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.
Effective from January 1, 2018 the California State Lands Commission requires vessels to have a biofouling management plan that includes a record book, plans for the management of wetted surfaces, niche areas, and extended residency periods. To view the letter to shipping agents and interested parties, visit: http://www.slc.ca.gov/Programs/MISP/2018-AgentLetter.pdf.
The International Maritime Organization has issued a news release advising of amendments to the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL Convention) that take effect starting January 1, 2018. The amendment adds a new provision that prevents any discrimination for shore leave on grounds of nationality, race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion, or social origin. Shore leave should be granted, irrespective of the flag State of the ship. If any request is turned down, the relevant public authorities must provide an explanation to the crew member and the master, which the seafarer or master can request to be provided in writing.
The other significant amendment is the requirement for national governments to introduce electronic information exchange, including electronic data interchange (EDI), to transmit information related to maritime transport. This should be in place by April 8. 2019, with provision for a transitional period during which paper and electronic documents would be allowed. Use of a "single window" for data is encouraged, to enable all the information required by public authorities in connection with the arrival, stay and departure of ships, persons and cargo, to be submitted via a single portal, without duplication.
Seaspan Corporation has accepted delivery of the MSC Yashi B, an 11,000 TEU containership that will commence a bareboat charter with MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. (“MSC”) for a period of seventeen years. Upon completion of the bareboat charter period, MSC is obligated to purchase the vessel for a pre-determined amount. The MSC Yashi B, which was constructed at HHIC-Phil, is Seaspan’s fifth SAVER design containership in a series of five ships under bareboat charter to MSC. This is Seaspan’s first vessel delivery in 2018, expanding Seaspan’s operating fleet to 90 vessels. Pictured above is sistership, MSC Shreya B, the second SAVER containership delivered to MSC in September 2017. Seaspan's SAVER design includes a hull form that facilitates very low fuel consumption in the operational speed range, while having an acceptable top speed together with a highly efficient propellor.
In its annual tradition, the Mission to Seafarers and volunteers from Tymac Launch, set sail earlier today to deliver some good cheer and donated gifts to the many seafarers spending the holidays in the Port of Vancouver. Leading the elves this year is the Mission's Reverend Peter Smyth. Great job and thank you all for caring for our visiting seafarers!
AGT Food and Ingredients, a Regina-based pulse and specialty crop exporter, has signed a 20-year deal for access and certain exclusive rights to a new agriculture export terminal to be built at the Fibreco facility in the Port of Vancouver. The new facility will include approximately 43,000 metric tonnes of dry bulk storage, rail capacity to receive full unit trains, and a new shiploader and expanded ship berth capable of loading Panamax vessels. A project permit has been granted by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. Approval of a development permit from the District of North Vancouver has also been requested and is the last major condition for the service agreement with AGT.
CN has selected Calgary-headquartered Toyo Engineering Canada Ltd. to design and build a pilot project to produce CanaPux pellets - a key step toward demonstrating the commercial viability of moving bitumen by rail in solid form. CanaPux are solid, dry pellets that will meet the rigorous strength requirements for bulk transport, float in water and do not leak or dissolve, so there is minimal risk of environmental contamination to oceans, lakes and rivers. Toyo will participate in a closed-loop pilot project to create equipment that can solidify and re-liquefy up to 1,000 barrels of bitumen per day. With the pilot, CN will produce CanaPux pellets for further large-scale supply chain testing, including movement of pux in rail gondola cars, unloading at port locations, storage in ground piles and loading of ships.
Through the Oceans Protections Plan and its efforts to improve Canada's capacity to prevent and respond to marine pollution incidents, the Canadian Coast Guard is soliciting bids for new environmental response equipment to contain and remove oil and other contaminants from the water in the case of a spill. This will be the first equipment acquired under the Environmental Response Equipment Modernization initiative. The requests for proposals have been issued for equipment, including curtain booms, high-speed sweep systems, and small, portable multi-cassette skimmers.
The Government of Canada has announced that more than $80 million will go to new science funding for new partnerships, improved knowledge and new technologies that will help mitigate and prevent marine incidents such as oil spills. $45.5 million will support a new research program and leverage worldwide collaboration and best practices. A further $16.8 million will support oil spill research focussed on how oil behaves and degrades in different conditions, including cold water and the final $17.7 million will go towards enhancing ocean models of winds, waves and currents, so that emergency responders can accurately track spills and predict their path. Enhanced ocean modelling will also support safe marine navigation and help prevent spills from happening.
These investments in ocean modelling, oil spill behavior, biological effects, containment and cleaning techniques will ensure that Canada has both the capability and capacity to provide the best scientific advice and tools to prevent, and respond to, oil spills.