Headlines: Indian Ocean – fishing vessel hijacked by pirates; USCG – meeting re assessment of Houston Ship Channel; DHS-OIG – review of small vessel threat strategy and plan; USCG – CGSIC meeting summary report; FMC – October meeting; LA/LB – Asian gypsy moth discovered on shipping containers; and Mandatory arbitration of foreign seaman’s wage claim upheld.
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Indian Ocean – fishing vessel hijacked by pirates
The EU Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA) issued a press release stating that pirates hijacked a Spanish fishing vessel in the Indian Ocean approximately 360 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia. No mothership was observed in the local area. This is the first successful hijacking in the region since the end of the monsoon season. (10/2/09).
USCG – meeting re assessment of Houston Ship Channel
The US Coast Guard is hosting a meeting in Texas City on October 6 to receive public comments on the results of the Houston Ship Channel Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment conducted July 14-15, 2009. Specific comments should target any risk areas within the waterway and mitigating measures that may address those outstanding risk areas. Written comments should be submitted by October 30. 74 Fed. Reg. 51166 (October 5, 2009).
DHS-OIG – review of small vessel threat strategy and plan
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released its report on DHS’s strategy and plan to counter security threats posed by small vessels in US waters. The OIG reviewed the Small Vessel Security Strategy and the draft Implementation Plan. The report concludes that DHS has made progress in addressing this issue, but that more remains to be done to provide effective guidance and to operate effective programs in this regard. It found that the Strategy only partially addresses elements such as strategic priorities and milestones, and the roles and responsibilities of state and local sectors. It does not address performance measures, associated costs and human capital, or accountability and oversight frameworks. OIG-09-100 (10/2/09).
USCG – CGSIC meeting summary report
The US Coast Guard Navigation Center released the Summary Report of the 49tth meeting of the Civil GPS Service Interface Committee (CGSIC), held in Savannah on 21-22 September. It includes links to many of the presentations. (10/2/09).
FMC – October meeting
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued a notice stating that the Commission will meet in its offices in Washington, DC on Wednesday, October 21. (10/2/09).
LA/LB – Asian gypsy moth discovered on shipping containers
The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a news release stating that its officers at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport intercepted five shipping containers infested with Asian gypsy moth (AGM) egg masses on four different occasions in September. (10/2/09).
Mandatory arbitration of foreign seaman’s wage claim upheld
The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that a wage claim by a foreign seafarer against his employer for service on a foreign vessel is subject to arbitration. In the instant case, plaintiff Philippine seafarer brought suit against defendant cruise line alleging violation of the Seamen’s Wage Act. Defendant cruise line’s motion to compel arbitration in the Philippines was granted by the federal district court and plaintiff appealed. The order compelling arbitration was upheld by the appellate court, which ruled that federal law favors arbitration and that the collective bargaining agreement between with seamen’s labor union and the cruise line comported with the requirements of the UN Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards and federal law. Balen v. Holland America Line, No. 07-36011 (9th Cir., October 2, 2009).
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