Monday, February 23, 2009

Blog - 23 February 2009

February 23, 2009

Bryant’s Maritime Blog

Note: Much of the highlighted text in this newsletter constitutes links to Internet sites providing more detailed information. Links on this page may be in PDF format, requiring use of Adobe Acrobat Reader.

San Clemente Island – safety zone

The US Coast Guard has established, through April 1, a safety zone on the waters of Northwest Harbor on San Clemente Island, California. During this period, the US Navy will be conducting training in underwater detonation. 74 Fed. Reg. 8007 (February 23, 2009).

NRC – decommissioning activities re NS SAVANNAH

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will conduct a meeting in Baltimore on March 11 to receive comments on its Post Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report (PSDAR) for the Nuclear Ship SAVANNAH. 74 Fed. Reg. 8124 (February 23, 2009).

Oregon – former port director pleads guilty to permit violation

The US Attorney for the District of Oregon issued a news release stating that the former Director of the Port of Astoria pleaded guilty in federal court to violating the Federal Water Pollution Control Act by discharging dredge spoil into the Columbia River in violation of the applicable federal permit. The permit required that the dredge spoil be tested for contaminants prior to discharge. The former Director knowingly allowed the dredge spoil to be discharged without testing. The maximum penalty for the violation is three years in prison and a fine of $50,000 for each day of violation. The Port of Astoria has agreed to settle the civil complaint in this matter. The Port is expected to pay a penalty of $125,000 and to retain an environmental compliance officer. (2/19/09).

Portland, Maine – mystery oil spill

The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that it responded to a mystery oil spill near the Casco Bay Bridge on the Fore River in Portland, Maine. An investigation has been commenced into the source of the spill. (2/21/09).

Galveston – tanker aground

The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that efforts are underway to refloat a tanker that grounded on the north side of the Galveston safety fairway. The ship is carrying approximately 620,000 barrels of fuel oil. There have been no reports of injury or pollution. The Coast Guard also issued a photograph of the ship. (2/21/09).

FMC – schedule of meetings

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued a notice stating that it has scheduled meetings for February 25, March 11, March 25, April 8, and April 22. (2/20/09).

Minimum contacts required for exercise of jurisdiction over foreign entity

The US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled that there was no personal jurisdiction over a foreign corporation in an admiralty action where the corporation did not have sufficient contacts with the United States. In the instant case, plaintiff sued the foreign corporation that operated a resort in Costa Rica. Plaintiff was injured on a fishing vessel that he arranged to fish from while staying at the resort. He had located the resort during an Internet search from his home in the United States and had made his reservations via that Internet site. Defendant corporation challenged the assertion of personal jurisdiction by the federal court in the United States. The appellate court held that, to comport with due process, the defendant must have established certain minimum contacts with the forum such that maintenance of the suit does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice. Here, the court found, the defendant had not availed itself of the privilege of conducting activities in the United States and, thus, was not subject to the jurisdiction of US courts. Oldfield v. Pueblo Bahia Lora S.A., No. 07-11958 (11th Cir., February 12, 2009).

Mistakes of navigation by master allow for limitation of liability

The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that the owner of a vessel involved in a collision is entitled to limit its liability when the collision is the result of a mistake of navigation by the master and the owner had fulfilled its duty to hire a competent master. In the instant case, the master had operated the tug at excessive speed, creating a wake that capsized a nearby recreational fishing vessel and resulting in the death of a passenger on the fishing vessel. Evidence showed that the master of the tug was experienced and had an unblemished record prior to this incident. The tug was found to be seaworthy. The court held that the mistakes of navigation made by the master were not within the privity and knowledge of the owner. Matheny v. Tennessee Valley Authority, No. 08-5127 (6th Cir., February 19, 2009).

IMO – amendments to general provisions on ships’ routeing

The IMO issued a circular providing an advance copy of a resolution on amendments to the general provisions on ships’ routeing. The measure aligns specifications for routeing measures boundary symbology and charting of archipelagic sea lanes with those adopted by the IHO. SN.1/Circ.275 (12/10/08).

IMO – Nigerian Government urged to act on piracy

The IMO issued a news release stating that Secretary-General Efthimios Mitropoulos has urged the Government of Nigeria to intervene to help reduce the incidence of acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the Gulf of Guinea and in waters off the coast of Nigeria. (2/20/09).

EMSA – new tender launched for stand-by oil recovery vessels

The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) issued a news release stating that it is launching a new procurement procedure for stand-by oil recovery vessels covering two areas: the Northern part of the Baltic Sea and the Western Approaches to the Channel & Atlantic. (2/20/09).

UK – allision with monobuoy due to dragging of anchor

The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) issued a summary of its preliminary examination of an incident in Algeciras Bay on 13 December 2008 when a merchant vessel dragged anchor and allided with a monobuoy, holing the merchant vessel. Examination revealed that the vessel frequently dragged anchor because of continuing poor anchoring procedures. (2/20/09).

If you have questions regarding the above items, please contact the editor:
Dennis L. Bryant
Bryant’s Maritime Blog
4845 SW 91st Way
Gainesville, FL 32608-8135


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