March 23, 2009
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NOAA – NMS regulations – effective date
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued two notices regarding the effective date for two recent rulemakings amending the regulations for national marine sanctuaries (NMSs) off the coast of California. In both cases, the amendments come into effect on March 19, but with a limited exception. Channel Islands NMS. 74 Fed. Reg. 12087 (March 23, 2009). Gulf of the Farallones NMS; Monterey Bay NMS; and Cordell Bank NMS. The amendments regarding restrictions on the introduction of species into the Gulf of the Farallones NMS and the Monterey Bay NMS are held in abeyance pending resolution of objections raised by the Governor of California. 74 Fed. Reg. 12088 (March 23, 2009).
Biloxi – allision causes bridge collapse
The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that it is responding to the collapse of a span of the Popps Ferry Bridge in Biloxi, Mississippi. It received a report that barges being pushed by a towboat had allided with the bridge, causing the collapse. There have been no reports of personal injury or pollution. A photo release shows the towboat, barges, and the bridge with a span missing. One of the photos shows a portion of the bridge span lying atop one of the barges. A second press release states that a safety zone has been established around the towboat and barges. The bridge is located on the waterway between Back Bay and Big Lake in Biloxi and is one of the vehicular bridges connecting Biloxi Island with the mainland. A video release shows the towboat and barges, as well as the damaged bridge. (3/20/09).
Strait of Hormuz – collision between two USN ships
The US Navy issued a news release stating that two of its ships [the submarine USS Hartford (SSN 768) and the amphibious ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18)] collided in the Strait of Hormuz. Fifteen sailors on the Hartford were slightly injured, but have returned to duty. No one on the New Orleans was injured, but the ship suffered a spill of approximately 25,000 gallons of diesel fuel. The incident is under investigation. (3/20/09).
DHS – biometric identification
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released the testimony of Ms. Kathleen Kraninger and Mr. Robert Mocny before the Subcommittee on Homeland Security of the House Appropriations Committee on the subject of Biometric Identification. The testimony focused on the US-VISIT program, which includes the collection of biometric information from passengers departing the US by ship. It also mentioned the collection of biometric information by the US Coast Guard during interdiction of suspected migrant smuggling activities. (3/19/09).
TSA – TWIC update
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued an update to its status report on the implementation of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program. The TWIC Dashboard shows that (as of 19 March) 1,038,207 maritime workers have enrolled for a TWIC and that 808,672 cards have been activated. (3/19/09).
NY/NJ – TWIC reminder
The US Coast Guard issued a press release reminding maritime workers that the requirement limiting unescorted access to secure areas of regulated facilities within Captain of the Port (COTP) Zone New York to individuals in possession of a valid Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) comes into effect on March 23. (3/19/09).
San Diego – USCG and Mexican Navy meet to discuss oil spill response
The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that senior officials of the US Coast Guard and the Mexican Navy met with other stakeholders in San Diego to discuss cooperative response to oil spills that might occur in waters affecting both nations. The parties meet twice a year to exchange technical information and to plan exercises. (3/19/09).
Honolulu – maritime security discussions
The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that it hosted maritime security discussions attended by senior officials from Oceania stakeholder nations Australia, France, and New Zealand. The “Quad Talks” are held several times a year to improve coordination among the participants on issues such as maritime domain awareness. (3/19/09).
Alaska – consideration of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that the Alaska House State Affairs Committee invited RADM Gene Brooks, Commander, Seventeenth Coast Guard District to provide information about the impact of the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS) on Coast Guard operations. The Committee is considering a resolution (HJR 22) urging the US Senate to ratify the Convention. (3/19/09).
Bill introduced re safety of ports of entry
Bill introduced re WWII merchant mariner benefits
Senator Nelson (D-NE) introduced a bill (S. 663) to amend title 38, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish the Merchant Mariner Equity Compensation Fund to provide benefits to certain individuals who served in the United States merchant marine (including the Army Transport Service and the Naval Transport Service) during World War II. (3/19/09).
LA/LB port concession agreements litigation
The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed the denial of a motion for a preliminary injunction of the implementation of mandatory concession agreements for drayage trucking services at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach (LA/LB). The American Trucking Association (ATA) had brought suit against LA/LB, asserting that the concession agreements improperly attempted to regulate the price, route, and service of a motor carrier in violation of federal law. The federal district court refused to grant the injunction, finding that the agreements likely fell within the safety exception in the federal law, that the ATA failed to demonstrate irreparable harm, and that the balance of hardships and public interest weighed against imposing an injunction. The appellate court found that, while there was a safety component to the concession agreements, the major purposes of the agreements were economic and environmental. It also found that the ATA and its members would suffer irreparable harm absent the injunction and that the balance of equities favored issuance of the injunction. The case was remanded to the federal district court with directions for that court to determine what, if any, portions of the concession agreements are not preempted by federal law and, thus, would not be subject to an injunction. American Trucking Assoc. v. City of Los Angeles, No. 08-56503 (9th Cir., March 20, 2009).
Safety Alert – fake Hammar H2O Hydrostatic Release Units
Maritime New Zealand issued a Safety Bulletin warning of fake Hammar H2O Hydrostatic Release Units (HRUs). Fake copies of the H2O HRU have been found fitted to liferafts and EPIRBs. Liferafts and EPIRBs fitted with H2O HRUs should be checked immediately to ensure that the unit is genuine. (3/20/09).
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
© Dennis L. Bryant – March 2009