The B.C. government last week approved an amended permit to allow Lafarge to store 800,000 tons of coal at Texada Island, double the previous amount. This will enable the company to handle thermal coal from the proposed Fraser Surrey Docks (FSD) coal-handling facility which is currently seeking an environmental permit from PMV. If approved, the FSD project would initially involve receiving and shipment of up to four million tons of thermal coal annually from the US Midwest, transfer to barges and ship to Texada Island for loading on Capesize bulk carriers. A second phase would involve expansion to eight million tons a year, subject to further review.
The National Energy Board has approved Triton LNG’s application for a 25-year licence to export LNG from an as yet to be determined location on the B.C. coast. Triton LNG involves AltaGas of Calgary and Idemitsu Kosan Co., Japan's third-largest refiner.
It was also announced this week that China National Offshore Oil Corp.(CNOOC) has signed a preliminary agreement with BG Group to be a possible partner in the proposed Prince Rupert LNG project. Spectra Energy has previously been contracted to deliver the feed-gas. BG Group has filed plans to build an LNG plant with annual capacity of around 21 million tons per annum.
BP has meanwhile agreed to sell interests in four oilfields it operates on the North Slope of Alaska to concentrate on the LNG project it is developing with ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, TransCanada Corp. and the Alaskan authorities. BP said it was selling its non-natural gas assets to Hilcorp, one of the largest privately-held independent oil and natural gas exploration and production companies in the US. However, BP plans to continue as operator and co-owner of the Prudhoe Bay oilfield.
It sounds familiar to everyone’s ears in Vancouver but trucking companies in Oakland are complaining that turn times at container terminals can sometimes take several hours, making it impossible for many drivers to earn a living. Because of this, Chris Lytle, the port’s Executive Director has been chairing regular meetings with truckers, terminal operators, carriers and beneficial cargo owners since he took office last year. He has acknowledged that as with other busy container ports, it is the smaller percentage of exceptionally long turn times that skew average times and raise the level of discontent. The Port of Oakland has published a hot linethat truckers can call whenever they have service issues. By common consent, all terminal operators in Oakland are losing money with the consequence that terminals are giving the level of service that they can afford to provide and which frequently does not meet what the truckers and ocean carriers expect. As a result, the port is considering a plan where a fee would be charged on all containers with the proceeds used to fund a program of consistent and predictable extended gates.
As the search for bodies on the sunken Korean ferry Sewol continues, an offshore crane from Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) Shipyard has been brought in as preparations begin to salvage the vessel (above right). The Vice Principal of the South Korean high school who accompanied his pupils on the ferry trip has committed suicide and several crew members, including the Captain have been arrested on charges of professional negligence. It has emerged that the first distress call was made by a frightened boy onboard the vessel – not the crew.
In an emotional speech, President Park Geun-hye said this week that the instruction to the young passengers to remain in their cabins was tantamount to an “act of murder as many children would not have dared to question their elders and therefore paid for their obedience with their lives”. As of this morning, of the 476 people onboard at the time of sinking, 183 passengers have been confirmed dead, with 121 still missing. A total of 174 passengers were rescued. On a visit to Seoul today (picture above right), President Obama expressed his condolences for South Korea's "incredible loss" and offered America's solidarity. As for the cause of the accident, local investigators are considering whether recent modifications made it top-heavy and inherently unstable. She would therefore have been vulnerable to sharp alterations of course.
Two workers were killed in a fire at the Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea, this week. The first started at one of the building docks used to construct LPG carriers. The fire was extinguished within an hour and a half later with 18 fire trucks and 60 firefighters on site however people living in surrounding areas were forced to evacuate their homes.
The Australian/U.S. led underwater search team seeking evidence of the crash-sight of the missing Malaysian Boeing 777 has indicated that in view of no trace of the plane being found thus far, the search area may be expanded. The Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) has now completed 95% of its search in the area where possible signals from the plane's flight recorder were heard on 8 April. Malaysia has also announced that a formal report on the loss of the plane could be released next week.
The European Court of Justice has this week confirmed the validity of a European Union (EU) law on the sulphur content of marine fuel following a challenge based on less stringent MARPOL Annex VI regulations. The ruling has important implications for what will happen in 2020 when the EU plans to introduce a sulphur cap of 0.50% on bunker fuel, whether or not the IMO delays its plans for introducing the same limit worldwide.
The coastal product tanker Naniwa Maru No.1 was reportedly attacked by pirates off Portl Klang, Malaysia, this week when on passage from Singapore to Myanmar with some 4,400 tons of diesel oil on board. The pirates allegedly took three hostages with them out of a crew of 18 crew include Indonesian, Thai, Myanmar and Indian nationalities. The men kidnapped were Indonesian raising the possibility that they were part of the plot. Reports say that the pirates also discharged over five miliion litres of diesel from the ship into two waiting vessels.
Royal Caribbean International (RCI) has announced that the first in the company’s new Quantum-class, Quantum of the Seas, will make its home port in Shanghai (Baoshan), China beginning in May 2015 following an inaugural winter season sailing out of New York Harbor to the Caribbean. Quantum of the Seas, which will have a capacity of 4,180 guests, will then join the Mariner of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas in Asia, increasing the company’s capacity in the region by 66%. From Shanghai Quantum will sail three- to eight-night itineraries to Japan and Korea.
Quantum’s sister ship, Anthem of the Seas, launches in April 2015 and will complete her inaugural Europe season from Southampton U.K., before arriving at Cape Liberty in November 2015 to continue Quantum-class cruising to the Bahamas and Caribbean for the winter 2015-16 season. Steel cutting for Quantum of the Seas was performed in February 2013 at the Meyer Werft Shipyard in Papenburg, Germany.
Bernie A. Dumas, President and CEO of the Nanaimo Port Authority, has announced the following appointments:
Congratulations to Captain Edward Dahlgren and Mike Davidson on their new positions.
Canada Border Services Agency has issued the following D-Memoranda to provide guidance on tariff valuation under recently negotiated Free-Trade agreements:
D11-3-2 Memorandum - Marking Determination/Re-determination of Goods Imported from a NAFTA Country - outlines and explains legislation and regulations governing the marking determination and re-determination of goods imported from a NAFTA country, and advises importers/owners, exporters and producers on how to use appropriate sections of the legislation.
D11-4-13 Memorandum - Rules of Origin for Casual Goods under Free Trade Agreements - Rules of origin for casual goods regulations to determine entitlement to preferential tariff treatument under various free trade agreements.
D11-5-7 Memorandum - Canada-European Free Trade Association Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) Rules of Origin - used to determine the entitlement of goods to preferential tariff treatment under CEFTA.
D11-5-8 Memorandum - Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement (CPFTA) Rules of Origin - used to determine the entitlement of goods to preferential tariff treatment under CPFTA.
D11-5-9 Memorandum - Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (CCOFTA) Rules of Origin - used to determine the entitlement of goods to preferential tariff treatment under CCOFTA.
The people of Kitimat last week voted against the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline. The ballot count from Saturday's unofficial referendum was 1,793 opposed versus 1,278 who supported the project — a margin of 58.4% to 41.6%. As the point of shipment for bitumen, Kitimat is the community most directly impacted by the proposed$6.5-billion project.
Meanwhile, an MOU announced this week between Northern Gateway Pipelines and trade unions representing pipeline construction workers guarantees a minimum target of approximately 2,100 person years of employment of union labour on the project, targets that will be established in detailed Project Labour Agreements. The MOU also ensures that the Project Labour Agreements include guarantees consistent with Northern Gateway’s publically stated commitments to local business opportunities and complements existing agreements with several First Nations groups guaranteeing employment and training opportunities.
The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) are to begin contract negotiations on May 12. The existing contract expiration date is July 1 and the “no-strike” clause ends with it. For its part, the ILWU has publicly stated its objectives as stronger safety provisions, wages, more secure benefits, greater respect for ILWU jurisdiction and a reasonable approach to new technology. Not mentioned but known to be a priority are tax liabilities under the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare) set to take effect in 2018 and the proposed length of the new contract. Employers currently pay 100% of the premiums in the ILWU health care plan, and union members contribute just a $1 co-pay per prescription for medication. The PMA estimates that the new tax will cost industry $150 million a year and the ILWU seems intent on making the employers pay.
Following a tragic accident at sea on Wednesday this week, 287 people are still missing, mostly teenage high school students, after the South Korean owned ro-ro passenger ferry Sewol capsized and sank near Jeju Island with 475 passengers on board. The South Korean authorities have advised that 179 people were rescued in a rapidly organized and ongoing rescue/recovery operation which is being hampered by poor weather and strong ocean currents in the area. Nine people are so far confirmed dead. Many emotional text messages were sent to their families by students who clearly recognized they were unlikely to survive this terrible event. Our deepest condolences go to the families who have lost loved ones.
The search teams seeking evidence of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane MH370 have now deployed a robotic submarine known as Bluefin-21. This is a highly technical piece of equipment, five meters in length, designed to generate a sonar map of the sea floor. No new signals have been heard since 8 April and there are real concerns that the black box detector batteries are extinguished. Up to 12 planes and 15 ships have been involved in the search for the plane.
Australian technicians believe the signals picked up by ADV Ocean Shield are consistent with flight recorders and this has enabled to scope of the search area to be narrowed. Even so, detection of the missing plane remains an extremely difficult task. Each Bluefin-21 mission will last 24 hours at a maximum depth of 4,500 meters (15,000 feet) with 16 hours spent on the ocean floor, four hours' diving and resurfacing time, and four hours to download data. ADV Ocean Shield also spotted an oil slick in the same area where the signals had been heard and a sample is under testing.