This week the Liberal Government, with the support of the Conservative Opposition, tabled and passed back-to-work legislation in the House of Commons. Bill C-29 now proceeds to the Senate before it can receive Royal Assent and force 1,150 dockworkers to resume work. Labour leaders across Canada and even internationally were quick to criticize the Federal Government, with some international labour leaders claiming that Canada's approach flies in the face of international treaties. The Government claims that supplies critical to fighting the pandemic are being prohibited from entry into Canada as a result of the strike, while some labour leaders claim that the pandemic should not be used as an excuse to ignore the collective bargaining process. With the Port of Montreal normally handling $275 million of goods daily, the continued disruption is having significant impacts for importers and exporters on top of an unpredictable trading market.
On Friday, the Vancouver Maritime Centre for Climate (VMCC) held its kick-off celebration, which included over 140 guests and two Federal Ministers. The VMCC mission is focused on reducing the carbon footprint of the maritime and shipping community. Its membership and partners already includes a broad reaching cross section of local and regional industry players that have national and global reach. They include ship owners, energy providers, ship design and engineering organizations, classification and regulatory bodies, innovators, ports and terminals (both Port of Vancouver and Port of Prince Rupert), academia, inland ferry operators, industry associations, as well as maritime service providers supporting both the domestic captive and transient fleets. The Chamber of Shipping is part of VMCC's Steering Committee and is a signatory to the VMCC's Memorandum of Understanding. Learn more at https://vmcclimate.ca.
Starting May 1, Transport Canada will be contacting ship operators directly if they sail through the Voluntary Protection Zone (VPZ) extending west of Haida Gwaii. During the trial, commercial vessels greater than 500 gross tonnage are asked to transit a minimum distance of 50 nautical miles from the west coast of Haida Gwaii, with the following exceptions:
Cruise vessels are asked to observe a minimum 12 nm distance from shore;
Vessels transiting between Pacific Northwest ports (Washington, BC and Alaska) are asked to observe a minimum 25 nm distance from shore;
Tugs and barges (including pushing and towing alongside), no minimum distance; and
Fishing vessels, no minimum distance.
Observing the VPZ is voluntary and only when it does not jeopardize the safety of navigation, the vessel, the persons aboard, and the cargo. Transport Canada Ship Safety Bulleting #26/2020 and the the Canadian Coast Guard's monthly Notice to Mariner - Western Edition include additional details.
The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) ship HMCS Calgary has made the largest ever heroin bust in Combined Maritime Forces history, operating under the command of the Canadian-led Combined Task Force (CTF) 150. The record-setting haul of 2,835 lbs (1,286 kg) of heroin on 23 April was achieved seven years to the day since HMAS Darwin interdicted 2,275 lbs (1,032kg) of the drug in 2014. In addition to their record-breaking success, Calgary struck again less than 24 hours later with a second interdiction capturing 794 lbs (360 kg) of methamphetamine.
Whilst operating off the coast of Oman, the RCN frigate intercepted two vessels suspected of smuggling. The ship’s boarding team conducted subsequent searches, uncovering the high value contraband with a combined total worth of over $23.22 million, making a salient impact to drug trafficking, often used to finance terrorism in the region. These interdictions come less than ten days after Calgary began operations in the region, increasing the total number of successful counter-narcotics operations under CTF-150 to 14 since the RCN took command of the task force on 27 January.
This week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a letter to the cruise industry responding to many of the industry's concerns and reiterating that cruises from US ports may be feasible by mid-summer. In the letter, the CDC outlines pathways for restoring cruises, including minimum levels of crew and passenger immunization levels in addition to other elements of the existing Conditional Sailing Order, including enhanced medical facilities, protocols, and arrangements for medical care and quarantine. The shift in approach by the CDC was generally viewed positively and an effort to deescalate tensions associated with lawsuits filed by the states of Florida and Alaska.
On Thursday, the US Senate blocked consideration of a waiver that would allow foreign-flagged ships to call on Alaskan ports this summer. The Passenger Vessel Services Act aims to protect the domestic shipping industry and requires Alaska-bound foreign-flagged cruise ships to stop in Canada. With Canada’s ports closed to cruise ships though to next February due to COVID-19 concerns, the law effectively prevents Alaska’s cruise season from going forward. Many cruise and tourism industry interests in Canada remain concerned that Canada is not doing enough to plan for the eventual resumption of cruises when it is safe to do so, especially in light of the recent developments in the US.
In response to the International Chamber of Shipping's call to examine the role of market-based measures (MBM) to ensure decarbonization targets are met for the global shipping industry, a coalition of environmental organizations has demanded that global shipping organizations withdraw their proposal to establish an International Maritime Research and Development Board through the International Maritime Organization (IMO). There is concern that the R & D proposal could stall international dialogue on MBMs, which are believed to be a much quicker and fairer market approach to meet greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. Notwithstanding, many industry experts, including the International Chamber of Shipping, assert that MBMs can only affect change if there are viable alternatives to fossil fuels, and that the development of alternative technologies can be enabled by a massive acceleration of IMO coordinated R & D, to be financed by the shipping industry. The IMO's Maritime Environment Protection Committee convenes in June and this is likely to be a hotly debated topic.
A missing Indonesian submarine has been found, broken into at least three parts, at the bottom of the Bali Sea, army and navy officials said on Sunday, as the president sent condolences to relatives of the 53 crew. Rescuers also found new objects, including a life vest, that they believe belong to those aboard the 44-year old KRI Nanggala-402, which lost contact last week as it prepared to conduct a torpedo drill. The German-built vessel was delivered in 1981, and she underwent an overhaul and modernization period at DSME in 2012. A sonar scan on Saturday detected the submarine at 850 metres (2,790 feet), far beyond the Nanggala's diving range. The cause of the sinking is not yet known, but Indonesian officials have ruled out an explosion.
Fednav Limited has taken delivery of its latest Polar Class 4 icebreaking bulk carrier—the MV Arvik I. This new state-of-the-art vessel will replace the 43-year old MV Arctic. The Canadian-flag, Arvik I will trade between St. Lawrence River ports and Deception Bay, servicing Glencore’s Raglan Mine, commencing mid-May 2021.
Ordered through Sumitomo Corporation and built by Japan Marine United Corporation (JMU) shipyards Japan, the 31,000-DWT mine resupply vessel is a sister ship to Fednav’s two other Polar Class 4 icebreaking bulk carriers, the MV Nunavik, delivered in 2014 and the Canadian-flagged MV Umiak I delivered in 2006, currently the most powerful icebreaking bulk carriers in the world. This new vessel is equipped with the latest technology, which includes Tier III main and auxiliary engines, and compliant with the latest stringent IMO nitrogen oxide (NOx) emission regulations.
The MV Arctic made its final voyage in April and is being recycled in Turkey following strict green recycling protocols. The vessel had an impressive career and will be remembered by generations of Canadian seafarers for its role in opening the Canadian Arctic to year-round shipping.
Fednav is a privately owned shipping company and is the largest international dry-bulk shipping group in Canada. It operates a most modern fleet of about 120 bulk carriers trading worldwide, of which 60 are owned. The company employs 300 office staff worldwide—195 in its Montreal headquarters—and maintains commercial offices in Antwerp, Charlotte, Hamburg, Rio de Janeiro, Singapore, St. John’s, and Tokyo.