The International Longshore and Warehouse Union Friday announced that early reporting of coastwide election returns show the ILWU rank and file approved a three-year contract extension through July 1, 2022, signalling the potential for strong labor peace at West Coast ports for the next five years.
According to a report from U.K.-based shipping and shipbuilding market analysis firm Clarkson Research the total number of active shipyards has dropped by 62% with 358 yards remaining as of start July 2017, the lowest number of active yards for many years. Clarkson also warned that the remaining yards would have to struggle to survive. The report said, “30 percent of the remaining yards will be out of work by the end of this year. The number of shipyards will continuously decrease for a while.” In 2013 newbuild vessel orders reached 3,048, and in 2016 this figure has dropped by 80 percent to 573 last year.
The French state is to nationalize leading French shipbuilder STX France to prevent rival Italian operator Fincantieri from taking a majority stake in the company. With already a 33.34% stake in STX France, because a 50-50 split of the company's capital between French and Italian interests could not be agreed to, the state has had to intervene to pre-empt STX France from falling into Italian hands by default. This move enables negotiations to continue toward a longer term and more equitable arrangement with the Italian government.
Following a three-day retreat with her caucus, Christy Clark announced that she will resign as BC Liberal Leader and as MLA for Kelowna-Westside. Clark’s resignation takes effect August 4th. Her departure gives the NDP a two-seat edge in the house until a new MLA is elected. For the NDP, the vacant seat provides some breathing room on the tight numbers they have in the legislature. Former Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas Development Rich Coleman will act as Interim Leader. There were no details on who will serve as interim leader. Party president Sharon White has 28 days to call a meeting of the Party Executive and officially begin a new leadership selection process. A by-election will be held in Kelowna-Westside within six months.
The Port of Los Angeles is expanding its rewards program for ship operators that exceed mandatory measures to reduce harmful ship emissions. Under a new formula that took effect July 1, participating ESI vessel operators are now earning additional incentive points for reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from their ships. The Port will use the Environmental Ship Index (ESI) which measures a ship's emissions based on the amount of nitrogen oxide, sulphur oxide, particulate matter and greenhouse gas and assess points on each ship's performance.
National Research Council of Canada (NRC) hosted dignitaries from the United States Coast Guard (USCG), United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science & Technology (S&T) Directorate, and United States (U.S.) Navy to discuss and showcase progress made on the testing and evaluation of design models for the US heavy polar icebreaker acquisition program. During this phase, the NRC is conducting environmental characterization of ice conditions using physical modelling from its ice tank. The Canadian and U.S. governments are also working on the long-term management of the polar icebreaker’s hull integrity, which they will assess through field trials.
Petronas and its partners have withdrawn from the $36-billion Pacific NorthWest LNG project in Port Edward after a careful and total review of the project amid changes in market conditions. Timing was a factor and getting the appropriate approvals in place was challenging whereas Australia and the United States saw the opportunity early and started approving multi-billion-dollar facilities with gusto. PNW LNG now joins a list of lost opportunities and stymied Canadian ventures. Five years ago, there were more than a dozen LNG projects proposed for the BC coast. Now, only two large plans remain, one spearheaded by Royal Dutch Shell, the other by Chevron. Both have been delayed and their futures remain uncertain. Canadian gas producers are now looking at facilities south of the border.
The Fraser Institute has released a report that confirms transporting oil by pipelines is more than twice as safe as using rail, and marine tankers are safer still with a markedly improved safety record over the past 40 years. The study, Safety First: Intermodal Safety for Oil and Gas Transportation, updates previous research and that finds pipelines are 2.5 times less likely to experience a spill than rail, with an occurrence rate of 0.03 accidents per million barrels of oil shipped by pipeline between 2004 and 2015, compared to 0.08 accidents per million barrels of oil shipped by rail over the same period. Marine tankers, by comparison, have a spill rate of less than 0.001 per million barrels of oil shipped.
Last Friday, BCIT Marine Campus held its convocation ceremony for 15 Nautical Sciences (left) and 17 Marine Engineering (right) graduates and our future industry members. Great to see such diversity in the graduating class and the Chamber of Shipping was pleased to present its annual bursaries to Deck Officer, Jeremy Botel, and Marine Engineer, Alex Mihov for their achievements. Congratulations!
Five years after it faced bankruptcy, the Davie shipyard in Lévis, Que., unveiled a converted navy supply vessel in a public ceremony this week. The Asterix is the first large naval ship to be built in Canada in over 20 years. The Resolve-Class naval support ship will be the largest naval platform in service with the Royal Canadian Navy for the foreseeable future and will provide a wide range of functions from at-sea replenishment of fuels and cargo to aviation support, fleet medical support and humanitarian and disaster relief. Davie's 1,369 staff together with over 900 Canadian suppliers spent just under two years delivering the ship which will enter into service with the Royal Canadian Navy by the end of this year as initially planned.
This program involves three levels of innovation for Canada allowing the delivery of a most needed ship in a timely manner and with the best value for Canadian taxpayers. Firstly, instead of building a ship from new, a modern containership has been converted into a state-of-the-art naval support ship. Secondly, the ship has been privately financed by Davie and will be leased to Canada – that means a fixed, transparent cost to the Canadian taxpayer. Thirdly, Federal Fleet Services, Davie sister company, will operate the ship with a mixed crew of merchant seafarers and Royal Canadian Navy personnel.
Western Forest Products Inc. has announced that it will be shutting down the Somass Sawmill, located in Port Alberni. The Somass Sawmill has been temporarily curtailed since February 2017, prior to which it operated on a single shift basis. The difficult decision was made as a result of the lack of log supply to operate the mill efficiently, as well as the uncertainty caused by US duties recently imposed on Canadian softwood lumber products. Western is focused on reducing costs to remain competitive and expects to offset lost production from Somass by increasing production at its other operations on Vancouver Island. The 77 employees were encouraged to explore opportunities at Western's six sawmills on the Island.
CHUCK PLESTER (9 February 1944 - 10 July 2017)
It is with deep sadness that we announce Chuck Plester's passing at the age of 73 after a valiant battle with cancer. He was born in Vancouver and was a well-respected member of the deep-sea shipping industry, and former President of International Chartering Services. As per Chuck's wishes, a very special Celebration of Life, has been arranged for Saturday, September 16, 2017, 4:00 p.m. onward, open house style, presentation at 6:30 p.m. at Duncan Community Lodge, 2244 Moose Road, Duncan, BC.
RON HILDER (4 January 1953 - 18 July 2017)
Also lost to us recently to another battle with cancer, is Ron Hilder another well-respected member of industry and former President of Tymac Launch Services. Respecting Ron's wishes, no service will be held. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the BC Cancer Agency.
At a recent groundbreaking ceremony for a liquefied natural gas terminal on India’s east coast, a minister in that country’s government said Canada will be a source of the facility’s LNG. The announcement comes amid long-standing frustrations among those who want to see Canadian natural gas reach new international markets with an LNG export industry, which has failed to materialize. The state-owned Indian Oil Corp. and two partners are building the terminal at India’s Dhamra port to bring in LNG from overseas markets and process it into gas to meet domestic demand. A specific Canadian project was not named, but only Woodfibre LNG has been sanctioned to move ahead.
The Port of Vancouver issued a press release this week confirming that 53 shipping lines and agencies have committed to a voluntary study to better understand the relationship of slower vessel speeds, underwater noise levels and southern resident killer whales. Between August 7 and October 6, 2017, the speed of participating vessels will be reduced through the water in Haro Strait, when it is feasible and safe to do so. The trial is fully supported by the Chamber of Shipping members representing cruise lines, container, tanker, bulk, auto and breakbulk carriers as announced in our statement to the media.
US Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has introduced the Open America’s Waters Act of 2017, legislation that would repeal the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, or the Jones Act. The Jones Act requires that all goods shipped between waterborne ports of the United States be carried by vessels built in the United States and owned and operated by Americans. In his press release, he states “The protectionist mentality embodied by the Jones Act directly contradicts the lessons we have learned about the benefits of a free and open market. Free trade expands economic growth, creates jobs, and lowers costs for consumers. I urge my colleagues to support this bill and finally repeal the outdated and protectionist Jones Act.” McCain first introduced legislation to repeal the Jones Act in the Senate in 2010 and later in January 2016 to waive Jones Act requirements for oil and gasoline tankers.
The California State Lands Commission has issued a letter confirming that the use of US Coast Guard type approved Ballast Water Management System (BWMS) is accepted for the management of ballast water prior to discharge within California waters and therefore may be used in lieu of ballast water exchange.
Yesteday Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) closed the Snow Crab Fishing Area 12 in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. This quick decision was made in reaction to the discovery of the eighth North Atlantic Right whale found dead in the Gulf of St. Lawrence on July 19th. Another Right whale was found entangled in fishing gear in the same area later that day. The recent whale mortalities in the area are unprecedented and this closure is an important measure to address the situation. In light of last week’s tragic incident, DFO has paused Right whale disentanglements.