Headlines: Gulf of Aden – pirate attack deterred; South China Sea – attack on tug; California – vessel speed reduction presentation; USCG – MARPOL Annex V Wider Caribbean Region; USCG – merchant mariner credentials – correction; Bill introduced re HMT exemptions; Bill introduced re electronic filing of export data; Bill introduced re waterfront brownfields; GAO – climate change policy; USCG – tall ship on the rocks; and Duluth – oil spill response training.
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Gulf of Aden – pirate attack deterred
The NATO Maritime Centre issued an update stating that a merchant vessel transiting the Gulf of Aden was attacked by pirates. A warship responded and stopped a skiff with six suspected pirates onboard, but no weapons. The suspects were released. (8/5/09).
South China Sea – attack on tug
The ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre issued an incident alert stating that a tug en route from Vietnam to Singapore with a barge in tow was attacked by five robbers while transiting the South China Sea. The tug’s crew managed to repel the robbers, but the master of the tug sustained a cut on his leg. This is the seventh reported attack on a passing vessel in these waters near the southeast tip of the Malay Peninsula since January 2009. (8/2/09).
California – vessel speed reduction presentation
At the California Air Resources Board (CARB) meeting on July 29, the staff made a presentation regarding vessel speed reduction (VSR) for ocean-going vessels. The CARB is considering establishment of a VSR program that might extend as far as 40 nautical miles offshore, but could be limited to “bubbles” around key ports. Both voluntary and regulatory programs are under consideration. (7/29/09).
USCG – MARPOL Annex V Wider Caribbean Region special area
The US Coast Guard seeks comments on the effects of implementing the special area discharge standards on vessels and reception facility operations when the Wider Caribbean Region (WCR) special area comes into effect. The Coast Guard also seeks recommendations on how to efficiently transition from the current standards regulating garbage discharges to the special area discharge standards in the WCR when the WCR special area comes into effect. In order for the WCR special area to come into effect under MARPOL Annex V (and USCG regulations), each Member State that is party to Convention whose coastline borders the WCR special area must certify that reception facilities are available. The Coast Guard will not speculate as to a time line for the WCR special area coming into effect, but wants to begin the process of identifying what needs to be accomplished when and if an effective date is established in accordance with the MARPOL Convention. Comments should be submitted by November 4. 74 Fed. Reg. 39334 (August 6, 2009).
USCG – merchant mariner credentials – correction
The US Coast Guard issued an amendment correcting various non-substantive errors in its March 16 rulemaking consolidating regulations concerning issuance of US merchant mariner credentials. The corrections come into effect immediately. 74 Fed. Reg. 39383 (August 6, 2009).
Bill introduced re HMT exemptions
Representative Higgins (D-NY) introduced the Short Sea Shipping Act of 2009 (H.R. 3486) to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to exempt certain shipping from the harbor maintenance tax (HMT). If enacted into law, this bill would exempt from the HMT commercial cargo (other than bulk cargo) loaded at a US mainland port and unloaded at another US mainland port or a port in Canada in the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System or loaded at a port in Canada in the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System and unloaded at a port in the US mainland. (7/31/09).
Bill introduced re electronic filing of export data
Representative Sherman (D-CA) introduced the Export Control Improvements Act (H.R. 3515) to make improvements in the electronic filing of export data, to strengthen enforcement authorities with respect to the Export Administration Regulations, and for other purposes. (7/31/09).
Bill introduced re waterfront brownfields
Representative Slaughter (D-NY) introduced the Waterfront Brownfields Revitalization Act (H.R. 3518) to amend the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 to provide grants for the revitalization of waterfront brownfields, and for other purposes. If enacted into law, the bill would establish a grant program to provide funding for remediation of waterfront brownfield sites. (7/31/09).
GAO – climate change policy
The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report on climate change policy, focusing on options for distributing emissions allowances and revenue under a cap-and-trade program. The report looks only at US domestic issues and does not consider international issues, such as maritime transportation. It does, though, provide basic background information regarding potential cap-and-trade programs. GAO-09-950T (8/4/09).
USCG – tall ship on the rocks
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it was responding to a tall ship that grounded on rocks in Great Harbor, southwest of Cape Cod. No injuries or pollution have been reported by the 118-foot tall ship Unicorn. A second news release states that the ship has been refloated. The incident is under investigation. (8/5/09).
Duluth – oil spill response training
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it will conduct oil spill response training on August 6 in waters of Lake Superior outside Duluth-Superior Harbor. (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