The Globe & Mail this week ran a feature on Port Metro Vancouver and the Port of Prince Rupert’s environmental programs including incentives to go beyond compliance in using cleaner fuels and efficient engines. Sir Richard Branson, a founder of the Carbon War Room, a not-for-profit focused on helping businesses find low-carbon solutions commented that “these Canadian ports are the very first ports in the world to work with us on this, and it’s just great … delighted that Canada is leading the way.” Sir @richardbranson tells the @globeandmail how BC ports are leading the way in clean shipping. http://ow.ly/sZxY0
The Carbon War Room also seeks to convert the Caribbean to a carbon neutral zone over the next 10 years and in pursuit of which Sir Richard plans to host a meeting of the region’s political leaders on his private island (Necker Island) in the British Virgin Islands this year. A call to enquire whether this means we get a discount on Virgin Atlantic flights to London this summer was not returned.
EU naval forces have made the first arrest of pirates off Somalia in 2014 in response to an unsuccessful attack on a product tanker. Five suspected pirates were detained by French forces last Saturday following the interception of a dhow. The attack on the tanker was repelled by a private armed security team embarked on the vessel however a Japanese aircraft and a helicopter from the Japanese naval vessel JS Samidare arrived on scene in time to identify the pirates’ dhow. The EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) French flagship FS Siroco took over from there and conducted the boarding and arrests.
Not so fortunate this week was the modern Panamax product tanker Kerala loaded with gas oil which is believed to have been hijacked six miles off the coast of Angola. Should this be confirmed as a hijack it would mark a significant territorial expansion in the operating zone of Nigerian pirates. The Angolan navy is reported to be searching for the vessel – good luck on that one.
Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) in their annual State of the Cruise Industry report is anticipating a good couple of years ahead with an estimate of 21.7 million global passengers on CLIA’s 63 member lines, up slightly from the estimated 21.3 million in 2013. Member lines will introduce 24 new ships in 2014-2015 adding a total passenger capacity of over 37,000 berths. The leading cruise destination in terms of ship deployments is still the Caribbean, accounting for 37% of all global itineraries followed by the Mediterranean at 19%, Northern Europe at 11%, Australia/New Zealand at ^%, Alaska at 4.5%, Asia at 4.4% and South America at 3.3%. A much anticipated newcomer at the end of the year is Quantum of the Seas (see above) a totally new class of vessel.
Things are not so rosy in Greece where the country’s leading remaining cruise line, Louis Cruises, has blasted the government for not having “an overall strategy to meet the needs of the cruise industry”, despite the fact that the sector is touted as a priority in rebuilding the country’s economy. A spokesperson went on to add that operating in Greece meant the company was “often confronted with an unreliable financial, legal and political framework”. Another criticism from Louis is a lack of infrastructure and services for cruise passengers, starting from insufficient air capacity into Greece from the company’s major markets, particularly North America, and increasingly Latin America. By comparison, there are eight flights daily from those regions to Turkey.
Having been caught red handed trying to smuggle arms through the Panama Canal, North Korea has agreed to pay a fine of $667,000 to the Panamanian Government. The general cargo vessel Chong Chon Gang which has been detained since July of last year was found to be hiding Two Cuban MiG-21 jet fighters accompanied by brand-new jet engines hidden under 240,000 sacks of raw brown Cuban sugar. This was a significant violation of U.N. sanctions that bar North Korea from importing sophisticated weapons or missiles.
The global Shippers Forum which represents cargo interests around the world is advocating for the repeal of the block exemption currently granted to liner shipping consortia by the European Union. The current exemption expires in April 2015 and Brussels is already being pressured for shipping to be treated in the same way as other sectors. At present, a shipping line consortium has a block exemption from EU competition laws if its market share is below 35%. A larger alliance is not necessarily unlawful, but the cop out is that members are required to conduct a self-assessment to ensure there is no abuse of its dominant position.Both the planned P3 Network and the expanded G6 Alliance would exceed the allowable 35% limit on several trade lanes.
China Shipping Container Line has confirmed that it’s new mega ships will be of 19,000 TEU capacity rather than the 18,400 TEU announced previously. Hyundai Heavy Industries will build the 5 vessels currently on order at a unit price of $140 million with delivery of the first vessel scheduled for November 2014 and the other four by the end of Q1 2015.
IMO Secretary General Mr. Koji Sekimizu (centre right above) this week launched the 2014 World Maritime Day theme “IMO conventions - Effective Implementation”. Mr Sekimizu said he wants genuine progress towards effective and global implementation of all outstanding IMO conventions. Those still to be ratified are:
The USCG National Vessel Movement Center (NVMC) issued a notice stating that an updated Notice of Arrival and Departure (NOAD) schema, version 3.4, will be released that incorporates improvements in vessel response plan data reporting. Thereafter, NOAD Schema 3.2 and older versions will no longer be supported.
In an unprecedented move, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) today issued strong recommendations to improve the safe transportation of crude oil by rail. The greater risk of shipping increasingly more crude oil by rail across North America demands coordinated solutions.
The amount of crude oil now being shipped by rail in North America is staggering. According to the rail industry, in Canada in 2009, there were only 500 carloads of crude oil shipped by rail; in 2013, there were 160,000 carloads. In the U.S. in 2009, there were 10,800 carloads; and in 2013, there were 400,000 carloads. And because North America’s railways are interconnected, the NTSB’s recommendations complement those issued by the TSB.
Amendments to the Pacific Pilotage Tariff Regulations have now been published in Canada Gazette Part 1 – January 25, 2014. The amendments address adjustments for 2014, 2015 and 2016 and include the following:
On March 18, 2013, the Government of Canada announced the formation of a Panel to conduct a pan-Canadian review and assessment of Canada’s regulated ship-source oil spill preparedness and response regime, as it pertains to oil handling facilities and ship-source spills. The Panel is now ready to focus their work on Phase II of their review. Phase II will encompass a national examination of the requirements for a hazardous and noxious substances framework, including liquefied natural gas as well as a review of the requirements for oil spill preparedness and response in the Arctic.
The Panel would like to invite stakeholders, interested groups and Canadians across the country to provide input. Lines of Inquiry have been posted on the Panel’s web site to support the work for Phase II. Interested parties are encouraged to provide a written submission, via e-mail or mail, to the Panel. Submissions on HNS will be received until March 28, 2014 and submissions on the Arctic will be received until May 16th, 2014. A link is provided to the Consultation Guidance section which will help interested parties provide input on key issues.
The Tanker Safety Expert Panel welcome’s your submission.
The BC government has signed another agreement to develop a site on Grassy Point to the north of Prince Rupert. The latest agreement is with Australia’s Woodside Petroleum Ltd. It was only in November that the province signed a similar deal with Nexen Energy ULC for the Aurora LNG plant which is to be located just to the north of the Woodside project. The province and Woodside have signed a so called “sole proponent agreement” which provides Woodside with the comfort of an exclusive right to negotiate a long-term tenure in the location where a similar project was cancelled nearly three decades ago.
Effective January 19, 2014, Port Metro Vancouver implemented the International Safety Guide for Oil Tankers and Terminal’s (ISGOTT) Ship/Shore Safety Check-List for all bulk liquid terminals (including vegetable oil marine terminals) and vessels calling on theses terminals within Port Metro Vancouver’s navigational jurisdiction. The checklist and the accompanying procedures are to be included in the Harbour Operations Manual. Representatives from the ship (Responsible Officer) and terminal (Terminal Representative) must complete the Ship/Shore Safety Check-List prior to the start of liquid bulk transfer operations. For more information see the attached letter from PMV.
Canada Border Services Agency has released its first edition of the Advance Commercial Information (ACI) newsletter from the policy group. The attached newsletter contains several answers to several frequently asked questions on the Conveyance Arrival Certification Message and other key changes affecting the advance reporting of goods and conveyance.
GULFPORT, Miss. – Mississippi State Port Authority officials voted Friday to join Green
Marine, a sustainability program developed for the marine transportation industry that
provides a framework for ports, terminals, shipping companies and shipyards to improve
their environmental performance.
With this action the Port of Gulfport could become the second coastal port in the nation
to successfully achieve the green designation, following the Port of Seattle.
The cornerstone of the Green Marine initiative is its far-reaching environmental program,
which makes it possible for any marine company operating in Canada or the U.S. to
voluntarily improve its environmental performance by undertaking concrete and
measurable actions. The Port of Gulfport is only the second U.S. port outside the Great
Lakes to join Green Marine, which has rapidly gained a reputation for challenging
participant companies to improve their environmental performance beyond regulatory
“Green Marine’s mission is to make the marine transportation industry greener, which
ties in with our efforts to make the Port of Gulfport a more environmentally efficient port,”
said MSPA Executive Director and CEO Jonathan Daniels.
“We pride ourselves in the transparency and rigor of our environmental program,”
explained Green Marine Management Corporation President, Raymond Johnston. “Port
of Gulfport joining Green Marine clearly reflects a strong commitment towards the
greening of their operations. It also demonstrates that the Green Marine environmental
program is valid, applicable, and scalable for all sizes of ports.”
The Port of Gulfport and Green Marine will work together to strengthen the Port’s
environmental performance through a process of continuous improvement; build strong
relations with marine waterway stakeholders; and heighten understanding of the marine
industry’s activities and environmental benefits.
More information about the Green Marine program can be found at www.green-marine.org.
Still with piracy, latest figures indicate that the problem is at its lowest level in six years, with 264 attacks recorded in 2013, a 40% drop since the peak in 2011. In the case of Somali piracy, there were only 15 incidents recorded in 2013 compared to 75 in 2012, and 237 in 2011. The International Maritime Bureau's annual global report estimates that 300 seafarers were taken hostage in 2013 of whom 21 were injured. Almost 50% of attacks occurred in Indonesian waters whist attacks off West Africa accounted for 19% of the total – see map. Sadly, around 30 seamen remain unaccounted for but are believe to be held somewhere in Somalia.
Also of interest, the attack on the container ship Maersk Alabama as portrayed in the movie Captain Phillips played by Tom Hanks has received six Oscar Nominations including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor for the first-time Somali actor who played the pirate leader, Muse.
A court in Tuticorin, Tamil Nadhu, granted conditional bail on December 26 to the 25 guards and 10 crew members of the Seaman Guard Ohio who have been held in prison by Indian authorities since last October. The vessel is used by U.S.-based maritime security firm AdvanFort International as an accommodation platform for counter-piracy guards between transits on client commercial vessels transiting high risk areas in the Indian Ocean.The 35 guards and crew were arrested on charges on entering Indian waters illegally with arms and ammunition. Unfortunately, the conditional bail was cancelled on December 30 when another court ruled that the guards and crew must remain in custody until it has reached a decision. The international law firm Ince & Co has been retained to work for their release.
The recent diplomatic spats between the U.S. and India are clearly not helping this sad state of affairs. India also continues to hold two Italian marines, part of a security team on the tanker Enrica Lexie accused of murdering two Indian fishermen who were mistaken for pirates in February 2012.