Headlines: Influenza updates; piracy update; Texas – piping plover critical habitat; Class B AIS information collection requirement; TWIC update and escorting requirement; EIS for Downeast LNG project; FMC seeks attorney; USCG – Model Maritime Service Code updated; Baltimore – inspection of container shipments; Drainage ditch does not support admiralty jurisdiction; UNCTAD experts meeting; UK – reports on groundings; UK – floating car rescue
Note: This blog is one section of the Bryant’s Maritime Consulting website. Visit the site for more extensive maritime regulatory information. Individual concerns may be addressed by retaining Dennis Bryant directly. 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.
WHO & CDC – Influenza A (H1N1) updates – 8,829 cases
The World Health Organization (WHO) issued an update stating that, as of 0600 GMT, 18 May, 40 countries have reported 8,829 confirmed cases of influenza A (H1N1) infection, including 74 deaths. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an update stating that 48 states have reported a total of 5,123 confirmed cases of H1N1 flu infection, including five deaths. (5/18/09).
EU – piracy update
The European Union Maritime Shipping Centre – Horn of Africa [EU MSC(HOA)] issued a NAVAREA Advisory providing updated information relating to the merchant vessel voluntary reporting scheme for waters of the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf, Gulf of Aden, and the Red Sea. Vessels that check in with the UK Maritime Trade Operation Dubai and the Maritime Liaison Office Bahrain will receive passage guidance, recommended routing, and the latest threat assessment. For vessels that do not check in, there may be a delay in the ability to render timely military assistance. EU MSC(HOA) also issued a news release stating that allegations that military intelligence reports have been leaked to agents of the Somali pirates are unsubstantiated. (5/18/09).
FCC – Class B AIS information collection requirement
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a notice stating that the information collection requirements adopted as part of its Automatic Identification System (AIS) regulations published on January 29 will come into effect immediately. The regulations require, among other things, that prior to submitting to the FCC a certification application for a Class B AIS device, the owner or operator must submit to the Coast Guard the name of the manufacturer and the model number of the AIS device as well as copies of the test report and test data obtained from the test facility showing that the device complies with applicable environmental and operational requirements. 74 Fed. Reg. 23329 (May 19, 2009).
Texas – revised critical habitat for piping plover
The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is revising the critical habitat of the wintering population of the piping plover in 18 specific units in Texas. These critical habitats extend along the majority of the coast of Texas south of Galveston Bay. The changes come into effect on June 18. 74 Fed. Reg. 23475 (May 19, 2009).
Port Arthur – TWIC update and escorting requirement
The US Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP) Port Arthur issued a Port Security Information Bulletin reminding owners and operators of regulated facilities, vessels, and outer continental shelf (OCS) facilities that the alternative compliance provisions allowing unescorted access to secure areas for persons who had applied for a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) but had not yet received the card expired on 13 May. Now, all persons must possess a valid TWIC in order to be granted unescorted access to secure areas in such facilities, vessels, and OCS facilities. Escorting means ensuring that the escorted individual is continuously accompanied while within a secure area in a manner sufficient to observe whether the escorted individual is engaged in activities other than those for which escorted access is granted. (5/14/09).
TSA – TWIC update
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued an update to its status report on the implementation of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program. The TWIC Dashboard shows that (as of 15 May) 1,195,264 maritime workers have enrolled for a TWIC and that 1,000,017 cards have been activated. (5/15/09).
FERC – EIS for Downeast LNG project
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a news release stating that it has prepared a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal and associated pipeline proposed by Downeast LNG, Inc. The project is planned for construction on Passamaquoddy Bay in Robbinston, Maine. Comments on the draft EIS should be submitted by July 6. (5/15/09).
FMC – ISO attorney
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued a vacancy announcement stating that the agency is in search of an attorney to be employed in the Office of General Counsel. Applications must be received by close of business, June 12. (5/18/09).
USCG – Model Maritime Service Code updated
The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that it has published an updated and revised Model Maritime Service Code, designed to assist countries seeking to develop effective maritime forces with corresponding legal authorities. (5/18/09).
Baltimore – inspection of container shipments
The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that a multi-agency team consisting of various federal and state agencies are conducting a joint operation in the Port of Baltimore to check containerized cargo shipments for compliance with applicable safety and shipping regulations. (5/18/09).
Drainage ditch does not support admiralty jurisdiction
In an unpublished decision, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that there is no admiralty jurisdiction over allegedly negligent dredging performed on a drainage ditch in New Orleans. The US Army Corps of Engineers had authorized and third parties had undertaken dredging on the 17th Street Canal in the early 1990’s. Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, plaintiff local residents harmed by flooding from the Canal brought suit under state law for negligent dredging. The suit was dismissed as outside the state’s 5-year statute of limitation. Plaintiffs then brought this action, asserting federal admiralty jurisdiction. The court dismissed the action. It held that, while the location test for admiralty jurisdiction was arguably satisfied, the allegedly negligent dredging bore no substantial relationship to traditional maritime activity because the Canal was basically a drainage ditch and did not support commercial maritime activity. In re: Katrina Canal Breaches Litigation, No. 07-30706 (5th Cir., April 30, 2009). Note: This interesting opinion was brought to my attention by my good friend Michael Marks Cohen of the law firm of Nicoletti Hornig & Sweeney.
UNCTAD – expert meeting on transport and trade facilitation
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) issued the Report of the Multi-year Expert Meeting on Transport and Trade Facilitation on its first session. The meeting, held in Geneva on 16-18 February, focused on challenges to the maritime industry presented by climate change. Among other things, there was a consensus that there needed to be a balanced approach where countries responsible for the largest share of emissions were made subject to a strict regulatory and control regime, consistent with the “polluter pays” principle. (3/23/09).
UK – report on grounding in Scotland
The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) released the summary of its preliminary examination into circumstances surrounding the grounding of a passenger ro-ro ferry on a reef in Oban, Scotland on 28 March 2009. The ferry was on an unfamiliar route. The master ordered a turn to avoid the reef but was then distracted by a husbandry task and apparently did not check to ensure that the turn was completed as ordered. By the time the error was discovered, it was too late to avoid a temporary grounding. (5/18/09).
UK – report on grounding off China
The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) released the summary of its preliminary examination into circumstances surrounding the grounding of a container ship on a reef off the coast of China. While traveling at 21 knots, the ship encountered a large number of fishing vessels. The officer of the watch maneuvered south of the intended track to avoid the fishing vessels, but failed to check the paper chart in use, which highlighted the reef. (5/18/09).
UK – rescue of persons in floating car
The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) issued a press notice stating that a rescue team in Queensferry assisted four persons from a vehicle that had slid into the water. After removing the four individuals, the team had to recover the car, which was floating into the Firth of Forth, where it might have become a navigation hazard to passing vessels. (5/15/09).
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 – May 2009