MSC container ship seized by Iran as Middle East situation escalates

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards seized container ship MSC Aries (IMO 9857169) on Saturday April 13th in the Strait of Hormuz, days after the country’s government warned that it could close strait. The vessel was boarded by Iranian special forces about 50 miles off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, MSC said. Then on Saturday night, Iran launched hundreds…

Russian crude and refined oil products trapped on tankers: report

Russian crude oil and refined oil products have become trapped at sea on four tankers after the US sancioned the vessels with fresh Iran-related sanctions, reported Reuters, citing LSEG data shown on Friday. On April 4th the US imposed new Iran-related sanctions against a shipping firm Oceanlink Maritime DMCC and its vessels, citing its role…

Haitian gangs rob cargo ship of food

Members of the Haitian gangs 5 Seconds and Taliban (possibly named after, but with no llnk to the Afghan Taliban) recently captured freighter Magalie (IMO 7413892) at Port-Au-Prince’s Varreux terminal district, according to local media, stealing a sixth of the vessel’s cargo of rice, which is Haiti’s primary staple food. All of the crewmembers were…

Depression and anxiety increasingly hitting Ukrainian seafarers

Seafarer charity Stella Maris. the official maritime charity of the Roman Catholic Church, has warned that Ukrainian seafarers were experiencing increased levels of loneliness and depression, and that there were fears of conscription if they returned home. Stella Maris regional port chaplains in the UK for Southampton and Southern ports, Charles Stuart and Gregory Hogan,…

France to allow private security on shipping fleet says PM Ayrault

France will allow private security forces to protect its shipping fleet against piracy, prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has said, noting that the move would put the French shipping fleet on a better footing with European competitors already allowed to use private security. “We will allow recourse to private teams capable of complementing the navy’s missions”,…

Iran warns that it could close Strait of Hormuz if it wanted to

Israel’s “presence” in the UAE was viewed as a threat by Iran, which could close the Strait of Hormuz if deemed necessary, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard’s navy said earlier this week. Iran has threatened to retaliate for suspected Israeli airstrikes on its consulate in Syria’s capital on April 1st. These killed seven Revolutionary…

California legislators ask State Governor to postpone marine retrofitting rule

Republican California Representative Michelle Steel has led a group of legislators in a letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom asking him to postpone the enforcement of a new marine vessel retrofitting rule. The letter was co-signed by Representatives John Duarte, Ken Calvert, Jay Obernolte, and Young Kim. The signatories claim that the new rules pose…

Is AIS data manipulation any use in avoiding Houthi attacks?

Finding ways to mitigate the risks facing ships passing through the Red Sea is complicated by the dynamic and unpredictable nature of Houthi attacks, writes Gabriel Fuentes, Assistant Professor in Shipping Economics and Analytics at NHH Norwegian School of Economics. One strategy adopted by vessels has been to manipulate the data they share with the…

Disruption because of Baltimore, but no increase in container rates, says Xeneta

The result of the Baltimore Key Bridge collapse has been supply chain disruption on the US East Coast but not, so far, an increase in ocean freight container shipping rates, according to just-published data from ocean freight rate benchmarking and intelligence platform Xeneta. Average spot rates from the Far East into the US North East…