The European Union has approved the extension of the mandate of its Operation Atalanta anti Somali piracy naval mission until December 12, 2016. The European Community Shipowners’ Association (ECSA) has welcomed the decision but reminded that the problem of Somali piracy has its root cause in the widespread poverty in Somalia combined with no rule of law.
The South Korean fishing vessel Oryong 501 operated by South Korea's Sajo Industries with 60 people aboard sank this week in the Barents Sea off Russia's far east coast. Eight crew members were rescued but one subsequently died and all others remain missing. The 36 year old trawler was carrying one Russian inspector, 11 South Koreans, 35 Indonesians and 13 Filippino crew members. According to reports, the vessel listed slowly after taking in water, forcing crew members to abandon it. Several vessels were involved in search and rescue efforts, but the operation was hampered by bad weather.
The 12th Volvo Ocean Race (formerly the Whitbread Round the World Race) which is held every three years is now well underway with yachts on the 2nd leg from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi. The seven-strong fleet originally sailed from Alicante on October 4 headed for Cape Town, Abu Dhabi, Sanya, Auckland, Itajai, Newport, Lisbon Lorient, The Hague and finally Gothernburg in June 2015, a total sailing distance of 38,739 nautical miles. The picture above left shows yachts leaving Cape Town on November 19.
Unfortunately, there has already been a significant casualty with Race Control confirming that the Team Vestas Wind crew had to be rescued after grounding on the Cargados Carajos Shoals, Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean (map above center and picture above right). Fortunately there were no casualties but salvage of the heavily damaged yacht in such a remote location is likely to prove challenging given that the closest large civilisation is in Mauritius, more than 200 miles away.
The British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has sent out a reminder that the deadline for input to their 10-year transportation plan is Friday, December 12, 2014. Input received from this effort will help the Province shape its new "BC on the Move" plan on trade corridors and transit and identify short, medium and longer-term priorities. For more information visit: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/transportationplan/
Western Canada Marine Response Corporation has published in the Canada Gazette Vol. 148 - November 29, 2014 amendments to their annual ship membership fees and their Bulk Oil Cargo Fee (BOCF). The annual membership fee for vessels requiring an arrangement with WCMRC as per the Canada Shipping Act 2001 subsections 167(1) and 168(1) will increase from $620 to $775 from January 1, 2015. The BOCF in respect of oil is amended to $1.514 per tonne and for asphalt $0.757 per tonne.
The US Department of Agriculture has advised that they are delaying the issuance of penalties to vessels that arrive without the appropriate Asian Gypsy Moth certificates. As noted in the attached circular USDA and CBP are researching "various enforcement actions to determine the best legal and logistical enforcement option for industry compliance." The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) appears to have no immediate plans to curtail the current penalties ($10,000) for non-compliance. View USDA Asian Gypsy Moth - Non-compliance update.
Port Metro Vancouver has announced that Egge Kloosterboer has been appointed to the position of Manager Marine Operations and Deputy Harbour Master and will start with PMV on January 5, 2015. Following his career at sea, Mr. Kloosterboer has worked in various operational and commercial positions throughout Europe and North America. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Maritime Sciences from the Nautical Academy, Terschelling, The Netherlands and a Bachelor Degree in Management Technology from the Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Groningen, The Netherlands. At PMV he will be responsible for managing the "strategic elements" of the marine portfolio.
BC Shipping News has teamed up with Wave Point Consulting to undertake the second Surface Transportation Annual Review (STAR) Survey. The survey provides vital information on what industry insiders are thinking about the business outlook for maritime commerce and the performance of Canada's Asia Pacific Gateway and British Columbia ports. The STAR Survey, which takes about 15 minutes to complete, is grouped into three main topics:
(a) General economic outlook/business confidence, growth prospects, and international trade developments.
(b) Logistics performance perceptions and assessment.
(c) Management priorities in regards to international markets, logistics/transportation and sustainability initiatives.
To participate in the survey, please visit: https://starsurvey2015.questionpro.com
The proposed further capacity expansion at Ridley Terminals is on hold as a consequence of the severe downturn in throughput this year. Current theoretical capacity is around 18 million tons/year and that is where it is likely to stay given the severely depressed price of coal. It is also pretty clear that the federal government has missed the boat (so to speak) in selling off its crown corporation which it announced in 2012 would be sold off. Had the terminal been sold a year ago it is estimated that it would have fetched $1 billion but right now there would likely be limited interest.
The BC government has signed an agreement with the Nisga'a First Nation that will deliver considerable financial benefits in return for support of the Petronas led Pacific Northwest LNG project in Prince Rupert. The Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Pipeline (PRGT) deal will provide for approximately C$6 million from the Province at various stages in the project by way of $1 million upon signing the agreement, $2.5 million when pipeline construction begins, and $2.5 million when gas starts to flow. The Nisga'a will also receive a share of $10 million a year in ongoing benefits that will be available to First Nations along the PRGT pipeline. In addition to the above, First Nations are in the process of negotiating their own impact benefit agreements with pipeline companies. The Nisga’a has already announced an impact benefit agreement with TransCanada for the PRGT project.
The Province has also this week issued environment permits for feed-gas pipelines for transmission ventures as well as the Pacific Northwest (Petronas) liquefaction plant. The permits were awarded to the Spectra Energy Westcoast Connector Gas Transmission pipeline and the above mentioned Prince Rupert Gas Transmission pipeline. The decisions were made after considering reviews led by the BC Environmental Assessment Office but each project will still require various federal, provincial and local government permits.
Aurora LNG has applied to relocate its proposed LNG export facility from Grassy Point to Digby Island within the Port of Prince Rupert. The project is a joint venture involving China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) and two Japanese partners. In 2012 CNOOC acquired shale-gas holdings in northeast BC as part of its $15 billion takeover of Nexen, one of Canada's largest oil producers. The project involves construction of a liquefaction plant to export 24 million tonnes of LNG per annum.
Dozens of provincial employee demonstrators blocked the entrance to the Port of Montreal with two school buses on Wednesday morning this week. The protest was against the Quebec government’s proposed reform of pension law, Bill 3. Protesting municipal workers also blocked the entrances to Montreal city hall and the city’s finance building.
Three weeks after initiating a coordinated series of slowdowns affective all USWC ports, the ILWU has now slowed down bargaining by taking a 12 day break over the Thanksgiving period. The union also continues to refuse to enter a temporary contract extension despite multiple requests by the PMA. A contract extension would give both parties access to the waterfront grievance process, and most notably would give employers recourse for the ILWU slowdowns that are continuing. After initially being in denial of the work slowdowns designed to put pressure on employers, ILWU leaders have also been very clear in stating that the slowdowns will continue until they have a new contract.The latest to write to President Obama seeking the appointment of a federal mediator are the CEOs of the ports of Seattle and Tacomabut the CEO’s of many major beneficial cargo owners are also weighing in as frustrations mount.
Mr. Franck Kayser, Vice President of United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) last week described North American ports as “third world” with very high costs for very low efficiency. In a statement that lives up to his name, he went on to complain of a “leadership culture that’s lacking compared to much more efficient European ports.” He also singled out Italy which he described as “having fallen asleep” with major ports such as Genoa and La Spezia managing just 30/35 berth moves per hour. In contrast, the two container terminals in the Greek port of Piraeus, operated by Cosco Pacific, were labeleled “fantastic”. Turning to Asian ports’ China received praise with 150 and 210 moves per hour but benchmark performance ports were named as Khor al Fakkan in the UAE, Port Klang, Malaysia and Ningbo in China. UASC is aiming for 150-180 moves per hour for its six 19,000 TEUs vessels on order, the first of which will be delivered in Q1 2015 and deployed in the Asia-Europe trade.
The US Coast Guard has issued a notice stating that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will soon take action to ensure compliance with the forthcoming 0.10% fuel sulphur limits in the North American and US Caribbean Sea Emission Control Areas (ECAs), which come into effect on 1 January 2015. In addition to checking Bunker Delivery Notes and related records, the agencies are developing plans for joint boardings that will include fuel oil sampling and in-the-field screening for sulphur levels. A similar directive from Transport Canada is expected to be released shortly. View the USCG ECA Notice 2015.
Still a hot news item is the bankruptcy of OW Bunker. It has now been disclosed that the company’s board did not approve the credit line estimated at between $120 million and $130 million given by OW Bunker’s Singapore-based subsidiary Dynamic Oil Trading to Tankoil Marine Services and therefore was “extremely surprised” by the sudden catastrophic trading loss. “The unrecoverable credit granted Tankoil was never submitted to the board, let alone authorised by it,” Chairman Niels Henrik Jensen has said. Creditors of OW Bunker Far East and Dynamic Oil Trading have already filed claims totalling $38.8 million against the companies since OW Bunker filed for bankruptcy. The ship owning division of the company “OW Tanker” with 29 owned and chartered vessels has been taken over by a newly formed entity.
The UK flagged container vessel Vectis Eagle cargo struck a lock gate in the Kiel Canal earlier this week, causing severe damage and the lock to be closed for temporary repairs. Initial assessment indicates that the entire gate will need to be replaced. The Kiel Canal is a 61 mile long waterway stretching from the North Sea at Brunsbuttel to the Baltic Sea at Kiel-Holtenau and is officially described as “the world’s busiest artificial waterway”.