Bunker tanker crew kidnapped
June 5, 2023
Six of the 16-strong crew of the Liberian-flag bunker tanker Monjasa Reformer were kidnapped and held hostage for five weeks after the ship was boarded by pirates on 25 March, about 140 nautical miles West of Port Pointe-Noire, Democratic Republic of Congo. The vessel went missing for six days before being located by the French Navy, when it was discovered that the men were missing. The ship’s owner, Danish-based Monjasa announced in early May that they had been freed.
Monjasa CEO Anders Ostergaard said in a statement: “All recovered crew members are in relatively good health condition given the difficult circumstances they have been under in the last more than five weeks. They have all been receiving medical checks and are now being repatriated to their home countries to reunite with their families,”.
On 10 April, a second tanker, the Singapore-flag Success 9, was boarded by unidentified persons at about 300 nautical miles off the Abidjan Coast, Cote d’lvoire. The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) reported that there were 20 crew of various nationalities onboard the vessel, including a Singapore citizen. It was subsequently reported that all her crew, including the Singaporean, were safe and in good health and that the ship had arrived safely at Abidjan.
These latest incidents occurred just as the ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) had recorded the lowest level of reported global piracy and armed robbery incidents since 1993 in its first quarter piracy and armed robbery report for 2023. But, presciently, the report calls for “continued vigilance and naval response”.
According to IMB, 27 incidents were reported in the first quarter of the year, representing a marked decline from 37 incidents for the same period in 2022. The anti-maritime crime agency noted that, of the 27 incidents, perpetrators boarded the victims’ vessels in 24 cases, two vessels reported attempted incidents and one vessel was hijacked. Despite the drop in numbers, the threat of violence remains. It says that six crew (from the Monjasa Reformer) had been kidnapped, two others were known to have been taken hostage, two threatened and one assaulted.
Despite the latest incidents, the trend still appears to be that piracy and armed robbery is decreasing in the Gulf of Guinea, an area the IMB describes as having become “a relative hotbed for this crime in recent history”. Just five incidents were reported in Q1 2023 compared to eight in 2022 and 16 in 2021.
KPI launches training programme
Danish-based KPI OceanConnect has launched a two-year trader trainee programme designed to “cultivate and empower school and college graduates for a career in marine fuel trading”.
The programme will provide new hires with an immersive learning experience, including comprehensive training in marine fuel trading, supply and logistics, and the opportunity to work with industry-leading experts. Trainees will have the opportunity to travel and participate in team building activities with the purpose of creating and nurturing relationships with global colleagues. In addition, trainees will also have the chance to relocate to one of KPI OceanConnect’s 16 offices worldwide, where they can learn about different cultures, establish their own network, and work with colleagues from various backgrounds.
Additionally, the programme will include courses at the Danish Maritime Academy in Copenhagen from September 2023, leading to a foundation degree in shipping and the official qualification of Bunker Trader.
KPI OceanConnect’s managing director and creator of the programme, Patrick Hoe, commented: “We are excited to launch our new trainee programme “get fuelled” to provide young talent with the opportunity to embark on a career in the dynamic and fast-paced world of marine fuel trading. This programme is a testament to KPI OceanConnect’s commitment to investing in the next generation of young professionals and supporting the development of innovative and sustainable solutions for the shipping industry.”
Singapore bunker firm loses licence
In a Port Marine Circular, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has announced that it will not be renewing the bunker craft operator licence of New Maritime Pte Ltd, which expires on 16 June 2023.
While the circular gives no reason for MPA’s action, it does say that the “MPA has zero-tolerance for any type of fraud, corruption or bunkering malpractice”. The circular reminds all bunker licence holders (including bunker suppliers and bunker craft operators) to comply strictly with all the terms and conditions of the respective bunker licence(s).
It warns: “MPA will not hesitate to take firm action against any bunker supplier or bunker craft operator that contravenes any of its bunker licence terms and conditions, including taking into account such contraventions in considering whether to renew the bunker licence(s), suspending or cancelling the bunker licence(s), and/or taking enforcement action against such bunker licensee.”
Peninsula renews credit facility
Independent marine energy supplier Peninsula has confirmed a two-year renewal of its syndicated European credit facility and an increase from US$350 million to US$450 million.
A Peninsula statement says that, together with the group’s Asian syndicated facility and other bilateral lines, this increase in the European credit facility provides it with a total funding package in excess of $1.3 billion. It adds: “Peninsula continues to focus on the delivery of low carbon fuels to customers, and this facility has been amended to enable the finance of these products, not just traditional fuels. The additional liquidity generated will be deployed in support of these products.”
John A Bassadone, CEO of Peninsula said: “At a time when decarbonisation is at the top of everyone’s agenda, our commitment to the supply of lower carbon fuels resonates with our stakeholders to attract the highest quality banking partners. This additional funding will allow us to deliver lower carbon solutions to our customers across the globe.”
O Bunkering at Duqm
Omani-based O Bunkering has signed an agreement with Marsa Al Duqm Investments (MARSA), a subsidiary of Fisheries Development Oman (FDO), to provide bunker services and build and operate a bunkering station in Duqm.
The company’s CEO, Ali Amur Al-Shaibani, said that his company will undertake the design and construction of the bunker station in Duqm Fishing Port “in accordance with international standards, ensuring the highest levels of safety and reliability for their customers”.
WFS Q1 profits rise
World Fuel Services Corporation Q1 gross profit increased 14% year-on-year, to US$263 million, of which marine fuel sales accounted for $52 million, an increase of 11%, “principally as a result of market dynamics driven by the higher interest rate environment,” according to the company.
“Our core businesses performed well in the first quarter, a reflection of our broader strategy to maximize returns in our core businesses while also growing our sustainability and digital solutions for our customers,” said Michael J Kasbar, chairman and chief executive officer. “Our customers’ requirements for more solutions to support their energy transition journeys represents a strategic opportunity for our business to thrive in a world that is increasingly prioritizing lower-carbon alternatives and solutions.”
Axiom wins IOCL Award
UAE-based bunker supply and oil trading company Axiom Global, won the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) award for the Highest Bunker Volume in 2022 at the Institutional Business Customers Meet at IOCL in Haldia, India, in April.
“Since the inception of the company in 2019, we have been working very closely with IOCL and have strived hard to maintain our strong ties. The award we have just won is evidence of our growth and I take this opportunity to thank IOCL for their support as well as our own team for the efforts they have put in for us to achieve this accolade,” said Praveen Jaiswal, CEO and Managing Director of Axiom Global.
Previously, in 2021, Axiom had been recognised for achieving the highest HSFO sales in year 2020. The company says it “continues to grow its global reach and has made significant progress in UAE, India, and other Middle Eastern ports”.
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