COS Weekly News - Friday, 19 May 2023

COS Weekly News - Friday, 19 May 2023

COS Weekly Newsletter - Friday, 19 May 2023


Agreement paves the way for escort tugs, oil spill response

Kotug Canada, a partnership between Kotug International and Horizon Maritime Services, has entered into a mutual benefits agreement (MBA) with the Sc’ianew First Nation, an Indigenous community in British Columbia. The MBA aims to provide seafarer training, establish an operational base, and create a floating docking facility in support of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP). The agreement includes the refitting of an existing barge to serve as a breakwater and berthing facility for escort tugs and an emergency response vessel. The partnership also involves training Sc’ianew community members in safe tug operations and marine response, while promoting respect for the coastal environment. The MBA allows the Sc’ianew First Nation to participate in the marine economy within their traditional waters and pursue economic opportunities while protecting their lands and cultural heritage.

Gitga’at and LNG Canada break ground on new MERRF

The Gitga'at First Nation and LNG Canada broke ground on a new Marine Emergency Response and Research Facility (MERRF) at Hartley Bay, also known as Txalgiuw. The MERRF will serve as a base for Gitga’at-led marine activities, including vessel monitoring, rescue operations, training, and environmental research.  The facility will also house and display a collection of local artifacts and cultural objects, many of them repatriated from distant locations. The facility's architect, Vancouver-based Nancy Mackin, said its design is inspired by traditional Indigenous imagery and artwork, expressed in objects such as bentwood boxes. The MERRF, significantly funded by LNG Canada, represents a symbol of reconciliation and repatriation. Hartley Bay came to international attention in March 2006, when a BC Ferries passenger vessel named the Queen of the North sank nearby and Gitga’at members rescued dozens of ferry passengers adrift in life rafts, floating in almost total darkness.

Western Group announces partnership with RCMSAR

This week as part of the Western Group's 75th-anniversary celebration this week, Kim Stegeman-Lowe, VP People & Sustainability, announced a new funding partnership with the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR) that will serve to promote and elevate children's safety on the water through their Kids Don't Float program for the next three years.  The program is built and operated by volunteers who work with community partners and funders like Western Group to provide infants, children and youth with free access to nearly 1000 lifejackets, personal floatation devices (PFDs) at over 100 loaner stations along BC's coast.


BC government investing up to $25 million in new maritime industrial infrastructure

The British Colombia government has announced funding of up to $25 million in new maritime infrastructure under the umbrella of its StrongerBC Economic Plan. A new B.C. Maritime Industries Strategy, geared mainly to the shipbuilding sector, will chart the course for a more competitive, modernized marine sector with reduced carbon emissions, and creating more highly skilled jobs to meet growing demands. The $25 million will be invested in new and modernized infrastructure and assets that will support shipyards to meet growing market demand for their services and attract more investment to BC.  Included in the strategy is the establishment of a West Coast Maritime Office with industry partners and key stakeholders in support of provincial maritime growth.

BC focuses on new markets in Mexico, Vietnam, and Taiwan

The Province of British Columbia's new Trade Diversification Strategy announced as part of the StrongerBC economic plan focuses on expanding into new markets beyond the US, and specifically targets Mexico, Vietnam, and Taiwan. The strategy focuses on six priority sectors for trade diversification - agrifoods, advanced manufacturing, clean technology, digital technology, forestry, and tourism.  The Strategy is also designed to pair with the ESG Centre of Excellence, marketing BC businesses and providing funding to align with international ESG investment goals. Other aligned initiatives include the BC First Nations Centre of Excellence for Economic Development, Goods Movement Strategy, Mass Timber Action Plan, BC Hydrogen Strategy, and BC Centre for Agritech Innovation. Emerging businesses will be able to access $1.2 million of annual funding through the Export Navigator program.

The United States remains BC's largest trading partner, followed by mainland China, Japan, and South Korea.

CBSA seizes 140kg of meth at TCEF

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)  announced the seizure of 140 kilograms of methamphetamine at the Tsawwassen Container Examination Facility. The shipment was identified based on intelligence provided by the New Zealand Police and New Zealand Customs Service.

On March 30, 2023, CBSA officers conducted an examination of a container that was bound for export and believed to be destined for New Zealand. With the assistance of the Metro Vancouver District Detector Dog Service, officers discovered a white, crystal-like substance in the machine which was tested and returned positive for methamphetamine.

Multiple CBSA units, including teams in the Metro Vancouver District, Metro Vancouver District Marine Commercial Operations and Pacific Region Intelligence Section, collaborated with New Zealand Police and New Zealand Customs Service on this successful interception. The investigation has been referred to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in British Columbia.

Green Industrial Facilities and Manufacturing Program open for applications

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, opened funding applications for industrial facilities under the Green Industrial Facilities and Manufacturing Program. This $194-million initiative allows for industrial facilities to receive up to $10 million per proposal, directly supporting industry in implementing energy efficiency projects within individual facilities.  The program aims to maximize energy performance, reduce GHG emissions and increase competitiveness for industry in Canada. Specifically, it targets industrial facilities in Canada seeking cost-shared financial assistance to implement energy efficiency and energy management projects, from now until March 2027. The call for proposals expires on July 31, 2023.

New draft publications on pilotage training and proficiency

Transport Canada has developed two draft Marine Safety Transport Publications (TP’s) for comments - National Pilotage Certificate On-board Training Program Guidelines and the Pilotage Continued Proficiency Plan. All comments and requests for further consultations are to be provided to MSS Pilotage at  prior to July 28th, 2023.

Training Seminar for Marine Medical Examiners and Nurse Practitioners

Transport Canada's Marine Medical Unit is organizing a virtual training seminar lasting 16 hours, specifically designed for Physicians and Nurse Practitioners who seek certification by TC to conduct occupational health assessments on seafarers. The seminar will be led by experts in adult learning, TC occupational health physicians, and other professionals in the health, medical, and seafaring fields. Two sessions will be available on-line, one in English (July) and another in French (October). Each session will consist of four 4-hour blocks conducted virtually over the span of four days. Attendance is free of charge.

The seminar will be conducted online, allowing participants to join from their office or the comfort of their own homes. Whether applicants have previous experience conducting marine medical examinations but haven't attended this training seminar, are an experienced MME seeking a refresher, or are a Physician or Nurse Practitioner interested in becoming an MME, TC invites you to register today. Please fill out the registration form and indicate your preferred language at the top.

‍US News

Great Lakes ship runs aground in Detroit river

The Mark W. Barker, the first U.S. ship built on the Great Lakes since 1983, ran aground in the Detroit River due to an electronics malfunction. The incident occurred early Wednesday near Belle Isle. Fortunately, there were no injuries, damage to the freighter, or signs of discharge. The vessel, owned by Interlake Steamship Company, was carrying salt and diesel fuel at the time. Commercial towing successfully refloated the ship around noon. The Coast Guard will anchor the Barker to Belle Isle for investigation, repairs, and ensuring its readiness for future voyages. The Coast Guard emphasized their commitment to maritime safety and the prompt resolution of the incident.

US demands security checks of port cranes made by foreign countries

Legislation introduced in the US House of Representatives proposes inspecting cranes made in "foreign adversary" countries before they are used in American seaports. China is mentioned as a significant concern, as it manufactures 80% of the cranes used in US ports. The bill aims to prevent espionage and cyberattacks by checking for security vulnerabilities. However, the CEO of the American Association of Ports Authorities (AAPA) criticized the legislation, stating that there is no evidence to support claims of insecurity, as cranes often use software from allied countries and undergo rigorous security inspections.

Canpotex’s Portland terminal shuttered

The potash terminal at the Port of Portland experienced a significant equipment failure when a section of the conveyor system's catwalk collapsed onto the berth's deck. This has disrupted the world market for potash, a crucial mineral used in agricultural fertilizer production. The Port of Portland's potash exports far exceed its grain shipments. The potash arrives by train from a mine in Saskatchewan operated by Canpotex. Last year, nearly 6 million tons of potash were loaded for export at Terminal 5. The disruption in supply adds to the challenges in the global potash market, as production from other major players like Russia and Belarus has significantly decreased due to economic sanctions. Canpotex plans to redirect exports to other North American ports while repairs are made to the conveyor system. Fortunately, the port is not financially responsible for the repairs or lost shipping volumes due to its contract with Canpotex.

ILWU, State of Maryland supportive of ILA in Leatherman case

The West Coast dockworkers’ union and the state of Maryland say the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) should be able to sue ocean carriers that called the Port of Charleston’s Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal, according to briefs filed with a US appeals court that will decide whether the ILA’s lawsuit was legal.  The ILA's lawsuit claims that the carriers and USMX violated the master contract by employing non-union state workers at Leatherman. The AFL-CIO and the Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association also filed briefs in support of the ILA. On the other hand, the South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) and the US Maritime Alliance (USMX) are seeking to overturn a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling in favour of the ILA.  The SCPA and USMX argue that the lawsuit is an attempt to secure more jobs for ILA members.

As the legal battle continues, ocean carriers have been avoiding using Leatherman due to the risk of lawsuits. The ILWU and the state of Maryland argue that the outcome of the case could impact their own work preservation agreements, while Maryland emphasizes the economic benefits of the all-union workforce at the Port of Baltimore.


Italy escalates Canadian durum imports

Italy has significantly increased its purchases of Canadian durum wheat, buying 1.09 million tonnes in the first eight months of the 2022-23 crop year, nearly four times the volume compared to the previous year. Algeria is the next largest buyer with 648,400 tonnes. Despite Italy's mandatory country-of-origin labelling (MCOOL) law, which has been in place since 2017, the country continues to import durum from Canada due to a drop in Italy's durum production and a rebound in Canadian production. However, the MCOOL law, coupled with a smear campaign by Coldiretti (Italy's main farm organization) against Canadian durum, has created trade challenges and impacted Canada's top market. The European Commission announced plans to extend MCOOL laws as part of a broader food labelling initiative, which has raised concerns among Canadian exporters. Cereals Canada suggests a voluntary labelling scheme would be preferable. The outlook for Canadian durum sales to Italy and other EU countries in 2023-24 remains uncertain due to conflicting reports about supply levels in the region.

BIMCO says new emissions controls to drive surge in ship scrapping

According to the shipping association BIMCO, shipowners are expected to scrap twice as many ships over the next 10 years compared to the previous decade. This increase in ship recycling is attributed to tighter emissions control regulations that are pushing carriers to retire and demolish a significant number of vessels. BIMCO's data shows that in the past 10 years, 7,780 ships with a total deadweight capacity of 285 million tonnes were recycled, with most of them being ships built during the 1990s. However, the capacity built during the 2000s and 2010s is much higher, which is expected to drive the anticipated surge in ship recycling. The stricter limits on greenhouse gas emissions are expected to prompt the early retirement of older ships. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has introduced measures such as the energy efficiency existing ship index (EEXI) and the annual operational carbon intensity indicator (CII) to monitor and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from maritime shipping. Ships will be rated based on their energy efficiency, with lower-rated ships required to submit corrective action plans if their ratings remain low for three consecutive years.


May 26 - COS Liner Committee Meeting @ 0900

Jun 2 - The Plimsoll Club Nooner at the Nat @ 11:30 

Jun 6 - Port of Vancouver Annual General Meeting @ 1515

June 12/14 - Green Marine GreenTech 2023, Seattle, WA

Jun 14 - Vancouver Grain Exchange Golf Tournament @ Northview
Jun 15 - Port of Nanaimo Annual General Meeting @ 1400

Jun 22 - COS Owners Committee Meeting @ 1200

Jun 25 - International Day of the Seafarer

Jun 27 - ISSC Day of the Seafarer Peak Challenge @ 3:30 

Sept 27/28 - COS 100th Anniversary Conference and Gala Dinner

‍Ship of the Week

May 19 - MV Swift Arrow

M/V Swift Arrow is a Totally Enclosed Forestry Carrier (TEFC), specifically designed for carrying forestry products but is also an “open hatch” vessel, so she is suitable for other breakbulk commodities, general cargo, project cargoes, etc. The vessel recently discharged project cargo and steel products at DP World Fraser Surrey Docks in New Westminster and is now loading pulp out of Harmac over on Vancouver Island. In addition, the vessel will call other mill ports and Squamish Terminals to take full cargo of pulp to the Far East.

G2 Ocean is a liner service provider and the Swift Arrow together with her sisters Mozu Arrow and Grouse Arrow are on a regular round voyage between the Far East and West Coast North America (WCNA) carrying mainly steel to North America and pulp to the Far East.

Swift Arrow and her sister ships were designed and built to be specifically compatible with the climate conditions of the Pacific Northwest and mainly Canada, where the head-owners (Gearbulk) have a decades long history of servicing the forestry sector. This is currently continued under G2 Ocean as a JV between Gearbulk and Grieg Star. The TEFCs continue being dedicated to carrying pulp and other forestry products out of Canada and they are highly suitable and valued by our customers and the local industry, including stevedores, ILWU, pilots, tug companies.

Swift Arrow is equipped with 2 gantry cranes, 40MT SWL each. The gantry cranes load and unload through two top-hinged side doors which protect the product from rain during cargo operation. The fully enclosed cargo area is separated into 10 “square shaped” cargo holds with no hatch covers. This gives the vessel required flexibility to increase cargo intake or stow product with dimensions that can exceed the height of the hatch coamings. It also allows for constant and efficient cargo monitoring and care during the voyage, thus enabling minimizing damages. In addition, due to the hygroscopic nature of the forestry products, the absence of hatch covers allows for proper ventilation and avoiding moisture buildup, cargo and hold sweat, etc. For proper cargo care, Swift Arrow has an onboard dehumidifier system with 10,000 m3/hr capacity as well as a fan system with ventilation capacity of 102,000 m3/hr. For better maneuverability, Swift Arrow is equipped with a 2700hp bow thruster.


Click to view online