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The Swedish Club Letter 1–2003

PHOTO: THE SWEDISH CLUB

Cargo damage due to vessels encountering heavy weather is not unusual.

ILLUSTRATION: SMHI

The illustration shows the expected weather and sea conditions on two different route alternatives for a North Atlantic crossing (SMHI Weather Routing System).

FOOTNOTES

1

The significant wave height is the average height of the highest third of the waves measured.

2

Today SMHI Weather Routing service across the North Atlantic costs about two hours of bunker consumption for a vessel of normal size , whereas a North Pacific crossing would equal about three hours of bunker consumption.

dynamic stability, structural loads, etc. Performance calculations based on an ad- vanced numerical ship model programme, used for Post Voyage Analysis, can be done. This includes all relevant data in the form of winds, waves, swell and currents on the sailed route as well as advanced perform- ance speed calculations. SMHI also has an Internet service, where the master and/or the office ashore can follow the vessel’s actual position, including actual and forecasted weather/sea conditions plus the

latest calculated ETA.

Safer sea passages Heavy weather damage does not only cost money for the insurer and the owner. It will in many cases delay the vessel due to hull and cargo surveys and repairs that inevitably follow, and possibly the cumbersome task of unloading damaged cargo. From a commercial perspective it is

also unfortunate, as any delay, and dam- age is bad for the way in which a shipping company is perceived in the eyes of its charterers/shippers/consignees etc. To put it simply, it is not good PR. More and more shipowners have realised the advantages of using weather routing as an instrument for ensuring smoother and safer sea pas- sages. Hopefully this is a development from which many involved in the shipping industry can benefit.

Safer Seas / News from Tokyo

News

Dire Straits

from

for the Japanese

Tokyo

economy

  •  

    Even though the cold winter season has

passed, Japan’s economy is still in the middle of freezing winter. There is no sign that spring will come soon. The unemployment rate for 2002 reached its highest point at 5.4 per cent. The av- erage consumer price index for 2002 fell to 98.4, down 0.9 points from the previous year, making 2002 the fourth consecutive year of decline. On the political arena, North Korea has created a lot of problems for Japan recently. The tough eco- nomic climate makes it hard for most Japanese companies to survive at this time, but the big three automobile companies are doing exception- ally well. They all had record results in 2002.

All car carrier departments of the big ship- ping companies made a profit and the Japanese car carrier fleet has been expanded in the last few years. Many new car carriers have also been or- dered and will be delivered in 2003/2004. Most other shipping segments are not so as profitable or are losing money. On the other hand, the small local shipowners have had a lot of opportu- nities to expand their fleets since interest rates are still very low and as the local banks still regard Japanese shipowners as very good borrowers.

The restructuring of insurance companies has slowed down for now with the merger be- tween Tokio Marine and Fire Insurance Co. Ltd. and Nisshin Fire and Marine Insurance Co. Ltd. and the agreement also to merge with Nichido Marine & Fire targeted to October 1st 2004. The Japanese insurance market was still soft during the first quarter of 2003. Japanese hull under- writers continue to offer very low premiums, particularly for newbuildings. It is hard to un- derstand why non-Japanese reinsurers are willing to support the Japanese hull underwriters at such low levels. It will be hard for them to survive at those levels.

We are looking forward to seeing what is beyond April 1st 2003, the renewal date for the reinsurance contracts on Hull & Machinery.

Ryuzou Imai

GENERAL MANAGER The Swedish Club Japan

17

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