Prince Rupert Harbour is naturally deep, is easily accessible, and has a relatively short distance (nominally two to three hours) to navigate from the Pilot Station at Triple Island to the Harbour entrance.
Every vessel shall at all times proceed at a safe speed in accordance with the Collision Regulations.81
The owner or person in charge of a vessel in the harbour shall ensure that the vessel is not navigated in such a manner or at such a rate of speed so as to endanger or damage, or cause injury or harm to any person or wildlife.
Every vessel shall at all times proceed at a safe speed so that the vessel can take proper and effective action to avoid collision and be stopped within a distance appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions.
Every vessel, when passing any other vessel or any public work in the harbour, shall reduce speed sufficiently to prevent damage by bow-wave or wash to the other vessel or work, and to prevent injury to any person employed on or in connection with the other vessel or work. This includes bunkering operations which may be taking place alongside or at anchor and will be indicated by the vessels undertaking the operation displaying International Code Flag “B” by day and one all-round red light at night.
Certain areas of Prince Rupert Harbour have been designated as No Wake Zones. (see section 7.3). In the Prince Rupert Harbour vessels are to proceed at a safe speed, minimizing wake when passing within 600 yards of shore from Fairview Terminal to Ritchie Point. Minimized wakes are also required when passing docks, floats and seaplanes, specifically at the Digby Island floats the Village of Metlakatla in Venn Passage and within Porpoise Harbour.
Vessels are requested to proceed at a safe speed when passing within one cable (200 yards) of an established aquaculture or shellfish farm.
Within the Port of Prince Rupert, a ship’s Under Keel Clearance (UKC) should not be less than 10% of its maximum draught unless prior permission has been obtained from PRPA Marine Operations.
8.4 RIGHT OF WAY
The Collision Regulations82 apply in the Port of Prince Rupert.
Vessels less than 20 metres and fishing vessels shall not impede the passage of larger vessels within a narrow channel, as stated in Rule 9 of Collision Regulations,83 or hamper the movements of deep sea vessels attempting to manoeuvre on or off a berth.
8.5 SPACING OF VESSELS
PRPA may establish a safety zone or security zone, either fixed or moving, around any vessel or shore structure to ensure public safety, security or the environment. Such safety or security zones may be broadcast by means of a Notice to Shipping and may be marked by buoys or signage.
“Safety Zone” is defined as a defined area which, for safety or environmental purposes, access is limited to persons, vessels or objects authorized by the PRPA. A safety zone may be stationary and described by fixed limits or it may be described as a zone around a vessel in motion. Mariners may contact PSOC on VHF 68 if they have any concerns regarding the safety zone surrounding their vessel.
Examples of current Safety Zones in effect in Prince Rupert Harbour are as follows:
SHIPS AT BERTH AND ANCHOR
All vessels, except for assigned tugs, must remain outside of 50 metres from any ship alongside any berth or anchored in Prince Rupert, with the exceptions noted below:
All vessels must remain outside of 140 metres from any LPG carrier loading cargo at Ridley Terminal.
VESSELS TAKING BUNKERS
All vessels, except for those engaged in the bunkering operation either alongside or at anchor shall remain outside of 100 metres from any bunkering operation.
“Security Zone” is defined as a defined area which, for safety and security purposes, access is limited to persons, vessels or objects authorized by the PRPA. A security zone may be stationary and described by fixed limits, or it may be described as an area around a vessel or object in transit. Mariners may contact PSOC on VHF 68 if they have any concerns regarding the security zone surrounding their vessel.
Security Zones, in addition to existing Safety Zones, may be ordered under MTSR for changes to the MARSEC level.
Examples of current Security Zones in effect in Prince Rupert Harbour are as follows:
No vessel, including any pleasure craft, shall come within 50 metres of any military vessel, whether Canadian or foreign, while moving, anchored or docked at Northland Terminal without prior authorization of the warship; and
No diving is to be conducted within 500 metres of a warship without prior permission.
8.6 PASSING ARRANGEMENTS
Passing arrangements will normally be made by radio on VHF 71 and in accordance with the Collision Regulations.84
Should the visibility decrease below Pilots minimums to maneuver at safe speed the Pilot may delay shifting a vessel until it is considered safe to proceed.
Porpoise Channel and Fairview Channel are the two channels used by deep sea vessels in Prince Rupert Harbour; traffic in these channels may be regulated by PRPA Marine Operations for navigational safety. Vessels less than 20 metres and fishing vessels shall not hamper the movements of vessels that are confined to channel limits, as stated in Rule 9 of Collision Regulations.85 Other channels such as Venn Passage and Fern Passage can only accommodate smaller and shallow draught vessels.
FAIRVIEW CHANNEL – MAIN CHANNEL TO INNER HARBOUR
Normally only one deep sea vessel shall transit the main channel at any one time. Outbound vessels have priority for the channel. Timings of vessel transits in the channel will be coordinated by the Pilots and vessels will be advised by Prince Rupert Traffic on VHF 71.
PORPOISE CHANNEL – MARINE TRANSIT TO PORPOISE HARBOUR
All deep sea vessels transiting to Porpoise Harbour are restricted as follows:
• Transits are to be conducted in daylight (between morning and evening civil twilight)
• Transits are to be conducted only when visibility exceeds 2 nautical miles
• Transits shall not be conducted when sustained (or forecasted sustained) winds exceed 25 knots
• Arrival transits are to be conducted 60 minutes either side of high or low water slack tide
• Departures transits are to be conducted 60 minutes either side of high water slack tide
• Transits shall only be conducted when the height of tide is sufficient to provide a vessel with a minimum clearance of 10% of its navigational draught for the entire period of the transit
• Only one deep sea vessel shall be under way between the Watson Island dock and Buoy D24 at any one time
Escort and berthing tug packages must at all times be in accordance with current Pacific Pilotage Authority guidelines.
8.8 INWARD BOUND VESSELS
BALLAST AND BALLAST WATER
For the purpose of this procedure, ballast water refers to any water loaded into a vessel’s hold, cargo tank, peak tank, wing tank, deep tank, ballast tank or double bottom tank, other than for the purposes of hold washing. For hold washing, see Overboard Discharge Procedures. Permission to take in ballast water is not required.
All vessels arriving in the harbour with ballast on board will be required to comply with the Ballast Water Control and Management Regulations86 prior to arriving in Canadian waters.
Vessels that are subject to long delays at anchor or that are anchored during winter weather conditions and all vessels anchored between October 1 and March 31 (winter storm season) shall retain maximum safe ballast on board and maintain required trim to keep the ship’s propeller and rudder below the water line until a confirmed loading time has been arranged.
The lightering of dry cargo at anchor prolongs the usage of the anchorages and introduces an additional risk of loss of cargo by the double handling of the product. Thus, lightering of dry cargo is only to be conducted with the prior authorization of PRPA. All precautions are to be taken to assure there is no spillage of cargo into the water and the use of a carrier preapproved by PRPA is mandatory.
• Vessels at anchor are requested to provide PRPA with a list of any anticipated visitor(s) to the vessel. This will include chandlers, ship repair companies, and other visitors communicated through Agents to PSOC
• When delivering Ship’s stores, the water taxi or tug and barge shall provide a list of the ship’s stores being delivered, via their Agent, to PSOC
• Only approved carriers are authorized to provide lightering services, including passengers and dry goods
West Coast Launch: Telephone +1 (250) 627-9166
Wainwright Marine Services: Telephone +1 (250) 624-9858
Inlet Express: Telephone +1 (250) 624-8452
Metlakatla Ferry Service: Telephone +1 (250) 628-3201
Lightering of petroleum products to vessels at anchor is allowed at the discretion of the PRPA. Oil lightering operations may only take place at anchorages within the inner harbour. Prior to transferring product, the Bunkering Checklist87 must be completed by the receiving vessel and the delivery barge.
The internal combustion engines on every vessel operating in the harbour shall be equipped with exhaust mufflers, which shall be used continuously when the engines are running. No whistle, siren, or
fog-horn on any vessel in the harbour shall be sounded unnecessarily. Testing of whistles, alarms, and other sound devices should be kept to a minimum and be confined to daylight hours if possible. The PSOC is to be informed before any testing or conducting drills using whistles, alarms, or other sound devices for ship in the inner harbour.
However, nothing should prevent a vessel sounding the appropriate signals as defined in the Collision Regulations and the Canadian Modifications.88
8.9 OUTWARD BOUND VESSELS
Information regarding departure from each specific terminal is contained in that terminal’s Port Section Guide.
8.10 SHIFTING OR WARPING OF VESSELS
Except to prevent imminent hazard to the vessel or its crew, no vessel which is subject to the Pilotage Act will reposition itself inside the inner harbour without having a Pilot onboard. In the inner harbour if a vessel fails to anchor in its assigned anchorage or if a vessel drags out of its assigned anchorage position, and:
• The vessel is endangering itself and/or other vessels at anchor; or
• The vessel is obstructing the navigational channel; or
• The vessel is obstructing the use of other anchorages,
The vessel may be ordered by PRPA Marine Operations to be repositioned by a Pilot. A vessel so ordered will absorb all costs associated with the repositioning. In exceptional circumstances where a vessel poses no hazard to itself or others by being out of position, the vessel may be allowed to remain out of position at the discretion of PRPA Marine Operations.
Any vessel required to warp along a berth must have prior permission from PRPA Marine Operations. Vessels may warp without a Pilot providing:
• Approval is received from PRPA Marine Operations via VHF 68;
• No tugs are to be employed;
• The berth is free from encumbrances (i.e. cranes, gangways, etc. are moved clear);
• The Master is on the bridge in overall charge;
• Main engines are on standby and ready for immediate use;
• Linesmen or ship crew are employed;
• There are two head/stern lines and one spring, each with both ends under tension at all times;
• MCTS is notified at the commencement of any warp and also at its completion using VHF 71;
• VHF 71 is monitored throughout the warp.
In certain circumstances due to weather conditions, tide, current, distance of warp, characteristics of vessel or where main engines are to be utilized, PRPA Marine Operations may require tugs and/or a Pilot to be used. However, nothing in these procedures relieves the Master of the vessel from his obligations for safety, following additional precautions as would be required by the normal practice of seamen or from employing a Pilot and tug(s) if he so requires. These procedures are to be considered the minimum requirements for warping.
Should it be necessary to release all of a vessel’s lines for warping, a Pilot will be required as well as sufficient tugs to control the vessels movement.
VESSELS WITH DANGEROUS GOODS
Vessels with Class 1 Dangerous Goods must comply with the limitations outlined in the Natural Resources Canada Limitations Survey. Details may be obtained from the PSOC.
ASSIGNMENT OF BERTHS
Vessels berthing in Prince Rupert Harbour shall always maintain a water column of at least 10% of their draught under the vessel at all states of the tide. No vessel may load on a falling tide beyond a draught equal to 91% of the available water column at the lowest daily tide.
Nothing in this section obligates the vessel’s Master to shift his vessel using lines or berthing hawsers alone, if he chooses to use a Pilot and tugs to move his vessel.
If ordered by PRPA a vessel shall work all available shifts until loading is completed. Failure to comply with such an order shall cause the vessel to be liable to be ordered off the berth.
PRIORITY AT BERTHS
All vessels requesting to berth at Port of Prince Rupert berths shall apply to PRPA Marine Operations for allocation. Allocation of berths shall be at the sole discretion of PRPA which will retain the right to require a vessel to vacate a berth for cause. Any vessel which is unable to work cargo for any reason may be ordered off a Port of Prince Rupert berth. Costs of any such move shall be to the account of the vessel.
The lines of every vessel berthed or moored at the Port of Prince Rupert shall be made fast only to structures/fittings provided for berthing or mooring purposes and as directed by PRPA Marine Operations and such lines shall not lie across any wharf or across any channel in such manner as to obstruct passage of any other vessel.
CASTING OFF OF VESSELS
No vessel is to be cast off from a berth without permission of PRPA Marine Operations. Where a vessel is made fast to or secured alongside another berthed vessel, the lines of the berthed vessel that is made fast or secured shall not, except in an emergency, be cut or cast off without permission of PRPA and without prior notice of the intention to do so having been given to the berthed outboard vessel that is made fast or secured.
GANGWAYS AND SAFETY NETS
A vessel at a wharf or landing place in the harbour shall provide, for the use of persons going to and from the vessel, a good and sufficient gangway. A good and sufficient net or save-all shall be placed beneath the gangway to prevent persons from falling in the water. A light shall be placed on the vessel near the gangway between the hours of sunset and sunrise in such a manner that the gangway may be clearly seen from the wharf and from the vessel. Vessels are to remain securely made fast to the dock at all times the gangways are attached. No singling up for departure is to take place unless properly trained personnel are attending the gangway ready to disengage from the vessel.
NESTING OF VESSELS
When two or more vessels are lying at the same wharf, one vessel outside the other, and the outside vessel does not have a gangway of its own extending to the wharf, the vessel lying nearest to the wharf shall allow a free and unencumbered passage over its decks to the vessel lying outside it for the purpose of loading or unloading the outside vessel and for ordinary communication to the shore from the outside vessel.
OVERHANG OF VESSELS OR GEAR
Any vessel requiring gear to overhang a berth should contact PRPA Marine Operations prior to berthing or shifting. PRPA Marine Operations will require that the vessel:
• Not obstruct the passage of any other vessel
• Properly illuminates the overhang from sunset to sunrise
• Does not, with regard to the prevailing weather conditions, tide or current pose a potential danger to the port
• Not impact on adjacent berths or facilities
When assessing a request for a vessel to overhang, the interests of the terminal operator must be considered. However, for overhangs in excess of 20% of the vessel’s length, additional requirements may be imposed on the vessel, including the use of tugs, and additional mooring lines.
Equipment for loading cargo onto, unloading cargo from or handling cargo on a vessel in the harbour shall be placed in such a manner as to give clear and uninterrupted access to and from the vessel, shall not interfere with any other operation in the harbour and, from sunset to sunrise, shall be clearly illuminated. No rigging, gear or other equipment of any vessel in the harbour shall overhang or project from the side of the vessel in a manner that may endanger life or property.
The side ports and stern ramps of every vessel in the harbour shall, from sunset to sunrise, be clearly illuminated when open; and closed when not in use.
Every hawser or line used to secure a vessel shall be equipped with a suitable device to prevent the passage of rodents between the vessel and the berth, and such other precautions as PRPA deems necessary shall be taken for this purpose.
A watch consisting of one or more competent person(s) shall be kept and maintained at all times when in the harbour. The person in charge of this watch shall, upon perceiving any danger, accident, disturbance or fire on the vessel or on any vessel in the harbour, give the alarm. Failure of the watch on any vessel to respond to the call, hail or inquiry of any officer of PRPA or the police shall be an offence.
8.12 DISPLAY OF SIGNALS AND LIGHTS
As per the Canadian Coast Guard Fishing Vessel Advisory Notice89, fishing vessels and other vessels when underway are required by regulation to travel with high intensity deck lights extinguished. Vessels in contravention are subject to severe penalties.
Vessels in the Port of Prince Rupert are to display lights and shapes in accordance with the Collision Regulations.90
All vessels involved in bunkering will display International Code Flag “B” by day and one all round red light at night.
8.13 RECREATIONAL VESSELS
SAFE BOATING PRACTICES
The Port of Prince Rupert is a busy harbour. Recreational boaters must adhere to No Wake Zones and exercise caution in high activity areas, including marinas, private docks and commercial facilities including the fueling dock.
Boaters must at all times proceed at a safe speed so that they can take proper and effective action to avoid collision and be stopped within a distance appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions.
All recreational activities that involve the towing or connection between a vessel and other equipment for the purpose of recreation, such as but not limited to, waterskiing, wakeboarding, parasailing, fly boarding and kiteboarding must not impede any other vessel traffic within the port. All such activities must be carried out in a safe manner, in areas where commercial vessel traffic will not be impeded, and with respect of other users of the port.
Pleasure craft, including those under oars or paddles, should keep well clear of all commercial vessels underway and not impede their passage. A vessel at anchor or berthed at a terminal may move without warning and a safe distance should be maintained.
Particular attention must be paid to navigation in the high activity areas. Tide and wind conditions may cause turbulent seas. Caution should be exercised.
No person shall operate any pleasure craft, including those under oars or paddles:
• Within 50 metres of a deep sea vessel underway, at anchor or berthed at a terminal
• Within 100 metres of vessels engaged in bunkering operations
• Within 140 metres of an LPG carrier loading cargo at Ridley Terminal.
No person shall operate a personal watercraft at night. Sunrise and Sunset are defined as the times published daily.
Any person operating a personal watercraft or similar vehicle shall have attached to their person, clothing, or personal flotation device, a lanyard-type engine cut-off switch.
No person shall operate a personal watercraft, paddle board, watercraft, fly board, kiteboard, parasail or similar recreational apparatus:
• Within 50 metres of a deep sea vessel underway, at anchor or berthed at a terminal
• Within 100 metres of vessels engaged in bunkering operations
• Within 140 metres of an LPG carrier loading cargo at Ridley Terminal.
Notwithstanding the above, use of personal watercraft in exhibitions, parades and other similar marine events may be permitted if the organizers of such an event have the written permission of PRPA for the use of personal watercraft. Such permission may only be granted after PRPA receives an application for a marine event. For more information on marine events, see Section 5.3.
Any person operating a personal watercraft must operate the vessel in a safe and prudent manner, having regard for other traffic, speed and wake restrictions, and all other circumstances so as not to endanger the life, injury or property of any person.
Refueling of powered vessels shall only be done at Northwest Fuels with adherence to all posted safety procedures.
PRPA has management and control of the port, which may include the establishment of places of moorage within the port. No vessel shall, except in an emergency, moor or anchor outside of designated anchorage areas without approval of PRPA Marine Operations, and then only as directed.
Should a recreational vessel need to anchor for a short duration due to an emergency, the operator must contact PSOC at +1 (250) 627-2522 and provide the mitigating circumstances, as well as the location and the expected duration of the anchorage, to ensure the safety of the vessel and other port users. PRPA may not agree to the proposed anchorage and may direct the vessel to another location.
Vessels moored or anchored at authorized locations are not permitted to raft vessels together. Vessel masters are responsible for ensuring their vessels are anchored in sufficient water to ensure safety at all stages of the tide and in all weather conditions.
Anchored vessels must display the appropriate day and night signals.
DERELICT, ABANDONED, ILLEGALLY MOORED OR ANCHORED VESSELS
Where the owner or person in charge of a vessel in the port is not available or refuses or neglects to obey any order to move the vessel, PRPA may, at the risk and expense of the owner of the vessel:
• Take possession of the vessel.
• Use any means and force reasonably necessary to move the vessel.
• Berth, anchor, moor the vessel at any place satisfactory to the PRPA.
• Remove the vessel out of the water and store it at any place satisfactory to PRPA.
• Dispose of the vessel by any method satisfactory to PRPA.
8.14 FISHING VESSELS
• There is to be no fishing by traps, trawl or set lines/longlines within 50 metres of any anchorage, anchored or berthed deep sea vessel within the inner harbour or the PRPA jurisdictional waters, without prior written approval by PRPA.
• Crabbing or fishing by trap or hoop will not be permitted in the harbour in any location that could constitute a hazard to navigation and the safety of persons. This includes areas listed above. All excess line on traps and hoops must be weighted or secured to prevent being fouled by other mariners in the vicinity.
• Fishing by trap or any other means within a designated aircraft landing zone is prohibited.
• Nets are not to be washed in a narrow channel or aircraft landing zone.
Aircraft on the water must comply with the Collision Regulations.
8.16 RECREATIONAL FISHING FROM DEEP SEA VESSELS
While at anchor within the jurisdiction of PRPA, crew shall not engage in recreational fishing from their vessels without a Department of Fisheries and Oceans Tidal Waters Sport fishing license. Mariners wishing to participate in recreational fishing must purchase a fishing license online from the Government of Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans website. Licenses are available for nonresident anglers for 1 to 5-day durations. Licenses are available for purchase at the following link: https://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/rec/licencepermis/index-eng.html.