By Joe Spears
In an April 2016 article, Breaking Bread and the Ice in Washington, I examined Canada’s evolving Arctic policy under the then new and shiny Trudeau government. The Joint Arctic Statement communique was unveiled with great fanfare at the Obama White House in Washington, DC. Four years into the Trudeau mandate, the world has seen many changes, the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, and we are still awaiting a Canadian Arctic policy. It is clearly not a priority. (more…)
By K. Joseph Spears
During the long running Cold War, the Arctic Ocean Basin had strategic military significance: The airspace was potentially important for overflights of strategic bombers and later, intercontinental ballistic missiles – the ocean space for subsurface operations of submarines of the United States and her allies, and the Soviet Union.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and the breakup of the Soviet Union, the strategic significance of the Arctic Ocean Basin diminished. The Arctic was an afterthought in the thinking of most defense planners for decades. However, with melting sea-ice and a fast warming Arctic, there is now greater interest in the region because of its greater accessibility, and the importance of the region to both Russia and near-Arctic states such as China. (more…)
Theo van de Kletersteeg
Prime Minister Trudeau is trying to pull Canada out of a multi-billion dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia, he said on several occasions near the end of 2018, following allegations that suggest Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince was implicated in the murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi. “We are engaged with the export permits to try and see if there is a way of no longer exporting these vehicles to Saudi Arabia,” he told CTV, without elaborating. The deal, worth US$14 billion over 14 years, if all options are exercised, and including spare parts, support and training, would supply the Saudi military with light armoured vehicles (LAVs) manufactured by General Dynamics Canada Land Systems Canada, a subsidiary of U.S. General Dynamics Corporation. The contract is the largest Defence export contract Canada has ever entered into. The PM’s comments represent an evolution in Ottawa’s stance toward Saudi Arabia. In March of 2018, he defended the deal for the armoured vehicles, saying that honouring the contract, which was made under a previous government, “fully meets our national obligations and Canadian laws.” Canada’s arms export laws prevent the sale of weapons to countries that “pose a threat to Canada and its allies, that are involved in or under imminent threat of hostilities, that are under United Nations Security Council sanctions; or whose governments have a persistent record of serious violations of the human rights of their citizens.” The last provision includes an exemption for countries where “it can be demonstrated that there is no reasonable risk that the goods might be used against the civilian population.” (more…)
By Brian Dunn
The cost of hijacking and corruption
In the film Captain Phillips based on the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of U.S.-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the character played by Tom Hanks is taken hostage for a ransom that was never paid after a tense standoff. Maersk Alabama was also the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years.
While hijacking is clearly the most dangerous type of situation facing shipping companies in some parts of the world, there are less severe incidents which still have to be dealt with on a daily basis. One of the most common is bribes to officials at certain ports who can make life difficult and costly if shippers don’t cooperate. (more…)
By Alex Binkley
Fatigued flight, railway and ship crews are a long-standing concern of the Transportation Safety Board and it hasn’t seen enough improvement on the issue to remove it from its watchlist of safety concerns. Board Chair Kathy Fox told a news conference fatigue has been an issue in more than 90 investigations since the TSB was created in 1990. The Board routinely investigates if fatigue was a factor in transportation accidents or incidents, and if it was, it examines whether the operator had measures in place to prevent operations with tired workers. (more…)
By Alexander Whiteman
As the IMO’s sub-committee on Carriage of Cargoes and Containers met in London during mid-September, TT Club is demanding urgent action on container safety. The major problem is mis-declared dangerous goods, it says, and suggests it leads to a major container fire every 60 days on average.
Risk management Director Peregrine Storrs-Fox said: “Achieving integrity across the web of the supply chain is a big ask and we’re in little doubt a comprehensive result will take time to achieve. “However, many industry bodies are making significant strides, particularly in the areas of dangerous goods identification, declaration and handling, as well as container weighing and packing. (more…)