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Notice to Industry – Prohibition on Night Time Arrivals in the Southern Gulf Island Anchorages

As part of the Active Vessel Traffic Management initiative being rolled out by the Federal Gov’t (via the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority), they have issued a Notice to Industry, outlining the new rule, effective July 01, 2023, with regards to the prohibition of night time arrivals at Southern Gulf Island anchorages (SGI).

In short, vessels will not be able to drop anchor in the SGI area between the hours of 2300 and 0700. The goal being to minimize annoyance/disturbance to the surrounding residents. The exception to this rule is if a vessel is arriving at a SGI anchor after commercial operations in Vancouver (ie. a partly loaded ship seeking anchor).

What does this mean for arriving vessels? It means that, once the Harbour Master has assigned an SGI anchorage, it may be necessary for a vessel to slow down (or speed up) so that arrival at Victoria pilot station does not break this rule.

There are 33 SGI anchorage sites and the distance from Victoria pilot station varies among the anchorages. Some are only 3 hours from Victoria – whereas some are as far as 6 hours transit. This means that any vessel that would normally arrive between 1700 hrs and 2000 hrs any given evening, may have to either speed up a bit (which is unlikely given that the anchor assignment probably won’t happen in time) or slow down to arrive between 0100-0400 hrs next morning).

For grain ships, it probably won’t have a negative commercial impact since inspectors never board ships at anchor after 1930 hrs regardless.

However for ships/business that have laytime trigged by drop anchor time, it might have a negative effect for the ship operator.

On a related matter, we understand that the soft roll out of the Centralized Scheduling System will take place in November 2023 and will focus on terminals/business east of the 2nd narrows (Transmountain/Port Moody/Suncor). As a reminder, the CSS is the proposed system whereby the Port will take control of vessel movement approvals prior to a Pilot being dispatched.


Link to the Notice to Industry can be found here: 2023-06-01-Notice-to-Industry-Night-time-planning-standard-at-SGI-anchorages