⏰ Masterclass

From AI to Action: Advanced Workflows for Smarter Risk Management.

00 Days 00 Hours 00 Min 00 Sec
Discover more

Houthis, Hiding, and Houston: Maritime Global Trade Roundup

Global Weekly

What’s inside?

    Four more Houthi attacks…it’s no surprise that June 2024 shows a 47% decrease in the number of tankers that arrived in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden regions on a monthly basis. 

    This week’s Maritime Global Trade Roundup digs into the attacks and their impact on oil trade via the Red Sea. We also show that what looks like a surge of ship-to-ship (STS) meetings in the Sea of Azov (a 2,730% increase!) is actually attributable to a certain country trying to hide something something else that is NOT sanctions-related.   

    The main destination for Russian LNG in the first half of 2024 is revealed and we look at pollution near the port in Houston. Enjoy the insights! 

    Red Sea Attacks and Their Impact on Oil Trade via the Red Sea

    • The Houthis carried out attacks on four merchant vessels: the Delonix (IMO: 9298387), a Liberian-flagged 164-meter chemicals tanker; the Ioannis (IMO: 9760158), a Maltese-flagged, 200-meter bulk carrier; the Johannes MAERSK (IMO: 9215189), a Danish-flagged, 216-meter container vessel; and the Waler (IMO: 9393668), a Panamanian-flagged, 101-meter oil/chemical tanker.
    • The vessels’ AIS transmissions show that the Houthis attacked the Delonix and the Ioannis while they were sailing in the Red Sea, but both the Johannes MAERSK and Waler were attacked while sailing in the Mediterranean Sea. These latter attacks were the furthest yet from Yemen.
    Map
    Johannes MAERSK’s sailing path in the Mediterranean between June 16-30, 2024.
    Map
    Waler’s sailing path in the Mediterranean between June 16-30, 2024.
    • Windward’s Maritime AI™ platform shows that compared to the beginning of November 2023, when attacks against merchant vessels began, June 2024 shows a 47% decrease in the number of tankers that arrived in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden regions on a monthly basis. When examining each of the subclasses of the tankers, data shows that the tankers that were most significantly impacted were LPG tankers (81% decrease), chemicals tankers (48% decrease) oil product tankers (47% decrease), and crude oil tankers (37% decrease).
    • There has been a consistent increase in the number of Houthi attacks against vessels in the Red Sea, as seen since the beginning of the second quarter of 2024. More recently, they also escalated their attacks against vessels in the Arabian Sea and the Mediterranean. 
    • This increase in attacks majorly impacted the supply chain and even led the UN Security Council to approve a resolution demanding the Houthis cease their attacks. Windward’s Maritime AI™ platform can show the impact of the attacks on the supply chain, port congestion, and potential deceptive shipping practices (DSPs), and help you better anticipate future events and understand how geopolitical events influence the maritime domain and supply chain. 

    Increase in STS Meetings in Russia and Ukraine – Jamming in the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea

    • Russia has been disrupting satellite navigation systems in recent months, affecting civilian flights and also vessels’ AIS transmissions. Sources suggest that these disruptions happen both in the Black Sea and Baltic Sea.
    • Windward’s Early Detection model shows that there has been a surge of ship-to-ship (STS) meetings conducted in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) border of Russia and Ukraine in the Black Sea by all vessels during the past week. 
    • Data shows that the STS meetings in Ukraine’s EEZ increased between the weeks of June 16-22 and June 23-29 by 2,730%! In Russia’s EEZ, STS meetings increased in the same period of time by 45%.
    Graph 1
    STS meetings by all vessels in the Ukrainian EEZ, May 2020-June 2024
    Graph 2
    STS meetings by all vessels in the Russian EEZ, May 2020-June 2024
    • Windward’s Maritime AI™ platform shows that all of the meetings in Ukraine and in Russia’s EEZ in the Black Sea were located at the same location: 45°49’17″N, 36°41’19″E. In addition, a second hub for STS meetings was located in Russia’s EEZ near the port of Saint Petersburg: 59°56’38″N, 29°58’57″E. Further examination by satellite imagery of several vessels that were transmitting in the area shows that the vessels were not located in the same place and in fact did not conduct any meetings. It is possible that the spike seen from June 23-30 was caused by the GPS disruptions in the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea.
    • While raw data can suggest an increase in meetings that can imply a potential sanction breach, Windward’s new Early Detection model for detecting anomalies – along with Windward’s data, Planet Labs’ satellite imagery, and our maritime expertise – helps clarify vessel behaviors, their context, and clear false positives. 

    Decrease in LNG Port Calls in Russia

    • Sources reported that in the first half of 2024, Russian liquified natural gas (LNG) exports increased by 2.7%, reaching 16.79 million metric tons. In June 2024, Russian LNG exports fell by 3.7% year-to-year to 2.3 million tons, of which 1.44 were sent to Europe, 680,000 to Asia and 220,000 to unspecified destinations. 
    • In addition, sources noted that within the EU, France was the main destination for Russian LNG in the first half of 2024, receiving 3.2 million tons, an 86.8% increase from the same period last year. Windward’s Maritime AI™ platform comparison between the first half of 2023 and the first half of 2024 shows a 75% increase in  port calls conducted by LNG tankers in France after coming from Russia. The increase in port calls closely resembles the increase in Russian LNG trade with France.

    Port calls in France by LNG tankers arriving from Russia in the first half of the year, 2021-2024.

    • However, sources also reported that due to potential maintenance at the Sakhalin 2 facility, future export volumes are expected to decline. It should also be noted that based on the 14th sanctions package, Russian LNG re-exports from the EU will be limited. It is not yet clear how the package will affect LNG trade with the EU.
    • Windward’s Early Detection model shows that between the weeks of June 16-22 and June 23-29, there has been a 50% decrease in port calls conducted by LNG tankers in Russia, which is an all-time low since the beginning of August 2023.
    Graph 3
    Port calls in Russia by LNG tankers, May 2020-June 2024 by week.

    Pollution’s Impact on the Supply Chain – Case Study from the Port of Houston

    • In recent weeks, residents of East Houston started rallying against possible pollution caused by the expansion project of the Port of Houston. Cancer-causing chemicals were found in sediment and dirt dredged from the Houston Ship Channel.
    • Data collected by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and reviewed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found 11 chemicals and showed arsenic levels 45 times higher than what’s considered safe by the EPA.
    • While no immediate actions seem to have been taken place by the port authority, Windward’s Early Detection model shows that during the week of June 16-23, 2024, there was a 128% increase in the number of drifting activities conducted by chemical tankers in the U.S.’ EEZ. Further examination shows that more than 90% of the drifting activities were carried out in the vicinity of the Port of Houston. It is possible that this increase was related to the pollution detection found in Houston lately.
    Graph 4
    Drifting conducted in the U.S. by chemical tankers

    Everything you need to know about Maritime AI™ direct to your inbox

    subscribe background image

    Trending

    1. 2 Years That Upended Global Trade: Russia Report  Mar 7, 2024
    2. 2024 Maritime Trends: The Year of Survival & Success  Jan 24, 2024
    3. 6 must-ask questions for evaluating maritime risk providers Feb 3, 2022