The Ocean Cleanup, a Dutch non-profit initiative aiming to rid the seas of plastic litter, launched its System 001 equipment on 8 September 2018 in San Francisco. The Maersk Launcher will tow a 2,000-foot-long (600-metre), U-shaped floating barrier with a 10-foot (three-metre) "skirt" below the water's surface to collect the waste. Debris will be funnelled to the centre of the system and the system will skim the surface of the ocean to collect the plastics. Initially the Maersk Launcher will tow the system 240 nautical miles from shore for 14 days of trials. If the trials are successful, the Ocean Cleanup will proceed a further 1,200 nautical miles to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch located halfway between California and Hawaii. The patch reportedly contains 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic and covers an area twice the size of Texas. The organization anticipates that the first batches of plastic will be returned to land in six months, when the waste will be recycled into products that can be sold to help fund future operations.
As part of the Oceans Protection Plan, the Government of Canada is developing a new, more collaborative approach to managing marine traffic issues in local waterways. Proactive Vessel Management is a new concept that involves strengthening collaboration between the Government of Canada, Indigenous peoples and coastal communities, provincial and municipal governments, the marine shipping industry and other marine stakeholders. This will be accomplished by creating forums for discussion and collaboration to develop measures that promote safe navigation and environmental protection in local waterways. A national framework will be developed to provide guidance and direction for how Proactive Vessel Management will be delivered across Canada. Transport Canada is reaching out across the country to seek your initial thoughts on this new concept. For more information and to provide feedback, visit the Let's Talk Oceans Protection Plan website.
Six conservation groups have filed a lawsuit in Federal Court over the Canadian government's failure to issue an emergency order to protect the endangered southern resident killer whales (SRKW). The application names the federal fisheries and environment ministers as respondents and asks for a court order compelling the government to recommend emergency protection for the whales and their habitat. The Chamber of Shipping released a statement affirming our commitment to working with stakeholders in pursuing effective measures to address potential ship impacts to the SRKW's survivability. Participation levels in the voluntary speed reduction in Haro Strait have been impressive so far in the second year of the trial. The federal government issued a news release in response to the lawsuit, outlining the actions being taken to address the recovery of the species at risk. Stakeholders are invited to share their views on the Amended Recovery Strategy for the Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whales through a commentary period ending November 3, 2018. Ecojustice, a non-profit organization of lawyers and scientists, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the David Suzuki Foundation, Environmental Defence, Greenpeace Canada, International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, and the Wilderness Committee.
Shortly after the ILWU Local 502 representing Planners and Assistant Planners for GCT Canada served strike notice on Sept. 3rd, a tentative five-year collective agreement for GCT Canada Planners and Assistant Planners was reached. ILWU Local 502 withdrew its strike notice and is now recommending that members vote in favour of the agreement. This will be the first collective agreement for the GCT planners.
Thousands of members of the International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO at ports from Maine to Texas overwhelmingly approved a six-year master contract extension with United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) that will labour stability to ports in the East Coast and Gulf Coast through September 30, 2024. The newly ratified contract sets clear guidelines on what type of automation ports in the eastern half of the US can adopt, and procedures for labour protection when they do. Specifically, the contract prohibits fully automated terminals or equipment and demands port employers negotiate job-protection strategies with the local union before any machinery "devoid of human interaction" is deployed.
The Federal Maritime Commission's Commissioner Rebecca Dye has released key initial observations in the interim report for Fact Finding 28, an investigation into "Conditions and Practices Relating to Detention, Demurrage, and Free Time in International Oceanborne Commerce." The resulting record strongly suggests that concerns about demurrage and detention in US trades are not limited primarily to weather-or-labor-related port congestion in 2014-2015, a small subset of large ports, or episodic events unrelated to potentially systemic issues. Additionally, the record supports further consideration of the benefits to the US international freight delivery system of:
The final report for this FMC fact-finding investigation is scheduled for release by Dec. 2.
The Office of Design and Engineering Standards announced the availability of Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) 01-09, Change 1, “Voluntary Compliance with International Sewage Regulations in Annex IV TO MARPOL 73/78.” The purpose of NVIC 01-09, Change 1 is to provide additional guidance for vessel owners or operators as well as manufacturers of any shipboard sewage processing equipment, including facilities that test shipboard sewage and related processing equipment, to voluntarily request US Coast Guard certification of compliance with international sewage regulations in Annex IV to MARPOL 73/78. It also provides for reciprocity under Annex IV for non-U.S. flagged ships operating in waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway. Stakeholders identified several challenges that affect traditional uses of the Great Lakes-Seaway such as the transport of dry bulk commodities and imported steel, and also considered the challenges affecting “emerging use” of the system, such as the cruise industry and container market. These included increase pilotage rates, condition of lock infrastructure, complexity of ballast water regulations, insufficient dredging, winter closures, and inadequate portside infrastructure.
Regional authorities of Shanghai, Zhejiang and Jiangsu Provinces have recently issued formal notices that ships calling at the provinces’ ports on or after 1 October 2018 will be required to use fuel with a sulphur content not exceeding 0.5% while navigating and berthing within the provinces’ waters and port areas. Since 1 January 2018, ships have been required to use fuel with a sulphur content not exceeding 0.5% while berthed at all ports within the three ECAs. Ships must switch to compliant fuel within one hour of arriving at their berth and use compliant fuel until not more than one hour prior to departure. The changes affecting ships operating within these emissions control areas (ECAs) which had been expected to take effect on 1 January 2019 will now take effect three months before that date, as follows;
The Secretariat has been advised that the situation in the Pearl River Delta and Bohai-rim Waters ECAs remains unchanged, ships will be required to use compliant fuel at all times when inside these ECAs from 1 January 2019.
At the United Nations in New York, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) is representing shipowners at the start of a major negotiation to agree a new legal instrument for the protection of the ocean under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) – which will apply to ‘high seas’ areas ‘beyond national jurisdiction’. ICS fully supports the objectives of the UN negotiations and the critical need to provide environmental protection for the ocean from activities such as fishing and seabed mining. However, ICS says these are activities which, unlike commercial shipping, do not enjoy a comprehensive framework of global regulation such as that which has been developed, over a period of 50 years, by the UN IMO and its 174 Member States. Of particular interest to ICS is that the new UN instrument is likely to permit area-based management tools such as Marine Protected Areas (MPAS) being developed for the high seas. ICS asserts that the detail and appropriateness of any future measures that might apply in such MPAs – for example special navigational measures to protect whales – should still be determined by the relevant specialist agency, in this case IMO, which has long experience of implementing MPAs for global shipping.
On August 28th more than 2,500 AK-47 automatic rifles were seized from a skiff in the international waters of the Gulf of Aden during a counter-trafficking mission conducted by the USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109). The US Navy has stated that 2,521 guns were confiscated from the skiff, which was determined to be stateless following a flag verification boarding conducted in accordance with international law. Although the origin and intended destination of the skiff were immediately unclear, US officials have said that ships intercepted in this area in the past have been linked to Iranian efforts to support Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Wärtsilä has unveiled a global initiative that aims to transform the world’s marine and energy industry into one supremely efficient, ecologically sound and digitally connected ecosystem. The initiative, which Wärtsilä calls “An Oceanic Awakening”, was announced at the SMM maritime trade fair in Hamburg. Oceanic Awakening will activate a fully-integrated smart ecosystem that will improve operational efficiencies that will lead to greater profitability and sustainability. The initiative will include improving fuel efficiency, reducing port congestion, and leveraging real-time communication between stakeholders. Wärtsilä plans to connect 20 of the most influential marine cities by 2020 into a network that will inspire cooperation and support the adoption and deployment of best practices, embrace digitalization and legislate new environmentally friendlier, sustainable and smarter ways of doing business across our oceans. Under the auspices of SEA20, an assembly of key influencers from five marine cities have already been brought together to determine how these cities can best take advantage of a Smart Ecosystem and all its cascading benefits to society at large.
The third phase of Greece's port privatization efforts will start this fall with 10 ports identified, including four in Northern Greece, three in Attica as well as ports in Patra, Volos and Heraklio. Greece’s public assets management fund (TAIPED) is assessing each port’s potential and proceed with the necessary actions for use. Study results are expected in the coming days and TAIPED is expected to seek public-private partnership opportunities “encourage the advent of investors who have specific knowhow and experience, while at the same time ensuring the public’s best interests.” This third phase follows the sale of the Thessaloniki Port Authority to South Europe Gateway Thessaloniki Limited (SEGT) for €231,926m earlier this year, reported GTP Headlines.
The Federal Court of Appeal ruled on Thursday that Canada’s regulatory review of Trans Mountain’s pipeline expansion project was flawed and that the government must re-submit its project plans to the National Energy Board. The decision means the National Energy Board must conduct a new review of the impacts of increased tanker traffic on the marine environment and that the government must consult more meaningfully with First Nations. Perhaps a good reminder to us all is the Federal Court’s interpretation of consultation which must involve “responsive, considered, and meaningful dialogue” between parties, and “is not simply a process of exchanging information.” Shortly after the court ruling Thursday, company shareholders voted more than 99 per cent in favour of the sale.
The 11th annual Cycling for Seafarers fundraiser held this past weekend was a tremendous success despite the wet weather. The senior chaplain, Reverend Peter Smyth expresses, “On behalf of everyone at the Mission to Seafarers in Vancouver, BC a big thank you goes to all the corporate sponsors and individuals for your support. This financial support will enable the Mission to continue the work of caring for the seafarers in the Port of Vancouver. The good food and good company made it a fun event with cyclists able to stretch their legs for a good cause. Already looking forward to 2019.” Photos from the event, courtesy of Jane McIvor of BC Shipping News, are available on Flickr.
The Halifax Port Authority has unveiled its expansion plans to accommodate larger container vessels. Phase one of the project will include a temporary expansion of Halterm that will take the existing pier 42 and extend it to the south about 135 metres in length and 63 metres wide to allow two ultra-class container ships to tie up by 2020. Phase two would be a more permanent expansion of Halterm to the north, expanding the terminal’s capacity to 800,000TEU. The port authority is will cover the $35 million cost for the temporary expansion.