The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) have issued a joint notice asking shipowners and operators to strengthen the inspections for the insect. The warning comes after several vessels arrived in Vancouver last week with infestations and the vessels were ordered to vacate the port. The USDA and CFIA have encouraged ship operators to do more than normal self checking for the AGM as all the vessels with infestations had been inspected and certified in Asian ports, yet moths and larvae were still present.
The federal government has reached a deal to sell Ridley Terminal to a US equity firms and First Nations. Located in Northern BC, Ridley Terminals Inc. is a Crown corporation that owns the facility in the Port of Prince Rupert which exports coal. This deal will see 90 percent of its shares sold for $350-million to U.S. private equity firms, Riverstone Holdings LLC and AMCI Group. The remaining 10 percent will be transferred to a limited partnership owned by the Lax Kw’alaams Band and the Metlakatla First Nation.
US Federal authorities have released the MSC Gayane, the cargo ship involved in last month’s 20-ton cocaine seizure at the Port of Philadelphia, but said they are still considering pursuing civil or criminal forfeiture of the ship. For now, the ship has returned to commercial service and is on route to the Netherlands. Under the terms release, MSC posted a $10 million security deposit and $40 million surety bond. The firm has also agreed to submit to the jurisdiction of U.S. courts while the Justice Department’s investigation continues.
US Coast Guard have posted information for vessels carrying liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and ethane with plans to use their cargoes as fuel during ocean transits. The use of cargoes other than methane as fuel is allowed in international waters under the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk, 2016 Edition (2016 IGC Code), Chapter 16, however US regulations have not established appropriate standards for use while vessel are in US waters. Gas carriers intending to use cargoes other than methane as fuel i are to promptly seek approval of US Commandant.
The Northwest Seaport Alliance has launched the Terminal 5 expansion at the Port of Seattle. When complete, the facility will be able to handle containerships of up to 18,000 TEU. The activity is estimated to result in 6,600 new direct jobs and more than USD 2 billion in business activity. Managing members of the NWSA will contribute USD 340 million in construction funds, with private partner SSA Terminals contributing up to USD 160 million toward the project. The 185-acre terminal is expected to open in two phases, with one major berth ready to handle international container cargo in spring of 2021, and the other berth ready in 2023.
The UK navy has intervened to stop Iran from blocking a commercial oil tanker leaving the Persian Gulf, heightening friction just as European nations scramble to salvage a landmark nuclear accord with the Islamic Republic. The BP Plc-operated British Heritage, which can carry as much as 1 million barrels of oil, was attempting to pass through the Strait of Hormuz when three Iranian vessels tried to impede it, according to a U.K. government statement. Iran denied the charge. The British Heritage was able to pass safely through the Strait of Hormuz and was now sailing along the Omani coast.
Panama will withdraw its flag from more vessels that violate sanctions and international legislation. The country has already removed approximately 60 ships linked to Iran and Syria from the Panamanian registry. Most of those vessels were owned by Iranian state-run companies but they also included ships linked to oil deliveries to Syria.
Gibraltar police detained the Iranian supertanker Grace 1 and arrested two second mates last week on suspicion it was breaking European sanctions by taking oil to Syria. The 300,000 dwt vessel had 2.1 million barrels of light crude oil on board. Gibraltar and the UK will facilitate the release of the vessel if there are guarantees that the ship will not be going to Syria. Iran claims that the seizure of the tanker is not lawful as the country is not an EU member.
The Ralmax Group of Companies has purchased the 21-year-old Esquimalt Drydock Co., bringing together two Victoria yards dedicated to the ship repair and maintenance business. The company will be a division within Point Hope Maritime. Esquimalt Drydock will keep its name and operations at the federally owned Esquimalt Graving Dock. The Esquimalt Drydock workers will be moving to the International Union of Operating Engineers from the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union.
Clear Seas has released a research report aiming to provide an enhanced understanding of some of the risks and potential mitigation strategies associated with shipping activity in Canada’s Pacific region. The report, the Availability of Tugs of Opportunity in Canada’s Pacific Region, indicates that Canada’s West Coast faces gaps in the availability of commercial tugs to serve as emergency towing vessels for ships in distress. Existing emergency towing uses a small number of dedicated high-powered emergency towing vessels or supported by tugs of opportunity or commercial tugs that are not dedicated to rescue services. Those tugs are occasionally contracted to provide aid in the event of a ship emergency due to loss of engine power, steering or other cause. However, many tugs of opportunity are not adequate for protection for the size and type of ships now transiting our coast. Read the report here: https://clearseas.org/en/research_project/availability-of-tugs-of-opportunity-in-canadas-pacific-region/
Several Environmental and Indigenous groups have filed lawsuits against the federal government in the aftermath of its decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline. Legal challenges have been filled by the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, Squamish Nation, Ts’elxweyeqw tribes, Shxw’owhamel Nation, Coldwater Indian Band and Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation. The legal filings from the First Nations argues there were constitutional violations, primarily around the failure to satisfy the duty to consult, accommodate and seek consent from First Nations. The lawsuits also allege regulatory legal errors were made by the National Energy Board. First Nations communities are divided on the project. There are two groups led by Indigenous communities that want to purchase and operate the existing pipeline from the federal government, with the intention to expand it. Other First Nations are arguing that the pipeline would destroy significant spiritual and historic sites as well as important aquifers. Ecojustice has also launched a legal challenge on behalf of Raincoast Conservation Foundation and Living Oceans Society who argue that the approval will negatively impact many species at risk.
The provincial government is taking the first step towards ensuring that more BC logs are processed in BC by applying a new, targeted fee-in-lieu of manufacturing for exported logs harvested from a coastal BC Timber Sales licence. The fee will be dependent on the economics of individual stands. Stands containing high-value species and that are easily accessible will have a higher fee than stands with low-value species that are remote and difficult to access. This will be in effect for five years, starting July 31, 2019. Further details including log export exemptions, including maps to exempted areas can be found at: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2019FLNR0179-001419
The Government of Canada has issued Ship Safety Bulletin No. 11/2019 to implement additional speed restrictions in specific zones in the Gulf of St Lawrence in response to recent deaths of the North Atlantic Right Whales.
Adding to the situation this week were three North Atlantic Right Whales found entangled in rope and fishing gear. All three were sighted in areas already closed to fishing. The three whales are being monitored and attempts at disentanglement will be attempted if it can be done safely.
The new Environmental Response Regulations were published on July 10th in the Canada Gazette Part II and are now in force. The principal objective of the Regulations is to improve the effectiveness of Canada’s Oil Spill Preparedness and Response Regime for prescribed vessels and Oil Handling Facilities (OHFs) while engaged in the loading and unloading of oil. Enhanced prevention and planning activities by the OHFs, in conjunction with increased compliance and enforcement by Transport Canada, provides an increased state of readiness. TP 14909E is the associated guidance document.
The Province has renewed its service contract with BC Ferries for the next four-year term April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2024. The renewed contract reflects increased annual funding from the Province to BC Ferries of $32.5 million to support fare affordability and another $5.8 million annually to support the increase of 2,700 round trips on 10 minor and northern routes announced earlier this year.
Canada Border Services Agency has issued Customs Notice 19-14 to advise that as of June 30, 2020, the CBSA will no longer accept B13As. Exporters, or their customs service providers, will be required to report their exports electronically. There will be two electronic reporting methods available to exporters to report goods: the Canadian Export Reporting System (CERS) and the G7 Export Reporting Electronic Data Interchange (G7-EDI). Exporters can register for CERS once it is in place, March 16, 2020. G7-EDI is currently in existence and can be used now. G7-EDI requires an investment from the exporting client.
Exporters currently using CAED and participants in the Summary Reporting Program will receive letters from the CBSA with information about how to activate their CERS account between February and June 2020. CAED will be decommissioned on June 30, 2020.
Authorities have indicated that the MSC Gayane may be “subject to possible forfeiture.” While the seizure of a vessel this large is unprecedented, the US has also deemed the circumstances as unprecedented, and they are within their legal rights to seize the ship. The MSC Gayane is owned by JP Morgan Chase and is worth approximately $84.24m. This bust marked the third MSC ship busted for carrying cocaine in US ports this year, the CBP has temporarily suspended MSC’s Customs Trade Partnership (C-TPAT) certification, meaning US authorities for the time being do not assess the carrier as ‘low-risk’ so more scrutiny of its shipments can be expected in the coming weeks.