March 17, 2009
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USN – CTF 151 warships deter pirate attack
The US Navy issued a news release stating that two warships assigned to Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 – the Danish warship HDMS Absalon and the Turkish frigate TCG Giresun – came to the assistance of a Vietnamese cargo ship and successfully deterred a pirate attack in the Gulf of Aden. (3/16/09).
DOJ – tanker operator fined for making false statements
The Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a news release stating that a tanker operator was fined $1 million after being convicted of making false statements to the US Coast Guard and failing to maintain an accurate oil record book. The company was placed on probation for five years and is required to implement a compliance program utilizing an outside auditor. The former chief engineer and the former first assistant engineer were convicted and previously sentenced. (3/16/09).
USCG – consolidated merchant mariner credential
The US Coast Guard National Maritime Center (NMC) issued a notice advising that the final rule consolidating credentials issued to US merchant mariners into a single credential has been published. The regulation also streamlines the application process by removing the requirement that mariners appear at one of the Regional Examination Centers (RECs) provided that they possess a valid Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) and identified themselves as merchant mariners when applying for the TWIC. (3/16/09).
FMC – ISO Program Specialist
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued a vacancy announcement stating that it is in search of a Program Specialist. Applications must be received by April 10. (3/16/09).
No LHWCA recovery for employee injured on state ferry
The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that, for purposes of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway & Transportation District is a subdivision of the State of California and that employees thereof who are injured while performing maritime-related work are not entitled to receive LHWCA payments. In the instant case, plaintiff was a ferry repairman and mechanic in the Ferry Division of the entity was injured while working aboard a vessel on the navigable waters of the United States. After receiving benefits under state law, he filed for benefits under the LHWCA, which was more generous. The court upheld the ruling of the Benefits Review Board that the entity was a subdivision of the State of California. As a result, LHWCA compensation was not payable. Wheaton v. Golden Gate Bridge, Highway & Transportation District, No. 07-72141 (9th Cir. March 16, 2009).
Hawaii – Superferry may not operate until EIS completed
The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that the special legislation adopted by the Hawaii Legislature allowing the Hawaii Superferry to operate between Oahu, Maui, and Kauai pending completion of its environmental impact statement (EIS) violates the Hawaii Constitution. Sierra Club v. Hawaii Department of Transportation, No. 29035 (March 16, 2009). In a separate opinion, two Justices concurred in the major result, but dissented with regard to award of attorneys’ fees. Reports indicate that the Hawaii Superferry has temporarily halted operations pending further developments.
IMO – North Korea advises of satellite launch
The IMO issued a news release stating that it has been officially advised by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea of its intention to launch an experimental communications satellite. The launch is scheduled to occur between 4 and 8 April between the hours of 0200 and 0700 UTC. Two potential dangerous areas for ships are in the Sea of Japan and the Northern Pacific Ocean. Further details are being broadcast on the World Wide Navigational Warning System (WWNWS) and are contained in SN.1/Circ.278. (3/13/09).
St. Patrick’s Day – green beer all around
Today is celebrated as St. Patrick’s Day, in memory of the priest Saint Patrick (circa AD 385-461) who chased all the lawyers (oops, I meant snakes) out of Ireland. Drink some green beer and be Irish, at least for a day. Erin Go Bragh!
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