The bulk carrier, Minoan Glory, was outbound from Vancouver Harbour on Tuesday with a load of soybeans when it suffered an explosion in the vessel’s number 3 cargo hatch. The explosion was likely caused by excessive pressure built up during the cargo fumigation process. The sound of the hatch blowing and subsequent plume of steam from the hold drew a significant amount of attention. We are pleased that there were no injuries or pollution as a result of the incident. The vessel suffered minor damage and remains at anchorage in English Bay awaiting repairs.
Alberta’s government is setting aside $10-million to help Indigenous groups use the courts to support oil pipelines and other resource projects. Premier Jason Kenney has argued that a small group of well-funded First Nations, which have successfully used the courts to derail projects such as the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, have had a louder voice than those in favour because of their access to funds. The province will accept proposals from First Nations or Métis communities, as well as corporations or non-profit groups with Indigenous involvement, to file new lawsuits or intervene in existing cases. Groups applying for the money must support projects that “improve Alberta’s interests.” The Alberta government also plans to launch a Crown corporation this fall to offer loan guarantees and other help to Indigenous-led proposals to buy into the Trans Mountain pipeline or other resource projects.
As part of the Oceans Protection Plan, the Government of Canada is seeing input through its Let's Talk Oceans Protection Plan website on proposals to develop a new and more collaborative approach to managing marine traffic issues in local waterways. The draft framework is available online and the comment period closes on Friday, September 27, 2019.
Federal employers finally have an in-force date for the recent amendments to the Canada Labour Code contained in Bill C-63 and Bill C-86. On September 1, 2019 workplaces subject to the Canada Labour Code need to prepare for major changes to a range of statutory provisions governing everything from work scheduling to leave entitlements to termination of employment, among many others. The changes will begin to take effect in September 2019.
Transport Canada has released Ship Safety Bulletin 11/2019 to adapt to the changing migration of North Atlantic Right Whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The previous interim measures slowing vessels down within the designated shipping lanes may have been pushing ships closer to where the endangered mammals are now gathering as vessels were altering routes to compensate for the lower speeds in the previous order. The whales have not been seen in the shipping lanes recently, and as result the interim measures have been adjusted.
The Government of Canada expects to surpass its marine conservation target of 10 percent protection of marine and coastal areas by 2020. The new Tuvaijuittuq (meaning "the place where the ice never melts") marine protected area planned off the Nunavut coast would ban new or additional human activities in the area for up to five years, but still allows Inuit to hunt and fish. There are also exceptions for emergency activities, some scientific research and "certain activities carried out by a foreign national, entity, ship or state. This new marine protected area combined with the Tallurutiup Imanga national marine conservation area in the northeastern region of Nunavut covers more than 427,000 square kilometres.
This follows an order-in-council, issued on July 28 by cabinet, that prohibits all offshore oil and gas activities in the Arctic, building off a moratorium on issuing new oil and gas licenses announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2016, alongside then-U.S. president Barack Obama. The new order-in-council is to remain in effect until Dec. 31, 2021 as the federal cabinet has the power to prohibit certain oil and gas work in Arctic offshore areas if deemed to be in the national interest, and the authority to freeze the terms of licence holders in those areas during the ongoing moratorium.
Through the Oceans Protection Plan, the Canadian Coast Guard launched the Indigenous Community Boat Volunteer Pilot Program. Under this program, communities are encouraged to build up their on-water search and rescue capacity and funding is provided to support the purchase of boats, and other required equipment. This week $2.7 million in funding was announced for 14 communities and the investment is expected to add support to Coast Guard Auxiliary members in coastal regions across Canada.
The US Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration issued a warning yesterday suggesting Iran is engaged in interfering with ships’ GPS systems as they transit near the Middle Eastern nation. The warning said merchant ships had reported “spoofed bridge-to-bridge communications from unknown entities falsely claiming to be US or coalition warships.”
“Due to the heightened regional tensions, the potential for miscalculation or misidentification could lead to aggressive actions against vessels belonging to US, allied and coalition partners operating in the Arabian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, and Gulf of Oman,” US Central Command (CENTCOM) explained in an emailed statement, adding that a number of ships have reported communications jamming in recent weeks.
The US believes Iran has GPS jammers operating on Abu Musa Island, an island in the Persian Gulf, aimed at getting international ships and aircraft to inadvertently wander into Iranian waters or airspace.
e5 Lab Inc., a venture between Asahi Tanker Co., Exeno Yamamizu Corp., Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. and Mitsubishi Corp is seeking to build the world’s first zero-emission tanker by mid-2021 that will be powered by large-capacity batteries and will operate in Tokyo Bay. Momentum is gathering for fully electric ships, with Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc offering battery-powered ship engines starting last year, and Norway’s Kongsberg Gruppen ASA is developing an electric container vessel. There are still challenges in making the technology applicable to ships navigating thousands of miles across oceans because of the need to recharge batteries.
Custom officers have found 4.5 tons of cocaine onboard a containership at the Port of Hamburg, representing the largest-ever cocaine shipment seized in this country. The shipment consisted of more than 4,200 parcels in 211 black sports bags in a container aboard an unnamed vessel. The cocaine has a street value of around EUR 1 billion (USD 1.1 billion).
Following last week’s article on OOCL's plans to step up inspections on dangerous goods, Hapag-Lloyd has since advised that it will impose a fine of $15,000 for each container of misdeclared hazardous cargoes starting on September 15th. This decision comes after Hapag-Lloyd’s Yantian Express suffered a fire that caused millions of dollars of damage.
The Government of Canada has announced a major investment of $13.1 million to increase capacity at the Stewart World Port (SWP) and improve the shipment of Canadian goods to overseas markets from Northern British Columbia, Yukon, Alberta and Saskatchewan to SWP instead of trucking or shipping by rail to other western marine port locations. The project includes installing bulk loading conveyor systems and power and control facilities at SWP. An estimated 275 jobs will be created in the region during construction and once completed, the improved trade corridor will reduce greenhouse gas emissions with the more efficient movement of cargo.
The digital division of Norwegian maritime services provider Kongsberg Gruppen AS announced a partnership this spring with Fujitsu Ltd. on artificial intelligence (AI) powered software that can optimize routes by learning the habits of captains and the history of their ships. This initiative seeks to reduce emissions and fuel costs ahead of the IMO 2020 global sulphur cap that reduces ship bunker fuel sulphur content to 0.5% from 3.5%. The Vessel Fuel Optimization software, developed at Fujitsu’s new AI headquarters in Vancouver, can reduce annual fuel costs by $1.3 million per vessel, according to the Japanese company. With as many as 50,000 ships on the seas, the cost savings could be in the billions of dollars. The software can be personalized based on preferences of the ship captain and past behaviours to optimize solutions for each voyage.
The Prince Rupert Port Authority has released a new economic impact study which revealed that employment associated with the Port of Prince Rupert has grown from 5200 jobs to 6200 jobs since 2016. In total, the international trade cargo handled in 2018 at the Port of Prince Rupert was valued at approximately $50 billion and the business of transporting that trade through the gateway created $1.5 billion of economic activity in the region.
Singapore-based port operator PSA International has completed the acquisition of Halterm Container Terminal in the Port of Halifax from Macquarie Infrastructure Partners. This will be PSA’s first coastal terminal in Canada. The terminal is currently undergoing further berth expansion, including the delivery of a fifth Super Post-Panamax Quay Crane, which will enable Halterm to handle two mega container vessels concurrently in 2020.
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has begun an assessment on the proposed marine shipping terminal to be built in Mine Cove, Little Lawn Harbour by Canada Fluorspar (NL) Inc. The facility, which will be built on the western municipal border of St. Lawrence, will include a waste-rock crushing plant, aggregate stockpiles, concentrate storage buildings, access and haul roads, a wharf, a conveyor, a ship-loader and a 350-metre long rock-filled breakwater. The proposed development would ship approximately 200,000 tonnes of acid-grade fluorspar concentrate and two-million tonnes of construction aggregate per year. The deadline for public comments on the project is Aug.29.
The Association of Pacific Ports (APP) has names Ian Marr, CEO of the Port of Nanaimo, as their new President. The APP is a trade and information association founded in 1913 as the Pacific Coast Association of Port Authorities (PCAPA) for the purpose of promoting increased efficiency and effectiveness of the ports of the Pacific. There are currently 27 members of the APP and 47 associate members in Canada and around the globe.