April 14, 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.
DOD – rescue ends crisis, but problems remain
The Department of Defense (DOD) issued a news release stating that the military’s rescue of Captain Phillips was “textbook”, but that the issue of piracy is likely to worsen in the absence of a systemic solution. (4/13/09).
DOD – President resolved to halt the rise of piracy
The Department of Defense (DOD) issued a news release stating that President Obama praised the US military for the Navy’s successful efforts to rescue the kidnapped captain of the MAERSK ALABAMA. The President also said that the United States is “resolved to halt the rise of piracy” off the Somali coast and in the Gulf of Aden. (4/13/09).
EU MSC(HOA) – bulk carrier seized by pirates
The European Union (EU) Maritime Security Centre (Horn of Africa) [MSC(HOA)] issued a news release stating that a 35,000 tonnes Greek-owned bulk carrier was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden overnight. The 22-man crew are believed to be unhurt and shipping has been warned to stay clear of the area (1254N 04815E). Note: This attack clearly demonstrates that one victory over the pirates, no matter how dramatic, does not end the problem. A long-term effort on the part of all stakeholders will be required. (4/14/09).
LA/LB/Port Hueneme – TWIC requirement comes into effect
The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that the requirement for maritime workers to have valid Transportation Worker Identification Credentials (TWICs) in order to gain unescorted access to secure areas at regulated facilities comes into effect on April 14 at the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Port Hueneme. Note: The TWIC requirement also comes into effect on April 15 for US-flag regulated vessels nationwide. (4/13/09).
DOC – Broadwater LNG appeal denied
The Secretary of Commerce issued a decision upholding the objection of New York State to the proposed construction and operation of a floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal by Broadwater Energy LLC in New York waters of Long Island Sound. The Secretary concluded that the project’s environmental impacts outweighed its national interest, in part because its location in an undeveloped region of the Sound would impair that area’s unique scenic and aesthetic character. The decision prevents issuance of any federal permits necessary for construction and operation of the project as proposed. It does not, though, prevent Broadwater from developing and submitting alternative proposals for federal and state review. (4/13/09).
EPA – settlement of violations under audit policy
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a news release announcing settlement of a major environmental violation under the agency’s audit policy. Because the violations were discovered and reported by the regulated entity, no criminal action was taken and the civil penalty, while not small ($1.7 million), was significantly less than might have been assessed but for the self-reporting. Note: This is not a maritime case, but points to the benefits to be derived from instituting an internal audit program and self-reporting any non-compliance discovered. Better this than to wait for the sledge hammer to fall. (4/13/09).
Cook Inlet – proposed critical habitat for beluga whales
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) stating that it is seeking information related to the planned designation of various waters of Cook Inlet as critical habitat for the endangered Cook Inlet beluga whale. Comments should be submitted by May 14. 74 Fed. Reg. 17131 (April 14, 2009).
FERC – Cook Inlet Tidal Energy Project
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERD) issued a notice stating that it received from ORPC Alaska, LLC a notice of intent to file an application for a license for a hydrokinetic energy pilot project to be located in waters of upper Cook Inlet. Comments on this proposal should be submitted by April 30. 74 Fed. Reg. 17185 (April 14, 2009).
MARAD – Capital Construction Fund - corrections
The Maritime Administration (MARAD) issued correcting amendments to its earlier rulemaking relating to the Capital Construction Fund. The amendments, which update the various legal citations, come into effect immediately. 74 Fed. Reg. 17097 (April 14, 2009).
FMC – April 22 meeting rescheduled for May 13
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued a notice stating that the meeting planned for April 22 has been rescheduled to May 13. Further meetings are scheduled for June 3; June 24; July 15; August 5; and August 26. (4/13/09).
CRS – Advanced Spectroscopic Portal Program
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) issued a report to Congress on the Advanced Spectroscopic Portal Program (ASP) operated by the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The program is intended to detect smuggled nuclear and radiological materials. The report provides Congress with background on the program and issues that Congress may wish to consider. Among those issues are: (1) whether to further define the expected performance of the ASP systems through additional legislation; (2) how to assess whether the ASP systems are technologically ready to be deployed; (3) how to weigh the potential economic and security benefits of ASP deployment against its financial cost; and (4) whether the certification process developed by DHS to establish a “significant increase in operational effectiveness” is well founded. RL34750 (3/25/09).
RMS TITANIC – collision with iceberg
Late on the night of April 14, 1912, the luxury liner RMS TITANIC, owned by the White Star Line and on its maiden trans-Atlantic voyage, collided with an iceberg in waters of the North Atlantic Ocean off Newfoundland, Canada. The “unsinkable” ship sank several hours later, early on the morning of April 15, with the loss of 1,517 lives. The tragedy resulted in the development of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS Convention) and the establishment of the International Ice Patrol, among other things.
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