Headlines: Houston – allision and oil spill; Savannah – oil spill response; Port Arthur – oil discharge from old ship wreck; USCG – meetings re ballast water standards; APHIS – increased user fees for agricultural quarantine and inspection services; APHIS – increased user fees for veterinary services; NTSB – meeting re Alaska Ranger sinking; House – hearing to review USCG SAR mission; IMO – discharge of cargo hold washing water; and IMO – technical information re VOC management plans.
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Houston – allision and oil spill
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that a cargo vessel in the Houston Ship Channel allided with a barge in the vicinity of Brady’s Island. The allision caused a gash in the hull of the cargo vessel in way of a fuel tank. The Coast Guard and other entities are responding. A second news release states that approximately 10,500 gallons of fuel oil was spilled. Responders have recovered approximately 4,280 gallons. The response effort continues. The Ship Channel has been closed to navigation north of the I-610 bridge. (9/26/09).
Savannah – oil spill response
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it is responding to a reported oil spill from a ship approximately nine miles off the Georgia coast near Savannah. The ship apparently ruptured its double-hull fuel tank while deploying its anchor. The resulting oil slick is reportedly two miles long and 60 feet wide. (9/27/09).
Port Arthur – oil discharge from old ship wreck
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it is coordinating the response to an oil discharge in the Gulf of Mexico about six miles off Texas Point near Port Arthur. The oil appears to be coming from the submerged wreck of a World War II-era Liberty Ship. (9/25/09).
USCG – meetings re ballast water standards
The US Coast Guard issued a notice providing the times and locations of the first four of six public meetings to receive comments on its proposed regulations for standards for living organisms in ship’s ballast water discharged in US waters. The meetings will be held in Seattle (September 28); New Orleans (September 30); Chicago (October 2); and Washington, DC (October 8). Times and locations of the last two meetings (planned for Oakland on October 27 and New York on October 29) will be announced later. Written comments should be submitted by November 27. 74 Fed. Reg. 49355 (September 28, 2009). Note: The Coast Guard hopes to provide a live webcast of each public meeting at http://ballastwater.us starting at 0900 local time. Plans also call for making available a recording of each meeting, with more details to follow.
APHIS – increased user fees for agricultural quarantine & inspection services
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued an interim rule increasing its user fees for agricultural quarantine and inspection services by an average of 10%, effective October 1. This unscheduled increase is based on the decrease in the volume of international travel and trade. APHIS asserts that its costs are relatively fixed, but that its revenue has dropped recently. Comments on the increase in user fees should be submitted by November 27. 74 Fed. Reg. 49311 (September 28, 2009). Note: It is hoped that APHIS will voluntarily reduce its user fees when international travel and trade recover, but (realistically) this is unlikely.
APHIS – increased user fees for veterinary services
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a notice reminding stakeholders that, as previously announced, user fees charged for import- and export-related services provided for animals, animal products, birds, germ plasm, organisms, and vectors and for certain veterinary diagnostic services will increase for fiscal year 2010, which commences on October 1, 2009. 74 Fed. Reg. 49361 (September 28, 2009).
NTSB – meeting re Alaska Ranger sinking
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a news release stating that it will meet in its offices on September 30 to consider the sinking of the fish processing vessel Alaska Ranger in the Bering Sea on March 23, 2008. (9/25/09).
House – hearing to review USCG SAR mission
On September 30, the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure will conduct a hearing to review the Coast Guard’s Search and Rescue (SAR) mission. (9/25/09).
IMO – discharge of cargo hold washing water
The IMO issued a circular addressing discharge of cargo hold washing water in the Gulfs Area and in the Mediterranean Sea Area under MARPOL Annex V. As an interim measure until appropriate amendments have been adopted, such cargo hold washing water, containing remnants of dry cargo material, should not be treated as garbage within those two areas and may be discharged at a greater distance than 12 nautical miles from shore, so long as the cargo material is not classified as a marine pollutant. MEPC.1/Circ.675 (7/22/09).
IMO – technical information re VOC management plans
The IMO issued a circular forwarding technical information on systems and operation to assist development of volatile organic compound (VOC) management plans for tankers carrying crude oil. MEPC.1/Circ.680 (7/27/09).
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