Labour abuses, including slavery, found on European fishing vessels

Research by a Washington DC-based organisation which tracks illicit money flows has found that tens of thousands of workers every year on these boats are estimated to be trapped in unsafe conditions.


Hazardous, forced work conditions sometimes akin to slavery have been detected on nearly 500 industrial fishing vessels across the globe – including in several European nations.

It is much harder, though, than you’d imagine to identify those responsible for abuses at sea, thanks to a lack of transparency and regulatory oversight.

That’s according to a new report concluded by the Financial Transparency Coalition, a Washington DC-based nonprofit organisation which tracks illicit money flows.

Working closely with the Associated Press, the study is a comprehensive attempt to identify the companies operating vessels where tens of thousands of workers every year are estimated to be trapped in unsafe conditions.

The report, published this week, found that a quarter of vessels suspected of abusing workers are flagged to China, as well as many to countries including Thailand, Taiwan and South Korea.

The picture is not much better in Europe though, with vessels from Russia, the UK and Spain in particular accused of mistreatment of fishers.

Considering that the research focuses on fishing on the high seas which are traditionally lawless areas beyond the jurisdiction of any single country, it’s clear that the revealing of these crimes is merely scratching the surface of a much wider-spread problem.

Forced labour in the seafood industry is a rarely seen but common phenomenon – and one increasingly recognised as a “widespread human rights crisis,” according to the report’s authors.

Globally, it’s estimated that as many as 128,000 fishers face threats of violence, debt bondage, excessive overtime and other conditions indicative of forced labour, according to the UN’s International Labour Organisation.

Both European and US companies are under increasing pressure to clean up supply chains in labour-intensive industries where worker abuse is widespread.

The Financial Action Task Force set up by the G7 – which includes France, Germany, Italy and the UK – has recently identified illegal logging and mining as a key driver of money laundering.

The G7 has also encouraged its members to set up publicly available databases to raise awareness about the financial flows that fuel environmental crimes.

The seafood industry, however, has so far escaped the same scrutiny, in part because governments often lack the tools to regulate what takes place hundreds of miles from land.

The Financial Transparency Coalition came up with a list of 475 individual vessels suspected of forced labour since 2010.

Of that amount, flag information was available for only about half of the total – another indication of the need for greater ownership transparency, the group says.

They also found that some 22.5% of industrial and semi-industrial fishing vessels accused of forced labour between 2010 and 2023 were owned by European companies, topped by Spanish, Russian and UK firms.

Daily life on the vessels

Even when the workers concerned aren’t European, unscrupulous behaviour by these ships’ owners has a knock-on effect on consumers on the continent.

“The Outlaw Ocean Project has documented the forcible transfer of more than a thousand Uyghurs and members of other Muslim minorities 2,000 miles from their homes in landlocked Xinjiang to 10 fish processing plants in the coastal province of Shandong since 2018,” Andrew Wallis, CEO of anti-slavery charity Unseen, tells Euronews.


“Some of these facilities supply British and European seafood wholesalers, who in turn sell to supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Morrisons and other retailers; caterers supplying pubs, hotels and restaurants, schools and universities; and the National Health Service,” he adds.

Onboard these ships, life is often bleak.

Coventry University’s Dr Chapsos tells Euronews the vessels are run by “organised crime networks, recruiting people by deception, promising them work in the fishing industry”.

When onboard, “it’s hell on earth,” he says.

“They’re often faced with “wage withholding, beatings, the confiscation of passports, deprivation of food and drinking water and even death from neglect or violence,” Wallis explains.


“The Outlaw Ocean Project found that workers catching export-bound squid may be forced to stay offshore for more than three years, subjecting them to the risk of diseases such as beriberi, caused by a shortage of the vitamin B1 found in fresh fruits and vegetables – leading to some deaths,” he adds.

Who are the people behind the industry?

Wallis tells Euronews that, on the whole, the “Chinese state, unscrupulous businesses and business practices as well as European and Western businesses demand too much profit from their procurement supply chains” are to blame.

The practice is not entirely without regulation, though.

Both in Europe and globally, these fleets are fishing in the so-called Exclusive economic zone of other coastal states – either legally or illegally.

Each coastal state has the responsibility of policing its maritime zone and, therefore, regulations do exist.


“The question is,” Chapsos says, “whether the coastal state has the means, capabilities and capacities to efficiently and effectively police their waters and whether corruption of officials to turn a blind eye plays another significant role.”

If a crime takes place in open, international waters, it is supposed to be regulated by the UN Convention of the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS).

In the charter, there are numerous mentions of slavery at sea.

One asks every state to take effective measures to prevent and punish slavery on ships flying their flag, while another authorises the boarding of vessels suspected to be engaged in the slave trade.

The issue often comes down to “which country will take the responsibility to implement this,” Chapsos says.


“It’s the open seas, so it has to be done collectively by the international community, under the guidance and coordination of international organisations like the UN, EU, AU, ASEAN,” he adds.

It appears that is not as straightforward as it may seem.

What might the solution be?

The answer is far from simple, Wallis says – and the issues seem to lie with the need for profit and lack of respect for desperate workers.

“If you don’t have to pay your workforce and have them in a situation of forced labour and control, then you lower your costs,” Wallis tells Euronews.

He says there is much work to be done by the international community, but it is achievable – in Europe at least.


“Implementing a mandatory human rights due diligence legislation as well as a Tariff Act that stops goods tainted by forced labour being able to enter the European Market as well as rigorous implementation of the law and sanctions would go a long way,” Wallis adds.

Chapsos agrees, saying there is “a lot” governments can do in terms of tightening regulations on international waters and activity.

First on his list? Banning transshipments at sea.

That’s the process where the fishing vessel regularly transfers its catch to other vessels at sea to be transported to the landing site, which enables the fishing vessels to stay out at sea for longer.

“Transhipments are usually the means to transfer trafficked fishers to the vessels and vice versa, so cutting this ‘supply’ would help improve controls,” Chapsos explains.


He also suggests the implementation of tighter controls at landing sites, including finding out exactly who is on the crew of each ship as well as documentation checks by state authorities.

Anti-corruption measures are crucial too, he says, warning “those who conduct the checks could be or become corrupt.”

Other suggestions include the establishing of fish catch certificates.

That is a similar method used by producers on land – namely where it’s possible to see where the meat bought from supermarkets comes from with specific details about the farmer and where they have come from.

“That should apply to fish as well, as soon as they arrive at the landing site,” Chapsos says.


While it seems that wide governmental regulation is still a way off, the professor suggests that even lay people with no authority can help to make even a small difference to these shippers’ lives.

“Local coastal communities can play their part by reporting anything suspicious,” he says, “especially in remote ports they can play an essential role; they know their place better than anyone else, any trafficked or enslaved fishers onboard would stand out for them.”

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Treasury Department’s hunt for Russian oil sanction violators on the seas is intensifying

A Russian-chartered oil tanker in the sea off Morocco in an area identified by maritime technology company Windward as a hub for smuggling oil.

Europa Press | Getty Images

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced three vessels and shipping companies being sanctioned for violating the Russian oil sanctions on Thursday, only a few days after Treasury began a separate, larger probe of approximately 30 ship management companies covering 100 vessels suspected of violating a price cap on Russian oil.

“Shipping companies and vessels participating in the Russian oil trade while using Price Cap Coalition service providers should fully understand that we will hold them accountable for compliance,” said Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo in a statement on Thursday. “We are committed to maintaining market stability in spite of Russia’s war against Ukraine, while cutting into the profits the Kremlin is using to fund its illegal war and remaining unyielding in our pursuit of those facilitating evasion of the price cap.”

But as the Treasury seeks to cut off the Kremlin’s access to oil profits, its hunt for crude tankers and shippers violating OFAC guidelines is revealing complexities in its own guidelines and a murky marine industry.

The shipping entities identified on Thursday were United Arab Emirates-based. The vessels were Kazan Shipping Incorporated’s Kazan, Progress Shipping Company Limited’s Ligovsky Prospect, and Gallion Navigation Incorporated’s NS Century. But while those ships are now UAE-based, Matthew Wright, lead analyst of freight at marine intelligence firm Kpler, tells CNBC the location of where the company is based may be different from the location of the beneficial owner. In this case, Wright says the beneficial owner is likely still Russian-based.

“Based on the history of these fleets, these vessels were all owned and operated by Sovcomflot,” Wright said. “Management of all the Sovcomflot ships was transferred to Sun Ship Management in March/April 2022 when their offices in Europe were closed. Those three companies are now managed by a new manager called Oil Tankers SCF Management but it’s just another name. Ownership hasn’t changed since 2006. They’re not part of either the dark or grey fleet really as I consider them still Russian-owned.”

30 ship owners targeted in new Treasury probe

This is just one example of the murkiness within the Russian oil trade. The probe against 30 shipowners begun earlier this week reveals how identifying and finding proof of vessels traversing the oceans with sanctioned oil is not as straightforward as suggested by initial headlines covering the Treasury allegations. These companies received warning letters from the government about activity deemed suspicious and requests for documentation. There are grey areas in the U.S. government’s Russian oil guidelines, though the efforts can ultimately lead maritime investigators to the truth.

In the U.S. Treasury’s “Preliminary Guidance on Implementation of a Maritime Services Policy and Related Price Exception for Seaborne Russian Oil,” ship owners are under a Tier 2 category. According to the Treasury, this group within the maritime industry are “actors who are sometimes able to request and receive price information from their customers in the ordinary course of business.”

If a ship owner is unable to obtain such pricing information, according to the Treasury’s guidelines, the Tier 2 actors (ship owners) need to request “customer attestations” where their charter customers pledge in a document they will not purchase seaborn Russian oil above the price cap.

This document could provide a “safe harbor” for ship owners who are relying on that customer’s “attestation” to comply with sanctions. This safe harbor is also extended to the ship insurance companies.

“Ship owners rely on the charterer to provide ample proof that the Russian oil on board the vessel has been sold below the price cap,” said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates. “The sanctions can easily be circumvented if a dishonest charterer presents documents that falsify the true cost of the oil.”

Lipow said one clue to suspicious paperwork is a price of oil that is well below the market, selling Russian crude oil in Asia today at $50 per barrel when Brent is trading at $80.

“That is a red flag,” Lipow said.

Based on the safe harbor, if the ship owner or management company can be absolved of wrongdoing, the documents can still lead Treasury to the charterer.

The U.S. Treasury told CNBC it does not comment on current investigations.

Tracking Russian oil

A breakout of the Russian oil trade by Kpler shows around 30% of Russian exports from Western ports are still using commercial shipping with beneficial ownership within the European Union.

Wright said this “dark fleet” is comprised of vessels typically 20 years and older which have loaded or predominantly loaded Venezuelan or Iranian cargoes in the last few years.

“There is often some evidence that they have been disguising their activities by turning off their AIS, but not in all cases,” said Wright, referring to the automatic identification system used by marine vessels to track location. “Ownership is often opaque and the operator does not engage in standard commercial shipping outside of operating these vessels.”

There are also “grey fleet” vessels sold since the Russian invasion of Ukraine with the aim of transporting Russian exports and avoiding sanctions. These vessels, according to Wright, have had EU ownership.

“Most vessels have been sold by owners based in Europe to owners who were not previously active in the tanker market,” he said. “The owners are based mainly in Hong Kong, China, India, and the UAE.”

The price cap rules state that exports of Russian crude or refined products on EU-owned, insured, or serviced tonnage must be below the relevant price cap.

Since July, Wright says most exports from Russia are assumed to be above the caps, yet a large number of ships from within the EU continue to trade. This is because of the way Russian crude is traded.

“It is very likely vessels loading Russian cargoes that are EU-owned will have documentation showing a crude trade below the price cap, even if the cargo was actually traded above the price cap,” Wright said. “This is because a charterer or middleman will have traded it at a price that can be shown to the owner as part of a wider trade with the final buyer. The (vessel) owner is unlikely to have any evidence to the contrary.”

Vessel owners do not produce these documents, he said, but are provided with these documents by the charterer.

“The vessel owners are merely the custodians of information provided to them,” Wright said.

Beks Shipmanagement & Trading confirmed to CNBC it is among the companies that received warning letters from the Treasury this week and is sending documents to the government. The company had been identified in earlier press reports, though Treasury declined to specify companies to receive letters.

In an email to CNBC, the company rejected the Treasury’s allegations. “Despite the fact that the U.S. Treasury Department requested voyage details from 30 different ship management including 100 vessels, it is an obvious bad faith and reputation damaging purpose that only our management company was mentioned in the news recently circulated in the media,” a Beks spokesperson wrote.

The company, based in Turkey, announced in October the deployment of SpaceX’s Starlink satellite connectivity system across its fleet of 40 bulkers and tankers for enhanced vessel tracking.

“Our vessels are traded worldwide with their tracking system always switched to the on position. We employ our vessels by abiding (by) all international laws and regulations without breaching any sanction regime,” the company wrote in the email.

Beks said it has been conducting due diligence procedures on all of its voyages as well as carrying out the necessary sanction checks with its London-based lawyers.

According to Kpler, Beks Shipmanagement’s fleet had numerous tanker port calls to Russia since the start of sanctions on February 24, 2022. One example is the oil products tanker Bek Aqua.

Kpler was able to track the travel of the tanker using the tanker’s satellite beacons through the AIS short-range coastal tracking system currently used on ships.

The tanker Beks Aqua arrived at the Russian Port of Nakhodka on Oct 26 and was loaded with either diesel or Naptha on November 1. The vessel then arrived at the Port of Singapore on November 10 and departed empty on November 14.

But following the satellite data doesn’t allow for understanding of contract prices.

“While we can track the vessel’s journey from Russia to Singapore, unless we have the sales contract, we do not know the price the oil product was purchased for,” Lipow said. “The only fact we have is companies like Beks Shipping are employed to move Russian oil. It is possible that someone filed false paperwork with the shipowner. This is why tracking the Russian oil sanctions is not straightforward,” he said.

Beks Shipmanagement said the requested voyage details will be provided to the U.S. Treasury with full transparency.

We're using sanctions to deny Russians the weapons they need, Deputy Treasury Sec. Wally Adeyemo

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AI is policing the package theft beat for UPS as ‘porch piracy’ surge continues across U.S.

A doorbell camera in Chesterfield, Virginia, recently caught a man snatching a box containing a $1,600 new iPad from the arms of a FedEx delivery driver. Barely a day goes by without a similar report. Package theft, often referred to as “porch piracy,” is a big crime business.

While the price tag of any single stolen package isn’t extreme — a study by found that the median value of stolen merchandise was $50 in 2022 — the absolute level of package theft is high and rising. In 2022, 260 million delivered packages were stolen, according to home security consultant SafeWise, up from 210 million packages the year before. All in all, it estimated that 79% of Americans were victims of porch pirates last year.

In response, some of the big logistics companies have introduced technologies and programs designed to stop the crime wave. One of the most recent examples set to soon go into wider deployment came in June from UPS, with its API for DeliveryDefense, an AI-powered approach to reducing the risk of delivery theft. The UPS tech uses historic data and machine learning algorithms to assign each location a “delivery confidence score,” which is rated on a one to 1,000 scale.

“If we have a score of 1,000 to an address that means that we’re highly confident that that package is going to get delivered,” said Mark Robinson, president of UPS Capital. “At the other end of the scale, like 100 … would be one of those addresses where it would be most likely to happen, some sort of loss at the delivery point,” Robinson said.

Powered by artificial intelligence, UPS Capital’s DeliveryDefense analyzes address characteristics and generates a ‘Delivery Confidence Score’ for each address. If the address produced a low score, then a package recipient can then recommend in-store collection or a UPS pick-up point.

The initial version was designed to integrate with the existing software of major retailers through the API —a beta test has been run with Costco Wholesale in Colorado. The company declined to provide information related to the Costco collaboration. Costco did not return a request for comment.

DeliveryDefense, said Robinson, is “a decent way for merchants to help make better decisions about how to ship packages to their recipients.”

To meet the needs of more merchants, a web-based version is being launched for small- and medium-sized businesses on Oct. 18, just in time for peak holiday shipping season.

UPS says the decision about delivery options made to mitigate potential issues and enhance the customer experience will ultimately rest with the individual merchant, who will decide whether and how to address any delivery risk, including, for example, insuring the shipment or shipping to a store location for pickup.

UPS already offers its Access Points program, which lets consumers have packages shipped to Michaels and CVS locations to ensure safe deliveries.

How Amazon, Fedex, DHL attempt to prevent theft

UPS isn’t alone in fighting porch piracy.

Among logistics competitors, DHL relies on one of the oldest methods of all — a “signature first” approach to deliveries in which delivery personnel are required to knock on the recipient’s door or ring the doorbell to obtain a signature to deliver a package. DHL customers can opt to have shipments left at their door without a signature, and in such cases, the deliverer takes a photo of the shipment to provide proof for delivery. A FedEx rep said that the company offers its own picture proof of delivery and FedEx Delivery Manager, which lets customers customize their delivery preferences, manage delivery times and locations, redirect packages to a retail location and place holds on packages.

Amazon has several features to help ensure that packages arrive safely, such as its two- to four-hour estimated delivery window “to help customers plan their day,” said an Amazon spokesperson. Amazon also offers photo-on delivery, which offers visual delivery confirmation and key-in-garage Delivery, which lets eligible Amazon Prime members receive deliveries in their garage.

Debate over doorbell cameras

Amazon has also been known for its attempts to use new technology to help prevent piracy, including its Ring doorbell cameras — the gadget maker’s parent company was acquired by the retail giant in 2018 for a reported $1 billion.

Camera images can be important when filing police reports, according to Courtney Klosterman, director of communications for insurer Hippo. But the technology has done little to slow porch piracy, according to some experts who have studied its usage.

“I don’t personally think it really prevents a lot of porch piracy,” said Ben Stickle, a professor at Middle Tennessee State University and an expert on package theft.

Recent consumer experiences, including the iPad theft example in Virginia, suggest criminals may not fear the camera. Last month, Julie Litvin, a pregnant woman in Central Islip, N.Y., watched thieves make off with more than 10 packages, so she installed a doorbell camera. She quickly got footage of a woman stealing a package from her doorway after that. She filed a police report, but said her building’s management company didn’t seem interested in providing much help.

Stickle cited a study he conducted in 2018 that showed that only about 5% of thieves made an effort to hide their identity from the cameras. “A lot of thieves, when they walked up and saw the camera, would simply look at it, take the package and walk away anyway,” he said.

SafeWise data shows that six in 10 people said they’d had packages stolen in 2022. Rebecca Edwards, security expert for SafeWise, said this reality reinforces the view that cameras don’t stop theft. “I don’t think that cameras in general are a deterrent anymore,” Edwards said.

The best delivery crime prevention methods

The increase in packages being delivered has made them more enticing to thieves. “I think it’s been on the rise since the pandemic, because we all got a lot more packages,” she said. “It’s a crime of opportunity, the opportunity has become so much bigger.”

Edwards said that the two most-effective measures consumers can take to thwart theft are requiring a signature to leave a package and dropping the package in a secure location, like a locker.

Large lockboxes start at around $70 and for the most sophisticated can run into the thousands of dollars.

Stickle recommends a lockbox to protect your packages. “Sometimes people will call and say ‘Well, could someone break in the box? Well, yeah, potentially,” Stickle said. “But if they don’t see the item, they’re probably not going to walk up to your house to try and steal it.”

There is always the option of leaning on your neighbors to watch your doorstep and occasionally sign for items. Even some local police departments are willing to hold packages.

The UPS AI comes at a time of concerns about rapid deployment of artificial intelligence, and potential bias in algorithms.

UPS says that DeliveryDefense relies on a dataset derived from two years’ worth of domestic UPS data, encompassing an extensive sample of billions of delivery data points. Data fairness, a UPS spokeswoman said, was built into the model, with a focus “exclusively on delivery characteristics,” rather than on any individual data. For example, in a given area, one apartment complex has a secure mailroom with a lockbox and chain of custody, while a neighboring complex lacks such safeguards, making it more prone to package loss.

But the UPS AI is not free. The API starts at $3,000 per month. For the broader universe of small businesses that are being offered the web version in October, a subscription service will be charged monthly starting at $99, with a variety of other pricing options for larger customers.

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AI news is driving tech ‘building blocks’ stocks like Nvidia. But another ‘power’ area will also benefit, say these veteran investors

Kneel to your king Wall Street.

After forecasting record revenue backed by a “killer AI app,” Nvidia has teed up the Nasdaq

for a powerful Thursday open. Indeed, thanks to that chip maker and a few other generals — Microsoft, Apple, Alphabet, etc.— tech is seemingly unstoppable:

Elsewhere, the Dow

is looking rattled by a Fitch warning over debt wranglings ahead of a long weekend.

But our call of the day is accentuating the positive with some valuable insight on tech investing amid AI mania from a pair of seasoned investors.

Inge Heydorn, partner on the GP Bullhound Global Technology Fund and portfolio manager Jenny Hardy, advise choosing companies carefully given high valuations in some parts of tech that could make earnings vulnerable.

“But looking slightly beyond the volatility, tech has the advantage of being driven by many long-term secular themes which will continue to play out despite a weaker macro,” Hardy told MarketWatch in follow-up comments to an interview with the pair last week. GP Bullhound invests in leading global tech companies, with more than $1 billion in assets under management.

“We try to make sure we’re exposed to these areas that will be more resilient. AI is the perfect example of that –- none of Microsoft, Amazon or Google will risk falling behind in the AI race -– they will all keep spending, and that will continue to drive earnings for the semiconductor companies that go into these servers higher,” said Hardy, who has worked in the investment industry since 2011.

“The way that we think about investing around [AI] is in the building blocks, the picks and shovels infrastructure, which for us is really the semiconductor companies that go into the training servers and the inference servers,” she said.

Advanced Micro Devices
Taiwan Semiconductor


and Palo Alto

are all in their portfolio. They also like the semiconductor capital equipment industry — AI beneficiaries and tailwinds from increasingly localized supply chains — with companies including KLA
Lam Research

and Applied Materials

As Hardy points out, “lots of big tech has given us lots of certainty as it relates to AI, lots of certainty as it relates to the amount they are going to spend on AI.”

Enter Nvidia’s results, which Hardy said are proof the “AI spend race has begun…Nvidia’s call featured an impressive roster of companies deploying AI with Nvidia – AT&T, Amgen, ServiceNow – the message was that this technology adoption is widespread and really a new normal.” She said they see benefits spreading across the AI value chain — CPU providers, networking infrastructure players, memory and semicap equipment makers.

Heydorn, who traded technology stocks since 1994 and also runs a hedge fund with Hardy, says there are two big tech trends currently — “AI across the board and power semiconductors driven by EV cars and green energy projects.”

But GP Bullhound steers clear of EV makers like Tesla
where they see a lot of competition, notably from China. “Ultimately, they will need semiconductors and the semiconductors crucially are able to keep that pricing power in a way that the vehicle companies are not able to do because of the differences in competition,” she said.

Are the tech duo nervous about anything? “The macro economy is clearly the largest risk and further bank or real-estate problems,” said Heydorn, as Hardy adds that they are watching for second-order impacts on tech.

“One example would be enterprise software businesses with high exposure to financial services, which given those latest problems in that sector, might see a re-prioritization of spend away from new software implementations,” she said.

In the near term, Heydorn says investors should watch out for May sales numbers and any AI mentions from Taiwan via TSMC, mobile chip group MediaTek

and Apple

supplier Foxxconn

that may help with guidance for the second half of the year. “The main numbers in Taiwan will tell us where we are in inventories. They’re going to tell us if the 3-nanonmeters, that’s a new processor that’s going into Apple iPhones, are ready for production,” he said.

Read: JPMorgan says this is how much revenue other companies will get from AI this year

The markets

Nasdaq-100 futures

are up 1.8% , S&P 500

futures are up 0.6%, but those for the Dow

are slipping on debt-ceiling jitters. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note

is up 4 basis points to 3.75%.

For more market updates plus actionable trade ideas for stocks, options and crypto, subscribe to MarketDiem by Investor’s Business Daily. Follow all the stock market action with MarketWatch’s Live Blog.

The buzz

Fitch put U.S. credit ratings on ‘ratings watch negative’ due to DC “brinkmanship” as the debt-ceiling deadline nears. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told investors not to worry as an agreement will be reached.

Best Buy

stock is up 6% after an earnings beat, while Burlington Stores

is slipping after a profit and revenue miss. Dollar Tree

and Ralph Lauren

are still to come, followed by Ulta

and Autodesk

after the close.

Nvidia is up 25% in premarket and headed toward a rare $1 trillion valuation after saying revenue would bust a previous record by 30% late Wednesday.

Opinion: Nvidia CFO says ‘The inflection point of AI is here’

But AI upstart UiPath

is down 8% after soft second-quarter revenue guidance, while software group Snowflake

is off 14% on an outlook cut, while cloud-platform group Nutanix

is rallying on a better outlook.

Elf Beauty

is up 12% on upbeat results from the cosmetic group, with Guess

up 5% as losses slimmed, sales rose. American Eagle

slid on a sales decline forecast. Red Robin Gourmet Burgers

is up 5% on the restaurant chain’s upbeat forecast.

Revised first-quarter GDP is due at 8:30 a.m., alongside weekly jobless claims, with pending-home sales at 10 a.m. Richmond Fed President Tom Barkin will speak at 9:50 a.m., followed by Boston Fed President Susan Collins.

A Twitter Spaces discussion between presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Elon Musk was plagued by glitches.

The best of the web

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Can WallStreetBets’ spectacular short-squeeze be repeated?

Paralyzed walks naturally again with brain and spine implants

The tickers

These were the top-searched tickers on MarketWatch as of 6 a.m.:


Security name




Anheuser-Busch InBev

Advanced Micro Devices

Palantir Technologies





Random reads

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PlayStation, treasure hunts and natural wonders: What life is like onboard a giant oil tanker

An oil tanker being serviced by a bunkering vessel.

Courtesy: Hafnia

If you think that life at sea is like the movie franchise “Pirates of the Caribbean,” think again.

The movies, which feature ambushes, looting and a drunken captain, are far from real life, according to shipping veteran Ralph Juhl.

“That is, of course, a lot of bollocks,” Juhl told CNBC by phone.

For starters, the consumption of alcohol is banned on many ships.

But there is one similarity with the movie, Juhl said: the code of conduct between seafarers. In the franchise, the Pirate’s Code was chronicled in a book kept by character Captain Teague, and loosely followed by some.

For those who sail for a living, there is a similar type of agreement, Juhl said.

The crew on board an oil tanker operated by Hafnia.

Courtesy: Hafnia

“Seafarers, no matter where they come from — India, Ukraine, Denmark, the Philippines — there is this conduct of how you behave on a ship … You can actually endanger both yourself and all of your colleagues if you are not playing that social game, being on board the ship. So, you take responsibility, you follow authority,” Juhl said.

Juhl, an executive vice-president at oil tanker firm Hafnia, has worked in the industry for several decades, starting as an ordinary seaman — the lowest rank of sailor — in 1983.

“When you as a seafarer [go] on board … you are a contribution to the society and you have to fit in … there is this code of the high seas,” he added.

A captain’s life

High days and holidays

Rough waters

Future sailors

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