zoom High scheduled deliveries and low demolition prospects will drive unwanted fleet growth of very large gas carriers (VLGC) in 2017 putting additional pressure on freight rates, according to shipping consultancy Drewry.VLGC rates remain under pressure on account of ample vessel supply and weak arbitrage opportunities caused by low LPG fuel prices. With 64 additional ships due for delivery next year, fleet growth is expected to accelerate to 12% in 2017, further exacerbating the supply gut.Shipowners are hoping that a recent revival in VLGC demolitions might help keep fleet growth in check. Two vessels have been scrapped in recent months, the first such demolitions in this segment since 2011. Moreover, the recent Ballast Water Treatment System (BWTS) regulation which requires all vessels to have an in-built BWTS or retro-fit by September 2017 or on their next survey has provided further impetus to hopes of higher scrapping.However, Drewry believes that there is little scope for demolitions given the young age-profile of the fleet. There are just four ships in the current VLGC fleet over 30 years of age, and a further 13 of between 25 and 30 years.“Although the average scrapping age could fall sharply in a weak market, we do not expect this to happen in the current VLGC market as there are no signs of panic demolitions yet. Therefore, we believe excess vessel supply is here to stay, which will keep rates under pressure in the next year too,” Shresth Sarma, senior analyst for gas shipping at Drewry, said.
Activists and photographer Shahidul Alam arrives surrounded by policemen for an appearance in a court, in Dhaka on 6 August 2018. Photo: AFPAmnesty Internationalon Monday said the government “must immediately and unconditionally” release Shahidul Alam, a well-known photographer and activist, who was detained by plainclothes policemen after giving an interview to Al-Jazeera English on the current wave of student protests, reports UNB.”Shahidul Alam must be immediately and unconditionally released. There is no justification whatsoever for detaining anyone for solely peacefully expressing their views. His arrest marks a dangerous escalation of a crackdown by the government that has seen the police and vigilantes unleash violence against student protestors,” said Omar Waraich, Amnesty International’s deputy South Asia director.OmarWaraichsaid the Bangladeshi government must end the crackdown on the student protestors and people speaking out against it.”The students have a right to peaceful assembly and physical security. These rights should be respected and protected, and there should be an immediate and effective investigation into the use of force by police, the violent actions of pro-government vigilantes who also attacked the students, and why the police did nothing to stop them.”At least 115 students were injured over the weekend as the police resorted to grossly excessive force, including firing rubber bullets and tear gas at thousands of overwhelmingly peaceful student protestors, said the AI.The students also came under attack from pro-government counter-demonstrators, AI claimed.Thousands of Bangladeshi students have taken to the streets of Dhaka to demand safer roads after two teenagers were killed and 13 others injured while waiting at a bus stop outside a college when a speeding bus hit them.”As Bangladesh heads towards elections later this year, it is crucial that the government adheres to its international obligations, including the protection of the rights to freedom of expression, association, peaceful assembly and security of persons,” said Omar Waraich.A court here on Monday placed Shahidul Alam, managing director of Drik Gallery and chairman of Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, on a seven-day remand for interrogation in a case filed under the ICT Act.Dhaka additional chief metropolitan magistrate Asaduzzaman Nur passed the order after hearing a remand petition filed by the detective branch of police.PEN International on Monday also called for his immediate and unconditional release.The arrest of award-winning writer, photographer and activist, Shahidul Alam shines a light on the “dangerous escalation of the government’s crackdown” on dissenting voices, it said in a statement.Salil Tripathi, Chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee stated, “The Bangladeshi authorities must release Shahidul Alam immediately, institute an inquiry into why the officials responsible for action destroyed property and threatened others, establish new norms for security forces to act proportionately and with due regard to the law and within the limits placed by the law.Furthermore, they must change laws that allow the state to make such whimsical attacks on freedom of expression. Shahidul’s work and life are to be celebrated and emulated, not restricted.”