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The tug Grace Moran in the North Carolina port of Morehead City. Picture by M Leduc, 2016

Special Projects

This area of Martin's Marine Engineering Page - features various projects which impact the working lives and professional environment of active seafarers. The objective is to highlight perceived problems with our craft, dissect the issues, and offer solutions, rather than just complain about them.

We present these projects for your consideration and feedback.

Project Silja Festival / Coasting Trade Act

Start date   Feb 2012, May 2014
Champion   Martin Leduc, Martin's Marine Engineering Page -
Persons affected   Certificated professionals working in the Canadian commercial maritime industry
What's this project about   Silja Festival is a Latvian flagged ferry used to house workers in Kitimat, BC, for one, possible two years under a Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) Coasting Trade Act waiver. While the ship is operating in Canada the marine crew (engine and deck) are going to be foreign nationals working under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) at rates and conditions that undercut Canadians by up to 75% on wages alone.
Aim / Goal   We have problems with the CTA routinely granting Coasting Trade Act waivers; especially since they only consider implications to "Canadian ship owners" not the rest of the industry stakeholders. 
We have a problem with the TFWP being used to undercut Canadian seafarer conditions.
We have a problem with the underlying hardships imposed by Transport Canada and its out of touch Certification process which is giving the opportunity for the above scenarios to take root, nullifying the entire process and those who have followed it.
Last Developments   Sept 2014 - CBC was to do a 'GoPublic" piece on this for The National, however they backed out when the Silja Festival increased the number of Canadians employed onboard as catering staff. Marine staff remains foreign.
Meeting with local Member of Parliament where grievances highlighted, to receptive, but overwhelmed audience. Letter sent to federal Minister of Transport. Peers, sadly, were generally non responsive despite severe implications.
2016 The Seafarers International Union (SIU) Canada sued the federal government multiple times on the aspect that perhaps a ship could granted CTA waivers, but Canada Borders services was wrong in issuing an automatic right to work for its foreign crew, while Canadian were out of work and available. The government admitted they were wrong in doing that, and the case was settled.
Status   May 2017 - there have been several minor victories, which is good, but considering the absurdity of the whole CTA program, one could say big business interest are firmly in control of decision by government, and there is much to be done.
In the case of the Silja Festival, I believe extensive networking resulted in some public pressure, which had limited success; but it's a losing battle, as long as corporate profit take precedence over any other considerations. As it is now with Federal Conservative in government.
IN the case of the SIU, I believe this was a major victory.
Project Website
Contacts   Information

Project Blue Riband

Start date   May 2011
Champion   Martin Leduc, Martin's Marine Engineering Page -
Persons affected   Human capital in the Canadian commercial maritime industry
What's this project about   Blue Riband is a fictional entity, created to amalgamate many ideas into a functional business models, which illustrate the possibility of implementing changes to the way Marine Engineers work in Canada.
The main thrust of the concept, is pooling resources from ship operators and stakeholders, to elevated quality and supply of human capital, while allowing the marine engineering professionals a greater ownership of their profession.
Aim / Goal   The aim is to offer solutions to one of the major issues affecting commercial maritime industry in Canada, the lack of human capital, both at sea and ashore.
Last Developments   Sept 2012 - After official launch in Spring 2012 and considerable exposure shortly after, the concept has failed to gain traction, and feedback from parties affected - seafarers, operators or regulators - sadly.
Status   Jan 2013 - Still optimistic, but suspect concept is too big and radical for proper "digestion"
Project Website

Canadian mariner income tax project 

Start date   January 2004
Champion   Martin Leduc, Martin's Marine Engineering Page -
Persons affected   Professional seafarers residing in Canada, who earn wages working outside Canada
What's this project about   Currently, the Canadian Income Tax system sees no difference on where your income is from. A Canadian "foreign going" seafarer is taxed at the same rate as if you were working in a office in Canada, despite being absent from the country and its services for long periods of time. Most nations recognize the importance of seafarers and the new income they bring into their economy, and therefore offer tax incentive; these incentives put Canadian at a distinct disadvantage on the international market.
Aim / Goal   To petition the Canadian Federal Government to change it's tax policies, as they pertain to seafarers residing in Canada, but working outside the territory, to be inline with other nations, removing a serious competitive impediment. 
Last Developments   Sept 2012 - The Finance Minister has clearly stated that the Conservative Government is not interested in recognizing the impacts of foreign going seafarers, and according them special tax status. They took further steps thwart any possibility of this goal by extinguishing the OETC in 2012 - a distinctly backward steps towards stated goals of this project.
Status   Jan 2103 - Very low activity towards goal, perhaps a new Government would revisit the idea. Liberal and Conservative Governments have not been receptive.
Project Website   Canada Income taxes for professional seafarers project site
Contacts   Information


The glass is always full by Sarah Daykin
Courtesy of Sarah Daykin

If you have an idea that would benefit professional seafarer's working environment, and would like to be included in this webpage to spread the word, please contact us.

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