U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan has introduced a new bill that would modify and permanently reauthorize the federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. The Spill Response and Prevention Surety Act will maintain the existing nine-cent-per-barrel tax while establishing a USD 7 billion tax collection ceiling and USD 5 billion collection floor. The single incident payout claim would be doubled to USD 2 billion, and the natural resource damage claim would also be doubled to USD 1 billion.
M12, Microsoft venture arm, has announced a $11 million Series A funding round for Nautilus Labs, a New York startup that uses artificial intelligence (AI) for fuel efficiency on ships. The goal is to use collected data on weather patterns and vessel speed to influence decision making on fuel use. Nautilus plans to use AI to deliver real-time analytics and alerts to ship crews that could help save more than 10 percent on emissions in a single voyage. California’s NVIDIA Corp. is working with another AI startup in San Francisco. Japan’s Hitachi Ltd. is pursuing similar technology in Europe.
The Northwest Seaport Alliance has approved SSA Terminals’ plan to modernize and operate Terminal 5. Currently vacant, revitalizing the terminal will serve to consolidate international container volume in the West Waterway area of Seattle and improve cargo-handling efficiency. Terminal 5 will undergo a $300 million investment into infrastructure improvements designed to accommodate mega-ships with a capacity of 14,000 TEU and enhance intermodal rail service to Chicago and the Midwest.
Speaking in Istanbul, Simon Bennett, Deputy Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) warned today that avoiding overcapacity and unsustainably low freight rates is still a major challenge ten years after the massive downturn of 2008. Mr. Bennett said, “In that time shipping companies needed to show restraint when ordering new ships, to prevent stifling recovery. Yet the dark clouds of protectionism and slowing growth in key economies mean that the avoidance of overordering is now more important than ever.” Furthermore, he noted that overcapacity in the shipbuilding sector will continue to be a temptation.
Singapore offshore company Swiber Holdings is being restructured, with Seaspan signing an investment agreement worth up to $200 million last Friday. Under the new agreement, Seapsan will invest $10m to take an 80% shareholding interest in a new holding company to be incorporated into which certain assets of the existing Swiber Group will be transferred.
Seaspan and COSCO Shipping Energy have signed an agreement for strategic cooperation to strengthen collaboration on opportunities relating to LNG investments, LNG projects, LNG transportation, ethane transportation, or other related and mutually beneficial projects. The agreement is geared to take advantage of COSCO’s experience in the building, operation, and management of LNG vessels, and Seaspan’s experience in the operation and management of containerships, as well as the networks and experience of its board members in the energy sector.
The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, has announced the following appointments to the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority's Board of Directors:transportation sector:
This week, the Chamber partnered with three prominent national industry associations in a joint OpEd (paywall) that was carried nationally in the Globe and Mail. This followed a joint appearance by the Chamber and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers on February 26 before the Senate’s Standing Committee on Transportation and Communications. The legislation proposes prohibiting the export of oil from the B.C. North Coast and did not include a formal risk assessment in its development. Ironically, the legislation would not prohibit the transit of tankers through the coastal waters of B.C. The Senate Committee will continue its review of the bill in April, including holding hearings in B.C. the week of April 22.
The Canadian Coast Guard’s first of three new fisheries science vessels crashed on its first test run last week, raising concerns that the summer delivery date may not be met. The CCGS Sir John Franklin was returning from its first week of sea trials and being piloted by a contractor when it ran into the Ogden Point breakwater near Victoria on Friday. No injuries were reported, but the propeller and rudder were damaged. The vessels are being largely built in order, meaning the potential delay on the CCGS Sir John Franklin has the potential to affect the rest. Seaspan Shipyards is currently two years behind schedule to deliver the CCGS Sir John Franklin but are still aiming for a June delivery.
The Stewart J. Cort, a 1,000-foot freighter was the first vessel to go through the Soo Locks, officially kicking off the 2019 Great Lakes navigation season at 12:01am on March 25th. The ship was met by fans gathered near the huge lock system in Sault Ste. Marie as the vessel pulled into the Poe Lock, which handles all the big freighters upbound for Lake Superior. This marks the official launch of the 2019 season, but also the reopening of the locks, which had been closed for its annual winter maintenance work since late January, a process which sees more than 73 million gallons of water drained from the Poe and MacArthur locks for cleaning. Less than a week ago, three Coast Guard cutters from the U.S. and Canada were the first vessels to go through the lock into Lake Superior, where they began breaking up ice so freighters could start making their way through.
The Emerald Princess is due to arrive at Canada Place in Vancouver today, kicking-off a record-breaking cruise season. More than one million cruise passengers on 290 ship visits are expected in Vancouver this year, which is a 21 per cent increase in passenger numbers compared to 2018 and will mark an all-time record for cruise passengers through Canada Place at the Port of Vancouver. The port expects to see 41 different ships from 24 cruise lines, ranging from luxury, expedition-style ships designed to carry small groups of passengers, to some of the largest ships in the Alaska cruise market.
The federal Crown has decided not to appeal the acquittal in the case of the MV Marathassa, the cargo ship that spilled 2,700 litres of fuel oil into English Bay in 2015. Originally accused of discharging a pollutant into the waters and with discharging a substance that was harmful to migratory birds, a Provincial Court judge dismissed all charges after finding that the incident was caused by two shipbuilder defects on the newly-built ship. The ship was also charged with failing to implement its shipboard pollution plan by failing to take samples of oil in the water and by failing to assist with the oil containment, but the judge found that at the ship had extensive pollution-prevention systems in place and had conducted a comprehensive crew selection and training program.
First Nations across Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia are being invited to participate in a $6.8-billion plan to purchase 51 percent of the Trans Mountain Pipeline. This values the project at more than $13-billion. The group, known as Project Reconciliation, is led by Delbert Wapass, former chief of the Thunderchild First Nation in Saskatchewan and current vice-chairman of the Indian Resource Council. The group is in talks with major Canadian banks to lead a syndicated debt issue to finance the acquisition and its share of the expansion costs. The structure will be that each participating First Nation would own shares, with those along the pipeline right-of-way owning a more senior class of share.
The Port of Oakland is converting 13 diesel-powered yard cranes to hybrid power by equipping them with batteries and new, smaller diesel backup engines. The conversion is expected to bring a 45-ton reduction in diesel-related air pollutants annually. The first crane has already been converted and was brought into service on March 5. The rest of the cranes are expected to undergo conversion by next year.
Dalian Haibo International Freight and Liaoning Danxing International Forwarding, both based in China, have been designated by the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for having helped North Korea evade sanctions. Specifically, Dalian Haibo has been designated for providing goods and services to or in support of the US-designated Paeksol Trading Corporation (Paeksol). In early 2018, Dalian Haibo shipped cargo from Dalian, China to Paeksol in Nampo, North Korea, aboard DPRK-flagged vessels. Liaoning Danxing, has been designated for operating in the transportation industry in North Korea. Liaoning Danxing routinely used deceptive practices that enabled EU-based North Korean procurement officials to operate and purchase goods for the DPRK regime, according to OFAC. As a result of the OFAC action, any property or interests in property of the designated persons in the possession or control of US persons or within or transiting the United States is blocked, and US persons generally are prohibited from dealing with the designated persons.
Luxury Cruise Ship, Viking Sky, arrived safely in port on Sunday after sending out a mayday signal on Saturday due engine failure during a storm. The ship was drifting in rough waters in the Norwegian Sea and came to within 100 meters of land. Rescue services airlifted 479 people, hoisting them one-by-one on to helicopters, before the weather subsided on Sunday and a tow could begin. 900 people were still on board as the ship arrived at the port of Molde on Norway’s west coast. Some 25 passengers were injured in the ordeal, with most suffering only minor injuries. The Viking Sky has a gross tonnage of 47,800 and was delivered to Viking Ocean Cruises in 2017.
Maersk has partnered with members of the Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition on the world’s largest marine biofuel pilot project. The pilot will see a large triple-E ocean vessel sail 25,000 nautical miles from Rotterdam to Shanghai and back on biofuel blends alone, saving 1.5 million kilograms CO2 and 20,000 kilograms of sulphur. The voyage will take place between March and June 2019. While Maersk will be the operating partner, the pilot is sponsored by Friesl and Campina, Heineken, Philips, DSM, Shell and Unilever, and Shell will provide the fuel.