The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in the US released a preliminary report yesterday into the Dali  containership’s fatal allision with Baltimore’s largest bridge. The first power outage occurred after a crewmember mistakenly closed an exhaust damper while conducting maintenance, causing one of the ship’s diesel engines to stall, investigators said. Shortly after leaving Baltimore, the ship crashed into one of the bridge’s supporting columns because another power outage, clearly captured in video footage, caused it to lose steering and propulsion. The board said the fatal outage came about four minutes before the crash when electrical breakers unexpectedly tripped causing a loss of power to all shipboard lighting and most equipment when it was 1 km from the bridge. On Monday, a controlled demolition was held to safely remove a section of the bridge from the Dali. The port’s 15 m deep main channel is expected to reopen by the end of May. The scale of the ongoing wreckage removal – potentially the largest marine insurance claim in history.  


Two more boxships belonging to Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) were attacked by the Houthis yesterday with Splash estimates now suggesting the number of merchant ships targeted in the region since November last year is closing in on 100 ships. The MSC Gina and MSC Diego – both around 4,000 teu in size – were targeted, although there were no reports of damage. The MSC Gina was subjected to a similar attack by the Houthis on April 7. Meanwhile, the owners of the Galaxy Leader, a car carrier abducted with its crew more than 160 days ago, have urged the Houthis to free the crew. “Sadly, the crew seem now forgotten by the outside world and are serving no purpose whatsoever in furthering the Houthis cause, so once again the call is going out, asking the Houti leadership to be human, and release the 25 crew members being held for no good cause, so they can return to their loved ones,” a statement from the ship’s owner read. The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a pro-Israel American think tank, has been tallying all merchant ship attacks over the past seven months.  

Air Transportation


pot box rates are steeply in the ascendant, showing upticks this month akin to the start of Red Sea shipping crisis, or even the onset of the covid pandemic. Drewry’s weekly composite global index published yesterday increased 16% to $3,159 per feu and has increased by 81% when compared with the same week last year. Many analysts have pointed to growing port congestion at many key ports around the world helping to explain the rates rally in tandem with the ongoing Red Sea shipping crisis. In North Europe, Levine described tight capacity and rolled containers likely down to the start of restocking by European importers. For transpacific trade, Levine said signs of an increase in imports include reports of some rail congestion for arriving imports at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, while shippers are looking nervously on at a possible rail strike in Canada later this month, and there is also the spectre of labour issues at some American ports coming up. The solid upturn in spot fortunes is also being reflected in the charter market with broker Braemar noting: “The robust market activity persists, with nearly all vessel sizes continuing their upward  trajectory.”  


John Fredriksen’s SFL Corporation has bagged new contracts and extensions for its boxships from Maersk. The New York-listed company said Tuesday it had agreed five-year charters with the Danish liner for three 10,600 teu vessels until the middle of 2030, adding about $210m to its charter backlog. The ships that match the capacity Maersk has on charter from SFL are the 2015-built Cap San Juan, Cap San Vincent and Cap San Lazaro. In addition, SFL recently chartered the 1,700 teu feeder boxsip Green Ace to Maersk until the fourth quarter of 2024. Maersk has also exercised options to keep three SFL’s 8,700 to 9,500 teu vessels for one more year in a deal worth about $30m. SFL has a diversified fleet of 76 wholly or partly owned vessels and newbuilds under construction. The company’s container fleet stands at 34 ships, most of which are on long-term charter to major liners. 


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