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The US Air Force came to the aid of two seriously injured Chinese seafarers 1,100 nautical miles west of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico last weekend. U.S. medics parachuted into the ocean to treat the badly burned men who had been rescued by a Venezuelan fishing boat after their own boat sank. The operation involved multiple aircraft, including a refueling tanker, from their base in Arizona. Two Chinese seafarers are known to have died and six are unaccounted for in the so far unexplained incident.

In another incident this week, one crew member was rescued but 11 are missing from the Chinese cargo ship Zhong Xing 2 following a collision with the container ship MOL Motivator in the waters off Hong Kong. Rescue efforts were coordinated by the Guangdong Rescue Co-ordination Centre with the assistance of Hong Kong’s Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre. 

Friday, 09 May 2014 09:57

MH370 - Not giving up yet

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The search for the missing Malaysian airliner MH370 is increasingly looking to be a very long task. Last week a Malaysian government report revealed a four hour delay between MH370's disappearance and the start of a search operation. The preliminary report, from Malaysia's transport ministry, also revealed that air traffic controllers did not realise the plane was missing until 17 minutes after it disappeared off radar. The aerial search for floating wreckage has already been suspended but the search of the sea floor is being expanded using the Bluefin-21 robotic submersible in the area where all the evidence points to the end of the flight. Malaysia Airlines has meanwhile asked relatives of passengers to leave the hotel accommodation it has been providing in Kuala Lumpur and return home. 

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Sadly we have to report that the sunken Korean ferry Sewol has claimed yet another life, that of a 53 years old diver who lost consciousness and died on Tuesday this week during the continuing search operation for victims. It was also disclosed that another civilian diver, aged 31, fell unconscious last week after diving four times before daybreak but who later recovered.The confirmed death toll is now standing at 263 persons, with 39 still missing. President Park Geun-hye voiced further criticism of the ferry operators this week with strong words “Safety rules that must be observed were not followed because of worldly desires and irresponsible acts that tolerated those injustices have resulted in death”.

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Vietnam has strongly criticized the positioning last week of the submersible China National Offshore drill rig Haiyang Shiyou 98 in disputed waters 120 nautical miles off its central coast and which Vietnam claims as its exclusive economic zone. Matters further escalated this week when Vietnamese naval ships and Chinese vessels were reported to have collided as the Vietnamese navy attempted to intervene. Hanoi said it would do everything possible to protect its rights and does not rule out taking legal action against China at an international tribunal. Philippine police also seized a Chinese fishing boat and detained its 11 crew in another disputed part of the South China Sea this week. Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, China and Taiwan all have competing claims in the region.

Friday, 09 May 2014 09:53

Rotterdam in Brazilian port venture

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The Port of Rotterdam Authority, the leading European port handling trade with Brazil, has signed a joint venture agreement with a Brazilian consortium to develop a new deep-sea multi-purpose port. Rotterdam will initially provide technical support to Terminal Presidente Kennedy (TPK) Logistica, which is to be built on a greenfield site at the Port of Porto Central in the state of Espirito Santo to handle oil, gas, dry bulk, containers and general cargo. Rotterdam has also been advising the Brazilian government since 2010 on a strategic strategy to revamp the country’s 34 publicly owned ports. Rotterdam’s throughput was 441.5 million tons in 2013, dominated by Brazilian iron ore shipments, followed by oil products, basic chemicals and fruit juice, as well as meat, fruit and auto parts moved in containers.

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Royal Boskalis Westminster announced this week that it is considering to build a big sister to the revolutionary heavy lift vessel Dockwise Vanguard (above right). The company is developing anew ultra large “V-class” Heavy Marine Transport Vessel (HTV), which will dwarf the 117,000 tons carrying capacity Dockwise Vanguard which only entered service just over a year ago. 

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The Chamber of Shipping's Stephen Brown was prominently featured in the provincial government's latest video series, Gateway to Prosperity.  You can view this on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mvxz15y_14I&feature=youtu.be.  

Also copies of our new Safe Shipping brochure are available on-line and in hard copy upon request.


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Government's Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act (Bill C-30) passed third reading in the House of Commons and has been referred to the Senate. Through Bill C-30, the Government of Canada is taking immediate, concrete action to get grain moving faster through legislation and regulations designed to: 

  • Increase supply chain transparency;
  • Strengthen contracts between producers and shippers;
  • Better balance accountability in agreements and contracts between shippers and railways; and,
  • Help ensure the entire grain handling and transportation system is working efficiently and at top capacity.

Based on the feedback heard at Parliamentary committee, the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food passed an amendment to Bill C-30 which would also create the authority for the Canadian Transportation Agency to order a railway to compensate shippers for expenses incurred as a result of a railway's failure to fulfill its service obligations.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection
Service (APHIS) has announced proposed changes to the fees it charges for agricultural quarantine inspections (AQI) at US ports of entry.  Included in the proposal is an increase for commercial inspections of marine cargo vessels from $496 to $825, a $2 fee per passenger to recover costs associated with inspection cruise vessels and passenger baggage, and a new $375 fee to recover costs for monitoring the application of or providing treatments to imported cargo to minimize pest risks.

The attached fee proposal is the first adjustment to APHIS user fees in nearly a decade and is intended to better align with the costs of the services provided.  The proposal is subject to a 60-day comment period.

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On Wednesday a lone gunman opened fire on employees at Nanaimo's Western Forest Products mill located on the Assembly Wharf, killing two people and injuring two others.  Western Forest Products operations on Vancouver Island have been shut down out of respect for the victims with operations to resume on Monday, May 5th, with the exception of the Nanaimo sawmill.  All sites will have additional security presence and Western Forest Products has advised that it is working with the United Steelworks Local 1-1937 to review the security at all facilities.  Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the employees and families invovled in this tragic event. 


Prince Rupert’s Pacific NorthWest LNG project led by Malaysia's Petronas Group now has a new partner in the form of China Petroleum and Chemicals Corp. (Sinopec) both as an investor and as a buyer of product. Japan Petroleum Exploration Co.(Japex) is also a partner in the project which will be supplied with LNG by Progress Energy. Petronas has estimated the overall cost of the venture at around $35 billion as it plans to build a liquefaction plant at Lelu Island to ship LNG to Asia from 2019 onwards. In addition to the stake sold to Japex, the project has also sold LNG volumes and small project stakes to companies in India and Brunei. Under the latest deal, Petronas has agreed to sell Sinopec a 15% interest in Progress Energy's LNG feed-gas reserves in BC and in turn Sinopec has also agreed to off-take 1.8 million tons per annum of LNG for a minimum period of 20 years.

Friday, 02 May 2014 11:13

Shell LNG raises stake

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Royal Dutch Shell has raised its stake from 40% to 50% in the company’s Kitimat based LNG Canada. The additional 10% has been acquired from project partners Mitsubishi Corp and Korea Gas Corp., with both selling 5% stakes, each retaining a 15% shareholding in the company whilst Petro China retains its original 20% stake. Whilst still some way from a final investment decision, initial production at LNG Canada would be around 12 million tons/year with the potential to double.

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