March 4, 2009
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USCG – The State of the Coast Guard
The US Coast Guard issued a message from Admiral Thad Allen to all service personnel explaining the importance of the Coast Guard to the safety, security, and economy of the nation. The full text of the State of the Coast Guard Address should be available within 48 hours. (3/3/09).
MARAD – small shipyard grant program
The Maritime Administration (MARAD) issued a notice stating that the Small Shipyard Grant Program has been funded in the amount of $100 million for 2009. The program funds up to 75% of qualifying projects at small US shipyards. Applications must be filed by April 20. MARAD intends to award grants no later than August 17. 74 Fed. Reg. 9474 (March 4, 2009).
Shipping Coordinating Committee – meeting
The Shipping Coordinating Committee, sponsored by the US Department of State, will meet in Washington, DC on March 18. The purpose of the meeting is to prepare for the upcoming session of the IMO Legal Committee. Topics on the agenda include liability and compensation regarding claims for death, personal injury, and abandonment of seafarers, wreck removal, and development of a single model compulsory insurance certificate. 74 Fed. Reg. 9466 (March 4, 2009).
MERPAC – meeting
The Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC), sponsored by the US Coast Guard, will meet in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts on April 16-17. 74 Fed. Reg. 9422 (March 4, 2009).
USCG – renewal of NOSAC charter
The US Coast Guard issued a notice stating that the charter of the National Offshore Safety Advisory Committee (NOSAC) has been renewed through February 9, 2011. 74 Fed. Reg. 9422 (March 4, 2009).
USCG – Arctic Domain Awareness
The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that, commencing March 17, it will resume Arctic Domain Awareness flights over US Arctic waters. The flights test capabilities, identify challenges, survey sea ice, and monitor vessel traffic. (3/3/09).
NOAA – removal of LORAN-C lattices from charts
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a notice stating that future editions of National Ocean Survey (NOS) paper and raster charts will not include LORAN-C lattices. Note: Modern LORAN-C receivers provide the read-out in latitude-longitude. (3/2/09).
USN – Turkey joins counterpiracy effort in Gulf of Aden
The US Navy issued a news release stating that the Turkish frigate TCG GIRESUN joined Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 and began conducting counterpiracy operations in the Gulf of Aden alongside other Coalition naval forces. (2/27/09).
USN – suspected pirates released due to lack of evidence
The US Navy issued a news release stating that nine Somali nationals, suspected of piracy, were turned over to the Puntland Coast Guard (in northern Somalia) due to inconclusive evidence to support prosecution. While the individuals, when detained, possessed weapons and equipment commonly used to facilitate pirate attacks, there was insufficient evidence to prove that they had actually engaged in such conduct. Seven other individuals, for whom evidence of participation in piracy is more conclusive, continue to be detained. (3/3/09).
FMC – ISO industry analyst
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued a vacancy announcement for an industry analyst. Applications must be submitted by March 20. (3/2/09).
Bill introduced to amend the Migratory Bird Treaty Act
Senator Vitter (R-LA) introduced the Migratory Bird Treaty Amendment Act of 2009 (S. 489) to amend the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to authorize hunting under certain circumstances. Note: I have no objection to creation of another exception for bird hunters from the strict criminal liability provisions of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, but am of the opinion that the Act should be amended more generally so that it does not continue to be a weapon to wield against the owners, operators, and crew of ships from which oil is spilled in the absence of intent or negligence. (2/26/09).
GAO – report on nuclear detection
The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued the report of its oversight of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO), finding that the agency has made some progress in strengthening radiation detection capabilities to address critical gaps and vulnerabilities in combating nuclear smuggling, but that challenges remain. For example, DNDO is working with the Coast Guard and local law enforcement agencies in the Puget Sound area to field test equipment and to develop radiological and nuclear screening procedures. However, DNDO has made little progress in (1) developing criteria for assessing the success of the pilot to help determine whether it should be expanded to other locations, and (2) resolving some of the challenges it faces in the pilot program, such as technological limitations of the detection equipment and sustaining current detection efforts. GAO-09-257 (3/2/09).
Parol evidence not admissible to extend employment contract
The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that parol (e.g., oral) evidence may not be admitted into court for the purpose of disputing an unambiguous duration provision in a contract for the employment of a crewmember. In the instant case, plaintiff’s decedent had been employed by defendant fishing vessel owner for one voyage. Plaintiff’s decedent was injured on that voyage. Defendant paid, among other things, unearned wages for the duration of the voyage. Plaintiff asserted that additional monies were due because there was an oral understanding for a longer employment period. The court ruled that, where federal law requires the employment contract to be in writing and to require that the duration of the employment be included in the contract, admission of parol evidence to vary the unambiguous duration terms is inappropriate. Day v. American Seafoods Company, No. 07-35712 (9th Cir., March 2, 2009).
IMO – partnership to minimize global environment threat
The IMO issued a news release stating that the Global Industry Alliance (GIA) has been launched to tackle threats of marine bio-invasions caused by the transfer of alien plants and animals in ship’s ballast tanks. The GIA is an innovative partnership between the IMO, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and four major private shipping companies (APL, BP Shipping, Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, and Vela Marine International). More shipping companies have expressed their willingness to join. (3/2/09).
IMO – list of LRIT IDs
The IMO issued an updated list of identification numbers for purposes of the Long-Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) system. In addition to the numbers assigned to Contracting Governments, the list includes numbers assigned to LRIT Data Centers and to LRIT Application Service Providers. (2/18/09).
IMO – LRIT interim revised technical specifications
The IMO issued a circular providing interim revised technical specifications for the Long-Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) system. MSC.1/Circ.1259 (12/8/09).
Panama Canal – seeking dredging proposals
The Panama Canal Authority issued a press release stating that it is seeking proposals to dredge the Atlantic entrance of the Canal. The proposed contract calls for dredging approximately 15 million cubic meters underwater and 800,000 cubic meters of dry excavation, as well as deepening the entrance to 15.5 meters. Proposals should be submitted by July 15. (3/2/09).
Panama Canal – bids received for lock construction
The Panama Canal Authority issued a press release stating that it received bids from three consortia to design and build the new locks on the Pacific and Atlantic sides of the Canal. The contract will be awarded to the bid representing the best value, based on technical aspects and the bid price. (3/3/09).
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
Redistribution permitted with attribution