Big news this week from BC Ferries with the announcement of the award of a $165 million fixed price contract to build three intermediate class vessels in Poland. The contract has been awarded to Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. of Gdansk and the vessels themselves will be dual fuel capable LNG or diesel for both main propulsion and generators. Two of the vessels are designated to replace the 49 year old Queen of Burnaby which services the Comox – Powell River route and the 50 year old Queen of Nanaimo which services the Tsawassen – Southern Gulf Islands route. The third vessel will supplement peak and shoulder season demand on the Southern Gulf Islands route in addition to providing refit relief across the fleet. Deliveries are scheduled from August 2016 to February 2017.The new vessels will be LOA 105 meters and will each accommodate 145 vehicles and 600 passengers. Well done BCF.
The BC Ferry and Marine Workers’ Union has failed in its bid to prevent BC Ferries from ordering a cable ferry to connect Denman and Hornby islands to Vancouver Island. BC Ferries has awarded a $15 million contract to Seaspan Shipyard for a 50 car and 150 passenger vessel for delivery in 2015. The Union had expressed concern to the BC Court of Appeal that the move would result in a loss of 15 jobs. The cable ferry will cut fuel expenses by about $2m per year on the 1.9km crossing which will be the longest such service in the world.
After a break of nearly 40 years, Port Metro Vancouver (PMV) is to resume management of Granville Island from the federal government’s Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Since 1972 CMHC oversaw the redevelopment of Granville Island from derelict industrial lands into the thriving arts, cultural and tourist trap that it is today. However, many of the island’s buildings and facilities are in need of upgrading and its largest tenant, Emily Carr University of Arts & Design, is scheduled to relocate to a newly constructed campus at False Creek Flats in 2016. Back in the 1880s, the island was a major hotbed for industrial activity but after World War II a series of fires and a changing economy put the island into disrepair until rejuvenation began under CMHC.
Dr. Mike Henderson has taken his leave as the Regional Director General for Transport Canada and has transferred to Natural Resources Canada as the Head of Major Project Management Office-West with immediate effect. Dr. Henderson’s Acting replacement at TC is Mr. Trevor Heryet, previous Regional Director of Civil Aviation. On behalf of our members, the Chamber would like to wish Dr. Henderson every success in his new role and bid a warm welcome to Mr. Heryet (picture above).
Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) contract talks which began on May 12 have continued beyond expiration of the previous contract on June 30 without too much fuss. “While there will be no contract extension, cargo will keep moving and normal operations will continue at the ports until an agreement can be reached between the PMA and the ILWU,” the parties said in a joint release.“Both sides understand the strategic importance of the ports to the local, regional and U.S. economies, and are mindful of the need to finalize a new coastwide contract as soon as possible to ensure continuing confidence in the West Coast ports and avoid any disruption to the jobs and commerce they support,” the release added.Expiration of the previous contract also means that the no-strike clause contained in contract has expired. However, by stating that “cargo will keep moving,” both parties were sending a message to the shipper community that neither a strike nor a lockout is anticipated as a way to influence negotiations.
It was denied by the ILWU that the work to rule this week at the Mitsui O.S.K. Lines owned TraPac terminal at the Port of Los Angeles is connected to contract negotiations. TraPac is the first container terminal on the West Coast to automate some areas of cargo handling processing, a right granted under an earlier ILWU contract.
It is evident that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is stepping up ECA enforcement as we approach the tighter 2015 standards. A number of shipping companies have been subpoenaed to submit further information following submission of several Fuel Oil Non-Availability Reports (FONAR). In the subpoenaes, all were asked to provide copies of their corporate policies and procedures related to MARPOL Annex VI compliance, as well as fuel procurement policies and contracts relating to any vessel for which they filed a FONAR. For each filed FONAR, they were told to provide a list of "each bunker supplier that does business at the port of call the vessel visited prior to entering the North American ECA, as well as at each port the vessel visited since receiving orders to proceed to a destination in the North American ECA” and to provide copies of all correspondence with each bunker supplier listed. All were also asked to fill in an electronic spreadsheet with detailed information for each FONAR filed by the company, essentially filling in gaps in information required in a FONAR that was previously not submitted. On top of that, they were asked to document the distance travelled inside the US portion of the North American ECA during which the vessels were burning non-compliant fuel, and the amount of fuel burned.
Canada is set to implement Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) later this year for ECA non compliance.
Holland America’s popular Alaska cruise ship Westerdam returned to Seattle on Saturday evening after a small boiler room fire. The vessel was carrying around 2,900 passengers and crew at the time but there was no significant damage or injuries according to the U.S. Coast Guard and she was cleared to sail for a slightly shortened cruise on Sunday morning.
On June 21st three of the International Sailors' Society Canada (ISSC) directors - Peter Swanson (Bernard LLP), Andrew Mayer (Prince Rupert Port Authority), and Bonnie Gee (Chamber of Shipping of BC) - completed the UK Sailors Society's gruelling Three Peaks Challenge. The Challenge involves climbing three mountains (Ben Nevis, Hellvelyn, and Snowden) in the UK within 24 hours. Much to their own surprise the team finished in the middle pack, 17th out of 35 teams, within a combined time of 12:29:34 up and down the three peaks within the 24-hour period. Over $15,000 was raised by the team through generous sponsorships from the marine community. Overall the 2014 Three Peaks Challenge raised over US $600,000 and, aside from the Canadian team's funds which will go towards seafarer centres across Canada, these funds will go towards worthy projects to help merchant seafarers around the world. For more information on the ISSC visit www.sailorssociety.ca.
Transport Canada has published the long-awaited amendments to the Marine Transportation Security Regulations in the Canada Gazette Part II, Vol. 148, No. 14 - July 2, 2014. These amendments will bring greater clarity and consistency for marine operators and include recent changes made to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) for Seafarers.
The inaugual meeting of the Commodity Supply Chain Table (CSCT) estalbished by Transport Canada held its first meeting last week. The CSCT is expected to provide a forum to address logistical issues and identify ways to improve rail transportation with better information on anticipated volumes.
Never happy unless it has something to protest, Greenpeace has sent dispatched its flagship Rainbow Warrior ship to obstruct the removal of the Costa Concordia two and a half years after it capsized and sank off the island of Giglio, Italy with the loss of 32 people. The vessel is to be towed at a speed of two knots to the port of Genoa, a five day voyage, for scrapping. Clearly unfamiliar with the local weather pattern in July and August, Greenpeace claims the five day journey is fraught with danger because of the risk of storms and that toxic fluids still in the wreck could leak into the marine environment. Countering the concern, salvage contractors handling the vessel have confirmed that technical and engineering assessments make the removal plan safe, even in severe weather conditions. In addition the Concordia will be under the escort of several other vessels, with equipment and specialized personnel, including a team of marine biology experts and marine mammal observers, ready to intervene should any problem arise.
News has emerged related to the 2014 built Norwegian cruise ferry Bergensfjord which was involved in a minor LNG bunker spill two months ago. Bunker supplier Skangass has confirmed that a leak of an estimated 130 kilograms of LNG occurred during the truck-to-ship bunkering of Fjord Line’s 1500-passenger Bergensfjord at Risavika near Stavanger on May 9. The cause of the incident has been initially attributed to a test of the ship's stability system taking place at the same time as bunkering which put a strain to the hose connection to the bunker station. The Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection (DSB), has committed to producing a publicly available report on the incident.
There were also a couple of announcements this week on the provision of what is anticipated to be the world's first sea-going LNG bunkering vessel which is set to be introduced at the Belgian port of Zeebrugge by 2016. Shell has also agreed to buy LNG imported to their neighboring Rotterdam Gate terminal for distribution to LNG fuelled vessels with a similar timeline. The port of Gothenburg (Sweden) has meanwhile announced that eco-friendly LNG powered ships will be granted a discount of up to 30% on harbor dues for the next four years.
In the UK, an unusual case involving cross-Channel ferry traffic has been underway for some time and has resulted in rail operator Eurotunnel has been banned by the country’s Competition and Marketing Authority (CMA) from operating a ferry service known as MyFerryLink which it started up two years ago. The case involves three ferries previously owned by SeaFrance, a company that was bankrupted following several suspensions of service due to strikes by French unions. In explaining its judgment, the CMA concluded that Eurotunnel's purchase of the ferries meant it had more than 50% of the cross channel business and therefore too much market power. CMA has given Eurotunnel six months to wrap up the service and seek a buyer for the ferries which together with shoreside support and management staff employ 600 people. Eurotunnel has advised that it will appeal the judgment for a second time.
The loss of the container ship MOL Comfort which broke in half in the Indian Ocean one year ago continues to generate an immense legal wrangle. Cargo interests have now been given leave by a Japanese court to join Mitsui OSK Lines in its lawsuit against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the vessel’s builder for damages from the sinking in which all 4,372 containers onboard the vessel were lost. MOL is also reported to be seeking at least ¥13.8bn ($131.6m) from Mitsubishi for damages and costs related to the cost of strengthening sister-ships with much hanging on ClassNK’s investigation report which is due to be released in August.
For its part, classification society DNV GL has disclosed that it previously rejected designs similar to that of MOL Comfort ”for not meeting the organization’s classification requirements”. Responding to the implied criticism, CLASSNK Executive vice-president Yasushi Nakamura commented whilst in London this week that his classification society “will revise standards for the structural stability of post-panamax containerships if investigations into the MOL Comfort casualty demonstrate the need to do so”.
The IMO Code on Noise Levels On Board Ships (the ‘2012 Noise Code’) entered into force on 1 July, 2014. The Code’s requirements apply to all vessels of 1,600 gt and above where:
the building contract is signed on or after 1 July, 2014, or in the absence of a building contract,
the keel is laid or at a similar stage of construction on or after 1 January, 2015,
or the delivery date is on or after 1 July, 2018.
The code requires that a noise survey is conducted when the vessel is on its sea trials and that a report demonstrating compliance with the code is compiled and kept on board the vessel, and is easily accessible by the crew.
Ms. Cecilia Battistello, Chairman and Chief Executive of the Contship Italia group has been given the Bellisario Award in recognition of her achievement as the most influential woman in shipping, and for her entrepreneurialism in developing the business she joined in 1973. The award was presented by the Marisa Bellisario Foundation which described Mrs Battistello as a woman who is “strong-minded and stubborn, ambitious but well-balanced with her international career, goals and achievements representing a model of professionalism, competence and determination that are an example for future generations”. The Bellisario Foundation was established in 1989 with the aim of promoting gender balance and encouraging women in both the public and private sectors. Mrs Battistello has run the Contship group, which includes the ports of Gioia Tauro, Cagliari and La Spezia, since 1996.
Greece is out so Greek owners don’t even have the World Cup to distract themselves from the continuing suicidal market rates for Panamaxes, however the Baltic Dry Index did manage to close up a smidgen on Thursday this week on 890 points compared to 824 points last week and 905 points the week previously.
The Vancouver Transportation Club's NSR (No Special Reason) pub night will be held next week on July 11th at Moose's Down Under from 5pm. Tickets are $20 and includes a beverage and food. For tickets and more information, visit: http://www.vancouvertransportationclub.com/.
The BC Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) will be host its inaugural BC Waterfront Games on September 13th at their Waterfront Training Centre located on Mitchell Island. This will be community event to showcase waterfront activity using heavy lift equipment in a competitive spirit. For more information visit: www.bcmea.com.
On September 17th the Chartered Institute of Transport in North America (CILTNA) will host a half-day session on "The Rewards and Risks of Western Resource Trade - Towards a Meeting of the Minds." The conference will bring together a broad range of perspectives with the goal of establishing a path forward to address legitimate concerns with growing trade in Western Canada.
Save the date for this year's World Maritime Day fundraising dinner on Wednesday, September 24th at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club. Guest speaker will be well-known local marine artist and founding member of the Canadian Lifeboat Institution, John Horton. Proceeds from this event will benefit the Mission to Seafarers.
USS Texas- preserved battleship served in World Wars I and II
This week marks the centenary of the outbreak of World War I in which it is estimated that the military and civilian casualties was over 37 million, ranking it among the deadliest conflicts in history. A preserved veteran of the conflict is USS Texas (BB-35), a New York-class battleship launched in May 1912 and commissioned in March 1914. She is preserved in San Jacinto, Texas.
Class: New York Battleship Launched: May 18, 1912 At: Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Company, Newport News, Virginia Commissioned: March 12, 1914 LOA: 573 feet Beam: 106 feet Normal Draft: 28 feet, 6 inches Displacement: 34,000 tons Speed: 21 knots Crew: 1,810 Armament: (December 1944) Ten 14-inch/45 caliber guns; six 5-inch/51 caliber guns; ten 3-inch/50 caliber guns; ten 40mm quad-mounted guns; forty-four 20mm guns Sister ship; USS New York
On 24 March 1914, Texas departed the Norfolk Naval Yard for New York City making her grand entrance on March 27. She went on to see action in Mexican waters and made numerous sorties into the North Sea with the Grand Fleet during World War I. When the United States formally entered World War II in 1941, USS Texas escorted convoys across the Atlantic, and later shelled Axis-held beaches for the North African campaign and the Normandy Landings before being transferred to the Pacific in 1944 to provide naval gunfire support during the Battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. USS Texas was decommissioned in 1948, having earned a total of five battle stars for service in World War II.
After several years of being laid up and left to deteriorate, in 1983 responsibility for the vessel was passed to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and after much heart searching in December 1988 she was moved to Todd Shipyards in Galveston, Texas for a full refit. With repairs complete, she was officially reopened to the public in September 1990 at San Jacinto. Her retirement has not been without incident and as generally seems to occur with preserved ships there is a never ending struggle for money to keep them financially and literally afloat.
Texas was the first and oldest of the eight US battleships that became floating museums; the other battleships honored in this way are Massachusetts, Alabama, North Carolina, New Jersey, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Iowa.