It has long been known that the Panama Canal pilots do not agree with the decision of the Canal Authority to replace traditional mules with tugs to guide vessels through the new locks when the expanded Canal opens for business in 2016. The pilots have now gone public with their concerns by declaring that “the new requirements run higher risks of accidents than existing practices, transits will take longer and they the use of tugs will add costs”. The pilots are also concerned that even though the expansion project has widened the canal’s narrowest passage at the Culebra Cut, it will still be too tight to accommodate the transit of two post-Panamax vessels at the same time.
The so called “Joint Shipping Initiative” comprising Shell, BP, Maersk, Stena, NYK, MOL and “K” Line. has announced the donation of $1.5 million to a United Nations Development Program aimed at fighting Somali piracy by tackling what is seen as the economic basis of the problem onshore in Somalia. The project aims to encourage local economic development through job creation, training, and business development grants in what is perhaps the worst example of a failed state.
A review panel has recently released its draft report on Part X of the Australian Competition and Consumer Act (CCA), which permits shipping lines to organise both consortia and discussion agreements. To the consternation of the marine industry, the report recommends that this provision be repealed. However, the panel does recommend that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) be given the authority to grant block exemptions to consortia agreements that demonstrate a “minimum standard of pro-competitive features under certain circumstances” which may translate to agreements having no common conference tariff and no pooling of revenues and losses. The full draft report can be downloaded via the following link: http://competitionpolicyreview.gov.au/files/2014/09/Competition-policy-review-draft-report.pdf. A second consultation period is now in effect until November 17.
The Russian research ship Professor Hlyustin sailed from Vladivostok last week with a group of scientists and cadets on board who will study the radiation situation in the Sea of Japan. The objective of the project is to understand the consequences of the blow out of the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011 which resulted in an estimated 16,000 people being killed. The month long study will be conducted through the Sea of Japan and the Tsugaru Strait and on toward the Kamchatka region to a maximum depth of 6000 meters. Samples of water, air, soil, plants and marine life will be taken where they will be studied on board and and then sent on to a research institute in St. Petersburg and tested for the presence of cesium-137, strontium-90 and other contaminants.
Port Metro Vancouver, Governance Committee is now accepting applications for candidates to be considered as Directors on the Board of the Port Metro Vancouver. The deadline for applications is October 20, 2014. Two positions are open to applications at this time. The first is a current vacancy and the second is a term expiry. The Nominating Committee is particularly interested in individuals who have experience in the maritime business, financial risk management and major capital projects.
For more information on the criteria and process, view PMV's Notice.
Following completion of a comprehensive review of the development, testing and production timelines associated with the delivery of the remaining project components, CBSA has advised that a new deployment schedule for future eManifest functionalities has been established. The schedule introduces functionality incrementally, which enables new systems to run in parallel with existing production systems allowing for early detection and resolution of issues. The latest schedule which will deliver new eManifest features and systems to our external clients is as follows:
As system development continues to move forward, the CBSA will be communicating further details about the eManifest deployment schedule, and how it impacts each stakeholder group, through various channels such as Web site content, Webinar presentations and client mail-outs.
The Chamber of Shipping hosted a World Maritime Day fundraiser this week at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club to commemorate World Maritime Day (Sept 25) and raise funds for the Mission to Seafarers. An excellent turnout was entertained by Master of Ceremonies, Kevin Obermeyer, and guest speaker, John Horton, who provided a presentation on the work of the Canadian Lifeboat Institute. Thank you again to all who attended or otherwise supported the event.
Malaysia’s Petronas, the major partner in Pacific Northwest LNG which is proposing a significant LNG export plant in Prince Rupert has this week voiced the company’s frustration with the regulatory process and fiscal environment in BC. Chief Executive Mr. Shamsul Azhar Abbas, warned that unless the B.C. government unveils competitive tax and regulatory rules next month, he will cancel plans to invest an estimated $36-billion in the project. Rather than ensuring the development of the LNG industry through appropriate incentives and assurance of legal and fiscal stability, the Canadian landscape of LNG development is now one of uncertainty, delay and short vision,” Mr. Shamsul told the Financial Times. Canada is “already 40 years behind in the game.”
NDP Financial critic and MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley Nathan Cullen tabled a private member's bill this week to ban oil tankers from the North Coast of BC and impose “a more thorough consultation with communities to be impacted by such projects in the future”. "These are some of the most tempestuous waters in the world." Mr. Cullen told reporters. Mr. Cullen is well known for his opposition to development of Canada’s oil sands and expansion of oil export opportunities and acknowledged that the timing of his Bill is designed to force the issue in the 2015 federal election debates that lie ahead. The pipeline was approved with 209 conditions in June.
The environmental lobby group Ecojustice has launched a legal challenge to PMV’s approval of a new $20 million coal transport terminal at Fraser Surrey Docks on the basis that it breaches certain provisions of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. The petition argues that PMV acted in a biased manner and that the Attorney General of Canada failed to consider the adverse environmental consequences of burning coal in other countries and that health impacts on residents near the terminal were not fully taken into consideration. Ecojustice describes itself as a national charitable organization that uses the law to defend Canadians' right to a healthy environment – a caption from the organization’s website is shown above.
The MV Nunavik set sail from Deception Bay last week en route to China via Canada's Northwest Passage, with 23,000 tons of nickel concentrate The Fednav owned vessel holds a Polar Class designation and is the first commercial vessel to attempt the Northwest Passage completely unescorted with an Arctic cargo. The route to China via the Northwest Passage is some 40 percent shorter than the traditional Panama Canal route, and as a result, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 1,300 tonnes.
The Nunavik is the most powerful conventional (non-nuclear) icebreaking bulk carrier in the world and is supported by a shore-based team of ice navigation specialists from Fednav and its subsidiary, Enfotec. The vessel will receive regular ice charts including real-time satellite imagery in order to operate Enfotec's proprietary onboard ice-navigation system, IcenavTM, further enabling safe and efficient transit. To follow the Nunavik's passage visit: http://www.fednav.com/en/voyage-nunavik.
BC Ferries has formally announced long rumored plans to convert its two largest vessels, the Spirit of Vancouver Island and the Spirit of British Columbia, to dual fuel, as well as make modifications to the hull, in order to save approximately $9.2 million per year in operating costs over the remaining projected 27year life cycle of the two vessels. BC Ferries spent $126 million on fuel last fiscal year and the two Spirit-Class vessels consumed approximately 15% of the fleet total. Spirit-Class vessels operate on the Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay route, which carried 28% of total passengers, 23% of total vehicles and generated 38% of total passenger-based revenue in fiscal 2014.
The Pacific Pilotage Authority has announced that the successful candidate for the Assistant Director Marine Operations role at PPA is Mr. Paulo Ekkebus. Prior to joining the PPA, Mr. Ekkebus spent six years as a senior marine investigator with the Transportation Safety Board both in Ottawa and Vancouver. He also spent four years teaching at the British Columbia Institute of Technology's marine campus in North Vancouver, the last 2 of which were as Chief Instructor of the Nautical Sciences and Seamanship diploma programs. He has twelve years of sailing experience in deck and engineering disciplines onboard a variety of vessels, culminating in the appointment as Master. He has also worked in the private sector, developing and implementing safety management systems. Mr. Ekkebus is a Certified Master Mariner and holds a Bachelor's degree from the De Ruyter Maritime Institute in the Netherlands. He will assume his new role on September 29.
Professor Tetley passed away in Montreal, Canada on 1 July, aged 87. After practicing civil, commercial, and marine law from 1952-1970, he served in municipal and provincial politics in Quebec rising to a cabinet minister in the first Bourassa cabinet from 1970-1976. He then joined the Faculty of Law at McGill University where he served as a professor for over 30 years and was appointed Distinguished Visiting Professor of Maritime and Commercial Law at Tulane University, New Orleans in 2007. His extensive publications include over 150 articles and seven monographs. He was named to the Order of Canada in 1995.
The US Government has approved a $324.6 million Title XI loan guarantee to TOTE Shipholdings, Inc. to finance the construction of the world’s first two LNG-fueled 3,100 TEU capacity container ships. The new so called Marlin Class vessels are under construction at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego, California and will be equipped with a single low speed, dual-fuel ME-GI engine capable of running on primarily on LNG. Delivery is scheduled for late 2015 and early 2016, at which point the vessels will operate in the U.S. Jones Act protected trades between Jacksonville, Florida and San Juan, Puerto Rico. TOTE retains options for up to three additional ships. The Title XI program guarantees the repayment of loans, obtained in the private sector by ship owners, for the construction reconstruction, or reconditioning of vessels in US shipyards.
The State of Alaska has signed an agreement to construct two Alaska Class Ferries at Vigor Alaska in Ketchikan. The vessels will be the largest ever to be built in Alaska and the first Alaska Marine Highway System ferries to be built in the state. The contract is reported to be worth $120 million and deliveries are scheduled for 2018. The new vessels will be 280 feet long, seat up to 300 passengers and carry 53 standard vehicles.
A fire at the Pasha steel handling terminal in the Port of Los Angeles berth 179 this week has caused serious damage and delays to operations in both LA and Long Beach. The fire broke out underneath a warehouse sending toxic smoke hundreds of feet into the air. The seriousness of the fire resulted in the establishment of a unified command to oversee 170 firefighters and involving the LA and Long Beach Fire Departments, Los Angeles Port Police and United Stated Coast Guard. Two vessels were ordered to be removed from the immediate vicinity. No injuries were recorded but the wharf, a warehouse and a so far unspecified amount of cargo have been heavily damaged or lost.