Sunday, June 25th officially marks the International Maritime Organization's Day of the Seafarer. The day was established in a resolution adopted by the 2010 Diplomatic Conference in Manila to adopt the revised STCW Convention. Its stated purpose is to recognize the unique contribution made by seafarers from all over the world to international seaborne trade, the world economy and civil society as a whole. This year theme is #SeafarersMatter.
Locally there are a few events happening to recognize the Day of the Seafarer. Prince Rupert Port Authority staff members will climb Mt. Hayes on June 24th in recognition of Day of the Seafarer and the International Sailors' Society Canada's (ISSC) Peak Challenge in North Vancouver later in the week and will host seafarers at the Prince Rupert Seafarers Centre over the weekend. The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, together with the Lighthouse Ministeries is hosting a complimentary lunch for the crew of the Grand Princess while in port on June 25th. The ISSC's Peak Challenge for Day of the Seafarer will happen on June 29th. 16 teams are participating in this inaugural event from Pacific Basin Shipping, Bernard LLP, BC Maritime Employers Association, SAAM SMIT, Tymac Launch, Pacific Pilotage Authority, Paladin Technologies, Fraser Surrey Docks and the Chamber of Shipping.
Seaspan Ferries officially opened its new $44-million ferry freight terminal at Nanaimo's Duke Point on Monday. The new terminal will streamline a major cargo route between the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island and operate 24 hours a day to keep up with volume of cargo the company ships. The location will keep commercial traffic out of downtown Nanaimo and make mid-island operations more efficient. The new LNG fuelled ferries and terminal are part of Seaspan's 250 million dollar project to modernize its terminals and fleet. Seaspan says it supplies more than 50% of all cargo to Vancouver Island through its seven ferry fleet.
BC Ferries welcomed its second Salish Class vessel, Salish Eagle, into service this week. The Salish Eagle, which operates on the Tsawwassen – Southern Gulf Islands route, is the second of three new Salish Class vessels that are dual-fuel and capable of operating on either natural gas or ultra-low sulphur marine diesel. BC Ferries’ use of natural gas for these vessels will result in the reduction of an estimated 9,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year, the same as taking approximately 1,900 passenger vehicles off the road annually.
Canadian National Railway says it will spend $500 million over the next five years on technology to improve its safety, efficiency and competitive edge, partly in response to the potential threat posed by driverless trucks. It plans to spend $28 million this year to acquire additional monitoring equipment for the early detection of train defects that would allow it to intervene before problems arise.
CN has already implemented some new technologies such as Readiband to monitor and record employee fatigue and alertness and a process called CanaPux to ship heavy crude from the Alberta oilsands to Asia. The process turns the bitumen into semi-solid pucks that can be more safely loaded and transported. The pucks float, don’t dissolve in water or burn. CN is also spending $1.2 billion by 2020 to implement Positive Train Control across its network as mandated by the US government. The system uses wireless communications, GPS and onboard computers to alert conductors about track and speed changes while maintaining a safe separation between trains to avoid collisions.
A handful of local businesses took matters into their own hands and are sharing the cost of removing six derelict boats that posed a risk to the environment and public safety in Cowichan Bay. The cost of taking out the old boats is estimated to be between about $40,000 to $50,000 and will be shared between Western Forest Products, Western Stevedoring, and Pacific Industrial & Marine. Due to the water being too shallow around two of the wrecks and not wanting to damage the estuary, a helicopter was hired to airlift them out Wednesday afternoon. To see the news coverage with videos of the operation, visit: Global News.
Westshore Terminals quietly made donated a huge donation to the Mission to Seafarers earlier this year. Above is a picture of Chaplain Ernst DeVries with seafarers at the Robert's Bank seafarers centre along with the mini-van generously purchased for the Mission to Seafarers by Westshore Terminals to provide a transportation service to seafarers and also assist the Mission in caring for all seafarers.
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has advised that two legacy release service options for goods regulated by three federal departments will be decommissioned as of April 1, 2018, namely: EDI OGD PARS SO 463 and EDI OGD RMD SO 471. As an incentive for clients to use the SWI, as of June 1, 2017, the CBSA will prioritize the processing of transactions submitted through the SWI over these other release options. An important note is that service providers that have signed the Service Provider Agreement with the CBSA will be able to on-board their client base without further testing, once they have successfully completed the testing process with three of their clients.
Further information on the SWI can be found on the CBSA website Single Window Initiative which includes the rationale for the data elements required by the participating departments and agencies.
In a tragic and disturbing collision last weekend, seven US sailors died when the 2,858-teu capacity ACX Crystal container ship collided with the US navy destroyer, USS Fitzgerald outside of Tokyo Bay at approximately 0130 hrs on Saturday morning. Most of the 200 crew members were asleep at the time and the collision inflicted significant damage to the destroyer below the waterline, flooding berths, a machinery area and the radio room. Among the compartments that flooded were cabins where 116 sailors were sleeping. The damage to the destroyer suggests that the ACX Crystal might have slammed into it at a high speed, raising questions about communication between the two vessels in an area where as many as 400 ships pass through every day, according to Japan's coast guard. The ACX Crystal may have been on autopilot as the AIS track lines indicate that the ship automatically righted its course and increase speed to readjust the change in course the collision had made. However, the USS Fitzgerald, under international maritime rules, would be expected to give the ACX Crystal the right of way because it was on the destroyer’s starboard side when they hit.
In an initiative to cut air pollution and protect whales in the Santa Barbara Channel region, the Vessel Speed Reduction (VSR) voluntary incentive program will for the first time be extended to include the San Francisco Bay Area. The 2017 Program will start July 1 and continue until November 15. This week the partners began enrolling ships in the program, and will continue to sign up ships through June 30.
In the 2016 VSR program in the Santa Barbara Channel region, slowing 50 ship transits to 12 knots or under, saw a reduction of more than 25 tons of smog-forming nitrogen oxides (NOx) and more than 1,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Ten global shipping companies participated in the 2016 Program: CMA CGM, Evergreen, Hamburg Sud, Hapag Lloyd, Holland, K Line, Maersk, MOL, NYK Line, and Yang Ming. In 2016, more than 90 percent of the companies contacted by the program indicated interest in also participating in a Bay Area program in the future. For 2017, the incentive program will have a maximum possible incentive of $2,500 for transits that slow to 10 knots in both regions in a single trip. More than $185,000 in funding is planned to incentivize slow-speed transits for 2017, with the potential to more than double the number of slow-speed transits over 2016.
Closer to home, the voluntary VSR for the Haro Strait will run between August 7 - October 6th and vessels, representing approximately 900 transits, will be requested to reduce their speed to 11 knots in an effort to better understand vessel generated underwater noise impacts on marine mammals..
A tie vote yesterday at the Federal Maritime Commission will not prevent the Port of New York & New Jersey/OCEMA Discussion Agreement from going into effect this Sunday, June 25, 2017. The agreement authorizes the Port Authority and OCEMA to collect and exchange information, discuss, and reach agreements on matters relating to cargo throughput, safety, intermodal equipment supply and efficiencies, congestion relief, port and terminal infrastructure, financing of improvements, and clean air or other environmental initiatives affecting operations in and around the Port of New York and New Jersey. The agreement also opens the door on discussions on a per-container Cargo Facility Charge, similar to the Port of Vancouver's Gateway Infrastructure Fee (GIF), that raises millions of dollars for infrastructure improvements in the port. As with the GIF, carriers have for years opposed infrastructrure fees that cannot be passed on to customers and forces the carriers to pay for services they may not use. This will be an interesting discussion to watch for all container carriers.
The proposed joint venture of the Ocean Network Express (ONE) felt a second blow as the South African Competition Commission (SACC) rejected the proposed merger between Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line), Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL). The decision was based on concerns of potential collusion between the lines, as the three lines' whose car-carrying business were once found to be part of a price-fixing cartel in South Africa. Earlier the US Federal Maritime Commission decided it did not have jurisdiction to approve a joint venture as it was operational in nature. The rejection by the SACC throws a wrench in the lines' plans to begin the joint venture July 1, 2017 as to fully operate, the regulators in each major trade route must approve the deal.
Dr. Joost Schokkenbroek has been appointed as the new Executive Director of the Vancouver Maritime Museum (VMM). Dr. Schokkenbroek will assume responsibilities at the VMM, in the immediate future and will succeed Captain Ken Burton, who will be stepping aside from the Executive Director position to pursue other areas of interest. Dr. Schokkenbroek began his museum career in 1988 at the Kendall Whaling Museum in Sharon, Massachusetts, USA. Since that time Dr. Schokkenbroek has been the Curator of Material Culture and Chief Curator at Het Scheepvaartmuseum (The Dutch National Maritime Museum) and has held the position of chair of Maritime History and Maritime Heritage at Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam.
The Vancouver Maritime Museum, Board of Trustees look forward to enhanced ties between the cities of Amsterdam and Vancouver as well as the two Maritime Museums. The Vancouver Maritime Museum was founded in 1959 and is a world-leading maritime museum, library archive and heritage centre. The Vancouver Maritime Museum is home of the RCMP St. Roch – a National Historic Site.
There has been some speculation this week that that Hong Kong-based Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) will be acquired by COSCO Shipping. Both lines are remaining tight-lipped and OOCL parent company Orient Overseas (International) Ltd. (OOIL) have gone as far as denying the rumors. The rumor started back in January 2017 after reports by reputable news outlets stating that COSCO Shipping was preparing a $4 billion bid for OOCL. These speculative whispers have grown louder in recent weeks following an extended suspension of shares trading for the Hong Kong and Shanghai-listed COSCO Shipping Holdings since May.
Mexico's Federal Economic Competition Commission (FECC), the country's primary antitrust agency, has levied fines against seven ocean shipping companies totaling $32 million for colluding on prices of routes in the auto transport services market. Chilean company Compañía Sud Americana de Vapores (CSAV), Japanese companies Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK), Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), Mitsui OSK Bulk Shipping (MOBUSA) and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha ("K" Line), "K" Line America, and Norwegian/Swedish company Wallenius Wilhlmsen Logistics (WWL) were fined a total of $32 million regarding nine separate business agreements between the companies that were in effect between 2009 and 2015. The FECC said it determined that the companies colluded by assigning transport routes to specific shippers between five Mexican ports and seven countries across the globe.
Part of Marriott International, the Ritz-Carlton hotel group, has announced plans to create one of the most luxurious experiences at sea with the launch of three three lavishly appointed cruise ships from 2019. Each custom-built yacht offers an intimate journey with space for only 298 guests. Accommodations include 149 suites, each with its own balcony, and several luxurious duplex penthouses. As with The Ritz-Carlton on land, cruises feature:
Voyages range from 7 to 10 days and include overnight and daytime ports of call. The first yacht sets sail in 2019; reservations open May 2018.
The Danish Maritime Authority has reported that the IMO Maritime Safety Committee will begin discussions on an international legal framework for the safe operation of autonomous ships and will start mapping out how existing international regulation can be applied to autonomous ships and evolving technologies. The proposal to include autonomous ships on the IMO agenda has been submitted by Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, United Kingdom and the US.
The C.D. Howe Institute has released a report on “Casting Off: How Ottawa Can Maximize the Value of Canada’s Major Ports and Benefit Taxpayers,” by author Steven Robins. The report suggests that major port authorities should rely on private capital to finance expansion, and Ottawa should harvest some of the value of its $3 billion stake in major sea ports for investment in other priorities.