Headlines: EPA – electronic Notice of Intent re vessel discharges; GAO – aviation and climate change; Suspected pirates delivered to Kenya for prosecution; Coast Guard authorization bill; Freight mobility improvement bill; Bill to exempt certain vessel operators; Critical habitat for northern sea otter; Safety alert re compact fluorescent lights; Failure to properly moor barge upon approach of hurricane; and Tanker grounds in Delaware River.
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.
EPA – electronic Notice of Intent re vessel discharges
The EPA posted its electronic Notice of Intent (eNOI) form for use in obtaining a vessel general permit (VGP) for continued discharges incidental to the normal operations of a vessel in waters of the United States. The VGP was officially promulgated on February 5, 2009 and came into effect on February 6. All regulated vessels were allowed to continue making incidental discharges (so long as those discharges were within the VGP limits), but a requirement was included requiring larger vessels to submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) if those incidental discharges were to continue. The day of reckoning approaches. Regulated vessels of greater than or equal to 300 gross registered tons or having the capacity to hold or discharge more than eight (8) cubic meters (2,113 gallons) of ballast water must submit an NOI so as to remain in compliance. For regulated vessels already in operation, the NOI must be submitted during the time period beginning June 19, but not later than September 19, 2009. Additional information regarding the VGP program is available in the “Incidental discharges” section of the Bryant’s Maritime Consulting website. (6/8/09).
GAO – aviation and climate change
The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report on aviation and climate change. It found that aircraft emissions are expected to grow as additional craft are added to the aviation fleets, but that technological and operational improvements, along with government policies, can help control emissions. The report makes no specific recommendations, but explains two particular potential government policies that should be considered: cap-and-trade and emissions taxes. GAO-09-554 (6/8/09). Note: This report is of interest to the maritime industry because that industry and the aviation industry are in similar situations as regards air emissions. While some operational approaches (such as slow steaming) may not work for aircraft, many other options, including governmental approaches, can be aligned.
EU MSC(HOA) – suspected pirates delivered to Kenya for prosecution
The European Union Maritime Security Centre (Horn of Africa) [EU MSC(HOA)] issued a press release stating that seven suspected pirates have been delivered to Kenyan authorities for prosecution. (6/8/09).
Bill introduced re Coast Guard authorization
Bill introduced to improve freight mobility
Representative Smith (D-WA) introduced the National Freight Mobility Infrastructure Act (H.R. 2707) to establish a program to improve freight mobility in the United States, to establish the National Freight Mobility Infrastructure Fund, and for other purposes. The bill, if enacted into law, would allow for funding of, among other things, improved freight movement capability at seaports. (6/4/09).
Bill introduced to exempt vessel operators on Lake Texoma
Representative Boren (D-OK) introduced a bill (H.R. 2717) to exempt guides for hire and other operators of uninspected vessels on Lake Texoma from Coast Guard and other regulations, and for other purposes. While section 1 of this short bill addresses a somewhat unique situation on the lake straddling the Texas-Oklahoma border, section 2 would create a broad new exemption from the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) requirement. While I believe the TWIC legislation and regulations were written with a broad brush, I would hope that Congress carefully considers amendments to these requirements, rather than adopting changes as part of unrelated legislation. (6/4/09).
Alaska – proposed critical habitat for northern sea otter
The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is extending, through July 9, the period in which to submit comments on its proposed designation of critical habitat for the Southwest Alaska distinct population segment of the northern sea otter. The draft economic analysis for the proposal is available for consideration, along with various amended determinations. 74 Fed. Reg. 27271 (June 9, 2009).
USCG – safety alert re compact fluorescent lights
The US Coast Guard issued a safety alert stating that certain compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) may interfere with certain communications equipment and should not be installed on the navigation bridges of vessels and in other places capable of causing radio communications interference. Alert 02-09 (6/8/09).
Failure to properly moor barge upon approach of hurricane
In an unpublished opinion, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that the owner and operator of a towboat are not entitled to exoneration from liability for damages allegedly caused by a barge that broke away from its moorings during Hurricane Katrina. In the instant case, petitioners rotated barges at a facility in New Orleans approximately 40 hours prior to arrival of the hurricane. The master of the towboat considered adding additional mooring lines to the barge, but did not do so. The decision was made in part based on the policies of other petitioner regarding non-use of additional rigging except upon a customer’s request. The appellate court upheld the ruling of the trial court that the petitioners breached their duty of care by negligently mooring the empty barge. In re Ingram Barge Company, No. 08-30502 (5th Cir., June 5, 2009).
Delaware River – tanker grounds, then refloats
The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that it was responding to a report that a tanker had grounded in the Delaware River near Salem, New Jersey. The agency issued a second press release stating that the tanker was refloated under its own power. The incident is under investigation. (6/8/09).
FMC – ISO Program Support Assistant
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued a vacancy announcement stating that the agency is in search of qualified individuals for the position of Program Support Assistant. Applications must be received by June 29. (6/8/09).
Panama Canal – operations summary for May 2009
The Panama Canal Authority issued an advisory summarizing Canal operation for May 2009. It also includes the schedule for locks maintenance work for the remainder of the fiscal year. Advisory 09-2009 (6/2/09).
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