October 31 marked the last day of the ECHO Program Haro Strait voluntary vessel slowdown and the Strait of Juan de Fuca lateral displacement trial for 2018. Overall, the cumulative vessel participation rates in the slowdown initiative is currently tracking 88% as of October 21st. The efforts of those involved helped to reduce acoustic impact in key southern resident killer whale foraging areas and will have a direct impact on the quality and quantity of the data collected and will help to inform future science-based mitigation options to protect this endangered whale population.
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Sean Fraser, Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Environment and Climate Change and the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, announced a suite of additional bold measures focused on broadening and strengthening protection for the species. An additional $61.5 million is being committed to implement the new measures. With the suite of actions announced today, we continue our unprecedented initiative to protect and recover this endangered species. The plan is to have additional measures in place by the time the whales usually return to the Salish Sea in greater numbers in late spring. New measures announced include:
• continuing to identify and protect new areas of habitat necessary for survival or recovery of the Southern Resident Killer Whale Population;
• introducing important measures aimed at protecting and recovering Chinook salmon stocks that are significant for the Southern Resident Killer Whales;
• expanding the vessel slowdowns to further reduce underwater noise;
• developing agreements with ferry operators and other marine industry partners to formalize current voluntary measures to reduce noise;
• expanding vessel monitoring systems and capabilities to develop real time ability to avoid whale encounters and providing funding to Ocean Wise for the development and deployment of a Whale Report Alert System;
• launching consultation with marine industry on development and implementation of Noise Management Plans;
• advancing feasibility work on one or more South Resident Killer Whale sanctuaries within sub-areas of critical habitat the whales use for foraging; and
• enhancing regulatory control of five key organic pollutants, including two flame retardants to lessen contaminants impacting these whales.
On Monday, October 29th - the Minister of Finance introduced Bill C-86, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures. This omnibus bill not only included many budget-related legislative amendments, but also significant amendments to both the Canada Shipping Act (CSA) and the Marine Liability Act (MLA). While it was expected that there would be amendments to the CSA to allow the Minister to regulate for environmental reasons, the amendments proposed in the Bill provide for significant new powers and authorities. More details on the amendments can be found under Division 22 and Division 23.
In the United States, results from the ILWU’s first contested election in 18 years have resulted with the certification of William Adams as president, Wesley Furtado as vice-president (Hawaii) Robert Olvera as vice-president (Hawaii) and Edwin Ferris as secretary-treasurer. Initial results were disputed over alleged discrepancies involving ballots cast by the Panama affiliate. A 2-month review process was completed on Tuesday when the international executive board certified the results. The existing ILWU contract was extended in 2017 for a further 5 years to July 1st, 2022.
In what it says is an industry first Maersk will provide confirmation of a container booking in seconds compared to waiting times of up to two hours in the past. With the solution Maersk customers get visibility of sailing options and vessel space with a certainty that a booking will not then be cancelled. Maersk said that previously 10% of bookings were either rejected or put on an alternative sailing generating 15% of all the company customer service calls and chats, and some 200,000 emails monthly. The instant booking confirmation is currently available to all customers in a beta version. Maersk will also be introducing online booking via the Maersk App allowing instant bookings directly from mobile devices.
The International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPC) has provided assistance in 150 oil spill incidents since its inception in 1978. IOPC-funds began with the Torrey Canyon oil spill in 1967, were it was clearly demonstrated that there was a need for an effective international regime to pay for damages caused by major oils spills. The IOPC-funds are financed by contributions from organizations receiving oil shipments by sea in ports and terminals located in the IOPC member states.
Cargo shipping in Russia’s northern territorial waters has increased by more than four times since 2013 according to the department head at the Northern Sea Route Administration. As of October 1st, the volume of cargo transported reached 13 million tons, a marked increase over the 3 million tons shipped 5 years ago. The Northern Sea Route, operating in Russia’s Exclusive Economic Zone, is the shortest passage connecting the European part of Russia with the country’s Far East Regions. This route halves the transportation time compared to routes through the Panama and Suez Canals.
The final cruise ship of the 2018 season set sail last Saturday, marking the end of the 32nd consecutive cruise season at Canada Place terminal at the Port of Vancouver. The Star Princess was the first ship to kick off the 2018 season and her sister ship, the Emerald Princess, was the last to depart. Vancouver welcomed more than 900,000 cruise passengers on 243 ship visits, reflecting a seven per cent increase in passenger volumes over 2017. Cruise continues to be a key economic driver for the region as each cruise ship adds about $3 million to the local economy.
Stu McNish of the Conversations that Matters video series, interviews Dr. Andrew Trites, a professor at UBC’s Marine Mammal Research Unit, on the challenges facing the recovery of the Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) and a research project focussed on addressing the lack of available prey. The Salish Sea Marine Survival project is examining a wide range of factors that have contributed to the decline of chinook, coho and steelhead – factors that include eelgrass depletion, a reduction in the volume of phytoplankton and zooplankton, algae blooms, spawning ground distribution as well as great blue herons, harbour seals and sea lions who also love to dine on chinook.
Seaspan’s Vancouver Drydock (Seaspan) has completed the work on the Silver Explorer for Silversea Expeditions. 125 contractors worked on the vessel to complete a variety of upgrades, including the manufacturing and installation of a stabilizer – or ducktail – on the stern of the Silver Explorer. In addition to assembling a stabilizer, work taking place on the vessel included tank top repairs and changes to functionality of tanks, propeller repair and polishing, blast and painting work of the underwater hull. Work on the vessel was completed October 11th, on time and on budget. The Silver Explorer returned to the ocean that same day.
The Government of Canada received royal assent to Bill C-79, the act to implement the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) today. Canada will be among the first group of CPTPP countries to bring the agreement into force, thus ensuring the country retains first-mover advantage in many thriving Asia-Pacific markets, including those with whom Canada did not previously have an agreement such as Japan and Singapore. Once the CPTPP is implemented, 99% of Canada’s current exports to CPTPP markets will enter tariff-free.
The Government of Canada has announced the creation of a stand-alone Arctic Region inclusive of the four regions of Inuit Nunangat for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the Canadian Coast Guard. The creation of the Arctic Region will be implemented in phases and has already begun with the hiring of new DFO Regional Director General, Gabriel Nirlungayuk, who will be based in Rankin Inlet, and a new Assistant Commissioner of the Coast Guard, Neil O’Rourke, who will be based in Yellowknife. They will both work with Inuit and all Indigenous peoples, as well as residents of the North to define the borders of the new Region and its activities.
The Marine Safety Center issued the 11th US Coast Guard Ballast Water Management System Type Approval Certificate to Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd., after a detailed review of the manufacturer’s type approval application determined the system met the requirements. The treatment principle of the HiBallast BWMS consists of filtration with electrolysis during uptake and neutralization during discharge. This approval covers models with maximum treatment rated capacities between 75 m3/h and 10,000 m3/h.
The International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) has posted a good summary of the discussions and decisions coming out of this week's IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee's (MEPC) 73rd session online. Much of the discussion focussed on the implementation on the new 0.50% sulphur global cap for marine fuels from January 1, 2020. Further amendments to MARPOL Annex VI to prohibit not just the use, but also carriage of bunkers above 0.50% sulphur on ships (unless they have approved abatement technology onboard) were adopted and set to take effect from 1 March, 2020.
A $20-billion bridge connecting Hong Kong and Macau to the mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai opened this week, marking the completion of the longest sea-crossing bridge ever built, nine years after construction began. The bridge is 55 km long and with 6.7 km of it consisting of an undersea tunnel, equivalent to the height of 60 Eiffel Towers. The mega-structure is supported by three cable-stayed bridges and designed to withstand typhoon-force winds of up to 340 km an hour. The bridge will shorten the driving time from Hong Kong International Airport to Zhuhai from four hours to just 45 minutes, as well as halving the commuting time between the ports.
This this week the Chamber of Shipping together with the Western Marine Community Coalition submitted an appliction to intervene in the EcoJustice lawsuit against the federal government seeking an emergency protection order for the Southern Resident Killer Whales. Under the Species at Risk Act, when it is determined that a species is facing imminent threat, the government must assess the situation and make recommendations to Cabinet for emergency measures if needed. EcoJustice filed an affidavit on October 5th on behalf of the David Suzuki Foundation, Georgia Strait Alliance, Natural Resources Defense Council, Raincoast Conservation Foundation and World Wildlife Fund Canada. The rationale behind the intervention is for industry to present the success of the voluntary efforts and investment already made by the marine sector over the last several years and hold off any potential regulations or measures that may be less effective or have unintended consequences on marine safety and gateway competitiveness.
On October 15, 2018 the 10,000 TEU Cosco Pacific operated by COSCO Shipping Lines became the first container vessel to successfully plug into shore power in Canada. The vessel was plugged in for almost 24 hours without experiencing any issues during cargo operations. COSCO has been working with DP World and had undergone testing with two other vessels over the last few months. Congratulations to all parties involved in this significant event!