Friday, 18 July 2014 10:39

Royal Boskalis leads Tuas reclamation

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A consortium led by Royal Boskalis Westminster has won a $768 million reclamation project to develop a new Port of Singapore 65m TEU “megahub”container terminal in Tuas on the west coast of Singapore. In addition to Boskalis, the successful consortium comprises Van Oord, Hyundai, Samsung and Penta Ocean. Singapore plans to ultimately relocate the current terminals in Brani, Keppel, Tanjong Pagar, Pasir Panjang Terminal 1 and Pasir Panjang Terminal 2 to the new site, which is expected to open in 2027. Reclamation is expected to complete in 2018.

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Holding symbolic yellow umbrellas and accompanied by their parents, more than 30 student survivors of April's ferry disaster this week marched 30 kms to the South Korean parliament to press demands by victims' relatives for an independent inquiry into the tragedy. Of the total passengers, 325 were teenaged students from the same Danwon High School in Ansan and only 75 survived. The march was primarily in support of the swift passage of legislation that would set up an independent inquiry into the causes of the tragedy but this is now stuck in parliament because of a split over the legal foundation of the proposed investigation. Some family members have embarked on symbolic hunger strikes to push their demands and have collected a petition with 3.5 million signatures calling for the bill to be adopted. A report by the state auditor published just last week said the sinking was a "man-made disaster created by negligence, corruption and greed.” Just this week, a helicopter participating in the search for those still missing from the Sewol crashed into a residential area of the city of Gwangju killing five firefighters on board.

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The mishandling of a container in the port of Laem Chabang, Thailand, this week resulted in dozens of people being hospitalized with nausea, eye and nose problems and in one case unconsciousness. Butyl acrylate is reported to have leaked from a dropped container on the Pearl River Bridge resulting in the vessel being ordered out of the port and away from the coast. 

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As the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean grows worse by the day, the 43m Phoenix 1 has been pressed into service by a Malta based philanthropist couple to rescue migrants from numerous overcrowded and hopelessly unseaworthy boats trying to make it to Malta or Italy. Phoenix 1 is manned by a professional crew, paramedics, rescue dinghies and drones to “provide an eye in the sky”. So far this year, more than illegal 63,000 migrants have arrived in Italy alone thereby adding to the major humanitarian crisis in that part of the world.

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In a bid to show serious intent in dealing with the recent upsurge in Indonesian piracy, Malaysia has announced the deployment of the auxiliary warship Bunga Mas Lima in the east coast of Sabah Province (shown in green above far right). The vessel was previously assigned to anti-piracy patrols in supports of anti-Somalian pirate operations in the Indian Ocean. Over 2,000 tons of marine gasoil was hijacked from the tanker Moresby 9 off the coast of Malaysia just two weeks ago and just this week, pirates hijacked the Malaysian tanker Oriental Glory in the South China Sea, stealing its gasoil cargo before setting it adrift with a damaged engine. 

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After eight months of dithering, it has taken a new government in India to get that country’s High Court to bow to the inevitable and drop all charges against the 35 crew and guards from the US-based private security vessel Seaman Guard Ohio which was converted for commercial anti-piracy duties. The Indian Attorney General had filed a “First Information Report” against the crew and guards of the vessel for unauthorized entrance into Indian waters while being in the possession of firearms on October 13 2013. 

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Even after a senior court has annulled its formal blacklisted status in the ports of the European Union earlier this month, the National Iranian Tanker Corporation (NITC) seems set to continue its struggle with restrictions on shipping and insurance. NITC has always denied any links with the government of Iran but has relentlessly attempted to hide ownership by changing the names of its vessels and their flags to conceal true vessel identities. Under the interim agreement with the world’s major powers signed in November 2013, Iran’s exports should average one million barrels/day through to July 20 but in reality they have been well above that level for several months. The International Group of insurance clubs has also not been providing P&I cover to shipowners engaging in the temporarily permitted Iranian trade due to the lack of confirmation from the EU/US that cover will be able to respond beyond the expiry of the six-month temporary suspension measures on 20 July. (NITC is a subsidiary of the National Iranian Oil Company, which was privatized in 2009. As of 2011, NITC was owned by funds managing pensions for 5 million Iranians, is the biggest tanker company in the Middle East and 4th in the world.

Thursday, 17 July 2014 15:16

Clark Overpass Reopening

Effective 7:00 am Monday, July 21st, 2014, the Clark Drive Overpass will open to inbound container drayage truck traffic destined for CENTERM ONLY. Container drayage trucks bound for other destinations will be directed to enter at Commissioner Street.

Outbound vehicles may continue to exit port property via any of the Vehicle Access Control System (“VACS”) gates at Commissioner Street, Clark Drive and/or Heatley Avenue.

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Through funding provided by Transport Canada’s Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP), both the Northwest Regional Aiport and the Prince Rupert Aiport will receive over $14 million combined in funding over the next two years for improvements in runway safety and visual aids.

Thursday, 10 July 2014 21:21

World Cup Final

Germany v. Argentina - Sunday, July 13 at 12:00 Pacific Time

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BC Provincial Transportation Minister Todd Stone (above left in the centre of the picture) and his Chief of Staff Jessica Wolford took time out from his schedule to go ship visiting with the Chamber on July 10. First up was Saga Odyssey loading wood pulp at Lynnterm where Vice President Operations Dave Lucas (above left on the right of the picture) provided an insight to Western Stevedoring’s operations and also the container operation at Coast 2000 for which he is also currently responsible. A visit to the K-Line container vessel Granville Bridge at Vanterm was then hosted by Quentin Newman, Vancouver General Manager for K-Line (above centre and right on the right hand side of the picture) which provided an opportunity for the Minister to hear at first hand the ocean carrier perspectives of recent changes to container terminal operations as a consequence of the 15 Point Drayage Action Plan. Sincere thanks go  to Saga Forest Carriers and K-Line for facilitating the two visits.

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In the latest provincial LNG development, Steelhead LNG Corp. and the Huu-ay-aht First Nations (HFN) have signed what is being described as an “opportunity development agreement” to explore the potential for development of an LNG export project on the latter’s land at Sarita Bay at the southern end of Alberni Inlet on Vancouver Island. If it goes ahead, the proposal is to build a $30 billion land-based liquefaction facility based on an application to the National Energy Board for a license to export up to 30 million tons of LNG per year for 25 years supplied by four LNG production trains. As part of the opportunity development agreement, it was announced that Steelhead LNG will provide HFN with capacity funding in order to secure the technical, environmental and negotiating expertise it needs to protect its land and its interests. Steelhead LNG and Huu-ay-aht First Nations will also work together on a social benefit and community engagement program.

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