March 18, 2009
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MMS – meetings re OCS energy plan
The Minerals Management Service (MMS) issued a notice stating that it will conduct public meetings in Atlantic City (April 6); New Orleans (April 8); Anchorage (April 14); and San Francisco (April 16) to gather information on how to move forward with a comprehensive plan for conventional and renewable energy resources of the outer continental shelf (OCS). 74 Fed. Reg. 11603 (March 18, 2009).
MARAD – paperwork omission leads to delay in effective dates
The Maritime Administration (MARAD) issued clarifications relating to two recent regulatory changes announcing that the applicability dates for both amendments was March 13, 2009. Prior to the earlier publication of the amendments, the agency inadvertently failed to submit them to Congress and the General Accounting Office (GAO). That omission has been corrected. The two affected programs are: US Citizenship for Contracts on RRF Vessels 74 Fed. Reg. 11502 (March 18, 2009) and Capital Construction Fund 74 Fed. Reg. 11503 (March 18, 2009).
Massachusetts – MSD determination – “No Discharge” zones
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice stating that it has determined that adequate facilities for the safe and sanitary removal and treatment of sewage from all vessels are reasonably available for the state waters of Revere, Saugus, Lynn, Nahant, and Swampscott. 74 Fed. Reg. 11547 (March 18, 2009).
Panama City, Florida – restricted area – correction
The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) issued a correction to its earlier rulemaking establishing a restricted area in waters adjacent to Naval Support Activity, Panama City, Florida. The correction adjusts the coordinates of the boundaries of the restricted area and comes into effect immediately. 74 Fed. Reg. 11481 (March 18, 2009).
Cape Canaveral – restricted areas proposed
The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) proposes to establish a restricted area on US waters of the Atlantic Ocean adjacent to the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and to enlarge the existing restricted area on the Banana River adjacent to the same facility. Comments on the proposals should be submitted by April 17. 74 Fed. Reg. 11507 (March 18, 2009).
DOI & FERC – permitting of offshore renewable energy projects
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a news release stating that it and the Department of the Interior (DOI) have agreed to work together to facilitate the permitting of renewable energy projects in offshore waters. (3/17/09).
USCG – ships sink with the economy
The US Coast Guard issued a press release advising of the dangers and liabilities related to improperly disposing of a vessel. The agency is concerned that the current economic difficulties may be pushing some mariners to intentionally sink their vessels offshore or abandon their vessels at the pier. (3/17/09).
New Orleans – Rescue 21
The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that, on March 21, the Rescue 21 facilities for Sector New Orleans will be accepted from the contractor and become operational. Rescue 21 is part of the National Maritime Distress and Response System and offers significant improvements in emergency communications capability. (3/17/09).
Great Lakes – Operation Spring Breakout
The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that Operation Spring Breakout has commenced on the Great Lakes. This is an annual icebreaking operation facilitating navigation to meet the reasonable needs of commerce. (3/17/09).
Humboldt Bay – waterways assessment
The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that it is conducting a Waterways Analysis Management System (WAMS) review of Humboldt Bay to better facilitate safe and effective waterways in the area. A user survey is also being conducted. Interested parties should submit information and opinions by May 6. (3/17/09).
Bills introduced re cruise ship safety
Senator Kerry (D-MA) and Representative Matsui (D-CA) introduced companion versions of the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2009 (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. Representative Matsui issued a news release discussing the bills. (3/12/09).
GAO – vulnerabilities in issuance of US passports
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued the report of its investigation into the passport issuance process administered by the Department of State. Undercover tests revealed significant vulnerabilities in that process. In that possession of a US passport is a commonly-used means by which applicants for a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) establish their identity, it is unclear how much spill-over there is between the two programs and whether problems in the passport issuance process impact the integrity of the TWIC program. GAO-09-447 (3/13/09).
IMO – energy efficiency for ships
The IMO issued a news release stating that progress has been made in developing measures to enhance energy efficiency in ships engaged in international commerce, with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) for new ships was further refined. Improvements were also considered for the Energy Efficiency Operational Index (EEOI), which allows operators to measure the fuel efficiency of an existing ship. These are among the issues that will be addressed in detail at the upcoming session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC). (3/16/09).
TORREY CANYON – March 18, 1967
On the world stage, the grounding of the supertanker TORREY CANYON on Pollard’s Rock in the Seven Stones reef between Cornwall and the Scilly Isles is more significant than the 1989 EXXON VALDEZ oil spill. The TORREY CANYON was one of the first tankers large enough (120,000 tons capacity) to be designated a supertanker. It was also the first loaded supertanker to spill its entire cargo. After salvage efforts failed and the oil flow increased, the British Government decided to bomb the ship in an attempt to burn the oil. This was a radical decision because the wreck was outside the three-mile territorial sea limit prevalent at that time. The Royal Air Force had difficulty hitting the ship, so the Royal Navy sent its planes in. They succeeded in striking the ship, but the bombs did not ignite the oil, which washed up on beaches throughout the British Isles and France. The actions of the British Government were subsequently ratified with the adoption of the International Convention relating to Intervention on the High Seas in cases of Oil Pollution Casualties, 1969. Liability of ship owners for such events was codified in the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1969. By raising the awareness of both the industry and the public concerning the threat of maritime pollution, the disaster was also a major factor in development of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973.
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