Headlines: UK – increase in light dues; EC – joint maritime surveillance system proposed for Baltic Sea region; EC – IACS competition agreements; White House – nominees to maritime-related positions; Fee imposed on ferry passengers is unconstitutional; UK – multi-agency rescue exercise; and Hong Kong – sea parade.
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UK – increase in light dues
The UK Department for Transport posted the statement of Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport Paul Clark regarding the revision of light dues rates. The Government has decided to not increase the light dues rates as much as originally proposed. Effective 1 July 2009, light dues will increase from 35p to 39p per net registered ton (NRT). The rate will increase to 43p per NRT effective 1 April 2010. The tonnage cap will increase from 35,000 NRT to 40,000 NRT on 1 April 2010. The voyage cap will increase from 7 to 9 per year effective 1 July 2009. The Department released a recent study on the Impact of Light Dues Increases. It also released an older Trinity House Report on longer term issues. Finally, it posted a Summary of Responses to its previous consultation on light dues increases. The Department also issued a news release summarizing its decision. (6/10/09).
EC – joint maritime surveillance system proposed for Baltic Sea region
The European Commission (EC) issued a press release stating that it is proposing an EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. Among other things, the EC is proposing that a joint maritime surveillance system be created. The accompanying Action Plan recommends, among other things, that a study be conducted to determine the feasibility of a Baltic Sea Coastal Patrol Network, involving coast guard-like services. (6/10/09).
EC – IACS competition commitments
The European Commission (EC) issued a press release stating that it is seeking comments on commitments offered by the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) to meet concerns that it may have infringed on EU and EEA requirements prohibiting restrictive business practices. The concerns were that IACS may have prevented classification societies that are not IACS members from joining, from participation in IACS technical working groups, and from access to technical background documents. Comments on the commitments should be submitted within 30 days. (6/10/09).
White House – nominees to maritime-related positions
The White House issued a news release stating that President Obama intends to nominate Richard A. Lidinsky, Jr. for Commissioner on the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC). He also intends to nominate Deborah A. P. Hersman for Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). (6/9/09).
Fee imposed on ferry passengers is unconstitutional
The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that a fee imposed on ferry passengers by a port authority is unconstitutional under both the Commerce Clause and the Tonnage Clause of the United States Constitution. In the instant case, the port authority imposed a fee of $2.00 per foot passenger and $3.00 for a vehicle including the driver. Several passengers and the ferry company brought suit, challenging the legality of the fee. The court found that the fees assessed exceeded the cost of services directly provided to the ferry passengers and was not a fair approximation thereof. The court further found that the passenger fee was used for the impermissible purpose of raising general revenues and was used for services that were completely unrelated and unavailable to the fee payers. Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Co. v. Bridgeport Port Authority, No. 08-3886-cv (2nd Cir., May 29, 2009).
UK – multi-agency rescue exercise
The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) issued a press notice stating that, on June 10, multiple response agencies will participate in an exercise in Langstone Harbour. The exercise will involve a simulated fire and evacuation of passengers from a ferry in the harbor. (6/10/09).
Hong Kong – sea parade on 1 July
The Hong Kong Marine Department issued a notice stating that a sea parade will be conducted in waters off the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre between 0745 and 0805 hours on 1 July to celebrate the 12th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). Mariners should exercise caution if in this vicinity at the time. Notice No. 79/2009 (6/10/09).
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 – June 2009