April 9, 2009
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DOD – hijacked US ship retaken by crew, but master held hostage
The US Department of Defense (DOD) issued a news release stating that the US-flag container ship MAERSK ALABAMA is presumed to be back under the control of its crew. Earlier today, the ship was hijacked by pirates several hundred miles off the coast of Somalia. The crew of about 20 US citizens appears to have detained one of the four pirates, with the three other pirates fleeing the ship. Naval assets are reportedly en route to the ship to confirm and stabilize the situation. Maersk issued a media release confirming that the crew has regained control of the ship, but also stating that the pirates took one of the crewmembers as a hostage. Unconfirmed reports indicate that the hostage crewmember is the master of the MAERSK ALABAMA. Keep him in your prayers. (4/8/09).
Congressman Cummings comments on hijacking
Representative Cummings (D-MD), chair of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, issued a press release expressing concern regarding the recent seizure of the US-flag container ship MAERSK ALABAMA by pirates off the coast of Somalia. He highlighted the need to bring stability to Somalia as the preferred long-term solution. (4/8/09).
USCG – meeting re TWIC reader requirements
The US Coast Guard issued a notice stating that it will conduct a meeting to receive comments on its previously-published advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) concerning reader requirements for the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC). The meeting will be held on May 6 in the Washington, DC area. The exact location of the meeting will be announced separately. Written comments on the ANPRM should be submitted by May 26. 74 Fed. Reg. 16161 (April 9, 2009).
DOS – US-NZ arrangement re nonproliferation assistance
The US Department of State (DOS) issued a press release stating that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully signed an arrangement for cooperation on nonproliferation assistance. As part of the effort to deter illicit trafficking in nuclear or radiological material, improved monitoring capabilities are used at seaports. (4/7/09).
FMC – complaints against Puerto Rico Ports Authority dismissed
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued an order dismissing the complaints filed against the Puerto Rico Ports Authority (PRPA). The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the PRPA was an arm of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and entitled to sovereign immunity. The petition of one of the complainants to the US Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari has been denied. The case is now final. Dismissal Order (4/8/09).
MARAD – advisory re Gulf of Aden and Somalia Basin transits
The US Maritime Administration (MARAD) issued an advisory stating that ships should, to the extent possible, remain at least 600 miles off the coast of Somalia. High value assets, such as passenger liners, should conduct full risk assessments prior to transiting the Gulf of Aden or the Somalia Basin. Vessels should establish and maintain contact with naval assets in the region. Advisory 2009-04 (4/7/09).
USCG – credentialing changes
The US Coast Guard National Maritime Center (NMC) issued a series of Announcements reminding US merchant mariners of changes to the credentialing process taking effect on April 15, including the requirement for each mariner to have a valid Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC). (4/8/09).
Los Angeles – ship suffers damaged and lost containers
The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that it is monitoring a ship that arrived in the Port of Los Angeles with 26 damaged containers. The ship also lost overboard 14 containers while at sea approximately 1,000 miles west of San Francisco, when it encountered heavy weather. The ship will be allowed to unload once a plan has been approved for the safe handling of the containers. The Coast Guard also issued a photo release showing the ship with some of the damaged containers. (4/8/09).
Houston – transportation workers activating TWIC cards
The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that thousands of maritime transportation workers in the Houston area are activating their Transportation Worker Identification Credentials (TWICs) as the April 14 enforcement date approaches. An additional TWIC enrollment/activation center has been opened in the area to fill the increased demand. (4/8/09).
IMO – IMO News
The IMO released the first quarter-2009 edition of the IMO News. This edition includes articles concerning anti-piracy and amendments to the Facilitation Convention. (4/7/09).
EC – investigation of French port reform
The European Commission (EC) issued a press release stating that it has decided to launch a detailed investigation in order to check whether the measures which France wishes to adopt under its port reform are compatible with the Community rules on state aid. (4/8/09).
New Zealand – stranded sailors rescued
Maritime New Zealand issued a media release stating that the two Italian sailors stranded in remote waters of the Pacific Ocean have been rescued by the tanker HELLESPONT TROOPER. The rescue was coordinated by Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand. Bravo Zulu all around! (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