In its latest podcast, GMS talks to leading shipping barrister James M. Turner QC of Quadrant Chambers about the challenges associated with scrapping large vessels and the moves towards better standards in India and Bangladesh.
Confirmation last week of Norway’s first jail term handed down to a shipowner for illegal scrapping has turned the spotlight back on the laws governing ship recycling. “It’s a minefield,” admits Turner referring to both the reputation risk and the threat of conventional litigation “if [shipowners] don’t get it absolutely right.”
Quizzed on what shipowners can do to protect themselves when recycling, Turner draws a distinction between a negative and positive approach.
“If you don’t want to be held liable, which is the negative approach, you have to bear in mind that merely because you no longer own the ship when it is taken to the yard, that may not be an answer to a claim brought against you.” He goes on to say, that although not yet tested in court, owners may be able to protect themselves to some extent by “requiring that [the ship] goes to a yard that is Hong Kong certified.”
A more positive approach he says, is to consider your company’s ESG aspirations and “pick a yard that has a good reputation, the right certification” and consider engaging a compliance monitoring service to oversee the dismantling, noting that GMS offers clients’ a sustainable recycling package via its Sustainable Ship & Offshore Recycling Program (SSORP).
Turner says he has sympathy for shipowners with recycling decisions on the table. “You’ve got an asset which can realise some money at the end of its life” and suggests owners should plan accordingly as their vessels approach end of life. Owners who fall foul of the law and find themselves with their “foot in the trap” do so with their eyes open he says, now that “it’s perfectly possible to do the right thing”.
Changes in the way ships are recycled at the waterfront is happening “as recycling yards come to experience that there is money to be made in doing a job properly”. Turner points to “so much of the world’s tonnage” that will be pushed towards recycling in order to meet the climate change goals.
GMS’s latest podcast is an insightful conversation with Julian Clark, Stephen Askins and Prachi Shah about how shipping is adapting to the latest “completely unprecedented” maritime and financial sanctions against Russia.
Ince’s Global Senior Partner Julian Clark and Tatham’s Senior Partner Stephen Askins, two of London’s leading maritime lawyers, discuss the challenges for shipping posed by an “unprecedented” range of sanctions against Russia with GMS’s legal counsel Prachi Shah.
The podcast guests share their views on what the latest sanctions mean for chartering contracts, sale and purchase deals, KYC considerations and how shipping companies and cargo interests can stay on the right side of OFAC. The legal trio also considers the extent to which sanctions against Russia are both a commercial and moral obligation.
Julian Clark reveals that law firms connected to Russia are shutting up their London offices “because the lawyers are saying we’re not prepared to work for this Russian firm anymore.” He adds, “I don't think we've ever seen anything like it.”
Summing up the challenge for many, Stephen Askins recognises the financial considerations of operating under sanctions. “It’s a really difficult situation. If you’re a shipowner or charterer, you want to be paid, and you want to know that you can discharge cargo at the destination you’re taking it because anything else… is going to cost you money.” He adds that shipping is still weighing up the commercial risk as the situation unfolds.
“Even if you think you know what the answers are on a Tuesday, the problem is it has changed by Wednesday, so we are all tiptoeing around this very, very carefully,” says Askins.
CEO of the Year Award being presented to Dr. Anil Sharma by H.E Eng. Essam M Alammari, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the IMO & SIR Sohan Roy, Founder Chairman & CEO, Aries Group.
GMS’s Dr Anil Sharma has been awarded the prestigious ‘CEO of the Year’ at the ShipTek 2022 International Conference & Awards.
ShipTek Awards recognise business leaders judged to have contributed significantly to the industry and demonstrated innovation, vision, and leadership in their endeavours.
On receiving the award, Dr Sharma said “I am honoured to receive this award. Established 30 years ago, GMS is now the world’s leading buyer of ships and offshore assets. Our ESG friendly recycling solutions are designed to satisfy even the most demanding shipowners, banks, private equity funds and investors. We have pioneered sustainable ship and offshore recycling practices and continue to offer extensive pro bono safety training to recycling yards in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.”
He added, “We are proud to see that the important work being done at GMS to improve recycling sustainability is recognised by the greater maritime community.”
Speaking about the award, the organisers said “ShipTek 2022 focused on the industry's pressing issues and emerging trends. Experts reflected on the efforts taken by the shipping industry to fulfil its commitment towards the environment, ensuring the sustainability of the sector in the future.”
Organised in Dubai this week by Biz Events Management in association with Aries Group, Shiptek brought together key decision-makers and high-level policymakers within the Marine/Offshore/Oil & Gas sectors.
H.E Eng. Hessa Ahmed Hamdan Almalek, Advisor to the Minister for Maritime Transport Affairs, The UAE Ministry of Energy & Infrastructure and H.E Eng. Essam M Alammari, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the International Maritime Organization were in attendance.
The EU Ship Recycling Regulation needs “major surgery”, but the current proposals offer little more than a sticking plaster, says Gudrun Janssens, Head of Environmental & Technical Affairs, Royal Belgian Shipowners Association, on the latest GMS Podcast.
Ms. Janssens believes the European Commission has “lost direction” on ship recycling after a hiatus following China’s decision to ban the import of waste. She adds that a vague definition of the standards yards need to comply with has further muddied the waters for yards wishing to apply for EU approval.
Ms. Janssen says that shipowners and ship recycling facilities need “legal certainty” but that the current situation has the opposite effect, far from delivering certainty. “With the current proposal, the Commission trying to bring the Basel Ban into European legislation; we went one step forward but we’re going two steps back, and it’s creating huge legal uncertainty.” She adds it is hard to imagine anyone supporting the changes to the EU WSR currently because they do not represent a “long-term sustainable solution.”
Speaking alongside Ms. Janssens on the GMS Podcast, tanker owner Euronav’s Chief Financial Officer Lieve Logghe called on the EU to “enable and operate a common level playing field” in the form of IMO’s Hong Kong Convention.
Ms. Logghe questions the sense of sending a ship trading in Asia for recycling at a European yard with the resulting steel then being exported out of Europe. “From an ESG perspective, first returning your fleet for scrapping in Europe and then exporting [the steel] again doesn’t bring value” to the circular economy.
Asked about why Euronav had recently reduced its vessel depreciation by Euro 100m, Ms. Logghe points out that Euronav was the only tanker company using zero residual value before the accounting changes were made. “It was not reflecting reality given the high scrap prices”, and she added that the position now placed Euronav “in sync” with other tanker owners.
Speaking about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ms. Logghe said the main concern for Euronav is the situation with their 200 Russian and Ukrainian crew on board, adding that current events are being watched extremely closely. Echoing the sentiments, Ms. Janssens said that the Belgian Shipowners Association is looking out for its members with interests or sailing in the areas and is in touch “day and night” with the competent authorities.
Ship financier Morten Arntzen is calling for a tanker scrapping cull to streamline a sector bloated by oversupply.
Mr Arntzen makes his comments on a new maritime industry podcast being launched by leading cash buyer GMS. The podcast goes live on February 22nd on Apple, Google and Spotify.
Mr Arntzen tells the podcast: “There has to be a surge in scrapping… if you look at the Gulf now, there are probably a third more ships waiting to move cargo than are needed.”
The commentary reflects the current malaise within the tanker sector. The Baltic Exchange has reported this month that rates for the largest crude oil tankers hit an all-time low setting a new record of -$20689 per day on a time charter equivalent basis.
With brokers depicting a market with plenty of tonnage and few cargoes to go around, DHT, the crude oil tanker company, is reporting that the proportion of its fleet operating on the spot market is earning $12,600 per day or $1700 over their cash neutral rate of $10,900. Frontline meanwhile reports that as of the end of Q3 in 2021 as many as 47 new buildings of VLCCs were added to fleets but only 14 were scrapped. Mr. Artzen says there is a fundamental supply and demand imbalance. “There is no question. We have too many ships in the water.”
But he says even an increase in scrapping will not pull the tanker market out of the doldrums. For recovery, Mr. Arntzen says there will need to be growth in US exports which “will give you something like a triple of the ton-mile number” compared to exports from the Middle East.
Mr. Arntzen speaks candidly on the GMS Podcast on various topics, including EEXI, carbon tax, recycling and the lifting of sanctions. He discusses the calculations facing many owners now balancing heavy annual survey expenses with the record high price for scrap. "I think the decision becomes really easy when you're talking close to US$30m for a V for scrap," he says. He adds that uncertainty in the markets and regulatory hurdles are coming, justifying a decision to recycle.
Mr. Arntzen further discussed a recent visit to ship recycling yards at India's Alang, reporting that his preconceptions were challenged by what he saw.
“I flew up there with some skepticism and a lot of questions,” he said, “and walked away very comfortable that the owners we finance can recycle properly there.” He believes the yards in Alang are the “future of recycling” as the world goes “greener and cleaner” and says that yard owners have “figured out that it’s not only the right thing to do, it’s good business.”
Wrapping up the podcast, Mr. Arntzen is asked what advice he would give his 25-year-old self and, as expected from a finance specialist, his advice focuses on the numbers. “When I was getting into the business, being quantitative was really helpful. The use of data is going to become much more important - weave that into your position and how you’re learning.”
The new episode of GMS’s podcast will broadcast regularly giving insight into the shipping markets, vessel residual values and recycling. Podcast host and GMS Chief Communications Officer Jon Chaplin said:
“With podcasts, you can drop in on a conversation and hear what the leaders in their fields are thinking – where you want when you want. At GMS we believe that knowledge opens the door to opportunity and our podcasts are aiming to provide the key.”
Established in 1992 in historic Cumberland, MD. (U.S.A), GMS is the world's LARGEST and FIRST ISO 9001 certified Cash Buyer of ships for recycling. With exclusive representatives in all of the major ship recycling markets in the world, GMS has negotiated about 3,500 ships for recycling since inception. In addition to its original office in the United States of America, the company continues to expand its operations with offices in Hamburg (Germany), Athens (Greece), Dubai (UAE), India (Bhavnagar), Singapore, Seoul (Korea), Shanghai (China) and Tokyo (Japan).
P.O. Box 346041, Suite 101,
Saba 1 Jumeirah Lake Towers, Dubai, UAE