A Hapag-Lloyd containership, Mississauga Express (pictured above), has fallen foul of Transport Canada’s speed limit rule, in force to protect whales in the western Gulf of St. Lawrence.
The government authority has issued a penalty of $6,000 to the vessel for alleged non-compliance while a temporary mandatory speed restriction was in effect.
Hapag-Lloyd has 30 days to pay the penalty or to ask the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada to review the facts of the violation or the amount of the penalty.
Transport Canada instructed vessels that were 20 metres or more to temporarily reduce their speed to a maximum of 10 knots from August 11, 2017 to January 11, 2018 due to the increased presence of whales in the western Gulf of St. Lawrence, between the Quebec north shore and just north of Prince Edward Island.
Learn about how Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is asking vessels to slow down for whales in a technical paper by Orla Robinson, Program Manager, Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, ECHO program, Canada
While the shipping industry in general was proactive in respecting the speed limit in the designated area, Transport Canada continues to verify all reported cases of non-compliance while the temporary mandatory slowdown was in effect.
The Government of Canada is working with the maritime industry, science experts, and US partners to monitor the situation and find more permanent solutions.
Transport Canada has stated that it will not hesitate to impose the speed restriction again if the whales migrate back to the area.
Marc Garneau, Canada’s Minister of Transport, said: “Our government is determined to promote the safe coexistence of ship traffic and the marine environment in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. We took forceful action in response to the whale deaths in the area and we will continue to take all appropriate measures to ensure their safety.”