Links: New South Pacific ship disaster spills fuel off Christmas Island

The grounding of a ship off Christmas Island, an Australian territory, is turning into an environmental disaster, according to local news reports.

A Panama-flagged cargo ship carrying phosphate, the MV Tycoon split in two at Flying Fish Cove off Christmas Island Sunday afternoon. Local authorities say a huge swell ripped the ship from its moorings. Experts warned that the spill was a potential disaster for the ecologically important area, with crabs, birds and coral all threatened.

ABC News (Australia)Locals to tackle Christmas Island shipwreck spill (Dramatic video)

Sydney Morning Herald
Sunken ship oil spill leaves endangered species at risk
(includes video report)
Tycoon has history of problems: Greenpeace

The Western Australian Disaster zone as oil slick threatens wildlife

Australian Associated Press (via Herald Sun) Oil spilling from ship at Christmas Island

The MV Tycoon broke up just hours after the container Rena broke up off New Zealand.

Links January 4, 2012


Vancouver Sun series
B.C. residents support Northern Gateway pipeline project: poll

British Columbians by a 48-32 percentage margin support the $5.5-billion Northern Gateway pipeline project linking the Alberta oilsands to the West Coast, according to a new poll.The Ipsos-Reid survey, commissioned by project proponent Enbridge Inc. of Calgary, counters the perception that an overwhelming majority of British Columbians are against the controversial megaproject, according to Enbridge spokesman Paul Stanway.

Despite the promise of thousands of construction jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in contract opportunities, the business community in northern B.C. has had a low-key reaction to the controversial pipeline project.

Northern View (Prince Rupert) Cuts to Coast Guard hours and changes in procedure coming to Prince Rupert station

The Coast Guard is cutting back on the staff on watch at the Prince Rupert Coast Guard station as of this month, but only when someone can’t make their shift, and only if the supervisor thinks they can manage without. In order to save money the Federal Government is ordering DFO to claw back on the amount of overtime being paid to Coast Guard employees. There are usually three people manning communications equipment at all times in the Coast Guards marine communications and traffic services station in Seal Cove.

The Tyee Enbridge Pushes Oil Tanker Safety Strategy
Kitimat critics unconvinced by double hulls, super-tugs and fast response spill promises.

Journal Star (Lincoln Nebraska) Mike Klink: Keystone XL pipeline not safe a civil engineer and an inspector for TransCanada during the construction of the first Keystone pipeline, I’ve had an uncomfortable front-row seat to the disaster that Keystone XL could bring about all along its pathway.

Troy MediaThe Northern Gateway project is a Canadian decision
Foreign billionaires don’t care if thousands of Canadians go without jobs

US, European companies looking at LNG powered ships

Energy Environment Shipping

    As one ship  is grounded off New Zealand, causing an environmental “catastrophe”  and a second is grounded off  Nova Scotia,  a shipping company in New Orleans has announced that it will commission two vessels powered by a duel fuel system that includes liquified natural gas.

Harvey Gulf International Marine of New Orleans, Louisiana and Trinity Offshore of Gulfport, Mississippi said Friday it will build two offshore 92 metre (302 foot)  supply vessels, with a price tag of $55 million each with an option for a third. These vessels will service the oil and gas rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.

New Orleans City Business report

The vessels will also have environmental features to meet US  ENVIRO+ Green Passport Certification by the American Bureau of Shipping.

The ship’s propulsion system will be built by a Finnish company called Wärtsilä, which specializes in natural gas power plants on  land and integrated marine engine systems, as well as designing ships, including large ferries.

581-lngboat_500x285.jpg Wärtsilä

In a news release, John Hatley, a vice president of Wärtsilä North America remarked that “We are witnessing a transformation of the marine industry as it charts a course towards a new era for natural gas. It’s exciting for Wärtsilä to be a trusted partner in this launch with industry leader Harvey Gulf, whose natural gas supply vessel investment actions of today signal a coming paradigm shift. This is aimed at capturing operational savings while simultaneously reducing emissions.”

The company website says it supplies power systems for LNG carriers as well as container vessels, bulk carriers, drilling rigs and ships, offshore research vessels, floating production units, cruise ships  and  yachts.

The duel fuel system combines conventional marine fuel systems, gasoline, light fuel, heavy fuel or biofuel with liguified natural gas.

European shipping companies are adopting the duel fuel technology to meet emission standards that come into effect 2013.


The website says

This dual-fuel capability means that when running in gas mode, the environmental impact is minimized since nitrogen oxides (NOx) are reduced by some 85 per cent compared to diesel operation, sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions are completely eliminated as gas contains no sulphur, and emissions of CO2 are also lowered. Natural gas has no residuals, and thus the production of particulates is practically non-existent.

The shipping industry finds the operational savings that gas offers to be very compelling. Similarly, the significant environmental benefits that LNG fuel provides are of increasing importance. With fossil fuel prices, and especially the cost of low sulphur marine fuel, likely to continue to escalate, gas is an obvious economic alternative.

Two-stroke engine

On September 23, Wärtsilä, announced that it is now working on a two-stroke liquified natural gas engine.  The website says:

Wärtsilä… has successfully tested its new low-speed gas engine technology in trials conducted at the company’s facilities in Trieste, Italy…. 
Wärtsilä successfully demonstrated that the engine performance fully complies with the upcoming IMO Tier III nitrogen oxide (NOx) limits, thereby setting a new benchmark for low-speed engines running on gas.

The new RTX5 2-stroke test engine is part of Wärtsilä’s 2-stroke dual-fuel gas engine technology development programme. This is an important part of the company’s strategy to lower emissions, increase efficiency and to develop its low-speed engine portfolio to include dual-fuel gas engines alongside its medium-speed dual-fuel engines.
“The decision to initiate this project was announced in February 2011, just seven months ago. The fact that we have already conducted a successful test shows that our gas engine technology is at the forefront of meeting the future needs of shipping, a future that stipulates more stringent environmental regulation….

The tests with the RTX5 engine will continue during the autumn and winter of this year, and into 2012. More details about the engine technology and its performance will be announced upon completion of the programme.

Niger delta oil spills clean-up will take 30 years, says UN: Guardian

Energy Environment

The Guardian

Niger delta oil spills clean-up will take 30 years, says UN

The Guardian has obtained a copy of a special United Nations report on oil spills in the Niger River delta.

Devastating oil spills in the Niger delta over the past five decades will cost $1 billion to rectify and take up to 30 years to clean up, according to a UN report.

The UN Environment Programme (Unep) has announced that Shell and other oil firms systematically contaminated a 1,000 square kilometre (386 sq mile) area of Ogoniland, in the Niger delta, with disastrous consequences for human health and wildlife.

Nigerians had “paid a high price” for the economic growth brought by the oil industry, said Unep’s executive director.

Rex Murphy’s rant on search and rescue cutbacks: National Post

Link The Coast

Rex Murphy: A decision so dumb, only a government would make it

Rex Murphy, writing in The National Post is fully justified in his rant Saturday against more search and rescue cutbacks in Newfoundland by the Harper government. Since it involves his beloved “Rock,” my former colleague is at his rhetorical best (and as the northwest knows the BC coast faces equally dumb cutbacks here)

Scarcely had Mr. Harper captured the PM’s job again, this time as a
majority leader in the last election, when one of his ministers came out
with the equally ludicrous decision to move search-and-rescue
operations: Last week, it was announced that the co-ordination centre in
St. John’s (along with one in Quebec City) was slated for termination,
with services relocated to Halifax and Trenton, Ont.

And according to reports circulating this week, the Department of
National Defence’s search-and-rescue services might soon be privatized.
(Currently, the job is done in partnership between DND and the Coast
Guard, which is overseen by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans). If
that happens, there’s no telling where the services would be relocated.

What is in the air in Ottawa? How do such absurd notions take root in
the federal mind? Would they ever take similar steps in regard to, say,
the regulation of Lake Ontario shipping?

Search and Rescue is not some toy service. It concerns life and
death. And considering the tragedies that fret the history of the
province over the centuries, this would not only be a wrong decision,
but an offensive one, as well.

Rex is certainly right on this issue, but wrong about the weather, when he says about Newfoundland being special:

Newfoundland is unique. It stands alone, shrouded in impenetrable mists and answering to the rhythms of its own weather gods. Newfoundland weather is not a little like the world of subatomic physics; a buzz of random and paradoxical probabilities, a thing that may be observed but not measured or, contrariwise, measured but not observed, and not either, ever, from Halifax. It is a wonder and a despair.

The weather along the BC coast has been shrouded in impenetrable mists for most of this summer (if you can call it summer).

The decision by Coast Guard bureaucrats  to replace the (70 foot, 21 metre) Point Henry in Prince Rupert with a smaller, (47 foot, 14 metre) open motor life boat and the similar move in Campbell River replace the Point Race was protested up and down the coast, and almost cost Vancouver Island North MP John Duncan his seat in the May election. Duncan, of course, is  toeing the Conservative party line now that he is safely back in the Commons.

The decisions on both coasts are equally dumb. The ocean is as dangerous in Newfoundland as on the BC coast.

 But Rex spoils his rant with his own dumb ideological conclusion:

My only explanation is that it serves to illustrate this unshakeable
axiom: Some decisions are so dumb that only governments can make them.

Northwest BC has had been the victim of many really dumb decisions by the private, corporate sector over the years and those dumb decisions are responsible for the economic decline of the region (with no help from government). The difference should be that government decisions may be influenced and changed by the electorate.  There are no checks or balances on corporate decisions.

So if Rex is right and search and rescue is privatized, becomes some sort of  for-profit venture, what dumb decisions are we going to hear from the CEO of SARCAN LLC? Checking someone’s credit score before launching a rescue?

Enhanced by Zemanta

Cullen renews calls for tanker ban on west coast: CFJW


Skeena Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen is using World Ocean’s Day to call on Prime Minister Stephan Harper to immediately legislate an oil tanker ban off the north coast.

 The Federal Natural Resources Critic says the the voices of BC First nations, municipal leaders and residents are incredibly strong and united on the urgent need for a legislated tanker ban.”

TransCanada restarting Keystone oil pipeline: Reuters


TransCanada Corp (TRP.TO) was restoring operations on Sunday along the Keystone crude oil pipeline, one week after it was shut by a leak at a Kansas pumping station, a company spokesman said.

“We are in the process of restarting Keystone but I can’t give you a firm time line (on shipments) – likely imminent,” said TransCanada spokesman James Millar in statement.

The 591,000 barrel-per-day pipeline brings oil from Hardisty, Alberta to the Cushing, Oklahoma, oil hub.

TransCanada News Release

CALGARY, Alberta – May 13, 2011 – TransCanada Corporation (TSX, NYSE: TRP) (TransCanada) today announced it has re-started its Keystone Pipeline system. The line has been closed since May 7 following an above-ground incident at a pump station in Sargent County, North Dakota. 

More than 30 workers and their equipment have been on site at the Ludden Pump Station. Three hundred and ninety three barrels of oil have been recovered out of an estimated 500 barrels. Three hundred cubic yards of contaminated soil will be removed to an approved location and replaced with clean soil and gravel. The majority of the clean-up should be finished by the weekend.

 “TransCanada has taken this incident very seriously. We have fully communicated details regarding the incident and our corrective actions to our U.S. regulator PHMSA in ensuring the steps we have taken will enable us to safely re-start the pipeline,” said Russ Girling, TransCanada president and chief executive officer. “We reacted quickly, shutting down the line within a few minutes of detecting a drop in pressure, demonstrating our safety systems work effectively.”

NEB defends decision to withhold concerns about Enbridge pipeline: PostMedia

PostMedia News 

Canada’s federal energy regulator is defending its decision to keep Canadians in the dark about safety concerns with two major oil and gas pipelines. The concerns prompted the regulator to order pressure reductions on both lines last October, which are still in effect today. 

 The National Energy Board intervened in the operations of the two pipelines, owned by Enbridge and Trans-Northern, that travel through Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton and other regions in Western Canada. This came after a major rupture in Michigan involving another pipeline owned by Enbridge, which resulted in more than three million litres of crude oil leaking into the state’s Kalamazoo River. 

 [Board spokeswoman Stacey Squires] distanced herself from comments made one day earlier by her colleague, spokeswoman Carole Leger-Kubeczek, who had said the board was “not equipped” to post safety decisions “in terms of resources.” Squires said it was not a question of resources, but that it would be “very labour-intensive and require a lot of time” to provide all the information, including audits and inspections, regarding a company.