Headlines: Bill introduced re defense against piracy; NATO – piracy update; GAO – advanced radiation detection portal monitors; Australia – Protection of the Sea levy to be raised; NATO – shipping newsletter; and Senate hearing on freight transportation in America.
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Bill introduced re defense against piracy
Representative LoBiondo (R-NJ) introduced the United States Mariner and Vessel Protection Act of 2009 (H.R. 2984) to amend title 46, United States Code, to assist in the defense of United States mariners and vessels against piracy, to ensure the traditional right of self-defense of those vessels against piracy, and for other purposes. If enacted into law, the bill goes a long way to provide legal protection for US mariners and owners of US vessels engaged in good faith defense against piracy. There is room for improvement, though. The bill does not address armed robbery against vessels. It also does nothing to ease the onerous requirements for getting weapons of self-defense onboard US vessels. (6/19/09).
NATO – piracy update
The NATO Shipping Centre issued an update stating that, on 22 June, two merchant vessels (a crude carrier and a general cargo ship) were chased and fired on by pirates armed with automatic weapons and RPGs. The vessels increased speed, made evasive maneuvers, and called the naval patrol for assistance. The attempted boardings were unsuccessful. (6/22/09).
GAO – advanced radiation detection portal monitors
The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) released the report of its examination of advanced radiation detection portal monitors under consideration by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for use at seaports and other ports of entry for combating nuclear smuggling. It found that the latest version of these monitors represents an improvement over the currently-deployed version, but that has a limited ability to detect certain nuclear materials at anything other more than light shielding levels. Testing also uncovered multiple problems in the monitors meeting the requirements for successful integration into operations at ports of entry. GAO-09-655 (6/22/09).
Australia – Protection of the Sea levy to be raised
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) issued a notice stating that, effective 1 July, the Protection of the Sea levy rate will increase from 9.6 cents to 11.25 cents per net registered ton per quarter. The levy applies to ships visiting or operating in Australian waters that are 24 meters or more in length and that have on board more than 10 tonnes of oil in bulk, as fuel or cargo, at any time during the quarter when the vessel was in an Australian port. Monies recovered are used to fund the National Plan to Combat Pollution of the Sea by Oil and other Noxious and Hazardous Substances and the National Maritime Emergency Response Arrangements (NMERA). Marine Notice 11/2009 (6/22/09).
NATO – shipping newsletter
The NATO Shipping Centre issued its June 2009 Newsletter. This edition discusses the Ocean Shield counter-piracy operation, the annual meeting of the NATO Shipping Working Group (NSWG), the recent meeting of the NATO Planning Board for Ocean Shipping (PBOS), and the Brilliant Mariner 10 exercise scheduled for April 2010 in the waters and airspace of Germany and Denmark. (6/22/09).
Senate – Hearing on freight transportation in America
The Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation conducted a hearing on Freight transportation in America. Committee Chair John Rockefeller (D-WV) stated that efficiently moving goods into and throughout the United States is a cornerstone of the nation’s economic viability. Subcommittee Chair Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) stated that the freight transportation system is threatened by overwhelmed infrastructure. Mr. Larry Brown, Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors, testified that failure to respond to the various strains on the freight transportation network will dampen economic growth. Mr. Richard Roper, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, testified that a thoughtful national freight transportation strategy and adequate funding are vital to and effective multi-modal system. Mr. Rick Gabrielson, Target Corporation, testified that shippers need a reliable and consistent supply chain. Mr. Matt Rose, BNSF Railway, testified that the United States needs a national freight policy and capacity growth. Mr. John Clancey, Maersk, Inc. testified the historically cheap transportation costs that fueled the US economy for years are at risk due to infrastructure inefficiencies. The Committee issued a press release containing key quotes from the hearing. (6/18/09).
Los Angeles – crane arrival
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that, on June 23, it will establish and enforce a safety zone around the ship carrying four large container cranes when the ship arrives in the Port of Los Angeles. (6/22/09).
NOAA – survey of wreck of USS Monitor
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a news release stating that it and partner organizations will be conducting a survey of the wreck of the USS Monitor located on the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean approximately 16 miles off the coast of Georgia. The ship sank in a storm on New Year’s Eve, 1862. (6/22/09).
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