The Government of Canada brought into force the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act on July 30th. The Act prohibits vessel abandonment and brings into Canadian law the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, 2007. It increases owner responsibility and liability for their vessels, addresses irresponsible vessel management, and enables the Government of Canada to proactively intervene to address problem vessels that pose hazards. Not complying with the Act can result in an administrative monetary penalty of up to $50,000 for individuals and up to $250,000 for companies or corporations. Convictions of more serious offences could result in a maximum fine of $1 million for individuals and up to $6 million for companies or corporations.
Note the new insurance requirements for Wreck Removal applies to all vessels and barges in Canadian waters over 300 gross tonnage in Ship Safety Bulletin No. 08/2019.
The Government of Canada has announced that it will be procuring six new program icebreakers to replace the current aging fleet of CCG icebreakers. A new competitive process, through an Invitation to Qualify, to add a third Canadian shipyard as a strategic partner under the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS) is being launched. Through the Invitation to Qualify, the Government of Canada will establish a short list of pre-qualified shipyards that will be eligible to submit a formal proposal to become the third strategic partner under the NSS, joining Irving Shipbuilding Inc. and Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards. Interested suppliers have 15 days, starting today, to respond to the Invitation to Qualify.
The Government of Canada is investing in a marine science initiative led by the University of Waterloo in Iqaluit, Nunavut. With the changing environment due to the impacts of climate change, biodiversity loss and persistent chemicals that are present in the North, more science, data and Inuit knowledge are needed. The data collected under this project, will help characterize the current state of the coastal ecosystem of Iqaluit. The project, which received an investment of nearly $108 000, is measuring the concentration of contaminants like mercury and methyl mercury in species like molluscs, starfish and cod. This research initiative is part of the $50.8 million Coastal Environmental Baseline Program.
In early July, the Alaska Governor, Mike Dunleavy, announced he would eliminate funding for the Ocean Rangers program that monitors cruise ship traffic in the Alaskan waters. The Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner says the program is unnecessary and burdensome to the industry and is proposing an automated monitoring system that does not rely on inspectors. Voters approved the program in 2006.
Meanwhile, Alaska's ferry system was shut down for a second straight day last week, due to 420 members of the union taking strike action to protest stalled contract talks amid big budget cuts imposed by the Governor. A tentative agreement has since been reached. The Governor vetoed line items equalling $444 million in reductions to Alaska’s operating budget.
Georgia’s Savannah port posted another record fiscal year for container traffic for the 12 months ending in June. Container traffic hit a record 4.5 million TEUs, up 7.3 percent from the prior fiscal year. Automotive and machinery units shipped through the state’s Brunswick port were up 4 percent during that time. The Savannah port also saw substantial growth in shipping by rail. In 2018, the ports authority launched its Mason Mega Rail Terminal, a sprawling new rail yard designed to improve the Savannah terminal’s connection to the main CSX and Norfolk Southern rail networks. The Mason project will ultimately reduce the time for products arriving in Savannah to reach Nashville, Memphis and Chicago by rail. That project is about 40 percent complete.
Starting this month and until November 30, 2019, the Panama Canal will promote the implementation of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) annual recommendations on speed and maritime transit aimed at protecting cetaceans, which include whales, dolphins and other large aquatic mammals, during their nearby seasonal migration. With these measures, ships should proceed at a speed of not more than 10 knots in specified areas. Panama has monitored this requirement since December 1, 2014 when maritime traffic separation devices (TSS) were installed by both the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean entry points to the Canal. The initiative is part of the Panama Canal’s broader efforts to incentivize environmental stewardship and includes watershed conservation initiatives, innovative water-saving basins, and other programs aimed at implementing technologies and standards to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Iran reiterated last weekend that it will pursue a “toll” on all ships travelling in the Strait of Hormuz. Iranian lawmakers demanded that each vessel in the strait pay a fee for safe passage just 48 hours after Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commandos in black ski masks rappelled from a helicopter onto a British oil tanker and took control of the vessel. The ship, the STENA IMPERO, and its 23 crew members remained in detention at an Iranian port Sunday as the West scrambled to figure out how to respond to Tehran’s latest provocation.
The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the European Community Shipowners' Associations (ECSA) and the Asian Shipowners' Association (ASA) jointly urge immediate action by the international community to stop the escalation of tensions and fully respect international law. Guy Platten, ICS Secretary General, commented that Freedom of Navigation is vital for global trade and is a fundamental principle of international maritime law. Seafarers and ships must be allowed to operate in safety, and it is simply not acceptable for them to be used as bargaining counters in any way.
The South Korean Government announced plans for investments in 12 ports across the country. The expansion plans include the development of Busan as a mega-port, and the expansion of cargo handling capacity of the ports. The overall investment will reach the cost of 41.8 trillion ($35.2 billion). Specifically, the Korean government will inject KRW16.03trn directly and the remaining KRW25.77trn will be raised from the private sector. Busan port infrastructure will see 21 new berths, capable of accommodating 25,000-teu containerships. Cargo handling capacity at the 12 ports will increase to 1.85bn tonnes by 2040 from 1.32bn tonnes in 2017, and container handling capacity will increase to 48.73m teus from 27.17m teus in 2017. Also on in plans are two additional ports. One will be on the southern island of Jeju which will be developed as a cruise port, and another at Donghae on the east coast, which will handle cargo.
The Baltic Exchange is partnering with a spatial big data company, GeoSpock, to create a platform with a focus on shipping emissions. They are seeking to develop an intelligent database that captures data on every measurable aspect of the shipping industry. This includes metadata such as location, weather, emissions, fuel usage, journey routes and times. Using this information, companies will be able to analyse and optimise shipping on a global scale, while providing regulators and governments with an increased level of transparency.
Swedish ship-management company, Marinvest, has announced that the Mari Jone and Mari Boyle, the first vessels powered by dual-fuel ME-LGI (-Liquid Gas Injection Methanol) engines operating on methanol have completed 10,000 operating hours. The company reports that its combined ME-LGI-powered fleet has passed a cumulative total of 50,000 operating hours on methanol. The two methanol tankers are managed on time charters for Waterfront Shipping and operate globally, providing an uninterrupted flow of methanol.
Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) is stepping up its inspection of containers in a move to clamp down on the transportation of dangerous and hazardous cargo. Concerns with un-declared and/or mis-declared hazardous cargo are driving efforts to strengthen its Dangerous Cargo acceptance and container inspection policy by imposing additional verification before loading through selective or random inspections.
Water levels on the Rhine in Germany are rising after rain this week and shipping has returned to normal. Shallow water had hampered sailings since late July and rain over the past few days has enabled vessels to take on full loads. Shallow water saw shippers impose surcharges on freight rates, increasing costs for cargo owners. The Rhine is an important shipping route for commodities including grains, minerals, coal, chemicals and oil products including heating oil.
K Line was convicted by the Federal Court of Australia today for being in a criminal cartel and fined A$34.5 million (US$23.4 million). K Line pleaded guilty last year to being involved in a global conspiracy with numerous other ocean shipping companies to protect market share and fix ocean freight rates for the transportation of cars, trucks, and buses to Australia between 2009 and 2012. In 2017, Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha was convicted by the court and fined A$25 million ($20 million) for its part in the activity.
FortisBC Energy has signed a two-year agreement with China's Top Speed Energy Corp for 53,000 tonnes of LNG to be shipped from its Tilbury facility by summer 20201. FortisBC's recently completed $400-million expansion project took capacity from about 35,000 to 250,000 tonnes per year, allowing a facility that had been used mainly for natural gas storage to become a commercial LNG production plant. The FortisBC shipments to China are to be delivered in 60 specialized shipping containers per week. The company has been selling small shipments of LNG in China on a spot basis since 2017.
Canada’s arctic port of Churchill is due to start up its first grain shipments since 2015 after a group backed by investor Prem Watsa stepped in last year to buy the facility and a related rail line linking the northern town with the rest of Manitoba. The relaunch of the 88-year-old ports grain shipments will reduce the shipping time to deliver grains to Europe and the Middle East across the Atlantic Ocean by several days. Arctic Gateway will be targeting durum, wheat, canola and lentil and pea crops from Manitoba and Saskatchewan for shipment to Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, with shipments running until early November, pending agreeable weather. Additionally, Arctic Gateway is looking at shipping other commodities out of the port including forestry products, mineral concentrates, fracking sand and potash.
This week Richmond City Council narrowly approved the permits that would give the Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corporation access to the right-of-way need to upgrade the 52 year-old pipeline that currently runs from Westridge terminals through north Richmond. This approval along with the servicing agreement for a marine off-loading terminal are last piece of the puzzle for the proposed jet fuel facilty that would service Vancouver airport. The airport currently gets 80 per cent of its fuel from the existing pipeline and 20 per cent from tanker truck deliveries. Without the upgrade to the pipeline another 70 truck deliveries per day of fuel would be needed during peak times to keep up with the growing demand at the airport.
The Richmond Maritime Festival is taking place this Saturday and Sunday, July 27 and 28 at the Britannia Shipyards and Imperial Landing. The docks will be lined with a gathering of wooden boats from up and down the Pacific coast, open for boarding and viewing. On land, local musicians and roving performers will be interspersed with the activities. This year, the Festival will be bookended by a high-seas adventure, the Sunset Battle of the Tall Ships. Featuring booming cannons, close-quarters manoeuvres and a taste of 18th century life aboard tall ships.