It has become fashionable in some quarters to champion the Houthis’ military campaign against “Western” shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden as a legitimate act of solidarity with the people suffering in Gaza. The tragic events of this week where three innocent seafarers were killed and others seriously wounded in a Houthi attack on a Barbados-flagged bulker should dispel such a sentiment.

Unlike the Rubymar, which sank a few days earlier after it was attacked, the True Confidence is still afloat with a potential salvage operation in the works. The ship had war risk cover through the London market.


IWD24 | Women in shipping remain underpaid and under-represented, according to new survey data, with the gender pay gap in UK companies three times as wide as the national average. According to data compiled by HR specialist Spinnaker, there has also been little improvement in the number of women in top jobs in recent years despite companies often talking of their desire to change.

Staff swoop | Four of Norden’s panamax chartering staff in Singapore and Copenhagen have resigned and are leaving to join capesize owner Classic Maritime. The new hires represent the first foray into the panamax segment by Classic, which is controlled by Greek shipowner George Economou.

Fractal shuffles | The Dubai unit of Russian oil specialist Fractal Shipping has shifted nearly half of its fleet to new commercial management within a week of the company being hit by UK sanctions, databases show. Eleven of the 24 ships on the books of Fractal Marine DMCC have gone to new managers in the United Arab Emirates and Turkey since it was blacklisted.

Jobs axed | Maersk Tankers has let go of 14 management staff globally including the commercial heads of its Singapore-based pool operations in a move characterised as a tightening up of an excessive corporate organisation it inherited from the Maersk Group in 2017.

Genco rebuff | New York-listed Genco Shipping & Trading on Tuesday rejected Greek shipping magnate George Economou’s two nominees to the company’s board of directors and appointed its own candidate. The Manhattan-based dry bulk outfit has tapped Rio Tinto veteran Paramita Das to become Genco’s seventh director.

Hafnia buybacks | BW Group’s Hafnia has put its excess cash to use through a series of vessel buybacks to lower financial costs. The Oslo-listed giant revealed it has repurchased five product tankers from leases this year.

Torm’s target | Tanker giant Torm is gearing up for even bigger profit this year with a larger fleet, after logging a new record for 2023. The US and Copenhagen-listed product tanker owner said it acquired 22 modern ships last year, while shipping out 11 older models.


Ukraine’s grain corridor has attracted more ship traffic in its first seven months than the United Nations-protected Black Sea Grain Initiative managed to in the full year it operated before Russia pulled the plug. According to UN and TradeWinds data as of 5 March, 991 outbound ship trips carrying 28.9m tonnes of cargo — mostly foodstuffs — left the three big Ukrainian ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk and Yuzhnyy/Pivdennyi.


Joe Brady’s Streetwise column reviews the recent developments in Greek tycoon George Economou’s activist investing. “He seems to be everywhere,” marvelled one public company executive this week, while another remarked, “I think George has been taking energy pills.” He is ordering tankers, he is ordering gas ships, he is ordering bulkers. He has even hired away the chartering staff of a major operator in the dry bulk sector. But it’s what Economou is doing as an activist investor in the past year that has brought him front and centre as a focus for Streetwise — and perhaps for some nervous public-owner management teams who have come into the Greek’s crosshairs in recent months.


Something’s changed in shipping, comments TradeWinds’ Editor-in-chief Julian Bray. And for once it’s not another crisis. Rather, it’s a conundrum: what to do with all the money that’s being made? Across the industry, from shipowners to shipbrokers, the widespread, albeit inconsistent, uplift in rates is bringing windfall earnings.