Headlines: IMO – report on MSC session; EU – investigation of sea piracy; Stock assessment report on walrus and polar bears; When should a medical condition have been discovered?; Amendment to Danish tonnage tax scheme rejected; Canada – amendments to Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act; and UK – report on heavy weather damage and shipboard fire.
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.
IMO – report on MSC session
The IMO issued a news release summarizing the results of the recent session of the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC). Among other things, the MSC adopted revised guidance on combating piracy and armed robbery against ships; made carriage of electronic chart display and information system (ECDIS) and bridge navigational watch alarm systems (BNWAS) mandatory; prohibited all new installations of asbestos; approved an amendment to the SOLAS Convention to expand the application of Chapter VI; approved recommendations for carriage of material safety data sheets (MSDS) for MARPOL Annex I cargoes and fuels; and approved goal-based new ship construction standards. (6/17/09).
EU – investigation of sea piracy
The European Police Office (EUROPOL) issued a press release stating that it hosted a meeting focused on how to police, coordinate, and investigate “Sea Piracy” cases. The goal is to exchange operational information and share best practices for dealing with piratical acts in places such as waters of the Indian Ocean off Somalia. (6/17/09).
FWS – stock assessment report on walrus and polar bears
The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is seeking comments on its draft stock assessment report for the Pacific walrus and the two polar bear stocks in Alaska (the southern Beaufort Sea polar bear stock and the Chukchi/Bering Sea polar bear stock). Comments should be submitted by September 16. 74 Fed. Reg. 28946 (June 18, 2009).
SLSDC Advisory Board – meeting
The Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) Advisory Board, sponsored by the SLSDC, will meet in Massena, New York on July 11. 74 Fed. Reg. 29016 (June 18, 2009).
When should a medical condition have been discovered?
The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed a summary judgment decision and remanded a suit for personal injury against the owner of movable ocean rigs because it determined that there was a genuine issue of material fact as to when plaintiff employee should have discovered his medical condition. In the instant case, plaintiff was a crew member on a semi-submersible drilling rig. He and other crew members developed cold-like symptoms, for which defendant employer provided various medications. Plaintiff’s condition was originally diagnosed as bronchitis. Plaintiff was promoted to a shore-side job in 2001, but his symptoms continued. In 2005, a specialist diagnosed plaintiff as suffering from a fungal infection that caused fibrosis of his lower lungs. Plaintiff brought suit against defendant employer in 2006 under the Jones Act and general maritime law. Defendant moved for partial summary judgment, arguing that the suit was barred by the three-year statute of limitations. The trial court granted the motion and dismissed the suit. Plaintiff appealed. Over a vigorous dissent, the appellate court ruled that it is a question of fact whether plaintiff should have discovered his medical condition at an earlier stage and that question of fact should have been left for the jury in a Jones Act case. Pretus v. Diamond Offshore Drilling, No. 08-40622 (5th Cir., June 12, 2009).
EC – amendment to Danish tonnage tax scheme rejected
The European Commission (EC) issued a press release stating that it refused to approve a proposed change to the Danish tonnage tax scheme. Danish authorities had proposed to exempt maritime companies that benefit from the scheme from the obligation to systematically send fiscal authorities financial information relating to their transactions with foreign affiliates. (6/17/09).
Canada – amendments to Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act
Transport Canada issued a media release stating that Bill C-9, an Act to amend the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992, has received royal assent and came into force on June 16. The amendments reinforce the Emergency Response Assistance Program; require security plans and security training; require the tracking of dangerous goods; and require transportation security clearances, among other things. (6/16/09).
New Zealand – safety guidance
Maritime New Zealand posted the latest issue of its safety newsletter Lookout. This issue discusses, among other things, EPIRBs and flares. (June 2009).
UK – report on heavy weather damage and shipboard fire
The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) issued the report of its investigations of heavy weather damage to a cargo vessel to waters west of Guernsey and a fire while at berth in Algeciras. No specific heavy weather checks had been performed on the ship prior to leaving port. Unfortunately, the port anchor chain lashing arrangement and the windlass brake had not been sufficiently tightened and the hawse pipe cover had not been fitted. Due in part to the heavy weather, the port anchor had fallen, allowing the anchor to impact against the hull as the ship pitched in the heavy seas. The impacts of the anchor created holes in the bow thruster room shell plating, through which water poured. The room’s bilge alarm sounded and the crew was able to take temporary remedial measures. When the ship arrived in Algeciras for offloading of cargo and for repairs, the repairs were arranged by the technical superintendent with little input from the crew. Due to the poor communications, no shipboard Permit to Work control measures were in place. Numerous oxygen and acetylene bottles were placed in the forecastle. After work had ended for the day, the contractor’s safety watchman left the forecastle. A fire broke out, probably due to a discarded cigarette igniting contractor’s clothing in the vicinity of the mooring rope. One oxygen bottle and two acetylene bottles exploded in the fire. Neither accident was initially reported to either the MAIB or the company’s Designated Person Ashore (DPA). Additionally, the information of the ship’s voyage data recorder (VDR) was not preserved. Report No. 13/2009 (6/17/09).
USCG – Brazilian Navy tall ship assisted boat in distress
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that, at the request of Rescue Coordination Center (RCC) Norfolk, the Brazilian Navy tall ship Cisne Branco diverted and rendered assistance to a disabled sailboat in the Atlantic Ocean 200 miles east of Cape Hatteras. (6/17/09).
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