Headlines: EPA – submittal of NOI re Vessel General Permit program; DOS – summary of 4th Plenary of Piracy Contact Group; UN & IMO – visits to Syria and Iran by S-G Mitropoulos; NSIDC – Arctic sea ice report; CEQ – Interim Report of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force; Hudson River – anchorage change proposed; Anchorage – taking of marine mammals incidental to development project; USCG – safety alert re parasailing; USCG – drug testing requirements for charter vessels; EPA – water quality monitoring study; MARAD – removal of obsolete vessels from James River Reserve Fleet; and Seal Island, Maine – safety zone removed.
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The ship owning and operating community is reminded that Saturday, September 19, 2009, is the deadline for submittal of the Notice of Intent (NOI) under the EPA’s Vessel General Permit (VGP) program. Detailed information concerning this program is available at: Regulation of Discharges Incidental to the Normal Operations of a Vessel. (9/16/09).
DOS – summary of 4th Plenary of Piracy Contact Group
The US Department of State (DOS) issued a press release summarizing the key outcomes of the 4th Plenary of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia. With the participation of 17 new countries, the Contact Group has expanded to 45 nations. Seven international agencies (including the IMO, NATO, and the EU) and two maritime industry groups are also represented. Improved coordination of naval patrols by the 20 Contact Group participants was noted. A new Trust Fund was established to help defray the costs associated with prosecuting suspected pirates. (9/16/09). Note: This press release was brought to my attention by my good friend John Bennett of Maritime Protective Services.
UN & IMO – visits to Syria and Iran by S-G Mitropoulos
The IMO issued a news release discussing the recent visits of Secretary-General Efthimios Mitropoulos to Syria and Iran. The issues of piracy, seafarer shortage, and climate change were at the top of the agenda during these visits. The United Nations issued its own news release discussing the trip. (9/17/09). Note: It is interesting (at least to me) to see the different spins the two organizations placed on the same events.
NSIDC – Arctic sea ice report
The National Snow and Ice Data Center, sponsored by the University of Colorado and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), issued its report on Arctic sea ice. The ice in the Arctic Ocean has reached its minimum extent for 2009 and is starting to reform. This year’s minimum extent is above the record and near-record minimums of the last two years, but lower than the average minimums of the past 30 years. (9/17/09).
CEQ – Interim Report of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force
The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released the Interim Report of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force. The task force believes that the final ocean policy (which is a work in progress) should include: (1) a vision of what a National Policy should achieve for the oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes; (2) a context section describing the value of these areas, the issues confronting them, and the urgency to take effective action; (3) a statement of the National Policy; and (4) a set of overarching principles for management decisions and actions affecting the ocean, coasts, and the Great Lakes. The report is open for public comment. (9/10/09).
Hudson River – anchorage change proposed
The US Coast Guard proposes to amend Anchorage Ground No. 19 located east of the Weehawken-Edgewater Federal Channel in the Hudson River. Comments on the proposal should be submitted by November 17. 74 Fed. Reg. 47906 (September 18, 2009).
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a notice stating that a Letter of Authorization (LOA) has been issued to the Port of Anchorage for the limited taking of marine mammals incidental to the Port of Anchorage’s Marine Terminal Redevelopment Project. 74 Fed. Reg. 47925 (September 18, 2009).
USCG – safety alert re parasailing
The US Coast Guard issued a safety alert reminding the parasailing industry to be vigilant in its observations of current and forecasted weather and sea conditions, with particular regard to wind speed. This follows a recent incident in which two parasail participants lost their lives when the towline parted and their parasail was dragged into nearby pilings. Alert 06-09 (9/17/09).
USCG – drug testing requirements for charter vessels
The US Coast Guard issued a safety alert reminding the US charter vessel industry of its duties and obligations with regard to drug testing requirements. The requirements apply to all US vessels in commercial service, regardless of vessel size or capacities, including what are commonly known as Six Pack Charter Vessels. Alert 07-09 (9/17/09).
EPA – water quality monitoring study
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a press release stating that, for the past five days, it has been collecting water quality data off the New Jersey and New York coasts to monitor the health of the New York Bight. After it is checked for accuracy, the data will be shared with other stakeholders. (9/17/09).
MARAD – removal of obsolete vessels from James River Reserve Fleet
The Maritime Administration (MARAD) issued a news release providing the status of efforts to remove obsolete vessels from the James River Reserve Fleet. Since 2001, 84 ships have been removed from the Fleet. Only 18 obsolete ships remain at the site. (9/17/09).
Seal Island, Maine – safety zone removed
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it in the process of removing the safety zone around Seal Island, Maine. The Coast Guard and other agencies will work to ensure that the local fishing community is aware of risks from unexploded munitions in waters around the island. (9/17/09).
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