Headlines: Singapore Strait – piratical attack; Gulf of Aden – unsuccessful piratical attack; EU & UN – combating piracy in Somalia; MARAD & USCG – Port Dolphin Energy LNG DWP; DOJ – tug company manager indicted for illegal dumping; Hearing on NMC and mariner credentials; Operation Arctic Crossroads 2009; Ship repair dispute starts a chain of misunderstandings; NY/NJ – federal funding to reduce diesel emissions; Georgia – federal funding to reduce diesel emissions; Maine – petition for “no discharge” zone; and USCG Proceedings.
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Singapore Strait – piratical attack
The ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre issued an incident report stating that a tug towing a barge through the Singapore Strait was attacked by four armed men in a speedboat. The attackers stole mobile phones, money, and other valuables. While this is the first reported attack in this area in 2009, there were six attacks in the vicinity during 2008. (7/12/09).
Gulf of Aden – unsuccessful piratical attack
The European Union Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa [EU MSC-HOA] issued a press release stating that a 265,000 ton tanker was attacked in the eastern part of the Gulf of Aden by a mothership and two skiffs. The tanker sustained light damage during the unsuccessful attack and no crewmembers were injured. (7/13/09).
EU & UN – combating piracy in Somalia
The Council of the European Union issued a press release stating that Javier Solana, the EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) met with Ahmedu Ould Abdallah, UN Secretary-General Special Representative for Somalia. Mr. Ould Abdallah voiced his appreciation for the EU’s efforts to combat piracy with its naval taskforce EU NAVFOR ATALANTA. Mr. Solana stressed the need to address the root causes of piracy. He also underlined that the EU was willing to participate actively in the consolidation of the legitimate institutions of Somalia, including the security institutions, through training. (7/10/09).
MARAD & USCG – Port Dolphin Energy LNG DWP
The Maritime Administration (MARAD) issued a notice stating that it and the US Coast Guard are making available the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Port Dolphin Energy liquefied natural gas (LNG) deepwater port (DWP) license application. The company proposes to construct and operate the LNG DWP in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico approximately 28 miles off the coast of Florida and 42 miles from Port Manatee. A public hearing will be held in Palmetto, Florida on July 28. Written comments should be submitted by August 23. 74 Fed. Reg. 33509 (July 13, 2009).
DOJ – tug company manager indicted for illegal dumping
The US Department of Justice issued a press release stating that a general manager of a tug boat company has been indicted for violating the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) by dumping dredged materials in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta without a permit. (7/8/09).
Hearing on NMC and mariner credentials
The Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure conducted an oversight hearing on the National Maritime Center and Mariner Credentials. The purpose of the hearing was to review recent changes in the merchant mariner credentialing process. The Coast Guard has significantly tightened its medical review process. It has encountered technical problems in its transition from the previous documentation methods to the new Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) process. This and other factors have caused a recent increase in the time required to issue the MMC upon receipt of a completed application from a mariner. Committee Chair James Oberstar (D-MN) expressed concern about the impact of increased delays on individual merchant mariners. Subcommittee Chair Elijah Cummings (D-MD) expressed concern regarding various unresolved issues relating to medical examinations of merchant mariners. Rear Admiral Kevin Cook, US Coast Guard, testified that the service is moving ahead to address the various challenges in the mariner credentialing process. Mr. Ken Wells, Offshore Marine Service Association, testified that the credentialing process is overly complex for the majority of mariners. Captain Richard Block, National Mariners Association, testified that the NMC is unresponsive to the needs of individual mariners who are facing loss of employment due to delays in processing of applications. Mr. Mike Rodriguez, International Organization of Masters, Mates, and Pilots, testified that problems with the Coast Guard medical review and credentialing processes are adversely affecting mariners. In particular, He stated that the Coast Guard failed to adequately assess the impact of its various process changes on the merchant mariner community and the effort required for the Coast Guard to fully consider applications and issue credentials. (7/9/09).
USCG – Operation Arctic Crossroads 2009
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it will join personnel from the US Air Force, Army National Guard, Air National Guard, and Public Health Service in Operation Arctic Crossroads 2009. Personnel will deploy from Nome to Barrow to determine operational effectiveness and overall capabilities of assets as well as provide medic al, dental, optometry, boating safety awareness, and other community services to more than eight boroughs throughout Northern Alaska. Note: This operation harkens back to the original federal deployments to the area shortly after the acquisition of Seward’s Folly from Russia. Units from the US Revenue Cutter Service (principally the cutters Rush, Corwin, and Bear, if memory serves) were sent to remote villages in western and northern Alaska to render medical services and provide a federal law enforcement presence. It was the regular fur seal patrols by these cutters that lead to the saying: “Come early and avoid the RUSH!”. (7/10/09).
Ship repair dispute starts a chain of misunderstandings
The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed the trial court and remanded a complex case involving repair of two foreign warships, disputes between the ship repair company and the foreign government, and disputes involving the authority of the attorneys for the foreign government. I am not sure what lessons can be learned here, but it is an interesting case nonetheless. Northrop Grumman Ship Systems Inc. v. Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Venezuela, No. 07-60861 (5th Cir., July 9, 2009).
New York/New Jersey – federal funding to reduce diesel emissions
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a news release stating that it awarded monies to reduce diesel emissions in the New York/New Jersey region, as well as Puerto Rico. Among the awards are $2,800,000 to repower various ferries and tugs; $7 million to replace older drayage trucks that service the NY/NJ Port Authority; $2,858,200 to install shore power infrastructure at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal; and $1,275,000 to repower a Staten Island ferry. (7/9/09).
Georgia – federal funding to reduce diesel emissions
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a news release stating that it awarded $164,964 to the Georgia Ports Authority to retrofit cargo handling equipment to be operated on ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel. (7/6/09).
Maine – petition for “no discharge” zone
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice stating that it received a petition from the State of Maine requesting a determination that adequate facilities for the safe and sanitary removal and treatment of sewage from all vessels are reasonably available for waters of Camden, Rockport, Rockland, and portions of Owls Head. Comment on this petition should be submitted by August 12. 74 Fed. Reg. 33437 (July 13, 2009).
USCG – Proceedings
The US Coast Guard published the Summer 2009 edition of the Proceedings of the Marine Safety & Security Council. This edition focuses on the service’s international engagements. (7/10/09).
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