Headlines: Port facility employee required to carry photo ID; USCG – access to ships through facilities; USCG – MARPOL waste reception facilities; UK – waste containers returned from Brazil; MARAD – Port Dolphin Energy LNG DWP application – correction; APHIS, NOAA & FWS – National Aquatic Animal Health Plan; IMO – stowaway incidents – January-April 2009; Baltimore – funding for diesel emissions control program; DOC – monies allocated for surveys and charting; Galveston – crane boom sinks towboat; USCG – supporting scientific research in Arctic waters; and Individual detained because she did not look like her passport photo.
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Port facility employee required to carry photo ID
The US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled that a port facility employee is required to have and carry a photographic identification (ID) in accordance with federal law and regulation despite the employee’s religious beliefs against posing for photographs. In the instant case, plaintiff worked at an oil refinery located adjacent to the Delaware River. The refinery operator normally required all employees to have photo IDs, but made accommodations for this employee due to his strongly-held religious beliefs. After the 2001 terrorist attacks, Congress enacted the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) and the US Coast Guard promulgated implementing regulations. The regulations required, in pertinent part, operators of waterfront facilities (such as this refinery) to require its employees to have and carry a personal identification credential that contains a photo that accurately depicts the individual’s current facial appearance. When the employee refused to have his photo taken for use on the credential, he was terminated. He sued his employer for religious discrimination. The court held that the employee had established a prima facie case of religious discrimination, but that the employer had demonstrated that accommodation of the employee’s religious beliefs would result in an undue hardship on the employer – namely the threat that the Coast Guard would shut down the facility for failure to comply with the MTSA. Cherry v. Sunoco, Inc., No. 07-cv-2235 (E.D. Pa., August 17, 2009). Note: Without doubt, this was a hard case for the court to decide.
USCG – access to ships through facilities
The US Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston issued a bulletin reminding owners and operators of waterfront facilities of the obligation to provide reasonable access to ships berthed at the facilities for such functions as shore leave, crew change, vessel visitors, and delivery of stores. Facility security plans without such ship access provisions will not be approved or renewed. Port Security Information Bulletin 04-09 (8/17/09). Note: I understand that this is an important issue for ships and a sensitive issue for waterfront facilities. I also understand that the majority of waterfront facilities currently provide reasonable access to ships. There remain, though, a minority of facilities that need this kind of encouragement to do the right thing.
USCG – MARPOL waste reception facilities
The US Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston issued a bulletin concerning the adequacy of MARPOL waste reception facilities. It reminds facilities that receive ocean-going ships of the obligation to have adequate facilities and procedures for reception of MARPOL wastes from those ships and it reminds vessels of the obligation to adequately prepare for disposal of those wastes. The bulletin refers to three IMO circulars, which I have taken the liberty of attaching to the bulletin: MEPC.1/Circ.671 – Guide to good practice for port reception facility providers and users; MEPC.1/Circ.644 – Standard format for the advance notification form for waste delivery to port reception facilities; and MEPC.1/Circ.645 – Standard format for the waste delivery receipt following a ship’s use of port reception facilities. Marine Safety Information Bulletin MSIB 13-09 (8/17/09). Note: This issue has been swept under the carpet for far too long. It is refreshing to see it finally addressed in a direct manner.
UK – waste containers returned from Brazil
The UK Environment Agency (EA) issued a news release stating that 71 shipping containers alleged to have been illegally exported from the UK to Brazil are due to arrive in Felixstowe on August 21. The shipping containers allegedly hold clinical waste including syringes and condoms. Such waste can only be exported from the UK with prior written authorization from the EA. No such authorization was obtained for export of these containers. The incident is under investigation. (8/21/09).
MARAD – Port Dolphin Energy LNG DWP application – correction
The Maritime Administration (MARAD) issued a notice stating that various errors in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Port Dolphin Energy Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Deepwater Port (DWP) license application have been corrected. The public comment period for the FEIS has been extended to September 11. 74 Fed. Reg. 42358 (August 21, 2009).
APHIS, NOAA & FWS – National Aquatic Animal Health Plan
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) are seeking comment on the National Aquatic Animal Health Plan for the United States. The plan is focused primarily on the aquaculture industry and is intended to provide a framework for how the agencies should develop programs to address diseases that affect the health of aquatic animals such as finfish, crustaceans, and mollusks. Comments on the plan should be submitted by October 20. 74 Fed. Reg. 42225 (August 21, 2009).
IMO – stowaway incidents – January-April 2009
The IMO issued a circular summarizing reports it received from 1 January through 30 April of stowaway incidents. During this period, 108 incidents were reported, involving 481 stowaways. FAL.2/Circ.114 (5/6/09).
Baltimore – funding for diesel emissions control program
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a news release stating that it is providing $3.5 million in funding to the Port of Baltimore for clean-diesel technology in essential equipment to reduce harmful air emissions. The technology will be used on harbor craft, locomotives, dray-trucks, and on-dock handling equipment in the port. (8/20/09).
DOC – monies allocated for surveys and charting
The Department of Commerce issued a press release stating that Commerce Secretary Gary Locke has allocated $40 million for critical hydrographic survey and nautical chart projects. (8/20/09).
Galveston – crane boom sinks towboat
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it is overseeing the salvage of an uninspected towing vessel that sank in the Port of Galveston after a crane boom fell on the vessel. (8/20/09).
USCG – supporting scientific research in Arctic waters
The US Coast Guard issued a news release reporting on its work in assisting scientific research in Arctic waters. (8/19/09).
Individual detained because she did not look like her passport photo
As my long-suffering readers know, I seldom link non-governmental sources and seldom report on non-maritime developments. There is always an exception, and this incident is too juicy to ignore. As reported in the Vancouver (BC) Sun, a Canadian diplomat posted to Kenya has returned to Ottawa due, at least in part, to her role in the detention of a Canadian citizen in Kenya. It seems that when the Canadian citizen was preparing to return to Canada after a stay in Nairobi, she was stopped by Kenyan authorities who questioned whether the passport she presented was actually hers because she did not look like her passport photo. The Canadian diplomat advised the Kenyan authorities that the woman was not the rightful holder of the passport. The individual was released on bail after eight days, during which Kenyan authorities had rejected multiple pieces of identification. Charges were finally dropped when the individual took and passed a DNA test. Only then was she allowed to return to her home in Toronto. (8/19/09). Note: I don’t know about you, but I have (up until now) been thankful that I did not resemble my passport photo. Think of the possibilities now that there are more than one million TWIC cards in circulation!
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