Heritage Week begins Monday, Feb. 17 and continues through to Sunday, Feb. 23.
This year’s theme, Heritage Afloat, makes this a great time to explore local maritime heritage and learn more about the role B.C.’s waterways and maritime vessels played in building B.C.
The week is focused on waterways and maritime tradition, transportation, navigation, fisheries, recreation and sport, and settlement. Many communities in B.C. benefited economically from one or more of these activities in the past, and some still do today.
B.C.’s maritime history is vast. By participating in one or more of the events around the province, British Columbians can gain a better understanding and appreciation of the province’s heritage from a marine standpoint. Some provincially designated heritage properties include the sternwheeler SS Naramata in Penticton and a number of shipwrecks including the Ericsson– at the entrance of Barkley sound, the Iroquois – off Roberts Point in Sidney and the Zephyr – off the northeast shore of Mayne Island.
Many heritage organizations are hosting events during Heritage Week. To find an event in your community, visit: http://www.heritagebc.ca/events/heritage-week/community-events
Rio Tinto Alcan announced this week that the company has reached an option agreement with LNG Canada to acquire or lease the former Eurocan wharf and associated hinterland in Kitimat.LNG Canada is a joint venture comprising Royal Dutch Shell, Mitsubishi Corp, Korea Gas Corp and PetroChina Co Ltd. The agreement provides LNG Canada with a staged series of options payable against project milestones with a final investment decision expected in 2015.
(Robert Allan Ltd./Canadian Coast Guard)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada issued a news release this weekstating that the Government has issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking industry feedback on the next generation of 18-21 Coast Guard lifeboats. The intention is to engage with Canadian shipyards in Canada that would be potential suppliers prior to a formal procurement process. Yards, other than the two selected under the NSPS to build the large vessels will be able to compete in the new procurement processes on a project-by-project basis. The new self-righting lifeboats will be capable of operations up to 100 nautical miles from shore and construction could begin as early by the end of this year.
The Port of Portland, Oregon, has agreed to an incentive scheme in a last ditch effort to keep Hanjin at the port. The port will pay $20 per container plus a further $25 per container above an agreed threshold up to an annual limit of $4m. Hanjin is the largest customer at the port’s T6 container terminal with around 80% of the 14,000 TEU per month throughput.
The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) is demanding that the Spanish-Italian-Belgian-Panamanian consortium Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC) which suspended construction two weeks ago in a contract dispute over $1.6 billion of cost over-runs resume work on the third set of locks. In response, the consortium has issued a statement claiming that “GUPC has been making proposals and responding to proposals on an almost continual daily basis. GUPC has continued to make efforts on the a proposal sent to ACP to reach agreement and allow completion of the expansion project in the shortest time possible.” For its part, ACP has frequently referenced a Plan B but in reality the appointment of a replacement consortium at short notice would be a tall order. There are actually three levels of independent arbitration set out in the original $3.1bn contract signed in 2009 between ACP and GUPC but the current dispute has yet to pass the second stage. In a press conference on Thursday morning ACP claimed that it has reached a partial agreement with GUPC to end the dispute (whatever that means) even as it continues to seek alternatives to complete construction.
A bipartisan Bill from Congress The Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014 seeks to reform the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) and require the Maritime Administration to create a National Maritime Strategy. The Bill would reauthorize the FMC at current funding levels ($22.8 million) but prevent FMC commissioners from serving more than one year after their five-year term expires, limit their tenure to two terms and defines conflicts of interest. The push back from Congress is a reflection of the perceived unnecessary intrusion of the FMC on a number of files whilst simultaneously over-seeing continued shrinkage of the U.S. merchant fleet.
Russia’s Ministry of Defense is promoting a plan to develop a “Center of Arctic shipbuilding” in Murmansk either through the development of a new shipyard or re-investment into existing yards. These yards have long supported Russia’s Northern Fleet which is in expansion mode but needs re-investment to support offshore oil and gas development of the Russian arctic and the rapid expansion of trade through the Northern Sea Route during summer months.
The Italian government has blasted an Indian decision to try two Italian marines accused of killing two fisherman under the country’s anti-piracy and anti-terrorism act. The decision can only serve to further strain relations between the two countries and appears to be in response to street protests calling for harsh penalties for the marines. The anti-piracy and anti-terrorism act provides for capital punishment but it has been made clear by India that death sentences would be excluded as a possible penalty. Italy’s justice minister responded by saying “the government will fight the use of the law in all ways possible and our commitment to bring home Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone is stronger than ever.” The two men are on bail living in the Italian embassy in New Dehli but cannot leave India. NATO this week warned India that using anti-terrorism legislation to try the marines would undermine international efforts to combat piracy.
Mitsui OSK Line (MOL) has initiated legal action against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) the builder of the 8,100teu MOL Comfort, which broke in half and sank in the Indian Ocean in July last year. The company is also seeking compensation from MHI for the cost of strengthening the hulls of six sister ships, after inspections by ClassNK found “buckling-type deformations” on their bottom shell plates. Should the claim succeed there is the likelihood of thousands of consequential claims related to responsibility for the loss of 4,382 containers.
In yet another case of unreturned phone calls to an owner seeking a port of refuge, Singapore’s Aurora Tankers the owners of the chemical tanker Maritime Maisie, which was in a collision in late December are still seeking a solution. The vessel burned for 19 days before salvors were successful in extinguishing the fire but efforts to bring the vessel to Japan or South Korea for safe harbour and transfer her remaining hazardous cargo have no so far been successful after salvors concluded that it would be too dangerous to do so at sea. The effectiveness of IMO Resolution A 949 (23) on port of refuge which was accepted 10 years ago is once again being seriously questioned.
Acting on a tip-off, the Colombian authorities have located an estimated 75 kgs of cocaine hidden in three suitcases on a US flagged Capesize coal loader Athens bound for the UK. The haul which is estimated to be worth around $6.6 million was discovered in the engine room. No crew members have been arrested as there was no evidence linking them to the find.
The unprecedented weather which has been battering Europe’s breakwater (the UK) for several weeks shows no sign of improvement. Large areas of the country are under water and the armed forces have been extensively deployed in emergency flood relief. In one ingenious move, containers have been placed on the coastline at Dawlish in SW England in a desperate move to prevent further coastline erosion which has already resulted in the breaching of the main rail line into the area.
The UK’s National Gallery has made its first acquisition of a painting by the American artist George Bellows. The 1912 painting, Men of the Docks, depicts a group of workers standing by the waterfront in Brooklyn.The museum paid $25.5m) for the painting. Mr. Bellows, who died at the age of 42 from appendicitis, documented the hardship of working life as New York emerged into the 20th Century.
The former Chair of Hapag Lloyd, Mr. Hans Jakob Kruse has died at the age of 84 following a long illness. Mr Kruse was one of the drivers and high profile personalities in container shipping throughout the 1970s and 1980s. He was also a founder of the International Council of Containership Operators (The Box Club) whose membership is restricted to the chairmen and chief executives of the world’s major container lines. He held many industry positions, including chairman of the Maritime and Surface Commission of the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris, chairman of the supervisory board of Tui, a member of the supervisory boards of Deutsche Aerospace Airbus, Mobil Oil, Hamburg, and a member of the advisory council of Deutsche Bank.
the perfect storm
Rail service to and from our major west coast ports remains critical with vessels in all sectors seriously impacted. In the container sector, the rush of imports ahead of Chinese New Year provided for the Perfect Storm on account of severe cold weather impacting rail operations everywhere from the Rockies to the Atlantic coast. CN in particular is struggling to get back on track (no pun intended) after the cold weather reduced velocity across their system by around 30% and resulted in shorter but more frequent trains requiring more manpower. CN has 20% more rail capacity overall than even one year ago but this has not helped to mitigate the disruption. On the bulk side, grain has been very badly hit and several vessels have been waiting for more than a month to load with still no prospects of cargo in sight.
Were this not enough to deal with the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference representing some 3000 of CN’s Conductors, Trainpersons and Yardpersons across Canada, gave the company 72 hours’ notice of its intention to strike at 0001 hours Eastern Standard Time on Feb. 8. This came about after the union failed to ratify tentative agreements reached last October and following only two days of re-convened talks with management. Fortunately, a return to the bargaining table and a short negotiation resulted in a three year agreement which will again be taken to the union for ratification. For its part, the federal government had prepared a Plan B in the form of back to work legislation but in the event it was not required.
Further south, there are also weather related delays compounded in Los Angeles and Long Beach by chassis shortages resulting in long delays to truckers. There too, truckers were already suffering through gate congestion because of strong container volumes in recent weeks. As with most other ports in the U.S., the transition to a non chassis model in the container terminals is proving easier said than done.
After a period of relative quiet it has been revealed that another vessel has fallen foul of the USCG for violation of ECA regulations. The Italian flagged Suezmax tanker Four Bay was recently detained because: “The master could not provide the proper documentation that efforts were made to procure compliant fuel oil and that notifications to the United States and the vessel’s flag administration were made prior to entering the North American ECA in accordance with Marpol Annex VI, Regulation 18.”
Canada Border Services Agency has released an updated Memorandum D3-5-2 on Marine Cargo – Import Movements. We will be reviewing the document and clarifying changes in the definitions with CBSA as they pertain particularly to the new bond requirements for in-transit cargo changes and the reporting of Conveyance Arrival Certification Messages.