Tuesday, 28 January 2014 15:53

Richard Branson praises BC's major ports

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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.

Friday, 24 January 2014 16:25

Somali pirates rounded up

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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.

Friday, 24 January 2014 16:24

Cruise industry optimistic for 2014/15

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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.

Friday, 24 January 2014 16:22

North Korea accepts Panama fine

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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.

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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.

Friday, 24 January 2014 15:51

IMO World Maritime Day Theme for 2014

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 International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004
  • The Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009
  • The Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, 2007 
Friday, 24 January 2014 15:48

USCG updated NOAD schema to be released

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:

  • Increase by 2.25% its general tariff for pilotage units and hours on April 1, 2014; by 2.5% on January 1, 2015; and by 2.75% on January 1, 2016;
  • Increase by 2.5% its general tariff for pilot boat and helicopter charges on April 1, 2014; by 2.75% on January 1, 2015; and by 3.0% on January 1, 2016;
  • Change the fuel adjustment date to the 20th of the preceding month;
  • Modify the wording of delay charge in the tariff to account for current practice;
  • Modify the wording of the hampered ship definition in the tariff to account for current practice; and
  • Modify Schedule 7 to include Prince Rupert Anchorages 8, 9 and 10 to 31.
Friday, 24 January 2014 15:44

Panel seeking submissions on HNS and Arctic

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.

Friday, 24 January 2014 15:41

Second Grassy Point LNG Project Announced

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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.

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