Monday, June 1, 2009

Bryant’s Maritime Blog – 1 June 2009

Headlines: Piracy updates; Influenza updates; EPA – naval shipyard acting to reduce copper discharges; NTSB – availability of accident investigation dockets; DOJ – individual indicted for importing sperm whale teeth; USCG & JCG – joint SAR exercise; USCG – Force Readiness Command; MARAD – notice of ship disposal; Dispute involving bill of lading invoking COGSA can be tried in England; Panama Canal – upgrading of current waterway; and Mary Millicent Miller.

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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

USN – integration of counter-piracy efforts

clip_image004 The US Navy issued a news release stating that the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) have been working together with more than two dozen international navies to help deter, disrupt, and thwart piracy in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia. Since August 26, 2008, 443 suspected pirates have been encountered. Of these, 212 were released, 184 have been turned over to civilian authorities for prosecution, eight have been killed, and the status of 39 is pending. (5/28/09).

EU MSC(HOA) – incident in Gulf of Aden

clip_image006 The European Union Maritime Security Centre (Horn of Africa) [EU MSC(HOA)] issued a news release stating that, while responding to a reported piratical attack, one of its warships encountered a skiff with eight persons on board and no functioning engine. Two persons on the skiff were dead, four were injured, and two were unhurt. Because there was no continuity of evidence that the skiff was connected to the piratical attack and in accord with the basic requirement to render assistance to those in distress at sea, the individuals were taken on board the warship and are being taken to the nearest available medical center. (5/28/09).

Australia – cruise ship diverted due to human swine influenza

clip_image008 The Australian Department of Health and Aging issued a notice stating, among other things, that the cruise ship Pacific Dawn will not land in north Queensland, but has been diverted to Brisbane and will then proceed to Sydney. Queensland Health confirmed that three crew members on the cruise liner have tested positive for human swine influenza. There are now eight sick passengers in isolation, including four new passengers with influenza-like symptoms, one is Influenza A positive. There are seven sick crew in isolation, including four new crew with mild respiratory symptoms (no history of fever or elevated temperature). All tested negative with point of care tests. According to national guidelines, all passengers will be screened before disembarking and any passengers with symptoms will be swabbed and provided with masks and a course of Tamiflu. Queensland Health are working closely with the cruise line to ensure any Queenslanders, including those who may have symptoms, are provided with appropriate support to return home and every measure is taken to minimize the spread of the virus. While it is not possible to stop the movement of people across Australia, health officials intend to take every reasonable action to minimize the impact of this illness. (5/29/09).

WHO & CDC – Influenza A (H1N1) updates – 15,510 cases

clip_image010 clip_image012 The World Health Organization (WHO) issued an update stating that, as of 0600 GMT, 29 May, 53 countries have reported 15,510 confirmed cases of influenza A (H1N1) infection, including 99 deaths. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an update stating that 48 states have reported a total of 8,975 confirmed cases of H1N1 flu infection, including 15 deaths. (5/29/09).

EPA – naval shipyard acting to reduce copper discharges

clip_image014 The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a news release stating that the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard is taking action to reduce the amount of copper in its wastewater discharges and comply with its Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. (5/28/09).

NTSB – availability of accident investigation dockets

clip_image016 The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a news release stating that it has launched a new site for listing the accident investigation public dockets. The dockets are arranged by transportation mode. (5/28/09). Note: Most of the information available on this new site was previously available elsewhere, but has been made more conveniently accessible here. Many thanks to the NTSB for making things more user-friendly.

DOJ – individual indicted for importing sperm whale teeth

clip_image018 clip_image020 The US Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a news release stating that an individual from Nantucket, Massachusetts has been indicted for illegal importation and illegal trafficking of sperm whale teeth. Sperm whales are classified as endangered under the federal law. Sperm whale teeth are commonly used for scrimshaw. (5/29/09). Note: This item is not directly maritime in nature, but may be of interest to my long-suffering readers. Whales and Nantucket have a long connection, with whales generally on the losing end.

USCG & JCG – joint SAR exercise

clip_image022 clip_image024 The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that it and representatives from the Japan Coast Guard conducted a joint search and rescue (SAR) exercise in waters off Oahu on May 26. (5/28/09). Note: Until 2000, the Japan Coast Guard was officially known as the Japanese Maritime Safety Agency (JMSA).

Boston – port security operation

clip_image022[1] The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that, on May 28, a multi-agency port security operation was conducted in Boston, focusing on the inspection of container shipments. (5/29/09).

USCG – Force Readiness Command

clip_image022[2] The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that, on June 1, it will formally commission the Force Readiness Command (FORCECOM), headquartered on Coast Guard Island in Alameda, California. FORCECOM will be charged with the current and future readiness of the Coast Guard’s workforce – Active Duty, Reserve, Auxiliary, Civilian, and Contractor. (5/29/09).

MARAD – notice of ship disposal

clip_image026 The Maritime Administration (MARAD) issued a notice stating that it plans to dispose of the obsolete vessel SS Pioneer Commander, currently located at the Beaumont Reserve Fleet in Texas. The vessel is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places due to its role in the evacuation of American civilians, Vietnamese military personnel, and refugees from South Vietnam in 1975. Donation applications for the vessel from qualified organizations must be received within 45 days. 74 Fed. Reg. 26272 (June 1, 2009).

Dispute involving bill of lading invoking COGSA can be tried in England

clip_image028 The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that a forum selection clause designating resolution of disputes in English courts contained in a bill of lasing controlled by and invoking the US Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA) is valid. Plaintiff cargo owner had brought suit against defendant carriers and the unloading stevedore for damage to cargo being shipped from Brazil to New Orleans. The appellate court found English courts to be fair and impartial and able to apply COGSA as appropriate. The appellate court also found that, because plaintiff cargo owner also brought suit against the US stevedore (who was not subject to the foreign selection clause), the claim of the stevedore in federal court against the carriers for contribution or indemnity could not be dismissed, but could be stayed pending resolution of the claims against the carriers in the English courts. Ambraco Inc. v. Bossclip BV, No. 07-30727 (5th Cir., May 28, 2009).

Panama Canal – upgrading of current waterway

clip_image030 The Panama Canal Authority issued a press release stating that it continues to upgrade the current waterway, while also engaged in the long-term expansion project. Improved lighting systems have been installed in the locks; the railroad turntable system has been enhanced; and new tugboats have been acquired. (5/28/09).

Mary Millicent Miller – first American female steamboat captain

clip_image032 clip_image034 Mary Millicent Miller (1846-1894) was the first American woman to be licensed as a steamboat master. Her father had been a steamboat engineer. Her husband was a steamboat master in Louisville, Kentucky. She passed the examination and was licensed by the US Steamboat Inspection Service on February 16, 1884. She navigated the Mississippi, Ohio, Ouachita, and Red Rivers until retirement in 1891. After her death in 1894, she was buried in the Portland Cemetery near Louisville. Her obituary was published in the New York Times on November 6, 1894. Captain Miller was inducted into the American Merchant Marine Hall of Fame in 1993 and the National Rivers Hall of Fame in 1995.

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 – June 2009

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