COS Weekly Newsletter - Friday, 22 May 2020


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          COS Weekly Newsletter
          Friday, 22 May 2020

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Local News


Port of Vancouver updates on 2020 cruise season

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority has updated the latest list of cruise lines that have cancelled and deferred their 2020 Vancouver-Alaska itineraries due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The following lines have cancelled all Vancouver-Alasaka voyages this season:  Carnival Cruise Line, Cunard, Holland America, Hurtigruten, Princess Cruises, Windstar Cruises, Scenic Luxury Cruises, and Seabourn.  The following lines have deferred all port calls on this route with a proposed August start: Celebrity Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Silversea Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean International and Scenic Luxury Cruises.
While only a handful of cruise ships had positive cases of COVID-19 onboard, the cruise lines are committed to protecting the health and safety of passengers, crew and the communities they regularly visit.  The suspension of cruise operations will have a pronounced detrimental effect on the global economy. The cruise industry generates more than $150 billion per year in global economic activity and supports over 1.17 million jobs worldwide.

SRKW Haro Strait and Boundary Pass Slowdown to begin as early as June 1

Research has shown that underwater noise from vessels is significantly reduced by slowing down, which makes foraging for food easier for the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW). The ECHO Program promotes voluntary slowdowns in Haro Straight and Boundary Pass, which this year, may start as early as June 1. Marine mammal observers and hydrophones will begin monitoring the slowdown area on June 1 and, similar to past years, the slowdown will officially begin once SRKW are confirmed to be in the area. Participants will be notified by email once the slowdown is activated. Ships travelling through Haro Strait and Boundary Pass—key foraging areas for the southern resident killer whales—are asked to slow down to the recommended speed target for the vessel type:
  • 14.5 kn or less speed through the water for vehicle carriers, cruise ships and container vessels
  • 11.5 kn or less speed through the water for bulkers, tankers, ferries and government vessels
The slowdown will continue until October 1; if whales remain in the area, the slowdown may be extended to no later than October 31. See more information here: ECHO Program infographic



US News


Alaska Pipeline Gets Approval

The US Federal Regulatory Energy Commission has granted an authorization for the plan sponsored by the Alaska Gasline Development Corp to build a massive pipeline project to ship natural gas from Alaska’s North Slope to markets.  The state agency proposes to build a pipeline system about 800 miles long that would ship North Slope natural gas to southern Alaska’s Cook Inlet, where the gas would be liquefied and then shipped on tankers to Asian markets. Volumes shipped in the pipeline would be up to 3.9 billion cubic feet a day, and the project would produce up to 20 million metric tons of LNG for export each year. The cost is estimated at over $43 billion. The project could generate around 18,000 jobs during construction and about 1,000 new jobs during its 30-year operational life.

FMC to investigate impact of Canadian ballast water regulations on US lake carriers

The Federal Maritime Commission has voted unanimously to accept a petition filed by the Lake Carriers’ Association (LCA) which alleges that ballast water regulations proposed by the Government of Canada will discriminate against US-flag vessel operators. In its petition, the Lakes Carriers’ Association asserts that “Transport Canada, an agency of the Government of Canada has proposed adoption of regulations requiring LCA’s members who operate vessels that operate exclusively on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River to install a ballast water management system (BWMS) to treat ballast water that is loaded in Canada and discharged in the United States, even though that requirement is of no environmental benefit to Canada. The investigation will examine the detriment and harm to the U.S. flag fleet resulting from the proposed regulations.

USS Theodore Roosevelt Returns to Sea

The US Navy reports that the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt has returned to the sea for the first time since arriving in Guam on March 27. The ship left the Naval Base in Guam on May 21 and entered the Philippine Sea to conduct carrier qualification flights as its next step towards a return to active duty. The aircraft carrier received worldwide attention in March when it became the first US Navy vessel reporting an outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. After arriving in Guam, more than 4,000 crewmembers were moved into quarantine and isolation on shore while in a highly controversial action the carrier’s captain was relieved of his command.

USNS Mercy Departs Los Angeles

The USNS Mercy departed the Port of Los Angeles last week to return to its home port of San Diego after seven weeks supporting COVID-19 relief efforts in the region. The 1,000-bed U.S. Navy hospital ship arrived in Los Angeles on March 27 to serve as a referral hospital for non-COVID patients so local hospitals would be available for the expected surge of coronavirus patients. Despite its 1,000-bed capacity, the USNS Mercy treated just 77 patients, with the last being discharge on May 5, and none of the patients were COVID-19 positive.


International News


ITF Launches Online Petitions in Support of Seafarers

The International Transport Workers’ Federation has announced their backing of the online petition, “Seafarers Matter”. The goal of the petition is to send a clear message to governments and the general public that seafarers health and wellbeing matters, and that they have the right to return safely home.

Find the petition here:

New ICS Research Shows that Incidents of Non-Conformities Continue to Drop Over Past Year

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has released new research showing that for users of its ISF Watchkeeper software, incidents of non-conformities continue to drop to increasingly lower levels over the past year. The ICS software, which tracks over 25 million hours of work on board ships undertaken each month by seafarers, has identified that the rate of non-conformances reduced by 25% over the last 12-month period. The trends provide some good news that seafarers appear to still be able to manage shipboard working arrangements in accordance with IMO and ILO regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic.


AMP Suspends Anchorage Fees For 90 Days To Panama-Flagged Vessels Above 500 Gt And To Foreign-Flagged Vessels For 60 Days

The Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) has announced that in coordination with the Ministry of Health (MINSA), it has allowed international navigation vessels which are not currently in operation, to anchor their ships in the Bay of Panama until they pass the world sanitary status and they have only their minimum crew on board. The incentive measure provides an exemption of payment for anchorage fees in the waters under the jurisdiction of the National Territory to all vessels over 500 gross registered tons (GRT) registered under the Panamanian Flag for a period of 90 calendar days. The suspension of payment of anchorage fees, is extended to the same category to foreign-flagged vessels, for 60 calendar days. In addition, they have issued incentive measures to the cruise industry to anchor their vessels in Panamanian waters when they are registered under the Panama Flag, to bring important benefits to the seafarers as well as to the auxiliary maritime Industries that give provisions to the ships.

UN Urged to Persuade Governments to Adopt Crew Change Protocols or Risk a ‘Humanitarian Disaster’

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) have issued a joint letter urging the UN Secretary General to persuade his 193 member states to act urgently to avoid a humanitarian crisis. The letter explains that “There are now over 200,000 seafarers onboard vessels worldwide who have completed their contractual tour of duty, but have been prevented from returning home. Many of these seafarers will be experiencing adverse effects on their mental health and reduced ability to safely perform their roles in the face of increasing fatigue.”

Port of Helsinki to cycle through temporarily lay-offs of its entire personnel

The Port of Helsinki will temporarily dismiss its entire personnel due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and related travel restrictions on the port’s business. The personnel will be dismissed for 30 days between the start of August and the end of the year, and for a maximum of 30 days in early 2021. The port has reported that its cargo traffic operations were continuing despite COVID-19 having had a strong impact on its passenger traffic. Since then commuter passenger traffic has been partially reopened, however, leisure travel remains suspended.

Seven Japanese companies come together to develop and commercialize zero-emission electric ships

Seven Japanese companies have formed a consortium with the goal of establishing new ocean shipping infrastructure services through various initiatives to develop, realize, and commercialize zero-emission electric vessels. The e5 Consortium is comprised of Asahi Tanker, Idemitsu Kosan, Exeno Yamamizu Corporation, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance, Tokyo Electric Power Company, and Mitsubishi Corporation. The consortium is focusing their attention on fulfilling the potential of electric vessels to solve the urgent issues in coastal shipping. The partnership builds on the accomplishments already made in the field including Asahi Tanker’s plans to build the world’s first two zero-emission electrically powered bunker tankers. The newbuilds, powered by large-capacity lithium ion batteries, are planned to be delivered sequentially from March 2022 to March 2023 and will enter Tokyo Bay as marine fuel supply vessels. Launching of the ships will mark the consortium’s first stage of the project.

Container lines take tentative steps to restore capacity

Carriers are starting to make the first slight adjustments to their mid-June networks on some trades in what appears to be an attempt to match uneven demand patterns as countries and regions emerge from COVID-19 lockdowns at different times. Two canceled sailings will be reinstated on the trans-Pacific by THE Alliance members Hapag-Lloyd, Ocean Network Express (ONE), and Yang Ming. That follows four sailings that were reinstated last week on Asia-Med services, although after additional blanks were announced for the coming weeks, it amounts to only one reinserted sailing. Sources indicate that the blank sailings have reached or just passed their apex.

NYK Tugboat makes remote navigation landmark voyage across Tokyo Bay

NYK has successfully tested remote navigation of a tugboat across Tokyo Bay. The vessel was operated remotely, and maneuvered approximately 12km in Tokyo Bay, from an operation center in the city of Nishinomiya, 400 km away. NYK has indicated that as a result of the test, they will now set to work on overcoming and improving ship-to-shore communication issues.


Upcoming Events


May 26 -  COS Owners Committee Meeting

May 27 -  PACMAR / NANs Committee Meeting

May 29 -  COS Liner Committee Meeting

June 3 -   COS Board of Directors Meeting

June 9 -   Vancouver Fraser Port Authority Annual General Meeting

June 11 - VMAA Annual General Meeting

June 16 - ISSC Annual General Meeting

June 17 - ICS Annual General Meeting
June 18 - Nanaimo Port Authority Annual General Meeting
June 25 - International Day of the Seafarer

June 30 - Plimsoll Club Annual General Meeting

July 1 - Canada Day – Office Closed


Ship of the Week




The Corona Wisdom is a bulk carrier sailing under the flag of Japan. The vessel recently departed Vancouver, headed for Matsuura, Japan. The vessel is equipped with l energy saving and ecological technology such as WAD (Weather Adapted Duct) which promotes her propeller efficiency and ballast water management system which saves marine ecosystems.
  • Length: 230m
  • Width: 38m
  • Built: 2018
  • GT: 49865