I partly attribute my loss of a good job
, and those of my 20
shipmates last year, to the ability of cargo owners to be quickly granted Canada Transportation Act waiver
– where foreign owned ships, who pay no Canadian income tax (among others),
hire no Canadians, yet operate in Canadian waters, or between Canadian
ports. As a guy who’s invested pretty heavily in a seagoing Marine Engineering
career, and the entire BS that goes with it in Canada, this irks me to no end.
As a result, over the last year, I have been following the CanadianTransportation Agency
’s (CTA) news feed of the waiver applications. From my
perspective, the type and frequency of the applications is trending upwards. It
used to be that very specialized offshore oil service vessels would be granted
waivers. Now, even tug and barges, tankers, and platform supply vessels are
routinely being applied for.
For example, rarely a month goes
by that Irving Oil does not
apply for, and is granted, multiple waivers on the East Coast. You would think that being on the
receiving end of so much of my tax dollars, a sizable portion taken from my meager Canadian
sailor paycheck, via government grants and contracts; they would show leadership
maintaining proper Canadian tanker capacity, for their needs, instead of
bringing in foreign tankers. If they have such a big need to use foreign tonnage, when are they going to be required to do something about it (...I know, I know, its Irving, and I was asking a rhetorical question).
|PSV Magne Viking bound to |
work in Cdn. waters
In the latest round of applications, mostly for East Coast
operation, I see Platform Supply Vessels on the list. These are not high end
specialized vessels per se. Is there really no Canadian operator willing to
provide a vessel, or is willing to take on a contract to build or operate a
vessel, to support East Coast operations? Not even the willingness to ask a
foreign operator to start a Canadian division, at least have some Canadian
Now, I know as a “West coaster” I am not allowed to work on the
East Coast (anything east of Quebec), so what rights do I have to complain,
but still, this trend is worrisome and infectious. I even see a tug and barge
waiver application. For the love of god! Where does it end?
Okay, so I am ranting a bit here, and the reason is that I
understand business, hey, it’s competitive out there, bla, bla, bla. But what really
set me off was a visit to the PSV operator’s websites.
(now part of Tidewater) and Viking
, you are planning
to work in Canadian waters
with your PSV (they are really nice though),
to help other foreign owned and operated assets, exploit Canadian natural
resources off Canada’s coast (which my tax dollar have been administrating and protecting
for years) – great. Perhaps you might be interested in hearing from a Canadian
Marine Engineer - a bonus, “local content” and an access to an experienced
|Troms Castor, aptly named perhaps?|
So, I think can compete on the global marketplace (well not
really, thanks to Transport Canada, but that’s a different subject), and when I
visit the HR area of these operators’ website, the message is plain spoken;
only Scandinavians seafarers
need apply. I could not even send them a resume
for the remote chance of even being considered.
I am by no means upset by these company's policy -
well, a little maybe – jealous really - to the contrary, perhaps our
government could grab a clue (and some balls), and follow this example. Because,
I am getting sick and tired of working on old boat, for scraps of work, making
subsistence wages, because we have no faith in investing in Canadian expertise
or equipment, to exploit our own resources.
I highly recommend that you follow the CTA's news feed / mailing list
it’s quite enlightening. The CTA has made it more difficult than it used to be,
to follow these proceedings, requiring an excessive amount of website
navigation to find the marine waiver applications, and those granted, but if
you use the email service, it’s a bit easier to follow. And judging from my
experiences last year with this system, it’s only a matter of time before you,
yes even you, as a Canadian in general, and as a professional seafarer in
particular, are impacted. Educate yourselves, speak out!
Oh yeah, right, the “speak out” part is kinda of a stupid
comment, as the whole process of granting a waivers is not impacted by any
seafarers, or other industry stakeholder for that matter – we have absolutely
no say in the process. The process is entirely between ship owners and cargo /
mission owners, with the government (funded by me) to act as go between, while
they ‘divvy up the pie’ - must be nice.
Maybe you could have a say to your Member of Parliament
instead, not that's very useful either
, judging from my past experiences, but worth a try. Or maybe we should be just done with the window dressing - "protecting" Canadian (very few selected businesses) interest and delete the Coasting Trade Act altogether. Maybe an average taxpayer like me, might not have to fund this insult.
|The process, from CTA's website|