April 10, 2009
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DOD – Navy destroyer on scene at hijacking/hostage taking
The US Department of Defense issued a news release stating that the Navy destroyer USS BAINBRIDGE has arrived at the scene of the attempted hijacking of the container ship MAERSK ALABAMA and the taking as a hostage of the master of the container ship by Somali pirates. A second news release states that the safety of the master is the primary concern of the US Government. Negotiations with the pirates are on-going. The four pirates and the US master are in the MAERSK ALABAMA’s lifeboat, adrift in the Indian Ocean, but closely attended by the BAINBRIDGE. The MAERSK ALABAMA is en route Mombasa. The President’s interagency group on maritime safety is meeting on this situation. Unconfirmed reports indicate that the US naval presence in the area will soon be increased. (4/9/09).
EPA – mandatory GHG reporting – proposed
The Environmental Protection Agency proposes to require reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from all sectors of the economy. The rule would apply to fossil fuel suppliers and industrial gas suppliers, as well as to direct GHG emitters. The proposed rule does not require control of GHG; rather it requires only that sources above certain threshold levels monitor and report emissions. Meetings to receive public comments will be held in Arlington, Virginia (April 6 & 7) and in Sacramento (April 16). Written comments must be received by June 9. Note: This belatedly-published proposal focuses on manufacturing facilities, refineries, and power generating facilities. It does not directly address maritime operations, with the exception of marine engine manufacturing facilities and, possibly, shipyards. 74 Fed. Reg. 16447 (April 10, 2009).
Los Angeles – General Conformity Determination re Container Terminal Project
The US Army Corps of Engineers issued a notice stating that the General Conformity Determination and Record of Decision for the Berths 136-147 [TraPac] Container Terminal Project in the Port of Los Angeles has been published. 74 Fed. Reg. 16369 (April 10, 2009).
Invasive Species Advisory Committee – meeting
The Invasive Species Advisory Committee, sponsored by the Department of the Interior, will meet in Tucson on May 5-7. 74 Fed. Reg. 16417 (April 10, 2009).
FERC & DOI – MOU re OCS renewable energy responsibilities
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a news release stating that Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) clarifying their agencies’ respective jurisdictional responsibilities for leasing and licensing renewable energy projects on the US Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The MOU covers, among other things. Projects for developing wind, solar, wave, tidal, and ocean current energy sources. (4/9/09).
FMC – ISO Industry Analyst
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued a vacancy announcement stating that it is in search of an Industry Analyst. Applications for this position must be received by April 23. (4/9/09).
Anchorage – $10 million for port development
The Maritime Administration (MARAD) issued a news release stating that $10 million has been received from the Department of Defense, Office of Economic Adjustment, to continue infrastructure improvements at the Port of Anchorage. As part of the overall port expansion, dual-use facilities are being created with capacity for military staging areas during deployments. (4/9/09).
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 9 April) 1,099,978 maritime workers have enrolled for a TWIC and that 877,154 cards have been activated. (4/9/09).
NY/NJ – whale zone, yes and no
The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that a safety zone has been around a whale sighted in the vicinity of the Verrazano Bridge in the Port of New York/New Jersey. Mariners are urged to remain a safe distance away from the whale. A second press release states that the whale has apparently departed and that the safety zone has been suspended. (4/9/09).
Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal – new electric barrier activated
The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that the US Army Corps of Engineers activated a new electric barrier (known as Barrier IIA) at mile mark 296.5 on the Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal, near Lockport, Illinois. The barrier is intended to prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes. The Coast Guard is enforcing its regulated navigation area (RNA) and safety zone in this portion of the waterway. Persons on transiting vessels must wear personal floatation devices (PFDs) and transiting vessels may not moor or linger in the area. (4/9/09).
IMO – draft HNS Protocol approved
The IMO issued a news release stating that the Legal Committee approved a draft Protocol to the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea, 1996 (HNS Convention). The draft Protocol is intended to address practical problems that have prevented many States from ratifying the original Convention. The draft Protocol now goes to the IMO Council for approval of holding a diplomatic conference to consider the Protocol with a view to formally adopting it. (4/9/09).
New Zealand – Hague-Visby Rules and the failure to report grounding
The Court of Appeal of New Zealand ruled that the failure on the part of a master to report the grounding of his ship is not an error of navigation that would allow for exoneration of the owner from liability for damage to cargo. In the instant case, cargo was damaged after the ship grounded, continued on its course for some hours, and then belatedly notified the owner and the authorities of the casualty. Cargo interests asserted damage claims. The owner contended that the losses were not compensable, being due to an error of navigation by the master. It turns out that the master, in an effort to make up for lost time, took a short-cut through a narrow channel, grounding en route and creating a significant breach in the hull. In an effort to cover up this event, the master continued sailing at full speed until the ship was back on its intended course. Only then did the master report the casualty and seek assistance. Interpreting the Hague-Visby Rules, which were applicable to these claims, the court found that the cargo damage was the result not of an error of navigation (which caused the grounding), but the decision to keep sailing and delay the provision of assistance. Tasman Orient Line CV v. New Zealand China Clays Limited,  NZCA 135 (9 April 2009).
UK – aircraft patrols commence off Somalia
The UK Maritime Security Centre (Horn of Africa) [MSC(HOA)] issued a news release stating that EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta has commenced maritime aircraft patrols over waters of the Indian Ocean off the coast of Somalia. (4/9/09).
UK – sea passenger statistics - 2008
The UK Department for Transport released the Sea Passenger Statistics 2008. During 2008, there were 22.8 million international sea passenger journeys to and from the UK, a decrease of 3.5% from 2007. Domestic sea passenger journeys dropped 6%, to 3.4 million. (4/9/09).
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 – April 2009