The US Coast Guard has issued Safety Alert 03-17 following a recent investigation of a ferry propulsion failure where investigators discovered evidence of falsely identified fasteners being used as part of the drive train system. Several installed bolt heads separated from their shanks and, as a result, a splined hub coupling loosened and disconnected from the reduction gear / transmission. This then overstressed the stern tube seal, allowing water to leak into the engine room. Bolt heads generally include markings that indicate grade and manufacturer. The grade is associated with a bolt’s mechanical properties and composition. In this instance one fastener was marked with a manufacturer listed on the Department of Energy’s Suspect / Counterfeit Part Headmark List and not listed in the Department of Commerce’s Fastener Quality Act Register of Active Fastener Insignias.
The Review Panel for the proposed Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project has requested additional information from the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (VFPA). The Panel’s requests (now Package 4) contains 39 items that require additional information or clarification from VFPA and included in these items are requests for further clarification on the projected size of vessels that will call Terminal 2, further information on the findings from the ECHO (Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation) Program, and modelling of the underwater noise while berthing a 398 m container ship with three tugs and a line boat.
The Review Panel continues to collect the information that it needs to proceed to a public hearing for the Project. The Panel’s consideration and analysis of the environmental assessment information, including the submissions received during the comment period, is ongoing. The Panel expects to issue additional information requests to the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and will also require information and advice from other parties that are participating in the environmental assessment.
Western Stevedoring's President, Brad Eshleman, has announced that changes to its senior management will take effect on October 1, 2017. Dave Lucas will assume the role of Senior Vice President and will have an increased role in the management of the overall business with increased oversight of all profit centres within the Western Group of Companies and the many projects underway currently. Kelly Williams, past COS director and General Manager of Gearbulk Shipping Canada, will return to the Lower Mainland and assume the role of Vice President, Operations.
The Chamber of Shipping had the distinct pleasure of hosting the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) Chair, Esben Poulsson in Vancouver last Friday. Mr. Poulsson spoke to members on the importance of supporting the International Maritime Organization efforts to address greenhouse gas emissions in a cohesive and practical manner. If the global shipping industry fails to develop a strategy, port states including Canada are likely to be implement their own requirements. Mr. Poulsson stated that the ICS does not support a carbon trading system, and would prefer a bunker fuel levy that could be used for environmental innnovation and initiatives. The establishment of alternative cleaner fuels is essential to any significant reductions in CO2.
Following a lengthy investigation by Transport Canada, the Public Prosecution Service quietly laid charges against Alassia NewShips Management Inc. and the M/V Marathassa in BC’s Provincial Court. Alassia NewShips Management Inc. based in Greece has been charged with 10 pollution-related offences - six charges have been laid under the Canada Shipping Act, two offences under the Fisheries Act and one count each under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Convention Act. A provincial court date has been set for next Wednesday, but Alassia's legal team has applied for a judicial review in Federal Court on the basis that the summonses were not sent to the appropriate parties, arguing that Canadian law requires these to be delivered to an executive officer of a corporation or a branch.
The Government of Canada has announced that it will be contributing up to $60.7 million towards three BC Ferries projects estimated at $201 million. The projects include:
The Government of Canada has confirmed that India has granted a three month extension to the current exemption that requires mandatory fumigation of imported crops that was set to expire on March 31, 2017. The latest extension means that Canadian pulse exports leaving Canada on or before June 30, 2017, will not require fumigation in Canada. During the three month period both governments will continue to work towards a long-term, science-based solution to pest control. At stake is a Canadian industry that has an annual trade of $1.1 billion in exports of peas and lentils to India.
Earlier this week, New Delhi imposed a 10 per cent import tax on wheat, seeking to curb imports at a time when Indian farmers are starting to harvest crops.
The Port of Prince Rupert has announced an expansion project for containerized cargo on Ridley Island that will help crops from the Canadian agricultural industry reach international markets while expanding intermodal logistics capacities at the Port of Prince Rupert. Ray-Mont Logistics is developing an integrated logistics and container loading operation at the south end of the Ridley Island Industrial Site on the recently-constructed Road, Rail and Utility Corridor. The operation will involve pulses and cereals (such as lentils, peas, beans, soybeans, flax, and wheat) as well as other specialty agricultural crops transported in hopper cars by rail from Western and Central Canada and the US Midwest. The cargo will be transferred to ocean containers for export via the Fairview Container Terminal, which is currently undergoing expansion
Operation of the completed facility will employ an estimated 40 people. The ten-acre facility will include a rail loop corridor in excess of 100 railcars, a grain dumper pit, and a state-of-the-art conveyance system. The Ray-Mont facility will utilize rail tracks on the Ridley Island Corridor to take delivery of agricultural commodities and meet market demand for port-loaded export containers on the West Coast. Agricultural products from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and further inland will unload at the facility via a conveyor system. IDL Projects, on behalf of Coast Tsimshian Northern Contractor Alliance, will begin clearing the site this week and the new transloading facility will be operational in time for the 2017/18 crop year this fall.
A final rule by the Federal Maritime Commission amending requirements for Service Contracts and NVOCC Service Arrangements (NSAs), announced earlier this month, will become effective on Friday, May 5, 2017. The amendments ease regulatory burdens and reduce the costs of compliance with the agency’s regulations. Carriers and NVOCCs will have additional time under the new rule to correct technical data transmission errors from 48 hours to 30 days and service contract errors from 45 days to 180 days. The final rule in Docket No. 16-05 is now available on the Commission’s website and will be published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, April 4, 2017.
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) also recently launched a redesigned, more user-friendly Agreements Library. This online library of carrier agreements makes it easier for the ocean transportation industry and members of the public to search for, identify, and review vessel-operating common carrier agreements directly through the Commission’s website.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO), the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Ltd (ITOPF) and the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPC Funds) have launched an exhibition to mark 50 years of successful cooperation between government and industry to achieve a dramatic and sustained reduction in major oil spills from ships; to establish effective systems for preparedness and response if there is an incident and to create a comprehensive mechanism for providing compensation to those affected. It is a story to be proud of.
A timeline from pre-1967 to the present day covers prevention – including improved safety of navigation, ship construction, training and risk reduction; preparedness and response – an area which has continued to evolve as both awareness and technology have advanced and practical experience has led to a better response to spills when they occur; and liability and compensation regimes, which have been developed to ensure that a robust system of compensation and liability for ship-source oil spills is now in place and that appropriate funding mechanisms exist to finance an immediate and efficient response and compensate those affected.
In cooperation with the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), the Danish Maritime Authority has developed a pre-analysis that is intended to inspire other projects that may support the development of autonomous ships. The pre-analysis briefly summarizes how to define various levels of autonomy. From the lowest level with full manual operation, where the navigating officer gets his information from electronic charts and where he gets information about his own position, course and speed as well as an overview from radar that also presents other ships' course and speed; over increasing levels where automated decision-support takes over; to levels of actual autonomy. This part is based on the experience and knowledge gained from autonomous cars and unmanned aircraft and refers to ongoing reflections from similar ship-related projects. The report concludes with proposals for specific research and innovation projects that are expected to be of benefit to the Danish maritime industry and Blue Denmark.
At the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway this week, CSL unveiled a unique contribution of artwork commemorating Canada’s 150th birthday. Between mid-February and early March of 2017, four urban Montreal artists worked together to create the mural on the forward façade of the accommodations block of the bulk carrier CSL St-Laurent that depicts a Canada goose with its powerful wings spread in flight, its forward motion a tribute to Montreal and to Canada. The Sea Keeper/Gardien des eaux is an original work of art conceived by Montreal urban artist Bryan Beyung and created by Beyung with artists FONKi, Ankh One, and Benny Wilding of the Ashop art collective. The monumental mural was created over a few weeks – a feat which is in itself is worth noting – and required the ingenuity of CSL's Technical Team to make it a success. Painting an original work-of-art of this scale on a ship was a first for the artists, a first for CSL and a first for a Canadian commercial vessel. CSL has also produced a video depicting the making of the mural, which is available at here.
The BC provincial government announced on Wednesday that it is taking action under the Climate Leadership Plan to support investments by natural gas utilities that will increase the use of LNG and renewable natural gas in the transportation, marine and other sectors and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Amendments to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Regulation (GGRR) under the Clean Energy Act will enable utilities to increase existing incentives provided to shipping companies for the conversion of vessels to run on LNG, invest in LNG bunkering (marine fueling) infrastructure, and increase the supply and use of renewable natural gas (RNG). Programs under the GGRR are funded by the utility, not the Province. The amendments are enabling only, and set the parameters for potential utility programs and investments that will reduce GHG emissions. The government asserts that converting just one ocean-going tanker, cruise ship, or container ship to run on LNG instead of heavy fuel oil will reduce GHG emissions by about 93,500 tonnes per year, equivalent to taking over 19,800 vehicles off the road. It hopes that utility investments in LNG fueling infrastructure will help establish B.C. as a marine bunkering centre on the west coast capable of providing LNG to an increasing number of LNG vessels and leading to global reductions in GHG emissions.
The Board of Directors of Clear Seas Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping is pleased to announce the appointment of Peter Ellis to the position of Executive Director, effective March 20th, 2017. Peter comes to Clear Seas after a distinguished thirty-one-year career in the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Armed Forces. Prior to his retirement in the rank of Rear-Admiral, he held a variety of operational and institutional leadership roles both at sea and ashore, having served in Halifax, Esquimalt and Ottawa. He has served in over a dozen Canadian ships and submarines, and sailed in several allied warships. He commanded the frigate HMCS Halifax and Canada’s Pacific Fleet. As Executive Director, Peter brings proven leadership to Clear Seas as the organization fulfills its mission to be the leading source of impartial information on marine shipping in Canada.
Peter Ellis, CMM, CD, is a former naval officer who retired from the Canadian Armed Forces at the rank of Rear-Admiral.
The Chamber of Shipping welcomes Peter to Clear Seas.
American Club is advising that the Maritime Safety Administrations (MSAs) in Hebei Province and Tianjin Municipality have both reportedly penalized a foreign ship for use of fuel with sulfur content over 0.5%. It is not clear at this stage how the vessel was penalized. It has been reported that, in conducting the supervision and inspection survey of the foreign vessel that arrived at Tianjin Port, the MSA officer suspected that the vessel was using noncompliant fuel. Sampling results showed that the sulfur content of the fuel of that ship was 0.866%, which exceeded the maximum content of 0.5%m/m. This was the first reported case of the usage of non-compliant fuel in the PRC since the second and more stringent stage of control measures was implemented on January 1, 2017. The latest control measure requires ships to use fuel with a sulfur content of no more than 0.5% during berthing at key ports (excluding 1 hour after anchorage and 1 hour before departure).
Following the above referenced publicly reported case, there have been at least two other foreign flagged vessels that have been penalized by the MSA for allegedly using non-compliant fuel. Vessels are urged to comply with the latest PRC ECA low sulfur content requirement regulations to avoid detention or some form of penalty.
This week’s federal budget had some level of focus on transportation and infrastructure but it will likely not satisfy a marine transportation industry facing significant commercial challenges, issues of competitiveness, and an aggressive U.S. marketplace. While the intent of several new initiatives is positive and timely, it is yet to be seen whether or not the government can deliver programming quickly enough to support the competitiveness of Canadian gateways.
Transportation. As expected in recent weeks, the budget did lay out information regarding funding envelopes like the new National Trade Corridors Fund. Additionally, the government will allocate $50 million over 11 years to Transport Canada towards the launch of a Trade & Transportation Information System (housed in a new Canadian Centre on Transportation Data). Open-data portal that will provide performance measures and multi-modal data collection/analysis.
Infrastructure. Asset divestiture, such as privatizing Canada’s airports and ports, was not in the budget. However, in its expenditure management initiatives, the Government noted it would initiate a three-year horizontal review of federal fixed assets, organized and staged by asset type. While some groups have already raised concerns that Canadians remain “in the dark”, the fact is an extensive and extended review period is yet to come.
Budget 2017 restates the government’s commitment to the Canada Infrastructure Bank, which will provide $5 billion to the above-stated National Trade Corridors Fund (in addition to the $2 billion over 11 years that the Fund is receiving separately). The Bank will soon be recruiting for a new CEO and Board Chair, and will be operational, according to the government, by late 2017.
Trade. With respect to trade, the Government reiterated that all significant measures of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union are on track to be in force by the Spring. This has been of particular concern to Canadian maritime labour that views CETA as a threat to Canadian jobs. Further to remarks by President Trump and Prime Minister Trudeau earlier this month on U.S. and Canada regulatory cooperation, Budget 2017 outlines a renewed commitment to advancing regulatory alignment in support of trade. The Treasury Board Secretariat, home of the U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council, will be receiving an additional $6 million over three years to continue its efforts in supporting business growth by promoting regulatory alignment with Canada’s trading partners.
Climate Change and Environment. A number of measures to implement the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change were included in the 2017 budget. The budget signaled that the government intends to introduce a carbon pricing “backstop mechanism” that will apply in provinces and territories that do not meet the federal government’s carbon pricing benchmark. This will effectively enforce a national carbon price from the federal level. Beyond this, the budget also proposes $67.5 million in funding over four years to Natural Resources Canada to promote energy efficiency programs.
There will be various investments aimed at green transportation measures, such as $56.9 million over four years to Transport Canada to develop new greenhouse gas regulations for the marine, rail, aviation and vehicle sectors, and $17.2 million over five years to develop and implement heavy-duty vehicle retrofit and off-road regulations, as well as a clean fuel standard.
TransCanada has applied to the National Energy Board for regulatory approval that would allow them to start contruction of the North Montney Mainline.The company has received conditional federal and provincial approvals for the NMML, however they are subject to a final positive investment decision by Petronas, the primary backer of the Pacific Northwest LNG Project on Lelu Island in Prince Rupert. Construction is estimated to cost around $1.4 billion and will connect the NMML project with TransCanada's existing pipeline network, allowing the company to ship the gas to markets across Canada and into the United States. If regulatory approval was provided, TransCanada could begin construction of the pipeline in the first half of 2018.