March 16, 2009
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. Comments on these postings are encouraged and may be made by clicking the envelope that appears at the end of each posting. Be aware that the daily blog entry is a single posting, even though it contains a number of individual items. Improvements in this blog site, while slow, are due to the assistance of Kim Nettles. She rapidly points me to the improvements. I, with the speed of a glacier, implement them. Please bear with me.
USCG – consolidation of merchant mariner credentials
The US Coast Guard issued a final rule consolidating credentials for US merchant mariners. The changes come into effect for credentials issued on or after April 15, 2009. As of that date, the issuances will be the consolidated merchant mariner credential (MMC). Previously issued merchant mariner documents (MMDs), merchant mariner licenses, certificates of registry (CORs), and STCW endorsements may remain valid until their normal expiration date, but not later than April 15, 2014. As shown here, the MMC (or Certificate of Competency) will resemble a US passport in size and shape, but be red in color. It will consolidate all records of the mariner’s qualifications, with the exception of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC). The MMC will serve as evidence of the mariner’s qualifications, but will not replace the TWIC as proof of the individual’s eligibility for unescorted access to secure areas of regulated facilities and vessels. Note: At least from the psychological perspective, this is a major development for US merchant mariners. It has, though, the potential to make their professional lives less complex and to bring the documentation process into the 21st century. 74 Fed. Reg. 11195 (March 16, 2009).
USCG – Maine cutter to deploy to Great Lakes
The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that the ice-breaking tug THUNDER BAY is being temporarily deployed from Rockland, Maine to the Great Lakes to assist with ice breaking operations as part of Operation Coal Shovel. Due to a colder than normal winter, a high volume of ice is present on waters of the Great Lakes. (3/13/09).
Seattle – maritime security exercise
The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that it, the FBI, the Washington State Ferries, the Washington State Patrol, various state and local authorities, and numerous maritime facilities conducted a mobilization exercise simulating a Maritime Security Level increase for port facilities around Puget Sound and the Washington State Ferries. (3/13/09).
St. Lawrence Seaway – ballast water inspection process
The Department of Transportation issued a news release highlighting recent improvements in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System’s ballast water inspection process. (3/13/09).
Bill introduced to improve maritime law enforcement
Representative LoBiondo (R-NJ) introduced the Maritime Law Enforcement Improvement Act of 2009 (H.R. 1440) to amend title 46, United States Code, to improve maritime law enforcement. Mr. LoBiondo issued a news release explaining that the bill is intended, among other things, to increase the penalties for smuggling aliens into the United States. (3/11/09).
Bills introduced re cruise ship safety
Senator Kerry (D-MA) and Representative Matsui (D-CA) introduced companion bills (S. 588 and H.R. 1485) to amend title 46, United States Code, to establish requirements to ensure the security and safety of passengers and crew on cruise vessels, and for other purposes. Text of the bills is not yet available, but Representative Matsui issued a news release discussing the bills. (3/12/09).
Australia – oil spill update
Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) established a website devoted to the Pacific Adventurer incident. On March 11, the ship was transiting off the coast of Queensland, traveling from Newcastle to Indonesia via Brisbane. It encountered heavy seas during the passage of Cyclone Hamish. Reportedly 31 shipping containers (holding ammonium nitrate) were lost overboard. As the containers fell, they damaged the hull of the ship, resulting in the loss of a large quantity of fuel oil. Significant and coordinated response actions are underway. (3/13/09).
Hamburg – Green Ship Technology Conference
On March 24-25, the sixth annual Green Ship Technology Conference, sponsored by Lloyd’s List, will be held in Hamburg, Germany. In addition to the usual group of experts, I am being allowed to present on the topic of US environmental regulations and developments. There is still time to register for this outstanding event (my presence notwithstanding).
AMOCO CADIZ – 16 March 1978
On March 16, 1978, the very large crude carrier (VLCC) AMOCO CADIZ lost steering in a Force 10 storm and grounded on Portsall Rocks off the coast of Brittany, France. As it broke up, the tanker lost its entire cargo of 1.6 million barrels of crude oil. The coastal areas in the vicinity were heavily impacted by the spill. After receiving limited compensation under the Civil Liability Compensation (CLC) and Funds Conventions, the Government of France brought suit in the United States against Amoco Oil Company, the parent company (twice removed) of the ship owner. The federal court awarded damages in favor of France, holding that the liability allocation and channeling provisions in the conventions were not applicable since the US was not party thereto.
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