Tower of London 2014 sea of poppies
This year’s display at the Tower of London on the centenary of the outbreak of World War 1 is entitled Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red and commemorates the lives of fallen British and Commonwealth soldiers in that war. It has seen 8,000 volunteers place 888,246 ceramic poppies into the dry moat which are due to be removed after Remembrance Day on November 11. The numbers include more than 60,000 Canadian servicemen who died and 150,000 who were wounded in the conflict. The flowers, which each took three days to make, have all been sold for charity and will be plucked from the ground and sent to buyers when the exhibit closes. The exhibition is expected to raise $15 million for charities serving veterans associations. The total military and civilian casualties in World War 1 were 16 million deaths and 20 million wounded making it the deadliest conflict in human history.
As many of you will have seen, the Vancouver Sun placed a Chamber of Shipping op-ed this week which is intended to correct some of the misconceptions surrounding the recent assistance provided to the small Russian container ship Simushir. We also felt that it is important to push back against the entirely unwarranted political criticism of our industry – including yet another private members bill to impose a tanker ban on BC’s north coast. See: http://www.vancouversun.com/touch/story.html?id=10347343. Members and friends are encouraged to circulate to their own network of contacts.
Also this week, Stephen Brown along with Chamber of Shipping Directors David Bedwell (COSCO Container Lines) and Terry Koke (Grieg Star Shipping) attended a meeting of Canada’s New West Partnership in Regina. The partnership comprises the provinces of Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, all of whom were represented by their respective Premiers and Transportation Ministers. The purpose of the partnership is to achieve collaborative infrastructure development to bring Canada’s natural resources to tidewater. The meeting was therefore also attended by Port Metro Vancouver and the Port of Prince Rupert. The news release following the meeting stresses the need for a renewed partnership with the Government of Canada and a federal contribution of $1 billion to $1.5 billion to support and enhance essential port and transportation infrastructure.
A delegation from the Gitga'at and Haisla First Nations recently toured the Oman LNG plant in the town of Sur on the Arabian Peninsula at the invitation of Royal Dutch Shell which is proposing to develop the LNG Canada project in Bish Cove, Kitimat. The trip's objective was to facilitate discussion with Omani’s who have experience with the LNG plant commissioned by Shell 14 years ago. The delegation also included the Kitimat fire chief and its economic development officer. Three of the LNG Canada shareholders, Shell, Mitsubishi and Korea Gasalso have shares in Oman LNG which primarily provides gas to buyers in Japan and Korea.
LNG project developers have also now received notice of the rates they will pay to power liquefaction plants, an important consideration in final financial investment decisions. BC Hydro has advised of a combined energy and demand charge for LNG facilities in 2014 of C$83.02 (US$72.81) per megawatt hour (MWh), before applicable taxes. BC Hydro has already completed a power agreement with LNG Canada.
It became clear this week that PMA/ILWU negotiations for a new labour contract are stalled on the issue of automation at the TraPac terminal in Los Angeles. The ILWU is against the introduction of semi-automated processes at the terminal and is accusing the employer of failing to meet its obligations to retrain staff. MOL sold a 49% stake in its TraPac subsidiary to Canadian Fund Manager Brookfield Asset Management earlier this year. On Monday this week, the PMA issued a new release directly accusing the ILWU of intentional slow-downs – a standing tactic of all previous negotiations to apply pressure and which has this week resulted in gangs being sent home on several occasions. For its part, the ILWU described the PMA accusations as a “bold-faced lie designed to deflect responsibility from a growing congestion problem that is plaguing major West Coast ports”. Last weekend saw eight container ships at anchor on account of the continuing severe congestion in LA/LB. PMA/ILWU negotiations resumed on Wednesday this week.
View PMA News Release - Nov. 3, 2014.
The first arrested landing of the new F-35C jet fighter was made this week on the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz off San Diego. The initial testing is aimed at collecting environmental data and to conduct a thorough assessment of how well the F-35C operates in the shipboard environment. The state of the art fifth-generation fighter will formally join the U.S. Navy in 2018.
Tensions are increasing between the Panama Canal Piots Association and the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) over the use of tugs to assist vessels through the new locks and the insistence of the Authority that two way traffic can be safely executed through the widened Gaillard Cut. In the words of the pilots “the plan had been approved and funded, yet was missing one critical input – that of the very ship pilots who would ensure the safe daily operation of the vessels transiting the Canal”. The pilots are also objecting to strict guidelines detailing how operations are to be executed including the number of tugs required to move each vessel through the locks. Pilots are also angry over manslaughter charges against a pilot following the death of a Panama Canal linesman last year – a consequence of pilots being held legally and directly responsible for the navigation and movement of the vessels in the Canal.
The remaining seven Indian crewmembers of the MV Asphalt Venture have been released by Somali pirates more than four years after their vessel was hijacked in September 2010 off the coast of Somalia. The vessel along with eight crew members were released following the payment of ransom in April 2011 but pirates held the seven remaining crew ashore in Somalia. Following payment of a “modest ransom” the seven crew members have been moved to Nairobi, Kenya ahead of repatriation to India. Some 30 hostages remain unaccounted for but are presumed to be still being held. Most are believed to be unfortunate fishermen.
An unmanned helium-filled maritime surveillance balloon held down by steel ropes is to be floated 600 meters above Singapore. The continued hijackings of small tankers by Indonesian pirates has greatly alarmed maritime authorities in the region and Singapore’s so-called “aerostat” will be capable of monitoring sea and air traffic up to 200 kilometers away.
The International Mine Countermeasures Naval Exercise (IMCMEX) involving 6,500 personnel representing 44 nations is underway (October 27 – November 13) in the Arabian Gulf. Led by U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, participants plan and execute mine countermeasure operations, maritime infrastructure protection and maritime security operations including the escort of merchant shipping during times of tension. The US Navy’s Afloat Forward Staging Base USS Ponce and British Royal Fleet Auxiliary amphibious assault vessel Cardigan Bay are providing at-sea support.
The bunker world was unnerved this week when OW Bunker filed for in-court restructuring after recognizing an alleged $125 million fraud through Dynamic Oil Trading in Singapore – the world’s largest bunker port. The company has also claims to have suffered a $150 million risk management loss. OW Bunker claims 7% share of the world bunker market which is experiencing turbulent times with oil prices at their lowest for four years.
Lloyds List Asia awards were announced last week at the prestigous Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore. Mr. Arthur Bowring (above), Managing Director of the Hong Kong Shipowners’ Association, was recognised for his contribution to global shipping as both an advocate for shipowners and for seafarers through his work in negotiations over the Maritime Labour Convention 2006. Mr Bowring was also an architect of the Hong Kong Fairwinds Charter, a collaborative initiative that incentivized ocean carriers to burn low sulphur fuel in Hong Kong waters.
The China Export Import Bank (CEXIM) received the Newsmaker of the Year by the Lloyd’s List Asia Awards judges, reflecting the growing importance of financing from China. The Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) and Sembcorp Marine took top prizes in the Port Operator of the Year and Shipyard of the Year categories. PSA was recognised for its innovative approach to continuous improvement in productivity and for its success in ensuring that Singapore endures as the world’s second busiest port.
Hong Kong’s Pacific Basin Shipping was named Ship Operator of the Year and Wallem Shipmanagement was named winner of the Safety Award while Hong Kong’s Univan Shipmanagement was named Shipmanager of the Year. DNV GL received both the Innovation and Classification Society Awards.
The evening also included a sombre note when judges applauded the valour of three workers on board Sewol, the South Korean ferry that sank in April claiming 304 lives, most of them high school students. Crew members Park Jee Young, 22, Kim Ki-woong, 28, and Jeong Hyun-seon, 27, all perished because they refused to abandon the vessel when they knew others were trapped inside. Lloyd’s List named them Seafarers of the Year in recognition of their courage and sacrifice.
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.