Industry News




Corvus Energy secures MSA certification from DNV GL

Marine energy storage systems (ESS) provider Corvus Energy has obtained a Manufacturing Survey Arrangement (MSA) accreditation from the Norwegian ship classification organisation DNV GL.

The accreditation signifies that Corvus’ manufacturing processes fulfil quality, safety and environmental standards established by DNV GL.

The certification was issued after Corvus Energy successfully conducted the DNV GL Manufacturer Product Quality Assessment (MPQA) test.

The certification will allow Corvus Energy to independently oversee the Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT) at its Richmond facility in Canada. Earlier presence of a DNV GL surveyor was mandatory.

Corvus Energy QHSE director Abbas Nouri Zenouz said: “It’s a testament to the strict quality assurance methods we adhere to in our manufacturing operations, as well as the collaborative relationship developed between Corvus and DNV GL over the years rooted in our mutual goal of improving safety in marine battery applications.”

DNV GL Vancouver office business development director Anders Mikkelsen said: “It is fitting that Corvus Energy is the first battery supplier to achieve MPQA/MSA.

“Corvus Energy was a pioneer in energy storage systems and the first supplier to achieve Type Approval for lithium-ion batteries back in 2013. They are still technological leaders with single-cell thermal runaway isolation and numerous other innovations that have paved the way for safe, economical and high-performance marine electrification.”

To ensure the quality standard is maintained, DNV GL will periodically carry out audits of Corvus test and control routines, as well as equipment and procedures for the energy storage products, according to the MSA regulations.

Corvus Energy supplies modular lithium-ion battery systems to hybrid or all-electric vessels.

Earlier this month, Royal Dutch Shell venture capital branch Shell Ventures acquired an undisclosed stake in Corvus Energy to support the development of its EES.

In March, Corvus Energy won a contract from CCCC Shanghai Equipment Engineering (CCCCSEE) to supply the (ESS) for 20 battery-hybrid rubber-tyred gantry cranes (RTG).




Frontline to acquire ten Suezmax tankers from Trafigura

Bermuda-based oil tanker shipping company Frontline has agreed to acquire ten Suezmax tankers from Trafigura Maritime Logistics (TML).

All the Suezmax tankers were built this year and are equipped with exhaust gas cleaning systems.

Frontline will purchase a TML special-purpose vehicle, which holds the ten Suezmax tankers.

According to the stock-cash deal, the shipping business will offer its 16,035,856 ordinary shares as a consideration at an agreed price of $8 per share, issuable upon signing.

The company will pay between $538 to $547m following the completion of the transaction.

To fund the acquisition, Frontline is currently in discussions with lending banks.

An affiliate of Hemen Holding, which is also the largest stakeholder of Frontline, has offered $547m under a three-year facility.

The deal is expected to close in November at the earliest or March 2020.

Upon the completion of the deal, Trafigura will own nearly 8.48% of the ordinary shares of Frontline.

Until the deal is completed, Frontline will time-charter the ten vessels from Trafigura at a daily rate of nearly $23,000 to gain earlier access to the tankers.

The shipping company has agreed to charter five of these vessels back to Trafigura on three-year charters at a daily base rate of $28,400.

Frontline Management CEO Robert Hvide Macleod said: “This transaction is backed by our strong belief in tanker market fundamentals and reflects our ability to act swiftly and decisively with the support of our largest shareholder. We welcome Trafigura as a strategic shareholder and believe the acquisition reflects the value Trafigura ascribes to our equity.

“In addition to Trafigura being a long-standing customer of Frontline, we now have a unique partnership that we believe will lead to further synergies going forward.

“The structure of the transaction creates an immediate impact on our earnings at a time when we expect freight rates to increase significantly. Moreover, we expect the Acquisition to boost our dividend capacity going forward.”

The deal enables Frontline to purchase four new Suezmax tankers by acquiring TML’s second special-purpose vehicle.

Bilge technology. Image courtesy of PRNewsfoto / Nautic Alert




Australia joins US-led mission to protect ships in Strait of Hormuz

Australia is to collaborate with the US, UK and Bahrain in a security mission to protect vessels through Middle Eastern waterways, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on 21 August.

“The government has been concerned over incidents involving shipping in the Strait of Hormuz over the past few months,” Morrison said at a conference in Canberra.

“This destabilising behaviour is a threat to Australia’s interests in the region.

“The government has decided that it is in Australia’s national interest to work with our international partners to contribute. Our contribution will be limited in scope and it will be time-bound,” he said.

Morrison added that about 15% of crude oil and 30% of refined oil for Australia came through the Strait of Hormuz, and instability in the region would prove to be an economic threat that must be confronted.

Morrison said the issue impacted global security and stability. “Freedom of navigation through international waters is a fundamental right of all states under international law,” he said.

“All states have a right to expect safe passage of their maritime trade consistent with international law.”

Outlining Australia’s contribution, Morrison declared that it will deploy a P-8A Poseidon surveillance plane to the Middle East for one month before the end of 2019 and a frigate will be sent to the region in January 2020.

Australia is the latest nation to join US-led efforts to secure the strait after escalating tensions between Tehran and the west. In August 2019, Bahrain agreed to join the mission alongside the UK, which announced that Royal Navy vessels would work with the US Navy.

“Threats to the free flow of commerce are an international problem requiring an international solution,” said General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., Commander of the US Central Command, while welcoming the Kingdom of Bahrain into the International Maritime Security Construct.

However, not all nations are on-board with the US naval mission. For instance, in July 2019 German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that Germany would not join the mission in the Strait of Hormuz.

The commitment to join the US comes after tensions escalated in the region over the seizure of an Iranian ship by Gibraltar in July. This vessel was believed to be heading to Syria in breach of EU sanctions, but was freed earlier this week after the Middle Eastern nation claimed that the ship would not head to Syria.

Two weeks after British forces helped seize the Iranian ship, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard seized British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero on the account on marine violations. As a result, the UK established a military presence in the Gulf with two Navy ships.

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Waterfront Shipping adds two new methanol-fuelled vessels to its fleet

Marine transportation firm Waterfront Shipping Company has added two new methanol-fuelled 49,000 deadweight tonnage (dwt) vessels to its fleet.

The new vessels are powered by the second-generation of MAN B&W ME-LGIM two-stroke dual-fuel engines that are capable of running on both methanol and conventional marine fuels. The ships were built at Hyundai Mipo Dockyard in South Korea.

The ships, named Mari Couva and Mari Kokako, have joined the seven existing methanol-fuelled vessels of Waterfront Shipping.

Waterfront Shipping president Paul Hexter said: “We are very excited by the performance of our first seven methanol-fuelled vessels that have proven the safety and reliability of the technology.

“With this second generation of vessels, we will benefit from innovative technological advances that will continue to optimise performance and efficiency.

“On an energy-equivalent basis, methanol is cost-competitive over energy price cycles and we see significant value creation opportunities from using a methanol flex-fuel engine.

“We are proud that approximately 40% of our fleet will be powered by methanol-fuel technology by the end of the year.”

Waterfront Shipping will replace its older ships with the two vessels. The company also expects to take delivery of two more methanol-powered vessels by the end of this year.

In 2016, it added the first two methanol-powered ships, which have logged in 10,000 running hours.

Mari Couva and Mari Kokako meet the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) Tier III emission regulations without requiring exhaust gas after treatment.

Waterfront Shipping is a wholly owned subsidiary of Methanex Corporation and Marinvest/Skagerack Invest (Marinvest).

Marinvest chairman Patrik Mossberg said: “It is important that we share our experiences and make the industry aware that methanol is a well-proven, simple-to-adopt solution, offering compliance with IMO 2020 regulations and provides a pathway to meeting IMO 2030 and 2050 CO₂ emission targets.”




Sea Machines deploys industry’s first autonomous spill-response system

Sea Machines Robotics has successfully deployed a remote-command spill-response system onboard a skimmer boat owned by Marine Spill Response Corp. (MSRC).

The company conducted a demonstration of the system at a marina in Portland, Maine, US.

Earlier this year, Sea Machines entered an agreement on the terms of the exercise with the US Department of Transportation Maritime Administration (MARAD). They attended the demonstration, along with other government and industry representatives.

The exercise took place on the skimming vessel, which was manufactured by Kvichak Marine Industries.

The vessel was able to carry out ENC-based mission planning, autonomous waypoint tracking and grid line tracking, multi-vessel collaborations, as well as remote payload control for spill-response equipment.

With the installation of the autonomous control system, the vessel can be controlled from an onshore location or a secondary vessel.

The deployment of new technology abolishes the need to have onboard crewmembers in harsh and hazardous conditions.

Sea Machines founder and CEO Michael Johnson said: “Our operation of the world’s first autonomous, remote-commanded spill-response vessel is yet another significant industry first for Sea Machines.

“But even more important is the fact that we’ve proven that our technology can be applied to the marine spill response industry, as well as other marine sectors, to protect the health and lives of mariners responding to spills.

“We are proud to support MSRC’s mission of response preparedness and to work alongside MARAD for these important demonstrations.”




HHI obtains world’s first digital type approval from LR

South Korean ship maker Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) has secured Lloyd’s Register (LR) approval for the network security digital component of its Integrated Smartship Solution (ISS).

LR noted that it is the first-ever type approval of a digital component.

LR said that the digital type approval means the approved component carries out its functionality impeccably.

The London-based maritime classification society further said that HHI’s first line network security component complies with the latest LR type approval test specifications.

The digital component met the requirements as indicated in LR’s type approval system process for components that are part of digital systems onboard ships.

With the approval, HHI will be able to supply its network security digital components for the international market.

HHI senior executive vice-president Hyung-Kwan Kim said: “We are glad to receive this digital type approval certificate from LR for the first line network security component of our smart ship system, ISS.

“We will continue our efforts to lead the digitalisation of the marine and offshore industry in order to maximise the benefit for our customers with new technology, ensuring it is applied safely.”

Forming a barrier between the controlled internal networks and untrusted outside networks, HHI’s first line network security helps to mitigate information and operational vulnerabilities when an excessive amount of data is stored, processed and transmitted by digital systems onboard ships.

LR North Asia technical support office manager Young-Doo Kim said: “We have been working closely with HHI to ensure that the first line network security component of their smart ship solution meets our digital type approval requirements.

“We are very pleased to issue this digital type approval certificate to HHI and we believe this is the first step in moving towards digital ships, consisting of approved digital components with safeguards in place to protect against cyber incidents.”

In June, HHI signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Norwegian chemical firm Jotun for the supply of marine paints.

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Mwani Qatar signs agreement to construct Hobyo Port in Somalia

Qatar Ports Management Company, also known as Mwani Qatar, has signed an agreement to build the Hobyo Port in central Somalia.

The construction of the project will require an investment of around $170m.

Qatari Transport and Communications Minister Jassim Saif Ahmed Al Sulaiti and Somalia Minister for Airports Maryan Aweis Jama said that construction of the Hobyo Port is expected to commence soon.

However, they did not reveal any further details about the port project.

The design and construction of the port will incorporate the latest international standards, as well as comply with the safety and security regulations.

Both the Qatar and Somalian authorities noted that Hobyo Port will enable further collaboration in the maritime transportation sector besides creating new business and investment channels in Somalia.

The planned port will also facilitate easy access to new markets in Africa, as well as international markets.

Being near to the strategic maritime route Bab al-Mandab Strait, the Hobyo Port aims to become an important harbour in Somalia.

It is also significant due to its location in the Mudug region, which links the south and the north of the country.

State-owned Mwani Qatar manages seaports and shipping terminals. It also oversees quays, dry ports and container terminals in the country.

Commercial ports, including Hamad Port and Al Ruwais Port, are managed by Mwani Qatar. The company also looks after the Doha Port, which is currently being developed into a cruise port.

Mwani Qatar has collaborated with several companies to develop seaports and related services in line with global standards.

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SHI signs MoU with MAN ES for smart ship technology development

South Korean shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Germany-based engine technology developer MAN Energy Solutions (MAN ES) for cooperation in developing smart ship technology.

The MoU aims to improve operating services of SVESSEL, a Cloud-based smart ship system of SHI, by applying engine diagnosis and advanced control technology, developed by MAN ES.

The upgraded SVESSEL will help to reduce the operating costs of shipbuilding companies by providing accurate data in real-time to onshore control centres and vessels operating on waters.

SHI expects to gain a competitive edge in securing orders with features such as remote engine diagnosis and control service.

SHI Ship and Offshore Research Institute vice-president Yong-Lae Shim said: “Equipment manufacturers have actively participated in technology development of our Cloud-based smart ship system and this will provide more useful and diverse services to shipowners.

“By solidifying the ecosystem where both shipbuilders and equipment producers coexist, we will take the lead in developing innovative smart ship system.”

The company has continued to expand its cooperation with equipment manufacturers through joint technology development.

Earlier this month, SHI completed a technology development with South Korean firm Hi Air Korea. This technology has enabled the onshore control centres to remotely manage the cooling and heating process, as well as the fan system within the vessels.

SHI has also cooperated with Winterthur Gas & Diesel (WinGD), a Switzerland-based developer of low-speed gas and diesel engines for marine propulsion. The collaboration led to the development of a remote engine diagnosis technology, which can be used on liquefied natural gas (LNG)-fuelled vessels.

In June, SHI secured a KRW450bn ($381m) contract to construct LNG carriers from a Bermuda-registered client. The vessels are scheduled to be delivered by the end of June 2022.

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