Monday, 10 November 2014 11:03

Conversations that matter

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Capt. Kevin Obermeyer, CEO of Pacific Pilotage Authority joined Stu McNish in episode 6 in the weekly series of Conversations that Matter to discuss shipping oil along the BC coast. The interview provides an excellent overview of what measures will be put in place to enhance the safe movement of tankers through the west coast.  View it on the Vancouver Sun website.

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Published in the Canada Gazette Part II  - November 5, 2014 are minor amendments to the Pacific Pilotage Authority Regulations.  The regulations corrects and updates references to coastal pilotage area 5 and "licensed pilots" with respect to the report of marine ocurrences.  In addition to these, the amendments will allow for the transition of paper based source cards to electronic source cards and enable PPA to issue invoices within 48 hrs. 

Friday, 07 November 2014 11:06

Marine Security Notice

On Friday, October 17th, 2014, Transport Canada issued a marine security notification (#2014-001) requesting that stakeholders exercise increased vigilance and improve their state of readiness based upon the current global situation and terrorist activities. Transport Canada continues to closely monitor threats to the transportation system in Canada. Currently, Transport Canada is not aware of a specific threat to the marine mode.

Stakeholders are requested to remain vigilant and be familiar with and observe mandatory reporting requirements for all threats, breaches and incidents. Stakeholders are also strongly encouraged to continue to report suspicious activities.   The reporting of threats, breaches, incidents and suspicious activities allows the department to analyse the information and take appropriate measures to protect Canada’s marine transportation system against threats.  

Transport Canada would like to thank all stakeholders for their ongoing commitment to maintaining the safety and security of Canada’s marine transportation system.

Report all threats, breaches, incidents and suspicious activities directly to the Transport Canada Situation Centre at:

1-888-857-4003 or 1-613-995-9737

Follow up documentation and reports can be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with a carbon copy to your TC regional marine security office.

All threats and incidents must also be reported to:

Appropriate law enforcement organizations and port administrations.






Friday, 07 November 2014 10:30

Lest we forget

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         Tower of London 2014 sea of poppies

This year’s display at the Tower of London on the centenary of the outbreak of World War 1 is entitled Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red and commemorates the lives of fallen British and Commonwealth soldiers in that war. It has seen 8,000 volunteers place 888,246 ceramic poppies into the dry moat which are due to be removed after Remembrance Day on November 11. The numbers include more than 60,000 Canadian servicemen who died and 150,000 who were wounded in the conflict. The flowers, which each took three days to make, have all been sold for charity and will be plucked from the ground and sent to buyers when the exhibit closes. The exhibition is expected to raise $15 million for charities serving veterans associations. The total military and civilian casualties in World War 1 were 16 million deaths and 20 million wounded making it the deadliest conflict in human history.

Friday, 07 November 2014 10:27

Sharing the facts


As many of you will have seen, the Vancouver Sun placed a Chamber of Shipping op-ed this week which is intended to correct some of the misconceptions surrounding the recent assistance provided to the small Russian container ship Simushir.  We also felt that it is important to push back against the entirely unwarranted political criticism of our industry – including yet another private members bill to impose a tanker ban on BC’s north coast. See: Members and friends are encouraged to circulate to their own network of contacts.

Also this week, Stephen Brown along with Chamber of Shipping Directors David Bedwell (COSCO Container Lines) and Terry Koke (Grieg Star Shipping) attended a meeting of Canada’s New West Partnership in Regina. The partnership comprises the provinces of Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, all of whom were represented by their respective Premiers and Transportation Ministers. The purpose of the partnership is to achieve collaborative infrastructure development to bring Canada’s natural resources to tidewater. The meeting was therefore also attended by Port Metro Vancouver and the Port of Prince Rupert.  The news release following the meeting stresses the need for a renewed partnership with the Government of Canada and a federal contribution of $1 billion to $1.5 billion to support and enhance essential port and transportation infrastructure. 

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A delegation from the Gitga'at and Haisla First Nations recently toured the Oman LNG plant in the town of Sur on the Arabian Peninsula at the invitation of Royal Dutch Shell which is proposing to develop the LNG Canada project in Bish Cove, Kitimat. The trip's objective was to facilitate discussion with Omani’s who have experience with the LNG plant commissioned by Shell 14 years ago. The delegation also included the Kitimat fire chief and its economic development officer. Three of the LNG Canada shareholders, Shell, Mitsubishi and Korea Gasalso have shares in Oman LNG which primarily provides gas to buyers in Japan and Korea.

LNG project developers have also now received notice of the rates they will pay to power liquefaction plants, an important consideration in final financial  investment decisions.  BC Hydro has advised of a combined energy and demand charge for LNG facilities in 2014 of C$83.02 (US$72.81) per megawatt hour (MWh), before applicable taxes. BC Hydro has already completed a power agreement with LNG Canada.

Friday, 07 November 2014 09:51

Terminal automation stalling contract talks

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It became clear this week that PMA/ILWU negotiations for a new labour contract are stalled on the issue of automation at the TraPac terminal in Los Angeles. The ILWU is against the introduction of semi-automated processes at the terminal and is accusing the employer of failing to meet its obligations to retrain staff. MOL sold a 49% stake in its TraPac subsidiary to Canadian Fund Manager Brookfield Asset Management earlier this year. On Monday this week, the PMA issued a new release directly accusing the ILWU of intentional slow-downs – a standing tactic of all previous negotiations to apply pressure and which has this week resulted in gangs being sent home on several occasions. For its part, the ILWU described the PMA accusations as a “bold-faced lie designed to deflect responsibility from a growing congestion problem that is plaguing major West Coast ports”. Last weekend saw eight container ships at anchor on account of the continuing severe congestion in LA/LB. PMA/ILWU negotiations resumed on Wednesday this week.
View PMA News Release - Nov. 3, 2014.

Friday, 07 November 2014 09:45

First F-35C lands at sea

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The first arrested landing of the new F-35C jet fighter was made this week on the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz off San Diego. The initial testing is aimed at collecting environmental data and to conduct a thorough assessment of how well the F-35C operates in the shipboard environment. The state of the art fifth-generation fighter will formally join the U.S. Navy in 2018.

346 Panama

Tensions are increasing between the Panama Canal Piots Association and the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) over the use of tugs to assist vessels through the new locks and the insistence of the Authority that two way traffic can be safely executed through the widened Gaillard Cut. In the words of the pilots “the plan had been approved and funded, yet was missing one critical input – that of the very ship pilots who would ensure the safe daily operation of the vessels transiting the Canal”. The pilots are also objecting to strict guidelines detailing how operations are to be executed including the number of tugs required to move each vessel through the locks. Pilots are also angry over manslaughter charges against a pilot following the death of a Panama Canal linesman last year – a consequence of pilots being held legally and directly responsible for the navigation and movement of the vessels in the Canal.

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The remaining seven Indian crewmembers of the MV Asphalt Venture have been released by Somali pirates more than four years after their vessel was hijacked in September 2010 off the coast of Somalia. The vessel along with eight crew members were released following the payment of ransom in April 2011 but pirates held the seven remaining crew ashore in Somalia. Following payment of a “modest ransom” the seven crew members have been moved to Nairobi, Kenya ahead of repatriation to India. Some 30 hostages remain unaccounted for but are presumed to be still being held. Most are believed to be unfortunate fishermen.

Friday, 07 November 2014 09:42

Singapore employs surveillance blimp

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An unmanned helium-filled maritime surveillance balloon held down by steel ropes is to be floated 600 meters above Singapore. The continued hijackings of small tankers by Indonesian pirates has greatly alarmed maritime authorities in the region and Singapore’s so-called “aerostat” will be capable of monitoring sea and air traffic up to 200 kilometers away. 


The International Mine Countermeasures Naval Exercise (IMCMEX) involving 6,500 personnel representing 44 nations is underway (October 27 – November 13) in the Arabian Gulf. Led by U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, participants plan and execute mine countermeasure operations, maritime infrastructure protection and maritime security operations including the escort of merchant shipping during times of tension. The US Navy’s Afloat Forward Staging Base USS Ponce and British Royal Fleet Auxiliary amphibious assault vessel Cardigan Bay are providing at-sea support. 

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