Light at the End of the Tunnel for Ship Recycling
“As we have previously mentioned, ships have been delivered to yards in India provided they only contained Indian crew, however the interesting, and possibly positive news, is that following much pressure by local industry players, arrangements are being made to allow tonnage arriving with foreign nationals on board to be delivered to the yards. Such provision is on the basis that the crew be quarantined in local hotels until international flights recommence from Ahmedabad airport in the Gujarat state. An announcement is expected from the Indian authorities next week. In Bangladesh, the situation has eased slightly as vessels arriving with foreign crew onboard are allowed to be beached with a 14 day quarantine applicable from the last port of call prior to arrival at Chattogram (e.g. if reach Chattogram in 7 days from last port of call, then crew will be quarantined for another 7 days after arrival to complete the 14 day regulation). Immediately after disembarking, they will be tested and taken to local hotel where they shall remain until they international flights resume. If they are Indian nationals, then they are free to travel across the border to India by bus (35 hours journey). These are small steps but finally some progress is being made with these sensible provisions now in place to ensure the industry can operate to some scale during the Pandemic. Despite the above restrictions encountered, several cash buyers have been actively busy trying to develop some business with some sales being reported at improved numbers from where we were a couple of weeks ago. Evidencing this is the sale reported below to Pakistan, however there remains the issue concerning the crew arrangements on arrival to this destination as currently, no beaching is still allowed to take place. There has also been activity for other large units, in what is believed to be the largest Container vessel to be sold into sub-continent last week and various private containers that have been privately discussed out of the German market. Time will tell whether the lockdown and restricted procedures would have been eased on their arrival to the waterfront and, how what sentiment the actual recyclers adopt”, Clarkson Platou Hellas concluded.
Meanwhile, in a separate report, GMS, the world’s leading cash buyer of ships, said that “as the Ramadan period / Eid holidays come to an end and June approaches around the corner, we are gradually starting to have some clarity on the phased and gradual market re- openings as the virus infection rates start to ease across the globe, following extended periods of lockdown at a majority of the countries worldwide. This is not to say that the virus has disappeared from the subcontinent (far from it at present) and any easing of restrictions to allow ships and foreign crew in to resume recycling activities once again, is expected to be a slow and gradual process”, GMS said.
The cash buyer added that “indeed, cases continue to rise in Pakistan & Bangladesh while India recorded its highest one day jump at the end of the week, leaving many in the industry to question the wisdom of moving too soon (in terms of reopening) and risking a second spike. Notwithstanding, domestic economies cannot simply be placed on hold / lockdown indefinitely and a sensible approach to reopening is being implemented, with foreign crew on incoming ships being required to undergo a 14-day quarantine (including time at sea) and mandating medical checks upon arrival to prevent any further import of the disease. Presently, Bangladesh is the only subcontinent location that has started to permit new ships with foreign crew to beach and these crew will then have to stay in a hotel (not on board the vessel on the beach) until such time as international flights resume. India too is permitting foreign crew in, however, Owners are expected to appeal to Ahmedabad authorities to allow the same. So far, only one vessel has received such permission, with others expected to follow next week. Rounding off the subcontinent locations, Pakistan too is expected to allow foreign crew in from next week, in the next step towards easing restrictions. However, since this is new territory for most, things are not expected move quickly”, GMS concluded.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide