The Panama Canal Authority has imposed stricter draft limits for vessels moving through its expanded locks, in the face of unpredicted drought. The new maximum authorised draft for vessels transiting the neopanamax locks is 13.41 m, nearly 2 m short of its original design draft. This is the fifth time this year the canal’s administrators have had to impose ever stricter draft limits amid an unprecedented drought.
Rijkswaterstaat (a Dutch water management agency), Rijksvastgoebedrijf (the Dutch government real estate agency), and the Port of Rotterdam, have started market consultation for a 100MW floating photovoltaic power (PV) project. The giant solar panel project would float above a dredging spoil storage spot.
The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport announced that the Government of Canada is providing funding over three years to the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) to deliver a program to increase access to marine training courses for Indigenous communities. This $6.2 million in funding under the Oceans Protection Plan to BCIT will deliver a joint project with Camosun College to engage and consult with Indigenous communities to establish the full scope of training to be delivered and provide options to deliver training in Indigenous communities. BCIT and Camosun will also work with a number of industry partners, marine employers, and Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary to offer opportunities to work and gain experience at sea. The Marine Training Program is part of the $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan, the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways, and reduces barriers to marine training for underrepresented groups in the marine labour force, such as women, Northerners, Inuit and Indigenous peoples.
The Gateway forum will be taking place in Vancouver on May 10. The forum will be focused on the gateway, an integrated, seamless supply chain connecting Canadian and North American markets to the world. While Canada is the only G7 country to have a trading agreement with all other partners, infrastructure deterioration, project delays, and a decline in availability of industrial land all threaten the longevity and performance of the Gateway. This forum will bring together policy makers, industry and employers to discuss best practices and roadblocks in sustaining and strengthening Canada's Pacific Gateway. Registration for the forum can be found here: https://www.boardoftrade.com/events/individual-events/1545-6399
Transport Canada has launched a new Small Vessel Compliance Program for Fishing Vessels not more than 15 Gross Tonnage. Participating in the program is voluntary (though following regulations is not), and consists of a tool that provides guidance on legal requirements such as:
• registering the vessel with Transport Canada;
• carrying required safety equipment on board;
• developing safety procedures for operating the vessel and responding to emergencies; and
• ensuring the crew is properly qualified and trained.
Enrolling in the program will soon be possible online, but in the meantime, details on how to participate can be found in the bulletin: http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/marinesafety/bulletins-2019-06-eng.htm
Sempra Energy’s Port Arthur LNG export facility has been approved for construction by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). When complete, the project is slated to include two liquefaction trains, up to three LNG storage tanks and associated facilities that will enable the export of approximately 11 million tonnes per annum of LNG. The FERC order also approved the construction of the Texas and Louisiana connector pipeline projects that will provide natural gas transportation for the new liquefaction facilities.
Cornerstone Maritime, a newly formed ship management company based in Denmark has unveiled plans to act as commercial manager of the Ierax effective from May 10, 2019. Cornerstone Maritime would also handle all chartering and operations of the 15,885 dwt tanker, which was built in 1998. The company was founded by Simon Toft, the head of the ship-brokerage Casos Shipping for the past five years.
On April 25th, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, announced that the Government of Canada will be adopting new standards to strengthen the conservation and protection of important marine habitat. As recommended by the Nation Advisory Panel, Canada’s approach to marine conservation networks going forward will include two distinct forms of protection – marine protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, such as marine refuges. Marine protected areas will function somewhat like national parks and will provide a high level of environmental protection by prohibiting four industrial activities within all of these areas: oil and gas activities, mining, dumping and bottom trawling. With respect to other effective area-based conservation measures, including marine refuges, economic activities within these areas will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. These will be allowed if they are consistent with the conservation objectives of that specific area.
ABS, Google Cloud and Ukrainian software company SoftServe have completed a pilot project using artificial intelligence (AI) models to detect corrosion and coating breakdown on ships and offshore structures. The project successfully demonstrated the accuracy of AI in detecting and assessing structural anomalies found during visual inspection. According to ABS, AI techniques could also be used to analyze images over time to understand corrosion and coating breakdown trends. Computerized interpretation of digital imagery pairs well with drone-based inspection, another area that ABS has pioneered for ships and offshore structures. Drone surveys generate extensive digital video footage, which can potentially be "scanned" by AI or computer vision techniques to detect anomalies. ABS' technology relies on much more sophisticated AI tools developed by Google Cloud.
On 11 April the US Navy dropped a charge of negligent homicide and other offences against Commander Bryce Benson, captain of the USS Fitzgerald on 17 June 2017 when it collided with the commercial vessel, ACX Crystal, in the waters off Japan’s coast about 80 n miles southwest of Tokyo. Seven US Navy sailors were killed that night. Charges were also dropped against Lieutenant Natalie Combs, the officer in charge of the Command Information Centre and responsible for advising the bridge on collision avoidance. Both Cmdr. Benson and Lt. Combs received letters of censure, with the common feature that their ineffective leadership and poor judgement or communication were causal factors in the collision. Letters of censure acknowledge acts of wrongdoing but have no legal ramifications.
Transport Canada has now issued Ship Safety Bulletin SSB No.: 07/2019. Due to changing migration of North Atlantic right whales and their increased presence in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Government of Canada has established seasonal speed restrictions in a specific zone. These restrictions combine "static zone" and "dynamic speed" sectors. The restrictions will be in effect from April 28 to November 15, 2019. These dates may change, depending on when whales are present. During this period, vessels of 20 m or more in length (LOA) must reduce their speed so as not to exceed 10.0 knots over the ground in the presence of North Atlantic right whales. Failure to comply may result in penalties ranging from C$ 6,000 to C$ 25,000 and/or penal sanctions under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001.
The BC Ferry Spirit of Vancouver Island has now returned to service after completing its upgrade and liquified natural gas (LNG) conversion in Poland this spring. The vessel is now capable of operating on LNG and will along with her sister vessel, the Spirit of British Columbia, reduce BC Ferries’ CO2 emissions by an estimated 12,500 tonnes per year. The 1993-built ferry services the Vancouver (Tsawwasssen) – Victoria (Swartz Bay) route. BC Ferries now has five ships that operate on cleaner natural gas, two Spirit-class and three Salish-class ferries.
Feedback is being sought on proposed management measures to aid in the recovery of Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) for implementation in the spring of 2019. The proposed management measures focus on addressing key threats related to: contaminants, lack of prey availability and underwater noise and physical disturbance. The consultation period will close on May 3. To participate in the on-line survey visit the department’s website.
The Saugeen Ojibway Nation is pursuing a landmark ownership claim of a large swath of government land across the entire Bruce Peninsula in Ontario. What is unique in this claim is that the Nation is seeking Aboriginal title over the “water territory” in addition to the land and seabed, as has traditionally been claimed. In addition, compensation of $90 billion is also being sought against the Crown for failing to protect and preserve the territory which consists of four reserves and a population of 1,900.
103 containers shipped from Vancouver to the Philippines over five years ago threaten to destroy diplomatic relations with Canada. The containers were never claimed and were later discovered by the Bureau of Customs to contain household and electronic garbage that is classified as hazardous under the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste and Control Act of 1990. Charges were filed in 2014 against Chronic Plastics and its customs brokers, but no removal order followed. President Rodrigo Duterte warned this week that if Canada doesn’t take back the containers that have been rotting in a port near Manila within the next week, he will “declare war” and ship the containers back himself. Prime Minister Trudeau is being urged to sign the amendment to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, which prohibits the export of hazardous waste from developed to developing countries.
There will be a full road closure of the Clark Drive Overpass, Sunday, April 28, 2019 from 9:00am to 10:00pm. Vancouver Fraser Port Authority will be conducting concrete deck inspection on the Clark Drive overpass during the closure. it is requested that all drivers adhere to traffic signage and controllers onsite. During this full road closure, please use the following routes:
This week Chamber of Shipping directors, Capt. Oscar Pinto and Capt. Stan Bowles (pictured above with Senators Patterson and Dasko) appeared before the Senate Committee on Transport and Communications in Terrace, BC to provide expert testimony on modern tanker design and safety measures taken to prevent incidents. The Senate Committee is visiting communities in western Canada to gather input on the contentious Oil Tanker Moratorium Act proposed in Bill C-48.