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Old 07-01-2010, 19:21   #1
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The Singapore 'Ghost Fleet'

I just read an article about ships that are laid near Singapore harbor because of the economy. But I was wondering, just how bad is bad? Has anyone recently seen the size of this fleet? Is the article exaggerating or is it spot on?

Revealed: The ghost fleet of the recession anchored just east of Singapore | Mail Online

The author tries to imply that this is being hidden but its hard to hide a fleet of ships in one of the worlds busiest harbors.

I looked up the location on Google Earth. From the sat photo, it does not look like a whole lot more ships are at anchor than you would see at any of the other worlds busiest harbors...or perhaps its an old Google sat photo? N 01 14', E 103 48'

Dan, I would imagine you have see this fleet. Whats your opinion?
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Old 07-01-2010, 19:27   #2
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I just read an article about ships that are laid near Singapore harbor because of the economy. But I was wondering, just how bad is bad? Has anyone recently seen the size of this fleet? Is the article exaggerating or is it spot on?

Revealed: The ghost fleet of the recession anchored just east of Singapore | Mail Online

The author tried to imply that this is being hidden but its hard to hide a fleet of ships in one of the worlds busiest harbors.

I looked up the location on Google Earth. From the sat photo, it does not look like a whole lot more ships are at anchor than you would see at any of the other worlds busiest harbors...or perhaps its an old Google sat photo? N 01 14' E 103 48'

Dan, I would imagine you have see this fleet. Whats your opinion?
Put the google earth plug in on

Maritime Business Network: Vessels, Ports, Companies and People - vesseltracker.com

That will then show all current ships and details

Lots and lots.
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Old 07-01-2010, 21:10   #3
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The article says that 12% of container ships are idle worldwide. I think that is completely believable.

It also says that the supply of ships will be up this year compared to last, also completely believable. You can't stop building ships every time there is a dip in the economy (albiet a big one).

It would also make sense to lay them up in Singapore. It's probably cheaper there than Europe / US and the engineering facilities are also abundant. It's also relatively close to China. And if shipping demand is going to increase, the demand will come from China first.
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Old 07-01-2010, 22:00   #4
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. But I was wondering, just how bad is bad? Has anyone recently seen the size of this fleet? Is the article exaggerating or is it spot on?
There is a fair few ships there, but nothing I would think thats out of the ordinary.

If you go past the bus depot at peak time when the Government says every bus is out on the road you will still see quite a number of busses parked idle. why? Dunno, but it would be a varierty of reasons...

The ships are the same. Also quite a few specialist ships like oil drils and service ships, exploration ships that may lie idle for years.
there were several container ships that looked new so may be in a process of commissioning. Some ships in brokerage etc. oil tankers that were idel but fuel consumption would not have gone down during the fin crisis.

i just think most of it was normal at a world hub like Singapore. Probably no cheaper place in the world you anchor your ship but still have immediate access to all the aisian ports and close to Arabia and Oceana.


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Old 07-01-2010, 22:51   #5
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BDI is down still indicating not much on the way of movements

Bloomberg.com: Personal Finance

Back to about 2006 levels
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Old 08-01-2010, 00:32   #6
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Ok first things first. Google Earth photos are notoriously out of date. The one showing my house still shows a cow pasture with a few roads bulldozed in , and I've been living in my home now for over 4 years.

Singapore Harbour is a fairly sheltered body of water, and it is a very important hub for far east freight. So it make sense to moth ball a ship there waiting on a cargo. But I'd say that the 12% number is very low. Global cargo revenues have fallen, and some of the biggest companies are in dire straits. A lot of relatively new ships are being scrapped now because of over supply of bottoms. Meanwhile the companies are freaking because they all ordered new bottoms, larger than ever and they have no business for them. They have been trying to get out of contracts, or have the schedules put off by some amount but the yards aren't having any of it. Anyone who thinks that the global economy is healing is just whistling past the graveyard. 2010 promises to be a realy bad year. But we are not being told this by government or main stream media. The reasons for that should be obvious.

I have to laugh at the idea of the ship keepers being afraid of pirates. While those are indeed pirate waters, pirates generally don't grab empty ships sitting in a parking lot. Not enough value and too many witnesses.

Also the assertion that this is the first time its being photographed is baloney. I was looking at photos of this fleet last spring already, and it was shown numerous times in segments of the Volvo Ocean race as they headed into Singapore.

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Old 08-01-2010, 02:00   #7
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There are a couple of ships laid up in Falmouth harbour, much to the annoyance of some locals who say their view is being blocked.

Felixstowe continer yard is almost deserted compared to the boom time 2 years ago, and thats a good indicator of the downturn in trade.
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Old 08-01-2010, 10:01   #8
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Heres a recent article on the subject of mothballed shipping. They use Vesseltracker to look in various places to see whats sitting there collecting rust. As I said, its pretty sad.


Thousands Of Rusting Ship Hulls Are A Fitting Tribute To The Speculative Market Bubble | zero hedge

If you clik on the photos, they expand out to let you read the ship names.



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Old 08-01-2010, 20:45   #9
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I live in Singapore, and am involved in Shipping. I think the article is a good one highlighting the impact of the crisis, but has a few inaccuracies in it.
Firstly, there is Singapore "Inside Port Limits" This is normally full with ships taking bunkers, stores, crew changes, doing maintenance (repairs) etc. What is on vessel tracker in the article is pretty normal. As a trading port, it simply never stops, although there has been a decline in ship movements due to the financial crisis. Where the ships are really anchoring is "Off Port Limits", or OPL.
Well, in fact there is no room off Singapore Port limits because the traffic seperation scheme is just next to the port limit. Where the issue is, is that many ships are anchoring off Johor Bahru (Malaysia) across the water. This is where it is very crowded. It is so crowded there that there have been quite a few collisions when ships are manoeuvring. (Strong currents.) There are also many ships at idle off Boreno, and in Subic Bay in the Philippines. This is the real point of the article - the impact of the global crisis has really hit shipping hard. Especially Container ships. Plus, there is a shipping crisis because there is so many newbuilds. It will be a long time before the shipping side sorts itself out. The Global Economy has to reach pre recession levels and then some before shipping becomes really profitable again. It's a simple supply and demand equation. Too many ships, too few jobs....
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