Canada has decided to do a bit of muscle flexing and lay claim to the North Pole “as part of a bid to assert control over a large part of the resource rich Arctic”, Foreign Minister John Baird said earlier this week. The government has already filed a preliminary submission to a United Nations commission (UNCLOS) dealing with competing claims from Denmark and Russia. Each country is laying claim to the North Pole on the grounds that it lies on a continental shelf which they control.
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has issued a reminder to vessel owners and operators that effective January 1 2014, vessels within 24 nautical miles of the California coast line are required to comply with Phase II fuel requirements requiring use of marine gas oil or marine diesel oil with sulphur levels at or below 0.1%. California’s regulations contain a Noncompliance Fee Provision in the event of vessels being unable to access compliant fuel which will allow for a one time no fee transit in 2014 “if they make a good faith effort to acquire compliant fuel and are unable to do so”. More details are provided in CARB Marine Notice 2013-1 at http://www.arb.ca.gov/ports/marinevess/ogv.htm .
The BC government has granted conditional environmental approval to the new pipeline and Vancouver Airport Fuel Facility proposed for the Fraser River. Although the Environmental Assessment Office has reviewed the project and found it will not result in any adverse affects, the province is tying dozens of conditions to the approval. BC Minister of Environment Mary Polak stated that the approval hinges on 64 conditions, including pre-screening of all vessels and a minimum of two escort tugs for each tanker. Minister Polak said the conditions will put in place all of the equipment and training necessary to prevent -- or in the worst case respond to -- a spill.
BC Ferries announced earlier this week that a Request for Proposals (RFP) has been issued to five pre-qualified shipyards to build three intermediate class ferries. The new craft are intended to replace the Queen of Burnaby and Queen of Nanaimo, both of which after almost 50 years of service are preparing to meet their maker. An RFP has now been issued to invite the following yards to participate further in the procurement process to design and build the new vessels:
BC Ferries is aiming to achieve efficiencies in construction, maintenance, training and service flexibility through greater standardization of vessel classes in the future.
A highly unusual storm, the remnants of Hurricane Xaver, created havoc across much of Northern Europe last week. London’s main flood defence system, the Thames Barrier, was closed on Thursday evening and again on Friday afternoon for the 126th time in its 31-year history due to a major water surge across the North Sea which even caused flooding in central Hamburg. The UK Environment Agency issued 138 flood warnings across Scotland and England’s east coast but that could not save many homes from land erosion and loss.