Piracy in home waters aside, Singapore is set on further building on that country’s hugely successful construction of a maritime cluster by turning its attention to development of marine insurance and ship finance capacity. The notion of a Singapore war risk mutual is taking hold and plans are underway to establish the country as the premier ship finance centre in Asia. Kudos to Singapore for leading the way.
After a time out of four months, the next phase of the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has begun in the southern Indian Ocean. A ship equipped with specialized sonar technology, the GO Phoenix, has arrived in a remote stretch of ocean where the plane is believed to have ended its flight. Using satellite data, experts have concluded that the airliner ended its journey in the Indian Ocean, north-west of Perth. Contracted by Malaysia, the GO Phoenix, began its work this week 1,100 miles off western Australia where it will tow underwater sensors over the sea floor scanning for traces of jet fuel and using sonar and video to try to locate the plane. The GO Phoenix will be joined later this month by two additional specialized ships. The head of Australia's transport safety agency, which is leading the underwater search, said he was "cautiously optimistic that the next phase, jointly funded by Malaysia and Australia, would eventually locate the plane”.
Now that the numbers are in, congratulations to all who participated in the September 2014 Cycling for Seafarers which raised approximately $49,000 and/or the fundraiser banquet at RVYC which raised a further $20,000. In addition, at the latter event, Methanex/Waterfront Shipping handed Senior Port Chaplain Nick Parker a cheque for $5,000 on behalf of the company and a tremendously supportive staff. The generosity and support of everyone concerned will go a long way to keeping the Mission on track for another successful year in meeting the needs of the thousands of seafarers who visit the port of Vancouver every year. Photos from the banquet taken by photographer, Dave Roels, are available at BC Shipping News.
TSI Terminal Systems Inc has now formally re-branded to GCT Canada Limited Partnership. This change provides the Canadian operation with a consistent identity to that of the company’s operations in the United States. GCT Canada operates both the Deltaport and Vanterm container terminals. In the US the company operates the Bayonne, New Jersey and Staten Island, New York terminals. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Ontario Teachers pension Plan.
Another US lumber company is now in Canadian hands following the purchase of Southern Lumber Co. Inc. by Canfor for a reported for $48.7 million. Canfor announced the acquisition on September 30 and all is expected to be concluded by the end of Q1 2015. Southern Lumber is based in Hermanville, Mississippi and processes high quality southern yellow pine. This acquisition follows the trend set by West Fraser and Interfor in recent years following several years of acrimonious softwood lumber disputes which restricted Canadian access to U.S. markets during periods of weak market demand. Founded in 1983, Southern Lumber Company is a family run business and is considered to be one of the most efficient lumber operations in the U.S. Southeast and had long been one of the few independent lumber manufacturers in the state.
The joint shipping pool operation announced by Saga Forest Carriers Intl AS (Saga) and Westfal-Larsen Shipping AS (Westfal-Larsen) on July 4th, 2014, started its operation October 1st, 2014. The pool will operate 50 open hatch gantry vessles and two conventional vessels with two newbuilds scheduled for delivery in 2017.
South Korea’s Pan Ocean Co Ltd has been put up for auction with those bright people who know a lot about these things putting a value of around $600 million on the company. The company was formerly known as STX Pan Ocean when part of the STX Group declared insolvency in 2013. Pan Ocean reported operating profit of 115.3 billion won during the first half of this year, from a 93.8 billion won loss in the same period of 2013. Binding bids must be placed by Dec 11. Cheque books at the ready?
The lost Franklin expedition ship found in the Arctic last month has been positively identified as HMS Erebus from which Sir John Franklin commanded the ill-fated 1845 expedition to find the Northwest Passage. The Prime Minister made the announcement personally this week in the House of Commons. HMS Erebus and HMS Terror disappeared after they became locked in ice in 1846.
On October 16th, the Vancouver Maritime Museum will host Marc-Andre Bernier, chief of the underwater archaeology team for Parks Canada tha found the Franklin Expedition, for a special presentation on Arctic Shipwrecks and the Franklin Expedition. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Vancouver Maritime Museum website.
Zim Line has assured customers that it is committed to the Port of Oakland despite the fact that two hostile protests over the last two months have forced the company’s vessels to cancel port calls. A pro-Palestinian group Block the Boat for Gaza is protesting against the actions and policies of Israel towards Gaza and says its next protest will take place on October 25.
Federal, provincial and territorial Ministers of Transportation and Highway Safety approved actions to change regulations for commercial heavy trucks that will support the trucking industry and economic competitiveness. The Ministers also endorsed updates to the National Safety Code (NSC), which sets out inspection criteria for trucks, trailers and buses, to be implemented by each government. These measures will support the safe and efficient movement of goods by improving fuel efficiency; reducing GHG emissions and providing greater flexibility for shippers travelling across provincial and territorial boundaries.
The long awaited Class NK investigation report into the loss of MOL Comfort last year, much of which is highly technical, has declared that the vessel split and sank in a “very rare casualty due to rough weather conditions and problematic vessel operation and management”. The investigation further comments that the casualty could be a ship-specific matter relating to excessive lateral loads such as bottom sea pressure and container weights possibly aggravated by significant differences between MOL Comfort and other vessels in terms of ultimate hull-girder strength against the wave-induced vertical bending moment specified in class rules.
Under Japan’s Product Liability Law, vessel owner Mitsui OSK Lines, together with cargo and insurance interests, is seeking around $131.6m from builder Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for alleged negligence and defects in the vessel. For its part, Mitsubishi, the shipbuilder, has rejected any responsibility for the incident saying that MOL Comfort’s design and construction complied fully with class rules and the ship “was provided with the fundamental level of safety”.
A group of around 500 Nicaraguan farmers has clashed with police during a protest against the proposed Nicaragua Canal which would involve confiscation of their land. A spokesperson voiced “we do not want the canal to be built and nobody should come in here and take over our land”. If built, the project will compete with the Panama Canal by linking the Caribbean with the Pacific. A contract has been awarded to the Chinese company, HK Nicaragua Development (HKND). Nicaragua itself is rated the second-poorest country in the Western Hemisphere behind Haiti and No. 114 in the World Economic Forum’s ranking of 144 countries for infrastructure.
It has long been known that the Panama Canal pilots do not agree with the decision of the Canal Authority to replace traditional mules with tugs to guide vessels through the new locks when the expanded Canal opens for business in 2016. The pilots have now gone public with their concerns by declaring that “the new requirements run higher risks of accidents than existing practices, transits will take longer and they the use of tugs will add costs”. The pilots are also concerned that even though the expansion project has widened the canal’s narrowest passage at the Culebra Cut, it will still be too tight to accommodate the transit of two post-Panamax vessels at the same time.
The so called “Joint Shipping Initiative” comprising Shell, BP, Maersk, Stena, NYK, MOL and “K” Line. has announced the donation of $1.5 million to a United Nations Development Program aimed at fighting Somali piracy by tackling what is seen as the economic basis of the problem onshore in Somalia. The project aims to encourage local economic development through job creation, training, and business development grants in what is perhaps the worst example of a failed state.
A review panel has recently released its draft report on Part X of the Australian Competition and Consumer Act (CCA), which permits shipping lines to organise both consortia and discussion agreements. To the consternation of the marine industry, the report recommends that this provision be repealed. However, the panel does recommend that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) be given the authority to grant block exemptions to consortia agreements that demonstrate a “minimum standard of pro-competitive features under certain circumstances” which may translate to agreements having no common conference tariff and no pooling of revenues and losses. The full draft report can be downloaded via the following link: http://competitionpolicyreview.gov.au/files/2014/09/Competition-policy-review-draft-report.pdf. A second consultation period is now in effect until November 17.
The Russian research ship Professor Hlyustin sailed from Vladivostok last week with a group of scientists and cadets on board who will study the radiation situation in the Sea of Japan. The objective of the project is to understand the consequences of the blow out of the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011 which resulted in an estimated 16,000 people being killed. The month long study will be conducted through the Sea of Japan and the Tsugaru Strait and on toward the Kamchatka region to a maximum depth of 6000 meters. Samples of water, air, soil, plants and marine life will be taken where they will be studied on board and and then sent on to a research institute in St. Petersburg and tested for the presence of cesium-137, strontium-90 and other contaminants.
Port Metro Vancouver, Governance Committee is now accepting applications for candidates to be considered as Directors on the Board of the Port Metro Vancouver. The deadline for applications is October 20, 2014. Two positions are open to applications at this time. The first is a current vacancy and the second is a term expiry. The Nominating Committee is particularly interested in individuals who have experience in the maritime business, financial risk management and major capital projects.
For more information on the criteria and process, view PMV's Notice.