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Pacific Pilotage Authority – Notice to Industry

The Pacific Pilotage Authority announced late last week that inbound bulk carriers laden with cargo will now require an escort tug when the flood current exceeds 1.5 knots at the entry into Vancouver Harbour (1st narrows). While total additional cost will depend on number of hours required for the assist tug and size requirements as deemed necessary by the dispatched pilot, estimated cost will be around $4,000 CDN. For the time being, this escort tug is only need for inbound vessels and during the above tidal restrictions – this situation can be avoided by altering the vessel’s arrival slightly to a time outside of the 1.5 knot flood window.

From the Interim Notice to Industry released 4 April, 2019 (attached picture)

Details: There was an incident recently in Vancouver Harbour involving a laden bulk carrier that entered on a flood tide and appeared to lose directional stability. As a result, the Pacific Pilotage Authority and the BC Coast Pilots Ltd. have conducted a risk assessment on loaded bulk carriers entering the port of Vancouver on a strong flood tide. The results show that it is very difficult for such vessels making for a berth or anchorage from KM Vancouver Wharves to Centerm to slow up without losing direction stability.

Guideline: As an interim measure while the TSB complete the investigation as to the root cause, the PPA is recommending the following when the flood current exceeds 1.5 knots:

  • An escort tug with a minimum Bp of 65 tonnes is to be ordered for any inbound loaded bulk carrier with a LOA between 200m and 250m and a draft in excess of 12.0m making for an anchorage between KM Van wharves and Centerm.
  • The escort tug to be made fast centre lead aft 2 cables west of First Narrows Bridge weather permitting
  • For vessels over 250m users should refer to the Ports First Narrows TCZ (TCZ-1) in the Port Information Guide at: https://www.portvancouver.com/marine-operations/port-information-guide/

Note: This notice will be amended and clarified once the TSB report has been published.

We hope that this restriction will be lifted or at least further minimized once the Transportation Safety Board issues their report.