Rolls-Royce has released an overview of a future bridge operation experience concept developed in cooperation with VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, which provides insight of new technologies which the company believes could become reality by 2025. The concept assumes considerable future cost savings to ship owners by reducing the number of crew on board future vessels by use of smart technologies. Rolls-Royce believes “unmanned ships will be one of the most fundamental changes that we will experience in shipping in our lifetimes.” The following video reveals all: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nApv-C7qSg.
In a news release issued by Unifor, it stated that CN and Unifor have been unable to reach a new tentative collective agreement, after months of negotiations and long hours this week at the bargaining table. Unifor had four CN bargaining tables meeting concurrently since Monday morning, in Montreal. Unifor opened negotitiations with CN on September 19, in advance of the expiry of the current agreement on December 31, 2014. There was some progress made over the week, but there have been several stumbling blocks on non-economic issues that prevent the talks from moving forward. The two sides will schedule future meetings in January to continue the negotiations.
Unifor has five collective agreements with CN Rail, which cover mechanics, clerical workers, excavator operators, and truck drivers. Unifor Local 100 represents skilled trades in mechanical shops and Unifor Council 4000 represents intermodal, clerical, mechanics and owner operators. Unifor represents 12,500 rail workers across Canada, and more than 305,000 members across the country in every economic sector.
In accordance with the Chamber of Shipping of British Columbia’s By-laws Parts 5 and 6 the Nominations Committee is now accepting nominations for the election of directors for 2015 from both the Principal and Associate member categories. Candidates should be active members of the society in good standing and must be nominated by two voting members.
Also please save the date for our Annual General Meeting scheduled for Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 10:30 am at the Vancouver Convention Centre - West Building Room 121/122. Details on our guest speaker will be announced shortly.
The Steveston Lifeboat operated by local marine artist, John Horton struck a training wall on the south arm of the Fraser River last night and started to take on water with 14 people on board. Within 10 minutes of the mayday call, the rigid hull inflatable rescue vessel, B.R. Hastings, operated by Station 10 of the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue carried out a harrowing rescue with high winds reaching as high as 60 km/h. Thanks to the crew members of the RCMSAR and the Canadian Coast Guard, all passengers were safely evacuated.
The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Gerry Ritz, introduced Bill C-48, an Act to amend the Canada Grain Act, this week to enhance producer protection through a new Producer Compensation Fund and improve grain quality assurance. Included in the Bill is the introduction of a new class of license for container loading facilities.
In the House of Commons last week, Member of Parliament Pat Martin NDP asked Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz “has the minister lost his freaking mind?” This set the stage for renewed focus on plans for the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) following removal of its monopoly three years ago. The organization’s board and management were told to compete in the free market, and make ready for privatization by 2017 but there are now rumours that the government has other plans including possible disposal to an American competitor for free despite having announced in the past few months a number of projects and acquisitions. A bid by Farmers of North America, a Saskatchewan-based co-operative which reportedly valued CWB at $250-$300 million, was rejected in October with no clear explanation as to why.
Teekay LNG Partners has signed charter contracts with Royal Dutch Shell for five newbuild 173,400 CBM capacity LNG gas carriers being built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering in South Korea. It is understood that beginning in late 2017. The vessels will operate as part of Shell's global LNG fleet under time-charters ranging in duration from six to eight years, plus extension options. Uniquely the vessels will have M-type, Electronically Controlled, Gas Injection (MEGI) engines making them considerably more fuel-efficient and have lower emission levels than engines commonly fitted to LNG carriers today.
Senator John McCain exercised his lungs with his annual rant at the Jones Act last week saying "the 94-year-old maritime law is an anachronism that hurts U.S. farmers and manufacturers at the expense of foreign rivals with laws that had some rationale in the 1920s, but today only serve to raise shipping costs”. He went on to quote the U.S. International Trade Commission which has calculated that abolishing the Jones Act would cut U.S. shipping costs by 22% while pumping $656 million into the U.S. economy, a figure which Senator McCain views as very conservative. He also opposes U.S. cargo preference requirements on the gounds of "how do you justify having 30% of the value of whatever we’re trying to deliver eaten up because of some arcane, ancient law that restricts how we deliver that humanitarian aid to wherever it’s needed?” Well said Senator.
The Federal Maritime Commission has undertaken to launch a website to serve as a clearinghouse for port congestion surcharges being levied by container ocean carriers on account of the continuing challenges faced with the west coast labor slowdowns. While 15 carriers originally agreed to delay imposing U.S. West Coast congestion surcharges until next year, most have been forced to reinstate them – something that has not pleased the FMC which traditionally offers a sympathetic ear to shippers and consignees.
The California State Lands Commissions (CSLC) has released a new proposed version of their draft regulations for bio-fouling management aboard vessels calling in California ports and is soliciting "informal” comments on the proposal. The current proposed text includes recognition of some previously raised industry concerns whereby excessive bio-fouling will result in a warning instead of immediate issuance of a violation if the vessel will be in California waters for 48 hours or less but the vessel must correct the volation prior to its next call in a California port. However, the treatment of bio-fouling in specific niche areas e.g. bow and stern thrusters, sea chests, stabilizers has not been addressed. The deadline for comment is December 31 2014 and the draft regulations can be found here.
A judge at the European Union of Human Rights has ordered France to pay compensation to a group of nine Somali pirates on account of a 48 hour delay in presenting them before a judge after their arrival in the country. France was judged to have violated the European Convention of Human Rights. The pirates were accused and convicted of hijacking the French-flagged three-masted cruise ship Le Ponant (above) and a yacht in separate incidents off the coast of Somalia in 2008.
It was also made known this week that Denmark has compensated nine Somali pirates following an attack on the Torm Kansas because they were also detained too long before being brought before a judge. Each received 19,600 Danish crowns ($3,247) for the 13 days they were detained. Who said that crime doesn’t pay?
In really sad news, a ship’s Vietnamese 3rd Engineer was this week shot in the forehead while still in bed during a pirate attack on the small asphalt carrier VP Asphalt 2. He later died in a Singapore hospital after being air-lifted by a Singapore Military helicopter. The vessel, had left Singapore a few hours earlier with 2,300 tons of liquid asphalt. The vessel’s 16 crew members were roughed up while pirates ransacked the vessel before taking off with anything of value.
Ever opportunistic, Greek ship owners have been active buyers in the second hand market this year with about $7 billion of transactions thus far. U.S. and Singapore based owners follow with about $4.6 billion and $3 billion of purchases respectively followed by Norwegians and South Koreans, with a modest $1.7 billion, and $1.4 billion respectively. Greek focus has been on the traditional bulk sector which represents 45% of their 2014 investments but they are also becoming more prominent in the ownership of LNG carriers and container ships.
Our Ship of the Week last week Pieter Schelte has been photographed off Singapore as she makes her way from South Korea to Rotterdam. The scale of this vessel, the world’s largest catamaran, is truly impressive.
Brazil’s state prosecutor called this week for the replacement of state controlled Petrobras entire senior management and punishment of everyone involved in an alleged scheme to funnel kickbacks from contracts to President Dilma Rousseff’s Workers’ Party and ruling coalition. While no stranger to institutional corruption at the highest level of government, Brazilians have been shocked to learn just how bad this multibillion dollar bribe and money laundering scandal is with many millions of $$$ having been traced to Swiss bank accounts. The company’s shares have plunged as the revelations continue to hit the Brazilian media. Petrobras is a major charterer of tankers and off-shore supply, service and FPSO tonnage.
Taking a cue from the Hong Kong student umbrella protests, thousands of people marched through the streets of Nicaragua's capital, Managua, this week to protest against the proposal to build a new 278 km canal through the country linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The main gripe of the demonstrators is the forced annexation of their farmland without compensation to make way for the project. Work on the first phase of construction is due to start on December 22.
It has been announced that the UK is to establish a permanent base in the Middle East for the first time since military withdrawl in 1971. The Royal Navy is to re-establish a base at the Mina Salman Port in Bahrain. The UK already has four Mine Hunters, based at the port, but there are now plans to increase the number of warships in the region “in order to address threats to regional security.