zoom The National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (Bahri) has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) to purchase a very large crude carrier (VLCC), the Hanjin Ras Tanura, for USD 75 million.The ship, built in 2011 at Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea, will be delivered to Bahri in March 2016.The company said that the financial implication of the purchased vessel is expected during the 2nd quarter of 2016.In October 2015, Bahri was reported to be negotiating raising of around 2.8 billion riyals (USD 747 million) with local banks via a long-term loan to be used towards vessel financing.The funding was allegedly intended for financing purchase of VLCCs from South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries.Bahri was very active in fleet build-up over the past few months, the latest move being buying of five second-hand Medium Range tankers for a total purchase price of USD 166.5 million.The vessels were built in 2014 at Hyundai Mipo Dockyard in South Korea for Scorpio Tankers Inc.The five ships will be delivered to NCC between 1st February and 30th June 2016.At the end of 2015, Bahri’s fleet consisted of seventy five vessels; from which 33 were VLCCs and 26 are chemical tankers.
Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland told reporters that Haiti needs almost $32 million and Grenada requires $27 million, just to cover the next six months. So far only $5 million has been received for each country.In Haiti, more than 1,500 people have been killed and at least 900 others are missing after Tropical Storm Jeanne brought floods and mudslides to the north of the country two weeks ago, according to the national authorities. In Grenada, government estimates say dozens are dead and 90 per cent of homes were damaged or destroyed when Hurricane Ivan struck on 7 September.An unusually high number of hurricanes have lashed the Caribbean this season, bringing casualties and causing damage from the United States to Trinidad and Tobago.Mr. Egeland said the impact on Haiti and Grenada, however, was so much worse that “many of the other hurricane-affected societies of the Caribbean have begged us to concentrate on Grenada and Haiti, saying that they will try to cope on their own.”UN agencies say more than $12 million of the Haiti appeal has been designated for food and health care, while establishing and maintaining clean water and sanitation services is expected to cost almost $5 million. Funds will also be spent on education, agriculture and on trying to kick-start the country’s fragile economy.In Grenada, the focus is more on helping to rebuild the thousands of shattered homes and buildings; almost $9 million is needed for shelter there, according to UN agencies.Mr. Egeland said it was also important to look beyond the short-term humanitarian needs and consider what should be done to ameliorate the impact of future natural disasters in the Caribbean. He called for better early-warning systems and said countries should be more prepared to respond once a disaster strikes. Mr. Egeland noted that Cuba, for example, suffered relatively little damage from Hurricane Ivan when it struck last month, even though it was a more severe storm than the one that lashed Haiti.He described the situation in northern Haiti as a “social and environmental catastrophe: there are no trees left that can hold [the] water and mudslides back that caused the catastrophe.”The UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (known by its French acronym of MINUSTAH), which is trying to expedite the number of deployed troops so that it can help with relief efforts, now has 3,089 peacekeepers on the ground.In Gonaïves, the worst-affected city, contingents of troops from Argentina and Uruguay are providing medical assistance and escorting convoys of trucks carrying food and water, MINUSTAH reported.Meanwhile, in Grenada a survey by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) has shown that half of the nation’s estimated 110,000 citizens are homeless and in need of basic supplies.The survey also indicates the devastation caused to Grenada’s tourism industry, its biggest foreign exchange earner, ahead of the normally profitable winter holiday season.