April 8, 2009
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UK – pirates seize US container ship off Somalia
The UK Maritime Security Centre (Horn of Africa) [MSC(HOA)] issued a news release stating that a Danish-owned, US-operated 17,000 tonne container ship was seized in the Indian Ocean approximately 400 miles east of Mogadishu. The 21-man American crew are believed to be safe. The ship has been tentatively identified as the MAERSK ALABAMA (IMO number 9164263). If so, it would be the first US-flag vessel taken by the Somali pirates and the crew would be the first American citizens captured by pirates in about 200 years. The US Maritime Administration (MARAD) site shows the MAERSK ALABAMA as a participant in the Maritime Security Program. Send in the Marines! (4/8/09).
Somalia – Special Maritime Advisory
The US Navy issued a news release stating that, following a series of piratical attacks off the eastern coast of Somalia, a Special Maritime Advisory has been issued by the Combined Maritime Forces. Pirates are launching attacks over 400 miles off the coast. Naval patrols have increased, but are not able to closely cover all waters where an attack could potentially occur. Merchant vessels in these waters should continue to exercise extreme caution. (4/7/09).
Port Canaveral – security zone
The US Coast Guard is establishing a security zone on navigable waters of the West Basin in Port Canaveral Harbor. This security zone will be activated four hours prior to the scheduled arrival of a cruise ship, but will only be enforceable during Maritime Security (MARSEC) levels 2 and 3 or when there is a specific credible threat during MARSEC level 1. Once activated, the security zone will remain in effect while there are cruise ships in the basin. The rule comes into effect on May 8. 74 Fed. Reg. 15854 (April 8, 2009).
USCG – processing of MMCs
The US Coast Guard National Maritime Center (NMC) issued a notice reminding US merchant mariners that merchant mariner credentials (MMCs) issued after April 15 will be printed in the new consolidated MMC format. Credentials issued prior to April 15 will be in the traditional format. (4/7/09).
Portland, Oregon – multi-agency security operation
The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that a multi-agency security operation was performed at Terminal 6 in Portland, Oregon. Teams verified Transportation Worker Identification Credentials (TWICs) and used certified explosive-detection dogs during the Maritime Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) operation. Participating agencies included the Coast Guard, Customs & Border Protection, the Transportation Security Administration, Immigration & Customs Enforcement, the Port of Portland, Portland Police Bureau, and Port of Portland Police Department. (4/7/09).
Australia – entry into force of Bunkers Convention
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) issued a notice stating that the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage, 2001 will enter into force for Australia on 16 June 2009. From that date, ships having a gross tonnage greater than 1000 entering Australian ports or offshore facilities will be required to carry a Certificate of Insurance or Other Financial Security in Respect of Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage (Bunkers Certificate). Marine Notice 6/2009 (3/31/09).
Singapore – OCIMF-SIRE inspections at oil terminals
The Singapore Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) issued a circular containing procedures and guidelines for OCIMF-SIRE inspections to be carried out alongside at oil terminals in Singapore. The procedures come into effect immediately. Port Marine Circular No. 5 of 2009 (4/6/09).
UK – who is in charge of propulsion?
The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) released a summary of its Preliminary Examination of the allision of a bulk carrier with a concrete dolphin in the River Clyde on 11 March 2009. As the master was preparing to get underway, the vessel started to move forward. It turns out that the propeller pitch was being inadvertently controlled from the engine control room, rather than the bridge. Poor communications between the bridge and the engine room resulted in a failure to promptly rectify the problem. As a result, the vessel allied with the concrete dolphin at a speed of 3.1 knots. The ship manager has now instituted, among other things, propulsion system functional tests to be done prior to the letting go of mooring lines. (4/7/09).
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