Petros Pappas, chief executive of Star Bulk Carriers Corp. Photo: Marine Money/Theodoros Anagnostopoulos

We start the week with a mammoth merger-and-acquisition deal in the dry bulk sector. Greece’s Star Bulk Carriers acquired Connecticut’s Eagle Bulk Shipping in an all-stock merger of two New York-listed shipowners. Star chief executive Petros Pappas is to lead the combined company, which is to boast a fleet of 169 bulkers and a market capitalisation of around $2.1bn is the capstone — for now — on nearly a decade of consolidation moves and its largest acquisition since 2014.


Yemen’s Houthi militia has been true to its word in promising to attack shipping in the Red and Arabian seas this week. The Iran-backed group has been averaging one attack a day, firing missiles and launching unmanned aerial vehicles at vessels it suspects of having links to Israel. One consequence, as reported by Adam Corbett, is the explosion of war risk insurance rates.

Andreas Sohmen-Pao’s BW Group has launched its takeover offer for Oslo-listed subsidiary BW Energy. The takeover bid runs to 12 January and values the oil production and exploration company at NOK 6.7bn ($637m). The deal raises the prospect of yet another BW company being delisted in Oslo, although there was again no mention of this in the Oslo exchange filing.

The Poseidon Principles group of banks has improved its emissions-reduction scores in 2023, but uncertainty remains over net zero targets and reporting methodology. The lenders, which are committed to measuring and reporting the carbon intensity of their loan portfolios, now number 34.

One-fifth of the usual vessel transits at the Panama Canal have been lost over the past month due to passage restrictions, Clarksons Research has revealed. At the end of October, amid a serious drought, the Panama Canal Authority said daily transits would be cut gradually to 18 per day by 1 February, half of the normal level.

The European Commission has reportedly dropped a proposal to ban the sale of tankers to Russian owners. The measure was proposed in November to help stop the Russian government from bypassing Western sanctions on the country’s oil through the so-called “shadow fleet” of Russian-controlled crude and product vessels.


A ship in the Suez Canal facing a sandstorm. Photo: Captain George Tsiriotis

As Houthi attacks on vessels in the Red Sea escalate, some in shipping are starting to ponder the almost unthinkable: What if the Suez Canal is closed? Fearnley Securities said it is starting to field questions over the likely impact on shipping sectors if cargoes have to be diverted. Some owners are already avoiding the region. The investment bank believes if this should become very widespread, “it is a bullish event for all segments, as disruptions usually are”.


Oyvind Amundsen is the CEO of Oslo Bors. Photo: Oslo Bors

There is a pipeline of companies ready to replace the recent departures from the Oslo Stock Exchange when the market and the time are right. Chief executive Oyvind Amundsen said uncertainties from inflation to interest rates to wars in Ukraine and the Middle East have been the main hurdles for fresh IPOs in what is historically among the most important sources of capital for the shipping industry. “What we see is that there are companies, especially in the shipping and offshore sector, that are interested and ready to get started with the IPO process when the market and the timing are correct,” he said. Read the full story


The audience cheers as the COP28 deal is reached. Photo: Creative Commons/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 DEED

Compared with the bitter battle over the future of fossil fuels that dominated the COP28 climate change summit in Dubai, the shipping industry itself appeared as a model of unanimity and steadfast purpose. “Give us the fuels and we can get the job done,” maritime leaders told fuel producers, ports and politicians. Here’s Paul Peachey’s take on the aftermath of the event.


An explosive device went off in central Piraeus overnight Wednesday, demolishing the ground floor and smashing windows up to the second floor in an office building that houses several shipping companies. Nobody was hurt, as the explosion took place outside office hours, but damage was caused to the facade of the building, which houses NorthStandard.