Headlines: Australia – agreed compensation for oil spill damages; USCG – TWIC issues can delay issuance of MMC; UK – ship stopped for suspected illegal scrapping; Canada – amendments to Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act; Bill introduced re customs facilitation and trade enforcement; FMC – Richard Lidinsky sworn in as Commissioner; Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal – Asian carp moving closer; Hudson River – mid-air collision; Alaska – Arctic continental shelf research; and NOAA – survey of ships sunk off North Carolina during WWII.
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Australia – agreed compensation for oil spill damages
The Honorable Anthony Albanese MP, Australian Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, and Local Government and Anna Bligh MP, Premier of Queensland, issued a joint media statement reporting that the Australian and Queensland Governments have struck an agreement with Swire Shipping over financial issues relating to the oil spill from the container ship Pacific Adventurer off the Queensland coast on March 11, 2009. Swire Shipping will provide $25 million for compensation of valid claims arising from the spill, towards a court-administered limitation fund, and a donation to a trust specially established to help improve marine protection and maritime safety. The $25 million is significantly more than Swire’s legal obligation of $11.5 million. Any shortfall between Swire’s contribution and the total actual damages will be paid by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), which will institute a small increase in the Protection of the Sea Levy. Australia has also initiated proceedings at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to increase the limit to shipowners’ liability for the future. (8/8/09). Note: This case provides yet another example of how seemingly routine casualties can spin out of control and lead to unpredictable results. Accident avoidance is vastly superior to crises control.
USCG – TWIC issues can delay issuance of MMC
The US Coast Guard National Maritime Center (NMC) issued a notice stating that issues related to the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) can delay issuance of the USCG Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC). Some data suggests that nearly one in five MMC applicants do not currently hold a TWIC. The Coast Guard cannot issue an MMC to any individual who does not have a valid TWIC. When applying for a TWIC, mariners should identify themselves as mariners in order to receive expedited processing. Also, exactly the same identifying information (name spelling, SSN, birth date, etc.) must be used on both the TWIC and MMC applications. (7/31/09).
UK – ship stopped for suspected illegal scrapping
The UK Environment Agency (EA) issued a news release stating that it stopped a ship from leaving the UK on suspicion that it was due to head abroad for illegal dismantling. The ship has been detained in Southampton while the investigation continues. Anyone intending to send a ship from the UK for dismantling abroad must first obtain a permit from the EA. Ships containing hazardous material may only be dismantled at properly authorized dismantling facilities in either the EU or an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) country. This is the first occasion on which the EA has issued a stop notice with regard to the planned departure of a ship from the UK. (8/7/09).
Canada – amendments to Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act
Transport Canada issued a media release stating that Bill C-3, an Act to amend the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act, came into force on August 1, 2009. Under the amended Act, Canada asserts jurisdiction to enforce Canadian environmental laws and shipping regulations in Arctic waters up to 200 nautical miles offshore. The original Act asserted jurisdiction in Arctic waters up to 100 nautical miles offshore. (8/6/09).
Bill introduced re customs facilitation and trade enforcement
Senator Baucus (D-MT) introduced a bill (S. 1631) to reauthorize customs facilitation and trade enforcement functions and programs, and for other purposes. Official text of the bill is not yet available. (8/6/09).
FMC – Richard Lidinsky sworn in as Commissioner
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued a news release stating that Richard A. Lidinsky, Jr., has been sworn in as a Commissioner. Mr. Lidinsky, of Baltimore, has 37 years of experience in the maritime trade industry. (8/7/09).
Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal – Asian carp moving closer
The US Army Corps of Engineers issued a news release stating that new monitoring techniques indicate that the Asian carp may be closer to the electric barrier site in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal near Romeoville, Illinois than previously thought. The electric barrier is intended to prevent the invasive Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes. Continued approach of the carp may indicate the need to make changes to current operations of the barrier. (8/7/09).
Hudson River – mid-air collision
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it, the New York Fire Department, New York Police Department, and others are responding to the mid-air collision between a small plane and a helicopter over the Hudson River near Pier 40, Manhattan. The small plane reportedly carried three persons, while six persons were reportedly on the helicopter. A second news release stated that the search for survivors has been suspended pending further developments. A safety zone has been established on the Hudson River between the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels. Vessels must transit slowly when within 400 yards of the Manhattan side of the river. (8/8/09).
Alaska – Arctic continental shelf research
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that, as part of the US Extended Continental Shelf Task Force, the USCG icebreaker Healy is conducting research in the Arctic Ocean. It will soon be joined by the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St.-Laurent for cooperative data collection. (8/9/09).
NOAA – survey of ships sunk off North Carolina during WWII
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a news release stating that it and various partners will study World War II shipwrecks sunk off the coast of North Carolina. The shipwrecks include US and British warships, German submarines, and many merchant vessels. (8/5/09).
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 – August 2009