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CMB turns bearish on panamax boxships, sends 12-year-old twins for scrap

October 18th, 2016 Sam Chambers Containers, Europe 0 comments

Belgium’s Bocimar has turned bearish about prospects for panamax container vessels, becoming the latest owner to scrap 12-year-old boxships.

The Compagnie Maritime Belge (CMB) affiliate had teamed up with US private equity interests early last year to buy up cheap panamax tonnage, but with rates sliding fast this year for this segment the Belgian outfit looks like it has had a change of heart on the future of panamaxes. The Bear Hunter and the Bull Hunter, both 4,800 teu ships built in 2004, which Bocimar, controlled by the Saverys family, bought from Japanese interests in January last year, have been sent for scrap. The price of $300 per ldt was among the highest achieved for any ship sent for scrap in the past couple of weeks.

Panamax boxships have been sent en masse for scrapping this year as rates for this ship size in particular have faded away. The youngest ship to date has been the ten-year-old Viktoria Wulff.

A report by BIMCO at the end of June highlighted how the panamax segment had seen 150,863 teu of scrapping in the first six months, the same volume as in the previous 18 months through to end December 2015.

Time charter rates for the panamax segment went down from the monthly average of $15,800 per day in March 2015 to a monthly average of $5,755 per day in July 2016, a drop of 63.5%.

“The expansion of the Panama Canal backs up the shift away from the segment of panamax ships which have a maximum beam of 32 metres, putting them in line for demolition,” BIMCO chief analyst Peter Sand noted in the report.



Shipowners warned on risks of carrying lithium-ion batteries

October 18th, 2016 Sam Chambers Containers, Finance and Insurance, Operations 1 comments

The Standard Club is warning shipowners to be carerful when transporting lithium-ion batteries in the wake of widespread reports of many Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones self-igniting.

“The exposure to members arising from carriage of these batteries is potentially wide and includes claims in respect of damage to cargo and hull by fire, personal injury, deviation, storage and disposal costs, pollution, salvage or even wreck removal,” the P&I club noted in an alert to members.

Lithium-ion batteries are classified as Class 9 goods (under UN numbers 3480 and 3481) in the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code due to the dual hazard properties associated with their chemical and electrical content:

The IMDG Code expressly cautions that “electrical lithium batteries may cause fire due to an explosive rupture of the body caused by improper construction or reaction with contaminants”.

Pursuant to the IMDG Code, shippers are obliged to furnish a vessel with a completed Dangerous Good (DG) cargo declaration.

Additionally, each vessel has a Document of Compliance (DOC) for dangerous cargo which indicates where the batteries can be safely stowed on board. To ensure full compliance during a particular voyage, the classification, packaging and stowage of dangerous goods is governed by laws of the flag state, the countries of the load and discharge ports as well as the laws of any country which the vessel enters while in transit.

The Standard Club said anyone agreeing to carry this cargo are recommended to comply with the following additional precautions:

• Container inspection (for sealed and unsealed packages) be carried out to ensure conformance with the instructions (P903, P908, P909, LP903 and LP904) of the IMDG Code; and

• In the case of used and recalled batteries being shipped, to obtain confirmation in writing from the shippers that the batteries have been discharged to 0% before shipment.

Used batteries may also be considered as hazardous waste. The shipper is obliged to provide a written declaration to the carrier if in fact the batteries are not considered waste, failing which the carrier runs the risk of the batteries being treated as ‘waste cargo’ pursuant to the guidelines set out in the Basel Convention. The consequence of this may include the batteries being rejected at the discharge port because the cargo was misdeclared.

In such cases, it is not unusual to hear of the shipper/consignee abandoning the cargo and leaving the carrier to bear the storage and disposal costs. Usually, returning the cargo to the load port is not a practical or commercially viable option for the carrier.

The club recommends that members insist that the shipper provides evidence of written consent from the authorities in the place of export, import and transit in accordance with the provisions of the Basel Convention before agreeing to carry the batteries.

Most contracts of carriage evidenced by the bills of lading provide for some form of indemnity in favour of the carrier in respect of the carriage of dangerous cargo. Shipowners should review and ensure strict compliance with the provisions of the indemnity clause when agreeing to carry the batteries in order not to waive or compromise its rights of recourse against the cargo interests by way of the indemnity, the club suggested. Alternatively, if an owner has sufficient commercial bargaining power, it may insist on provision of security by way of a bank guarantee or letter of indemnity from a creditworthy charterer/ shipper or consignee.

“Provided that carriage of the batteries complies with all of the above mentioned requirements imposed by the applicable law(s) and international conventions, club cover remains in place. Conversely, the member’s failure to comply with the provisions of the applicable regimes and the guidelines may compromise member’s cover,” Standard stressed.

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