Headlines: Somalia – piratical attack; Indian Ocean – catch and release program continues; DOJ – ship operator pleads guilty; EU – Council Conclusions re climate change; EU – Council Conclusions re ship dismantling; Gulf of Mexico – collision and oil spill; Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2010; USCG – meetings re ballast water standards – errata; San Francisco Bay – temporary safety zone; and Australia – offshore oil spill update.
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Somalia – piratical attack
The NATO Shipping Centre issued an update stating that a ro-ro vessel off the coast of southern Somalia came under attack. (10/22/09). Note: Unofficial reports indicate that the attack was unsuccessful.
Indian Ocean – catch and release program continues
The EU Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA) issued a press release stating that one of its warships stopped a mother skiff and two attack skiffs in the Indian Ocean 450 nautical miles east of Mogadishu and 300 nautical miles north of the Seychelles. By the time the skiffs were boarded, the suspected pirates had thrown their weapons and pirate equipment overboard. The skiffs were allowed to proceed. (10/20/09).
DOJ – ship operator pleads guilty
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a press release stating that the operator of a tanker that called regularly in US ports of the Gulf of Mexico pleaded guilty in federal court to three felony violations of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) for failing to properly maintain an oil record book as required by federal and international law. Engineers on the tanker had constructed and utilized a bypass pipe to allow oily waste water to be pumped directly overboard, rather than through the oily water separator. Fraudulent entries were then made in the oil record book to hide the offense. The company has agreed to pay a $1 million criminal fine and to make a $250,000 community service payment. (10/21/09).
EU – Council Conclusions re climate change
The Council of the European Union issued Council Conclusions on the EU position for the Copenhagen Climate Conference. Among other things, the Council proposes that the global emission reduction target for international maritime transport should be incorporated into a Copenhagen agreement and that the parties should commit to work through the IMO to enable an agreement that does not lead to competitive distortions or carbon leakage and that is agreed upon in 2010 and approved by 2011. Further, the global reduction target for international maritime transport should be set by the UNFCCC to -20% below 2005 levels by 2020 to be implemented globally in a manner that ensures a level playing field. The Council supports the use of global market-based instruments to reduce emissions from the maritime sector and proposes that such instruments be developed within the IMO. (10/21/09).
EU – Council Conclusions re ship dismantling
The Council of the European Union issued Council Conclusions on an EU strategy for better ship dismantling. Among other things, the Conclusions endorse the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships. (10/21/09).
Gulf of Mexico – collision and oil spill
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it and other stakeholders are responding to an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 40 miles southeast of Galveston. The 18,000 gallon oil spill followed a collision between a tanker and an offshore supply vessel. There are no reports of injuries. Fuel has been transferred from the damaged tank and no further oil is being discharged into the water. A second news release reports that dispersants will be used to break up the oil. The incident is under investigation. A third news release includes a video showing deployment of the dispersant. (10/21/09).
Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2010
The enrolled (agreed) version of the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2010 (H.R. 2892) has been published. Among other things, it appropriates $8 billion for operations of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and $6.8 billion for operations of the US Coast Guard. No monies are earmarked for construction of icebreakers. The bill appropriates $20 million for acquisition and deployment of radiological detection systems, but none of those funds may be obligated for full-scale procurement of Advanced Spectroscopic Portal monitors until the Secretary certifies that a significant increase in operational effectiveness will be achieved by such obligation. Funding to operate the Loran-C signal is terminated as of January 4, 2010, but only if the Commandant of the Coast Guard certifies that such termination will not adversely impact the safety of maritime navigation and the Secretary of Homeland Security certifies that the Loran-C infrastructure is not needed as a backup to the Global Positioning System (GPS) or to meet any other federal navigation requirement. The bill does not come into effect until signed by President Obama. (10/21/09).
USCG – meetings re ballast water standards - errata
The US Coast Guard published a notice providing the times and locations of its meetings in Oakland (October 27) and New York (October 29) regarding its proposed standards for living organisms in ships’ ballast water discharged in US waters. Written comments on the proposal should be submitted by December4. 74 Fed. Reg. 54533 (October 22, 2009). Note: I have been advised by a good friend in the Coast Guard that the location shown in the Federal Register for the meeting in Oakland is erroneous. The October 27 meeting will not be at the Marriott Oakland City Center, but at the Hilton Oakland Airport Hotel, One Hegenberger Road, Oakland, CA 94621 [tel: 510-635-5000].
San Francisco Bay – temporary safety zone
The US Coast Guard has established, through December 1, a temporary safety zone around the M/V Guilio Verne and the barge Hagar while engaged in cable laying operations in San Francisco Bay. 74 Fed. Reg. 54483 (October 22, 2009).
Australia – offshore oil spill update
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) issued a media release stating that cleanup operations continue in waters of the Timor Sea in the vicinity of the leaking offshore wellhead. Costs of the response effort are being paid by the wellhead licensee. (10/21/09).
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 – October 2009