Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Vale Beijing - who owns the problem?

'Vale Beijing is reported to have been succesfully shifted off the Ponta de Madeira ore berth to anchorage. The link to the Reuter story (below) has a photo gallery of the ship on the berth and judging by her deep laden condition there is a lot more than the 200,000 tonne of iron ore reported yesterday.

Vale Beijing at Ponta de Madeira Terminal: Reuters

'Vale Beijing' under tow to anchorage at Ponta de Madeira: Reuters

Highlights of the story are that the vessel could not use her engines during the move for fear of worstening the structural damage, and that divers are examining the underater hull indicating that the cracking may not be confined to the ballast tanks and cargo holds.

The theme of this posting is who owns the problem. 'Vale Beijing' is owned and operated by Korean shipping line STX Pan Ocean, and at this point they will be bearing the financial pain of the ship being off-hire and the cost of repairs. These in turn may be recoverable from the ship's Builders, STX Offshore, through the 12 month 'new ship' warranty and her insurers.

Vale is suffering major damage to its brand and reputation due to the decision to put their name on the fleet of ValeMax ore carriers. Having your brand on such a visible asset is normally a marketers dream - until something goes wrong. The grounding of the 'Exxon Valdez' was the reason Exxon divested itself from ship owning, even though it remains the world's largest oil shipper.

The Antipodean Mariner predicts that this incident, along with the wrestle for control of the iron ore supply chain, will cause Vale to quietly debrand these assets. Four of the 'smaller' 388,000 DWT ore carriers built by Berge Bulk and chartered to Vale do not carry the Vale name, and this may prove to be the way forward.

The Antipodean Mariner

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