TC - Interesting for all the wrong reasons

It caught my eye one evening on watch, while catching up on my maritime news. There it was a Transport Canada (TC) advertisement, a few simple lines, in French and English, in a US based magazine. Well, that was strange to start with, I thought to myself, then I read the ad: “News for owners of vessels over 24 meters, change in service delivery for certification and inspections”.  
I know about delegation, but I thought this was an optional program. According to this ad it would seem like TC has made it mandatory effective January 2014, for basically all commercial vessels that most of us are accustomed to.

Wow! Just think about it.

If TC is not going to inspect or even issue certification to commercial ships, defer that responsibility to class, what’s left for them to do? Recreational stuff, some small commercial, nothing that really matters to the greater shipping industry, mostly just hassling individuals people like seafarers. That is pretty astounding, and scary, for a federal agency to give up so much power and oversight to commercial entities.

I am sure that someone at TC would argue that they maintain the authority to enforce and create regulations. Yeah, of course you do; which is why as a professional seafarer, I am most worried with this plan. How can you make effective regulations and policy on commercial shipping, really the meat and potatoes of their “clients” / mandate, if you withdraw more and more the ability to see what’s actually going onboard, in the industry.

TC - Interesting for all the wrong reasons
Despite withdrawing front counter services left, right, and center, TC still seems to have a huge bureaucracy that is going to have to justify itself. But if you’re not enforcing laws, because you’ve delegated that authority to business entities, or just the fact that “regulators” don’t get out from their cubicles, then what are you going to do? Where are you going to get the technical skills to create policies and regulations?

I would imagine that they’ll squeeze the remainder of their clients / mandate; harass small time operators, individual seafarers - as if the certification process was not bullshit enough – and recreational boaters.

Speaking of that recreational boater. I know TC is a notoriously shy agency, but I get the feeling that the agency has a considerable pedigree of experienced seafarers, especially those trained overseas. This should certainly be interesting as to how regulations will be developed for recreational boaters, fishermen and small time operators in Canadian waters.   

This must be a boon for the large operators. Basically they get to wield their usual business prowess with their vessel’s Class, without interference from the people who are supposed to regulate them. I don’t blame them, really they are looking after their own interest, and when you’re encountered with a dysfunctional system, you press for change. I know I have…

As an added bonus to established operators in Canada, TC will crack down with their famous “variable standards” on any budding business. This “see, were still relevant” reaction, is sure to prevent any small operator from becoming a serious competitor, and posing a threat to the established players in the market.

The simplicity of the ad was quite comical, given the huge impacts this has on us as professional Canadian seafarers working domestically. It is astounding that Transport Canada would even push this agenda in the wake of the Lac Megantic calamity hanging over their heads. I must say I am jealous of the ship owner’s et al, to get such treatment.  

I wish TC would relinquish their responsibility for the certification of seafarer process, and let it be properly reviewed and modified to meet real world realities. But I am afraid that at the end of the day, blaming individual is quite trendy, and necessary for governments. TC won’t give up that file as they need to keep the sacrificial lambs on a tight leash and close by. Blaming individuals, the “bad apple”, allows the system and the larger entities from ever bearing the true consequences of reckless behaviour – the rotten barrel, filled with low quality genetically modified apples stored in a wet damp location. 

I’d love to give you more information, but the ad only gives names of 5 approved Class Societies now doing TC’s work, and gives the general TC website and phone number; there, “due diligence” criteria met.

After 30 minutes getting lost on the TC website I finally found something to reference to, clear here for more info on this program.
Pictures from the interwebs

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