Riverlake Timecharter Calculation Now Online

A new and free TIMECHARTER EQUIVALENT CALCULATION TOOL is now available ONLINE. Worldscale and bunker prices are given by default with daily on going values for each individual route provided by Riverlake Shipping and SIB (SWISS INTERNATIONAL BUNKERS).  

TCE calculation is based on a round voyage with standard specification for vessels and usual conditions of chartering. 

To access the timecharter calculation tool, please click on the link below:

New 2009 Flat Rates Impact ReTI

Please note that today we have seen a new low in the ReTI value, at 646.81.  This is mainly due to the new 2009 flat rates that brought down the ReTI value by over 100 points at the turn of the new year, and also due to the downturn in market rates in recent days and weeks.  We are still seeing deals which are being fixed using 2008 flat rates, but for consistency we decided to implement 2009 flat rates as of 1st January. For information, please see the following increases:
AG/F.East 270k - 39% increase
WAF/US Gulf 130k - 37% increase
X MED 130k - 29% increase
X UK Contintent 80k - 18% increase    
As a general rule, we have noticed an increase of approximately 40% on longer voyages, 30% on medium voyages, and 20% on shorter voyages, as is highlighted by the figures above.

Sharp rise in Somali pirate attacks

November 21, 2008

With 30 per cent of Swiss-bound goods passing through the
Gulf of Aden, the sharp rise in Somali pirate attacks is "alarming", warn the federal authorities.


The Swiss merchant navy is at risk, according to the Federal National Economic Supply Office. Swiss-based ship owners and shipping companies are also worried by the surge in Somali piracy.

According to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), there were 264 piracy attacks around the world in 2007. By September this year there had been 199. But in the Gulf of Aden and off war-torn and lawless Somalia and its breakaway region of Puntland, the number of attacks doubled to 60 in 2007 and has soared to 92 so far this year.

Eight vessels have been seized in the past two weeks alone, including a massive Saudi supertanker loaded with $100 million (SFr122 million) worth of crude oil. Several hundred crew are now in the hands of Somali pirates.

Landlocked Switzerland has one of the most modern merchant navies in the world: 33 privately operated tankers, container ships and bulk cargo carriers fly under the Swiss flag in international waters. They are operated by six Swiss shipping companies and can transport up to 900,000 tonnes.

"Like others, Swiss ships often travel through the Gulf of Aden or along the Somali coasts, so they too are at risk," Michael Eichmann, director of the Federal National Economic Supply Office, told swissinfo.

His office is responsible for overseeing the supply of goods to Switzerland and can decide what use the Swiss merchant navy can be put to, if necessary.

With some 30 per cent of Swiss trade passing via this region, the rise in attacks is alarming, Eichmann admitted.


Strong measures


Michael Deslarzes, chief executive officer of Massoel Meridian shipping company in Geneva, echoed this concern.

"It is certain that the threat around the Horn of Africa and along the coast of Somalia has increased and stronger precautionary measures have to be implemented," he said.

"Of course, compliance with war risk underwriters' recommendations, increasing security levels onboard and ensuring that each ship is provided and trained with the use of emergency procedures is a must."

But ship owners and crew can only take limited additional measures when faced with determined pirates with speedboats and grappling hooks.

"We don't want to arm our ship crew. It's very difficult. They are not soldiers or policemen who have experience with weapons. It's also difficult to equip a ship with weapons for customs reasons," Eichmann told Swiss radio. "For the moment we are discussing whether our ships should travel in convoy accompanied by military forces."


Growing flotilla


Naval forces are growing all the time in the region following the spate of attacks. There is already a small flotilla of warships in the region from countries including the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Turkey, Germany, Russia and India.

The military approach has had a certain degree of success. The warships have established a safe shipping lane and escort food aid ships into Somalia. The Royal Navy recently shot and killed two pirates and captured others. The French staged a daring capture of pirates who had taken over a yacht. India's navy said one of its warships had destroyed a pirate "mothership" in the Gulf of Aden in a brief battle on Tuesday. The European Union is about to launch its first naval action.

But some experts say international law, the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention, today places limitations on daring military action.

On Thursday, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution on freezing assets and placing a travel ban on people supporting piracy.

But for private ship owners like Peter Zurcher, managing director of Nyon-based ABC Maritime AG, a military convoy is the only option.

"The ideal solution would be a government in Somalia but we've been waiting for that since 1991 so I don't expect that to happen very soon. The only solution I see is the EU proposal to have a fleet of survey or navy ships, but it also needs helicopters and planes as the area is becoming much bigger," he said.

The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Thursday to impose sanctions on pirates, arms smugglers, and perpetrators of instability in Somalia in a fresh attempt to help end lawlessness in the Horn of Africa nation.


Close to 12 per cent of global tanker voyages moving crude oil and petroleum products traverse the Gulf of Aden to and from the Suez Canal.

Norway's Frontline, one of the world's biggest oil tanker owners, said on Wednesday it was "definitely considering" instructing its fleet to avoid the Gulf of Aden and the Suez Canal because of piracy.

Europe's biggest ship owner, Maersk, also said it was on the brink of rerouting ships via the Cape of Good Hope.

The implications could be dramatic, both in terms of the resultant additional tonne-miles and increased transit times.

"All this is starting to have an impact on the market even if it's not that visible," said Gilles Rolland, who manages crude oil shipments for Riverlake Shipping in Geneva.

For Deslarzes the only way to get rid of the piracy problem along the Somalia coast is via concerted and organised international measures, which regrettably would probably have to include military action.

"Regular and increasing navy patrols in the area do have a positive impact in terms of prevention, but are certainly not sufficient to tackle the problem," he said.

"It's a highly political question," Eichmann said. "We all agree that something must be done, but it's not clear what exactly."

swissinfo, Simon Bradley in Geneva

Brokers braced for West Africa suezmax rates to ‘freefall’

Jamie Dale - Lloyd's List - Monday 17 November 2008

SUEZMAX rates in West Africa may go into “freefall” this week, a London broker warned, as the list of available tonnage comfortably outweighed the number of cargoes, writes Jamie Dale.

ICAP Shipping said in its daily report that freight rates for suezmaxes carrying crude from West Africa to the US Gulf would likely drop further this week.

The report said that quoted cargo to the US Gulf was attracting many offers. This would help charterers to push rates down as owners fight to find work.

On Friday rates had fallen to around W120, or $42,896 per day, down from W160 at the start of the week, according to an analyst at shipbroker Riverlake.

The Geneva-based analyst said that the average weekly rate for a voyage from West Africa to the US Gulf fell by 16% week-on-week to W144, or $55,060 per day.

RS Platou reported five suezmax fixtures on Friday for both single and double-hulled vessels. Vitol was the most active in this market, snapping up three of the five vessels, all for US Gulf discharges. Vitol had even fixed an unnamed Gemini tanker for a December 2 loading to carry crude from West Africa to the US Gulf at W130, W7.5 points less than its two November 11 loadings.

West African rates have now fallen W65 points since the start of the month due to a slowdown in US oil demand and production cuts in West Africa.

West African crude oil transported in suezmax tankers to the US fell by 10.2% in October, compared to the same period last year, according to preliminary data from Lloyd’s Marine Intelligence Unit and Apex.

Nigerian National Petroleum said it would reduce November and December shipments by 5%, in line with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ 1.5m bpd production cut. It said it would cancel an additional five cargoes this month and 7.6 shipments next month.

The oil major Shell also said it would halt Nigerian crude shipments in November and December.

While crude oil prices continue to fall, Opec is expected to make further production cuts at its next meeting this month in order to control the price. Analysts have warned that the fourth quarter spike in tanker demand will be dampened and that rates would not meet owners’ expectations in 2009.

Activity was quiet in the Mediterranean and Black Sea. The Riverlake analyst said that rates continued to fall, with owners fixing at around W140, or $63,110 per day.

The weekly average rate fell by 15% week-on-week to W153.5, or $72,513 per day, the analyst said.

In the Middle East Gulf, Indian Oil Corp fixed the double-sided, 152,412 dwt, 1988-built Southway to carry 130,000 tonnes of crude to the east coast of India at W95 for loading November 29.

Elsewhere, there was a small level of activity in the North Sea with Koch fixing the double-hulled 159,100 dwt, 2004-built Kaveri Spirit to carry 135,000 tonnes of crude to the US Gulf at W117.5 for loading November 11.

«Sirius Star», l'attaque pirate de trop?

Dans son rapport d'octobre 2008, l'International Maritime Bureau (IMB) se demandait si la piraterie au large de la Somalie «avait échappé à tout contrôle» et conseillait de naviguer «idéalement à plus de 250milles marins (463 km) de la côte».

C'était encore trop optimiste. L'abordage réussi lundi du Sirius Star, un superpétrolier flambant neuf affrété par Vela International, filiale du géant saoudien Aramco, établit un double record mondial. D'abord, c'est le plus gros bateau jamais saisi par des pirates: 330mètres de long, 318000 tonnes. Il vaut 140 millions de dollars, à quoi s'ajoutent les 2 millions de barils de sa cargaison, soit près de 100 millions de dollars. Ensuite, l'endroit de l'attaque, 450milles nautiques (830 km) au large du Kenya, est «sans précédent», selon la US Navy.

Mardi soir, le pétrolier et ses 25hommes d'équipage (deux Britanniques, deux Polonais, un Croate, un Saoudien et 19 Philippins), étaient toujours retenus en otage au large du port somalien de Haradhere. L'OTAN et la VeFlotte américaine, qui patrouillent dans la région, affirmaient n'avoir aucun plan pour tenter une interception. Celle-ci serait d'ailleurs délicate pour des raisons de sécurité (lire ci-contre).

92 attaques

Du coup, on se souvient que 14bateaux, dont l'ukrainien MV Faina, qui transporte 33 tanks et autre matériel militaire, sont actuellement retenus captifs au large de la Somalie. Le centre d'alerte piraterie de l'IMB a recensé 92 attaques dans la région depuis le début de l'année, avec une très forte progression au troisième trimestre. Hier encore, des pirates ont pris le contrôle d'un cargo hongkongais au large du Yémen.

Les pirates ont leur capitale, le port d'Eyl où les chefs de gangs se pavanent en costumes voyants, dans des Land Cruiser de luxe, exhibant leurs ordinateurs portables. Les rançons qu'ils perçoivent varient entre 300000 et 1,5 million de dollars. Pour le MV Faina, leurs exigences sont passées à 20millions, et le Sirius Star battra ce record. En mer, ils opèrent par équipes de sept à dix avec des bateaux rapides, des mitraillettes K-47, des grenades et grappins à propulseurs. Une fois la proie prise, un «bateau-mère» peut y amener jusqu'à 40 complices.

A Eyl, l'organisation est tout aussi efficace, selon la BBC. Des témoins y ont vu des restaurants spécialement équipés pour accueillir les otages. La plupart des pirates appartiennent au clan Majarteen, proche du président du gouvernement fédéral de transition, Abdullahi Yusuf.


Pour la communauté internationale, l'abordage du Sirius Star est humiliant au moment où deux flottes de l'OTAN et de l'Union européenne sont supposées protéger cette zone vitale, puisque 30% du pétrole mondial y circule.

«La médiatisation de cette affaire va au moins augmenter la pression sur les autorités politiques pour qu'elles saisissent l'ampleur du problème, dit Marc Lecoanet, directeur de Riverlake Shipping à Genève. Jusqu'à présent, il y a eu passablement d'inertie. L'autre conséquence est que les assurances monteront les primes et durciront leurs conditions.»

Frontline, la plus grande compagnie mondiale de superpétroliers, envisage de dérouter ses bateaux pour parer au risque d'attaques de pirates, a déclaré son directeur Jens Martin Jensen à Bloomberg.

Vu l'énormité de la zone à surveiller, une solution serait d'y créer un couloir de transit où les navires se regrouperaient et y seraient accompagnés d'une escorte militaire, suggère Marc Lecoanet.

La poursuite des pirates eux-mêmes est freinée à la fois par le droit international et par l'état permanent de guerre civile en Somalie, divisée en trois régions dont aucune ne bénéficie d'un contrôle étatique digne de ce nom.

Au niveau mondial, les actes de piraterie, qui avaient diminué au premier semestre (sauf autour de l'Afrique), ont fortement augmenté au troisième trimestre. L'IMB y a recensé 83 incidents, contre 116 les six mois précédents. La région golfe d'Aden-côte somalienne en représente bien plus de la moitié.

Desperate owners send West African rates tumbling

Jamie Dale - Lloyds List - Monday 20 October 2008

WEST African suezmax rates lost nearly W40 points last week as charterers took advantage of some over-eager owners who were desperate to find employment, writes Jamie Dale.

The market was expected to hold steady around the week’s opening levels of W150 for US Gulf discharge options.
An analyst at shipbroker Riverlake told Lloyd’s List that the West African market went into “freefall”. The analyst added that one cargo had even received nine offers.

On Friday the rate to fix a 1m barrel tanker from West Africa to the US Gulf was W117.5, or $31,564 per day, according to the Geneva-based analyst.

Another source said owners’ levels had even fallen to W115 for a West Africa to UK Continent and Mediterranean voyage.
Very large crude carrier rates followed the trend set by the suezmaxes. However, the rate differential remained favourable for charterers to fix big lots, the Riverlake analyst said. “With the drop of bunker prices those levels remain quite decent to owners, at over $40,000 per day.”

ICAP Shipping said in its daily report on Thursday that rates had started to pick up as owners became busier and were even able to pick cargoes.

Fellow London broker Gibson said that rates regained a few Worldscale points on Friday into the W120s.
In the Mediterranean, suezmax owners suffered from a continued outage of crude oil shipments from BP’s Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. Gibson said that “indifferent Black Sea interest” had also helped to keep rates lower.

“The suezmaxes are missing the Ceyhan barrels and rates were down to W135 from the Black Sea,” said the Riverlake analyst. “Slightly more delays in the Bosporus of 48 hours helped prevent the market going lower.”

Shipments from the BTC pipeline will rise to 55% of capacity in the month ahead after production resumed from one of two platforms shut by a gas leak last month, Bloomberg reported.

Shipments from October 18 to November 21 will average 548,571 barrels per day, according to a revised loading programme. The pipeline has capacity to pump 1m bpd. In the first seven months of the year, shipments were scheduled to average about 758,000 bpd.

Gibson’s weekly report said the Mediterranean and Black Sea prospects looked to be improving as interest developed.
Any return in capacity at the BTC pipeline will offer owners some support.
In the North Sea, activity remained quiet all week with the majority of crude barrels being moved on smaller aframax tankers. Rates moved lower in line with the West African market with owners fixing at W110 for a voyage to the US Gulf.

Suezmaxes in the Middle East Gulf struggled to maintain their previously solid stance, according to Gibson, adding that apart from one or two case-sensitive cargoes, rates declined to W135 to the east for double-hulls. For single-hulled tankers rates to the east were fixing at W115, while voyages to the west were around W120.

CITAC Report October 2008

The latest CITAC Report is now available for download.

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