The search for missing Malaysian Air Flight 370 continues with the search now centered on an area SW of Australia following satellite detection of possible wreckage. The U.S. Navy has sent its most advanced surveillance plane, a P8-A Poseidon, to join planes from Australia and New Zealand in scanning the area. Seafarers transiting the Indian Ocean and South China Sea have also been urged by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) to listen to maritime satellite safety messages as part of a huge international effort to locate any sign of the missing airliner. Yesterday, the Hoegh St. Petersburg (above right), a car carrier on passage from Europe to Australia via the Cape of Good Hope was called on to scan an area where satellite images suggest there may be wreckage.
The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has approved the so called P3 Alliance between the world’s largest container lines, Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping Co and CMA CGM but with stricter monitoring than is usual for a standard alliance. The FMC’s five commissioners voted four to one in favor of approval with former chairman Richard Lidinsky voting against.
US Navy Seals boarded the tanker Morning Glory off the coast of Cyprus last weekend. Flying the North Korean flag, the vessel loaded oil off the eastern Libyan port of Sidra in defiance of a naval blockade since the region is under the control of a militia seeking autonomy for the east of the country. The guided missile destroyer USS Roosevelt provided helicopter support and served as a command and control platform for the mission, which will see the vessel returned to Libya under the escort of USS Stout. Perhaps somewhat embarrassed by the incident, North Korea chose to de-register the vessel when the attempt to load illegal cargo was first publicized. For good measure, the Libyan Prime Minister also lost his job. Oil is normally supplied to North Korea by China so there are many question marks as to who was behind this vessel.
The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) and the GUPC consortium led by Spain’s Sacyr Group announced late last week that they have reached agreement on a formula which is designed to enable new lock construction completion by December 2015. Project insurer Zurich has also signed off on the deal under which the Authority and the consortium will each contribute $100 million to get the work back on track while ACP will extend a moratorium on the refund of advance payments until 2018, freeing up money to complete the work. In addition, a $400 million surety bond from Zurich will be used as backing to secure additional funding and claims relating to unexpected costs will be resolved in international arbitration courts. Twelve lock gates, under construction in Italy, will now be delivered to Panama by the end of the year.
Mitsui OSK has announced that it plans to spend nearly $8.5bn on 60 LNG carriers over the next six years in order to capitalize on the forecast increase in supply from new projects in North America, East Africa and Australia into Asia. With the U.S. decision to grant approval to a number of LNG projects to export to countries without free trade agreements with the US, Tokyo Gas, Osaka Gas, Chubu Electric and Kansai Electric Power have contracted with project developers for long-term requirements. The planned investment includes 20 ships already on MOL’s order book, which will be delivered in 2014-2016. Of these, 10 vessels have been fixed via MOL’s joint ventures with Chinese state-owned firms.
Closer to home, it was disclosed this week that Sinopec is seeking to make a 15% investment in Prince Rupert’s Pacific Northwest LNG which is led by Malaysia’s Petronaas Group.
The world’s largest-diameter propeller was loaded by floating crane onto the container vessel Hyundai Together at the Port of Hamburg last weekend. The five-bladed propeller measuring 10.3 m in diameter and weighing in at 113 tons was manufactured by Mecklenburger Metallguss GmbH in Waren, Germany and is destined for a so far undisclosed 18,000 TEU vessel under construction in South Korea.
Two of the world’s leading banana companies are to merge their operations. Chiquita Brands International and Fyffes announced the $1.1bn merger this week to create the world’s largest banana company ChiquitaFyffes with sales of 160m boxes of bananas per year. By comparson, Del Monte sells around 117 million boxes and Dole 110m boxes. Fyffes/Geest Line operates eight conventional reefer ships and Chiquita’s Great White Fleet operates ten conventional ships in addition to five cellular container vessels.
Canada Border Services Agency has issued Memorandum D12-4-1 which oultines pre-arrival reporting requirements for cargo and conveyance data in the rail mode.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has announced that the amendments to the Transportation Safety Board Regulations, published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, are now in force. The amended Regulations are intended to update the reporting and investigation of occurrences in Canada's transportation sector. There are two parts to the amendment, Part 2 came into effect on March 12, 2014 and Part 1 will take effect only on July 1, 2014.
For the marine industry the Part 2 addresses witness interviews and provides for a representative to accompay them during an interview. Part 1 updates and introduces new definitions under the TSB Regulations and adds requirements to the reporting of a marine occurrence.
Who is required to report a marine occurrence?
When the operator of the ship—whether they are the owner, the master, the ship's pilot, a crew member or the harbour master—has direct knowledge of an occurrence, they are required to report it to the TSB.
When do you report an occurrence?
In addition to the current requirements, you must now report an occurrence when:
After 20 years, Canada Border Services Agency will leave their 333 Dunsmuir Street address and move to a new location on April 7, 2014. The new location details are as follows:
Canada Border Services Agency
412-4th Floor, 1611 Main Street
Vancouver, BC V6A 2W5
Hours of operation (Monday to Friday) 08:00 - 16:00
Due to the relocation, longroom services will be unavailable at the downtown location from April 3 to April 6. If services are required the CBA office at United Terminals at 7867 Express Street, Burnaby and Air Cargo at 5000 Miller Road, Richmond will be available.
For any questions regarding bonded stores and crew issue contact (604) 666-9865 or (604) 666-5310. For after hours and statutory holiday services call VMOCC (604) 713-9840.
Following two weeks of highly damaging disruption to container drayage services, last evening (March 13) The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, the Honourable Todd Stone, British Columbia Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, and Robin Silvester, President & CEO of Port Metro Vancouver, announced a 14-point plan designed to end the dispute involving both the non-unionized United Truckers Association (UTA) and the unionized UNIFOR registered drivers.
See the News Release here on-line.
See the 14-Point Joint Action Plan here on-line.
See the Information for trucking companies and truckers on the Proposed new Truck Licensing System and other improvements here online.
HMCS Protecteur was towed into Pearl Harbour by a U.S. navy tug on Thursday last week following her serious engine room fire. It is still not clear what the next steps may be given the advanced age of the vessel and the fact that she was to be retired in 2015. By all accounts the incident could well have turned out to be much more serious than it was.
USS Ronald Reagan at Royal Roads
As mentioned in a member bulletin earlier this week, in a bid to alleviate continuing pressure on anchorages we have secured an agreement to open up Royal Roads anchorages off Esquimalt to commercial use without payment of local harbor dues. Details:
Anchorages B, E and F have a radius of 2 cables and could hold 3 x 200m vessels.
Anchorages A, C and D are 2.5 cables and could hold 3 x panama vessels or possibly 2 capesizes.
The depths at each of the anchorages are:
Sabine Pass LNG, Louisiana
Protectionism is alive and well as politicians in Congress, aided and abetted by the staff of Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) seek to require U.S. LNG exports be carried in U.S. built manned and flagged (read Jones Act) be exported in exports of liquefied natural gas to use U.S.-made and -crewed ships. U.S. shipyards last built an LNG carrier in 1980 and even assuming the transfer of construction technology, a new standard sized LNG carrier built in South Korea will set an owner back around $200 million with a similar U.S. built vessel estimated to cost 4-5 times as much.
Driving the proposal is the harsh reality that U.S. flag fleet has declined from around 1000 ships to an estimated 180 ships over the last 50 years. Many of these are well past their “sell by date” and only survive on the back of cargo preference policies. In terms of LNG pricing, Japan is paying around $17 per million British thermal units (BTU)of LNG compared to a sale price of around $5 on the U.S. Gulf Coast, according to most recent data with U.S. export capacity estimated to be around 62 million tons/year by 2020.
Here in BC, depending on who you talk to there are around a dozen project proposals to export LNG plus at least three other projects planned in two other provinces. The National Energy Board (NEB), has so far approved seven of BC’s LNG project export permits namely:
The following export applications are under NEB review:
A group of 33 passengers has decided to try and cash in on the unfortunate engine room fire suffered by the Carnival Triumph last year. The group is seeking $5,000 a month for the rest of their lives for medical bills and mental anguish. The vessel was without engine power, air conditioning and functioning bathrooms for five days causing many passengers to camp pout on deck until she was towed into port. Carnival generously issued passengers with a full refund, a free future cruise and an additional $500 per person. A Carnival spokesperson described the legal action as “an opportunistic lawsuit brought by plaintiff’s counsel and plaintiffs who seek to make a money grab.”
It was also announced this week that the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) plans to make unannounced inspections of cruise ships this year in a bid to increase oversight. Assuming no defects are identified, the inspections will be short but will be an addition to regularly scheduled “Certificate of Compliance” annual and periodic inspections.