The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), has sent Port of Cleveland President and CEO William Friedman to testify for a fund of US$ 66 billion over the next decade for America’s public ports. Friedman presented his case before the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) in a hearing titled ‘America’s Water Infrastructure Needs and Challenges’. His testimony, which has focused on issues related to navigation infrastructure maintenance, rehabilitation and replacement, is to help committee members better understand and appreciate some of the critical infrastructure issues faced by US ports. Seaport cargo activity accounts for 26 percent of US GDP, over 23 million American jobs, and generates over $320 billion annually in federal, state and local tax revenues.
Amendments to the regulation for the prevention of pollution by garbage from ships, known as MARPOL Annex V, will enter into force on March 1, 2018. The amendments, adopted at MEPC 70, include criteria for determining whether cargo residues are harmful to the marine environment, and a new Garbage Record Book format with a new garbage category for e-waste. Solid bulk cargo as per regulation VI/1-1.2 of SOLAS, other than grain, shall now be classified per the criteria in the new appendix I of MARPOL Annex V, and the shipper shall then declare as to whether or not the cargo is harmful to the environment (HME). Additionally, the new form of the Garbage Record Book will be divided into two parts, Part I for all garbage other than cargo residues, applicable to all ships, and Part II for cargo residues only applicable to ships carrying solid bulk cargo.
The Suez Canal Authority has extended the discount offered to dry bulk vessels back in April 2017 until the end of 2018. Specifically, a 75 percent rebate of the canal transit tolls is being offered to laden or ballast dry bulk vessels coming or heading to ports at South West, South and East of Australia. The extension also relates to dry bulk vessels coming from the Republic of South Africa ports and heading to the ports in the Mediterranean Sea. The discount is being offered as the canal authority works to attract more ships to transit the waterway.
More than 100 MPs and senators have signed a letter to Finance Minister Bill Morneau asking $1.4 billion to be included in the federal budget for an expansion of Canada's protected land and marine areas to be financed over three years. The letter drafted by Quebec Liberal MP William Amos, a former environmental lawyer, says the money is needed for development of national parks and for protected areas being created by Indigenous groups, provinces, territories, municipalities and private interests. According to recent reports, just more than 10 per cent of Canada's land is currently protected. The letter's 115 signatories include Liberal MPs and senators, New Democrat MPs and a Conservative senator. It asks for an initial investment of $1.4-billion over the next three years and then $470-million annually to pay for the enhancement of protected areas. On October 28th 2017, the federal government announced that canada had achieved its interim target of 5 percent protection of marine and coastal areas.
A string of calming comments from U.S. President Donald Trump about NAFTA has supportors of the agreement breathing a little easier now that he appears to be softening his stance. Some of the comments made to the Wall Street Journal include: "We're moving along nicely," "There's no rush," "I'm leaving it a little flexible," "We have a chance of making a reasonable deal," "We've made a lot of headway." Trump said the benefits of a new NAFTA would pay for his proposed border wall with Mexico, while expressing understanding that it's tough for Mexico to negotiate during its election. Although he continues to repeat his threat to cancel the agreement if he can't get a better deal. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said at a Liberal cabinet retreat in London, Ont., that Trump's newfound patience on NAFTA re-negotiations is "sensible" and "constructive."
The Iranian tanker, Sanchi, has been ablaze since it collided with Hong-Kong registered freight ship CF Crystal on the evening of January 13th, 185 miles off China's coast near Shanghai. Since the crash, the tanker has been billowing thick plumes of black smoke. Sanchi was carrying almost one million barrels of highly flammable crude oil to South Korea with 32 crew members on board - 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis. All are missing, but the body of a mariner suspected to be from the ship was recovered on Monday. The 21 Chinese crew members on the CF Crystal, carrying grain from the US, were rescued. Ten foot waves and strong winds, along with toxic fumes from the burning oil, have also been hindering the efforts to extinguish the fire.
Cargo moving through the Port of Prince Rupert rose to a record volume of 24.1 million tonnes in 2017, anchored by 26% growth in its intermodal container business and growth of dry bulk cargo volumes. Overall tonnage through the port was up 28% from 2016, and exceeds the previous record high of 23 million tonnes set in 2013.
2017 Terminal highlights include:
Transport Canada has introduced new Arctic Shipping Safety and Pollution Prevention Regulations. The regulations incorporate the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (the Polar Code) into Canada’s domestic legislation.
The Polar Code addresses the unique hazards encountered by certain vessels that operate in the Arctic and Antarctic. The Polar Code and Canada’s new regulations include a variety of safety and pollution prevention measures, including those related to vessel design and equipment, vessel operations and crew training. Drawing from decades of experience as an Arctic regulator, Canada played a key leadership role in developing the Polar Code at the International Maritime Organization.
On January 11th 2018 Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced that the temporary mandatory slowdown for vessels that had been in place since August 11th 2017 in the Gulf of St. Lawrence had been lifted. There have been no sightings of the North Atlantic right whales in the area of the slow-down in recent weeks. The temporary mandatory slow-down was implemented after the unprecedented deaths of 12 right whales during the summer of 2017, some of which were determined to be as a result of ship strikes. Transport Canada issued 13 penalties to vessels for alleged non-compliance during the temporary mandatory slowdown period. The global population of the North Atlantic right whale is approximately 450.
The MV Marathassa that was involved in the discharge of 2,700 litres of fuel into English Bay in April 2015 is back in the news. The operator, Alassia NewShips Management Inc., a firm based in Greece, was due in court last April but failed to appear. Questions surrounding how the court summons was served and jurisdiction of the provincial court are not expected to delay the proceedings scheduled to begin February 26th.
The Port of Montreal saw a cargo increase of almost seven percent in 2017 with a record 38 million tonnes. Last year marked the first full year of operations for a new container terminal that will eventually handle 600,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) per year. The port is pushing for approval of another terminal that would accommodate 1.15 million TEU containers per year starting in 2021 or 2022. It was also record year for cruise with more than 50 ship arrivals and 114,000 passengers, up 33 per cent over 2016 and up 140 per cent compared with 2011. The preliminary traffic results were released at an event where Montreal Port Authority (MPA) president and CEO Sylvie Vachon awarded the famous Gold-Headed Cane to Captain Rakesh Kumar, Master of the 2808-TEU Ottawa Express containership operated by Hapag-Lloyd. The 40,079 DWTvessel has an ice-reinforced hull typical of the liner services engaged in the St. Lawrence trades and had no major problems on the river to reach Montreal from the Atlantic Ocean. The cane has been given annually for 179 years to the first ocean-going vessel to reach the Port of Montreal without a stopover.
Davie Shipbuilding has completed the construction, commissioning and sea-trials of the first Resolve-Class Naval Support Ship, Asterix. The ship was delivered on time, to budget and most importantly, at an internationally competitive cost. Built in Germany, the former container ship was converted to a naval support ship and is said to cost a fraction of the planned Joint Support Ships. The ship departed Québec City on December 23rd en-route to Canadian Forces Base Halifax where she will enter service with the Royal Canadian Navy and be operated by Federal Fleet Services Inc. A crew of 36 Canadian merchant sailors will work with 100 Royal Canadian Navy personnel on board. The delivery of Asterix represents the first new naval support ship to enter service with the Royal Canadian Navy in over 50 years and also the first large naval platform to be delivered from a Canadian shipyard in over 20 years.
The MV Federal Biscay remains lodged in ice in a lock near Massena and is preventing the St. Lawrence Seaway from closing for the winter. The ship was was heading toward Montreal carrying a shipment of soybeans when it became stuck while only partially inside the Snell Lock on Jan. 1st. According to a press release from St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, the ship is “immobilized due to the heavy ice build-up on the lock wall as well as on the vessel’s hull”, but there is no damage. Lock hands and a number of tugs have been working to free the ship.
Judy Rogers has been appointed to the board of directors of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority for a term of three years commencing December 14, 2017. Ms. Rogers is a senior advisor to private, public and Crown corporations, providing expertise in government affairs and communication. She held the role of city manager of the City of Vancouver from 1999 to 2008 and is currently chair of the BC Assessment Authority. Ms. Rogers has served on professional and non-profit boards of directors and is the recipient of numerous awards and honours.
The Canadian Coast Guard has entered into two supply arrangements (SAs) to enhance its marine services, including ice clearance, icebreaking, vessel assistance, towing, maintaining aids to navigation, responding to shipboard fires, and stablizing vessels in distress. Le Groupe Océan inc. and McKeil Marine Limited are the private sector partners selected to provide the additional support in the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes region on an as/when needed basis. These agreements are intended to facilitate commercial navigation, and also to ensure the protection of marine environments by making more resources available to the Coast Guard in the event of an environmental response. In addition to these arrangements, the Coast Guard continues to assess its options in the short and long term to increase its icebreaking capability.
Rankin Inlet, with a population of 2,800, has been selected as the site of Canada's first Arctic inshore rescue boat station. The station is set to open this summer depending on ice conditions and weather and will consist of a six-person crew operating out of an existing building and a nine-metre, enclosed rigid-hull inflatable boat. The station is just the latest among 25 student-run rescue stations in Canada. However, its first few seasons will include seasoned veterans among six Indigenous students being recruited by the Canadian Coast Guard in the North. Crew members will undergo initial training alongside their southern-station counterparts in Ontario. This initial training will include Canada's national search and rescue system, search patterns, boat handling, marine first aid, and radio communication.
Lighthouse Resources Inc. has filed a lawsuit in federal court against Washington Governor Jay Inslee and two state regulators for allegedly violating the US Constitution’s commerce clause by denying permits that would enable the company to ship coal mined in Wyoming, Montana and other western states through its proposed Millennium Bulk Terminal to clients in Japan and South Korea. The company had plans to develop the coal export terminal on a site on the Columbia River where an existing Washington state lease allows coal exports. The Millennium Bulk Terminal is the last of six proposed coal terminals in the Pacific Northwest that was denied approval by state regulators or the US Army Corps of Engineers amid opposition from states and the Lummi Tribe, which argued that coal terminals interfered with their fishing rights.