The Government of Canada has introduced the proposed Oil Tanker Moratorium Act in Parliament, respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia’s north coast. The proposed legislation aims to prohibit oil tankers carrying more than 12,500 metric tonnes of crude and persistent oils as cargo from stopping, loading or unloading at ports or marine installations in northern British Columbia. The Bill can be found here.
The European Commission (EC) decided to refer Portugal to the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) for failing to respect its obligations as a flag state. The EC issued two separate referrals to the CJEU concerning flag state requirements on one hand (Article 8(1) of Directive 2009/21/EC), and monitoring and reporting activities of its recognised organisations on the other hand (Directive 2009/15/EC). The EC had already requested Portugal to comply with these Directives in September 2016 (flag state requirements) and July 2016 (monitoring and reporting). More information is available in this press release.
The Third Pacific Regional Energy and Transport Ministers’ Meeting, held 24-28 April 2017 (Nuku’alofa, Tonga), adopted the Memorandum of Understanding on Flag State Implementation for Domestic Ship in the Pacific Islands Region (Pacific MoU), the first in the world to address the safety of domestic shipping. Despite inclusion in previous discussions, port state control was excluded form the MoU to avoid duplication with the Tokyo MoU.
For more information see the Pacific MoU, Communiqué and the Transport Resolutions (paras. 21-22). Other documentation and resources from the meeting are available here.
The Parliament of Australia has passed the Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Amendment (Polar Code) Bill 2017. Its purpose is to amend the Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 1983 (POTS Act) to fulfil Australia’s international obligations under the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code), which entered into force on 1 January 2017, and in particular to implement stricter requirements for discharging oil, noxious substances, sewage and garbage from ships in Antarctic and Arctic waters. More information about that Bill can be found here.
The Republic of the Marshall Islands has issued a Marine Safety Advisory, which provides guidance on the testing of Low Sulfur Marine Gas Oil fuel oil by port States in order to ensure ships are using fuel with no more than 0.10 percent sulfur content for MARPOL compliance. The advisory highlights the International Maritime Organization Circular MEPC.1/Circ.864 (Guidelines For Onboard Sampling For The Verification Of The Sulphur Content Of The Fuel Oil Used On Board Ships), issued in December. It also advises that plans should designate a ship’s representative responsible for retaining and securing the spot sampling container in accordance with Article 6 of EU Decision 2015/253. The document is available here.
The Fleet Register is a database where all the fishing vessels flying the flag of a European Union (EU) member state have to be registered in accordance with Community legislation. Updates to the EU’s fleet register will soon be available in real time, following the adoption of a new regulation by the European Commission. The regulation makes it easier for EU member states to update the fleet register, while giving the Commission the necessary tools to crosscheck the data that member states submit. The new regulation enters into force on 1 February 2018, and applies to all commercial fishing vessels, except aquaculture vessels and blue fin tuna traps. More information available here.