Saturday, January 19, 2008

Crew members found dead on ship

I took this off the BBC site.
It is bad enough with all the hazards you face going to sea, that chemicals inside containers can also kill.
I will definitely be watching for more info on this report.

Two crew members have been found dead on board a container ship forced to dock at the Port of Dover in Kent.

The Latvian-registered Sava Lake had contacted Dover Coastguard on Friday night to report an incident on board.

A spokesman for Kent Fire and Rescue said the deaths, which are not being treated as suspicious, were believed to have been caused by a chemical leak.

The vessel, which was carrying ferrous metal from Denmark to Portugal, moored at Dover Harbour at 2150 GMT.

The ship with a seven-strong crew on board had alerted Dover Coastguard at 1905 GMT after the deceased, believed to be either Latvian or Russian, were discovered.

'Non-hazardous cargo'

A spokesman for Kent Fire and Rescue said: "A specialist chemical response team was sent to identify any dangerous atmospheres on board."

Kent Police added that the ship's cargo was non-hazardous, and posed "no risk to the public".

A spokeswoman said the force was conducting a joint investigation on behalf of the coroner with the Marine Accident Investigation Branch.

Gwyn Prosser, the Labour MP for Dover who spent more than 20 years at sea, praised the coastguard and the emergency services for their prompt response.

But he said seafaring was still a very dangerous occupation with people going into confined spaces which had very little ventilation being one of the most common forms of death.

"Whatever the outcome of this inquiry, I'm sure that lessons will be learnt that might make life a little bit safer for seafarers in the future," he said.

Further From BBC:

Checks follow cargo ship concerns Firefighters have been making regular checks on a container ship in Dover where two crew members were found dead, following concerns about its cargo.
The Latvian-registered Sava Lake moored in Dover on Friday after the deaths were discovered. They were thought to have been caused by a chemical leak.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service said it was keeping an eye on the temperature of ferrous metal on board.
Maritime and Coastguard Agency officers detected a heat presence at 1435 GMT.
A spokeswoman for Kent Fire and Rescue Sevice said officers had continued to make periodic checks on the temperature of the Sava Lake's cargo to make sure the ship was safe to sail.
The vessel is expected to leave the Port of Dover on Tuesday.
Kent Police said the ship's cargo was non-hazardous, and posed "no risk".
The ship with a seven-strong crew on board had alerted Dover Coastguard at 1905 GMT on Friday after the deceased, believed to be either Latvian or Russian, were discovered.
Kent Police are conducting a joint investigation on behalf of the coroner with the Marine Accident Investigation Branch.
Story from BBC NEWS: 2008/01/21 22:54:39 GMT

Friday, January 18, 2008

Scientists target ships’ rock ’n’ roll

Navy Sailors will be happy about this!!!

Unwanted vessel motion causes more problems than seasickness
By CHRIS LAMBIE Staff Reporter

Seasick sailors rejoice. Defence scientists are looking for a way to reduce the amount warships roll by half. "One of the aims is to increase crew comfort because ship motions have several effects on humans," said Kevin McTaggart, an engineer with Defence Research and Development Canada. "The one that a lot of people are familiar with is seasickness, which, of course, is a problem for people, including our sailors in the navy."

Queasy crewmen can experience difficulties doing simple things like using computer keyboards.
"You get nauseous and you have trouble concentrating," Mr. McTaggart asid.
When a ship rolls excessively, crewmembers can stumble and fall, causing injuries, he said.
"The other thing that ship motions cause is physical fatigue. One of the problems with physical fatigue is that it tends to accumulate with time."

When a vessel rolls a lot, sailors are constantly using their muscles to keep themselves upright.
"And the other aspect is that, if the ship motions are quite large, then you have trouble sleeping at night."
Besides making life more comfortable for sailors, the technology could allow warships to complete dangerous tasks in much rougher seas than they can now.
"It might extend the sea conditions under which you could do helicopter operations or replenishments at sea," Mr. McTaggart said.
He’s planning a $90,000 feasibility study that will examine several different possible methods to reduce rolling.
"One of the things used quite a bit by the U.S. navy, in particular, is rudder-roll stabilization," he said.
"They monitor the ship motions and then they use a fairly sophisticated control system to drive the rudder, so that it’s not only steering the ship, but also reducing the roll motions at the same time."
Another possibility is stabilizer fins mounted in the middle of ships at an angle. Like the rudder systems, they move automatically to make ships sail more smoothly.
"We think there’s potential for reducing the roll motions by up to 50 per cent," Mr. McTaggart said.
Before people put away the seasickness pills altogether, he cautioned that nothing will reduce pitching or heaving motions in the navy’s frigates and destroyers.
But it might help lessen the corkscrewing combination of pitching and rolling that drives many to the leeward rail to lose their lunch.
The roll-reduction technology could be applied to any new warships the navy buys, he said.
"It’s also applicable to refits of existing ships. It’s the sort of thing that you might consider during a mid-life refit."
There’s a possibility, he said, that the roll-reduction systems could be installed in Canada’s 12 Halifax-class frigates during their $3.1-billion mid-life refit expected to take place between 2010 and 2017.
"Generally, smaller ships roll more than larger ships," Mr. McTaggart said. "But even on larger vessels of 4,000 to 8,000 tonnes, the roll motions can be certainly very noticeable and can impact on operations."
Besides the Americans, the British navy is using roll-reducing technology in its warships. Some civilian vessels also employ similar devices to seemingly reduce the motion of the ocean.
The feasibility study will examine how noisy and robust any roll-reducing system might be, as well as how vulnerable it would be to shock and ice.
It will also look at how much the anti-rolling systems cost.
"For a rough order of magnitude, I would say it would be a fraction of one per cent of the total ship cost," Mr. McTaggart said.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Bangladesh in the maritime world

This neat article on Bangladesh and its maritime aspirations and achievements came across my desktop recently; I thought it quite insightful. I like the comment that marine engineers are regarded as equivalent to senior officials in government and in the private sector. Most modern countries see engineering officers as no more than a plumber or electrician. Interesting to read overall.

Water World
James Brewer, 5 December 2007 Lloyds List

FEW countries are more intimately linked with maritime transport than Bangladesh, and few countries are in greater need of deploying the sector more productively to raise the level of the economy.

A group of marine specialists is determined to spur this growth. They are linked in common cause through the Institute of Marine Engineering Science and Technology. The Bangladesh Branch is one of 47 IMarEST branches globally and one of the most active.

In recent times, the country has been plunged into the agony of Cyclone Sidr, which killed more than 2,000 residents, and caused the massive tidal surge that devastated three coastal towns and forced more than 1m people to leave their homes.

Floods in mid-year killed more than 1,000 people. Bangladesh is battered by storms every year, but water is a potentially much more of a life supporter than a threat.

Sajid Hussain, principal of MAS Maritime Academy is one of those determined to encourage the new generations to turn “poor Bangla” into a Shapnapuri (dreamland).

No-one could doubt the enthusiasm of Mr Hussain. He has written seven books, 15 research/technical papers and 175 articles on institute and industry topics.

Given that Bangladesh is sited on the world’s largest delta, for obvious reasons more than 90% of its trade is transported by sea and rivers. Hence, shipping and seafarers are always considered to be the most important factor for development of the national economy, says Mr Hussain.

In shipbreaking, through the last three decades, Bangladesh has emerged as a leading country and in terms of larger ships, it is top and in terms of numbers, second to India.

With an acute shortage of seafaring personnel, and shore experts, after breaking away from Pakistan in 1971, Bangladeshi ships had to be run by foreign officers. But soon this shortage was over. Traditionally, Bangladeshi officers used to go to UK for their certificates of competence. The number of trained (mainly by the UK) local marine officers started increasing and the trend continues, as a result of world demand. A good number of Bangladeshi officers are enjoying employment in foreign ships.

In spite of financial and other constraints, Bangladesh has a total of around 40 ocean-going vessels in the public and private sectors, totalling around 400,000 dwt. About 95% of overseas trading is routed through the ports of Chittagong and Mongla. The government has been pursuing a policy of encouraging the private sector to grow side by side, to share its responsibility towards the national shipping trade.

“The social status of a marine engineer or marine scientist in Bangladesh is well recognised,” says Mr Hussain. “On the one hand, he is a prudent technologist and on the other, considered as a smart citizen earning good name and fame for the country.

“Thus he is always warmly welcomed at all corners of our society. In a word, every citizen of Bangladesh respects a marine engineer for having a spontaneous quality of working independently, along with technical leadership.”

A marine engineer with a class one certificate of competence is regarded officially as equivalent to a senior government officer, associate professor in an university or a general manager in a private office.

It is generally estimated that there are around 2,000 marine engineers in Bangladesh. Besides sailing in Bangladesh, as well as in foreign flag vessels often of blue-chip brand, these engineers, described by Mr Hussain as “truly international by profession, certification (mostly UK certificate holders) and competence,” are increasingly seen to be in high-ranking techno-management positions in the three broad areas of Bangladesh shipping.

These areas are maritime administration, shipping trade and maritime education. They are also enjoying roles as ship operators, market analysts, shipmanagers, shipbuilders, shiprepairers, marine equipment makers, towage and salvage operators, ship financiers, marine insurance personnel, maritime lawyers, shipbreakers, shipbrokers, marine consultants, maritime lecturers, marine surveyors and port managers.

Of particular note, a group of Bangladeshi marine engineers are performing a key role in the operation and maintenance of the country’s recently installed barge-mounted power plants that are meeting half of the country’s electricity demand.

A developing country like Bangladesh, says Mr Hussain, needs an integrated economy. Obviously, to a large degree, it is dependent on the foreign earnings.

The specific role of the Bangladesh maritime industry is to ensure and continuously develop that economy by providing employment, supply (export/import) and earning foreign currency. This is a truism, but its relevance can be seen from the fact that Bangladesh earns 70%-80% of its national revenue through Chittagong port. All this points to a series of requirements.

The maritime industry needs basic infrastructure to be masterminded by the government, and easier procedures for private entrepreneurs in establishing their own maritime/shipping businesses with facilities such as tax-waivers.

In the vast shiprepair, shipbreaking and rising shipbuilding sector, Bangladesh needs to adapt more clearly to modern technology.

A large drydock to take panamax vessels is essential. “There is huge opportunity to develop the shipbuilding sector technologically,” Mr Hussain says. He advocates gtovernment subsidy or a tax holiday or exemption for the shipbuilding industry, to help win foreign orders.

“Our country needs steel mills to produce shipbuilding plates. At present raw materials like steel plates are being imported from overseas.”

Nor are there any companies building engines under license in Bangladesh.

A fully-fledged salvage unit is required for Chittagong port. The good news is that Prantik Marine Services, an internationally reputed local salvage company, has been looking at the possibilities of having a salvage unit stationed in Chittagong, in partnership with Smit Salvage.

Bangladesh is suffering from huge power shortage of 2,000 MW per day. “The country desperately needs power plants,” says Mr Hussain, “so perhaps it is time to think of setting up nuclear power plants, if we look at the population of our country, which is 150m and rising.

While the government is doing its best to attract foreign investors in all sectors of business including maritime, and there is a national fleet of 12 ocean-going ships including tankers, the IMarEST Bangladesh branch is providing valuable grassroots input.

The branch has a special interest in keeping all maritime personnel, including marine engineers, up to date with international developments, and upholding and upgrading professional standards through technical seminars and professional counselling for marine cadets.

Awareness among entrepreneurs is being fostered through technical seminars conducted by experts.

In contrast to problems in many parts of the world, there is no skill shortage in the country, says Mr Hussain, although foreign experts have been drafted to work on some projects.

The IMarEST Bangladesh branch was established in 1990 and formally inaugurated in March 1992. Later it was incorporated into the the organisation’s mid-east division. The branch is a member of the National Maritime Council and is invited by the ministry of shipping to comment on any changes or amendments in national maritime legislation or policy.

Since 2005, jointly with the local Nautical Institute, the branch has introduced reception and counselling to the cadets who pass out from the Bangladesh Marine Academy; 60 cadets at the end of 2005, and 69 a year later.

According to currnet branch chairman C F Zaman, the long-term goal of the branch is is to establish itself as a true umbrella body for all the marine engineers, scientists and technologists of Bangladesh and to be a fulcrum of the country’s economy. There are plans for its own premises, where a library for the members and non-members will be available. Space for rent will allow the branch to have its own source of revenue.

Learn more about Bangladesh, also try this link.

Friday, January 04, 2008

The apropriately named Northern Adventure

The MV Northern Adventure, BC Ferries latest vessel, hardly a year in service after the MV Queen of the North sinking, was sideline in the middle of its planned run between Prince Rupert and Pt Hardy on the January 2nd, 2008. According to the BC Ferries press release the engine, a MaK 16m32, shut down on safeties.

From the press release, it would appear that engine room staff used dirty lube oil to top off main engine lube oil sump(s), which contained a large amount of water. Ouch, that's going to leave a mark. Reminds me of the time I accidently put half a liter of Drewclean instead of Drew Enginewt in the make up tank. Boy, my obsessive cleanliness was taken to whole new level. ehehehe

Not being satisfied with purifying the oil, mama corp trucked fresh oil into Bella Coola , which was then transported by another BC Ferry to Bella Bella where the Northern Adventure was tied up. Once the oil was changed the ferry, having missed much of its intented schedule, returned to Prince Rupert to resume sailing on the 5th of January.

There must be more to the story. I am not sure how many screws, or engines are on that ship, but I would think it has at least two engines, it must be a badly designed plumbing to allow that to happen. If they are pumping from a drum, what a silly mess. To sideline the whole ship means they must have put dirty oil in all of the sumps, otherwise they could have kept going with the other shaft.

Mmmmmmm, interesting. Obviously there was a serious mistake that I am sure will not be made again with all this publicity.

Wikipedia on Northern Adventure. Press release from BC Ferries. New northern route ferry being built for BC Ferries in Germany (look for Hull 748 - also pictured below) to replace the Queen of Prince Rupert.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

So you think protection is good for bussiness?

Marine Log Magazine ran this letter to the editor, in their December 2006 issue, which I thought was very insightful.

The Jones Act, U.S. shipbuilding and competition

I read with interest the letter in your October issue from Mr. Duffelmeyer concerning Jones Act interpretations and saving U.S. jobs in shipbuilding in Philadelphia.

I started my career in 1959 with the world's largest shipbuilder, Bethlehem Steel. Shortly thereafter, I found out that we were the world's biggest shipbuilder only because of government protections. This has given me a different view on shipbuilding and government intervention. Let me explain.

The U.S. government and many in the U.S. shipping industry in the 20th century made the mistaken assumption that ship owners and shipbuilders share a common interest. That assumption caused us to "protect" U.S. interests with the Jones Act and Construction Differential Subsidies (CDS) support to build U.S., and Operational Differential Subsidies (ODS) support to operate U.S. flag. The direct result of this was that U.S. shipyards did not experience the incentive of competition that became a major factor in creating more efficient new shipyards in Europe and Asia after World War 11.

Rather than having a common interest with shipyards, shipowners want to buy ships wherever the price and quality are best.

It is a tragic irony that the true stimulus for the dramatic improvements in ship design for easier construction and more efficient shipbuilding came from the WW 11 "miracle" led by Vice Admiral "Jerry" Land. He led U.S. industry (not just traditional shipyards) in building nearly 6,000 merchant ships in less than six years.

After the war, the lessons of simpler design and efficient manufacturing were taken abroad by pioneers such as D. K. Ludwig, Elmer Hann and W. Edwards Deming. Deming advocated designing the whole process first, getting it right before building anything and eliminating costly "rework of mistakes." This philosophy reached its peak with Toyota which made money from its first car, a lesson Japanese shipbuilders mastered.

Meanwhile, large U.S. shipyards benefited in the :LgSo's-6o's from U.S. government-manclated tanker orders. once this "boom" had run its course, work for international trading newbuildings dwindled in the U.S. despite CDS support because neither U.S. designs nor shipbuilding practices could match those available in Europe and Japan.

In addition, the Jones Act trading fleet, largely composed of U.S. Gulf to Northeast tankers, generated few new orders in the 196o's.

During my career in research, design and operation of non-U.S. flag vessels, I have been saddened to see the decline in merchant ship design and construction in this country. it is an almost inevitable consequence of not getting enough orders to stay with the leaders in either design or manufacturing technology. This is ironic because during the same period Americans were behind many marine developments: Simple larger ships by Ludwig, LNG ships by Jim Henry, bulkers and self unloaders by Ole Skaarup, container ships by Malcom McLean and jack-ups, semisubmersibles, etc. in the U.S. oil patch. And, at the same time, the U.S. "shade tree" yards that stayed clear of government support succeeded in being competitive in world terms.

Large merchant shipyards in the U.S. have managed to be distinguished mainly by dissatisfied customers-LNG ships that failed their gas trials were delivered as total losses; new yards whose monster blocks failed to connect by feet, not fractions of an inch, a U.S. built twostroke main engine that blew up on its test bed; and other hard-to-swallow failures.

I hope that the few U.S. yards still building merchant ships can manage a better showing with the foreign help they have so wisely obtained. With real effort, these ships that cost nearly 3-4 times that of the foreign yards, should be brought much closer to world price levels. The ratio of U.S. to Asian wages can hardly explain these huge U.S. premiums if truly world class engineering and ship manufacturing is utilized. Lest shipbuilding labor here try to hide behind this time-worn argument, they should look at what Toyota has accomplished building in the U.S. as compared with Detroit's Big Three.

I realize that my views won't be welcomed by the bigger U.S. shipyards, allied industries, the government or Most MARINE LOG readers. However, if this country is ever going to do a better job in this field, it must face the failures of the past. Learning from one's mistakes is painful but essential.

William 0. Gray

Ship building in Canada

What are we waiting for Peter Cairns, President
Shipbuilding Association of Canada
June 4, 2007

In an industry known for its boom and bust cycles, the forecast for Canadian newbuilding requirements over the next 15 years should be signalling the start of another boom cycle in the shipbuilding industry. Shipyard executives are generally upbeat as their yards are starting to fill up with newbuilding and repair work.

Kiewit Offshore Services in Marystown, Nfld., is the shipbuilding partner in one of two teams competing to be selected as the builder of the Canadian Navy's Joint Support Ship (JSS).

At Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax, construction is about to begin on two cruise ships for Pearl Seas Cruises. These 91-metre vessels will carry about 165 passengers in considerable luxury.

At Davie Quebec, they have contracted for two 130-metre offshore vessels with options on four similar ships. Construction will begin this year.

The Upper Lakes Group subsidiary, Seaway Marine & Industrial, is beginning operation in the facilities previously used by Port Weller Dry Docks.

The Washington Marine Group (WMG) yards in North Vancouver and Victoria are members of the second JSS team and heavily involved with the project definition for the navy's Joint Support Ship, the construction of eight Orca class training vessels for the navy and the design and construction of an 125-car intermediate sized ferry for BC Ferries. WMG is also a member of the Victoria Class Submarine in-service support contract team.

At Allied Shipbuilders, they have recently completed what has been termed as "a newbuild using existing components" when they increased the capacity of the MV Kuper from 26 to 35 cars for BC Ferries.

Robert Allan Ltd. has had one of his tug designs selected as the "Tractor Tug of the Year" and has some 150 vessels of his design under construction around the world.

The Canadian Coast Guard is evaluating proposals to build eight mid-shore patrol vessels, the Frigate Life Extension Program is progressing through sign off and it has been announced in the press (but not by the government) that six Arctic patrol vessels will be constructed for the navy commencing in 2015.

This is exciting for the industry and has attracted offshore companies to partner with Canadian companies to address the challenges of some of the larger and more complex projects.

The projected combined navy and commercial domestic demand for new ships is calculated at about $9 billion. Of that about $3 billion will be for Canadian commercial ships. It is mandatory that the shipbuilding industry capture as much of the total demand as possible between now and 2020, if a viable modern shipbuilding industry is to be available to meet future Canadian requirements.

However, there are forces at work that may deny this country the shipbuilding capability it needs and deserves. One of the economic goals of this, and the last, government is to negotiate and implement bilateral free trade agreements. This is a worthy goal. Yet what are the benefits to industries and individuals? Except in the most basic macro economic terms the benefits and, for that matter the risks, to companies and individuals have not been well articulated. Like motherhood and apple pie, free trade is considered good in its own right. I suspect that apple pie (the thing) will not change, but in the new environment what are the prospects for the baker, the apple grower, the sugar supplier and the pie plate maker? Like those in the pie industry, I suspect that the workers in our automotive industry, like their shipbuilding brethren, are not particularly comfortable about their future prospects.

I would argue that Canada needs a transparent manufacturing sector strategy. Essentially a strategy focuses your thinking on what you wish to achieve and gives broad direction as to how it may be done. Strategy forms the base from which innovation can flourish. With a well-defined strategy comes purpose. Without a strategy much good effort in both government and the private sector can prove to be wasted, futile and costly. In my view, the formulation of an industrial strategy for this country is the raison d'ĂȘtre for Industry Canada.

In November of 2006, members of the shipbuilding industry, shipowners, offshore industries and various other interested marine industry stakeholders met with the Industry Minister and his advisors to discuss the problems facing the shipbuilding industry. At that meeting, the Shipbuilding Association made three recommendations to the Industry Minister for his consideration. They were:

• Reinstate the Structured Financing Facility and combine it with Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance for Canadian owners and operators;

• Adopt policies consistent with other shipbuilding countries to encourage investment in domestically built ships; and

• Create a shipyard environment and transformation fund on a 50/50 cost share basis with industry.

These three recommendations could form the foundation for an industrial strategy for the shipbuilding sector. Unfortunately to this date, there has been nothing forthcoming to the industry.

My TEU is bigger than yours

OK so some of you might be wondering why is there so much dated news here.... Well I am a sailor so it is a matter of custom to have "latest news" being dated about a year after it happened. Lately I have had some time to go through it, the results are these little posts.

This little gem below, from June 2006, from Canadian Sailings, Tom Peters writes a really neat article, I thought, because it brings us into perspective. Some, like me, complain that we are wasting away our potential, and not aggressively pursuing higher ideals when it comes to the Canadian maritime industry, settling for antiquated rules and attitudes that will see us pushed to the sidelines as our natural resources flow out of Canada on third world countries ships, that we "mock".

I wouldn't call a recent trip to China an eye-opener. It was more like a jawdropper.

The two-week journey with a delegation from the Port of Halifax, which was visiting a number of ports, terminal operators, shipping lines, freight forwarders and others, pretty much spelled out where China is in the container cargo world and where it wants to be.

The trip gave the Halifax port people an opportunity to sit down with their counterparts in Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Shanghai, as well as Seoul and Taipei, to hear about advancements in their ports, and also to talk about what Halifax has to offer in terms of berth, terminal and rail capacity, deep water, and so on. It also gave the delegation the chance to try to convince carriers to take a solid look at moving cargo to North American markets through the Suez Canal and over the Port of Halifax.

The meetings were cordial, and some more beneficial than others. Only time will tell if they will lead to new business.

But what the Halifax people did come away with, including myself, was a real look at the enormity of China's container cargo sector, and what the country is doing to make it even bigger.

If you think Canada, or North America, for that matter, are in the same container league as China, think again. Not only are we not in the same league, we are not even in the same game.

Here are some basic TEU comparisons. In 2005, the busiest port in Canada was Vancouver, which handled some 1.7 million TEUs. Montreal moved about 1.2 million and Halifax 550,000. Los Angeles, the busiest container port in North America, handled about 7.5 million, and New York some 4.8 million.

Let's look at 2005 numbers in China. The Port of Hong Kong, with several terminal operators and 100 ship cranes, handled 22.6 million TEUs and will move 27.9 million by 2010 and 40 million by 2020.

In Hong Kong harbour alone, a ship-to-barge operation, considered archaic by their standards, does 3 million TEUs a year.

The Shanghai Municipal Port Administration Bureau, which has several ports under its jurisdiction, including the new Port of Yangshan still under construction and with only one of four terminals operating, handled 18 million TEUs. By 2015, it will be moving 25 million TEUs.

Near the mouth of the Yangtze River, the Port of Yangshan is an enormous project that has already cost billions of dollars, and there are still a few years to go before it is completely finished. At thPublish Postat time, the deepwater port will comprise four major terminals with 52 berths stretched over two kilometres. The port has been built on Big and Little Yangshan islands, about two hours south of Shanghai in Hangzhou Bay.

Just to get to the island and the port, the Donghai Bridge - six lanes wide and 33 kilometres long - was constructed from the mainland. It cost an estimated C$2 billion.

The one terminal now in operation is served by 18 super-post-Panamax cranes and several yard gantry cranes that can stack containers seven high.

Third man out

Transport Canada has changed the way voyages are classed. Minor Water Class 4 voyages were meant to have disappeared under the new CSA and so would many towboats operating with only two crew. This policy seems to be a classic "east of the rockies" decision, taken with little input from other stakeholder such as the west coast tug boat industry. For the time being, things will remains as they are. Mark Wilson of Canadian Sailings explain in the June 26 issue what the scoop is.

On a side note, it should be interesting to see where these new crew member will come from.


Industry avoids expensive changes to operating practices ... for now

The B.C. towboat industry has avoided expensive changes to established operating practices that were threatened under the new Canada Shipping Act and Regulations. But, ominously, the reprieve is subject to future review.

The new act, along with the regulations that will give it bite, is due to come into force next spring. Currently draft regulations are being issued for final corporate comment. An earlier version of the regulations would have loaded new demands on small tugs used in West Coast harbours currently deemed to be hometrade IV waters.

Phillip J. Nelson, president of the Council of Marine Carriers, which represents much of the towboat industry on the Pacific coast, said towboat movements within harbour limits at Vancouver, Victoria, Prince Rupert, Kitimat, Nanaimo and some other ports are classed under the present act as home-trade voyages Class IV, where two-man tug operations are allowed.

The only other classification meriting such relaxed treatment covers minor waters; these are chiefly inland, though Jervis Inlet and Alberni Inlet are included.

"Under the new regulations, as first proposed, the industry could have seen the home-trade IV designation disappear and be faced with meeting new manning, equipment and vessel stability standards, as a consequence," Capt. Nelson said.

"One change would have been the need for a third crew member on what had previously been a two-man tug; an extra person over the service period of a vessel is a major cost. And then there would be the expense of providing additional or new lifesaving, firefighting, fire-suppression, and navigation and radio equipment. Changes to vessel stability requirements could force the retirement of some vessels."

Capt. Nelson said Transport Canada has relented and the hometrade Class IV will be retained for previously designated harbours and some sheltered waters, such as Howe Sound, the scenic fjord immediately north of Vancouver. The new regulations will term these voyages as "Sheltered Water Voyages."

In another concession, Transport Canada has agreed to continue an existing concession allowing Class IV voyages (or the new sheltered waters designation) between Vancouver harbour and Howe Sound, which has an operating pulp mill (another closed recently) and a deep-sea terminal.

Prior to 1994, tugs transiting between Vancouver harbour and Howe Sound had to be equipped to undertake home-trade Class III voyages (or obtain an exemption from Transport Canada). As only a narrow vector of non-designated water separates harbour and sound, a change was made to allow Class IV voyages between the two bodies of water. As first written, the new regulations would have abolished this dispensation.

The worry for the industry, Capt. Nelson said, is that Transport Canada has indicated that the designated sheltered waters are to be reviewed after the new act takes effect. Thus, arrangements that the industry has fought to retain could be changed.

A Case of A Little Too Much New Years Eve?

In St. John's, 2 ships go bump in the night
Last Updated: Wednesday, January 2, 2008 11:38 AM NT
CBC News
A Canadian Coast Guard vessel was struck in St. John's Harbour on New Year's Day when a transport ship bumped into it. The 224-metre container ship Cabot slipped its moorings in the harbour and then drifted into the coast guard vessel.

Crews manage to drop an anchor from the Cabot to stop the ship from drifting further. Oceanex, the company that owns the Cabot, had no comment on Wednesday, pending an investigation.
The incident happened around 6:30 a.m. Tuesday.