Headlines: NATO – lengthy piracy update; Standards for reducing the amount of a Rule B attachment; UK – wreck of MSC Napoli lifted; UK – report on person overboard during transfer; NY/NJ – meetings re Goethals Bridge Replacement Project; Massachusetts – taking of marine mammals at LNG DWP; NY – petition for “no discharge” zone; Whittier – EIS for navigation improvements feasibility study; Australia – MSDS requirement; and UK state aid to improve inland waterway transport approved.
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NATO – lengthy piracy update
The NATO Shipping Centre issued a piracy update providing lengthy and detailed guidance on lessons learned from piratical attacks and steps that should be taken to reduce the risk of such attacks. Much of the information has been distributed previously, but this has been consolidated and updated. (7/2/09).
Standards for reducing the amount of a Rule B attachment
In a decision that reads like a law review article, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit considered for the first time the standards that should be applied when a defendant that has had its property attached under a Rule B attachment order moves to have the amount of the attachment reduced. In the instant case, plaintiff shipowner filed a petition for a Rule B attachment against the property of defendant company in the amount of $10,220,000. After the petition was granted and assets were attached, defendant moved to have the amount of the attachment reduced to $15,000. The trial court granted defendant’s motion and plaintiff appealed. Evidence indicated that defendant had erroneously arrested plaintiff’s ship in a foreign port, believing that it belonged to the party with which defendant was then in dispute. Defendant promptly cancelled the arrest order when notified by plaintiff of the error. Plaintiff asserted that it had lost a charter party due to the wrongful arrest and claimed damages based on the value of the charter party and loss of net earnings. Evidence indicated, though, that the arrest occurred months after the plaintiff’s ship was due in a US port under terms of the charter party. The trial court considered this evidence in its decision to reduce the amount of the attachment to the estimated legal fees of the action to secure the release of the ship. In upholding the action of the trial court, the appellate court stated that a court may assess preliminarily the reasonableness of plaintiff’s damages claim when setting a security under the Supplemental Rules for Admiralty and Maritime Claims and weigh this and other equitable considerations when evaluating whether good cause exists to reduce the security. In making a preliminary assessment of plaintiff’s damages claim, the court should be satisfied that the plaintiff’s claims are not frivolous, but it should not require the plaintiff to prove its damages with exactitude. Transportes Navieros y Terrestres v. Fairmount Heavy Transport, No. 07-3929-cv (2nd Cir., June 23, 2009).
UK – wreck of MSC Napoli lifted
The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) issued a press notice stating that the remaining section of the wreck of the MSC Napoli has been lifted off the bottom. Cutting has now commenced. Plans call for total removal of the stern, including the main engine. The 500 meter exclusion zone remains in place. (7/2/09).
UK – report on person overboard during transfer
The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) released the report of its investigation of a person overboard during a passenger transfer from a Royal Navy frigate to a small civilian passenger vessel on the River Thames on 24 November 2008. The vessels were making way at four knots in marginal weather. The passenger was climbing down the frigate’s pilot ladder when the painter connecting the passenger vessel to the frigate parted. As the passenger vessel drifted away from the side of the frigate, the lower rungs of the pilot ladder became trapped in the boarding access on the passenger vessel. The bottom of the pilot ladder was pulled away from the side of the frigate to an angle of approximately 40° until it gave way. The passenger ended up in the water, but was quickly rescued. Among other things, the report recommends that the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) provide guidance on the conduct of passenger transfers between vessels when making way and the movement of passengers to and from vessels that are not secured to a quay. Report No. 16/2009 (7/2/09).
NY/NJ – meetings re Goethals Bridge Replacement Project
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it will host meetings in Elizabeth, New Jersey (July 8) and Staten Island, New York (July 9) to receive public comment on the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the proposed Goethals Bridge Replacement Project. (7/2/09).
Massachusetts – taking of marine mammals at LNG DWP
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a notice stating that it issued an incidental harassment authorization for the taking, by harassment, of small numbers of marine mammals incidental to construction and operation of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) deepwater port (DWP) in Massachusetts Bay. 74 Fed. Reg. 31926 (July 3, 2009).
New York – petition for “no discharge” zone
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice stating that it received a petition from the State of New York requesting a determination that adequate facilities for the safe and sanitary removal and treatment of sewage from all vessels are reasonably available for the South Shore Estuary Reserve on Long Island, New York. Comments on the petition should be submitted by August 5. 74 Fed. Reg. 31942 (July 3, 2009).
Whittier, Alaska – EIS for navigation improvements feasibility study
The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) issued a notice stating that it intends to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) to study the feasibility of expanding the existing moorage capacity for vessels at Whittier, Alaska. 74 Fed. Reg. 31934 (July 3, 2009).
Australia – MSDS requirement
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) issued a notice stating that, in accordance with a recent IMO resolution, Australian Marine Orders have been amended to require that ships carrying oil as cargo in bulk or as bunkers be provided with material data safety sheets (MSDSs) prior to loading or bunkering. While the MSDS should be in the format recommended in the IMO resolution, other formats may be acceptable. Marine Notice 12/2009 (7/3/09).
EC – UK state aid to improve inland waterway transport approved
The European Commission (EC) issued a press release stating that it has decided to not raise any objections to a new aid scheme that will encourage modal shift of freight from road to rail and inland waterway within the UK. (7/2/09).
USCG – voluntary compliance with MARPOL Annex IV
In yesterday’s newsletter, I noted that the US Coast Guard posted its guidance for owners and operators of US commercial vessels to voluntarily comply with international ship sewage regulations found in Annex IV to the MARPOL Convention. The United States is currently not party to Annex IV, but requirements of the Annex would be enforced against applicable US ships that call in the ports of nations that are party to the Annex. The Coast Guard circular also provides guidance to manufacturers of shipboard sewage processing equipment and to facilities that test such equipment. NVIC 1-09 (6/23/09). Several of my long-suffering readers commented that the MARPOL regulations apply to all ships of 400 gross tonnage and above and all ships that are certified to carry more than 15 persons engaged in international voyages.
US Independence Day
Tomorrow, July 4, the United States of America celebrates its Independence Day. On July 4, 1776, delegates from the United Colonies meeting at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia proclaimed the signing of the Declaration of Independence. This was truly an amazing document. It began thus: “When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” For a band of rebels, they were extremely polite. Wishing each and every one of you a safe and joyous holiday and weekend.
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