Seaspan Ferries Corp. this week announced that it has awarded a contract to Sedef Shipyard of Istanbul, Turkey for the construction of two LNG-powered ferries. With an LOA of 148.9 meters each vessel will have a capacity for up to 59 trailers and will be powered by dual-fuel engines capable of running on diesel or LNG. Seaspan advised that the contract process involved discussions with 40 shipyards including consideration to building at home in North Vancouver but given the commitments to government contracts, this was not feasible. The two vessels are scheduled to begin service between Vancouver Island and the Mainland in late 2016.
An announcement last week by Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. (Japex) that it plans to build a new LNG import terminal at Soma near Fukushima by 2018 has raised expectations for Canadian LNG exports. The company has announced a so called "social mission" to bring stable energy to those affected by the 2011 tsunami and accompanying nuclear disaster. The new import terminal would be the country’s 33rd regasification facility as it continues to be the world's major LNG importer. Japex has a 10% interest in the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG project at Prince Rupert. Japan has a pressing need to develop new LNG import facilities as all of the country’s 48 nuclear power generating reactors remain inoperative despite a local governor in southern Japan having recently given final approval to restart one nuclear power plant under new safety rules drawn up after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
Despite the intervention of the Mayor of Los Angeles, “Justice for Port Truckers”, a Teamsters union affiliate this week expanded their protests at Los Angeles-Long Beach against drayage companies. The drivers are protesting unpaid wages and misclassification of their status as independent contractors. The Teamsters have sponsored a number of driver disruptions this year, but in reality they represent only a minor percentage of the more than 100 drayage companies doing business in LA/LB. Simultaneously, with Black Friday in the headlights, the ILWU continues to stage-manage a major slow down of cargo handling at all major West Coast Coast ports and in many cases is refusing to fill gang orders at all. Despite having been petitioned by pretty much every entity with a stake in the game and calls for a federal mediator, President Obama says he's confident U.S. West Coast longshoremen and waterfront employers can reach a labor contract. However today the ILWA announced that they have decided to curtail "big table" negotiations starting today through the end of the US Thanksgiving weekend. Making matters worse, the ILWU has also refused to agree to a temporary contract extension.
The Port of Oakland was closed yesterday when the ILWU declared a “24 hour safety stand-down” in respect of a 56 year old longshoremen who died in on a ship in Benicia following an asthama attack.
The Panama Canal Authority has issued a detailed reply to recent criticisms from pilots of the decision to use tugs rather than the traditional side wall locomotives (mules) to assist vessels through the new locks, due to be opened in 2016. The Authority points out as follows:
Detailed studies were conducted regarding the methodology of transits through the new locks, evaluating the effects and consequences of transits with and without the assistance of locomotives. After extensive evaluation, the decision was eventually made to adopt transits through the locks with only the assistance of tugboats, a method successfully used worldwide at locks in various water routes.
These studies were performed by a multidisciplinary team in charge of the successful management of the Panama Canal operations, a team composed of highly-skilled engineers and pilots. This team has in the past been responsible for several modifications to transit methodologies, which have resulted in an improved efficiency and safety of operations. Eventually, these changes in methodology were implemented and accepted, resulting in improved efficiency in the current transit operations that have benefited our customers directly. These improvements have been recognized and praised worldwide.
In current transit operations, locomotives are used to help maintain the vessels positioned in the locks and avoid contact with the chamber walls. Recognizing that we do not want to have vessels making direct contact with the chamber walls of the new locks, and at the same time addressing the implementation of the new transit methodology, these locks were designed with two continuous rows of rubber fenders capped with an ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (slippery surface to reduce wear) layer on the walls that will serve to reduce the risk associated with vessels coming in contact with those structures. Additionally, a vertical column of fenders of the same type mentioned earlier were also added every 33 meters to the new lock chambers.
The Authority also points out that it has invested more than 360 million dollars since 2007 in the acquisition of 35 new tugboats having state of the art technology and between 63 and 82 tons of bollard pull . In addition to new navigational aids the Authority is to invest in new Pilot Portable Units. The expanded canal is scheduled to open for business in Q1 2016 but don’t book that cruise just yet folks.
In the continuing fall out over the loss of 304 people on the ferry Sewol, the South Korean government this week announced the formation of a new government agency designed to handle emergency rescue and safety management. The subject of much criticism, the Korean coast guard is being broken up and its search and rescue duties are being moved to the new “Ministry of Public Safety and Security” that will have more than 10,000 staff and incorporate national fire and emergency response teams.
Stung by criticism of the country’s poor record in confronting regional piracy, the Indonesian government also announced this week that it is to form a new coastguard. This was a key undertaking of the new Indonesian President Mr. Joko Widodo during his campaign.
Owners and charterers that have received bunkers from OW Bunker, its affiliates or subsidiaries are being advised to stay vigilant as legal action initiated by the company’s creditors is rapidly escalating. Adding to the global uncertainty is that bankruptcies of OW’s separate legal entities in different jurisdictions will be handled under local law and while bankruptcy proceedings would put a stop on legal action against that entity in a particular jurisdiction, they do not necessarily mean its contractual positions were terminated or in breach. OW Bunker and related offices around the world are believed to number around 40, operating under various trading names. The company’s debts were this week listed as $730 million.
After only kicking off LNG imports in 2006, latest predictions are that LNG import terminals in China will more than double in the next 10 years from the current 11 LNG terminals. As the country seeks to switch to cleaner fuel without displacing millions from employment, the country is targeting a 15% year on year increase in LNG imports with both state owned and private companies heavily involved in terminal infrastructure development. China is currently the third largest importer of LNG in the Pacific region in October taking 3.3m cbm (21 ships), behind South Korea 6.2m cbm (42 ships) and Japan a whopping 15.9m cbm (117 ships). So what are we waiting for?
Paris MOU vessel detentions under the new Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) have made up 17.4% of the total during its first year in operation with 113 detentions Almost 40% of detainable deficiencies related to payment of wages, 43% accident prevention, 28.6% health and safety and 25.4% were related to accommodation, food and catering standards.
Just a year after falling foul of the Russian authorities, Greenpeace is in trouble again – this time with Spain. The notorious Arctic Sunrise this time pushed its luck with the Repsol drillship Rowan Resistance (above) resulting in a fairly violent confrontation off the Canary Islands. The Spanish government has launched an investigation against the Captain of the Arctic Sunrise, for an alleged “infringement against marine traffic rules punishable with a fine of up to 300,000 Euros. While the crew has been released, the Arctic Sunrise is being held until a 50,000 Euro bond. See the short clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCoh7rRLRec.
Clarkson Plc, the world’s largest shipbroker, is negotiating to buy Norway’s RS Platou ASA, a slightly smaller company. Between them, the two companies’ sales last year amounted to $500 million. Platou gets about 70% of its sales from investment banking and services to the offshore oil industry. Established in London in 1852, Clarkson has 42 offices around the world and more than 1,000 employees. Platou, set up in Norway in 1936, has operations in 18 countries and 370 employees.
Still with broking mergers, ICAP has confirmed that it is in talks with Howe Robinson to combine it with its ship broking arm ICAP Shipping to be up and running in the second quarter of 2015. Howe Robinson has a 150 staff in six offices worldwide, while ICAP Shipping has 196 employees in 10 offices. Howe Robinson specialises in the dry cargo and containership sectors, and ICAP Shipping is active in the wet and dry cargo sectors, offshore and FFAs. ICAP moved into ship broking in 2007 with the purchase of JE Hyde.
We have our own Cycling for Seafarers but UK brewer Fuller, Smith & Turner PLC (Fullers) has gone one better by raising funds for Seafarers UK through the sale of beer. This year’s donation of £38,676, raised through sales of its thirst quenching Seafarers Ale, was presented recently at the opening of The Admiralty, Fuller’s new pub on London’s Trafalgar Square, where Seafarers UK’s Director General, Mr. Barry Bryant, met with guest of honor, The Admiral Lord West of Spithead, himself a long term supporter of the charity.
Closer to home, thanks go to Brian O’Connell (ISL Ship and Port Agency / Customs Brokers) for his donation of two Grey Cup tickets for auction (raised $600) at last week’s Plimsoll Club banquet and to the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers ($1,000) for both of their donations to Vancouver's Mission to Seafarers.
The signing of a Free Trade Agreement between China and Australia after 10 years of negotiations promises to be good news for global shipping if not necessarily for Canada. In addition to an immediate scrapping of the 3% tax on coking coal imports, and a phasing out of the 6% tax on thermal coal imports over the next two years, the agreement is expected to boost Australian agriculture and allow for more Chinese investment in Australia. China is already Australia’s top trading partner, with two-way trade of around A$150 billion ($130 billion) in 2013 and once the agreement is fully implemented 99.9% of Australia’s current resource, energy and manufacturing exports will enjoy duty free entry into China.
The Baltic Dry Indexwas largely treading water this week to close on Thursday on 1332 points compared to 1264 points last week and 1436 points the week previously.
Spot time charter
One week ago
Containers: Given the extent of the issues they are facing, ocean carriers have been announcing surcharges to compensate for delays at USWC ports but this has caught the attention of the Federal Maritime Commission which has reminding the carriers that they cannot impose congestion surcharges without giving customers 30-days notice. The Transpacific Stabilization Agreement had last weekend announced an immediate $1,000 per FEU and $800 per TEU congestion surcharge but this is now on hold.
Tankers: Owners fortunate enough to have Aframax and Suezmax tonnage in the Mediterranean were doing exceptionally well this week. Tankers are reaping the rewards of a regional boom where spot earnings are reaching $80-90,000 per day compared to only $35,000 per day last week. It surely won’t last so enjoy while you can.
The Vancouver Maritime Arbitrators Association are pleased to present its next seminar on Tuesday December 2, 2014 at noon on How to Write an Enforceable Arbitration Award. This seminar will feature key note speaker JJ McIntyre of MW Law Offices. View the VMAA Seminar Registration Form.
The Vancouver Grain Exchange's annual Christmas lunch will be held on Friday, December 5th at the Terminal City CLub. Each year the Vancouver Grain Exchange collects food donations at the Christmas lunch, with over 12 boxes of donations collected in 2013 for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. For more information visit: http://www.thevge.ca/events/2014-annual-christmas-lunch/.
The Canadian and International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA) will host its annual Christmas lunch this year on December 11, 2014 at the River Rock Casino. Organizers will be collecting unwrapped toys for donation to the Richmond Christmas Fund. Tickets are now available on-line at: http://learning.ciffa.com/index.php?module=course&page=event-enrolment.
The seminar listing for the Cargo Logistics Canada conference and registration is now available at: http://www.cargologisticscanada.com/. The Cargo Logistics Canada Expo & Conference is the largest and most diverse gathering of stakeholders in Canadian supply chains to be assembled in Canada. Until December 19th the CLC VIP Pass is only $275.
Having just entered service from her New York home port, The world’s third largest cruise ship is being touted as a technical marvel and the world’s first smartship. She is certainly different with a number of innovative features including a jewel-shaped pod that lifts passengers over the ocean and robots that serve cocktails. She reputedly has the fastest wi-fi at sea, wristbands that serve as room keys, virtual balconies in her inside cabins, the first dodgem ride on water, and a skydiving simulator.
Built by Meyer Werft, Papenberg, Germany 2014 LOA 348m Beam 41m GRT 166,168 tons Speed 22 knots (cruising) Bowthrusters: 4 x 4694 HP each Guests: 4,905 Crew; 1,500
Two70: A revolutionary multi-level great room with capacity for 540 guests, named for its 270-degree panoramic sea views through floor-to-ceiling glass walls spanning almost three decks, and seamlessly fusing entertainment and technology.
SeaPlex: The largest indoor active space at sea comprising bumper cars, a circus school with flying trapeze and roller skating
Music Hall: A live music venue for guests to enjoy DJs, theme events, billiards and more. Capacity 559 guests
Royal Theater: The main theater is a state-of-the art space for 1,300 guests that takes advantage of the latest technology to create a unique performance venue.
Restaurants: 18 individual
First at Sea Activities:
RipCord by iFLY: The first skydiving experience at sea which allows everyone from first-time flyers to seasoned skydivers – to enjoy the sheer thrill of skydiving in a safe, controlled environment
North Star: A jewel-shaped glass capsule that rises more than 300 feet in the air taking guests on a spectacular journey of 360-degree views
Quantum of the Seas was named last Friday while docked in Cape Liberty, New Jersey. Royal Caribbean chairman Richard Fain spoke to those in attendance about what makes Quantum of the Seas special, "Our ships are built to be 1/3 traditional, 1/3 evolutionary and 1/3 revolutionary." During the ceremony, godmother Kristin Chenoweth used a tablet on the main stage to launch the traditional champagne bottle against the ship’s hull. Also part of the event were performances by the New York Police Department bagpipes and drums.