It’s okay to say no

November 5, 2018

I was asked recently this question from a visitor, that I though someone else might empathize with, or provide insight. The Question: Is it necessary to consume alcohol onboard the ship? I heard that some crew members will force me to drink, but I don’t have a habit of consuming alcohol. My answer: I think what you are asking me, is whether you are required to drink while working onboard…

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World Class Marine Safety, a priority for Transport Canada (?)

October 31, 2018

In its statement(s) of plans and priorities for 2016-2020, Transport Canada shows us pretty clearly where it’s priorities lie. In the introduction of these report(s), Minister Garneau highlights his and his department’s commitment to implementing the “vision” of the “Transportation Act Review”. This review was initiated by the former Conservative government and its agent, David Lee Emerson; it was accepted and is being implemented by the Liberal government. The shoddy…

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Transport Canada seeking your input on new MPR

October 30, 2018

Marine Personnel Regulations – those regulations that dictate everything for professional seafarers in Canada – are coming – many years late (for STCW2010), but they are coming. As a seafarer in Canada I have been “blindsided” by lack of consultation in the past when drawing up these regs that directly affect us. Now, it looks like TC wants y/our input. Lets gives it to them. I will try to attend…

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Fond memories of Doxford

October 25, 2018

In an email from South Africa, John Scofield sent this in, after visiting the Doxford Opposed Piston section of the website. “ I was third mate of the KosmosV, a whale factory ship, in the early 70s by which time she had been renamed Suiderkruis, and just as l left, L’interpeche. Built in 1948, at Tyneside, it was an absolute delight to be in engine room at sea, with those…

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Raging Seas well worth a read

October 21, 2018

I had every intention that for latest blog post that I was going to write about my “favorite subject”, Transport Canada and its general shortcomings of its licensing and regulating duties. After all, there is a  long list of items to talk about that have been itching to get out, but lately my time has been shanghaied’ by a book that’s been captivating me; “Into the raging sea”, by Rachel…

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West coast tugs and the Prime Minister’s babysitter

August 18, 2018

The federal government of Canada recently revealed a plaque commemorating the humble tug and its important role in BC’s development. Tugs and towing was a fundamental part of BC development, since all matters of products moving in and out of tight inlets and tricky narrows, deep fjords were generally move by tug and barge. BC’s tug industry spawned an important marine cluster around Vancouver. Notable marine industry names from the…

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It’s a good news bad news thing

June 26, 2018

For nearly 20 years now, Canada, and many jurisdictions, have steadily migrated to a Safety Management System, where cash strapped government essentially downloaded responsibility of enforcing safety regulations onto industry itself. Companies love it because, well, safety glasses, cliché slogans, and dubious reporting present fewer impediments to their cash flows, than knowledgeable safety inspectors working on behalf of the common good – the government and the citizen they represent. Occasionally,…

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Random drug testing for seafarers in Canada

June 23, 2018

Browsing the Canada Merchant Service Guild (the Guild) website the other day, I ran across a very interesting paper, it was an arbitration decision, ruling in favour of the Guild and against west-coast tug and barge operator, Seaspan, over it’s random drug testing policies. I completely despise these “CYA”, big brothers, top down attitudes, which these drug policy initiatives seem to be born from. Controlling and punitive motives are probably…

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