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The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) released its investigation report (M16P0378) into the causes and contributing factors that led to the October 2016 grounding and sinking of the US-registered tug Nathan E. Stewart near the entrance to Seaforth Channel. The report underlines the need to effectively and reliably manage the risk of fatigue in the marine industry.  The investigation determined that the second mate who, contrary to Canadian regulations, was keeping watch alone on the bridge at the time of the accident, had fallen asleep and missed a planned course change. For more than two days, he had been working a 6-on, 6-off shift schedule, alternating six hours of duty and six hours of rest. This schedule presents a number of challenges which have been well documented by various studies and experts internationally, notably the difficulty in obtaining sufficient restorative rest during the off-duty periods. The Board has made two recommendations following this investigation. Firstly, it is recommending that Transport Canada require that watchkeepers receive mandatory education and awareness training to help identify and prevent the risks of fatigue. Secondly, it is recommending that vessel owners implement comprehensive fatigue-management plans, tailored specifically for their individual operations.

Friday, 01 June 2018 08:28

USCG issues alert on bollard failures

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The US Coast Guard issued a safety alert regarding bollard failures at marine facilities and is encouraging facility owners and operators to develop inspection programs to detect deficient bollards prior to failure. The US Army Corps of Engineers, NAVAL Facilities Engineering Command and Air Force Civil Engineering Support Agency have developed a helpful document on this topic titled Unified Facilities Criteria “Inspection of Mooring Hardware” UFC 4-150-08 for the planning, inspection, assessment, and reporting of mooring hardware conditions.

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Inchcape Shipping Services Holdings Limited and its affiliates have agreed to pay $20M to resolve allegations that they violated the US False Claims Act by knowingly overbilling the US Navy under contracts for ship husbanding services. The lawsuit alleged that from 2005 to 2014, Inchcape knowingly overbilled the Navy for these services by submitting invoices that overstated the quantity of goods and services provided, billing at rates in excess of applicable contract rates, and double-billing for some goods and services. The lawsuit was brought under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act by three former employees of Inchcape, Noah Rudolph, Andrea Ford and Lawrence Cosgriff.  Under the act, a private citizen may bring suit on behalf of the United States for false claims and share in any recovery.  The government may intervene in the case, as it did here.  The False Claims Act allows the government to recover treble damages and penalties from those who violate it and it was resolved by the Department of Justice that the whistleblowers will receive approximately $4.4 million.

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On June 1, 2018 the China Customs will start enforcing its Advance Manifest (CCAM) rule as outlined in Order No. 56 (2017). The Order requires advanced submission of manifests 24 hours prior to loading of all cargo, including transshipments, to or from Chinese ports. The manifest submission must reflect accurately all goods under the bills of lading.  Incomplete or inaccurate submissions will lead to delays.

Friday, 01 June 2018 08:26

EMSA Sulphur Inspection Guidance

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The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) has posted its Sulphur Inspection Guidance to provide guidance for a harmonized approach to the inspection of ships, ascertaining their compliance, identifying non-compliances and applying control procedures for the enforcement of Directive (EU) 2016/802 (codification of Council Directive 1999/32/EC), as regards the sulphur content of marine fuels. The provisions of the Directive apply to all ships of all flags, including domestic shipping and those whose journey began outside the EU. 

Friday, 25 May 2018 14:48

TCRC and IBEW reject CP's final offer

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CP Rail has been advised by the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) that members of both unions - the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference – Train & Engine (TCRC) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) – have voted down CP’s final contract offers. CP has expressed disappointed with the outcome of the vote given that both final offers provided for significant improvements to wages, benefits and working conditions that are consistent with agreements recently reached with other CP unions in both the United States and Canada. CP will be meeting with both unions later today to discuss next steps. A minimum of 72 hours’ notice needs to be provided before any work stoppage can occur. 


The good news is that CN Rail's 1,800 locomotive engineers have ratified a new collective agreement on Wednesday. The five-year contract with the TCRC runs through Dec. 31, 2022. It provides wage and benefit improvements in each year of the agreement and modifies work rules that were of concern to both CN and the engineers. 

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This week Waterfront Shipping received Lloyd's List Americas 2018 Best Fuel Solution Award for their investment in sustainable marine technology!  This award recognizes improvements in fuel efficiency, and environmental performance, including efforts to bring forward low emission sustainable fuel technology to the market. What a great achievement for Waterfront Shipping and for methanol’s recognition as a clean burning, economical alternative marine fuel for the future. Paul Hexter, President of Waterfront Shipping was in attendance to receive the Award.


In 2016, in collaboration with Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd., Westfal-Larsen Management, and Marinvest/Skagerack Invest, Waterfront Shipping invested in and delivered seven of the world’s first methanol fueled ocean going vessels. These innovative vessels are built with the first-of-their kind dual fuel engines that can run on clean burning methanol, fuel oil, marine diesel oil or gas oil to enable fuel flexibility, support economics and lower emissions.  Due to the success of this technology Waterfront Shipping announced that this year they invested in another four vessels – resulting in 40% of their fleet powered by clean-burning methanol fuel technology in the coming year.

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The Transportation Modernization Act (Bill C-49) received Royal Assent on May 23rd.  The Act was built from extensive consultations with stakeholders, including many representatives of the agricultural sector. It includes a number of new tools and benefits for the grain industry, such as establishing reciprocal penalties between railway companies and their customers, and clarifying the definition of “adequate and suitable” service.  The Act also amends the Coasting Trade Act to permit the movement of empty containers between Canadian ports and provides ports wilth the abilty under the Canada Marine Act to obtain a loan through the Canada Infrastructure Bank.

Friday, 25 May 2018 14:16

Threats to SRKW deemed imminent

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The Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Dominic LeBlanc, and Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced the finding under the Species at Risk Act that Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) face an imminent threat to both survival and recovery. The Ministers came to this opinion after reviewing an assessment that considered the biological condition of Southern Resident Killer Whale population, ongoing threats, and mitigation measures.  Lack of prey is one of the critical factors affecting the recovery of SRKW. To address this, Minister LeBlanc has announced measures to increase prey availability and conserve Chinook salmon. These include $9.5 million in funding from the Coastal Restoration Fund to support eight projects across British Columbia and a reduction in the total fishery removals for Chinook salmon of 25-35% 

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The final report on the Pilotage Act Review that was focussed on modernizing the Pilotage Act while keeping the elements that support Canada’s excellent pilotage safety record was released earlier this week.  The Review conducted by Marc Gregoire concluded on April 30, 2018 after extensive engagement across the country. The final report recommends strengthening five key components of the legislation: its purpose and principles, governance model, labour structure, safety framework, and tariff setting process.

Friday, 25 May 2018 14:08

New Ship Safety Bulletins

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Transport Canada has issued the following Ship Safety Bulletins:

  • SSB#06/2018Protection of the North Atlantic Right Whale – Speed Restriction Measures in the Gulf of St. Lawrence
    This bulletin describes the seasonal speed restriction zone that vessels must follow. Speed restriction zones in the western Gulf of St. Lawrence have been established to lessen the risk of fatal strikes to North Atlantic right whales by transiting vessels.

  • SSB#05/2018Coming into force: New Arctic Shipping Safety and Pollution Prevention Regulations
    This bulletin gives stakeholders general information about the new Arctic Shipping Safety and Pollution Prevention Regulations (ASSPPR) that came into force on December 19th, 2017.

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The Federal Maritime Commission (Commission) has voted to issue a Request for Additional Information (RFAI) in response to an amendment filed in April by the parties to the West Coast MTO Agreement (WCMTOA). The amendment would change the PierPass fee structure and use appointment systems for dray truckers serving facilities at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.  Once WCMTOA responds to the questions posed in the RFAI, the Commission will have another 45 days to analyze the amendment.

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