March 24, 2009
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NOSAC – meeting
The National Offshore Safety Advisory Committee (NOSAC), sponsored by the US Coast Guard, will meet in Corpus Christi on April 23. Topics on the agenda include commercial diving safety, employment of foreign workers, and evacuation of injured workers from remote facilities. 74 Fed. Reg. 11383 (March 24, 2009).
USCG – Q & A regarding the state of the Coast Guard
The US Coast Guard posted a complete set of Questions and Answers regarding the state of the Coast Guard. More questions were asked during the Commandant’s recent State of the Coast Guard Address than could be answered at the presentation. Among other things, answers are provided to questions relating to the EPA’s new Vessel General Permit (VGP) program and to posting more information on the Internet. (3/23/09).
Biloxi – update
The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that the channel in Back Bay at Biloxi closed following the bridge allision has been reopened. A plan to salvage the damaged barges has been approved. (3/23/09).
Bill introduced re safety of ports of entry
Representative Reyes (D-TX) introduced the Putting Our Resources Towards Security (PORTS) Act (H.R. 1655) to enhance the safety of ports of entry in the United States, and for other purposes. Note: I disapprove of the increasingly common practice of giving legislation awkward names in an attempt to achieve a cute acronym. (3/19/09).
Canada – amendment to pilotage requirements
Transport Canada issued a media release stating that it is expanding pilotage waters for tankers and LNG carriers calling at the Canaport facility in New Brunswick. It is also establishing pilotage requirements for ships that will call at the proposed Long Harbour nickel receiving facility in Placentia Bay. (3/20/09).
EXXON VALDEZ – March 24, 1989
On March 24, 1989, the single-hull tanker EXXON VALDEZ was departing the Port of Valdez, Alaska will a full load of North Slope crude oil (approximately 1.26 million barrels) destined for Long Beach when it grounded on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound. The resulting oil spill (approximately 258,000 barrels), while not the largest in US history, was clearly the most important. It engendered much litigation, some of which continues at this time. Public concern over the spill led directly to enactment of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90), which mandated double hulls for new tankers, response plans, and a number of other remedial measures. OPA 90 also significantly changed the liability and compensation scheme for oil spills in US waters. The amount of oil entering waters of the United States from ships drastically decreased following enactment of OPA 90. As a personal note, I was directly involved in the development and promulgation of regulations implementing OPA 90 for the US Coast Guard. A lot has changed in the succeeding 20 years, most significantly the commitment of the maritime industry to prevent oil pollution from ships.
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