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N.Y. legislation could damage local shipping

Legislation in New York could shut down 75 per cent of shipping traffic in Thunder Bay says the local port authority.
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Allister Paterson (Nikki Guerard)

Legislation in New York could shut down 75 per cent of shipping traffic in Thunder Bay says the local port authority.

Already passed, the legislation would require all ships passing through New York state to adhere to ballast water regulations 1,000 times greater than the International Maritime Standard by Jan.1, 2012 said Port of Thunder Bay CEO Tim Heney. But technology to equip the ships doesn’t exist he said.

"Technically there is no such technology or any ship equipped with it. The end result of that legislation if it stands it would shut down the seaway."

Every ship coming to and from Thunder Bay has to pass through two locks in Massena, N.Y. Even if a ship doesn’t load or unload cargo in the state, Heney said the ships will have to comply with the regulations which are an attempt to keep out invasive species from the Great Lakes.

Seaway Marine Transport CEO Allister Paterson said that would be bad news for Thunder Bay and his 175 vessels which come to and from the city each year. Having lost two court battles already to stop the legislation, Paterson said his company needs an extension that so far hasn’t been granted by New York.

On the lookout for technology to comply with the regulations, Paterson said none exists.

"Today there is no known technology in the world to comply with what New York is asking so we have to rely on an extension that is completely New York’s to grant," Paterson said.

Paterson was in Thunder Bay Tuesday for the annual Ontario Marine Transportation Forum. There, marine executives will meet and figure out a way to find a solution to the problem Paterson said but so far there hasn’t been one and he’s not confident the federal government knows what to do either.

"There’s some on the U.S. side that say if New York would not allow people to pass it’s actually a blockade," Paterson said. "I assume the Canadian government would have a lot to say about that."






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