Headlines: Influenza A(H1N1) update; Singapore – border health control measures; Cosco Busan casualty report; piracy update; USCG Alternate Compliance Program amendments; Jordan Cove EIS; methylmercury; typhoon season.
May 4, 2009
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WHO – Influenza A(H1N1) update – 898 cases worldwide
The World Health Organization (WHO) issued an update regarding the outbreak of Influenza A(H1N1). As of 1600 GMT, 3 May 2009 seventeen (18) countries have reported 787 cases of Influenza A(H1N1) infection: Mexico – 506; United States – 226; Canada – 85; Costa Rica – 1; Austria – 1; Denmark – 1; France – 2; Germany – 8; Ireland – 1; Italy - 1; the Netherlands – 1; Spain – 40; Switzerland – 1; the United Kingdom – 15; China, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region – 1; Israel – 3; Republic of Korea – 1; and New Zealand – 4. In an ironic twist, the update states that the virus has been identified in a swine herd in Alberta, Canada and that it is highly probable that the pigs contracted the virus from a Canadian farm worker who recently returned from Mexico. WHO recommends no restrictions be imposed on regular travel and on border crossings, but individuals who are ill should consider delaying unnecessary international travel. Meanwhile, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an update reporting 226 confirmed cases in 30 states. (5/3/09).
Singapore – border health control measures
The Singapore Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) issued a notice stating that travelers arriving in Singapore will be required to declare their travel history. Persons who have been in Mexico in the previous seven days will undergo a Home Quarantine Order. Persons who have been in other affected areas will be asked to exercise social responsibility and voluntarily stay home for seven days. Masters are to bring this notice to the attention of crew and passengers. Crew coming ashore in Singapore who have been in Mexico during the previous seven days will be subject to the home quarantine order. Port Marine Notice No. 53 of 2009 The MPA also issued a circular providing an updated list of medical service providers in the Port of Singapore. Port Marine Circular No. 7 of 2009 (5/1/09).
Cape Cod – Coast Guard member diagnosed with A(H1N1) flu virus
The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that a Coast Guard member stationed at Cape Cod tested positive for the A(H1N1) flu virus. The officer, who recently returned from training in San Diego, is now listed as sick-in-quarters. (5/1/09).
NTSB – report on Cosco Busan casualty
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued the 161-page report of its investigation of the allision of the containership Cosco Busan with the Delta Tower of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on November 7, 2007. The allision created a 212-foot long by 10-foot high gash in the forward port side of the ship, allowing the discharge of about 53,500 gallons of fuel oil. Total monetary damages were estimated to be $2.1 million for the ship, $1.5 million for the bridge, and more than $70 million for environmental cleanup. The probable cause of the casualty was the failure to safely navigate the vessel in restricted visibility as a result of: (1) the pilot’s degraded cognitive performance from his use of impairing prescription medications; 92) the absence of a comprehensive pre-departure master/pilot exchange and a lack of effective communication between the pilot and the master during the accident voyage; and (3) the master’s ineffective oversight of the pilot’s performance and the vessel’s progress. Contributing to the accident was the failure of the ship manager to adequately train its crewmembers before the accident voyage, which included a failure to ensure that the crew understood and complied with the company’s safety management system. Also contributing to the accident was the US Coast Guard’s failure to provide adequate medical oversight of the pilot in view of the medical and medication information that the pilot had reported to the Coast Guard. MAR-09/01 (5/1/09).
EU – piracy updates
The European Union Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa [EU MSC(HOA)] issued an press release stating that a UK-owned bulk carrier was hijacked in the Indian Ocean approximately 250 nautical miles south-west of the Seychelles islands, shortly after another, albeit unsuccessful piratical attack in the same vicinity some hours earlier. A second press release reports on recent strengthening of the Operation Atalanta fleet operating in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia. There are now eleven ships, and four maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft. A third press release states that a French warship stopped a suspected mothership and two skiffs, detaining eleven suspected pirates. (5/3/09).
NATO – piracy update
The NATO Shipping Centre issued an update stating that a merchant vessel in the Indian Ocean 1,150 nautical miles east of Mombasa, Kenya reported that it was attacked by pirates in two white speedboats. The pirates fired on the ship but broke off the attack when the ship increased speed to 20 knots. Note: This reported attack is significantly further from shore than prior ones. It may represent a major shift in tactics and/or capability by the pirates. (5/1/09).
MARAD – reporting requirements for Gulf of Aden/Indian Ocean transits
The US Maritime Administration (MARAD) posted an Advisory stating that US-flag vessels required by regulation to file AMVER position reports and operating in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean must file such reports every 24 hours in lieu of every 48 hours. Advisory 2009-06 (4/24/09).
USCG – Alternate Compliance Program amendments
The US Coast Guard is amending the vessel inspection regulations to expand the Alternate Compliance Program (ACP). These amendments update the list of certificates the Coast Guard issues, incorporating Coast Guard policy regarding eligibility requirements for classification societies participating in the ACP, recognizing classification societies other than the American Bureau of Shipping, and expanding the ACP to include oceanographic research vessels. The amendments come into effect on June 3. 74 Fed. Reg. 20416 (May 4, 2009).
HOGANSAC – meeting
The Houston/Galveston Navigation Safety Advisory Committee (HOGANSAC) and its working groups, sponsored by the US Coast Guard, will meet in Texas City on May 19 and May 5 respectively. 74 Fed. Reg. 20491 (May 4, 2009).
FWS & NOAA – interagency cooperation under the ESA
The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a joint rule reinstituting immediately the requirement for interagency cooperation for matters implicating the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The requirement had been rescinded in a rulemaking issued on December 16, 2008. This latest rule restores the status quo ante. 74 Fed. Reg. 20421 (May 4, 2009).
FERC – Jordan Cove EIS
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a news release stating that environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal and its associated pipeline have been prepared. The Jordan Cove LNG import terminal, if approved and constructed, would be located on the bay side of the North Spit of Coos Bay, about 7.5 miles up the existing Coos Bay navigation channel. Approval of the license application is contingent upon a number of factors, including implementation of risk mitigation measures recommended by the US Coast Guard. (5/1/09).
USGS – methylmercury entering the Pacific Ocean
The US Geological Survey (USGS) issued a news highlight reporting discovery of a new source of methylmercury entering waters of the North Pacific Ocean – air emissions of mercury, primarily originating in Asia. The mercury emissions settle into the ocean waters where they are taken up by algae. The algae die and rain down into the mid-depth regions where bacteria convert mercury into highly toxic methylmercury. The methyl mercury is passed into the food chain, eventually accumulating in top predator fish such as tuna that are consumed by humans. (5/1/09).
FMC – meeting postponed until May 20
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued a notice stating that its public meeting, previously scheduled for May 13, has been postponed until 1:30 p.m. on May 20. (5/1/09).
Milwaukee – homeland security and emergency preparedness exercise
The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that more than 350 emergency response and law enforcement personnel from 30 agencies will participate in a homeland security and emergency response exercise in the Port of Milwaukee on Tuesday, May 5. (5/1/09).
Honolulu – counter-terrorism exercise
The US Coast Guard issued a photo release stating that it hosted a three-day multi-agency counter-terrorism excise in the Port of Honolulu. (5/1/09).
Cook Inlet – oil removed from Drift River terminal
The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that all the remaining oil in the tanks at the Drift River terminal in Cook Inlet that could feasibly be removed has been transferred to a tanker. The tanker also pumped water into the terminal’s tanks to prevent them from becoming buoyant in the event of flooding in the area. Conditions at the terminal will be monitored while volcanic activity continues at nearby Mount Redoubt. (5/1/09).
Bills introduced re marine renewable energy technologies
Senator Murkowski (R-AK) and Representative Inslee (D-WA) introduced companion versions of the Marine Renewable Energy Promotion Act of 2009 (S. 923 and H.R. 2148 respectively) to promote the development and use of marine renewable energy technologies, and for other purposes. (4/28/09).
Hong Kong – typhoon season
The Hong Kong Marine Department issued a notice reminding owners, operators, and masters of the approach of typhoon season. Heavy weather plans should be reviewed and updated as necessary. Appropriate precautions should be taken when a typhoon is forecast. Notice No. 55 of 2009 (4/29/09).
Panama Canal – expansion update
The Panama Canal Authority issued a press release providing an update on the canal expansion program. In response to bidder requests, the submittal date for the geotechnical study and evaluation relating to the Atlantic dredging project. (4/30/09).
Panama Canal – temporary measures to help with economic crises
The Panama Canal Authority issued a press release stating that it is instituting a temporary plan that will provide short-term cost reductions and greater flexibility in its Reservation System to help customers with the current economic crises. The temporary tariff changes will redefine ballast for full containerships, reduce the reservation fee, reduce the late arrival fee, and provide more flexibility for slot substitutions. (4/30/09).
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