March 31, 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.
US & Canada – ECA proposal submitted to IMO
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a news release stating that, on March 27, it submitted a joint US-Canadian proposal to the IMO to create an emissions control area (ECA) around the coasts of both nations. The ECA, if approved by the IMO, would apply to vessels engaged on international voyages within 200 nautical miles of the coast of either nation. The proposal does not extend to the US Pacific territories, the western (unpopulated) Hawaiian Islands, the US territories of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, the Aleutian Islands, and Western Alaska. The proposal also does not extend to the Canadian Arctic. Further study of the impact of emissions in these locations is necessary to support any future proposal. The ECA will require transiting vessels to utilize very low sulfur fuel oil. Coincidently (?), the Environmental Defense Fund, an environmental advocacy group, released a report on the benefits of establishment of an ECA in US waters. Note: There are actually only two surprises related to this proposal. The first is how rapidly and comprehensively the Obama Administration has moved on this issue. The second is the inclusion of Canada, making it a regional submittal, which is favored by the IMO. There was never any doubt that the US would apply for the ECA designation. (3/30/09).
US & China – agreement of safe transport of dangerous goods
The Department of Transportation issued a news release stating that US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Chinese Minister of Transport Li Shenglin signed an agreement to cooperate on the safe transport of hazardous materials. The parties acknowledge that the vast majority of trade (including the carriage of dangerous goods) between the two nations is carried by ships. (3/30/09).
PHMSA – meeting re transport of dangerous goods
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) will conduct a meeting in Washington, DC on June 19. The purpose of the meeting is to prepare for the upcoming session of the United Nations Subcommittee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods. Topics on the agenda include explosives; listing, classification, and packing; the Model Regulations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods; and electronic data interchange for documentation purposes. 74 Fed. Reg. 14612 (March 31, 2009).
American Samoa – proposed safety zone
The US Coast Guard proposes to establish a temporary safety zone around a barge that will be performing diving operations on a sunken wreck in Pago Pago Harbor, American Samoa. The safety zone would be in effect from April 26 through May 14. Comments on the proposal should be submitted by April 15. 74 Fed. Reg. 14508 (March 31, 2009).
St. Lawrence Seaway – maximum allowable drafts
The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System issued a notice stating that, effective March 31, the maximum allowable draft for the Montreal to Lake Ontario section will be 80.8 dm (26’ 06”). Seaway Notice No. 7-2009 (3/27/09).
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 26 March) 1,058,245 maritime workers have enrolled for a TWIC and that 836,621 cards have been activated. (3/26/09).
Chesapeake Bay – barge allides with Bay Bridge, grounds
The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that a barge ran aground after alliding with a portion of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. No damage was reported to the bridge and there have been no reports of environmental damage. The incident is under investigation. (3/30/09).
Columbia River – barge allides with bridge
The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that a barge being pushed by a tug allided with a pylon of the Hood River Bridge on the Columbia River. No damage was reported to the bridge and there have been no reports of environmental damage. The incident is under investigation. (3/28/09).
Cook Inlet – unified command established re volcanic threat
The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that a unified command has been established to jointly address the threat of volcanic activity by Mount Redoubt poses to operations of the Drift River Terminal on western Cook Inlet. The unified command is comprised of representatives from the Coast Guard, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC), and the Cook Inlet Pipe Line Company (CIPL). (3/30/09).
IMO – AIS safety-related messaging
The IMO issued a circular providing guidance on Automatic Identification System (AIS) safety-related messaging. Among other things, it notes that AIS text messaging is not part of the GMDSS and its use for distress communications is not recognized internationally. COMSAR.1/Circ.46 (2/4/09).
IMO – guidance on distress alerts
The IMO issued a circular providing guidance on distress alerts, describing the operating procedure for a distress alert. COMSAR.1/Circ.45 (2/4/09).
IMO – NAVAREA Coordinators
The IMO issued a circular forwarding an updated list of NAVAREA Coordinators. COMSAR.1/Circ.44 (2/4/09).
IMO – new regional SAR sub-centers in Africa
The IMO issued a news release stating that regional search and rescue (SAR) sub-centers have been established in Dar-es-Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania and in Victoria, Seychelles. (3/30/09).
Gulf of Aden – pirates mistakenly attack warship
The European Union (EU) issued a press release stating that, on March 29, a skiff with seven pirates aboard attempted to attack a tanker in the Gulf of Aden. Unfortunately for the pirates, the ship was the German naval tanker FGS SPESSART, currently taking part in Operation EU NAVFOR ATALANTA. The tanker immediately returned fire and gave chase, assisted by a taskforce patrol aircraft and helicopter, along with other naval vessels engaged in anti-piracy efforts. The pirates were quickly taken into custody. The US Navy issued a news release regarding its participation in this joint effort. Note: The pirates have now been taught a painful lesson in vessel recognition. At the same time, the anti-piracy forces have rediscovered Q-ship tactics. (3/30/09).
EU – maritime transport policy
The Council of the European Union issued its Conclusions on the Commission communication on the strategic goals and recommendations for the EU’s maritime transport policy until 2018. Among other things, it invites the European Commission (EC) to further develop appropriate measures for maintaining and improving a clear and globally competitive EU framework for state aid, tonnage and income taxation related to the maritime transport industry. (3/30/09).
Canada – infrastructure funding
Transport Canada issued a media release stating that the Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia, and local stakeholders are partnering to invest in excess of C$225 million in five infrastructure improvements on the Vancouver North Shore to enhance rail and port operations and build Canada’s Pacific Gateway. (3/27/09).
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