Headlines: IMO – the search for national legislation on piracy; DOT & MARAD – piracy warning; NATO – counter-piracy report (Feb-July 2009); GAO – internal financial control weaknesses at USMMA; MARAD – removal of non-retention vessels from NDRF; USN – dredging of Norfolk Harbor Channel; FMC meeting; UK – complacency kills again; Australia – update re offshore oil leak; Australia – collision involving freighter and yacht; TSA – TWIC centers open again for enrollments; NOAA – smart growth guide; and USCG – HDOP advisory.
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IMO – the search for national legislation on piracy
In December 2008, the IMO sent out Circular Letter No. 2933 to the Governments of all Member States seeking information on existing national legislation to prevent and punish the crimes of piracy and armed robbery at sea. Numerous Member States have yet to respond. It is difficult to fight piracy in an organized and cooperative manner if those on the front lines have not been informed as to what the rules are. It is incumbent upon those in the maritime industry to strongly urge not only their flag states, but also the governments of the nations in which their ships make port calls to promptly respond to this highly reasonable request. The lives and safety of merchant mariners and the security of numerous vessels are in the balance. (9/9/09).
DOT & MARAD – piracy warning
The US Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a press release stating that the Maritime Administration (MARAD) issued an advisory to mariners and ship operators that piracy is likely to increase in waters off the Horn of Africa and in the Indian Ocean now that monsoon season has ended. MARAD Advisory 2009-07 states that weather favorable to small boat piracy attacks should be expected through late December. Vessels transiting these waters should check in with naval authorities and, to the maximum extent possible, utilize the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) through the Gulf of Aden. (9/9/09).
NATO – counter-piracy report (Feb-July 2009)
The NATO Shipping Centre issued its Half-yearly Report on counter-piracy operations, covering the period February through July 2009. The report notes efforts to enhance cooperation between the naval forces operating in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia, as well as the increase in reporting by transiting merchant ships. (9/9/09).
GAO – internal financial control weaknesses at USMMA
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report of its examination of internal financial controls at the US Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA). The report states that internal control weaknesses resulted in improper sources and uses of funds. Some midshipmen fee assessments were unrelated to goods and services provided to the midshipmen. The Academy improperly entered into some sole-source agreements with the Global Maritime and Transportation School (GMATS) and then inappropriately accepted and used GMATS funds. There were questionable billing and payment transactions related to use of the Academy’s training ship Kings Pointer. The report noted that some corrective actions are under way. GAO-09-635 (9/9/09).
MARAD – removal of non-retention vessels from NDRF
The Maritime Administration (MARAD) has completed the final Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) and the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the removal of non-retention vessels from the National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF) sites for disposal. MARAD has a variety of methods for removal of excess vessels from the three fleet anchorages at James River, Beaumont, and Suisun Bay, consisting of: (1) towing to an approved recycling facility; (2) use as an artificial reef; (3) sale for reuse; (4) donation for use as a memorial or museum; and (5) use as a target by the US Navy in a live-fire training exercise. 74 Fed. Reg. 46642 (September 10, 2009).
USN – dredging of Norfolk Harbor Channel
The Department of the Navy issued a notice stating that, after weighing the operational and environmental consequences, it has decided to deepen approximately five miles of the Norfolk Harbor Channel in Norfolk and Portsmouth, Virginia. 74 Fed. Reg. 46583 (September 10, 2009).
FMC – meeting
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued an official notice stating that it will meet on September 15 in its offices in Washington, DC. Topics on the agenda for the open session of the meeting include passenger vessel financial responsibility, re-codification of 46 C.F.R., and the status of the FY 2009 budget. 74 Fed. Reg. 46592 (September 10, 2009).
UK – complacency kills again
The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) released the report of its investigation of the fatality of the chief officer of a ship who fell while descending into a ballast tank while the ship was underway in the Gulf of Aden on 28 January 2009. He was not wearing a fall arrestor and his entry into the tank did not comply with company or industry practice. Although non-compliance with the permit to work system had been identified during a previous company internal audit, to effective remedial action had been taken. Report No. 20/2009 (9/10/09).
Australia – update re offshore oil leak
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) issued a media release stating that response to the offshore oil leak in the Timor Sea continues. Oil is spreading northeast from the platform, away from the Western Australia shore. Dispersants are being applied and containment efforts are underway. (9/10/09).
Australia – collision involving freighter and yacht
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) issued a news release stating that it is investigating a collision off the coast of Queensland involving a freighter and a yacht. There were no reported injuries or pollution. The yacht was dismasted in the collision. (9/9/09). Note: The yacht Pink Lady was under solo navigation by a young lady making preparations for an attempted round-the-world voyage.
TSA – TWIC centers open again for enrollments
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued a notice stating that its Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) enrollment centers are again able to process new enrollments. The prior technical difficulties have been resolved. (9/9/09).
NOAA – smart growth guide
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a news release stating that it, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and other stakeholders developed the booklet Smart Growth for Coastal and Waterfront Communities. It provides guidance for smart growth to balance development, the environment, and quality of life. (9/9/09).
USCG – HDOP advisory
The US Coast Guard Navigation Center issued an advisory stating that GPS users may experience short periods of high horizontal dilution of precision (HDOP) on September 11 as a result of a routine Delta-V maneuver with satellite #52 (PRN-31). (9/9/09).
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 – September 2009