Posted April 20, 2019 10:04:10A new federal law is expected to make it easier for Canadian Pacific to sell off the Maritanys’ maritime rights, but the rules haven’t been in place for more than a decade.
Maritime law experts are warning that the rules governing maritime rights can’t keep pace with changing technology.
“I think we have to be aware that if the laws were changed, it would certainly have an impact on our ability to operate and manage our ships and our vessels, so I think that’s something that is very much in play right now,” said Stephen Lea, the president of the Canadian Maritime Institute, a trade association representing the maritime industry.
“So I think it’s going to be a challenging process, but I’m hopeful that it will be a very positive one.”
The Maritime Act of 1956 was a major overhaul of maritime law, and was passed by the Liberal government of Pierre Trudeau in the early 1990s.
It included provisions to give the federal government more authority over marine navigation and maritime law and the ability to enforce its rules in Canadian waters.
But that law was not in place when Canadian Pacific bought the Maritays, and the new federal Maritime Safety Act of 2018 will change the law and create more maritime rights.
In its new version of the law, the federal Maritime Administration will be able to apply its maritime rights in Canadian territorial waters in certain situations.
That could mean that Canadian Pacific would have the right to operate in areas such as the Arctic, where sea ice has caused severe damage to ships.
That could also mean that a Canadian Pacific ship could be able turn around and operate in a navigable area in a commercial harbour, even if there is no ice on the ice shelf.
A new Canadian Maritime Commission would also be created to enforce maritime rights across Canada.
“If there is any doubt that there are limits on what the federal commission can do, that’s what I think the new Maritime Safety Administration is going to do,” said Lea.
“They are going to bring a whole new approach to the protection of the rights of vessels in the Canadian territorial seas.”
The new Maritime Law of 2018 also creates a “safety zone” around the coast of the Marituys to protect the health of the vessels that can’t operate within it.
The Maritime Safety Authority would also have the authority to enforce a “minimum speed” rule that says a ship can’t exceed a speed of about 50 kilometres per hour.
“The maritime safety act was created in response to the situation in the Atlantic where there was an increase in vessel speed,” said Ian Macdonald, a senior policy advisor at the Canadian Institute of Maritime Affairs.
“But it was not always as fast as it is now, and it was always slow, and sometimes it was a lot slower than it is today.”
Macdonald said that in the 1990s, the Maritime Safety Agency could be called on to speed up vessels when there was a threat to life or property, but that’s not happening anymore.
The new law will also require ships to have a pilot certificate and be approved for use by a Maritime Safety Officer.
Macdonald said the new law could lead to changes to how some vessels operate.
“As you can imagine, this is a very complex and expensive process to go through,” he said.
“But I think what we are going towards is a more streamlined, streamlined regulatory framework that would allow Canadian Pacific vessels to operate with greater safety.”
But critics say the new version could still result in problems for Canadian, particularly Maritime Canadian, vessels.
“A lot of the work that was done in the 1950s is not being done now,” Lea said.
“There’s a lot of issues that will need to be addressed before we can operate in the Maritime Act in a safe and responsible manner.”
Canadian Pacific has been operating in British Columbia since 2004, and Macdonald says he doesn’t expect the company will have to change its policy on its Canadian vessels.
But the company says that it needs to review the safety of its vessels in Canada and adjust its practices to accommodate the changes.