has proceeded at a rapid clip, and has been completed well before the target date of January 31st. At least for now, it is unlikely that Syria has the capacity to make or fill any new weapons.

However, another looming deadline is proving rather harder to meet. By the end of this month, 500 tonnes of the deadliest chemicals in Syria’s arsenal are meant to have been removed from the country for destruction elsewhere. Known as "priority chemical weapons", including nerve agents, such as sarin and mustard gas, these are deemed too dangerous to take into a third-party country for commercial reprocessing (in fact, Albania was approached to host their destruction, but refused).

First, the weapons must be sealed and packaged in special containers brought across the border from Lebanon by Syrian technicians who have been trained there by OPCW specialists. Then they must be transported by road from multiple sites to Syria’s biggest port, Latakia, some 225 kilometres (140 miles) north of Damascus, the capital. Once there, they will be loaded on to ships provided by Norway and Denmark and taken to an American government-owned vessel, the Cape Ray, a 200-metre (650-foot) cargo ship that is part of a reserve fleet used for transporting military hardware at short notice. The Cape Ray is being fitted with a mobile unit that has been developed for breaking down lethal chemical agents into a sludge similar to industrial toxic waste. This will eventually be treated for disposal by commercial firms in a number of different countries, according to Ms Kaag. When the Cape Ray arrives in the Mediterranean it will be escorted by several American navy warships.

MV Cape Ray (AKR-9679)

Built in 1977, the ship was delivered to Saudi Arabia's National Ship Co. as MV SEASPEED ASIA. Later renamed SAUDI MAKKAH, she was purchased by the Maritime Administration in 1993 and was subsequently converted for military use. Renamed MV CAPE RAY (T-AKR 9679), she was assigned to the Ready Reserve Force on December 17, 1994. Since then, she is maintained in reduced operating status in a layberth at Portsmouth, Va. If required, she can be fully activated within 5 days.
General Characteristics:    Built: 1977
Builder: Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd., Japan
Purchased by MARAD: 1993
Propulsion system: two Diesel engines
Propellers: one
Length: 648 feet (197.5 meters)
Beam: 105 feet (32 meters)
Draft: 32 feet (9.75 meters)
Displacement: approx. 35,350 long tons full load
Speed: 16+ knots
Aircraft: none
Armament: none
Crew: 9 civilian mariners in ROS; 29 civilian mariners when activated
Homeport: Portsmouth, Va.

  There appear to be 3 phases to the plan, firstly, to move the 1330 tonnes to the Port of Latakia, secondly to transport these chemicals to the MV Cape Ray presumably in the Mediterranean somewhere, and to commercial toxic waste destruction facilities and finally to destroy the most toxic by hydrolysis on the MV Cape Ray and the rest by normal convention toxic waste destruction at civilian facilities, by mid 2014 – all possible, well apparently, until yesterday’s 11th hour request by Minister Mekdad.

It is understood that most of the CW is North of Damascus and will have to move through a number of contested areas before it reaches Latakia.


[December 2]
The United States is donating a ship and destruction equipment, but it has not yet reached agreement about where the naval vessel will anchor while it processes the toxic chemicals. Latakia, is likely the northern port from which Syria will export hundreds of tons of toxic chemicals to a floating destruction facility. 

Under a deal worked out between the United States and Russia, Syria will relinquish control of its chemical weapons and destroy its entire stockpile of 1,300 tons of sarin, mustard gas and other lethal agents. The size of the stockpile, including 800 tons of industrial chemicals destined for incineration at commercial toxic waste plants, means it can only be transported by land and sea. Syrian forces will have to transport the chemicals through contested territory to Latakia. For the program implementation and the removal out of country it is necessary the roads are open and safe to be used.

[October 31]

amphibious warfare ship Admiral Nevelskoi
Israeli aircraft have carried out a strike near the Syrian coastal city of Latakia, a US official says.

The official said the strike targeted Russian-made missiles intended for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.   One unnamed US official told the Associated Press that the missiles targeted by Israel were Russian-made SA-125s.   Since Russia replaced all of its S-125 sites with SA-10 and SA-12 systems, they decided to upgrade the S-125 systems being removed from service to make them more attractive to export customers

“I think we’ve made it crystal clear we would prefer that Russia was not supplying assistance ” to the Syrian regime in its war against opposition forces, US Secretary of State John Kerry said in Rome May 9.   Russia is not planning to supply Syria with any weapons beyond the current contracts that are nearing completion, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said refuting speculations that Moscow was going to sell S-300 air defense systems to Damascus.
[June 10]
 U.S. intelligence agencies have identified three Russian amphibious warships in the eastern Mediterranean that are believed to be carrying weapons shipments that might be used to resupply the Syrian regime, according to a Pentagon official.

The United States has been tracking the ships since they left Russian ports several days ago. U.S. satellites were able to see some indications of containers being loaded onto the ships. It's believed the ships may be carrying some components of the controversial Russian S-300 air defense missile system and other weapons for the regime.
The destroyer Admiral Panteleyev, the amphibious warfare ships Peresvet and Admiral Nevelskoi, the tanker Pechenga and the salvage/rescue tug Fotiy Krylov left the port of Vladivostok on March 19 to join the task force.

[May 30]

The first shipment of Russian anti-aircraft S-300 rockets has arrived there according to  Syrian president Bashar al-Assad
There had been a "bank transfer" in connection with the S-300 transaction but that Russian banks were becoming increasingly nervous about dealing with Assad.   Russian newspaper Kommersant reported today that Russia expects to deliver the long range surface-to-air missile systems by the second quarter of 2014..Most likely this is bluff, To complete its Syrian contract, Russia will need at least seven-to-nine months for first S-300 to be delivered

There were some problems with payments because big Russian banks were scared of dealing with Assad, but there was a bank transfer.There are also not big banks and banks that are not based in Moscow. Beyond the down payment there was almost certainly a second payment, maybe a third.
[May 29]
Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said he could “neither deny nor confirm” the reports claiming that the delivery had already been finalized, 
[May 28]
Russia says it will go ahead with deliveries of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Syria, and that the arms will help deter foreign intervention.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the missiles were a "stabilising factor" that could dissuade "some hotheads" from entering the conflict.



Shipping from St. Petersburg to the Syrian port of Tartus is expected. 2011 annual report by S-300’s manufacturer,mentioned a contract for the missile systems for Syria. The report has since vanished from the plant’s website, but was cited by the respected Vedomosti business daily at the time as saying that the contract was worth $105 million and that an unspecified number of S-300 systems were slated for delivery between 2012 and early 2013.. The report has since vanished from the plant’s website, but was cited by the respected Vedomosti business daily at the time as saying that the contract was worth $105 million and that an unspecified number of S-300 systems were slated for delivery between 2012 and early 2013.  The manufacturer is unlikely to have ready-to-ship S-300 systems lying on the shelves: Whatever leftovers there were from a deal with Iran, scrapped in 2010, were long ago snatched up by other customers such as Algeria. This means the systems would need to be produced and test launches conducted, a job that would take about a year. Furthermore, dozens or even hundreds of staff would have to be trained to operate the complicated machinery, which should take about six months. This would push Assad’s most optimistic deadline of owning fully operable S-300 complexes to November 2013 at best, with spring of 2014 being a more realistic estimate.

Alexandria Egypt

 Israeli and American officials have urged Russia not to proceed with the sale of advanced S-300 air defense weapons. The Kremlin has yielded to American entreaties not to provide S-300s to Iran. But the denial of that sale, analysts say, has increased the pressure within Russia’s military establishment to proceed with the delivery to Syria.
[September 2 2010]
Defense Minister Ehud Barak is said to be concerned over the possibility that Russia will follow through with the delivery of the S-300 surface to- air defense system to Iran via Syria.

Russia has issued mixed messages regarding the future of the 2005 deal in recent months, first saying that the new round of sanctions on Iran passed by the United Nations in June would not impede the deal and later saying that it would.

Despite the Israeli objections, a top Russian official issued a statement on Sunday saying that Moscow would honor its deal with Syria.

“I would like to emphasize that the Russian Federation is fully honoring its earlier agreements with Syria,” Russian presidential aide Sergey Prikhodko told the Interfax news agency.


Sx months under an interim nuclear deal, sanctions regime remains strong

The International Energy Agency, an independent group that analyzes energy markets for Western governments, estimates that Iran averaged about 1.1 million bpd of crude oil from February to June, which is in the range of the administration’s “around a million barrels per day.”   After six months under an interim nuclear deal, the sanctions regime remains strong and negotiations toward a final deal remain in progress. There are challenges for the P5+1 to face moving forward, but on balance the JPA has succeeded in preserving the leverage that sanctions provide while creating the political space for serious negotiations.

[June 1 Iran's crude oil exports increased in May: violation of the Joint Plan of Action ?]
Iran's crude oil exports increased in May after a decline in April, according to sources who track tanker movements, moving above the level allowed by November's interim deal on curbing Tehran's nuclear programme.

"More Iranian crude appears to be finding its way into markets in violation of the Joint Plan of Act;ion despite the Obama administration's commitment to Congress that it would keep a tight control over the oil lifeblood of the Iranian economy," said Mark Dubowitz, of U.S.-based independent think-tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

"If this continues, it would be a clear violation of Iran's obligations under the JPOA, which binds Tehran to both nuclear and sanctions-related commitments."

There is no generally accepted figure for the oil exports of many producers, including Iran. Information takes time to filter out from opaque oil and shipping markets. Consumer countries, meanwhile, detail imports with a time lag or not at all.

[April 9]
The tanker market is still waiting for Iran's crude export cargoes to start flowing in the international scene at levels enough to make a difference, in terms of freight rates  
The National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) said in January it is resuming crude oil delivery to Asian buyers in its own vessels as sanctions ease following the implementation of Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers. At the beginning of April 2014, half of the NITC VLCC fleet was either on its way to China or on the ballast voyage back to Iran. This includes two units, moving under new names, which had previously been storing in the Middle East and Gulf since the 3rd quarter last year. Two VLCCs are currently heading to Ulsan, with another three returning to Kharg Island.   
Iran’s January oil shipments to the Indian customer were 31 percent higher year on year. One VLCC and one Aframax both ballasting from India to the Gulf.  NITC movements into the Mediterranean reveal Suezmaxes to Turkey and an Aframax heading back to Iran from Syria. It should also be considered that the NITC fleet grew by 33% between September 2012 and July last year which has had a significant impact on Iran’s ability to export crude. 

Oiltanking Partners LP (NYSE:OILT) is a $3.17 billion market cap oil and gas midstream company engaged in the terminaling, storage and transportation of crude oil, refined petroleum products and liquefied petroleum gas. Since the beginning of the year, several insiders have been buying its stock, which has already escalated more than 22%. Since  Oct. 2013, the price has risen 39%.

[February 15]
The rate for the benchmark Ras Tanura-Chiba route averaged Worldscale 63.5 or $46,107/day, while the Arabian Gulf-Singapore rate gained 1.8 points to W64.5. Reported fixtures show Singapore Petroleum Company agreed W67.5 to secure Dynacom's Boston as a replacement for Overseas Kilimanjaro, while Indian oil company Reliance agreed W72.5 for Overseas Equatorial. Brokers describe the market sentiment as steady to firm, after rates slidFerbruary 7 due to the Lunar New Year holidays in China.

Fixtures have been centered around late February and early March in the Arabian Gulf." Last month average earnings reached $61,630 a day their highest level since Feb 2010 before a rally lost steam. As refineries head into maintenance in Q2 rates may to move into more subdued territory although clearly recent months have highlighted the potential for upside. VLCC rates from the Gulf to the United States were at W33.08 on February 11 versus W31.12 on February 10 and W30.46 last February 4.

In contrast, Black Sea and Mediterranean crude tanker rates continued to weaken after rallying last month to their highest since 2008 as weather related disruptions in the Turkish Straits raised the cost of transporting cargoes. Rates for suezmax tankers on the Black Sea to Med route fell to W62.92 or $6,439 a day. That compared with W65.40 or $8,956 a day on February 10 and W79.56 or $21,792 a day February 4.

[December 2 2013]

Rates for VLCCs exceeded $50,000 in November, primarily on seasonal demand and strong exports from the Middle East, and December bookings indicate rates can be sustained over the short term.

[November 14]

  Rates for the largest oil-tankers surged as Chinese freight traders led an acceleration in Asian demand for the ships to load Middle East crude, sapping a fleet surplus that made the carriers unprofitable almost all year. A very large crude carrier built 16 years ago was hired today at about 13 percent more than yesterday’s prevailing prices, according to Dynacom Tankers Management Ltd., an Athens-based owner. There hasn’t been a bigger one-day gain in 2013, according to data from the Baltic Exchange, a London-based publisher of freight costs on more than 50 trade routes. Rising demand has cut a capacity surplus to the smallest since June 4, according to weekly surveys by Bloomberg News. Increased bookings by Chinese buyers depleted the excess in the largest loading region, according to Halvor Ellefsen, a shipbroker at Galbraith’s Ltd. in London. VLCCs earned $5,598 a day on average this year, less than they need to cover running costs including crew and repairs, Baltic Exchange data show.hina, India, Japan and South Korea bought about 972,600 bpd of Iranian oil in the first half of 2013, down from the 1.235mn bpd in the same period last year.China plans to cut imports from Iran by 5%-10% in 2013 from 2012, meaning that it will have to slow purchases more in the second half to meet even the lower end of its stated goal.While sourcing oil from different suppliers and ensuring sufficient volumes may present Chinese refiners with a challenge, so far there doesn’t appear to be any financial cost to cutting volumes from Iran.
China paid about $99.97 a barrel for Iranian crude in June, according to customs data.
This was only slightly cheaper that the $100.46 a barrel average for all China’s purchases in June.
It’s also interesting to note that while China’s imports from Iran dropped 39% in June from a year earlier, shipments from Iraq soared 445%.
Iraqi volumes have gained 38% in the first six months and now exceed those supplied by Iran.
Iraqi oil is also cheaper than that supplied by Iran, with the Chinese paying $97.84 a barrel in June.
While their may be slight quality differences, it appears that China has been able to replace Iranian volumes with cheaper cargoes from Iraq.
 Iraq Oil Report July 23rd, 2013
Iran has signed an agreement to send 850 million standard cubic feet per day (scf/d) of natural gas through a pipeline into Iraq, fueling power stations to feed electricity-starved Iraqis and testing the U.S.'s sanctions regime.   This is while the construction of the “friendship” pipeline between Iran, Iraq and Syria has been under way since last year.
The pipeline will stretch from Assaluyeh, near the massive offshore South Pars Gas Field in southern Iran, and will continue into neighboring Iraq to feed Iraqi power plants running on gas. Iran, which sits on the world's second largest natural gas reserves after Russia, is making efforts to up its gas production by increasing foreign and domestic investments, especially in South Pars Gas Field.

Action Identifies Front Company and Vessels Attempting to Obscure Iranian Oil Deals Using Ship-to-Ship Transfers and Designates Iranian Bank
The Treasury Department said that Ferland Company Limited, which is based in both Cyprus and Ukraine, facilitated deceptive transactions for or on behalf of the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC). The two entities conspired with Dimitris Cambis, a Greek businessman who has been previously identified as using his tankers to help Iran hide oil shipments in a scheme to sell Iranian crude oil deceptively.
The US on Friday identified eight petrochemical companies it says are owned or controlled by the government of Iran and are therefore subject to sanctions. The eight companies named as being owned or controlled by Iran include: Bandar Imam Petrochemical Company, Bou Ali Sina Petrochemical Company, Mobin Petrochemical Company, Nouri Petrochemical Company, Pars Petrochemical Company, Shahid Tondgooyan Petrochemical Company, Shazand Petrochemical Company, and Tabriz Petrochemical Company.

The two companies identified by the State Department as conducting petrochemical products transactions are Jam Petrochemical Company and Niksima Food and Beverage JLT.
[May 13]
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury is taking a number of actions today against Iranian attempts to circumvent international financial sanctions.  As part of the Treasury Department’s continuing vigilance against Iran’s efforts to use front companies and deceptive business practices to sell their oil on the international market, today Treasury identified Sambouk Shipping FZC as subject to sanctions under Executive Order (E.O.) 13599, which, among other things, targets the Government of Iran (GOI) and persons acting for or on behalf of the GOI.  Sambouk Shipping is tied to Dr. Dimitris Cambis who, along with a network of front companies, were sanctioned in March 2013 under E.O. 13599 and the Iran Threat Reduction Act and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (TRA) after the U.S. government uncovered Dr. Cambis’s scheme to evade international oil sanctions against Iran.  In an attempt to continue his scheme, Dr. Cambis is using the recently formed Sambouk Shipping to manage eight of the vessels that he operates on behalf of the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC).  These vessels have been used to execute ship-to-ship transfers of Iranian oil in the Persian Gulf.  These transfers are intended to facilitate deceptive sales of Iranian oil by obscuring the origin of that oil.

 Dimitris Cambis has been black-listed by U.S. Treasury, here 

- U.S. lawmakers will introduce a bill on February 27 that expands economic penalties against Iran and is designed to force countries like China to buy less Iranian crude oil

The legislation by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Republican Ed Royce of California and the panel's top Democrat Eliot Engel of New York builds on existing U.S. sanctions that have so far led to the devaluation of Iran's currency and slashed the country's main source of funding - oil revenues.
[February 26]




Ocean Nymph

Ocean Performer


Ulysses I


Dimitris Cambis, President at Athene consulting house sa6, Vassilissis Sofias Ave. GR-10674 Athens, Greece +30 210 7263300 +30 210 7263399  ach@ach.gr who last year bought the ships - eight very large crude carriers, or VLCCs - to carry Middle East crude to Asia, flatly denied doing any business with Tehran or running clandestine shipments of its oil to China He denied his vessels have loaded oil from Iran while at anchor in the Gulf. Known as ship-to-ship transfers, or STS, such movements are hard to track as crews can switch off tracking beacons or not update their recorded positions for periods to conceal that one vessel has come alongside another.