Courtesy Sovcomflot

Moving the World’s Energy

The world is currently rattled by rising energy prices. There is panic over the rising price of natural gas, in North America, Asia and Europe, but also the fact that crude oil has edged over US$80 per tonne for the first time since 2014. Added to this is the impact on global coal prices as China wrestles with major industrial power outages as a consequence of the country’s ban on Australian coal imports and is forced to comb the world for supply alternatives. Against this background, the Baltic Dry Index has risen to over 5,000 points for this first time in 13 years, driven by high demand for natural resources, grains, fertiliser etc. all compounded by widespread global port congestion. By way of context, the Index peaked at 11,793 in May 2008, fell to a record low of 298 points in February 2016 and even at the outset of COVID in February 2020 was reduced to only 411 points.

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The Maritime Economy – Below the Radar

It never ceases to amaze that given the dependence of the global economy on shipping, very little attention is paid to the industry until an incident freaks out the media or there are impacts to the global supply chain.

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Strict Liability & The Criminalization of Seafarers

The grounding of the Capesize bulk carrier Wakashio on a reef off Mauritius in July 2020 revived the longstanding debate related to criminalization of seafarers. A preliminary investigation indicates that the vessel was off course in an attempt to pick up a wi-fi signal at the time of grounding. The ensuing environmental damage to the coastline was considerable and resulted in a decision to detain the Master and Chief Officer without consideration to bail. Most other crew members are under house arrest in a local hotel pending their appearance as witnesses in an eventual trial.

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maritime industry

Seafarers Deserve a Better Deal

“I am ashamed to be an executive in the maritime industry!” said Mr. Frank Coles in a recent LinkedIn post. His statement was related to the launch of a petition to create an enforceable global protocol for a green travel channel travel for seafarers.

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Managing Critical Trade Infrastructure

The continued unwarranted detention of the Ultra large Container Vessel Ever Given by the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) has thrown a spotlight on the relationship between the marine industry and the management of critical infrastructure across the globe.

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Maintaining Freedom of Navigation & Protection of the World’s Major Trade Lanes

It would be unwise to dismiss the decision of the UK government to send a full strength aircraft carrier strike group east of Suez this month for a maiden deployment that will take in 40 countries and involve exercises with a number of allied and friendly nations. To put this into context, this is the first time that the UK has put such a major strike group to sea since the Falklands war with Argentina in 1982.

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