Headlines: DOJ – two chief engineers indicted; USCG – Port Security Advisories; Erroneous calculation of OPA 90 phase-out is not compensable; Gulf of Mexico – FPSO safety zone proposed; North Carolina – “no discharge” zone; USCG – job opening; USCG – hurricane and heavy weather contingency plans; CTAC – MARPOL waste disposal; Canada – investigation into safety of small fishing vessels; Canada – local waterway restrictions; and FMC – LA/LB investigation dismissed.
Note: This blog is one section of the Bryant’s Maritime Consulting website. Visit the site for more extensive maritime regulatory information. Individual concerns may be addressed by retaining Dennis Bryant directly. Much of the highlighted text in this newsletter constitutes links to Internet sites providing more detailed information. Links on this page may be in PDF format, requiring use of Adobe Acrobat Reader. Comments on these postings are encouraged and may be made by clicking the envelope that appears at the end of each posting. Be aware that the daily blog entry is a single posting, even though it contains a number of individual items.
DOJ – two chief engineers indicted
The Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a press release stating that two chief engineers from a foreign tanker have been indicted for making false statements, violating pollution prevention laws, and obstruction of justice. They are accused of maintaining false oil record books that concealed deliberate discharges of oil-contaminated waste water directly into the ocean. An indictment is a formal accusation and is not proof of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent until and unless found guilty. (8/20/09).
USCG – Port Security Advisories
The US Coast Guard recently revised one Port Security Advisory (PSA) and issued a new one that is tied closely to the revised PSA. PSA 5-09 (rev. 1) relates to minimum guidelines for contracted security services in high risk waters and has been revised to add a requirement that security personnel operating on US vessels in accordance with a USCG Maritime Security Directive must either have a valid Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) or must have successfully undergone a name-based terrorism check. PSA 6-09 provides the procedures for obtaining a name-based terrorism check for security personnel operating in high risk waters. (7/24/09). Note: These new PSAs were brought to my attention by my friend John Bennett of Maritime Protective Services.
Erroneous calculation of OPA 90 phase-out is not compensable
The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the owner of a single-hull tank barge has no cause of action against the federal government when the barge was taken out of service for a period of time because the Coast Guard incorrectly calculated the phase-out date for the barge under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90). The government conceded that the miscalculation occurred. The sole issue was whether the barge owner had a right of action and could recover damages for the error. The court held that the federal government had not waived its sovereign immunity for this type of action because there is no similar private law right of action (no local analogue to the government’s duties at issue). In other words, this was a wrong without a remedy. Hornbeck Offshore Transportation v. United States, No. 08-5225 (DC Cir., June 30, 2009).
Gulf of Mexico – FPSO safety zone proposed
The US Coast Guard proposes to establish a safety zone with a radius of 500 meters around a floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) in the deepwater portion of the US outer continental shelf (OCS) of the Gulf of Mexico. Comments on this proposal should be submitted by October 23. 74 Fed. Reg. 42612 (August 24, 2009). Note: If memory serves (a risky proposition these days), this will be the first FPSO safety zone in US waters.
North Carolina – “no discharge” zone
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice stating that it has determined that adequate and reasonably available pump-out facilities exist for designation of New Hanover County, North Carolina coastal waters as a “no discharge” zone. 74 Fed. Reg. 42672 (August 24, 2009).
USCG – job opening
The US Coast Guard is in search of qualified applicants for the position of Director of the Global Maritime Operational Threat Response (MOTR) Coordination Center in Washington, DC. Applicants must be US citizens and must be eligible for a Top Secret/SCI clearance. The position pays up to $177,000 annually. Applications must be received by September 15. (8/5/09).
USCG – hurricane and heavy weather contingency plans
With passage of the first hurricane of the 2009 North Atlantic hurricane season, it is timely to remind long-suffering readers that US Coast Guard hurricane and heavy weather contingency plans may be accessed through the “Hurricane Contingency Plan” page on my website: Bryant’s Maritime Consulting. Contingency plans from each USCG Sector on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, as well as from Sector Honolulu, are included. Please advise me if there are similar contingency plans that are omitted or if an included plan has been updated. (8/21/09).
CTAC – MARPOL waste disposal
The Chemical Transportation Advisory Committee (CTAC), sponsored by the US Coast Guard, has been examining the MARPOL waste disposal issue. Its MARPOL Working Group recently put together a presentation summarizing the issue and suggesting an approach to a possible solution. The major problem seems to be a lack of understanding by both facility and vessel personnel with respect to MARPOL waste disposal issues. Additionally, because this is perceived as an environmental issue, multiple government agencies are involved. As with most issues, we did not get into this conundrum overnight and there is no quick fix. But at least the issue is increasingly acknowledged, which is the first step to a solution. (8/13/09).
Canada – investigation into safety of small fishing vessels
The Canadian Transportation Safety Board (TSB) issued a media release stating that it has launched an in-depth investigation into the safety of small fishing vessels. The investigation will include review of selected accidents in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and several Nordic countries. (8/20/09).
Canada – local waterway restrictions
Transport Canada issued a media release stating that, as the result of requests by municipalities and other local authorities, vessel operation restrictions have been established for specific local waterways in Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia. These measures are intended to improve navigation safety, reduce conflicts between waterway users, and protect the environment. (8/20/09).
FMC – LA/LB investigation dismissed
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued a news release stating that, due a change in circumstances, it is dismissing the investigation of marine terminal practices of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. (8/21/09).
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