China steps up security checks on old ships as dark fleet grows Ship’s crew

(Bloomberg) –

A major port in China is tightening controls on older ships, blocking some cargoes and raising concerns about the steady expansion of a fleet of aging ships carrying Russian oil around the world.

In recent weeks, at least two tankers more than 20 years old have had to wait almost a month to deliver crude to the world’s largest importer, including one from Russia, as tighter controls in Shandong province complicate deliveries.

The super tanker titanium According to a database of Asia-Pacific inspections, the ship was detained upon arrival at the port of Qingdao for multiple fire safety issues, including oil build-up in its engine room. According to the tracking data, the ship has now been released and left Qingdao. It is unclear whether the titanium was able to unload its cargo in China.

Another old tanker transporting Russian oil ocean periHe’s been waiting near the same port for almost a month.

According to people familiar with the matter, both ships had difficulty unloading in Qingdao as the local maritime authority enforces enhanced safety inspection of foreign ships older than 15 years.

Restrictions on Russian oil have led to a surge in purchases of old tankers by unknown buyers, many of them older vessels that in previous years would often have been candidates for the scrapyard. Ports often filter incoming ships by age when deciding which ships to inspect, potentially trapping ships from Russia and other sanctioned regions like Iran and Venezuela.

Advanced control

Senior shipping industry officials have expressed concern about the risks posed by inexperienced ship owners and operators, who are often subject to less stringent safety rules and registered in a more relaxed regulatory environment. Insufficient documentation as well as inadequate security checks at the ports of origin have raised concerns among China’s maritime authorities, people familiar with the inspection said. Calls to the media office of the Shandong Maritime Bureau went unanswered.

If China insisted that ships arriving in its ports have industry-standard insurance coverage, Russian cargoes would have to be bought at $60 a barrel or less to meet the Group of Seven’s price cap on the country’s crude oil shipments. Ships found to be in breach of security must reapply for their certificates before entering port areas. It remains unclear how long this will last and how many other older ships will be affected.

The titanium flies the flag of Cameroon and does not have such insurance coverage from the International Group of P&I Clubs. ocean peri flies the flag of Palau and also does not have industry-standard insurance.

China is resuming stricter maritime security controls after scrapping the Covid-Zero policy, people familiar with the controls added.

–With support from Sherry Su and Alaric Nightingale.

© 2023 Bloomberg LP

Related Articles

Back to top button