Headlines: swine flu updates; crewmember identification documents; LNG & LHG waterfront facility general requirements; Alaska settles Selendang Ayu claims; hearing on piracy against US-flag vessels; Canada proposes new small vessel regulations
April 28, 2009
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CDC & WHO – updates on swine influenza outbreak
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an update stating that 40 cases of the swine influenza have been confirmed in the United States. The World Health Organization (WHO) also issued an update, advising that Mexico has confirmed 26 cases, Canada has confirmed 6 cases, and Spain has confirmed one case. WHO issued a second update stating that the level of the influenza pandemic alert has been raised from phase 3 to phase 4. This means that the likelihood of a pandemic has increased, but is not inevitable. This decision was based primarily on epidemiological data demonstrating human-to-human transmission and the ability of the virus to cause community-level outbreaks. Containment of the outbreak is no longer considered feasible. The focus should now be on mitigation measures. WHO does not recommend travel or trade restrictions at this time. (4/27/09).
Australia – border surveillance for swine flu
The Australian Minister for Health and Aging, the Honorable Nicola Roxon MP, issued a media release stating that, as of 0001, Tuesday, April 28, the captain in charge of any aircraft coming to Australia from the Americas is required to submit prior to landing a radio report to the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS) on the health status of all passengers. Any person considered to have flu-like symptoms will be assessed by an AQIS officer upon landing. (4/27/09).
USCG – foreign and US crewmember identification documents
The US Coast Guard is requiring each crewmember on a foreign commercial vessel en route to a US port or place of destination, or on a US commercial vessel coming from a foreign port or place of departure to a US port or place of destination, to carry and present upon demand an acceptable identification when in US navigable waters. The vessel operator is required to ensure that crewmembers comply with this requirement. Acceptable identification means one of the following: (1) a passport; (2) a US permanent resident card; (3) a US merchant mariner document; (4) a US merchant mariner credential; (5) a US Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC); or (6) a Seafarer’s Identification Document (SID) issued by or under the authority of a country that has ratified the International Labor Organization (ILO) Seafarers’ Identity Documents Convention (Revised), 2003 (ILO 185) meeting all of the requirements of ILO 185. The identification document may be secured with the master so long as it is available for examination upon demand. The requirement comes into effect on May 28. Note: This rulemaking is not unexpected and not particularly onerous. The only compliance problem may be with regard to the effective date. Foreign seafarers who do not currently have one of the acceptable identification documents are unlikely to be able to obtain one within the next 30 days. It is suggested that the Coast Guard exercise restraint in enforcement for a reasonable period in order to provide sufficient time for mariners to come into compliance. 74 Fed. Reg. 19135 (April 28, 2009).
USCG – LNG and LHG waterfront facility general requirements
The US Coast Guard proposes to revise its requirements for waterfront facilities handling liquefied natural gas (LNG) and liquefied hazardous gas (LHG). The proposed revisions are intended to bring the regulations up to date with existing industry practices and current Coast Guard maritime security policy. The revisions will also harmonize the Coast Guard’s LNG regulations with those promulgated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Comments on the proposal should be submitted by June 29. 74 Fed. Reg. 19158 (April 28, 2009).
Alaska – settlement of Selendang Ayu claims
The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) issued a press release stating that it has settled oil spill, wreck removal, and lost fish tax claims against the owner and operator of the bulk carrier Selendang Ayu, which grounded on Unalaska Island in December 2004. The grounding and eventual breakup of the ship resulted in the spill of some 354,218 gallons of bunker fuel and the discharge of tons of soy beans. Six people died when a Coast Guard helicopter crashed during an attempted rescue of the crew. The owner and operator of the vessel will pay a spill penalty of $802,389 and trespass damages, a beach monitoring fund, and lost fish tax claims of $42,318. The settlement also includes a $1 million letter of undertaking to cover wreck removal if any remaining portions of the submerged wreck move into tidelands or beaches before August 30, 2015. (4/27/09).
Hearing on piracy against US-flagged vessels
The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure issued a notice stating that, on May 20, the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation will conduct a hearing on Piracy Against US-Flagged Vessels: Lessons Learned. (4/27/09).
Bill introduced re marine mammal research program
Representative Abercrombie (D-HI) introduced the National Marine Mammal Research Program Act of 2009 (H.R. 2029) to authorize the Marine Mammal Commission to establish a national research program to fund basic and applied research on marine mammals, and for other purposes. (4/22/09).
Canada – new small vessel regulations proposed
Transport Canada issued a media release stating that new small vessel regulations are being proposed to better regulate the safety of pleasure craft and small commercial vessels in Canada. The proposal is intended to incorporate new requirements to enhance safety; provide alternatives for the construction and stability of small vessels; ensure consistency with international standards; and better reflect the nature of the small vessel fleet in Canada. Comments on the proposal should be submitted by May 25. (4/24/09).
If you have questions regarding the above items, please contact the editor:
Dennis L. Bryant
Bryant’s Maritime Consulting
4845 SW 91st Way
Gainesville, FL 32608-8135
© Dennis L. Bryant – April 2009