The Port of Prince Rupert today released its 2017 cruise schedule, celebrating a more than 100% increase in the number of ships and passengers visiting the coastal community this summer. A total of 25 vessels carrying approximately 17,000 passengers will dock at Prince Rupert’s Northland Cruise Terminal in 2017, representing the city’s biggest cruise season since 2011. The coming season also marks the second consecutive year that the number of cruise ship passengers visiting Prince Rupert has doubled, up from 7,264 in 2016 and 3,626 in 2015.
Seabourn Cruise Line is returning to Alaska for the first time in 15 years, and will include Prince Rupert on six voyages of the 450-passenger Seabourn Sojourn beginning on June 23. Crystal Cruises will return to Prince Rupert for three calls in 2017, after the successful inaugural visit of its Crystal Serenity ship in 2016 on the heels of its iconic sailing of the Northwest Passage. Norwegian Cruise Line is coming back to Prince Rupert for the first time since 2011, with the two largest vessels of the 2017 season. The Oceania Regatta will return for seven calls this season, bringing the largest share of Prince Rupert passenger traffic with capacity for 4,788 guests. Regent Seven Seas Cruises will sail the Seven Seas Mariner into the Prince Rupert's harbour for two calls, and Ponant’s 264-passenger Le Boreal will make one of the last calls of the season in September.
The European Parliament has passed its Resolution on the Arctic, calling on the ban of oil drilling in the Arctic and shipping of heavy fuel oil so as to protect its vulnerable ecosystem and keep it a low-tension and cooperation area. The parliament called on the Commission and the Member States “ to actively facilitate the ban on the use of heavy fuel oil (HFO) and carriage as ship fuel in vessels navigating the Arctic seas through MARPOL of IMO.” The resolution is a non-legislative document, which together with similar conclusions by the EU Council will guide future EU policy addressing environmental risks in the Arctic.
Last Friday at a change of command ceremony at the Coast Guard Base in Seattle, Capt. Linda Sturgis relieved Capt. Joe Raymond as the commanding officer of Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound - 13th District. Raymond’s next assignment will be at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, DC as the executive assistant to the vice commandant of the Coast Guard. During Raymond's command between 2014 and 2017 he was recognized for a number of accomplishments including his efforts in setting security standards with Transport Canada for LNG fuelled vessels in the Pacific Northwest waters and carrying out 1,000 shiprider patrols in partnership with the RCMP.
The Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (the Institute) and BIMCO have announced the start of a new venture combining BIMCO’s eLearning courses and the Institute’s global engagement with students. This is a major boost for new entrants in the industry by giving them greater access to quality education and improved standards in maritime centres across the globe. A test group of Institute students - in mainly developing countries – and covering a wide range of shipping centres across the globe, will be able to use BIMCO’s eLearning courses in preparation for Institute exams. The first group of students, starting this week, are from Aberdeen, Accra, Cape Town, Durban, Lagos, Limassol, London, Mombasa, Paris, Shanghai, Singapore, Stavanger, Sydney and Vancouver. The plan is to open the opportunity to all the Institute’s students by the autumn of 2017. Other joint training activities are also being considered. For more information on the Canada branch located in Vancouver, visit: www.ics-canada.ca.
Hapag-Lloyd has postponed the completion date for its takeover of United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) to May 31 from March 31. All merger clearances and regulatory approvals and all necessary banking approvals from Hapag's side have been obtained as have most banking approvals from Dubai-based UASC’s side, it said. The deal, worth 7 to 8 billion euros (US $7.52-8.60 billion), appears to be have been delayed by financial issues affecting all carriers. Hapag-Lloyd said despite the delayed closing date that its participation in THE Alliance would start as planned on April 1, with UASC due to join later.
In another venture, Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. has now officially signed up a strategic cooperation deal with the members of 2M, MSC and Maersk Line. This will include a series of slot exchanges and purchase on East-West routes.
Singapore's home-grown shipping line Pacific International Lines (PIL) is ready to sail into exciting new waters by becoming a bigger player, even as the industry grapples with one of its longest, deepest downturns. The company in marking its 50th anniversary announced plans to add 12 new container ships to its current fleet of about 180, expanding its overall capacity to 500,000 standard-sized containers by the end of next year.
PIL, set up in 1967 with just four coastal vessels, operates nearly 180 vessels as one of the largest private shipowners in South-east Asia today and is the 15th-biggest container shipping line globally. PIL appears to be holding up well amid the downturn. Managing director Teo Siong Seng said the company has not retrenched any of its 18,000 staff globally, including 700 in Singapore. PIL's strength is its ability to enter new niche markets particularly in the Western Pacific Region. In the Port of Vancouver, Westward Shipping Ltd. has served as PIL's agent since 2004.
BG International, a member of Shell Group, has confirmed that it is discontinuing development on the proposed liquefied natural gas project that was to be on Ridley Island in Prince Rupert. The company says its Prince Rupert office will remain open until May, in order to complete community engagement. The project appeared to lose favour, after Shell aquired BG Group two years ago but in the press release it alo noted that the LNG Canada project in Kitimat continues to be actively progressed by Shell and the joint venture participants as an opportunity to bring Canadian gas resources to the growing global gas markets. Shell's LNG outlook, issued last month, projects demand to grow at a rate of four-to-five per cent per year between now and 2030.
Western Stevedoring has published two dates this month for an interactive presentation and exclusive bus tour at their Lynnterm facility in North Vancouver. This is an opportunity to view their operations up close and discover first-hand the vital role that Western Stevedoring plays in Canada’s global trade.
The BC Maritime Employers Association has opened a new training facility in Prince Rupert in view the increased demand for trained longshore workers in the northern communities. The BCMEA Training Department will be spending close to two million dollars on training and recruitment in Prince Rupert over the course of 2017, and again in 2018.
It is with great sadness that we advise that Brian Bland of Interocean Steamship Corporation passed away peacefully on March 5th in the arms of his loving wife Marie at Lions Gate Hospital. Brian was a member of our Board of Governors and served as the Board of Director's Chair in 1990 and 1991. He leaves behind a loving family and many personal and industry friends. A graveside service will be held on Saturday, March 18th at 1pm at Mountain view Cemetery as noted in this obituary.
Transport Canada has provided an update on how how to meet STCW 2010 Manila Convention Requirements for Officers and Ratings of the Engine Department (RDIMS#12399853) in the form of a Ship Safety Bulletin #05/2017. Guidelines on the following are included:
The US Coast Guard issued a Marine Safety Information Bulletin (03-17) updating the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Extension Program. If a type-approved BWM system is not available for a vessel, and compliance with the other approved BWM methods is not possible, the vessel owner/operator may apply for an extension of the vessel's compliance date.
On March 9, 2017, Fisheries and Oceans Canada posted the final versions of the "Action Plan for Blue, Fin, Sei and North Pacific Right Whales (Balaenoptera musculus, B. physalus, B. borealis, and Eubalaena japonica) in Canadian Pacific Waters" and the "Action Plan for the Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) in Canada" on the Species at Risk Public Registry.
These documents can be found at:
Rolls-Royce has received a significant research grant from Tekes—the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, to enable further research and development at their centre in Turku, Finland. Rolls-Royce is at the forefront of the development of remote controlled and autonomous ships, with a stated goal of seeing a remote controlled ship in commercial use by the end of the decade. Rolls-Royce said it also plans to carry out further development projects there focused on the future development of land-based control centers, and the use of artificial intelligence in future remote and autonomous shipping operations.
Crew members who are nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen shall be denied entry to US ports unless they hold a valid visa, according to the new executive order issued by US President Trump. The new executive order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” was issued on 6 March 2017 and it revokes and replaces the previously suspended EO on the subject. The new EO directs that entry into the US for nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen shall be suspended for 90 days from 16 March 2017, while a worldwide review is carried out by the US Secretary of Homeland Security. If any crew member’s visa expires after March 16, the crew member must apply for a new visa.
We have also recently received reports from members of an increased number of instances of PRC seafarers (messmen and stewards in particular) who have deserted or absconded during the ships’ stay at US ports. This has resulted in the detention of the ship and the compulsory arrangement by the local Customs and Border Protection (CBP) offices of armed guards at owners’ expense. We would like to remind members to be alert to this developing situation and recommend that a strict vetting system is developed for the recruitment and employment of PRC messmen/stewards.
The federal, provincial governments together with Tsawwassen First Nation have announced investments towards five major improvements along three key, interconnected gateway corridors that will benefit communities by reducing congestion and boost Asia-Pacific trade opportunities. Included are upgrades to Highway 91, Highway 91 Connector, Highway 17, and Deltaport Way/27B Avenue. Once completed, these upgrades will increase capacity, efficiency and safety as truck and passenger traffic is expected to grow along these important trade corridors and Deltaport—the Port of Vancouver’s largest container terminal located at Roberts Bank in Delta. The estimated total cost is $245,176,671. The Government of Canada is contributing $81,671,139, the Government of BC is contributing approximately $80,000,000, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is contributing approximately $80,000,000, and the Tsawwassen First Nation is contributing $3,505,533.
Construction is expected to start in 2017 and to be completed by 2021, generating $194 million in economic benefit and an estimated 745 direct construction jobs over the course of the project. The project will also create economic and employment opportunities for the Tsawwassen First Nation.
Congratulations to BC Ferries who was named yesterday as one of B.C.’s Top Employers, an award that recognizes workplaces offering forward-thinking programs for their employees. The annual competition evaluates employers on several criteria including physical workplace, employee communications, performance management, training and skills development and community involvement. As a top employer in the province, BC Ferries has a progressive workplace, focusing on career opportunities across the organization as well as extensive training and development initiatives. BC Ferries’ SailSafe program, a joint initiative between BC Ferry Services Inc. and the BC Ferry & Marine Workers’ Union builds on current safety practices and reflects the company’s and union’s commitment to safety as an essential part of business.