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.
Royal Caribbean, the world’s second-largest cruise company, has confirmed an order its fourth Oasis-class vessel which at 225,300 GRT and 6,300 passenger capacity are the world’s biggest cruise ships. The lucky builder is STX, Saint-Nazaire, France and the announcement was made at the keel laying ceremony of the third in class which is scheduled for delivery in 2016. The yard is 66.6% owned by STX and 33.3% by the French state. The first two Oasis-class ships were built by STX in Turku, Finland. The estimated price of this latest order is $1.4 billion.
Oasis of the Seas will leave her customary home base in Port Everglades and head to Europe this year when she sails to Barcelona on September 1. Once in Europe, she will offer a choice of sailings before heading to The Netherlands, where she will undertake a routine drydocking at Képpel Verolme shipyard.
Baltic Shipyard, a member of Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation is to build two additional Project 22220 nuclear icebreakers at a contract value of $2.4 billion. These two vessels will be similar in design to the 173-meter Arctic which the yard currently has under construction for Russia. This mega icebreaker features the new OKBM Afrikantov-designed RITM-200, dual reactor plant that provides up to 50 megawatts of power via three shafts to allow for year round operations in the arctic. The Arctic was ordered in August 2012 at a total cost of USD 1.2 billion and is scheduled to be delivered in 2017.
The proponents of Northwestern Australian offshore LNG developments, Inpex Corp of Japan and Royal Dutch Shell have agreed to a $100 million investment in a joint fibre-optic cable system for subsea operations at their respective ventures. The fibre-optic systems will be built, owned and operated by Nextgen Group, a supplier of network connectivity and data facilities to the Australian market and will be completed in 2016. The Prelude and Ichthys LNG projects will contribute equally to the construction of the system which will run some 2,000 kilometres between Darwin and Port Hedland.
The US Navy has made a decision to provide customized e-readers to its submarine fleet. The devices will have no ports, wi-fi or roaming data capabilities which might disclose the position of the submarine to an adversary. The plan is to eventually distribute these so called NeRDs ( good one) which come pre-loaded with 300 books, selected from the General Library Program's 108,000 titles to all vessels in the active fleet.
Despite now being required to pay a £50,000 annual fee (increased in 2012 from £30,000) to keep their tax-privileged status if they had lived in the UK for more than 12 years, it seems that London remains a favored residence for many successful shipping tycoons with several making the just updated Sunday Times Billionaire list. Mr. John Fredriksen who celebrated his 70th birthday last weekend is prominent with £9.25bn billion and reportedly one of the most rapidly growing fortunes in the city. Also making the list was Mr. Idan Ofer (Zim Line) who moved to London last year, cruiseship owner wanabee Richard Branson with £3.6bn and the Swire Family with £2.15bn. There are now 104 billionaires based in the UK with a combined wealth of more than £301 billion giving the UK has more billionaires per head of population than any other country. Arsenal shareholder and Russian business magnate Alisher Usmanov fell to second after his estimated fortune dropped to £10.65bn but poor Chelsea FC owner Abramovich saw his bank balance shrink by £780mto a mere £8.52bn placing him in ninth position overall. I guess that means no new signings for Jose this summer.
SMIT will locate a tug mooring facility at Squamish Terminals to service vessels in the Howe Sound area and beyond. The new facility will be operational by mid-summer 2014.
Transport Canada released two Ship Safety Bulletins this week. Ship Safety Bulletin 02/2014 outlines a new joint process established by Transport Canada's Marine Safety and Transportation of Dangerous Goods Directors to review applications for exemptions from the requirements stipulated under both the Cargo, Fumigation, Tackle Regulations and the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations. This single-window approach is expected to save time, without compromising the safe marine transportation of packaged dangerous goods.
Ship Safety Bulletin 03/2014 is a reminder that transitional provisions related to the issuance of Security Certificates of Proficiency ends on June 20, 2014. After June 30th, 2014, all seafarers will need to complete a security training course to obtain a Ship Personnel with Designated Security Duties or a Ship Personnel without Designated Security Duties certificate of proficiency.
Port Metro Vancouver will open a new community office in Ladner's Trenant Park Shopping Centre to give members of the community opportunity to meet with PMV staff member to provide feedback on port operations, initiatives and the proposed Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project. PMV is hoping to establish strong ties with the community as it moves forward with new projects in the area. The office will open in late July 2014.
Bell Helicopter based in Mirabel, Quebec has been awarded the $172 million contract for the procurement and delivery of 15 light-lift helicopters under the Canadian Guard's Fleet Renewal Plan. The first of the 15 helicopters is expected to be delivered in May 2015.