Headlines: Bill to modernize USCG; Bill to establish maritime career training loan program; Bill to improve maritime safety; New York – state ballast water standards upheld; Australia – collision due to absence of lookouts; Piracy update; Paris MOU update; EU LRIT Data Centre; and Portland, Maine – asphalt spill.
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.
Bill introduced to modernize leadership of Coast Guard
Representative Oberstar (D-MN) introduced the Coast Guard Modernization Act of 2009 (H.R. 2650) to amend title 14, United States Code, to modernize the leadership of the Coast Guard, to modernize the administration of marine safety by the Coast Guard, and for other purposes. Among other things, this bill, if enacted, would for the first time clearly designate marine safety as an official mission of the Coast Guard. Currently, such designation is vague. (6/2/09).
Bill introduced to establish maritime career training loan program
Representative Cummings (D-MD) introduced the Maritime Workforce Development Act (H.R. 2651) to amend title 46, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Transportation to establish a maritime career training loan program, and for other purposes. (6/2/09).
Bill introduced to improve maritime safety
Representative Oberstar (D-MN) introduced the Maritime Safety Act of 2009 (H.R. 2652) to amend title 46, United States Code, to improve vessel safety, and for other purposes. Among othe3r things, this bill, if enacted, would require hours of service for each mariner on watch to be recorded in the ship’s log and enhance the protection against discrimination accorded to mariners who report unsafe or illegal conditions. (6/2/09).
New York – state ballast water standards upheld
The New York Supreme Court ruled that requirements for ballast water discharge and treatment issued by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) are valid. After the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its proposed vessel general permit (VGP) for incidental discharges from ships, New York and some other states developed their own requirements under section 401 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA). The New York Section 401 Certificate was more stringent than the federal requirements. Plaintiff port authorities and shipping interests brought suit against the NYSDEC, contending that the state requirements as regards ballast water standards were unlawful because they were not adopted in accordance with state law, placed an impermissible burden on interstate and foreign commerce, and were arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion. In a decision focusing primarily on procedural rulemaking, the court upheld the New York Section 401 Certificate requirements. Port of Oswego Authority v. Grannis, No. 10296-08 (Albany County, May 21, 2009). Note: In New York, the Supreme Court is the trial court. It is unclear whether this decision will be appealed.
Australia – collision due to absence of lookouts on both vessels
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) issued the report of its investigation of the collision between a fishing vessel and a container ship off Bowen, Queensland on 21 January 2008. The officer of the watch on the container ship had sent the helmsman/lookout below and then was distracted by navigation duties. The master of the fishing vessel was alone on the bridge and turned on the interior lights so as to tally the catch. The container ship first observed the fishing vessel immediately prior to the collision and took evasive maneuvers. The officer of the watch assumed that the maneuvers avoided a collision because he observed the fishing vessel, with its lights on, astern of the ship. He did not notify the master of the incident and continued on the voyage. The fishing vessel incurred severe damage to its bow, activated its EPIRB, and was escorted into port. Because the master of the container ship did not learn of the incident until investigators arrived some days later, information on the ship’s voyage data recorder (VDR) was not preserved. The report noted that the officer of the watch on the container ship disregarded his legal and moral obligation to ensure the safety of the fishing vessel’s crew following the incident. MAIR No. 249 (6/3/09).
EU MSC(HOA) – 7 more suspected pirates to Kenya
The European Union Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa [EU MSC(HOA)] issued a news release stating that, on May 26, a Swedish warship detained 7 suspected pirates after an unsuccessful attack on a merchant vessel in the Gulf of Aden. “Now Kenya has accepted to take over these guys for prosecution.” This will make a total of 59 suspected pirates handed over to Kenyan authorities under the EU-Kenyan agreement. (6/3/09).
Paris MOU – 2006-2008 flag states and RO lists
The Paris MOU posted the 2006-2008 performance lists for flag states and for recognized organizations (ROs). Ships registered with flag states or associated with ROs having low performance levels are at increased risk of port state control (PCS) inspections in ports of nations party to the Paris MOU. (6/2/09).
Virginia – application for sewage discharge prohibition
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice stating that it received an application from the Commonwealth of Virginia requesting a determination that adequate facilities for the safe and sanitary removal and treatment of sewage from all vessels are reasonably available for the navigable waters of Broad Creek, Jackson Creek, and Fishing Bend Watersheds in Middlesex County, Virginia. Comments on the application should be submitted by July 6. 74 Fed. Reg. 26858 (June 4, 2009).
HSRP – meeting – correction
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a correction relating to the planned June 8 teleconference meeting of the Hydrographic Services Review Panel (HSRP). The notice corrects the teleconference dial-in number and passcode. 74 Fed. Reg. 26848 (June 4, 2009).
Hong Kong – submarine cable laying operations
The Hong Kong Marine Department issued a notice advising that submarine cable laying operations will be carried out for the next five weeks in waters south of Lantau Island to the southern boundary of Hong Kong waters. Notice No. 74 of 2009 (6/3/09).
Maritime New Zealand – Statement of Intent 2009-2012
Maritime New Zealand posted its Statement of Intent 2009-2012. The document explains the agency’s missions and goals for the immediate future. As an island nation, 99% of New Zealand’s trade is carried by sea. Thus, the agency that oversees maritime safety and security and protects the marine environment is vital. (6/2/09).
EMSA – LRIT Data Centre in production
The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) issued a press release stating that the European Union Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) Data Centre entered into production on 1 June following successful developmental testing. Participating States are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Greenland, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles, Aruba, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Iceland, and Norway. (6/3/09).
EMSA – newsletter
The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) released the May 2009 edition of its newsletter. This edition addresses, among other things, the Mediterranean AIS system and the agency’s signing of an LRIT Services Agreement with the International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO). (6/3/09).
Portland, Maine – response to asphalt spill
The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that it is responding to an asphalt spill in waters of the Fore River in Portland, Maine. About 670 gallons of hot asphalt was released while being transferred from a tanker to a shore facility. Upon hitting the water, the asphalt quickly solidified, forming a pancake-like material inside the containment boom that was already in place. The incident is under investigation. (6/3/09).
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