The pilot at the con of the Capesize bulker Cape Apricot when it was involved in the accident at Westshore terminals in December 2012 has admitted partial liability for the incident. However, judgments over much of the complex legal argument surrounding this case are required before there can be certainty as to what the liabilities of the various parties will be. Additionally, the Transportation Safety Board’s report into the incident has yet to be released.
Cape Apricot was chartered to K-Line, controlled by Japan’s Tokei Kaiun and owned by its affiliated company Leo Ocean. Westshore is believed to be claiming $50 million for physical damage and business disruption but lawyers for Leo Ocean are counter arguing that liability should be limited to a $26m security agreement already signed. The limitation of liability of a pilot under the Canadian Pilotage Act is also a matter subject to a ruling in this case.
On January 1, California set a leading edge in being the first jurisdiction in the world to require that container ships begin using shore power while at berth. The new “Vessels at Berth Regulations” will be phased in over the next six years with 50% of every container carrier’s fleet calling in California now being required to hook up to shore power, increasing to 70% on January 1, 2017, and 80% on Jan. 1, 2020. However, in showing some much needed pragmatism for a change, on Dec. 23, 2013 CARB issued an advisory that the “commissioning” of vessels could continue through June 30, 2014. At the same time, the allowable sulphur limit for both gas and diesel oil being burned in California’s waters was reduced to 0.1%, one year in advance of ECA regulations requiring same.
Unrelated to the above, vessels calling at California ports will also soon face new rules to curb bio-fouling. Draft regulations from the California State Land Commission are being prepared for implementation on January 1, 2015. The new rules which stipulate that a hull must have less than 5% bio-fouling or in a niche area less than 10%, have the same aim as ballast water regulations in so much as they seek to curb the spread of invasive aquatic species by specifying the percentage of biofouling permitted on the underwater parts of the ship’s hull. Niche areas are the sea chest and gratings, bow and stern thruster and gratings, fin stabilizers and recesses, propeller shaft, propeller and rudders. As is the case with ballast water rules, the bio-fouling rules will require presentation of a specific bio-fouling management plan and record book, listing dockings and cleaning activity. Australia and New Zealand have both played a role in crafting the regulations since they too are intent on adopting something similar and are believed to be preparing a case for IMO consideration.
After several months of unproductive lobbying, The Canadian Shipowners Association (CSA) has publicly voiced concern over the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new Vessel General Permit (VGP), which came into effect on December 19. The new VGP regulates discharges from commercial vessels, including ballast water but a report released by CSA has concluded that the installation of ballast water management systems on Canadian domestic vessels beginning in 2014 will cost the Canadian economy $1.1 billion over the next five years. However there is more to the story given that shipowners cannot comply with the regulations “since the technology to do so does not exist" underlines CSA President Robert Lewis-Manning. As a consequence of the deadlock, CSA announced this week that it has decided to formally petition the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Second Circuit for a review of the VGP, and more specifically, the Jan 1, 2014 compliance deadline.
It was announced this week that the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency will refer the proposed Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project to an environmental assessment by an independent review panel. Timelines for the assessment will be as follows:
An important Christmas gift arrived with the opening of the elevated roadway over Stewart Street on the south shore on Wednesday morning this week. The overpass spans 10 intensively used at-grade rail crossings which can now be entirely bypassed to help alleviate long standing south shore traffic congestion. However, it’s not yet plain sailing as until the end of January, there will be a requirement to close the overpass to traffic in the evenings to allow for final touches.
The US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) this week hosted a so called “global summit” to discuss the proposed P3 Network comprising Maersk, MSC & CMA CGM. Regulators from the US, the European Commission and China were reported to have had “open and candid discussions” on their differing regulatory frameworks and the potential effects of carrier co-operation on international trade. It appears that no significant conclusions were reached. The proposed Alliance would initially entail the pooling of 252 ships representing 2.6m TEU of capacity to be deployed in the Asia-Europe, Transpacific and Transatlantic trade lanes. Meanwhile, the G6 Alliance agreement update was submitted to the FMC on December 2 and will become active on January 16, unless the FMC submits questions within the timeline.
Published in the Canada Gazette Part II on December 19th are minor amendments made to the following regulations under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001:
and amend the following Regulations made under the Marine Liability Act:
The amendments are the result of a Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations (SJCSR) reviews matters of legality and the procedural aspects of federal regulations. The SJCSR reviewed the regulations listed below and noted some inconsistencies between the English and French versions.
As well, three minor amendments have been made to the Small Vessel Regulations. These errors were identified after the publication of the Small Vessel Regulations (SOR/2010-91) in Part II of the Canada Gazette on May 12, 2010. Three minor errors in the French version of the Vessel Pollution and Dangerous Chemicals Regulations are also being addressed. These errors were identified after the publication of theRegulations Amending the Vessel Pollution and Dangerous Chemicals Regulations (SOR/2013-68) in Part II of the Canada Gazette on May 8, 2013.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Barack Obama, President of the United States, welcomed the release of the second annual Beyond the Border Action Plan Implementation Report. This report outlines the progress made by Canada and the United States to implement the Beyond the Border Action Plan - an agreement that was put in place to enhance our mutual security, prosperity and economic competitiveness.
An aggressive but short lived protest against the Fraser Surrey Docks coal handling proposal occurred on Monday morning this week. Six members of so called “Rising Tide Vancouver” dressed as Father Christmas gained access to Port Metro Vancouver offices before being summarily ejected by staff. City police were called in but no charges were laid. The Chamber of Shipping unreservedly deplores this form of action and urges all parties with a point of view to share do so through well established channels, free of intimidation or trespass.
In addition to the three LNG export licenses previously granted, the National Energy Board has now approved four more 25 year export licenses applicable to the following projects:
proposed new berth configuration at Westridge
Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC operated by Kinder Morgan Canada and owned by Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. filed a formal Facilities Application on Monday this week with the National Energy Board (NEB), for authorization to build and operate the facilities for the company’s proposed $5.4 billion Trans Mountain expansion project. The application addresses those issues previously identified by the NEB, including environmental, socio-economic, Aboriginal engagement, landowner and public consultation, marine risk assessments and engineering components of the proposed expansion project. With this filing, the project will undergo a comprehensive public regulatory review. The next step will be for the NEB to establish a hearing schedule that corresponds to the federal government’s legislated 15-month review and decision timeframe. If approvals are received, the expansion is expected to be operational in late 2017. If approved, the project will increase capacity on TransMountain from approximately 300,000 bpd to 890,000 bpd.
The Facilities Application consists of more than 15,000 pages, approximately 2 metres in height, contained in 37 binders and 2.48 GB (compressed). The full Application is available online: http://application.transmountain.com/
proposed terminal layout on Fraser River
Port Metro Vancouver announced on Monday this week that it has concluded its federal environmental assessment review for the Vancouver Airport Fuel Delivery Project and has determined that the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects after the implementation of mitigation measures and environmental conditions. In other words, the project is approved to move to next steps provided that the 64 conditions detailed last week by the BC Provincial Government and outlined in the Vancouver Airport Fuel Delivery Table of Conditions are applied.
Port Metro Vancouver’s final signed Decision Statement can be found here.
Project documents generated through the harmonized Environmental Assessment review process can also be found on Vancouver Airport Fuel Delivery Project.
The next steps require VAFFC to submit a Project Permit application to PMV who will then complete a separate project review for any work which falls within the port’s jurisdiction which in this case includes the proposed fuel storage facility and a portion of the marine terminal. In addition to the Port’s Project Permit application, VAFFC must also undergo reviews and permitting processes by the Vancouver Airport Authority, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, the BC Oil and Gas Commission, and the City of Richmond.
CBSA announced last week the seizure of around 130 kilograms of cocaine hidden inside a refrigerated container originating from Russia. The container was apparently documented as containing 25,000 kg of food products, however a high-energy X-ray machine revealed something more. A physical examination located 109 bricks of cocaine hidden in the ceiling of the container.The CBSA welcomes all tips on suspicious cross-border activity. Please call the Border Watch Toll-free Line at 1-888-502-9060.
Meanwhile the Venezuelan navy has reportedly seized nearly 15kg of cocaine in the engine room of the German container ship CSF Pafilia and authorities in the Dominican Republic have found 250 packages of cocaine hidden in a container, also on a German container ship the
The Baltic Exchange has announced changes to its Capesize Index that aim to reflect both the larger Capesize ships now in use and sustained, intensified growth in trade between South Africa, Brazil, China and the rest of Asia. The Baltic says its new set of specifications describe a ship that “would produce the most reliable benchmark over the coming years”. The Baltic Capesize 2014 will be:
The Baltic has also introduced three new routes; C14 from China-Brazil-China, C15 from Richards Bay to Qingdao in China and C16 rom north Asia to Europe. Trial reporting on the new routes and vessel description will begin in late January/early February, with a lifting of the trial anticipated by the end of March 2014.
The November 24 agreement between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany on Iran’s nuclear program has clearly not dampened the U.S. appetite to go after Iranian sanctions busters. The concession granted to Iran eases sanctions on insurance and transportation services to those countries already granted Iranian import waivers but does not extend to oil sales to other countries. This week, Singapore-based Singa Tankers and Siqiriya Maritime Corp, based in the Philippines were in the U.S. State department’s line of fire “for providing material support to the National Iranian Tanker Corp.” which is alleged to include disguised bank transfers. Also this week, an alleged UK intelligence agent was arrested in Iran after allegedly passing on details of the country's covert tanker operations.
In return for curtailing its nuclear activities, Iran is benefiting from approximately $7 billion in sanctions relief over the next six months which includes lifting oil exports to around one million barrels/day. At the time of the agreement, Iran was estimated to have the equivalent of 18 VLCC’s of oil in offshore storage and this has already started to move but it will obviously take time to fully reactivate the NITC fleet, which represents 6% of global VLCC capacity and 2% of Suezmax capacity.
After some 18 months of testimony, the Joint Review Panel for the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Project yesterday recommended that the federal government approve the project, subject to 209 conditions. Based on a scientific and precautionary approach to this complex review, the Panel concluded that the project, if built and operated in compliance with the conditions set out in its report, would be in the public interest. The Panel recommended that the Governor in Council determine that the construction and operation of the project would cause no significant adverse environmental effects, with the exception of cumulative effects for certain populations of woodland caribou and grizzly bear. In these two cases, the Panel found that cumulative effects as a result of this project and other projects are likely to be at the low end of the range of possible significance. The Panel recommended that these effects be found to be justified in the circumstances and that the environmental burdens associated with project construction and routine operation can generally be effectively mitigated.
The Panel further concluded that "opening Pacific Basin markets is important to the Canadian economy and society” and that "the project would bring significant local, regional, and national economic and social benefits." The Panel's conditions, which would be enforced by the National Energy Board, include requirements for the company to:
Conduct pre-operations emergency response exercises and develop an emergency preparedness and response exercise and training program.
The Joint Review Panel is an independent body, mandated by the Minister of the Environment and the National Energy Board.
Kathleen Murray and Frank Vink prepare this year’s gift bags
It has been a long standing tradition in the Port of Vancouver that our visiting seafarers are not forgotten during the Christmas season. I (Stephen) remember as a cadet receiving a shoe box full of goodies from the Mission to Seafarers when we were once here over the Christmas period – a unique and much appreciated gesture. The picture shows Kathleen Murray, the Mission Administrator and a 20 year volunteer Frank Vink standing alongside just one of the tables holding the handouts being prepared for this year. The Christian Reformed Church gave the Mission $10,000 to spend on this year’s treats, all of which was spent at Shoppers Drug Mart at The Old Orchard Mall, Kingsway, Burnaby. Ricky Chu, the Manager there has long provided the Mission staff with all manner of perks and discounts that allow both the downtown main building and the Roberts Bank facility to continue to provide our seafarers with what they need at a price they can afford. Thanks as always from the marine community for the great work of the Mission – not to mention Shoppers Drug Mart.
In Prince Rupert, the new seafarer centre operated by the Lighthouse Harbour Ministries received its 5,000th earlier this month and have put together over 100 Christmas gift bags for the seafarers with contributions from the Salvation Army and the North Vancouver centre.