Headlines: Hearing on piracy against US-flag vessels; Somalian pirate indicted; Piracy update; Influenza updates; NOAA – proposal to prohibit take of Green Sturgeon; FMC – posting of SERVCON filing statistics; EC – integrated maritime policy.
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Hearing on piracy against US-flag vessels
The Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure conducted a hearing on Piracy against US-flag Vessels. Subcommittee Chair Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) released his opening statement, recommending enhanced government efforts to protect the US merchant fleet and its crewmembers. Rear Admiral Brian Salerno, US Coast Guard, testified concerning the Coast Guard counter-piracy efforts and the agency’s recent Maritime Security Directive. Mr. Ed Frothingham, Department of Defense, testified concerning the goal of the Department relating to deterrence, disruption, interdiction, and prosecution of pirates. Mr. James Caponiti, Maritime Administration, testified concerning that agency’s efforts in assisting US-flag vessel in reducing the risk of piratical attacks. Mr. Arthur “Skip” Volkle, American Cargo Transport, testified concerning the numerous legal obstacles to the carriage of weapons on US-flag vessels. Mr. Philip Shapiro, Liberty Maritime Corporation, urged the government to adopt more active protective measures for US-flag vessels on the high seas. Mr. Erik Johnsen, Waterman Steamship Corporation, testified that arming the crew of commercial vessels would be counter-productive. Mr. Bill Van Loo, Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association, testified that the decision of the Department of Defense to defer primary responsibility to the private maritime industry for affirmatively protecting against attacks by pirates ignores their duty to protect merchant ships, and to ensure the unfettered movement of cargo along the world’s sealanes. Representative Cummings insisted that the Administration promptly develop and implement an effective strategy to counter piracy. (5/20/09).
DOJ – Somalian pirate indicted
The US Attorney for the Southern District of New York issued a press release stating that the surviving Somali pirate has been indicted for hijacking the Maersk Alabama and holding the ship’s captain hostage. The indictment contains ten counts with most charges carrying a maximum prison term of life, if the defendant is convicted. (5/19/09).
EU MSC(HOA) – piracy update
The European Union Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa [EU MSC(HOA)] issued an update stating that the Political and Security Committee (PSC) of the European Union decided to extend the Area of Operations (AOO) of the anti-piracy-operation EUNAVFOR Somalia Operation ATALANTA. The AOO now includes the archipelago of the Seychelles Islands in the Southern Indian Ocean, plus a circle of 500 nautical miles that has been drawn around these islands. However to the south the area is limited by 11 degrees southern latitude and to the east it is limited by 60 degrees eastern longitude. The approximate boundaries of the extended AOO are shown on the chart below. When some months ago the Somali pirates started expanding their own area of piracy activities more and more to the south-east, it became necessary to reconsider the AOO in terms of size. In addition the Seychelles offered readiness to contribute to the EU’s anti-piracy campaign. The Seychelles joins Kenya as a regional neighbor in the efforts to counter piracy. (5/20/09).
WHO & CDC – Influenza A (H1N1) updates – 10,243 cases
The World Health Organization (WHO) issued an update stating that, as of 0600 GMT, 20 May, 41 countries have reported 10,243 confirmed cases of influenza A (H1N1) infection, including 80 deaths. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an update stating that 48 states have reported a total of 5,710 confirmed cases of H1N1 flu infection, including eight deaths. (5/20/09).
NOAA – proposal to prohibit take of Green Sturgeon
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) proposes to promulgate rules to establish take prohibitions for the threatened Southern Distinct Population Segment of the North American Green Sturgeon. The sturgeon is found primarily in waters of Suisun Bay and the Sacramento River. Comments on the proposal should be submitted by July 20. 74 Fed. Reg. 23822 (May 21, 2009).
FMC – posting of SERVCON filing statistics
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued a news release stating that it will begin posting on its website new statistics detailing the number and types of filings made to its Service Contract Filing System (SERVCON). The system is a secure automated filing scheme used by common carriers to confidentially file service contracts, service arrangements, and associated amendments. (5/20/09).
EC – integrated maritime policy
The European Commission (EC) released the text of the speech delivered by Mr. Joe Borg, Member of the European Commission Responsible for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, regarding progress on the Integrated Maritime Policy. (5/20/09).
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