Friday, 04 May 2018 12:20

New electric pilot boat design

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Robert Allan Ltd. has developed a new all electric pilot boat aimed at the latter type of service where the run to the ship is 5 nautical miles or less.  The RAlly 1600-E is an aluminum version of its highly successful steel predecessor. It boasts a fully electric twin screw drivetrain and a substantial bank of high energy density batteries that are recharged from shore power. Twin small auxiliary generators give “get home” and range extension capability but are normally not running. With a top speed of 20 knots and quiet, emission free running, this vessel will convey pilots at speed and in style. The environmental impact of operations as well as operating costs are also significantly reduced.

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The Province of BC appoints one board member to the Board of Directors at each Canada Port Authority in the province.  There are upcoming vacancies for Provincial appointees at the Nanaimo Port Authority, Port Alberni Port Authority and Prince Rupert Port Authority.  More information, including how to apply can be found here, and in the position postings at the links below:

Friday, 27 April 2018 15:12

CP strike postponed

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The CP Rail strike planned by the Teamster Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) last weekend was averted, at least temporarily after Labour Minister, Patty Hajdu, determined that the union members should be given an opportunity vote on the final offers made by CP Rail just hours prior to the strike deadline. If CP's offers are rejected, both unions will be free to exercise their rights to strike.  Neither CP nor the unions released details of the offers, but union officials suggested they do not satisfy workers’ concerns on work schedules, fatigue or wages.  Approximately 3,000 train conductors and engineers at CP are represented by the TCRC. Roughly 360 signal maintainers at CP are members of the IBEW. 

Friday, 27 April 2018 15:09

Centerm expansion approved

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The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority has approved the permit application for the Centerm Expansion Project and South Shore Access Project. The decision was made after a thorough and robust project and environmental review, including three rounds of public consultation and extensive technical studies to understand the potential impacts of the project and proposed mitigations. Centerm is an existing container terminal at the Port of Vancouver operated by DP World Vancouver on the south shore of Vancouver’s inner harbour. The proposed projects include a series of on-and off-terminal improvements to Centerm container terminal and port roads that will increase the terminal footprint by 15 per cent and the number of containers that can be handled at the terminal by approximately two-thirds.

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The British Columbia Government has submitted a reference question to the BC Court of Appeal seeking clarification on its right to protect BC from the threat of a diluted bitumen spill.  The reference question concerns provincial autonomy, particularly the rights of British Columbia to regulate the environmental and economic impacts of heavy oils, like diluted bitumen, transported through the province. Earlier in the week the Government of Canada submitted its response to the BC Government's Policy Intentions Paper for Engagement.  The response included an updated science report on diluted bitumen and an open letter to BC Minister of Environment, George Heyman from federal Minister McKenna offering to collaborate on a joint Scientific Expert Advisory Panel.  

Friday, 27 April 2018 14:27

RTI audit finds significant deficiencies

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Ridley Terminals Inc. made public the results of an audit conducted over the last year by the Office of the Auditor General of Canada. The audit found that the Board did not meet its key responsibilities and failed to oversee the Corporation’s management, leading to multiple significant deficiencies often relating to oversight. The Board approved and entered into a 20-year agreement for a diversification project without proper approval from the government, while the Corporation was potentially slated to be sold. The audit report will be included in the Reports of the Auditor General of Canada to Parliament in Spring 2018. It is available from the Crown Corporation at

Friday, 27 April 2018 14:19

Canada ratifies HNS Convention

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On April 23, 2018, Canada's Deputy High Commissioner to the UK, Sarah Fountain Smith, deposited Canada's instrument of ratification to the 2010 Protocol to the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea, 1996 (2010 HNS Convention). The treaty has now been ratified by three States, Canada, Norway and Turkey. The total quantity of contributing cargo has reached 28.7 million tonnes, or nearly 72% of that required for entry into force.  The 2010 HNS Convention aims to deliver the uniform and comprehensive regime needed to provide compensation for costs, including clean-up and restoring the environment, in the event of an incident involving HNS cargoes. The treaty complements existing regimes already in force for the transport of oil as cargo, bunker oil used for the operation and propulsion of ships, the removal of hazardous wrecks and claims for death of or personal injury to passengers, or for damage to their luggage, on ships. HNS covered by the Convention include: oils; other liquid substances defined as noxious or dangerous; liquefied gases; liquid substances with a flashpoint not exceeding 60˚C; dangerous, hazardous and harmful materials and substances carried in packaged form or in containers; and solid bulk materials defined as possessing chemical hazards.

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The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is moving forward with retrofit designs to further strengthen the Lions Gate and Ironworkers Memorial bridges, to keep people and goods moving safely. The updates would bring the bridges up to the more stringent Class 1 criteria as they are deemed of critical importance to the transportation network and should be 10 times more reliable than a regular bridge.  Changes in vessels operating in the Burrard Inlet, and updates to the national bridge design code, prompted the ministry to review both bridges against the code in spring 2015. The review included consultation with the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, the Pacific Pilotage Authority, BC Coast Pilots and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada. The full risk assessment and mitigation reports are available on-line.

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The Government of Canada has announced an investment of $80 million to replace the Centre for Plant Health in Sidney, BC. The Centre is a CFIA diagnostic testing, research and quarantine facility, with both laboratories and greenhouses. The development of this world-class plant health research facility will provide CFIA scientists and partners with state-of-the-art facilities to advance plant science. Having the right tools is essential to help Canada develop and partner on new ideas and opportunities to protect and grow its agriculture and agri-food sector, as part of the it's goal of attaining $75 billion in agriculture and food exports by 2025.

Friday, 27 April 2018 13:20

FMC examines cancelled door deliveries

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The Federal Maritime Commission’s Bureau of Enforcement has initiated an expedited inquiry into complaints that some ocean carriers are unilaterally changing service contract terms by cancelling the port/container yard to final customer destination leg of the cargo shipment. Letters were sent last Friday, April 20th, to those shipping lines whose service contract actions have been called into question. In this inquiry, the Commission is seeking information that will assist in understanding the timing, fairness, and lawfulness of the alleged unilateral changes to ocean carriers’ obligations for inland trucking services. These cancellations are allegedly due to lack of inland truck availability and likely a result of the acute shortage of truck drivers facing the US nationwide. 


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NOAA Fisheries announced that a voluntary vessel speed restriction zone under the Dynamic Management Area program is currently in effect 12 Nautical Miles east of Boston to protect an aggregation of right whales. This DMA is in effect through May 3, 2018. Mariners are requested to route around this zone or transit through it at ten knots or less. The US Coast Guard has issued a notice to mariners and reminded that it is unlawful to approach within 500 yards of a North Atlantic right whale by a vessel, aircraft (including drones) or other means, or to fail to take required avoidance measures.  Avoidance measures include steering a course away from the whale and immediately leaving the area at a slow, safe speed. The 450 remaining North Atlantic right whales are surface feeders, which means they are often at the surface or just below the surface when feeding, which makes them hard to see and especially vulnerable to being hit by a vessel.  

Off Canada's east coast the mandatory speed restriction is in place from April 28 until November 15 for vessels 20 metres or longer to a maximum of 10 knots when travelling in the western Gulf of St. Lawrence. The speed restriction zone may be changed as needed and vessels will be allowed to at normal speeds in parts of two shipping lanes north and south of Anticosti Island when no whales are in the area. A 15-day mandatory slowdown of 10 knots will be activated within a section of the shipping lanes when one North Atlantic right whale is spotted and can be extended as needed.  



The European Union has issued its report on the results of the emissions control areas (ECAs) implemented the same time as the North America ECA on January 1, 2015 which mandates the use of marine fuels with a maximum 0.10% sulphur content in coastal areas. A high level of compliance was seen on inspected ships and this has lead to significant reduction of sulphur dioxides concentrations in ambient air in regions bordering the ECAs of up to 60%. The Commission is now considering additional ECAs and will also the benefits of lowering the sulphur content of marine fuels from 0,50% to 0,10% in European seas outside the ECAs as of 2020. The Commission also tasked EMSA to develop inventories of total ship emissions (SOx, NOx and PM) in all European waters based on ship activity data.

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