Headlines: plan to tackle piracy; capture of pirate mother ship; pirates fire on US ship; Missouri River Ecosystem Restoration Plan; Fall River LNG proposal; freighter-fishing vessels collision; EC port state control issues; Tokyo MOU annual report; Texas City disaster (1947)
April 16, 2009
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DOS – plan to tackle piracy
The Department of State (DOS) released remarks delivered by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unveiling a four-point plan to tackle piracy in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia. The plan calls for: (1) improving Somali capacity to police their own territory; (2) development of an expanded multinational response, including better coordination of offshore patrols, securing the release of ships currently being held, and the tracking and freezing of pirate assets; (3) press leaders in Somalia and in Puntland to take action against the pirates; and (4) working with shippers and the insurance industry to address gaps in self-defense measures. (4/15/09).
EU – capture of pirate mother ship
The European Union (EU) NAVFOR Somali issued a press release stating that a French frigate attached to Operation Atalanta captured 11 suspected pirates together with their mother ship and two skiffs in the Indian Ocean off Kenya. The frigate had previously dispatched a helicopter to assist a freighter in repelling an attack by the two skiffs. The frigate, mother ship, and skiffs (together with the suspected pirates) are now headed to Mombasa. (4/15/09).
DOD – pirates fire on US ship off Somalia
The Department of Defense issued a news release stating that pirates fired on a US-flag merchant ship in waters off the coast of Somalia. Following the unsuccessful piratical attack, a security detail boarded from a nearby US Navy destroyer. The ship is en route Mombasa delivering food aid. (4/15/09).
USACE – Missouri River Ecosystem Restoration Plan
The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) issued a notice stating that it has begun the public scoping for the Missouri River Ecosystem Restoration Plan. The plan will seek to balance environmental, economic, social, and cultural values. Public scoping meetings will be held throughout the river basin to obtain public comments on the plan purpose, need, and target resources. Written comments should be submitted by December 1. 74 Fed. Reg. 17665 (April 16, 2009).
Fall River – work group meetings re LNG proposal
The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that it hosted the first of two planned navigation safety-focused work group meetings with partner agencies and local navigation experts to review and validate the waterway suitability assessment submitted in January by Weaver’s Cove Energy, LLC. The current plan proposes the construction and operation of a marine berth and transfer pipeline in Mt. Hope Bay and the Taunton River for importation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by ship. (4/15/09).
Cape May – freighter-fishing vessel collision
The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that it is responding to the collision of a freighter and a fishing vessel in the North Atlantic approximately 47 miles off Cape May, New Jersey. No injuries have been reported. The fishing vessel has been towed into port. The incident is under investigation. (4/15/09).
EC – port state control implementation by Poland and Spain
The European Commission (EC) issued a press release stating that it decided to send reasoned opinions to Poland and Spain for their failure to properly implement the 1995 EU Directive relating to port state control of shipping. (4/14/09).
Tokyo MOU – annual report
The Tokyo MOU issued its 2008 Annual Report. The report notes that detentions of ships for non-compliant conditions have risen by 19% over the levels of 2007. It appears that, due to increased demand for shipping during most of 2008, owners continued to utilize vessels that might otherwise have been taken out of the market. This increased demand also placed a strain on the availability of experienced and qualified seafarers. Members of the Tokyo MOU will endeavor to enhance port state control activities to ensure that substandard ships do not call in their ports. (4/15/09).
Texas City disaster – April 16, 1947
On April 16, 1947, in the port of Texas City, Texas, the freighter GRANDCAMP, with a cargo of ammonium nitrate, small arms ammunition, machinery, and sisal twine, caught fire. The fire quickly spread to the nearby freighter HIGH FLYER, loaded with ammonium nitrate and sulfur. When the two ships exploded, it largely flattened the harbor area. It is estimated that over 600 people died in the explosion and fires (exact numbers were unattainable due to the extent of damage). The US Coast Guard investigation of the casualty determined that the fire was initiated by unauthorized smoking in the cargo hold of the GRANDCAMP. It recommended, among other things, that regulations for carriage of dangerous goods be revised.
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