Friday, 20 December 2013 12:19

Drug seizures highlighted

291 Drug1

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

Bodo Schulte.

Friday, 20 December 2013 12:16

Baltic Capesize redefined

291 Capesize

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:

  • 180,000 DWT (up from the current 172,000 DWT)
  • Salt-water draft of 18.2 m (age not more than 10 years old)
  • LOA 290m
  • Beam 45m
  • Load capacity of 198,000 cu m of grain
  • Speed 15 knots on ballast, 14 knots laden, burning 62 tons of IFO 380 cSt and using no diesel at sea
  • Slow-steaming speed of 13 knots on ballast and 12 knots laden on 45 tons IFO 380 cSt, no diesel at sea.

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.

291 VAT

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.  

291 Enbridge

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:

  • Develop a marine mammal protection plan;
  • Implement the TERMPOL Review Committee recommendations; 
  • Prepare a caribou habitat restoration plan;
  • Develop a training and education monitoring plan;
  • Prepare an enhanced marine spill trajectory and fate modeling;
  • Develop a research program on the behaviour and cleanup of heavy oils;

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. 

291 Mission

   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.

291 VAT

Following a campaign last several months including several formal representations and an International Chamber of Shipping letter to the Chinese Government, the application of Value Added Tax (VAT) to international maritime services has been cancelled. KPMG, the Hong Kong Shipowners’ Association and the Asian Shipowners’ Forum all worked effectively to resolve this issue.


Vancouver, December 19, 2013 – The Chamber of Shipping of British Columbia welcomes today’s decision by the National Energy Board’s Joint Review Panel to endorse the Northern Gateway pipeline project. The safe and reliable marine shipment of goods, including petroleum products, is recognized by the marine industry as a key component to the current and future economic health of British Columbia and Canada.

“The marine industry is the steward of British Columbia’s coastline and it is a responsibility that we take very seriously.  Advances in tanker construction combined with the application of stringent safety standards provides us with confidence that we will continue to safely move petroleum products to market as indeed we have been doing from BC’s coast for almost a century” said Capt. Stephen Brown President of the Chamber of Shipping of British Columbia.

About the Chamber of Shipping of British Columbia

The Chamber of Shipping of British Columbia represents the full spectrum of international and domestic shipping related interests in Western Canada including, but not limited to, international and domestic ship owners, BC Ferries, vessel agency companies, cargo interests, terminal interests, cruise lines, port authorities, marine pilotage and towage, maritime lawyers, classification societies, marine survey companies, marine support and service organizations.


For further details, please contact:

Capt. Stephen Brown

President, Chamber of Shipping of British Columbia


290 Methanex

Waterfront Shipping, has announced a revolutionary new building program involving up to  nine product tankers with methanol fuelled propulsion systems. The contracts are for six 50,000 DWT vessels plus three options to be built at Hyundai Mipo in South Korea and the Minaminippon yard in Japan. Ownership of the vessels will be split between MOL, Westfal-Larsen and Marinvest/Skagerack Invest, with deliveries scheduled for 2016. The vessels will have MAN B&W ME-LGI dual fuel engines, able to run on methanol, fuel oil, marine diesel oil, or gas oil. The new builds will replace older fleet units.

Waterfront is a fully owned subsidiary of Methanex Corporation a publicly traded corporation which operates from the company’s Vancouver HQ. The current fleet consists of 18 product and chemical tankers ranging from 3,000 dwt to 49,000 DWT.

Friday, 13 December 2013 23:00

Canada to lay claim to North Pole

290 Northpole

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.

290 CARB

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 .

290 VAFF

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.

290 BCFerries

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:

  • Fiskerstrand Blrt As – Norway
  • Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft mbH & Co.KG – Germany
  • Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. – Poland
  • Seaspan Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd.
  • Sefine Shipyard – Turkey

BC Ferries is aiming to achieve efficiencies in construction, maintenance, training and service flexibility through greater standardization of vessel classes in the future.

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