The case of Clipper Adventurer: Between a rock and a hard place

By Kiley Sampson and K. Joseph Spears

On January 27 2017, Mr. Justice Shawn Harrington of the Federal Court handed down an interesting decision that examined potential liability of the government of Canada involving the grounding of adventure cruise vessel M/V Clipper Adventurer which ran aground on an “uncharted rock” in Coronation Gulf in the Canadian Arctic on August 27, 2010. Before his appointment to the bench, the judge was an experienced admiralty law practitioner. This article will examine both the findings of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) and the Federal Court decision with respect to liability of the vessel owner. The grounding, and the subsequent TSB Marine Investigation and Federal Court decision are of interest to students of Arctic shipping. The grounding provides an insight into issues with respect to government of Canada’s obligations to provide Arctic shipping infrastructure and hydrographic charting, and the liability of vessel owners. It has been said that litigation is “an expensive way to learn.” This was a costly learning lesson.

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Amazon is fined again: for trying to fly lithium-ion batteries

By Alex Lennane

If Amazon really wants to be taken seriously in the transport industry, it is going to have to learn – and teach – the regulations on the shipment of dangerous goods. Last week the UK’s CAA fined it £65,000 for attempting to fly lithium-ion batteries and flammable aerosols. Amazon’s lawyer argued that the court should have some perspective, as the cargoes were merely “everyday household items”.

The fine, a drop in the ocean for the internet giant, follows similar violations outlined by the FAA in June. The FAA proposed a $350,000 fine after a chemical leaked through packaging, endangering nine UPS employees. The FAA, which claimed Amazon was not training its staff properly, said the company “has a history of violating the Hazardous Materials Regulations.” From February 2013 to September 2015, Amazon was found to have violated such regulations 24 times. Just two weeks later the FAA proposed yet another fine, of $130,000, for violating hazardous material regulations. The FAA is seeking some $1.3 million in fines from the e-tailer in total, noted Reuters.

Reprinted courtesy of The Loadstar (www.theloadstar.co.uk )

CP responds to TSB report on LVVR implementation, calls on Minister of Transport to do more

Canadian Pacific joined the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) in calling for the Minister of Transport to implement Locomotive Voice and Video Recorders (LVVR) as soon as possible. CP reiterates, however, that the true value in LVVR technology lies in shaping behaviour and preventing accidents before they happen.

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TSB calls for implementation of voice and video recorders on locomotives in Canada

Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) released the report on its safety study, Expanding the use of locomotive voice and video recorders in Canada. The study looked at technology, legislative and regulatory issues, the potential safety benefits of installing recorders in locomotives, and the appropriate use of locomotive voice and video recorders (LVVR) information, among other subjects.

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CIFFA: CBSA container examinations at Port of Vancouver out of control

As one Vancouver based CIFFA member wrote, "Welcome to Canada. CBSA has become the best marketing tool for Port of Seattle." Incredible as it may seem, delays from vessel discharge to containers being called for examination are as long as six weeks and more at Canada’s busiest port. And, while the entire process appears to be broken, it also appears that the rate of examinations at Vancouver is on the rise. Importers face the consequences of six and seven week delays to their goods – reduced sales, dissatisfied customers, cancelled orders – and then are hit with exorbitant examination, storage and demurrage invoices that can be $4,000 and more per container.

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Marine industry on right course for safety, academic report declares

By Alex Binkley

Investments and training to reduce maritime transport accidents have paid off during the last decade, but more information is needed to improve safety, says a report prepared by the Council of Canadian Academies.

The report, commissioned by the Clear Seas Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping, and a public opinion poll by Angus Reid also commissioned by the Centre, show the industry was on the right course with its safety efforts to gain public recognition of its safety.

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Railway offers customer safety training

By Keith Norbury

Training employees in safety procedures is an absolute “must” as part of running a successful railroad. Canadian National Railway has taken that a step further by launching a safety program for its customers.

The first two week-long training sessions for major carload customers held in the CN Campus Partnership Training Program at CN’s Winnipeg education campus in mid-May and mid-June received “huge positive feedback,” said David Radford, CN’s director of Operations, Training and Development. “I think our customer partnership program will really allow us to work jointly with our customers in promoting safety and making it safer not only for them but ourselves as well,” Mr. Radford said in an interview. “I think it’s a huge positive step forward in our supply chain collaboration with customers.”

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Positive train control; when finally implemented will make North American railways safer

By R. Bruce Striegler

On February 26 2012, VIA Rail passenger train No. 92 travelled east from Niagara Falls to Toronto, on track two of the Canadian National Oakville Subdivision. Beyond the stop at Aldershot Station, the track switches were lined to route the train from track two to track three. The last signal required the train to proceed at 15 mph, however VIA 92 entered the crossover at about 67 mph, causing the locomotive and all five coaches to derail. The operating crew was killed; 44 passengers and the VIA service manager were injured. About 4,300 litres of diesel fuel spilled from the locomotive fuel tank.

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Major terminals turn to latest electronic technologies to stem truck congestion and lessen “turn times”

By Alan M. Field

Across North America, managing the flow of trucks to and from port terminals is a major challenge for everyone involved in the process, including the cities and communities in which major ports operate. “The drivers, the ports, the port customers, and the public would all benefit from greater truck efficiency and reduced truck impact,” notes Dan Smith, a principal at Tioga Group, a Philadelphia-based consultancy that provides freight transportation consulting services. “Trucking companies and their drivers pursue efficiency but can be frustrated by congestion, delays, detours, and stoppages on port approach routes and port-area roads.”

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Maritime and Arctic Security and Safety conference

By K. Joseph Spears and Lee Carson

St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, has been a port for over 400 years and has been the gateway to the Canadian Arctic for centuries. Melting sea ice will usher in a seismic shift in ocean routes as the Northwest Passage opens up along with a Route across the top of the Arctic Ocean over the North Pole, and the Northern Sea Route. While a lot of attention is focused on Iceland as the terminus for a trans-Polar route, St. John’s has an equal potential as a major Arctic shipping centre within the Canadian Arctic and the entire Arctic Ocean Basin. The Arctic has great economic and commercial potential for Canada’s future. Continue reading

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