A solo transatlantic yacht race ended in an unceremonious disaster for one contender this week. The yacht Sodebo Ultim, a 31m carbon fiber offshore racing trimaran somehow contrived to collide with a ship at 25 knots in the English Channel less than 24 hours after the race started. Damage was significant (picture above right) but her skipper managed to limp her into the port of Roscoff. The race is known as La Route du Rhum (hum).
Canada Steamship Lines is commemorating the 100th anniversary of the start of the WWI and the role that CSL ships played in the war effort through a new on-line gallery. Twenty-nine CSL ships were taken from their commercial routes along the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes and put into service at the battlefront between 1914 and the war's end on Nov. 11, 1918. Of those vessels, 14 were sunk by enemy u-boats, gunships or mines and two foundered in storms at sea. At least 75 crew members lost their lives. To view the gallery, visit: cslships.com/WWI.
Earlier this week the first of CSL's two Trillium Class Great Lakes bulk carriers, the CSL Welland, set sail on her maiden voyage from China to Montreal. The new bulkers feature IMO Tier II compliant main engines as well as the latest environment and safety technologies.
ILWU Local 508 on Vancouver Island received a historic mandate from its membership to transition from its current manual based legacy dispatch platform to an electronic dispatch platform. Local 508 will be the first ILWU out port Local in BC and the first in North America to transition to a fully scalable electronic dispatch platform. The BC Maritime Employers Association, ILWU Canada and Local 508 will meet to discuss next steps as they move into the development phase for the new electronic dispatch platform.
Canada Border Services Agency has released a new video on how new technology will assist in improving border management. This goes in hand with recent announcement on commercial modernization and upcoming consultations on the development of new multi-modal process maps. The video can be found on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhinyWcBGq4.
Following talks between the provincial government and the Nisga'a Nation, two pieces of legislation have been tabled to enable the Nisga’a Nation to become a major participant in the emerging liquefied natural gas economy in northern British Columbia.
TransCanada's 670 km long, 48” diameter, Coastal GasLink pipeline to deliver shale feed-gas to the Shell's proposed Canada LNG terminal in Kitimat has been approved by the BC Government with 32 conditions related to construction best practices. If built, the pipeline will run from Groundbirch area near Dawson Creek to the export terminal with an initial capacity of 2-3 billion cubic feet of LNG per day. Shell has a 50% stake in LNG Canada, PetroChina has 20% leaving Mitsubishi Corp and Korea Gas Corp with 15% each.
BG Group this week announced a lenghty pause in development of their LNG export project in Prince Rupert. The company referenced shifting market conditions including a flood of LNG expected to hit global markets, especially from the U.S. where BG already has firm agreements to market gas from two LNG facilities. Just last week the company reported a worse-than-expected 26% fall in third-quarter operating profit, mainly due to a decline in production in Egypt and the steep drop in oil prices which have also dragged down the price of LNG.
It was also announced this week that First Nations groups are receiving federal funding to participate in permitting processes for LNG projects. The Environmental Assessment Agency has provided $200,000 in funding to eight First Nations groups involved in the LNG Canada project being developed by Royal Dutch Shell and three Asian partners at Bish Cove, Kitimat.
SMIT Marine Canada Inc. and it subsidiaries has announced a rebranding. As of July 1st the company became part of Saam Smit Towage, a joint operation between Boskalis B.V. of the Netherlands and Saam S.A. of Chile a cooperation which spans Canada, Mexico, Panama and Brazil. The aim of Saam Smit Towage will be to remain a major player in its existing markets and expand into Central America and the Caribbean. Notwithstanding this new Joint Venture, the link with Boskalis remains unchanged.
Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour expressed disappointment this week over the decision by Unifor to serve 72 hours strike notice to take effect at 12:15pm today eastern time. Unifor has five locals and 460 members along the waterway and all have given the 72 hours strike notice. The Seaway has been retrofitting locks to operate automatically resulting in manpower reductions whereas Unifor is arguing that some staff should be kept at the locks to respond to emergencies. Three collective agreements expired on March 31, 2014.
Canada’s parliamentary budget watchdog claimed this week that the C$2.8 billion allocated to build six to eight Arctic patrol ships at Irving Shipbuilding is well below the level of funding needed. Rather, the watchdog believes that the funding will deliver only three or four ships. The government immediately rejected the analysis. Deliveries are to be spread over seven years beginning in 2017.
Kansas City Southern Railway (KCS) is aggressively courting ocean carriers and beneficial cargo owners to Mexico’s Lazaro Cardenas as an alterantive to the continuing severe congestion in Los Angeles-Long Beach. Using Lazaro Cardenas to service the Gulf region adds two days steaming time compared to shipping through LA/LB but the overall cost is claimed to be considerably cheaper and time to end destination faster. KCS operates an expanding north-south network from southern Mexico to the U.S. Gulf and Midwest. Lázaro Cárdenas has been rated as the third most productive port in the Americas in the first half of 2014, averaging 79 moves/hour lead by Balboa, Panama, with 97 moves/hour and Los Angeles, with 80 moves/hour. There are currently between 8 and 10 container ships waiting for berth off LA/LB.
Two large container ships were involved in a collision at Port Klang, Malaysia this week. Fire broke out in the forward container stacks on both vessels causing extensive damage. Reports say that the 8,700 TEU San Felipe was heading to berth when it was in contact with the 13,500 TEU Al Riffa operated by UASC. The cause of the collision is under investigation but thankfully there were no injuries.
South Korean prosecutors this week called for the death penalty for the Captain of the ferry Sewol which capsized and sank in April with the loss of 304 people – most being teenagers on a school excursion. The prosecution has accused the 68 year old Captain of abandoning the ship without making any efforts to rescue passengers (see picture above). He also admitted that he knew the crew member steering the ship at the time of the accident was relatively new to the job and did not have the skills and experience required. Prosecutors also asked for three crew members to be sentenced to life in imprisonment and recommended terms of between 15-30 years for the other 11 crew members who were tried on lesser charges. Verdicts are due to be handed down in November.
We are looking at a potential contest of two Andreas’ for the top spot at the IMO following the announcement that Mr. Koji Sekimizu is to step down as Secretary General at the end of 2015. Denmark has announced that it will nominate Mr. Andreas Nordseth, Director-General of the Danish Maritime Authority, while Cyprus has again nominated Mr. Andreas Chrysostomou to stand again having lost out to Mr. Sekimizu last time round. The election will be held by the IMO Council in June or July 2015. Mr. Nordseth, 54, has been with the Danish Maritime Authority under the Ministry of Business and Growth since 1991.
Mr. Haitze Siemers, the European Union’s head of unit for the North and Baltic Seas in the Department for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs appeared before the UK’s House of Lords this week The meeting was the committee’s first in its inquiry into European Union regional marine co-operation, which is designed to focus on how improved policy co-ordination can protect the marine environment and support the development of marine industries. Specifically Mr Siemers was asked about the main features of the EU Integrated maritime policy, its vision for blue growth, the co-ordination between EU policies affecting the marine environment including the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive and strategies for the North and Baltic Seas. The inquiry was motivated by continued EU attempts to regulate shipping with unilateral regulation rather than supporting the work of the IMO. Rumors that Mr. Siemers was later sent to the Tower of London to await his fate were unconfirmed at the timer of writing.
The Northern Sea Route (Northeast Passage) received over 600 applications for permits this year, a new record, while sea ice prevented the Northwest Passage from opening up for the first time in five years. The Northeast Passage fully opened on August 21 and stayed open for six weeks, eventually closing on October 1. There is considerable variation on the time period that the NSR remains open for navigation year by year.
Indonesian pirates went one further on October 8 when they hijacked the 3,200 DWT tanker Srikandi 515 (built 2013) off the coast of Malaysia. The vessel was loaded with a full cargo of palm oil at the time of the encounter. The vessel’s crew was held captive for 13 days before they were cast adrift in a lifeboat before being found by Malaysian fishermen. The vessel itself remains missing.