Despite predictions to the contrary, the gods cooperated last weekend for the naming ceremony of the Canadian Lifeboat Institution’s new Tyne Class boat. She is named Fraser Lifeboat and originally entered service in 1987 as Famous Grouse for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). During her first career, she is credited with 363 launches leading to the rescue of 475 people and the saving of 37 lives. She was carried to Vancouver by Star Lima thanks to the generosity of Grieg Star Shipping and following which she has been extensively overhauled to ensure reliability for her new role. Fraser Lifeboat has a full speed of 17 knots, an optimum speed of 11 knots and will be positioned on the Fraser River as a valuable addition to local marine safety. Jane McIvor will be covering the event in greater detail in the August edition of BC Shipping News.
TransCanada Corp. has submitted an application for an environmental assessment certificate for construction of a 900-kilometre pipeline to deliver natural gas to the proposed Pacific Northwest LNG project (led by Petronas) on Lelu Island, Prince Rupert. This triggers a 180-day public review period by the BC Environmental Assessment Office including a 45-day period (May 26, 2014 to July 10, 2014) where the public can provide comments on the application. Five open houses have been scheduled from 4 pm to 8 pm. with the following dates and venues: June 16 - Terrace; June 17 - Port Edward; June 19 - Smithers; June 23 - Hudson's Hope; and June 25 - Fort St. James.
Speaking at the Provincial Government’s three day LNG Conference this week, the CEO of Petronas, which company is considered to be the frontrunner to build an LNG plant in B.C., warned against “unrealistic expectations” that could jeopardize B.C.’s plans to become an LNG exporter. This was a clear reference to potentially over ambitious taxation plans on LNG exports.
The LNG Canada project, in which Royal Dutch Shell is a 50% shareholder, has selected a joint venture of four of the world’s leading energy engineering firms as its main contractors (subject to a Final Investment Decision) for the proposed terminal in Kitimat.The consortium comprises of Chiyoda Corp of Japan, Foster Wheeler, Italy's Saipem and WorleyParsons has adopted the name of CFSW LNG Constructors.
The implications of the major LNG supply agreement signed this week between Russia and China seems certain to have an impact on the Asian market. The agreement which took 10 years to negotiate will see Gazprom supply 38 billion cubic metres (Bcm) per annum of natural gas from its East Siberian fields to China via the so-called “Power of Siberia Pipeline”. The 30 year contract is valued at $400 billion and was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and China's President Xi Jinping at a ceremony in Shanghai.
It was also announced this week that a joint venture of Hitachi High-Technologies and Air Water Plant & Engineering Inc. (HTAW) is to open a regional head office here in Vancouver. The office will be tasked to coordinate manufacturing and sales in North America for tank containers that will be used for transporting LNG.
The environmental advocacy group Voters Taking Action Against Climate Change (VTACC) has taken legal action against BC’s Ministry of Energy and Mines and Lafarge’s Texada Quarries, to challenge the legality of the Ministry’s approval of coal export expansion on Texada Island last month. The expansion comes against the background of the proposed new coal export development at Fraser Surrey Docks with an initial throughput of 4 million tons/year to be transferred to Texada Island for vessel loading. The plan is to expand storage capacity on Texada from 150,000 tons to 800,000 tons.
Contact was lost with the 40’ UK registered yacht Cheeki Rafik approximately 620 nautical miles (1,000km) east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, on Thursday last week. She is feared to have been lost with four crew members onboard. Following suspension of the search effort by the U.S. and Canadian aircraft on Saturday, the families of the missing crew lobbied the UK Government to put pressure on the Coast Guard not to give up the search effort, and as a result search and rescue efforts resumed on Tuesday this week. This effort was also supported by an on-line petition of more than 200,000 signatures. Last weekend the crew of the Maersk Kure took a picture in the area (above centre) of what appeared to be an overturned yacht but it was not confirmed as the Cheeki Rafik. The search was joined yesterday by a Royal Air Force C-130 Hercules dispatched from the UK.
The Ecuadorian cargo vessel Galapaface I grounded in the Galapagos Islands last week causing the Ecuadorian government to declare an emergency. Bunkers onboard were discharged leaving only minor lubricating oils as a potential contaminant. Work is now underway to refloat the vessel. In 1978, the Galapagos Islands were declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
IMO's Maritime Safety Committee has now approved a new SOLAS requirement for mandatory weighing of containers to take effect in July 2016. Despite intense lobbying against the measure by Asian and European shipper groups, all containers will need to be weighed before being loaded onboard a vessel. The U.S. has long required all export containers to be weighed, a requirement that hasn’t reduced supply chain efficiency but which is considered to have improved safety. Shippers will have the option to either weigh the loaded container or weigh all packages and cargo items and then add the weight of the empty container. On the other hand, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has advised Congress that it will not meet a federal mandate requiring all U.S. bound containers to be scanned by July, nor does it expect to achieve it in the long-term. The best that can be hoped for will be some increase of scanning beyond the approximate 5% level achieved today.
After several years of tortuous negotiations, TheIMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) has approved new regulations designed to ensure navigational safety in Polar areas. The Polar Code also covers vessel design and construction, crew training and co-ordination of search and rescue operations. The MSC is expected to formally adopt the new regulations in the fall of this year.
Teekay has announced its intention to acquire Logitel Offshore, a floating accommodation rig company owned by CeFront Technology AS which was formed in 2013. The company is focused on the development of a unique cylindrical hull design. As part of the purchase contract Teekay will relieve the sellers of their exposure as an “intervening party” under Logitel’s employment contract with Petrobras. The contract will commence upon delivery in early 2015 of the first of two accommodation rigs currently under construction at COSCO (Nantong) Shipyard. Logitel still has options for 6 more rigs.
An official ceremony marking the completion of Ashcroft Terminal’s expansion project was held earlier this week. Ashcroft Terminal is 320-acre private facility strategically located in southern British Columbia offering direct connection to both CN and CP rail mainlines and BC's major transcontinental highways. The facility offers bulk storage and material handling, staging and assembling of trains and rail cars, and container and warehousing operations. The final additions to Ashcroft Terminal included a 1,500-metre enhanced connection to the mainline, more railcar storage, transload facilities and support tracks. The $7.15M expansion project was jointly funded by the Government of Canada and Ashcroft Terminal.
Following a "Crane Naming Contest" circulated amongst schools in North Vancouver, Seapan officially revealed the name of its newly assembled 300-tonne gantry crane at Vancouver Shipyards before a gathering that included the Grade 4 student, Ella Tinto, who came up with the winning name. The crane was given the Squamish name Hiyí Skwáyel, which translates to "Big Blue." Hiyí Skwáyel is to be a permanent fixture on the north shore marking the significance of Vancouver Shipyards participation in the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy.
The Federal Government this week announced today new measures designed to achieve a world-class tanker safety system building on the recommendations from the Tanker Safety Expert Panel and other studies. The central planks of the announcement are:
For the full announcement see: http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=847489
A US Court of Appeals has granted a temporary stay of ballast water treatment system implementation dates for vessels owned and/or operated by members of the Canadian Shipowners Association (CSA). The CSA had argued that the current situation where the USCG is granting extensions to the implementation date which are not recognized by EPA places vessel owners/operators in the unenviable position of either not trading to US waters covered by the Vessel General Permit (VGP) or knowingly violating the VGP provisions since there are currently no U.S. type approved systems available. In addition the CSA argued that the VGP requirements were not economically achievable based on EPA’s assumption that the VGP requirements would not add additional costs not already required by the USCG regulations and significantly underestimated the cost of treatment systems.
Contract negotiators between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) this week with a view to renewal of the existing six year contract which expires at midnight June 30. The two sides said “they expect cargo to keep moving until an agreement is reached” in a joint statement. The negotiators are expected to meet daily in San Francisco until a contract is reached, alternating each week between the headquarters of the ILWU and the PMA.
The US House and Senate have agreed on the contents of the “Water Resources Reform and Development Act” that would authorize the dredging of several U.S. ports ahead of the expansion of the Panama Canal. In order to speed up projects, the legislation would include provisions that would allow ports to pay the costs of dredging up front and then seek reimbursement from the government once the project is formally approved.
The Independent Tanks Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF) has produced a new series of videos on responding to oil spills. The videos took 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize at the recent International Oil Spill Conference Film Festival in Savannah. The first three 20 minute films "Introduction to Oil Spills", "Aerial Surveillance" and "At-Sea Response" are now available online http://www.itopf.com/information-services/videos/
The two week strike of construction workers in Panama ended on Friday last week thereby allowing work on the new Panama Canal locks to resume. The Authority claims that the stoppage cost the government $1 million a day. The original target date for completing the expansion has already been delayed several times with the original target date of October 2014so far set back by 16 months to early 2016.