The captain of a U.S. navy warship that lost seven sailors in a collision with a commercial container ship in June will be relieved of command and nearly a dozen others face punishment, the navy's second-ranking admiral said Thursday. Admiral William Moran, the vice-chief of naval operations, told reporters that the top three leaders aboard the USS Fitzgerald, which was badly damaged in the collision off the coast of Japan, will be removed from duty aboard the ship. They are the commanding officer, Cmdr. Bryce Benson; the executive officer, Cmdr. Sean Babbitt; and Master Chief Petty Officer Brice Baldwin, who as the ship's command master chief is its most senior enlisted sailor. The actions are being taken by Rear Admiral Joseph Aucoin, commander of the Navy's Seventh Fleet, based at Yokosuka, Japan, because he lost confidence in the three, Moran said.
A new speed record for reaching the North Pole has been set by Russia's nuclear icebreaker 50 Let Pobedy, making the journey from Murmansk to the North Pole in just 79 hours. During the transit, the vessel hosted a conference dedicated to Artic issues with a key topic being the economic worth of developing year-round navigation of the Northern Sea Route. In the past 40 years, 124 surface vessels have completed the journey, of which 111 of were done by Russian ships.
Atlantic Coast Shipping (ACS), a newly-formed shipping company plans to start trading in the near further with a domestic RoRo/container vessel to be deployed on a weekly cabotage route between the Port of Miami and the Port of Newark. The launch of the new service is consistent with the Marine Highway program that considers the movement of goods by sea to reduce road traffic air pollution and congestion on the I-95. The company will also start a regular caribbean container feeder service between Jamaica, the Domincan Republic and the Bahamas. The first sailings are to start in mid to late November.
The first 6 months of 2017 has seen Global container port throughput grow by an estimated 6.7% and is on track to hit over 6% for the year to reach a 6 year high, its stongest showing since 2011. While all regions recorded postive growth, South Asia ports reported the strongest rate of 9.3%, while the Middle East trailed behind at 3.5%. In the main regions, China and the United States ports had the highest first half growth at 8.4% and 8.2% respectively. Among the top 30 ports, notable gains were reported by Ningbo (14.4%), Guangzhou (11.7%) Hong Kong (10.5%) and Shanghai (9.6%).
Rear Adm. Mark Buzby, a retired Navy Officer was sworn in as the administrator of the Maritime Administration by US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. Buzby has previously served as president of the National Defense Transportation Association, a global association of transportation and logistics professionals. The agency has been tasked with promoting waterborne transportation and integration with other segments of the system, and the developement and maintenance of a US merchant marine that can carry a portion of the US waterborne commerce and capable of service in time of war or national emergency. Rear Adm Buzby is a career naval officer with more than 34 years of service.
The Federal Government has announced that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will lead two projects worth $500,000 that use new DNA-based technologies to reduce the quarantine testing time, helping to boost trade and economic competitiveness in the $240 million Canadian fruit tree industry. The first project will shorten the testing period of seeds, cuttings and bulbs imported into Canada. Scientists will use DNA technology to test for all viruses associated with imported plants which could reduce quarantine testing time by up to two and a half years. The second project streamlines the testing of strawberry plants. Multiple tests for viruses are required before exporting strawberry plants to foreign markets. The project will test for multiple viruses in a single test, dramatically reducing the time and cost to get plants to market. The Canadian strawberry plant industry is valued at 17 million.
On August 16, Ron McKinnon, MP for Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam and Peter Xotta, Vice President, Planning and Operations at the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (VFPA) announced a federal contribution of $250,000 to the VFPA towards a project to assess real-time information on the supply chain performance for all rail cargo moving to and from the Port of Vancouver. The port authority launched the Supply Chain Visibility Project in 2015. The Government's contribution will fund a concept phase that will focus on measuring the performance of the grain and fertilizer sectors, while also addressing data quality issues. By analyzing railcar activity data in the Lower Mainland, the port authority's Supply Chain Visibility Project contributes to three objectives of the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Transportation Infrastructure Fund. These include improving the efficiency of the national multimodal transportation network; enhancing transportation infrastructure safety, security and quality of life; and, improving the connectivity of intermodal interfaces.
The ECHO Program has released the results of the first week of the vessel slowdown Trial (August 7 to 13) which saw a total vessel participation rate of 59%, with 55 of 94 piloted vessels reporting participation through the Haro Strait vessel slow down area. The primary reason recorded for non-participating vessels this week was a concern of not meeting schedule. In total, agents flagged 59 of 94 transits as potential candidates for participation and 55 of those participated, indicating that pilots were able to successfully carry out agents requests 93% of the time.
More information on the vessel slowdown trial can by found here.
On August 15th The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority released its 2017 mid-year statistics for trade through the Port of Vancouver. Overall cargo through the Port of Vancouver has increased four per cent to 69 million metric tonnes (MMT) over the same time last year with mid-year records in bulk grain and containers.
Container quantities (measured by TEUs or twenty-foot equivalents) increased by 9.6 per cent compared to mid-year 2016 to a record 1.6 million TEUs as a result of the strengthening economy as well as global demand for Canadian products shipped in containers and Canadian demand for consumer and manufacturing goods from Asia. Strong overseas demand for Canadian grain products resulted in a steep increase in wheat, canola and specialty crop exports, which include pulses and lentils (up 55 per cent). This is the Port of Vancouver’s sixth consecutive year of record mid-year volumes of bulk grain at 12.5 MMT in 2017, a 12.9 per cent increase over mid last year.
Schneider Electric Canada, a world leader in shore power technology, has announced the Port of Montreal Shore Power solution for the new Alexandra Pier is now successfully commissioned. On Saturday, August 12, the Holland America Cruise Ship Veendam shut down her diesel engines after docking at the new Alexandra Cruise Terminal in Old Montreal. The ship was connected to the electrical power grid to provide the necessary power to the ship while in port. In doing this, all air pollution caused by the ship's diesel engines was effectively eliminated. The total cost of the project is $11 million with funding coming from the federal government, the provincial government as well as the Montreal Port Authority. The Montreal Port Authority estimates that the shore power project will eliminate upwards of 2,800 tonnes of green house gases annually. Schneider Electric is a world leader in shore power solutions, with over 50 deployments in North America alone. The Port of Montreal shore power solution represents the first cruise terminal deployment in Canada for Schneider Electric and is a significant demonstration of its capabilities to design and build a sophisticated solution incorporating international standards that enforce safety and interoperability for ships calling on the Port of Montreal.
The first phase of construction for the Deltaport truck staging facility, located at the intersection of Highway 17, Highway 17A and Deltaport Way in Delta, starts the week of August 21, 2017.
The facility is designed to address long-standing road safety concerns by alleviating traffic congestion when port destined container truck queues reach more than 15 container trucks in length along the Deltaport Way causeway, which can occur when trucks arrive early for their reservations, or when there is a closure at Deltaport container terminal. The facility will have the capacity to accommodate up to 140 port destined container trucks, including early arrivals and includes a secure vehicle access gate requiring a valid Port Pass, a Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement (CVSE) area for truck safety inspections, a new highway exit ramp to facilitate access from Highway 17 and an additional road entrance ramp to allow traffic access onto Deltaport Way. The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority will operate the staging area. The project is part of the Deltaport Terminal, Road and Rail Improvement Project (DTRRIP), and is a joint partnership with the Government of Canada (Transport Canada), British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, and the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.
More information about the project and construction updates can be found here.
On Thursday, August 10th BC Attorney General David Eby, along with Environment Minister Minister George Heyman announced that the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project is not in B.C.'s best interest. Minister Heyman advised that they are "committed to using every tool to defend B.C.'s coast (from) the threat of tanker traffic". The government has hired former Supreme Court Justice Thomas Berger as external counsel to the government to provide legal advice on the options for participation in legal challenges and hearings which are scheduled to begin in federal court in the fall. The Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project has already been approved by the Federal Government, the former B.C. government and the National Energy Board (NEB).
Trans Mountain issued the following statement in response - The company takes seriously the comments from the Province of British Columbia and will be carefully reviewing their statements and the steps outlined today. Trans Mountain remains ready and willing to meet with the Government to work through their conerns and the issued raised by them today.
"We are committed to working with the Province and permitting authorities in our ongoing process of seeking tand obtaining necessary permits and permissions," said Ian Anderson, President of Kinder Morgan Canada Limited. "We have undertaken thorough, extensive and meaningful consultations with Aboriginal Peoples, communities and individuals and remain dedicated to those efforts and relationships as we move forward with construction activities in September," added Anderson.
The Trans Mountain Expansion Project has undergone an unprecedented level of scrutiny and review and has received approval from the government of Canada, and is subject to 157 Conditions from the National Energy Board and 37 Conditions attached to the Environmental Certificate received form the Government of British Columbia. The Project will result in direct and lasting economic benefits for local communities, B.C. and Canada through investments in safety, jobs and the environment.
August 11, 2017 Shédiac, New Brunswick Transport Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Today, the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport and the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard issued the following statement:
“Canada takes the protection, conservation, and recovery of endangered species very seriously. The recent deaths of several North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are extremely concerning.
“There is evidence that the North Atlantic right whales have been increasingly present in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in recent years. Our government has already taken action and will continue to ensure that measures are in place for the protection of this species and the safety of mariners using these waters.
“In our efforts to do everything possible to prevent further whale deaths, our government is today implementing a temporary mandatory slow down for vessels of 20 metres or more in length. Speed must be reduced to a maximum of 10 knots when travelling in the western Gulf of St. Lawrence from the Quebec north shore to just north of Prince Edward Island. This temporary measure is effective immediately.
“Transport Canada inspectors, with assistance from the Canadian Coast Guard’s Marine Communications and Traffic Services, will enforce this precautionary measure until the whales have migrated from the areas of concern. Failure to comply will result in an Administrative Monetary Penalty of up to $25,000.
“We continue to work with partners to better understand what may have caused the deaths of the North Atlantic right whales—to that end, several necropsies were carried on as many whales as possible.
“We have taken extensive action to ensure the protection of North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, including decisions around fisheries. To help prevent entanglements, the Snow Crab Fishing Area 12 in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence was closed, and other fixed gear fisheries such as rock and toad crab fisheries have either been restricted to fish in shallow water or have had a delayed opening. Future fisheries decisions relating to the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence will take the presence of North Atlantic right whales into account.
“In addition to the reduced speed requirements being introduced today, monitoring and enforcement will continue with Transport Canada’s National Aerial Surveillance Program and Fisheries and Oceans surveillance overflights to aid these new measures.
“Our government is already taking steps to protect Canada’s marine environment through a $1.5 billion investment in the Oceans Protection Plan. As part of the plan to protect marine mammals from the effects of shipping, including collisions and noise pollution, researchers are working to locate and track marine mammals in high vessel traffic areas and provide this information to mariners.
“We all have a responsibility to ensure that our marine resources are protected for future generations, and must take every step we can to help prevent whale deaths. As we take further concrete steps today, we continue to consider all options to help prevent future whale deaths.
“We look forward to the collaboration of all fishermen and mariners.”
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is moving to expand the state's At-Berth Regulation which currently requires some vessels to use shoreside power while at berth. In 2007, CARB published "Airborne Toxic Control Measure for Auxiliary Diesel Engines Operated on Ocean-Going Veessels At Berth in a California Port" Regulation, also known as the At-Berth Regulation. The rule requires that container, passenger and refrigerated-cargo ships calling at the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Sand Diego, San Francisco and Pt. Hueneme to shut down their auxilary diesel generators while at berth and instead plug into shoreside power or use an approved technology to achieve equivalent emission reductions. CARB is now in the process of expanding the regulations to additional vessels types, including tankers, bulkers, general cargo and RoRo vessels. The intent is that 100% of commercial ships calling California Ports to comply with the requirement by 2030.
Last weekend the US Coast Guard in San Diego recieved a call from a small boat operator reporting battery trouble and requesting assistance. The cutter Sea Otter was diverted to assist the boat which was about 25 nm off Point Loma, San Diego in international waters. However, instead of helping out with a dead battery, the boarding team discovered approximately 1,200 pounds of marijuana that was alledgedly stowed below decks. Two people were detained and handed over to police.
India's shipping minister Nitin Gadkari has advised that the government has been studying the use of methanol for vessels. The government had been looking at an LNG bunkering network for inland waterways, but is now considering methanol as this would be a cheaper and cleaner solution. As the fuel is derived from coal, changing to methanol would benefit the country that disposes of a coal surplus.
On Tuesday August 8th, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard and Member of Parliament for Burnaby North – Seymour, Terry Beech, on the behalf of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, announced that Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is launching Let’s Talk Whales, an online public engagement that asks Canadians and stakeholders about proposed recovery measures to help three whale species in Canada: the North Atlantic Right Whale, the St. Lawrence Estuary Beluga and the Southern Resident Killer Whale.
The Let’s Talk Whales online engagement is one of many actions the Government of Canada is taking to help support the recovery of our whales.