Prirazlomnaya oil rig: Greenpeacers now it's hooliganism

Iain Rogers

 Denis Sinyakov, a photographer

Russia has dropped piracy charges against 30 Greenpeace activists, replacing them with hooliganism charges, according to officials.
The new charge has a maximum penalty of seven years rather than 15. Greenpeace says it is still "wildly disproportionate".
[September 27]
On Sept. 26 and 27, a Murmansk court arrested them for two months on suspicion of piracy.
The court said Denis Sinyakov, a photographer who formerly worked for the Reuters news agency, was a flight risk as he had frequently travelled abroad. He was remanded in custody for two months, and led out of the courtroom wearing handcuffs. Roman Dolgov, a marine pollution expert from Greenpeace, was also denied bail, so was Canadian Paul Ruzycki.

Decisions in the cases of other foreign activists on board the ship, who come from 18 different countries,came September 27.

]May 24]
activists at drilling rig

 oil platform Prirazlomnaya

russian border guard tug

Russian Federal Security Service's Border Guard  vessel Ladoga via Novisti

Arctic Sunrise

 The Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise is close to arriving in the port of Murmansk after being boarded by Russian authorities September 19 following a peaceful protest against Arctic oil drilling.
The ship arrived under tow by a  Russian Federal Security Service's Border Guard tugboat in the fjord near Murmansk around 10:00 local time September 23 accompanied by  the  Russian Federal Security Service's Border Guard  vessel Ladoga, following September 19 boarding by armed security forces.
Moscow Sep 18, 13 – Russian Coast Guard fired warning gun shots towards Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise near oil platform Prirazlomnaya in Pechora sea, Arctic. Earlier four Greenpeace activists tried to climb platform, they were detained and later delivered to Coast Guard ship Ladoga,

Name: Arctic Sunrise
IMO: 7382902
Flag: Netherlands
MMSI: 244538000
Callsign: PE6851
Former name(s):
- Polarbjorn (Until 1995 Oct)

Technical Data
Vessel type: Yacht
Gross tonnage: 949 tons
Summer DWT: 610 tons
Length: 49 m
Beam: 11 m
Draught: 4.8 m


Deepwater Horizon: ecosystem could take decades to recover

The Deepwater Horizon disaster could have a lasting impact on the Gulf of Mexico, according to a new paper suggesting that the region’s deep-sea soft-sediment ecosystem could take decades to recover from the 2010 oil spill.

The authors claim  provides comprehensive results on the spill’s effect on deep-water communities at the base of the Gulf’s food chain for the first time.

The spill resulted from an explosion on board the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that occurred on April 20, 2010, and resulted in a total of 4.9 million barrels (205.8 million gallons) of crude in what went on to become the largest offshore oil spill in US history.

BP’s internal records for the Macondo project conflicted with numbers sent to drilling regulators and established a pattern of “consistent misreporting” of well pressures, Alan Huffman, a Houston-based petroleum geophysicist, testified for the U.S. government in a trial over claims tied to the 2010 Gulf spill. The fudged numbers allowed BP to continue drilling for oil, he said.
The oil company created “a very misleading impression” about the well’s safety conditions and engaged in drilling operations that “I’ve never seen an operator do,” Huffman told a judge February 27 in New Orleans.
After hearing evidence in the trial, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans will decide who is liable for damages tied to the largest offshore spill in U.S. history and whether BP, Transocean Ltd. (RIG) or other companies that worked on the project were grossly negligent in their handling of the rig and well. His ruling in the nonjury trial on that issue will affect how much each company may have to pay.

[January 14]

Agreement Reached with U.S. Department of Justice on Deepwater Horizon Claims
ZUG, SWITZERLAND-Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG) (SIX: RIGN) today announced that it has reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to resolve certain outstanding civil and potential criminal claims against the company arising from the April 20, 2010, accident involving the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico.

As part of this resolution, a Transocean subsidiary has agreed to plead guilty to one misdemeanor violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA) for negligent discharge of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and pay $1.4 billion in fines, recoveries and penalties, excluding interest.  This resolution will result in the Department of Justice concluding its criminal investigation of Transocean and settling its claims for civil penalties against the company relating to the spill from BP's Macondo well.  The company intends to satisfy its payment obligations over a period of five years, using cash on hand and cash flow from operations.  At September 30, 2012, Transocean had accrued an estimated loss contingency of $1.5 billion associated with claims made by the Department of Justice.

[June 15 2010]
IMO number: 8764597
The DEEPWATER HORIZON was a Reading & Bates Falcon RBS8D design semi-submersible drilling unit capable of operating in harsh environments and water depths up to 8,000 ft (upgradeable to 10,000 ft) using 18¾in 15,000 psi BOP and 21in OD marine riser. here

Marshall Islands Registry in the hot seat: "The Deepwater Horizon oil rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico was built in South Korea. It was operated by a Swiss company under contract to a British oil firm. Primary responsibility for safety and other inspections rested not with the U.S. government but with the Republic of the Marshall Islands — a tiny, impoverished nation in the Pacific Ocean." full story

BP’s single largest shareholder is the sprawling asset management firm BlackRock, based in New York City, which owned the equivalent of more than one billion shares of BP stock just two weeks before the Deepwater Horizon blowout, according to the financial analysis firm Capital IQ. (Bank of America owns a 34.1 percent stake in BlackRock.)

The second-largest American owner, and third largest over all, is State Street Global Advisors, based in Boston, with 307 million shares. After them are the mutual fund firm Capital Research and Management Company of Los Angeles, with 247 million shares, and the Vanguard Group, based in Malvern, Pa., with 140 million shares. Rounding out the top five is Franklin Resources of San Mateo, Calif., another publicly owned asset management firm, with 131 million shares.

More familiar names crop up further down the list, like Fidelity Investments, with 124 million shares; T. Rowe Price Group, with 93 million shares; and State Farm Insurance, with 79 million shares.

Then there are the banks: as of March 31, JPMorgan Chase held a respectable 76 million shares; Bank of America, 69 million shares; and Goldman Sachs, 42 million shares.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is another a major investor, with nearly 43 million shares.



Perro Negro 6: salvage tender out for sunken rig

A salvage operation to remove the wreck of drilling rig Perro Negro 6, operated by Italian oil services group Saipem, will get underway once Saipem picks a contractor following a recent tender.

The timing (of the removal) is depending on the offer that will be presented by the winner of the tender.

On July 1, the rig capsized as it was laying a pipeline linking Chevron's Block 0 and 14 with the liquefaction plant.

The disaster claimed one fatality and has for the time being cut off supplies from the Chevron-operated blocks, which were to be tied to the plant next year, supplying up to 170 million cubic feet of gas per day initially.

[July 4]
San Donato Milanese (Milan), July 2, 2013– Saipem informs that last night, July 1, the jack up drilling rig Perro Negro 6, due to the collapsing of the seabed under one of the three legs, suddenly tilted and suffered hull damages, causing water intake. The event occurred during the rig positioning on location prior to starting drilling operations, between the coasts of Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo, near the mouth of the Congo River, in approximately 40 metres of water.
At 10.30 AM CEST, the rig, with no personnel on-board, capsized and sank.
The emergency procedures were promptly activated last night to ensure the evacuation of the personnel on-board. After the sudden and significant tilting, among the 103 crew members, one was recorded missing and another six incurred minor injuries.


KKR, CPPIB, Stone Point into Maritime

KKR has created a finance company to supply credit to maritime borrowers, including offshore oilfield services and traditional shipping companies, as the buyout group seeks to build a presence in maritime finance.   Maritime Finance will initially be capitalized with $580 million of equity, over 45% of which has been provided by KKR, including through its balance sheet, KKR Financial Holdings LLC (NYSE: KFN) and MerchCap Solutions ("MCS"), KKR's recently established mid-market focused merchant banking venture with CPPIB and Stone Point Capital. The balance of the capital was arranged by MCS and included participation from various family offices, mutual funds, hedge funds and specialist financial services investors. Proceeds will be used by the Company to fund its establishment and operation, provide capital for newly originated maritime financings and potentially acquire a seed portfolio of outstanding loans.


INS Sindhurakshak: snorkel sub has caught fire and sunk

INS Sindhurakshak has caught fire and sunk with about 18 crew on board after an explosion at a port in Mumbai.    Latest emerging visuals are indicating that multiple blasts could have taken place outside 

- India relies on its submarines to conduct a second strike on the enemy in a nuclear war scenario, the navy said in a maritime military strategy report released in 2007.   This sub is equipped with Russian Club-S cruise missile systems.

The 16-year-old Russian-made submarine,had recently returned from Russia after undergoing an overhaul and upgrade.

India has 14 diesel-powered submarines.   Sindhurakshak was constructed in Admiralty Shipyard, St. Petersburg. Construction of the submarine began in 1995. It was launched in June 1997 and delivered in December 1997.

Class & type: Sindhughosh-class submarine
Displacement: 2325 tons surfaced
3076 tons dived
Length: 72.6 m (238 ft)
Beam: 9.9 m (32 ft)
Draught: 6.6 m (22 ft)
Propulsion: 2 x 3650 hp diesel-electric motors
1 x 5900 hp motor
2 x 204 hp auxiliary motors
1 x 130 hp economic speed motor
Speed: Surfaced: 10 knots (19 km/h)
Snorkel Mode: 9 knots (17 km/h)
Submerged: 17 knots (31 km/h)
Range: Snorting: 6,000 mi (9,700 km) at 7 kn (13 km/h)
Submerged: 400 miles (640 km) at 3 knots (5.6 km/h)
Endurance: Up to 45 days with a crew of 52
Test depth: Operational Depth: 240 m (790 ft)
Maximum Depth: 300 m (980 ft)
Complement: 68 (incl. 07 Officers)[1]
Armament: 9M36 Strela-3 (SA-N-8) surface-to-air missile
3M-54 Klub-S anti-ship and land-attack missiles
Type 53-65 passive wake homing torpedo
TEST 71/76 anti-submarine active-passive homing torpedo
24 DM-1 mines in lieu of torpedo tube


Scarabeo 8: first exploration well off Hammerfest in 32 years

The drilling rig Scarabeo 8

Det Norske Veritas has won a bid to provide environmental and emergency preparedness risk analysis for Statoil’s Johan Castberg project in the Barents Sea . Statoil got the go-ahead from Oslo to drill the first exploration well in one of its Barents Sea licenses . Meanwhile the company is reportedly kicking off seismic studies in the Sea of Okhotsk in cooperation with Rosneft (Upstream).

The drilling rig Scarabeo 8 appeared overnight Monday this week off Ersvika near Hammerfest, the first time a rig has visited Hammerfest in 32 years. The rig is taking advantage of the area’s sheltered waters to perform some tricky refitting 
The Castberg project, which may hold as much as 600 million barrels of recoverable crude, has helped rekindle interest in the Barents Sea after a decade of disappointing results.
Statoil, based in Stavanger, is the operator of the field and has a 50 percent stake. Italy’s Eni SpA has 30 percent, and Petoro AS, which manages Norway’s direct stakes in its oil and gas fields, holds 20 percent. Statoil had originally planned to submit a plan for development and operation to the government for approval next year before starting production in 2018.
Norway remains committed to developing the waters off its northern coast and expects “a lot of licensing” in the Barents Sea when the results of the 22nd licensing round are announced “in the near future” . The government will consider regional support for oil and gas activities if needed, as was done with the development of the Snohvit gas field off the coast of Hammerfest.


Deepwater Millennium: gas discovery offshore Mozambique

Transocean’s Deepwater Millennium is performing an accelerated well testing program that includes installing observation gauges and conducting several drill stem tests for Anadarko’s natural gas wells offshore Mozambique. 
 Anadarko Petroleum Corporation reported July 18 that it has discovered a new natural gas accumulation within Offshore Area 1 of the Rovuma Basin, offshore Mozambique.
 The Orca-1 discovery well encountered approximately 190 net feet of natural gas pay in a Paleocene fan system.

Videocon Industries has sold off to ONGC Videsh and Oil India (OIL) for $2.48 billion (Rs 14,880 crore) its 10 per cent interest in the prolific oil and gas offshore block in Mozambique’s Rovuma basin. The deal is expected to help Videocon reduce its huge debt and provide a piece of pie to the two Indian oil and gas explorers chasing resources abroad.

ONGC Videsh, the wholly owned subsidiary of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), and OIL expect to implement the acquisition through a newly incorporated entity in which OVL would hold 60 per cent stake while OIL would have 40 per cent stake by the end of this financial year.

 The largest deal of the quarter involved ONGC and Oil India, who acquired a 10% stake in the 100+ tcf gas discovery offshore Mozambique in the Rovuma basin for $2.5 billion from Videocon Industries. The $0.50 cost per recoverable mcf of gas reserves would usually represent good value but commercialization of the asset is at least five years away and will require large upfront payments to develop the field and construct the necessary LNG exporting terminal which would have made this field fall short of many public companies’ investment appraisals. The deal follows the acquisition of Cove Energy at the end of 2012 when another national oil company, PTT, keen to gain control of the company’s flagship asset of an 8.5% interest in the Rovuma Offshore Area 1, paid $2.2 billion.


115 沈阳 / Shenyang, 116 石家庄/ Shijiazhuang in Russia-China naval drill

China's defence ministry said on July 2 that its navy would send four destroyers, two guided missile frigates and a support ship for  exercises with the Russian navy, which start on Friday in the Sea of Japan and run until 12 July.

115 沈阳 / Shenyang
116 石家庄/ Shijiazhuang

The Type 051C or Luzhou class destroyer is a long-range air-defence guided missile destroyer built by China in its ongoing effort to create a true blue water navy. The ship uses the hull design of the older Type 051B (Luhai class), but is equipped with the advanced Russian S-300FM air defence missiles systems. Currently, two ships of this class have been launched and deployed by People's Liberation Army Navy North Sea Fleet.
General characteristics
Displacement: 7,100 tons
Length: 155 metres (508.5 feet)
Beam: 17 metres (55.8 feet)
Draught: 6 metres (19.7 feet)
Propulsion: 2 indigenous steam turbines
Speed: 30 knots
48 x S-300FM (SA-N-20) surface-to-air missiles (6 x 8 revolver-style VLS)
8 x YJ-83 (C-803) anti-ship missiles
1 x 100 mm dual purpose gun
2 x Type 730 30 mm seven-barrel Gatling gun close-in weapons systems
2 x 3 324mm torpedo launchers carrying Yu-7 torpedoes
2 x 15 Type 946 decoy launchers
2 x 18 Type 726-4 decoy launchers
Aircraft carried: Kamov Ka-28 Helix size Helicopter
Aviation facilities: No hangar

The ships departed on Monday from the port of Qingdao, where China's Northern Fleet is based, and headed for the rallying point in Peter the Great Bay near Vladivostok.


Russian Navy: gets same deal as Germans in Cyprus

German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung, center, is welcomed by German UNIFIL soldiers in Limassol, Cyprus, on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2006.

British Forces Cyprus
Cyprus has made its ports available to the Russian fleet. "Cyprus is facilitating the navy of various countries, including the US, France, Germany and Israel." here
Cypriot media have reported that the government may allow Russia to use its base at Paphos to host military aircraft.

Russia has evacuated the last of its personnel from Syria, including from its Mediterranean naval base in Tartus, in a move that appears to underline Moscow's mounting concerns about the escalating crisis.

Russian media reported on June 26 that they had confirmed the evacuation with officials in the country's military and foreign ministry. 

The effective closure of the Tartus base would be a significant loss, though a 16-ship naval task force is still in the eastern Mediterranean. The base is Russia's only foothold in the Middle East.

Mikhail Bogdanov, the deputy foreign minister, said, "Today, the Russian defence ministry does not have a single person in Syria," he said. He described Tartus as a "technical facility for maintaining ships sailing in the Mediterranean."

[March 24]

Moscow wants presence comparable with Germany in Cyprus .   Claims seem to include the use of Cyprus for military purposes.   As part of their action in UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon), the Germans have a bilateral agreement with the Republic of Cyprus, under which they can anchor in Limassol to Paphos and use land of the Republic, for operational reasons, such as exercises.  here

[March 22]

"The talks have ended as far as the Russian side is concerned," Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov.
[March 20]
As Cyprus tries to play Russia off against Europe to salvage its economy, It is likely the Russians will ask for some form of compensation for such an investment and Cyprus  might even offer the Kremlin an alternative Mediterranean port should ally Bashar al-Assad lose his civil war.. Russia is setting up a structure to monitor operation of its military ships in the Mediterranean sea, according to Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu who said March 11 that Russia's navy are returning to the region "for long and with serious purposes".
Barred from NATO by a Turkish veto, the island was officially "unaligned" during the Cold War but has shown little appetite to be a direct Russian satellite.
Many western states have used the island as a logistics hub to support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Former colonial power Britain retains two sovereign bases there but refrained from using them for air strikes on Libya in 2011 out of sensitivity to Cypriot opposition
A bailout from Moscow might solve the immediate banking crisis but greater Russian sway over Cypriot banks could scare off their Russian clients. Many moved money to Cyprus precisely to avoid unreliable Russian banks, rapacious tax officials and the reach of the Russian state itself.

[August 29 2012]
Tartus Naval Base

A Russian naval task force has successfully completed its protracted mission in the Atlantic, Navy spokesman said on August 29.

He added that the large anti-submarine ships Alexander Otrakovsky, Georgy Pobedonosets and Kondopoga had already returned to the port of Severomorsk.
[August 24]A Russian task force consisting of ships from three fleets (the Northern, Baltic and Black Sea fleets) has suddenly fallen apart, and the General Staff changed its plans for Northern Fleet vessels to stop off in the Black Sea.    Russia deliberately withdrew practically its entire military grouping from the Mediterranean, thereby altering the initial aim of the Caucasus-2012 drills, during which three large landing ships were to have called in at Novorossiisk on August 11-12.
Following the drills, the warships could have continued their tour of duty in the Mediterranean. But the plans were changed. Large NATO naval task forces are concentrated off Syrian coasts while the Russian grouping looks like a dwarf. “We will be unable to keep our facility in Tartus by military means,” a Defense Ministry source said. “We cannot, by military means, oppose countries that support the Syrian opposition,”.
He also denied reports that the staff of the Russian base had been evacuated due to the aggravation of the situation in western Syria. But he would not comment on reports that the naval facility in Syria would not provide supplies to Russian warships.

Yaroslav Mudry

[August 19]The large amphibious landing ships Alexander Ostrovsky, Georgy Pobedonosets, and Kondopoga will  leave for the Atlantic after resupply [at Tartus?].   Baltic Fleet frigates Yaroslav Mudry and Neustrashimy will remain in the Mediterranean and undertake exercises related to prevention of illegal arms trafficking and anti-terrorism.
[August 11]The Russian Defense Minister states that "contrary to media reports", the task force will not call at the Russian supply and maintenance facility at the Syrian port of Tartus.   The Russian task force is comprised of three large amphibious assault ships, two Neustrashimy class frigates, an Udaloy class destroyer and two support ships from Russia's Northern, Baltic and Black Sea Fleets.   "In the past two days the task force held tactical exercises which included firing drills involving on-board artillery and missile systems," the ministry said on Friday, quoted by RIA Novosti.   The warships will head to the Russian naval base of Novorossiisk after additional training in the central part of the Mediterranean later in August 2012.   read

[August 3]Russia’s three warships do not plan to stop at Syria port of Tartus, but may do so if they need to resupply,  The ships – Aleksandr Otrakovsky, Georgy Pobedonosets and Kondopogaeac – carry about 120 troops each, along with weapons and amphibious armored vehicles.
[Earlier]Russia's Defense Ministry denied on August 3 that it plans to send naval vessels to the Syrian port of Tartus, the state-owned RIA news agency said.

It dismissed reports, attributed by Russian news agencies to a source in the general staff, that Moscow was sending three large landing ships with marines aboard [Earlier].Russia is sending three warships carrying some 360 marines total to the Syrian port of Tartus and are expected to arrive at the port within days to deliver food and supplies to a Russian naval base there.

[August 2]   David Cameron welcomed Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, visiting the UK for the first time in seven years, and discussed the situation in Syria,among other subjects.

[July 25]A Russian naval flotilla of warships destined for the Syrian port of Tartus has entered the Mediterranean, Russia's defense ministry said July 25.
"The Russian ships today passed the Strait of Gibraltar and entered the Mediterranean at 1200 GMT," said a defence ministry spokesman, quoted by Itar-Tass agency.
Led by the Admiral Chabanenko anti-submarine destroyer, the three landing craft left their home port of Severomorsk in the Arctic Circle earlier this month. They are due to be joined in the Mediterranean by the Russian patrol ship Yaroslav Mudry as well as an assistance vessel.
The ships will perform "planned military manoeuvres", said the ministry. Earlier in the month a military source said the ships would be topping up on supplies of fuel, water and foodstuffs.
Russia has denied that the deployment is linked to the escalating conflict in Syria.
Admiral  Chernenko
Alexander Otrakovsky
K-433 St. George the Victor 
 SDK-182 “Kondopoga " Ropucha Class Landing Ship

Sergey Osipov
Nikolai Chiker

RUSSIAN NAVY warships docked at Limassol Cyprus over the weekend for the first time in at least ten years. 
The Russian frigate Smetlivy docked at Limassol port on July 15 at 9.30am to re-supply with food and water and rest its crew before heading off in the afternoon at 5.30pm.  
, a Russian tug boat Shakhter also docked at Limassol port at 7.56am and is due to leave 
july 16. 

A spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council said July 10 that the United States has "no reason to believe this move is anything out of the ordinary. "

[July 14]Russian observers made a list of ships which may soon be found in Syrian waters.

Large attack landing ships:
Georgiy Pobedonosets with carrying capacity of 500 tons of military cargo and equipment, and 225 troops;
Alexander Otrakovskiy with carrying capacity of 500 tons of military cargo and equipment, and 225 troops;
Kondopoga with carrying capacity of 500 tons of military cargo and equipment, and 225 troops;
Tsezar Kunikov with carrying capacity of 500 tons of military cargo and equipment, and 225 troops;
Nikolay Filchenkov with carrying capacity of 47 battle vehicles and 440 trrops;
Other ships:
Destroyer Admiral Chabanenko;
Destroyer Smetliviy;
Destroyer Admiral Panteleyev;
Destroyer Vice-admiral Kulakov;
Frigate Yaroslav Mudriy;
Auxiliary Naval ships:
Naval tankers Sergey Osipov, Lena, Boris Butoma and Ivan Bubnov;
4 naval salvage tugs.

[July 12]“Alaed” is, July 12, sailing southbound along the coast of northern Norway after she left Murmansk on July 10.."MV Alead” has reported that her port of destination this time is Baltiysk in the Russian Baltic enclave of Kalinigrad.  A flotilla of four Russian warships are sailing in the same direction some 50 nm north of "Alaed." The vessel, carrying arms for Syria, is now on its way south after she had to return to Murmansk in late June to be refitted with Russian flag.  The Defense Ministry said on July 10  a Russian naval task force was on its way to carry out naval exercises in the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Black Seas.
The task force comprises warships from Russia’s Northern, Baltic and Black Sea Fleets,   "In order to develop training and combat missions from the base of Severomorsk got a group of ships in the BOD" Admiral Chabanenko ", large amphibious ship" Alexander Otrakovsky, K-433 St. George the Victor , a Delta III class nuclear-powered submarine SSBN. and SDK-182 “Kondopoga " Ropucha Class Landing Ship. . "The ships assigned to court security," Nikolai Chiker "and" Sergey Osipov . "The ships headed for the North Atlantic," - and  will join a detachment of ships in the Baltic Fleet patrol "Yaroslav the Wise" and tanker "Lena."   more


Danish film "a Hijacking" opens in New York

Mr. Lindholm tells this story with an objectivity that sometimes feels cold but that also gives “A Hijacking” dramatic credibility. Its power accumulates slowly and subtly, with the threat of violence hanging in the air and the hope of a solution hovering just over the horizon. video review


Somali drop in maritime hijackings

But the main reason for the drop in maritime hijackings seems to be that ships are now far better defended against attacks. Armed guards, now carried by more than 60% of vessels, have been essential in discouraging them. Pirates are playing it safe by first scouting for guards, whereas previously they opened fire to intimidate crews; seeing arms on board is a big deterrent. Higher cruising speeds in pirate-infested zones and rerouting also have helped, as have razor wire, high-pressure hoses and citadels—secure spaces on ships from which crews can call for reinforcements. (This makes it easier to come to the aid of ships under attack, because pirates can no longer use seafarers as human shields.) Navies patrolling the area, from EU task-forces to private motherships, are also co-operating better and acting more aggressively. more

Prosecuting more than 1,000 pirates and transferring them to Somali prisons, where conditions are grim, appeared to be having a preventive effect. The number of active pirates is perhaps 3,000, so if you put a thousand behind bars, and 300-400 die every year at sea from hunger (or) drowning … you will quickly come down. read


Deepwater Horizon: BP's former chief executive head of Xstrata

 Ivan Glasenberg two years ago selected Tony Hayward to back the group’s initial public offering: the Glencore chief executive sees the former BP chief executive as one of the best in the oil industry.
. They share a lifestyle that involves near-constant travel. Both had to work hard to climb the corporate ladder..
The personal connection was evident Thursday at the maiden annual meeting of Glencore Xstrata as an enlarged company in Zug, Switzerland, with both men seeming at ease with their respective roles as chief executive and interim chairman.
Yet few expect him to stay in the job for long. Genel, his post-BP vehicle, is his primary focus these days: the company is now the largest independent crude producer in Iraqi Kurdistan.

[May 16]
John Bond, a City veteran and former chairman of Xstrata, earlier surprised investors by announcing he had been voted out of the top job at the miner and trader at its first annual shareholders' meeting, which he then asked Tony Hayward, the former chief executive of BP to lead.

Bond, who had been expected to relinquish his role once a replacement was found, gave no explanation for the vote in Zug, Switzerland, which was presumably backed by Glencore executives who still own almost 25 percent of the company.

As interim chairman, Hayward, already senior independent director, is expected to lead the nominations committee which will pick a permanent replacement. The committee had until Thursday been chaired by Bond.

A new chairman is expected to be appointed by the end of the year, a second source with knowledge of the matter said.

For Hayward, who said he felt "demonized and vilified" over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, the appointment at Glencore is a return to the top at a major UK-listed resource firm.

[July 25 2010]
Tony Hayward, the embattled chief executive of BP, has agreed to step down and be replaced by Robert Dudley, the company’s most senior American executive who is now in charge of BP’s operations in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a person close to the company’s board.


IMCMEX 13 gets under weigh

HMS Cardigan Bay

International Mine Countermeasures Exercise 2013

IRGC exercise 2010

Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps started a series of tactical exercises in the Persian Gulf and strategic Strait of Hormuz early Thursday, April 21
"It's the IRGC navy…that will be more provocative in their maneuvers and in their potential interaction with shipping," here


Rig activity: deepwater Gulf


$20 billion will be spent drilling development wells for deepwater projects through 2015. As many as 38 rigs are currently operating in the deepwater Gulf, and another eight rigs that are under construction could enter the market before the end of the year.  Energy companies continue to work the region, oil production from federal leases in the Gulf hit nearly 1.4 million barrels per day in February, up from 1.3 million barrels the year before.   Oil and gas exploration companies can only do as much work as there are rigs available.   On the other hand, the key for companies is that you don't want the rigs to idle out there because they're still paying the day rates whether they're drilling or not.


Chariot: ship in Syrian arms trouble abandoned?

in Spanish waters

"Notification Westberg Management AG, on the procedure for declaration of abandonment of the ship "M / S Chariot" IMD 8302882.
Mar 15, 2013 In order to complete the Article 59 of Law 30/92 of 26 November, on the Legal Regime of Public Administrations and the Common Administrative Procedure, as amended by Law 4/99, and after having tried at home notification declared WESTBERG MANAGEMENT AG, Majuro, Marshall Islands and as recorded in the Register of Ships of Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Marshall Islands, as the owner of the ship "Chariot" IMO: 8302882 initiation of proceedings for a declaration of abandonment is told the following :


Once the period of notice of initiation of proceedings to abandon ship "Chariot" reached port and the appointment of instructor and secretary in ..."

[January 31 2012]
MOSCOW, January 31 (RIA Novosti)The Syrian Ambassador to Russia denied Western media reports that a Russian [SVG-flag] ship reportedly carrying weapons had docked in a Syrian port A ship suspected of carrying tons of munitions bound for Syria was freed to leave a port in Cyprus after changing its destination. The Cypriot Foreign Ministry confirms a Russian ship suspected of supplying arms to the Assad regime in Syria had been released from port, after a brief detention by authorities.

The ship was forced to dock for refueling Tuesday at Limassol in western Cyprus, following bad weather. Local media reported at least 35 tons of munitions and explosive material were onboard, with a Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement confirming customs officials had discovered four containers and a generator in the hold.

The statement added that the ship, identified as the Saint Vincent-flagged MV Chariot, also contained “a dangerous cargo.” The ship, which left the Russian port of St. Petersburg on December 9, has been refueled and will set sail when the rough weather in the eastern Mediterranean calms.

According to the Foreign Ministry statement, it was agreed that the ship would sail to an alternative location and not Syria, but details of the new destination have not been disclosed. The government of Cyprus, which is an European Union member, insisted the ship had not breached the terms of the EU ban on sending arms to Syria. The statement also confirmed that port officials had not been able to check the entire cargo due to tight packing in the hold of the vessel. The Russian-owned ship that was briefly detained in Cyprus for carrying munitions to Syria a week ago, docked in the Turkish port of Alexandretta after first travelling to Syria, according to Turkish news reports. A TURKISH foreign ministry official stated that the Russian ship carrying arms to Syria anchored off Turkey’s port of Alexandretta on Saturday,

Turkish daily Today’s Zaman reported that Turkish officials said the Chariot, suspected of delivering munitions to Syria, had anchored off Turkey's coast, Selcuk Unal, the Turkish foreign ministry official, said Turkish coast guard and customs officials would board the Chariot before allowing it to dock at the port of Alexandretta (Iskenderun).
Unal said the ship left the Syrian port of Tartus early on Saturday and reached Turkey later in the day. He said the Chariot’s captain confirmed the ship had arrived from Syria. But it remained unclear what type of cargo, if any, the ship may have offloaded at Tartus. On January 13, the US said it had sought clarifications from both Russia and Cyprus over the ship, which sources said contained a cargo of bullets. here

8302882 CHARIOT OYID2 General Cargo Ship 922 1984 Ex Names History Vessel's Name Flag Call Sign CHARIOT St Vincent Grenadines J8B4413 MALENE Denmark OYID2 2009-02-13 18:00 MS MALENE Denmark OYID2 2009-01-30 05:38 MARKLAND SAGA 1990-09-22 00:00

16-03-2011 General cargo Chariot was attacked by pirates in 12 018N 066 143E on Mar 5 2011 at around 1940 LT, pirates used new tactics – there was a decoy attack by a white skiff, departing from mother-ship and attracting attention of vessel under attack, while real attacking skiff with 6 pirates approached vessel from stern port side, skiff was camouflage-painted. There were 4 armed guards on board, Russian Spetsnaz vets, after gunfire exchange pirates ceased attack and returned to mother ship, not dhow but apparently one of the highjacked ocean-going freighters, of more than 100 meters length, with two cranes. Chariot IMO 8302882, dwt 1302, built 1984, flag S-Vincent, owner Westberg S-Petersburg, Russia.

What are nice Spetsnez vets doing on a boat like this?


Baltic Dirty Tanker Index down John Fredriksen up

John Fredriksen and daughter Kathrine Fredriksen was over 1 billion richer in the past week  [1Norwegian Krone equals 0.17 US Dollar]

Over the past two years the changing tide of the industry has caused a collapse in crude freight rates. The Baltic Dirty Tanker Index, which measures the cost to move oil across the sea, has sunk to around 638 recently from 1,077 in January 2010, even as the global economy has improved.

At the same time, the global tanker fleet hasn't adjusted to the reduced haulage demand. This year, the total capacity of tankers in the global fleet is likely to grow 4.6%, and next year tanker supply is expected to rise 1.9%, according to a January-dated report from Clarkson Capital Markets. That far surpasses Clarkson's projected demand growth of 2.3% for 2013 and 1.5% for 2014.

"There is such an overhang with supply that to say that freight rates will increase in the out years is premature
 Frontline Ltd., which operates a large fleet of very large crude tankers (VLCCs), will lose $2.33/share this year in earnings and $2.09 next,  the recent price of $1.93. Global Hunter has an even worse view for the stock, with the price headed to 50 cents.
Nordic American Tankers Ltd., which operates a tanker fleet, is expected to lose money this year and the next. The stock was recently trading at $9.16.

The International Energy Agency forecasts that the US will overtake Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world's top oil producer in seven years and will become a net oil exporter around 2030.
U.S. crude oil exports doubled in February to a 13-year high of 124,000 barrels per day (bpd), government data showed on April 29+, as shipments of surplus shale crude to Canada gathered pace.   Most of the exports have flowed from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to plants in Canada's east, which lack pipeline access to Alberta's oil sands and are dependent on foreign crude. The exports have not generated significant domestic opposition, since Canada remains a huge net exporter of oil to the United States, sending around 2.7 million bpd south from both conventional and growing tar sands production.

[April 9]
Hire rates for very large crude carriers on the benchmark voyage between Saudi Arabia and Japan slipped 0.2 percent to 31.91 industry-standard Worldscale points. Costs declined 6.3 percent April 2. Each of the ships can hold 2 million barrels of oil.

There are 87 tankers available in the gulf over the next 30 days. The global VLCC fleet’s total carrying capacity will rise 5.1 percent this year, above demand growth of 4.9 percent.
 Frontline Ltd.’s shares fell to the lowest since May 1999 in March and slumped 95 percent since the end of 2007. The stock slid 1.5 percent to 12.75 kroner by the close in Oslo trading April 2.

VLCCs are losing $3,012 daily on the benchmark Saudi Arabia-to-Japan voyage, figures from the Baltic Exchange in London showed. That compared with a $29-a-day loss as of March 28.

[September 10, 2012] John Fredriksen bases his latest investments on the plunging prices of vessels rather than on economic and petroleum growth forecasts, which he says are too uncertain to be useful. At $535 million, the cost of a deep-water rig in Singapore yards is down 31 percent from its 2008 peak, and Chinese and South Korean shipbuilders are accepting new supertanker orders for about $80 million, half of what they cost at their high in 2007.
“Basically, I’m a trader,” says Fredriksen, who rarely talks to the media. “I think as we are sitting here we are very close to the bottom of the market, and I like to be a buyer at the bottom. This is the game.”

[May 28'11]The Commodity Futures Trading Commission sued two traders and the companies they worked for, Arcadia Energy (Suisse) SA and its Parnon Energy Inc. affiliate, alleging that in 2008 they amassed and sold off a substantial position in physical crude oil to "manipulate future prices." The companies are controlled by John Fredriksen's Farahead Holdings, of Cyprus.
The VTN Shipping group is actively involved in the multiple facets of chartering, ship management and ship owning.

It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Farahead Holdings Limited forming part of a group of companies which include
Frontline, SeaDrill, Arcadia Petroleum and Golar LNG Ltd.

The VTN Shipping Group has been incorporated in Cyprus since November 2006.

Vessel's name: V8 Stealth Last updated: May 20, 2011
Ex-name(s): Not Applicable IMO number: 9436018
Flag: Marshall Island Call sign: V7SW7
Port of Registry: MAJURO Summer DWT: 112871 MT
Type of vessel: Oil Tanker Built: Nov 23, 2009
Type of hull: Double Hull Owner: MAYHEM CRUDE Inc
Class Society: American Bureau of Shipping Operator: NAVIG8 SHIPMANAGEMENT PTE LTD


Kathrine Fredriksen is a board member of oil trading company Arcadia Petroleum


Seahawk the boat bomber hid in removed

FBI removes the boat

 1986 Chris Craft 216 Sea Hawk

America wants to help David Henneberry get a new boat.
The Watertown, Mass., resident became a hero when he discovered suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hiding in his backyard boat.
Henneberry quickly called the cops and in a final standoff, his boat was riddled with bullet holes.
"That boat's his baby. He takes care of it like you wouldn't believe. And they told him it's all shot up," Henneberry's friend and neighbor George Pizzuto told ABC News. 
Henneberry's boat is reportedly a 22-foot Seahawk cruiser with a fiberglass hull, which retails for around $50,000.

The trailered yacht found by the bomber was a 22-foot pleasure cruiser — a white Seahawk with blue trim and a fiberglass hull 

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was discovered in the bottom of a rare, 1980s pleasure boat in the backyard of a Watertown, Mass., home just after 6 p.m. by the shocked owner David Henneberry.
Henneberry, an avid boater who is a member of the Watertown Yacht Club, walked outside to have a cigarette just after Gov. Deval Patrick lifted the curfew on Boston residents at 6 p.m. Friday.

Different strokes for different folks


Shipping route through Arctic attracts China

A Chinese shipping firm is planning the country’s first commercial voyage through the Northern Sea Route this summer.   For China, the world’s No 2 economy after the United States, the route would save time and money. The distance from Shanghai to Hamburg is 5,200 kilometers shorter via the Arctic than via the Suez Canal, Yang said.

China has been lobbying for permanent observer status on the eight-member Arctic Council in a bid to gain influence.    Norway will work towards admitting China observer status in the Arctic Council “We want people to join our club. That means they will not start another club”. Barth Eide is backed up by Minster Bildt; “The Arctic Council should be the arena for Arctic issues”.

According to Chinese longer-term scenarios, 5 to 15 per cent of China’s international trade, mostly container traffic, would use the route by 2020. Ten per cent of China’s projected trade by 2020, for instance, would be worth €526 billion. “If the route is constructively prepared ... then the demand is there, it could be a huge number,”    in 2012 46 vessels sailed the Northern Sea Route, compared to 34 in 2011 and only four in 2010. The total cargo transported on the NSR in 2012 was 1 261 545 tons – a 53 percent increase from 2011, when 820 789 tons was shipped on the route. 
China and Iceland signed a free-trade agreement on April 15th, China’s first with any European nation.    The more likely attraction for China is access to improving shipping routes through the Arctic as that region warms due to climate change. 


Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) joins 5th Fleet

- The Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) completed a scheduled transit of the Suez Canal and entered the Red Sea, April 5. 

Dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) led amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), flagship of the group, and amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17) through the 673-foot wide channel.

[April 25 2011]
The BAT ARG/22 MEU is comprised of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, which includes a Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced); Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; and its Command Element; Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 6, which includes the multi-purpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), the amphibious dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41), the amphibious transport dock USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19), and detachments from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28, Tactical Air Control Squadron (TACRON) 22, Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 8, Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 2, ACU-4 and Naval Beach Group.

USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, which deployed ahead of its original schedule in order to relieve units from the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group in the Mediterranean Sea. The US decision to provide $25 million in nonlethal military assistance to the rebels did not signal a deeper U.S. commitment to anti-Gadhafi forces whose makeup, objectives and motives are still not fully understood in Washington.

The aid, he said, is not high-end military equipment but rather a hodge-podge of things like uniforms and canteens.

“I’m not worried about our canteen technology falling into the wrong hands,” he joked.