COS Weekly Newsletter - Friday, 19 June 2020


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          COS Weekly Newsletter
          Friday, 19 June 2020

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Local News


BC Waterfront joins Juneteenth Global Movement to end racism

International Longshore & Warehouse Union Canada (ILWU Canada) and the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) stopped cargo operations at BC ports during the day shift today to join ILWU International in observing Juneteenth, a commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.  The work stoppage was sanctioned by the ILWU and employers in west coast ports in the US and Canada.  The BCMEA and ILWU Canada have also agreed to work together on a joint initiative to affect positive change on BC’s Waterfront and will formalize a plan to fight racism, promote equality and support the aspirations of both indigenous and racialized Canadians.

Mission to Seafarers shifts to minister ship crews from the gangway

The Mission to Seafarers’ Senior Port Chaplain Peter Smythe’s interview with the Vancouver Sun speaks to the challenges with supporting seafarers in light of COVID-19 restrictions.  With seafarers spending more time onboard with little shore leave to keep themselves and others protected from the virus, chaplains are now visiting more ships at the bottom gangway to check in with the crew.  Physical and mental health are a growing concern as crew changes have not been easy with shore leave restrictions, travel bans and embassy closures.  Remember to show the seafarers you care on International Day of the Seafarer on June 25th and if using social media #SeafarersAreKeyWorkers.

Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards land $2.4b contract for pair of navy vessels

The federal government has awarded a contract for full construction of a pair of joint support ships to be built at the company’s North Shore facility. Seaspan has committed to investing 100% of the value into the Canadian economy as part of its contract. The design contract for the vessels was awarded in February 2017 and construction of the early blocks of the first ship began in June 2018. Construction of the second ship begin once the first ship has been completed. The first ship, the HMCS Protecteur, will be the largest naval ship by length ever built in Canada at a length of 173.7 metres. The support ships will deliver fuel and other vital supplies to other vessels at seas, while also offering medical and dental services as well as facilitate helicopter maintenance. The two ships are expected to be delivered in 2023 and 2025, respectively.

Montreal longshore get permission to strike amid contract talks

Montreal longshore workers have gotten permission to strike after an industrial relations board ruled the port is not an essential service to the region, but longshore workers say they have agreed to return to contract negotiations with employers rather than taking the strike option. The Canada Industrial Relations Board on June 8 ruled that the Maritime Employers Association (MEA) failed to demonstrate that a strike would cause enough risk to public safety and security, pointing to alternative routings and modes for cargo transport to the Montreal region if longshore workers did strike. The ability to strike could give the longshore workers' union Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 375 more leverage in its negotiations with employers for a future contract. The six-year contract between port workers and employers expired Dec. 31, 2018.

Differing status of some coastal grey whales between Canada and the US may lead to a potential conflict

Approximately 27,000 eastern North Pacific grey whales migrate between Mexico’s Baja California peninsula the Bering, Beaufort and Chukchi Seas annually. However, about 250 animals skip the full migration and spend from spring until fall feeding along the coast from northern California to southeast Alaska. Unfortunately, a cross-border controversy is brewing that could put some of the whales that break off from the main migration, identified as the Pacific Coast Feeding Group, directly in the waters where the Makah Tribe, based in Neah Bay, have applied to hunt up to 25 whales over 10 years. The proposal for the renewed hunt is being supported by the US National Marine Fisheries Service, a branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which has asked an administrative law judge for a waiver to the Marine Mammal Protection Act. While the US is taking this into consideration, in Canada, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada recommended to the environment minister in October 2018 that the Pacific group should be designated as endangered under the Species at Risk Act. Fisheries and Oceans Canada will ask for feedback on listing the whales later this year. If the recommendation to classify them as endangered is accepted, the population and their critical habitats will receive additional protection, and a recovery strategy will be put into action. That would mean that if the Makah hunt is approved in the US, the whales that are protected in Canada could be hunted just across the border.

China raises concerns with pests in BC log exports

China says it has found longhorn beetles and bark beetles in logs from Canada, raising concerns that Beijing may be targeting Canadian exports in retaliation of the case again the Huawei executive detained for extradition to the US.  In 2019, logs to China represented an export value of more than $383 million.  Currently, logs are continuing to move from Canada to China, with Canadian forestry representatives indicating that this is business as usual as commercial relationships remain strong.

Port of Montreal further cuts GHG emissions in 2019

The Port of Montreal has reported a continuous decrease over the past seven years in the intensity of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the Port of Montreal- (MPA) specific activities per tonne of cargo handled. The decrease has enabled the port to achieve Green Marine level 5 performance – a 45.3 per cent reduction in intensity since the 2007 control year, as reported in the Port Authority’s latest sustainable development report. 145 sustainable development actions were taken in 2019, including measures to protect at-risk species, planting 750 trees, installing a new electrical connection for a decommissioned vessel and the launch of an urban beekeeping project.

Vancouver Shipping Lunch holds virtual Webinar

In light of the covid-19 pandemic and the shift to online meeting, the Vancouver Shipping Lunch, decided to move to a virtual Webinar on June 18. The webinar featured three speakers who gave very informative presentations: Mr. Rick Mackenzie, Vice President of RBC Global Asset Management, offered the Bank's thoughts on the global economy, and thoughts on the path to recovery; Mr. Peter Amat, General Manager of Pacific Basin Shipping (Canada) Limited, focused on the Handymax and Supramax drybulk market update during the pandemic and its impact and also its outlook; and, Mr. Robert Lewis-Manning, president of Chamber of Shipping of BC, talked  about  impact  of the Pandemic on our Canadian maritime policy and the  government’s  solution to deal with pandemic. With 76 registrants, the free event garnered a number of interesting questions. The event was recorded and can be accessed here. Password: 0w+^r+*4




Canada extends border closure and develops mobile tracing app

The Canadian and United States governments have extended the border closure to non-essential and discretionary travel for another month.  The border restrictions that were set to expire on June 21st have now been extended to July 21st.  Workers in marine transportation continue to be recognized as essential but must comply with the requirements to file a quarantine plan both federally and provincially upon entering Canada. The plan is only to be adhered to if COVID-19 symptoms develop. The Government of Canada also announced this week that a contract tracing app is in the beta test phase in Ontario. The app will help Canadians and public health officials identify and isolate the spread of the virus more quickly and is expected to be available for a free download in the coming weeks.


US News


FMC formally launches investigation of Canadian government ballast water regulations

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has formally initiated its investigation of pending Canadian ballast water regulations alleged to be unfavorable and detrimental to US flag Laker vessels. The Notice specifies how interested parties can communicate with the Commission in this matter and establishes a deadline for filing comments 30 days following publication of the Notice in the Federal Register. If the regulations are finalized as proposed, they would require vessels in Canadian waters to develop and implement a ballast water management plan to be imposed upon US flag vessels when loading ballast water after offloading export cargo at Canadian ports. Canada contends that the proposed regulations are required pursuant to an International Maritime Organization (IMO) treaty to which Canada is a party, but which the United States is not a signatory.

Five US container-on-barge projects get federal funding

The US federal government has awarded $5.7 million to five planned and existing container-on-barge efforts with the goal of reducing truck congestion and giving cargo owners additional, greener, and cheaper transportation options. The Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD), which runs the program, has given out $33.8 million in grants over the last four years for such projects. The grants will go to waterborne freight services in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, New York, New Jersey, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, and American Samoa. Tidewater Barge Lines of Vancouver, Washington received the largest of the grants, $3.2 million, to support the expansion of barge services between the Port of Morrow in Boardman, Oregon and Vancouver.


International News


Pope encourages seafarers amid Covid-19 crew change challenges

Pope Francis has thanked maritime personnel and fishermen for their important contribution throughout the coronavirus pandemic. In a video message, he acknowledged the challenges faced by seafarers as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Study calls for urgent action on cutting emissions from existing ships

According to a study by the University of Manchester, urgent action is needed to target emissions from existing ships in order to deliver on what is dictated by the global Paris Agreement and the IMO 2050 targets. The study urges for greater attention to be put on retrofitting existing ships with green solutions instead of relying on the net-zero ships of the future. The average age of a ship scrapped in 2018 was 28 years, and as such many ships trading today are likely to be sailing the seas in 2030 as well, making it much harder to achieve reduction targets than other modes of transport with a more rapid turn-over of assets. Without action, the study claims that existing ships are expected to emit well over 100% of a Paris-compatible carbon budget, the study said. Access the full study here.

MOL Initiative To Realize Autonomous Sailing Ready To Start Demonstration Voyages

In cooperation with Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding and Furuno Electric, the MOL Group has announced that they have formed a consortium to apply to the Nippon Foundation to fund demonstration voyages to test underlying technologies for autonomous sailing within the fiscal year 2020. The consortium has been developing technologies for autonomous sailing, and plan to conduct demonstration voyages of their autonomous sailing operation system, from unberthing to berthing. With the support from Nippon Foundation, the demonstration tests will start in 2020. The autonomous vessels seek to further enhance safe operation by using new underlying technologies, and reduce crewmembers’ workload.

Putting the focus on the people

With the Day of the Seafarer right around the corner, it is important to remember that the vessels we rely so heavily on are all run by a team of dedicated individuals. Mercy ships, an international development organization operating state-of-the-art hospital ships run by skilled volunteers to deliver free world-class medical services are in the mix. Several of the volunteers who serve aboard the Africa Mercy are seafarers, and among them earlier this year was Canadian Gregory Abakhan. After a career switch in 2016, Gregory finds himself on board the world’s largest civilian hospital ship as a Lead Deckhand un Sub-Saharan Africa to serve some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world. You can read Gregory’s full story here.


Upcoming Events


June 23 - COS Operations Committee Meeting

June 24 - PACMAR / NANs Committee Meeting
June 25 - International Day of the Seafarer

June 26 - COS Liner Committee Meeting

June 30 - Plimsoll Club Annual General Meeting

July 1 - Canada Day – Office Closed


Ship of the Week




The first overseas car freighter with low-emission LNG propulsion is now in service for Volkswagen Group. The vessel, Siem Confucius, will transport more than 4,800 vehicles from Europe to North and Central America. The car freighter is powered by LNG. The LNG drive reduces carbon dioxide emissions by up to 25 percent, nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 30 percent, soot particles by up to 60 percent and sulphur oxide emissions by up to 100 percent.
  • Length: 200m
  • Breadth: 38m
  • Decks: 13
  • Capacity: 7,500 Car Equivalent Units (CEU)