Hapag-Lloyd informed that on 3 January, a fire broke out in one container on the deck of the Yantian Express about 1,200 kilometres off Canada's East Coast and spread to additional containers. Efforts were launched immediately to put out the fire. However, they had to be stopped because of a deterioration of weather conditions. A cargo ship from the Netherlands, the Happy Ranger, offered assistance and was about 32 kilometres from the Yantian Express when help was requested. A firefighting tugboat was dispatched late Friday. Fortunately the crew of 8 officers and 15 seafarers is unharmed according to Hapag-Lloyd. The 7,510 TEU vessel, which is 320 meters long and carries the German flag, was on its way from Colombo to Halifax via the Suez Canal when the fire broke.
Two barges in the Port of Vancouver broke free from their moorings in North Vancouver at about 5 a.m. on Boxing Day causing more than $1M in damages as they collided with three structures in Coal Harbour. The barges had drifted across Vancouver Harbour. One barge was loaded with containers and the other was empty gravel barge. Two local tugs, the marine unit vessel and two boats from the Port of Vancouver managed to get both barges under tow about 90 minutes later and returned them to their moorings in North Vancouver. The cause of the incident is still unknown, and there were no reports of marine pollution.
CN is well positioned to handle an anticipated volume increase in grain, potash, consumer goods, and energy products projected for 2019. CN's has invested a record $3.5 billion in 2018 to hire hundreds of train conductors, add new track, boxcars and locomotives, primarily to service Western Canada. Adding to this will be the delivery of the first 40 of 60 new General Electric locomotives in January. Record levels of capital expenditures are expected to continue in 2019.
Also of interest, in mid-December CN and the Unifor union that represents its 2,100 mechanics, electricians and apprentices in Canada reached a tentative collective agreement. Negotiations began Oct. 5 with Unifor saying that wages, benefits and the contracting out of repair and overhaul work were key issues. The new agreement is subject to ratification. The current contract expired on December 31, 2018.
Canadian National Railway Co. says it is planning to build a pilot plant worth up to $50 million next year to create pucks made of oilsands bitumen to transport by rail and ships to customers around the world. The railway is in discussions with the federal and Alberta governments, along with potential oilsands industry partners and the Heart Lake First Nation of northern Alberta, to fund the 10,000-barrel-per-day pilot plant. If the pilot succeeds, CN would build a commercial-sized plant with capacity to convert up to 50,000 barrels per day of heavy crude. The company has signed a memorandum of understanding with an unnamed Asian customer who is interested in importing the pucks to his country and separating the oil and polymer for processing and sale.
In support of the implementation of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has issued Customs Notice 18-27 to implement a number of regulatory amendments and new regulations, effective as of the date of coming into force December 30, 2018. Included are new regulations re the certification of origin of goods imported from a free trade partner. The regulations will set out the criteria by which an importer may complete the CPTPP Certificate of Origin for goods for which preferential tariff treatment under the CPTPP will be claimed.The changes are implemented in accordance with paragraph 167.1(b) of the Customs Act, and remain subject to future decisions from the Governor in Council.
On January 2 2019, a Canadian International Trade Tribunal Procurement Decision has determined that a complaint filed against the Department of Public Works and Government Services (PWGSC) by Horizon Maritime Services Ltd. / Heiltsuk Horizon Maritime Services Ltd. was to be valid in part. The Complaint regarding the procurement process for two emergency towing vessels alleges that PWGSC did not conduct a fair procurement process, as the successful bidder was non-compliant with certain mandatory requirements in the solicitation process, including requirements relating to the pulling power of the towing vessels. Pursuant to subsections 30.15(2) and (3) of the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act, the Tribunal recommends that the PWGSC re-evaluate mandatory requirement No. 12 of the Request for Proposals for all of the bids received prior to bid closing, as soon as practicable and no later than within six months of the determination. The Tribunal has also recommended that the current designated contract remain with the winning bidder, Atlantic Services Limited (ATL), until the completion of the re-evaluation. However, the Tribunal recommends that no further expenditure under the contract be undertaken by PWGSC pending the re-evaluation.
The US Maritime Advisory System will initiate a new type of US Maritime Alert to relay urgent maritime related information from other USG sources or international regional maritime security reporting centers (i.e. United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade Gulf of Guinea, Regional Cooperation Agreement on combating Piracy and Armed Robbery, International Maritime Bureau Piracy Reporting Center), when warranted. To subscribe to the alerts visit the Maritime Security Communications with Industry (MSCI) Portal at www.marad.dot.gov/MSCI. Maritime industry professionals (civilian or military) may also register to receive additional Company Security Officer related information. Although housed on MARAD’s website.
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued a news release stating that the agency is closed due to the partial federal government shutdown and will resume operation upon enactment of appropriations legislation. The shutdown has also affected the US Coast Guard Academy, NOAA and the Maritime Administration, which prepared to cease all activities in the Committee on Marine Transportation Systems, the Office of Policy and Plans, and the Office of Maritime Education and Training, among others.
The Maritime Authorities of the Paris and the Tokyo Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) on Port State Control will start issuing a letter of warning from 1 January 2019 on the sulphur content of marine fuels during inspections in order to increase awareness of and to encourage timely compliance with the new requirements. For the purpose of facilitating smooth and consistent implementation of the global 2020 sulphur cap, the Paris and the Tokyo Memoranda will carry out a joint information campaign by issuing a letter of warning to ships during inspections from 1 January to 31 December 2019. The aim is to increase awareness of the ships’ crew and company on the matter and to remind and encourage compliance with Regulations 14 (*1,*2) and 18 of MARPOL Annex VI from 1 January 2020.
A Panamanian car carrier traveling from Japan to Hawaii with about 3500 Nissan vehicles on board caught fire in the middle the Pacific Ocean, leading crew members to abandon ship last week. The fire broke out on the Sincerity Ace on New Years Eve and the US Coast Guard (USCG) and five merchant vessels in the area came to the rescue. Of the 21 crew, 16 were rescued, four were located unresponsive, and one remains missing. The US Coast Guard has not shared what exactly caused the fire on the Sincerity Ace, which was built in 2009. The USCG video link taken from an HC130 Hercules aircraft shows the extent of the damage.
The Virginiaborg became the first ocean-going vessel to reach the Port of Montreal without a stopover in 2019, by crossing the downstream limits of the Port at Sorel on January 2, at 3:50 a.m. Captain Volodymyr of Yurchenko was awarded the famous Gold-Headed Cane by Montreal Port Authority (MPA) President and CEO, Sylvie Vachon. The Gold-Headed Cane is awarded each year to the Master of the first ocean-going vessel to reach the Port of Montreal without a stopover. This ceremony will mark the 180th anniversary of this great tradition in the shipping community.
The Virginiaborg is a bulk carrier operated by Wagenborg Shipping and represented in Montreal by the Lower St-Lawrence Ocean Agencies Ltd. The Virginiaborg left the Port of Porsgrunn, Norway, on December 20.