The US Coast Guard has issued a notice stating that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will soon take action to ensure compliance with the forthcoming 0.10% fuel sulphur limits in the North American and US Caribbean Sea Emission Control Areas (ECAs), which come into effect on 1 January 2015. In addition to checking Bunker Delivery Notes and related records, the agencies are developing plans for joint boardings that will include fuel oil sampling and in-the-field screening for sulphur levels. A similar directive from Transport Canada is expected to be released shortly. View the USCG ECA Notice 2015.
Still a hot news item is the bankruptcy of OW Bunker. It has now been disclosed that the company’s board did not approve the credit line estimated at between $120 million and $130 million given by OW Bunker’s Singapore-based subsidiary Dynamic Oil Trading to Tankoil Marine Services and therefore was “extremely surprised” by the sudden catastrophic trading loss. “The unrecoverable credit granted Tankoil was never submitted to the board, let alone authorised by it,” Chairman Niels Henrik Jensen has said. Creditors of OW Bunker Far East and Dynamic Oil Trading have already filed claims totalling $38.8 million against the companies since OW Bunker filed for bankruptcy. The ship owning division of the company “OW Tanker” with 29 owned and chartered vessels has been taken over by a newly formed entity.
The UK flagged container vessel Vectis Eagle cargo struck a lock gate in the Kiel Canal earlier this week, causing severe damage and the lock to be closed for temporary repairs. Initial assessment indicates that the entire gate will need to be replaced. The Kiel Canal is a 61 mile long waterway stretching from the North Sea at Brunsbuttel to the Baltic Sea at Kiel-Holtenau and is officially described as “the world’s busiest artificial waterway”.
At the 94th session of the organization’s Maritime Safety Committee last week, the IMO finally adopted the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters, commonly referred to as the Polar Code, as well as related amendments to SOLAS. The Polar Code is mandatory legislation that specifically addresses potential hazards unique to Arctic and Antarctic environments, such as ice, remoteness and rapidly changing and severe weather conditions. The code also deals with ship design, construction, equipment, operations, training, and search and rescue. The expected date of entry into force of the SOLAS amendments is January 1 2017 for new ships constructed after that date. Ships constructed before 1 January 2017 will be required to meet the relevant requirements of the Polar Code by the first intermediate or renewal survey, whichever occurs first, after January 1 2018.
Despite fears of negative local impacts, it was announced last week that construction of Nicaragua’s $50 billion 278 km Interoceanic Grand Canal, a regional rival to the Panama Canal, will begin on December 22 after feasibility studies have been approved. Construction will be led by Hong Kong-based HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co Ltd (HKND Group). Opponents of the plan are concerned about the canal’s effect on Lake Nicaragua, an important fresh water source for the country, as well as the impact on poorer communities.Chinese businessman Wang Jing (above right speaking) is behind the canal plan, though he has no prior experience developing or financing big infrastructure. Watch this space.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and the Chinese travel service provider Ctrip have announced a new joint venture to serve the rapidly growing Chinese cruise market. Royal Caribbean and Ctrip will each own 35%, the balance by SkySea’s management and a private equity fund.China’s Ministry of Transport has estimated that China could see 4.5 million cruise passengers by 2020 thereby overtaking the U.S. as the world’s largest cruise market.Royal Caribbean’s brand new Quantum of the Seas will be based in Shanghai from May 2015. The new J/V is expected be underway by the middle of 2015.
Canada Border Services Agency has issued an update on carrier code eligibility in the marine mode in Customs Notice 14-029. Effectively all marine carriers inbound with cargo for discharge or in-transit will be required to obtain a CBSA issued carrier code by spring 2015 as marine agent carrier codes will be discontinued at that time. For more information visit CBSA's website for guidelines on the application process or view our FAQ document on our website.
Also released earlier this week is the Final Evaluation Report of the Export Programs and various initiatives moving forward for export reporting.
The Nautical Professional Educational Society of Canada held its Annual General Meeting recently in Victoria and took the opportunity to present a bursary to Simon Winterburn (pictured above right with Lieutenant Commander, Rtd. Gerry Stanford), who is enrolled in the Watchkeeping Mate program at Camosun College. NPESC works closely with the Marine Campus of the British Columbia Institute of Technology, Camosun College, the Western Marine Institute and other Canadian educational institutions to help further the professional education of Canadian mariners. For more information on NPESC read their latest newsletter, Seatimes - Nov 2014.
The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, has announced several appointments today. Of particular interest are the following:
Ms. Moira Jenskins, Ms. Donna Hais, and Capt. Chris Badger have been appointed to the board of directors of the Nanaimo Port Authority.
BC Coast Pilot, Capt. Allan J. Ranger, has been appointed to the Pacific Pilotage Authority for a three year term.
A couple of recent media efforts that we encourage you to tweet, like and circulate to your own circle of contacts:
Thanks also to all who have commented on the recent series of radio ads promoting Safe Shipping – please also check out our new and update Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chamber-of-Shipping-of-British-Columbia/1493860140901923.
Seaspan Ferries Corp. this week announced that it has awarded a contract to Sedef Shipyard of Istanbul, Turkey for the construction of two LNG-powered ferries. With an LOA of 148.9 meters each vessel will have a capacity for up to 59 trailers and will be powered by dual-fuel engines capable of running on diesel or LNG. Seaspan advised that the contract process involved discussions with 40 shipyards including consideration to building at home in North Vancouver but given the commitments to government contracts, this was not feasible. The two vessels are scheduled to begin service between Vancouver Island and the Mainland in late 2016.
An announcement last week by Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. (Japex) that it plans to build a new LNG import terminal at Soma near Fukushima by 2018 has raised expectations for Canadian LNG exports. The company has announced a so called "social mission" to bring stable energy to those affected by the 2011 tsunami and accompanying nuclear disaster. The new import terminal would be the country’s 33rd regasification facility as it continues to be the world's major LNG importer. Japex has a 10% interest in the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG project at Prince Rupert. Japan has a pressing need to develop new LNG import facilities as all of the country’s 48 nuclear power generating reactors remain inoperative despite a local governor in southern Japan having recently given final approval to restart one nuclear power plant under new safety rules drawn up after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
Despite the intervention of the Mayor of Los Angeles, “Justice for Port Truckers”, a Teamsters union affiliate this week expanded their protests at Los Angeles-Long Beach against drayage companies. The drivers are protesting unpaid wages and misclassification of their status as independent contractors. The Teamsters have sponsored a number of driver disruptions this year, but in reality they represent only a minor percentage of the more than 100 drayage companies doing business in LA/LB. Simultaneously, with Black Friday in the headlights, the ILWU continues to stage-manage a major slow down of cargo handling at all major West Coast Coast ports and in many cases is refusing to fill gang orders at all. Despite having been petitioned by pretty much every entity with a stake in the game and calls for a federal mediator, President Obama says he's confident U.S. West Coast longshoremen and waterfront employers can reach a labor contract. However today the ILWA announced that they have decided to curtail "big table" negotiations starting today through the end of the US Thanksgiving weekend. Making matters worse, the ILWU has also refused to agree to a temporary contract extension.
The Port of Oakland was closed yesterday when the ILWU declared a “24 hour safety stand-down” in respect of a 56 year old longshoremen who died in on a ship in Benicia following an asthama attack.
The Panama Canal Authority has issued a detailed reply to recent criticisms from pilots of the decision to use tugs rather than the traditional side wall locomotives (mules) to assist vessels through the new locks, due to be opened in 2016. The Authority points out as follows:
The Authority also points out that it has invested more than 360 million dollars since 2007 in the acquisition of 35 new tugboats having state of the art technology and between 63 and 82 tons of bollard pull . In addition to new navigational aids the Authority is to invest in new Pilot Portable Units. The expanded canal is scheduled to open for business in Q1 2016 but don’t book that cruise just yet folks.
In the continuing fall out over the loss of 304 people on the ferry Sewol, the South Korean government this week announced the formation of a new government agency designed to handle emergency rescue and safety management. The subject of much criticism, the Korean coast guard is being broken up and its search and rescue duties are being moved to the new “Ministry of Public Safety and Security” that will have more than 10,000 staff and incorporate national fire and emergency response teams.
Stung by criticism of the country’s poor record in confronting regional piracy, the Indonesian government also announced this week that it is to form a new coastguard. This was a key undertaking of the new Indonesian President Mr. Joko Widodo during his campaign.
Owners and charterers that have received bunkers from OW Bunker, its affiliates or subsidiaries are being advised to stay vigilant as legal action initiated by the company’s creditors is rapidly escalating. Adding to the global uncertainty is that bankruptcies of OW’s separate legal entities in different jurisdictions will be handled under local law and while bankruptcy proceedings would put a stop on legal action against that entity in a particular jurisdiction, they do not necessarily mean its contractual positions were terminated or in breach. OW Bunker and related offices around the world are believed to number around 40, operating under various trading names. The company’s debts were this week listed as $730 million.
After only kicking off LNG imports in 2006, latest predictions are that LNG import terminals in China will more than double in the next 10 years from the current 11 LNG terminals. As the country seeks to switch to cleaner fuel without displacing millions from employment, the country is targeting a 15% year on year increase in LNG imports with both state owned and private companies heavily involved in terminal infrastructure development. China is currently the third largest importer of LNG in the Pacific region in October taking 3.3m cbm (21 ships), behind South Korea 6.2m cbm (42 ships) and Japan a whopping 15.9m cbm (117 ships). So what are we waiting for?