The Northwest Ports of Vancouver, BC, Seattle, Tacoma, and the combined container operations of The Northwest Seaport Alliance, are jointly committing to a new vision to phase out emissions from seaport-related activities by 2050. In a collaboration among the four ports, the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy seeks to meet this target through changes in equipment, fuels, and infrastructure, supporting cleaner air for local communities and fulfilling the ports’ shared responsibility to help limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C. Building upon the partnerships and successes of the last decade, the ports’ commitment recognizes the urgency of the climate crisis and the need to reduce diesel emissions, especially in areas where air quality is poor while ensuring the continuity and competitiveness of the ports. Engagement across the ports, industry, government, and communities shaped the Strategy vision and objectives. The Strategy covers six sectors of port activity: oceangoing vessels, cargo-handling equipment, trucks, harbor vessels, rail, and port administration and tenant facilities.
HaiSea Marine, a partnership formed between the Haisla Nation and Seaspan ULC, will provide ship-assist and escort services to LNG carriers navigating Douglas Channel and approaches in Kitimat Harbour. The escort and harbour tugs are being designed by Robert Allan Ltd. (RAL) and will feature leading edge technology. The harbour tugs will be battery electric powered, while the larger escort tugs will be LNG dual-fueled. The ElectRA 2800 battery-electric harbour tugs will be 28 metres in length, with approximately 70 tonnes bollard pull and 5,240 kWh of battery capacity each. The tugs will recharge from dedicated shore charging facilities at their berths between jobs, effectively reducing emissions to near-zero. Because of their battery propulsion, they are also expected to be exceptionally quiet, both onboard and underwater. The LNG dual-fueled RAstar 4000 tugs will be the most powerful Azimuth Stern Drive (ASD) escort tugs on Canada’s west coast, and will rank among the world’s highest-performing escort tugs. At 40 meters in length and with over 95 tonnes of bollard pull, they will generate indirect forces of approximately 200 tonnes. In addition to the escort work, the tugs will be capable of pollution response/oil spill recovery, fire fighting of marine terminal fires, person overboard response, and emergency towage of vessels.
Environmental groups and the Public and Private Workers of Canada union have called for an immediate halt to the practice of turning trees directly into pellets following the release of an independent review of industry practices. A new report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) think-tank has caught the attention of environmental groups and a forestry workers' union, who are concerned about companies chipping whole trees into pellets and exporting them for biofuel. The BC Ministry responded to inquiries indicating approximately 1.2 per cent of the provincial timber harvest went directly to a pellet plant in 2020 and that the province monitors the quality of the logs consumed by all timber processing facilities. A proportion of the harvest, 540,000 cubic metres was delivered from the bush to pellet plants in BC and 200,000 cubic metres was pine beetle wood. The Wood Pellets Association confirms that BC’s wood pellets are made entirely from the residuals from sawmilling, harvesting or low-grade logs rejected by the sawmills and pulp mills. Every year nearly 10 million cubic metres – or roughly 10 million telephone poles worth of wood is wasted in BC, and literally goes “up in smoke” in slash pile burns or is left to rot in the forest, becoming a significant wildfire hazard.
Pellet manufacturers in BC are proud to contribute to the sustainability of BC’s forest sector, improving utilization and creating renewable green energy, jobs and economic investment in the province. At the same time, wood pellets from BC are making a significant contribution to the global fight against climate change, displacing large volumes of dirty coal and fossil fuels in power production in key markets.
Yesterday BC's Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, announced the creation of a new Expedited Workplace Closure Order that would enable WorkSafeBC inspectors to shut down a worksite for 10 days or longer where there has been a transmission or outbreak of the coronavirus. The potential implications for the marine sector is unknown at this time as the the province is working to define exceptions in those workplaces that serve the public interest. The latest order will come into effect on April 12th and further details are expected to be released over the weekend. Note the BC Government is seeking input on COVID-19 has affected you, and what tools and supports you need as we look ahead to our pandemic recovery. The new survey is available at: www.bccdc.ca/covid19survey
Earlier this year Canada Border Services Agency and the RCMP's Federal Serious & Organized Crime (FSOC) unit discovered and seized 2,500 individual packages of suspected opium, totaling 1,000 kilograms. In early February after several months of investigation, officers executed search warrants on two containers at the Tsawwassen container exam facility to locate a shipment of drugs from overseas. Once found, the packages were replaced with a placebo to allow the investigation to continue and for the shipment to be tracked to the intended warehouse in Surrey. Five men were arrested, one from BC and four from Ontario. In unrelated seizure, a Laval resident pleaded guilty to being in possession of more than 60 kilograms of brown sugar that police had swapped in place of 64 kilograms of cocaine in March 2019. This shipment also discovered by CBSA in plastic drawers stacked on 22 pallets at the Port of Montreal's container exam facility.
The state of Florida sued President Joe Biden’s administration in federal court on Thursday seeking to block the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) decision to prevent the US cruise industry from immediately resuming operations paused for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The suit asks the court to issue an injunction barring enforcement of the CDC’s order and to quickly lift a “nationwide lockdown” on the industry in place since March 2020. Florida's ports have suffered a decline in operating revenue of almost $300 million since the pandemic started. CDC has issued new guidance to the cruise industry, a necessary step before passenger voyages can resume, but did not set a date for resuming cruises.
In response to complaints by US exporters and Democratic and Republican Congressional representatives, the US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) announced that it was ordering 10 ocean carriers and 17 marine terminals to report on demurrage and detention practices and penalties assessed on shippers as well as the availability of empty containers for US exporters to ship their goods. The responses to this compulsory order will inform FMC Commissioner Dye’s next steps to address this critical issue and determine if there were any violations. According to a CNBC analysis, the US saw at least $1.3 billion in potential agricultural exports rejected at major ports on the East and West coasts, from July to December last year.
Osama Rabie, chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, said an analysis of the ship's data is underway and should provide crucial details surrounding the grounding. An initial report on the costly accident could be released this week. The Ever Given is docked in a canal holding lake while the investigation takes place. Rabie suggested that failure of the ship's owners to reach an accord on damages could trigger court proceedings and delay for a year or more release of the cargo – almost 20,000, 20-foot long containers carrying goods valued at more than $3 billion. Lloyd’s of London last week said the incident would likely result in a “large loss” for the commercial insurance and reinsurance market of at least $100 million. The Ever Given was freed six days after wedging itself sideways into a single-lane section of the canal. Around-the-clock dredging, high tides helped by a full moon, and tugs pushing and pulling the ship managed to free the ship from the canal walls. Robert Allan Ltd. Naval Architects and Marine Engineers of North Vancouver designed six of the 14 tugboats that assisted in the effort.
China is paying a high price for its unofficial ban on coal imports from Australia, with the cost of domestic and alternative foreign supplies rising for both thermal and coking grades of the fuel. China, the world’s biggest importer, producer and consumer of coal, has effectively ended imports from Australia, the biggest shipper of coking coal used to make steel and number two in thermal coal used to produce electricity, as part of an ongoing political dispute between the two nations. China has turned to Indonesia, Russia and South Africa, to plug some of the gap. At least 1,500 seafarers on an estimated 70 ships carrying over 8 million tons were stranded off China late last year following the ban. While the situation has eased, roughly 35 still carriers remained stranded and unavailable to take on new trips as of earlier this week.
In March a record 45 ultra-large containership (ULCS) were ordered, reflecting the confidence of shipowners and investors amid continued strong demand in the container shipping sector. In addition to the 15,000 TEU ships, 27 additional "smaller" box ships were also ordered, bringing the total order capacity to 866,060 TEU, marking a turnaround for the sector after record low order levels at certain points of 2020. Total container shipping capacity ordered in the first quarter of 2021 has already reached 1,398,000 TEU, a six-year-high compared to previous full years, and up from 995,000 TEU.
The Eemslift Hendrika had been adrift since Monday after its crew sent a distress signal that the vessel lost stability in the Norwegian Sea approximately 60 nautical miles west of Ålesund. In a dramatic helicopter rescue captured by video, all twelve crew members were evacuated. Earlier on Wednesday, the Norwegian Coast Administration reported that drift calculations indicated the risk of the ship running aground was low, but the situation seemed to change as the day wore on and forced the administration to invoke a government mandate to intervene. A salvage team was successful in securing a tow line to the Eemslift Hendrika and the vessel is now under tow to Ålesund, the Norwegian Coastal Administration has confirmed. At the moment, there is no longer a risk of grounding. Built in 2015, Eemslift Hendrika is a yacht transport ship operated by Monaco-based Starclass Yacht Transport.
Australia’s new Antarctic icebreaker, RSV Nuyina, will be the main lifeline to Australia’s Antarctic and sub-Antarctic research stations and the central platform of our Antarctic and Southern Ocean scientific research.
Construction of the ship at Damen Shipyards in Romania commenced in May 2017, with a steel cutting ceremony, while a keel laying ceremony in August saw the first building-block of the ship consolidated in the drydock. In September 2018 the ship was floated from the dry dock to the wet dock, for the next phase of construction. As of July 2020, construction of the ship is 98% complete, but final harbour testing, and sea and ice trials, have been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the ship is expected to arrive in Hobart in 2021. Watch fore and aft time-lapse videos (https://www.antarctica.gov.au/antarctic-operations/webcams/nuyina/) of the ship’s construction in the drydock, on our webcam page, and follow the links for videos, images and more information about the ship at (https://www.antarctica.gov.au/antarctic-operations/travel-and-logistics/ships/icebreaker/).
Replacing the Aurora Australis, the RSV Nuyina will be faster, larger, stronger and offer increased endurance. At 160.3 metres long and 25,500 tonnes, the vessel will be powerful enough to break 1.65 metres of ice at a continuous speed of three knots, quiet enough to allow researchers to use acoustic instruments, and large enough to resupply two of Australia’s four Antarctic and sub-Antarctic stations in one voyage.
The vessel will accommodate 34 Serco crew and up to 116 AAD scientific personnel, and has the ability to embark up to four helicopters, two landing craft and a dedicated science tender.
The icebreaker is currently undergoing Harbour Acceptance Testing in Vlissingen in the Netherlands, and is expected to arrive in Hobart in 2021.
Ship of the Week courtesy of Capt. Stan Bowles, BowTech Maritime Inc.