BC Ferries has formally announced long rumored plans to convert its two largest vessels, the Spirit of Vancouver Island and the Spirit of British Columbia, to dual fuel, as well as make modifications to the hull, in order to save approximately $9.2 million per year in operating costs over the remaining projected 27year life cycle of the two vessels. BC Ferries spent $126 million on fuel last fiscal year and the two Spirit-Class vessels consumed approximately 15% of the fleet total. Spirit-Class vessels operate on the Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay route, which carried 28% of total passengers, 23% of total vehicles and generated 38% of total passenger-based revenue in fiscal 2014.
The Pacific Pilotage Authority has announced that the successful candidate for the Assistant Director Marine Operations role at PPA is Mr. Paulo Ekkebus. Prior to joining the PPA, Mr. Ekkebus spent six years as a senior marine investigator with the Transportation Safety Board both in Ottawa and Vancouver. He also spent four years teaching at the British Columbia Institute of Technology's marine campus in North Vancouver, the last 2 of which were as Chief Instructor of the Nautical Sciences and Seamanship diploma programs. He has twelve years of sailing experience in deck and engineering disciplines onboard a variety of vessels, culminating in the appointment as Master. He has also worked in the private sector, developing and implementing safety management systems. Mr. Ekkebus is a Certified Master Mariner and holds a Bachelor's degree from the De Ruyter Maritime Institute in the Netherlands. He will assume his new role on September 29.
Professor Tetley passed away in Montreal, Canada on 1 July, aged 87. After practicing civil, commercial, and marine law from 1952-1970, he served in municipal and provincial politics in Quebec rising to a cabinet minister in the first Bourassa cabinet from 1970-1976. He then joined the Faculty of Law at McGill University where he served as a professor for over 30 years and was appointed Distinguished Visiting Professor of Maritime and Commercial Law at Tulane University, New Orleans in 2007. His extensive publications include over 150 articles and seven monographs. He was named to the Order of Canada in 1995.
The US Government has approved a $324.6 million Title XI loan guarantee to TOTE Shipholdings, Inc. to finance the construction of the world’s first two LNG-fueled 3,100 TEU capacity container ships. The new so called Marlin Class vessels are under construction at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego, California and will be equipped with a single low speed, dual-fuel ME-GI engine capable of running on primarily on LNG. Delivery is scheduled for late 2015 and early 2016, at which point the vessels will operate in the U.S. Jones Act protected trades between Jacksonville, Florida and San Juan, Puerto Rico. TOTE retains options for up to three additional ships. The Title XI program guarantees the repayment of loans, obtained in the private sector by ship owners, for the construction reconstruction, or reconditioning of vessels in US shipyards.
The State of Alaska has signed an agreement to construct two Alaska Class Ferries at Vigor Alaska in Ketchikan. The vessels will be the largest ever to be built in Alaska and the first Alaska Marine Highway System ferries to be built in the state. The contract is reported to be worth $120 million and deliveries are scheduled for 2018. The new vessels will be 280 feet long, seat up to 300 passengers and carry 53 standard vehicles.
A fire at the Pasha steel handling terminal in the Port of Los Angeles berth 179 this week has caused serious damage and delays to operations in both LA and Long Beach. The fire broke out underneath a warehouse sending toxic smoke hundreds of feet into the air. The seriousness of the fire resulted in the establishment of a unified command to oversee 170 firefighters and involving the LA and Long Beach Fire Departments, Los Angeles Port Police and United Stated Coast Guard. Two vessels were ordered to be removed from the immediate vicinity. No injuries were recorded but the wharf, a warehouse and a so far unspecified amount of cargo have been heavily damaged or lost.
President Obama this week announced a major expansion of a marine preservation area, originally created by president Bush in 2006, to form the world’s largest marine sanctuary. The Pacific Remote Island Marine National Monument will grow from almost 87,000 square miles to nearly 782,000 square miles — all of it adjacent to seven islands and atolls controlled by the United States. The sanctuary covers a broad swath of the central Pacific Ocean and will be off-limits to fishing, energy exploration and other activities. The proposal is scheduled to go into effect later this year and will effectively double the area of the ocean globally that is fully protected.
The Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss (above) has announced that the government will streamline the system for applying for temporary licences to use foreign-flag ships to move cargoes between Australian ports which he said had become "very difficult and restrictive" under the previous government. As a consequence, Mr. Truss cliamed that it was now cheaper to ship sugar from Thailand to Melbourne than to move it between Queensland and Melbourne, and it was reaching the stage where it was cheaper to ship cement from China to Australia than to move it between domestic ports. Mr Truss did however confirm his support for a "second register" for Australian ships, which allows them to use foreign seafarers on international routes.
Maersk Line announced this week that the company proposes to spend around $3 billion a year from 2015-19 on new tonnage in order to retain its long held position as the world’s largest container carrier. The company currently controls around 15% of the global containerized trade including around 20% on the world’s busiest route between Asia and Europe. Only four of the major container carriers turned a profit in the first half of 2014 with Maersk the most profitable on account of aggressive cost cutting.
The International Chamber of Shipping published a paper this week to coincide with the UN Conference on Climate Change which took place in New York. Green House Gas emissions from global maritime transport are estimated to have been over 20% lower in 2012 than in 2007. View the ICS Press Release.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s latest impressive creation, Quantum of the Seas left the Meyer Werft shipyard this week to make the precarious 26 mile transit down the River Ems to the North Sea where final outfitting and testing will take place. The route is technically known as “the conveyance” and is an ordeal that every ship ever constructed at Meyer Werft has taken since 1795 because of the shipyard’s protected inland location in Papenburg, Germany. With LOA 348 meters and beam 41.4 meters, Quantum of the Seas is the largest vessel ever built by Meyer Werft and her stern first movement downriver at 2-3 knots involved re-routing of power lines and even the temporary lifting of some bridges. She is to be followed by a sister ship Anthem of the Seas. We came across a video of the exercise http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5vcvvncKKM.
INTERTANKO is to host a Seafarers’ Vetting Seminar on 22 October in Manila. This Seminar is specifically designed for seafarers and will provide guidance on port state control as well as the process and best practice associated with vetting inspections.
On Monday, September 22nd the Celebrity Solstice visited the Port of Nanaimo as one of the ports of call in its 11-day Seattle-Alaska itinerary. With a capacity of 2,850 passengers and 1,400 crew, the Celebrity Solstice is the largest vessel on Alaskan itinerary. This is the second cruise ship to visit Nanaimo this year in addition to two pocket cruise ships that arrived in May. Next season Nanaimo is scheduled to see three large cruise ships, including the return of the Celebrity Solstice, and two pocket cruise ships.
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) secretary general, Koji Sekimizu, has announced that he will resign at the end of his first term in office ending in December 2015 for family reasons. Mr. Sekimizu's announcement caught many by surprise as it is usual for a newly elected secretary general to continue for a second term and it was anticipated that he would hold the post until 2019.
CN Rail may be fined for failing to meeting the Government of Canada's requirement to deliver 536,250 metric tons of grain weekly. CN is contesting the fine on the basis that the demand for moving the grain has dropped to less than 5,000 railcars a week, which is below the government’s target. CN notes that the grain volumes were also reduced by a roughly week-long closing of the Port of Prince Rupert for maintenance, full capacity at most of the Port Metro Vancouver terminals and a lack of weekend shifts at both ports. There are currently 19 ships in Vancouver and four in Prince Rupert either loading or waiting for grain.
Port Metro Vancouver is expecting high cruise passenger volumes at Canada Place and Ballantyne Pier cruise terminals on September 21st and 28th with up to 15,000 embarking and disembarking passengers are expected between 7:00 am and 5:00 pm at Canada Place and Ballantyne terminals. On these busy cruise days, higher than normal traffic volumes are anticipated in the downtown core, along with increased demand for taxis and the use of public transportation.
CN has recognized CMA-CGM, Cosco, Hapag Lloyd, Kruger Products, Maersk Line, MOL, Mondelēz Canada, NYK, OOCL Canada, Target Canada and Walmart Canada for sustainability practices that align with CN's EcoConnexions program to reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency. CN will plant 110,000 trees next spring in recognition of its customers’ commitment to sustainable business practices.