Marine Safety & Security

Federal inaction cited in vessel sinking

The Transportation Safety Board says that the capsize of a Nova Scotia fishing boat with the loss of six crewmembers during a gale in December 2020 can be linked to federal inaction on recommended stability standards. Modifications by the vessel’s owners, Yarmouth Sea Products, had raised its centre of gravity but the TSB said in its March 22 report that Transport Canada inspectors had had not told the company about the heightened risk of instability. [node:read-more:link]

New marine biodiversity pact

After more than a decade of often fractious debate, the UN has drafted an unprecedented agreement protect high seas biodiversity but it won’t be published until it has been legally scrutinized. It would apply to the more than 60 per cent of the oceans outside national offshore zones of 370 kilometres. [node:read-more:link]

U.K. firm liable in Beirut blast

Two and a half years after a massive dockside explosion in Beirut killed more than 200 persons and injured more than 6,000 others, a British court has ruled that a London-based company which chartered the ship that delivered the ammonium nitrate in 2013 is liable. Court documents show that senior Lebanese political, judicial and security officials were aware of the risk but had not taken action. [node:read-more:link]

Ocean research funding announced

The federal government has committed $4.5 million over five years for research Fisheries & Oceans Minister Joyce Murray expects will give a clearer picture of how the marine ecosystem is changing and how to sustainably manage resources. Among other things, the project will study currents, marine safety and incident response, and how noise from shipping and other anthropogenic sources affects marine life. [node:read-more:link]

Decomissioned aircraft carrier scuttled

The Brazilian navy scuttled a decommissioned aircraft carrier, which it acquired from France in 2000, in a five-kilometres deep area of the Atlantic 350 kilometres off Brazil’s east coast February 3. The navy had said two days earlier that it had little choice despite a last-minute legal challenge because the ship was at risk of sinking. [node:read-more:link]

Iran renewing tanker attacks?

Debris recovered from an Israeli-owned oil tanker attacked in international waters off Oman last week has prompted the U.S. Navy to say today that it was the same type of Shahed-136 drone that Iran has supplied to Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. The drone’s explosion caused minor damage to the Liberian-registered ship’s stern above the waterline. There was a similar attack on another Israeli tanker off Oman in July 2021 but Iran denied responsibility. [node:read-more:link]

Russia launches two nuclear icebreakers

A flag-raising ceremony and dock launch today for two Russian nuclear-powered icebreakers tasked with ensuring year-round operations in the Western Arctic was attended remotely by President Vladimir Putin. “Both icebreakers were laid down as part of a large serial project and are part of our large-scale, systematic work to re-equip and replenish the domestic icebreaker fleet, to strengthen Russia’s status as a great Arctic power,” Putin said. He also said his country’s current economic difficulties would not stop further development of the fleet. [node:read-more:link]

Canada’s northern presence ineffectual

A report today from the Office of the Auditor General says that Canada lacks a complete picture of who is entering or traversing Arctic waters, partly due to the fact that a naval surveillance station can only operate four weeks a year. Overall, it says, the country cannot stay on top of threats to national security, illegal fishing or pollution posed by marine traffic which has tripled in recent years as sea ice diminishes. [node:read-more:link]

Arctic summer ice loss accelerating

A State of the Cryosphere report released at the latest UN global climate change conference predicts that the Arctic will lose its entire summer sea ice cover at least once in the next few decades and probably more frequently “It's a threshold tipped,” Pamela Pearson, a former U.S. diplomat and one of the report’s editors, said November 7. “Loss of summer sea ice is now inevitable.” [node:read-more:link]

Russia reverses course on shipping deal

Days after suspending support for Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea, Russia has agreed to reverse its decision after talks with Turkey, which was instrumental in brokering the safe-passage agreement. Russia said November 1 that Ukraine had given written assurances not to use the route for military purposes. [node:read-more:link]

Turkey adamant about Ukrainian exports

The Turkish government said November 1 that it is determined to ensure that Ukrainian food exports will continue despite Russia’s abandonment on the weekend of a deal, brokered by Turkey, which is designed to ensure free movement of shipments out of a key Black Sea port. [node:read-more:link]

Russia suspends Ukraine grain deal

Accusing Ukraine of a drone attack on its Black Sea Fleet in Crimea, Russ has suspended its involvement in a deal to permit Ukraine to export grain from its ports there. Without offering evidence, the Kremlin also said British forces were involved in the attack, an accusation Britain dismissed as “peddling false claims of an epic scale.” [node:read-more:link]

Looming ecodisaster in Red Sea

Canada has sent $2.5 million to the UN in response to an appeal months ago for help in salvaging a decaying oil storage and offloading tanker in the Red Sea off Yemen, but the UN is still waiting for other countries to fulfill pledges made months ago. The tanker, which has seen little to no maintenance since 2015, contains some 223,000 cubic metres of crude. Warning that time is running to prevent a major environmental disaster, the UN estimated that a clean-up would cost at least US$20 billion. [node:read-more:link]

Navy and Coast Guard projects affected by strike

A strike by at one Canada’s largest tugboat operators, Seaspan ULC, continues to slow vessel movements in British Columbia and is affecting the company’s shipyard operations, which include work on two Royal Canadian Navy supply ships and a Canadian Coast Guard research vessel. [node:read-more:link]

Border patrol exercise proves fruitful

A recent Canada-U.S. maritime border control exercise in the waters between British Columbia and Washington state turned into the real thing. Coordinated by the RCMP Border Integrity as part of a regular series of are usually routine operations, the interception and boarding of several vessels in the August exercise yielded several individuals associated with transnational organized crime [node:read-more:link]


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