Headlines: USN – piracy warning; Kenya – anti-piracy cooperation; Gulf of Aden – meeting of anti-piracy task force commanders; WHO & CDC – pandemic (H1N1) 2009 flu briefing; Representative Oberstar proposes new fees to fund surface transportation; Bill introduced re Arctic shipping; Bill introduced re Arctic hydrographic services; Rule B attachments and alter ego corporations; Agreement on distribution of Exxon Valdez damages binding on all plaintiffs; Florida – petition to revise critical habitat for elkhorn and staghorn corals; IMO – large fire doors; IMO – drainage of fire-fighting water; and IMO – measures to prevent engine-room and pump-room fires.
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USN – piracy warning
The US Navy issued a news release stating that the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) are warning of an anticipated increase in piracy incidents when the southwest monsoon ends in the coming weeks. Mariners must continue to take proactive action to help prevent piracy attacks. As the multi-national maritime forces enhance their efforts and coordination, the pirate adapt and modify their tactics. Continual vigilance is required on the part of the merchant mariners operating in the western Indian Ocean and adjacent waters. (7/27/09).
Kenya – anti-piracy cooperation
The European Union (EU) Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA) issued a press release stating that the Operational Commander of the EU Naval Force – Atalanta visiting Kenya to discuss on-going cooperation in anti-piracy efforts. In addition to the prosecution in Kenyan courts of suspected pirates, an offer of Kenyan naval officers to serve in EU NAVFOR ships was welcomed. (7/22/09).
Gulf of Aden – meeting of anti-piracy task force commanders
The European Union (EU) Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA) issued a press release stating that the commanders and staff of EU NAVFOR, Standing NATO Maritime Group SNMG2, and Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, met on board the SPS Numancia in the Gulf of Aden to improve coordination and deconfliction. (7/24/09).
WHO & CDC – pandemic (H1N1) 2009 flu briefing
The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a briefing on the current situation with regard to pandemic (H1N1) 2009 flu [commonly referred to as the swine flu]. The number of cases worldwide is still increasing substantially. The pandemic flu seems to afflict teenagers and young adults more frequently than does the seasonal flu. Work on development of an effective vaccine has been slow, but continues to make progress. There is no recommendation of travel or trade restrictions. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an update stating that there have been 43,771 cases of the (H1N1) flu in the United States, with 302 deaths. (7/24/09).
Representative Oberstar proposes new fees to fund surface transportation
The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure released the statement of Representative James Oberstar (D-MN) before the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures of the House Committee on Ways and Means. In his statement, Representative Oberstar, who chairs the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, proposes various financing options for the Highway Trust Fund. Among the options is a proposal to raise the excise tax by $1 per barrel on crude oil and refined gasoline and diesel. Also proposed is a fee of $10 on every twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) container moving through a US port. There is also a proposal for a freight waybill tax (sales tax) of 0.1% on freight shipping costs. The excise tax proposal would raise an estimated $24 billion over six years. The container fee proposal would raise an estimated $3 billion over six years. The proposed freight waybill tax would raise an estimated $740 million annually. Representative Calvert (R-CA) issued a news release stating that he is proposing an alternative plan that would impose a fee according to the value of each shipment moving through a US port. The fee would amount to 0.075% of the value of a shipment, but would not exceed $500. The fee could generate tens of billions of dollars over the next five years. (7/23/09).
Bill introduced re Arctic shipping
Senator Murkowski (R-AK) introduced a bill (S. 1514) to ensure safe, secure, and reliable marine shipping in the Arctic including the availability of aids to navigation, vessel escorts, spill response capability, and maritime search and rescue in the Arctic, and for other purposes. Official text of the legislation is not yet available. (7/24/09).
Bill introduced re Arctic hydrographic services
Senator Murkowski (R-AK) introduced a bill (S. 1515) to amend the Hydrographic Services Improvement Act of 1998 to authorize funds to acquire hydrographic data and provide hydrographic services specific to the Arctic for safe navigation, delineating the United States extended continental shelf, and the monitoring and description of coastal changes. Official text of the legislation is not yet available. (7/24/09).
Rule B attachments and alter ego corporations
The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that if a corporation is registered with the New York Department of State and is therefore “found within the district” for purposes of Rule B, that corporation’s alter egos are also “found within the district” and, therefore, the property of those alter egos is not subject to maritime attachment. In the instant case, plaintiff was involved in a maritime dispute with defendant ICI, with which it was in arbitration in London. Plaintiff sought attachment by means of Rule B of the Admiralty Rules of assets belonging to defendant Weaver in the Southern District of New York. Defendant ICI was registered with the New York Department of State, but defendant Weaver was not so registered. Plaintiff alleged in its petition for attachment that defendant Weaver was the alter ego of defendant ICI. Defendant Weaver moved to vacate the attachment. When the motion was granted, plaintiff appealed. The appellate court affirmed the order of the District Court vacating the attachment. Transfield ER Cape Ltd. v. Industrial Carriers, Inc., No. 09-1733-cv (2nd Cir., July 8, 2009).
Agreement on distribution of Exxon Valdez damages binding on all plaintiffs
In an unpublished opinion, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the lower court’s denial of a motion by one plaintiff to void a prior agreement by the various plaintiffs in the litigation seeking damages as a result of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. One plaintiff argued that the US Supreme Court decision on punitive damages overruled to prior agreement, allowing it to claim a bigger share. The argument fell on deaf ears. Sea Hawk Seafoods, Inc. v. Exxon Corporation, No. 08-35978 (9th Cir., July 23, 2009).
Florida – petition to revise critical habitat for elkhorn and staghorn corals
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a notice stating that it received a petition to revise the designated critical habitat for elkhorn and staghorn corals. The petition seeks to extend the northern boundary of the critical habitat in Florida approximately 15 miles north to Lake Worth Inlet. Comments on the petition should be submitted by August 26. 74 Fed. Reg. 36995 (July 27, 2009).
IMO – large fire doors
The IMO issued a circular forwarding recommendations for the evaluation of fire performance and approval of large fire doors. MSC.1/Circ.1319 (6/11/09).
IMO – drainage of fire-fighting water
The IMO issued a circular providing guidelines for the drainage of fire-fighting water from closed vehicle and ro-ro spaces and special category spaces of passenger and cargo ships. MSC.1/Circ.1320 (6/11/09).
IMO – measures to prevent engine-room and pump-room fires
The IMO issued a circular providing guidelines for measures to prevent fires in engine-rooms and cargo pump-rooms. MSC.1/Circ.1321 (6/11/09).
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