March 22nd – Off shore exploration

March 22nd 2022

Off shore exploration

National Holidays: Thursday, March 24th, Memorial Day.

River Parana Draft:

A new forecast has been prepared based on information supplied by INA (National Water Institute). Initially a surge had been expected to last until the last day of March, but now the expectation is for it to last until mid-April (Please see the attachment). After that, and into May the water level is forecast to drop with a small gradual increase. Please see the attached chart. On a further note there is a significant degree of anxiety because some “forecasters” are saying that the Niña phenomenon could last into the Southern Hemisphere winter (July-August). Opinions are divided at this moment. If they are correct, then drought will be prolonged over SE South America, with low water levels in the river and a lower agricultural production in Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia and southern Brazil. Time will tell.

Rainfall in the River Parana and Uruguay catchment area March 14th to 21st

Off shore exploration:

A noisy debate is underway with ecologists in the Atlantic region regarding off shore exploration in front of the city of Mar del Plata (307 km off-shore). Areas for initial survey have been awarded to YPF, Equinox and Shell. This is one of the few items that is shared by Government and Opposition parties so it stands a better than even chance of going ahead. Bases for the off-shore support can be at either Bahia Blanca or Mar del Plata.


Further to previous reports. The call for a “short term” tender for maintenance and buoying on the River Parana has been declared void after the first stage left only one bidder standing. This was Jan de Nul. For the time being, and until a new tender is drawn up the maintenance dredging and buoy maintenance will be performed by Jan de Nul as they have since the end of the formal contract.

Bahia Blanca strike:

A strike has been called out for March 25th at 00:00 hours until noontime Saturday 26th. The strike is organized by many unions that work in the port. Ocean going vessels will be affected by this stoppage because both stevedores and tug boat crews are joining. Please also consider, that as per above, Thursday 24th is a National Holiday. The strike is related to a series of disputes, mainly wage related.

Closure of Soyabean meal and Soyabean oil exports:

The Government have closed the register of export permits for soyabean meal and soya oil. This has been done to stop further declarations and enable them to increase the export taxes by a “reported” two per cent. In that way they can also profit from the rise in prices caused by the armed conflict in the Black Sea area. At one moment there was a rumor that wheat, maize and soya beans were to be included. That has not happened, yet.

Bunkers in Argentina:

The bunker supplies at Zona Comun remain restricted. The PAE refining plant at Campana is extending it’s closure for a further week for scheduled maintenance and will not renew its usual production flow until mid-April. Heavy fuels (VLSFO) remain in very low supply. This refinery supplies approximately 20 to 25 per cent of the market demand. Crude remain volatile due to hostilities in the Black Sea area and local bunker prices accompany that trend.

ACA Berth, San Lorenzo:

The ACA berth in San Lorenzo is limited to maximum 180 meters LOA due to a navigation accident during late February. Although work is underway to repair the damage it is not yet known when this expected to conclude.

Argentina-Brazil Flag Waiver:

As from Saturday February 05th the requirement for flag-waivers on traffic between Argentina and Brazil has been lifted. Previously all traffic between the two countries had required either Argentine or Brazilian flag vessels. In case a third flagged vessel was used a waiver had to be obtained. The agreement or treaty that regulated this was not renewed by the Brazilian Government, and has expired so traffic is free for any other flagged vessel.

Crew changes in Argentina:

Crew will only be allowed to disembark when a serious medical issue occurs.

In such a case a medical board will evaluate the situation and decide.

At this time the only place that can used for boarding crew is Ushuaia. This port is considered a “safe corridor” and the regulations have been designed principally for the cruise ships that may call.


Crew changes made at foreign port/s 14 days prior arrival at Argentine ports: Besides many other documents and certificates, these below are of special concern:

-Owner’s Crew changes protocol at foreign countries.

-Owner’s note (with signature and stamp of the Captain and Owners company) clarifying that the crew change was carried out taking all due precautions, etc.

-Medical certificate issued by certified professional in the country where the crew joined, not the country of origin.

-Covid test, PCR, for on-signers at port of boarding (not country of origin).

Lacking any of above (besides all usual documents) pilots will not be allowed to board until a 14-day period is counted starting from the moment the last crew-member has boarded.

Will keep you posted.

Best regards,

Antares Servicios Maritimos S.A.

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