27.1.15

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. 



“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


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.

"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.

24.1.15

USS New York, USS Iwo Jima, USS Fort McHenry with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit off Yemen

                                                                            
The USS Iwo Jima and the USS Fort McHenry with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit are in position in the event the State Department decides to evacuate Americans from Yemen.   The two ships are in the region with the USS New York, which is in the Arabian Gulf,. The New York is also a transport docking ship. The three vessels make up part of the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group.

[September 16 2012 ]
SH-60 Sea Hawk helicopter hovers over the guided-missile destroyer USS McFaul in the Arabian Sea May 3, 2012. 





USS McFaul


14 ships and at least 12,000 sailors and Marines are currently deployed in areas around Libya where they could respond if called upon. They include USS Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group and the Enterprise and Eisenhower Carrier Strike Groups.[September 13]USS Laboon,  commissioned on 18 March 1995, which had been making a port call in Crete, is in position off Libya.  USS McFaul, 25 April 1998, was a couple of days away,   Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith and two other Americans who have not yet been identified were killed when gunmen stormed the consulate and another U.S. safe house in Benghazi on 9/11, the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks carried out by al Qaeda in Washington and New York..


Class and type: Arleigh Burke-class destroyer
Displacement: Light: approx. 6,800 long tons (6,900 t)
Full: approx. 8,900 long tons (9,000 t)
Length: 505 ft (154 m)
Beam: 66 ft (20 m)
Draft: 31 ft (9.4 m)
Propulsion: 4 General Electric LM2500-30 gas turbines, two shafts, 100,000 total shaft horsepower (75 MW)
Speed: >30 knots (56 km/h)
Range: 4,400 nautical miles at 20 knots
(8,100 km at 37 km/h)
Complement: 33 Officers
38 Chief Petty Officers
210 Enlisted Personnel
Sensors and
processing systems:
AN/SPY-1D 3D Radar
AN/SPS-67(V)2 Surface Search Radar
AN/SPS-73(V)12 Surface Search Radar
AN/SQS-53C Sonar Array
AN/SQR-19 Tactical Towed Array Sonar
AN/SQQ-28 LAMPS III Shipboard System
Electronic warfare
and decoys:
AN/SLQ-32(V)2 Electronic Warfare System
AN/SLQ-25 Nixie Torpedo Countermeasures
MK 36 MOD 12 Decoy Launching System
AN/SLQ-39 CHAFF Buoys
Armament:
1 × 29 cell, 1 × 61 cell Mk 41 vertical launch systems with 90 × RIM-156 SM-2, BGM-109 Tomahawk or RUM-139 VL-Asroc missiles
1 × Mark 45 5/54 in (127/54 mm)
2 × 25 mm chain gun
4 × .50 caliber (12.7 mm) guns
2 × 20 mm Phalanx CIWS
2 × Mk 32 triple torpedo tubes
Aircraft carried: 1 SH-60 Sea Hawk helicopter can be embarked

14.1.15

The laughing contango: 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.

MV Swift Rescue [RSN] located the fuselage of AirAsia flight

MV Swift Rescue is a Submarine Support and Rescue Vessel (SSRV) that is operated by the Singapore Navy. It was built by ST Marine, a subsidiary of Singapore Technologies Engineering (ST Engineering). The vessel is capable of conducting rescue operations in Sea State 5 conditions. Swift Rescue was launched by the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) in November 2008. The vessel is equipped with Submarine Escape and Rescue (SMER) capabilities.
Singapore Navy vessel MV Swift Rescue has located the main wreckage of the downed airplane, with remotely-taken images showing part of the wing as well as the words on the fuselage, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen says.

January 6 Direct from Stockholm archipelago?   Russians send small sub to search for AirAsia flight]
The Priz class (Project 1855) is a type of Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV) operated by the government of Russia. 

Russian search and rescue team has arrived to take part in search operations for AirAsia flight QZ8501
Russia’s equipment included a remotely-operated submerged vessel that weighs about 500 kilograms (1,102 pounds) and can operate at a depth of as much as 300 meters (984 feet),

[January 5  Tow Fish side scan sonar system on board littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth's (LCS 3) in airasia search ]

NAN HAI JIU 101  IMO number: 9433212





China’s Ministry of Transport says it has sent the rescue vessel “Nan-hai-jiu 101” to help retrieve the black boxes of flight QZ8501. The ship set sail at 10 a.m. Monday from south China’s Haikou City. It is heading for the sea area where the wreckage is located. The ship is expected to arrive there in four days.
Navy Diver 2nd Class Daniel Soulliard, assigned to Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 1, monitoring the readings from a Tow Fish side scan sonar system on board littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth's (LCS 3) 11-meter rigid hull inflatable boat, on january 5


December 30 2014 USS Fort Worth standing ready to assist in search also China]

USS Fort Worth is docked in Singapore, standing ready to assist in search and rescue operations underway for AirAsia Flight 8501. The Fort Worth, a littoral combat ship, should be ready to join the effort by January 1.   “What its role will be is currently being assessed as circumstances evolve,”
 Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 35
China's Defense Ministry said it had sent a warship to the South China Sea and planes "have begun preparatory work" for search operations. 

[December 29 USS Sampson to join search for the AirAsia passenger jet]
USS Sampson was sent December 29 to the search area for AirAsia Indonesia flight QZ8501 from Surabaya to Singapore  that went missing Sunday amid stormy weather off Indonesia.   The 509-foot Sampson (DDG-102) is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and is carrying a detachment from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 35, based at Naval Air Station North Island,CA.  Sampson is already deployed in the Western Pacific.  Pentagon officials said that other search and detection capabilities may be used as needed.

12.1.15

Charles de Gaulle (R91) adds 30 more aircraft against ISIS


Charles de Gaulle (R91) will deploy to the Persian Gulf to strengthen the French contingent already fighting ISIS in the region,   The aircraft carrier would operate in the Gulf on its way to India, where the French Navy’s flagship is scheduled to take part in drills in mid-April and the deployment is set to be announced by President Francois Hollande on Jan. 14, during the annual New Year’s speech to the armed forces.   . It is a CATOBAR-type carrier that uses two 75 m C13‑3 steam catapults of a shorter version of the catapult system installed on the U.S. Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, one catapult at the bow and one across the front of the landing area.   The addition of Charles de Gaulle would add up to another 30 aircraft to France's commitment to operations

[September 16 2014 USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77):: airstrikes against Sinjar and against SW of Baghdad]


F/A-18C Hornet launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) on Sept. 10. The strikes destroyed six ISIL vehicles near Sinjar and an ISIL fighting position southwest of Baghdad that was firing on ISF personnel. All aircraft exited the strike areas safely.


August 4:There are reports of significant displacement from Sinjar City and surrounding areas to Jebel Sinjar (Sinjar Mountain) and areas predominantly to the west and north of Sinjar, with some displacement to the east as well. The exact number of displaced people on Jebel Sinjar is unknown; however reports indicate that some 35-50,000 people displaced in nine locations, reportedly surrounded by ISIS armed elements.

“The airstrike southwest of Baghdad was the first strike taken as part of our expanded efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions to hit ISIL targets as Iraqi forces go on offense."   The US air strike was against IS fighters in the Sadr al-Yusufiyah area, 25 kilometres (15 miles) from Baghdad, 








18.12.14

Tuktoyaktuk,oil project in Beaufort Sea dropped by Chevronj

Something in tug's fuel?
Chevron Corp is putting a plan to drill for oil in the Beaufort Sea in Canada's Arctic on hold indefinitely because of what it called "economic uncertainty in the industry" as oil prices fall.

In a letter to Canada's National Energy Board on Wednesday, the company withdrew from a hearing on Arctic drilling rules because it has walked away from plans to drill in the EL 481 block, 250 kilometers (155 miles) northwest of Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories.

The drilling project is the largest yet put on hold after oil prices dropped by nearly half over the last six months, even as a long list of oil companies cut their budgets for 2015 because of the price drop.

[March 18 2013
 On Christmas Day 2012 crews barbecued on the Kulluk deck. But on Dec. 27, the shackle broke and the situation began to worsen.
Exactly why the shackle broke is unclear, since it now rests on the Gulf of Alaska floor. Questions focused on whether the tow line endured excessive strain Dec. 27, when the ships hit slightly choppy seas – 10 to 15 foot swells that typically are not concerning. By all accounts, there was no excessive strain.
The same day, the Aiviq was able to quickly reestablish an emergency towline while two other tugs, the Guardsman and the Nanuq, were sent out to serve as backups.
But later that night, at nearly 11 p.m., one of the Aiviq's engines failed, with the rest failing within hours after fuel injectors became mucked with bad fuel. Chief engineer Carl Broekhuis testified the  an unknown fuel additive caused the bad fuel, which left  a “slime” on the fuel filters. New fuel injectors were flown in and the good fuel was rerouted to bring all four engines back online.
Five months after the incident, Broekhuis and others involved with the operation said they still did not know what the additive was.
[March 18]




This review has confirmed that Shell entered the drilling season not fully prepared in
terms of fabricating and testing certain critical systems and establishing the scope of its
operational plans. The lack of adequate preparation put pressure on Shell’s overall operations
and timelines at the end of the drilling season. Indeed, because Shell was unable to get certified
and then deploy its specialized Arctic Containment System (ACS) – which the Department of the
Interior (DOI) required to be on site in the event of a loss of well control – the company was not
allowed to drill into hydrocarbon-bearing zones. Shell’s failure to deploy the ACS system was
due, in turn, to shortcomings in Shell’s management and oversight of key contractors. L








February 28

Royal Dutch Shell plc (“Shell”) announced February 27 it will pause its exploration drilling activity for 2013 in Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi Seas to prepare equipment and plans for a resumption of activity at a later stage.

more








Kulluk - Marshall Islands-flag 




The Coast Guard lifted an order restricting movement of Shell’s Kulluk drill rig February 21.

“The inspection, its seaworthiness, was done by industry class certification. They gave us their inspection for review, so we could understand what they found, if there were any concerns, or not, that needed to be addressed prior to its being transferred, or transported, from Kiliuda Bay.”

Now that the Captain of the Port order has been lifted, Shell is free to start towing the rig to Unalaska whenever it sees fit. It’s not clear when that will be.

“We will know once they start that transit and we will monitor it as they make their transit to Unalaska.”

For now, the rig is anchored in Kiliuda Bay, on the south side of Kodiak Island.





[January 4]

Shell Alaska is in full support of, and is providing resources for, the investigation of the grounding by the Unified Incident Command, made up of federal, state and company representatives. The findings will be available to the public.


more

[January 1]


The Kulluk -- a $290 million offshore oil rig operated as part of Shell’s Arctic drilling efforts in summer -- washed up shortly before 9 p.m. at Ocean Bay on Sitkalidak Island, located close to Kodiak Island's southeast shore, January 1


Vessel
KULLUK IMO 8752219

DNV ID:
27051
IMO No:
8752219
MOU Type:
Column-stabilised Unit
Columns:
0
Type/Model:
Earl & Wright/Sedco Arctic drilling vessel
Bracings:
0


Build: 1983
Ship Type: Drillship
Flag: Marshall Islands

The drilling rig KULLUK was built in 1983 by the Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding Company Ltd in Tamano, Japan.  KULLUK, whose name means “Thunder” in the Inuvialuit language, was first operated by Gulf Canada Resources, Inc. in the Canadian arctic. She was tended there by two specially designed ice breaking tug support vessels the IKALUK and MISCAROO operated by the Beau-Drill Limited Partnership which was a subsidiary of Gulf.  At the time they were built all of these vessels represented the latest cutting edge technology for arctic oil exploration. KULLUK’s  design is described as an Earl & Wright/Sedco Arctic Drilling Vessel inverted, truncated, conically shaped, ice-strengthened hull. That is to say her hull is shaped like a bowl so that as ice presses in around her, she simply rides up on top of the ice rather than being crushed or penetrated by it. She is admeasured at 27,968 gross tons and 8391 net tons. The KULLUK  first came to Alaska in September 1988 when she drilled an exploratory well for the Amoco Production Company at the Belcher Prospect in the Beaufort Sea in 167 feet of water.  In 1992 and 1993, she drilled four exploratory wells for Arco Alaska at the Kuvlum and Wild Weasel Prospects offshore of ANWR.  After that the rig was stacked for fourteen years in McKinley Bay near Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories of Canada. The rig was purchased by Shell Offshore Incorporated of New Orleans, Louisiana, in 2005 and spent the next year being refurbished where she had been stacked in Canada. The rig is capable of drilling in 400 to 600 feet of water to depths of 20,000 feet. Her derrick measures 160 feet tall by 40 x 40 at the base with a 1,250,000 pound capacity. The rig’s power is provided by three General Motors EMD diesel generators rated at 2816 horsepower each. She has quarters onboard for 108 personnel. The almost-circular main deck is 274 feet long and has a beam of 227 feet.  When originally built the rig had been registered in Canada. Later she was reflagged to the Liberian flag, however, Shell has replaced that flag and registered the rig in the Marshall islands. Shell had plans to use the KULLUK to drill again in the Beaufort Sea, but environmental concerns caused delays with that program. In September 2010, the KULLUK was towed out of Canadian water and brought to Dutch Harbor and anchored in Captains Bay by the ice breaking tug supply vessel TOR VIKING II.  An existing dock at the OSI facility in Captains Bay was modified with a curved face to fit her hull so that the KULLUK can moor there. In December 2010, KULLUK was moved there awaiting a new drilling assignment. 

[October 29,'12]

 An electrical problem led to a valve failure that forced the dome to rapidly descend. The descent was stopped before the dome reached bottom but not before water pressure damaged one side of the dome and some of the buoyancy chambers.
The containment dome was created to suck up spewing oil or gas in hoses and transport it to the surface where it can be flared off. Shell conducted a "top to bottom" review to learn from that mistake and will have the containment barge and system -- an unprecedented piece of oil-spill response hardware --- ready for Arctic drilling next year,


[September 22]Shell’s plans to complete at least some oil exploration wells in Alaska’s Chukchi and Beaufort seas this year have finally come to naught, following damage to the company’s new Arctic oil containment dome during testing of the Arctic Challenger containment barge, the company announced Sept. 16.

The company has decided not to proceed with the complete drilling of two planned exploration wells, one in the Chukchi Sea and one in the Beaufort Sea, and is instead going to drill a series of “top holes,” the upper sections of wells that terminate a long way above any likely hydrocarbon zones. The drilling of top holes will enable the more rapid completion of wells during  the 2013 drilling season.







[September 7]] The drillship Noble Discoverer has refueled for drilling and is moving into position over Shell’s Chukchi Sea Burger prospect. Drilling could commence on Sept. 7 or 8, Smith said. Shell had hoped to start drilling at Burger around Sept. 2, but stormy weather caused the drillship have to move into a holding position 10 miles south of the drill site until the weather cleared.
The drillship will need to connect to anchors pre-positioned at the drill site before drilling can commence.
Shell now has all the permits that it needs to start drilling. 

[July 7]The 571-foot Noble Discoverer lost its mooring July 14, drifting extremely close to shore before it was towed farther off shore and re-anchored. Shell and the Coast Guard say an inspection of the hull by a remotely operated vehicle showed no signs of damage or grounding. Divers will take another look no later than July 20.
[July 12]One of Shell's drill ships has arrived in Unalaska and the other is expected by the end of the week. The Noble Discoverer pulled into port on July 7, accompanied by a small flotilla of support vessels. While the ships were originally scheduled to bypass Unalaska on their way to Arctic, persistent sea could keep them around for a while 'it looks now like we’ll be on site and start drilling sometime in the first week of August'.   Unalaska is located on Unalaska Island and neighboring Amaknak Island in the Aleutian Islands off of mainland Alaska.



[June 27]Ships bringing oil drilling equipment to Alaska pass through Seattle's Elliott Bay on Wednesday, June 27, 2012, as a Washington State Ferry passes on its way into Seattle. The Kulluk and Noble Discoverer and support ships are headed first to Dutch Harbor. Once open water allows, the rigs will move to the Beaufort and Chukchi seas for offshore drilling.




 [June 26]The U.S. Coast Guard established a 500 yard no-go zone around the vessel and 16 others  as they pass through Washington's Puget Sound.
           The ships have been staged in Seattle, Wa., for the summer drilling season where several have also undergone extensive retrofitting.Once the drilling ships arrive in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, they are protected by a separate Coast Guard imposed safety zone. Under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act violations of the safety zone are subject to fines of up to $100,000 and up to 10 years in jail.
     The Puget Sound safety zone went into immediate effect and expires on Aug. 1. 


[June 7]Shell threw a private party June 6 at the Seattle Space Needle to joyously send off the oil giant’s Kulluk and Noble Discoverer rigs to sail to Dutch Harbor in mid-June.  Shell’s plans are to drill up to three Chukchi and two Beaufort wells this summer  - The two rigs are both older than the 2001 Deepwater Horizon, which was to blame to the Gulf of Mexico spill in 2010. The Kulluk, from the 1980s, and the Noble Discoverer, built in 1966, were both retrofitted to handle harsh Arctic weather. 
.Shell Oil sued 14 major environmental groups in Federal Court to stave off the "virtual certainty" of legal challenges to its right to harass or kill walruses and polar bears during its summertime Arctic drilling.
     Shell has sued environmental groups three times since February and received two protective injunctions. It sued on Feb. 29 to try to stop 13 environmental groups from launching "last-minute legal challenges" to its Arctic drilling, and claimed Greenpeace had illegally boarded Shell's Noble Discoverer vessel on Feb. 27 in protest.
     Shell sued the same environmental groups again, plus the World Wildlife Fund, on May 2, for a declaration that the Bureau of Ocean Management issued it valid Incidental Harassment Authorizations for marine mammals during exploration in the Chukchi Sea and Camden Bay, on the Arctic Outer Continental Shelf. Affected species include bowhead whales, gray whales, beluga whales, harbor porpoises, ringed seals, bearded seals, spotted seals and ribbon seals.
     Shell got protective injunctions on March 28 and May 29.
     One order established 500- to 1,000-meter "moving safety zones" around 19 of its vessels, including the Noble Discoverer and the Kulluk, when they are in transit within 12 miles from shore. The second order added Shell's Arctic, land-based, aviation facilities in the North Slope to the list of Shell's drilling vessels, with which Greenpeace and the environmentalists may not interfere.
     U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason agreed that Shell should be allowed to meet its contractual obligations without fear of imprisonment or injury, and issued the orders.
     Greenpeace has an interlocutory appeal of the initial preliminary injunction pending in the 9th Circuit, but precedent allowed Gleason to issue the orders to maintain the status quo.