Headlines: CPI adjustments to OPA 90 limits of liability; New Zealand increases Marine Safety Charges; ReCAAP monthly report on piracy and armed robbery; NY/NJ anchorage ground change; Surrender of license for Gulf Landing LNG DWP; MERPAC meeting; FMC – proposed repeal of Marine Terminal Agreement exemption; USCG – update re mailing MMC applications to RECs; Bill introduced to improve port safety and security; UK report on towing incident; and UK report on dredger flooding and floundering.
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USCG – CPI adjustments to OPA 90 limits of liability
The US Coast Guard issued an interim rule increasing the limits of liability under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90) for vessels and deepwater ports to reflect significant increases in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The changes (averaging about 6.8%) come into effect on July 31. The interim rule also makes minor changes to clarify the applicability of the OPA 90 single-hull tank vessel limits of liability. Comments on these latter changes should be submitted by August 31. 74 Fed. Reg. 31357 (July 1, 2009).
New Zealand – increases in Marine Safety Charges
Maritime New Zealand issued a notice announcing increases in the Marine Safety Charges, as well the seafarer licensing and ship registration fees. The changes come into effect on 1 July 2009. The Marine Safety Charge is a fee paid by all New Zealand commercial vessels and visiting foreign commercial vessels and is used to fund a wide range of safety, regulatory, and monitoring functions that are intended to benefit the sector. (6/30/09).
ReCAAP – monthly report on piracy and armed robbery
The ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre issued its monthly report for May 2009 on incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in South Asia and Southeastern Asia. Ten such incidents were reported during May 2009, compared with seven reports in May 2008. (6/30/09).
New York-New Jersey – anchorage ground change
The US Coast Guard issued a direct final rule revising the southern boundary of Anchorage Ground No. 20-F in Upper New York Bay. This action is necessary so that the anchorage ground does not extend into the Port Jersey Federal Channel that is being expanded as part of the Port of New York/New Jersey Harbor Deepening Project. This amendment will come into effect on September 29, unless an adverse comment is submitted by August 31. 74 Fed. Reg. 31354 (July 1, 2009).
MARAD – surrender of license for Gulf Landing LNG DWP
The Maritime Administration (MARAD) issued a notice stating that the license to own, construct, and operate a liquefied natural gas (LNG) deepwater port (DWP) in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 38 miles south of Cameron, Louisiana has been surrendered by Gulf Landing LLC. MARAD has cancelled all actions related to the license. 74 Fed. Reg. 31479 (July 1, 2009).
MERPAC – meeting
The Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC), sponsored by the US Coast Guard, will conduct a teleconference meeting on July 21. The purpose of the meeting is to address issues concerning US merchant marine personnel relating to implementation of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). 74 Fed. Reg. 31461 (July 1, 2009).
FMC – proposed repeal of Marine Terminal Agreement exemption
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued an advance copy of its proposal to repeal the exemption from the 45-day waiting period requirement applicable to certain Marine Terminal Agreements. (6/30/09).
FMC – meeting rescheduled
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued a notice stating that the Commission meeting previously scheduled for Wednesday, July 15, has been rescheduled for Tuesday, July 14, at 10:00 a.m. (6/30/09).
USCG – update re mailing MMC applications to RECs
The US Coast Guard National Maritime Center (NMC) issued an update providing guidance on procedures to follow when mailing US Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) applications to a Regional Examination Center (REC). It also provides guidance on user fee payments through the http://www.pay.gov internet site. (6/26/09).
Suisun Bay – 33 rescued from Sea Scout training vessel
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that 33 persons were rescued from a Sea Scout training vessel in Suisun Bay, California, when it began taking on water. The training vessel is being escorted to a repair facility. The incident is under investigation. (6/30/09).
Bill introduced to improve port safety and security
Senator Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced the Maritime Hazardous Cargo Security Act (S. 1385) to amend title 46, United States Code, to improve port safety and security. Senator Lautenberg issued a news release explaining why he believes the legislation is necessary. (6/25/09).
UK – report on towing incident
The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) issued the report of its preliminary investigation into the marine casualty suffered by a towing vessel that occurred while it was assisting a ro-ro cargo vessel into the King George Dock in Hull on 9 March 2009. The wind was gusting to Force 5. The cargo vessel’s stern thruster was inoperative. The tug was attached by a tow wire and was pushing on the port side of the cargo vessel’s stern as it was exiting the lock into the dock. As the tug was passing through the inner lock gates, it slipped off the stern of the cargo ship. The tug’s shear toward the lock gate was exacerbated by the high lead angle of the tow wire. The tug made heavy contact with the lock gate, causing moderate damage to the tug and minor damage to the lock. (6/30/09).
UK – report on dredger flooding and floundering
The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) released the report of its investigation into the flooding and floundering of a grab hopper dredger in the Port of Heysham on 2 November 2008. The dredger appears to have developed a hull leak in the vicinity of the engine room. Despite four crewmembers berthing on board, the engine room flooded during the night, partially capsizing the vessel. Among other things, the report recommends that bilge alarms be required on all similar vessels. Report No. 15/2009 (7/1/09).
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 – July 2009