1. Siem loses control of Siem Offshore

Kristian Siem is poised to lose control of his namesake company. Oslo-listed Siem Offshore is closing in on a long-term financial restructuring that will almost wipe out existing shareholders. European lenders will own 96% of the offshore support vessel company.

2. That scrubber investment may have been worth it

Thinning fuel price spreads during much of 2020 led many to question whether installing exhaust gas scrubbers to keep using high-sulphur fuel was worth the investment. Now that the discount to low-sulphur fuel is bigger, US-listed shipping companies are feeling more confident about their outlay on the technology. Genco Shipping & Trading chief executive John Wobensmith said his company has made back more than 45% of what it spent on scrubbers.

3. Balance to return to oil market

Tankers should expect a big change in 2021: the return to balance in the oil market. That will mean a shift from floating storage to crude flows, Maritime Strategy International's Tim Smith told a virtual conference. Since March, tanker charter rates have focused on how much shipping capacity is used up in floating storage, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic's impact on crude demand.

4. Sustainability bonds for Seaspan

Containership leasing giant Seaspan Corp has raised $200m in bonds linked to sustainability factors. That makes the Atlas Corp subsidiary the second company known to have issued this form of green bonds. The question now is whether this will catch on with more in the industry.

5. Idled offshore vessels stack up in US Gulf

Some 69% of offshore support vessels are stacked, or laid-up, in the US waters of the Gulf of Mexico. That suggests the market there is having a harder time recovering from the sector's woes than, for example, the North Sea. Just 19% of OSVs are stacked in that market.