March 11, 2009
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USCG – COSCO BUSAN investigation report
The US Coast Guard released its marine casualty investigation report relating to November 7, 2007 allision by the motor vessel COSCO BUSAN with a pier of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. The incident resulted in discharge of approximately 53,000 gallons of fuel oil into waters of San Francisco Bay. The report indicates that the primary causes of the allision were:
1. Navigation error by the pilot, who navigated the vessel at a high, unsafe speed in near-zero visibility, failed to properly monitor the vessel’s position and progress, and lost situational awareness;
2. Failure of the master to adequately monitor the actions of the pilot;
3. Failure of the pilot and master to effectively communicate with each other during the voyage;
4. Failure of the pilot and master to conduct a proper pilot-master information exchange prior to getting underway;
5. Failure of the master to adhere to restricted visibility procedures of the vessel’s safety management system; and
6. Failure of the pilot and crew to employ proper bridge management team principles.
The Coast Guard also released an Excel Table showing various USCG and NTSB recommendations, as well as the status of each. (3/10/09).
EPA – GHG reporting requirement to be proposed
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a news release stating that it will soon officially propose regulations that would establish, if finally adopted, a comprehensive national system for reporting emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHGs). Note: At first blush, it appears that GHG emissions from ships are largely omitted from this proposal, although certain requirements may be imposed on manufacturers of marine engines. Note: Preliminary indications are that the US will continue to support an IMO-brokered approach to control of GHG emissions from ships engaged in international commerce. This is, of course, dependent upon reasonable progress by the IMO on this issue. (3/10/09).
EPA – VGP update
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice stating that stating that, per the request of New Jersey, Illinois, and California, certain specific section 401 certification conditions have been deleted from Part 6 of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Vessel General Permit (VGP) requirements for those states. The state of New Jersey deleted its unique provisions regarding discharges of graywater and bilgewater. The state of Illinois deleted its unique provisions regarding discharges of graywater. The state of California deleted unique provisions regarding discharges of graywater, discharges of chlorinated ballast water, and effluent monitoring requirements, among other things. While not discussed in this EPA notice, the state of New York made slight modifications to its section 401 certification conditions, but probably not enough to persuade various shipping interests to withdraw their lawsuit. Note: New York is using the NPDES VGP program in an effort to impose ballast water treatment standards developed by the state of California on discharges in New York waters without going through the usual notice-and-comment rulemaking process. I find this to be intellectually dishonest. The public and the regulated community deserve better. Federal and state agencies should observe the niceties of the democratic process prior to imposing new legal requirements. 74 Fed. Reg. 10573 (March 11, 2009).
NY/NJ – anchorage regulations
The US Coast Guard issued a final rule amending, effective April 10, the anchorage regulations for the Port of New York/New Jersey to reduce the size of the Romer Shoal Anchorage Ground. 74 Fed. Reg. 10484 (March 11, 2009).
ITA – European trade mission
The International Trade Administration (ITA) issued an updated notice stating that it is organizing a trade mission to Germany, Belgium, and Italy during the period May 4-8. [A somewhat similar notice was issued on February 25.] The program will focus on port safety and security, port logistics and infrastructure, port environment, and European maritime policies. US companies interested in participating should submit their applications by March 23. 74 Fed. Reg. 10553 (March 11, 2009).
USCG – meeting re adequacy of waste reception facilities
The US Coast Guard issued a press release reminding that it is holding a meeting in Washington, DC on March 12 to receive public comments on the adequacy of waste reception facilities in US ports. The MARPOL Convention obligates member governments to ensure the provision of reception facilities in its ports adequate to receive waste oil substances, chemical cargo residues from tank washings, and garbage generated aboard operating ships that call at those ports. (3/6/09).
DOJ – chief engineer pleads guilty
The Department of Justice issued a news release stating that a chief engineer has pleaded guilty in federal court to using falsified records to conceal improper discharges of oil-contaminated bilge water into the ocean. Presenting to the Coast Guard an oil record book (ORB) containing material entries known to be false is a federal crime. The chief engineer faces up to six years imprisonment, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced on April 13. (3/10/09).
DOJ – shipping company fined $1.4 million
The Department of Justice issued a news release stating that a shipping company was sentenced to pay a $1 million fine, a special assessment of $400,000 in community service payments, and serve three years of probation for failing to maintain an accurate oil record book (ORB). During the probation period, the company will implement an environmental compliance program. The chief engineer on the offending vessel had earlier pleaded guilty and been sentenced to a fine of $8,000. (3/10/09).
Galveston – lightering complete on damaged tanker
The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that lightering has been completed of all the cargo on the damaged tanker SKS SATILLA. It will now transit to a shipyard for repairs. The double-hull tanker had sustained damage to a large area along the port side of the hull below the waterline. There were no reports of injury or pollution. Investigation of the incident continues. (3/10/09).
UK – chains being installed to lift MSC NAPOLI wreck
The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) issued a press notice stating that the first of twelve chains has been placed under the wrecked stern section of the MSC NAPOLI. When all twelve chains are in place, lifting of the stern will commence, which is scheduled to occur in May. The chains are being installed by means of a unique underwater drilling system. (3/10/09).
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
© Dennis L. Bryant – March 2009