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.
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:
Fairview Container Terminal: DP World completed its expansion of the Fairview Terminal, increasing annual throughput capacity by 60% and enabling the terminal to move 926,540 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units).
Ridley Terminals: The bulk-handling facility specializing in the shipment of steel-making coal from Northeastern British Columbia, saw total shipments rebound to 7.6 million tonnes, a 90% increase over 2016 volumes.
Westview Terminal: The wood pellet terminal saw a significant increase in biofuel volumes, up 22% to 1.1 million tonnes, representing the export of nearly half of Canada’s entire wood pellet production.
Prince Rupert Grain Terminal: The bulk grain terminal saw a slight decrease of 6% based on lower volumes of wheat, but exceeded a total of 5 million tonnes for the fifth straight year.Northland Cruise Terminal: Cruise passengers arriving in Prince Rupert more than doubled to over 16,000 visitors on 25 cruise ship visits.
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 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.
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."
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.
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.
Following delivery from her previous Greek owners, Orveline Hellinic Shipping Co. in Piraeus in late August this year, the 17 year old freshly repainted ferry now renamed Northern Sea Wolf has made the 10,100 nautical mile passage to British Columbia via the Panama Canal. The name of the vessel was selected through a community engagement process involving First Nations, BC Ferry Advisory Committee members, BC Ferries employees and the Mid-Coast Ferry Working Group. Beginning in the summer of 2018, she will operate a new mid-coast ferry service with BC Ferries which will offer sailings between Port Hardy and Bella Coola five days per week during peak season which is, to say the least, something of a contrast to servicing some of the Greek Islands.
Built by Panagiotakis Bros, Ampelakia, Greece Owned and operated by BC Ferries Delivered in 2000 LOA 75m Beam 15m GRT 2679 tons DWT 353 MT Propulsion 2 x Cummins Diesels 2399kW Capacity for 35 vehicles Passengers and crew 150 Previous names: Agios Andreas II, Andreas II, Mr. Shoppy One, Aqua Spirit
The above pictures left and centre show Northern Sea Wolf alongside in picturesque Grand Harbour, Valetta, Malta following drydocking. The voyage to BC was 35 days with bunker calls at the Canary Islands, Antigua, Panama and Manzanillo before the last leg into BC where she is undergoing a mid-life upgrade. BC Ferries has awarded two major contracts to Esquimalt Drydock, the first being a $2 million docking contract. The company will also award approximately $18 million further to Esquimalt Drydock and other local contractors and suppliers for interior and safety upgrades to shipboard systems, crew living and working spaces and a complete passenger accommodation and food services modernization. The picture above right shows her in transit through the Panama Canal on December 1.
The above is a small sample of the Northern Sea Wolf in her former lives. As Mr. Shoppy One (centre above) she operated cheap shopping trips between Southern Norway and Strömstad in Sweden. The picture above right shows her making a Mediterranean Mooring (stern first) in choppy seas.