Headlines: Indian Ocean – pirates hijack bulk carrier; Indian Ocean – two more attacks far offshore; India – former US passenger ship banned for TSCA violation; Lower Mississippi River – VTS proposal; Seal Island, Maine – removal of safety zone; Moss Point, Mississippi – EIS for possible gasification facility; FMC – petition for exemption re filing of individual service contract amendments; NOAA – survey vessel strikes whale; Houston – fuel switching demonstration project; Charleston – oil spill source identified; NOAA – BookletCharts; Bill introduced to reauthorize NTSB; and Veterans Day/Remembrance Day/Armistice Day.
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Indian Ocean – pirates hijack bulk carrier
The EU Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA) issued a press release stating that a bulk carrier with a crew of 22 was hijacked in the south Somali Basin 400 nautical miles northeast of the Seychelles. The NATO Shipping Centre issued a notice stating that a suspected pirate vessel has been located in position 01-10N, 059-04E. The craft is 8-10 meters long with nine people on board. It is towing two smaller skiffs. (11/11/09).
Indian Ocean – two more attacks far offshore
The EU Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA) issued a press release stating that two container ships located in the Indian Ocean approximately 1,000 nautical miles east of Somalia and 450 nautical miles east of Tanzania came under piratical attack on the morning of November 10. Automatic weapons were fired in both cases, but the ships were able to outrun their attackers. (11/10/09).
India – former US passenger ship banned for TSCA violation
The Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests issued an Office Memorandum denying permission for the beaching and breaking of the former US passenger ship Platinum-II. The memorandum cited violation of the US Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and allegations that the ship had been brought into India with a falsified flag and registry. The Ministry relied to the Precautionary Principle in reaching its decision. (11/09/09). Note: The ship was previously named the SS Oceanic and, prior to that, the SS Independence. On January 29, 2009, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a press release stating that it had settled an administrative complaint against the owners of the SS Oceanic for alleged illegal distribution and export of a PCB-containing ship. The two companies paid a total of $518,500 to resolve two TSCA violations related to the removal of the ship from the United States without EPA approval.
Lower Mississippi River – VTS proposal
The US Coast Guard proposes to establish a vessel traffic service (VTS) on the Lower Mississippi River and to transfer certain vessel traffic management (VTM) functions from the Mississippi River, Louisiana – Regulated Navigation Area (RNA) to the VTS. The proposed rule is intended to incorporate current practices appropriate to an Automatic Identification System (AIS)-based VTS. Comments on the proposal should be submitted by January 11, 2010. 74 Fed. Reg. 58223 (November 12, 2009).
Seal Island, Maine – removal of safety zone
The US Coast Guard has removed its earlier interim rule establishing a safety zone in certain waters around Seal Island, Maine. The interim rule was intended to provide protection from possible munitions and explosives in waters near the island. Since a comprehensive survey has not been completed, the risk posed cannot be evaluated. 74 Fed. Reg. 58211 (November 12, 2009).
Moss Point, Mississippi – EIS for possible gasification facility
The Department of Energy issued a notice stating that it intends to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) to support possible construction and startup of a gasification facility in Moss Point, Mississippi. The facility would produce pipeline-quality substitute natural gas (SNG) from petroleum coke. Non-hazardous vitrified slag would be shipped off-site by barge for sale or disposal. Comments should be submitted by December 14. 74 Fed. Reg. 58262 (November 12, 2009).
FMC – petition for exemption re filing of individual service contract amendments
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued an official notice stating that it received a petition from Hanjin Shipping Co., Ltd. for an exemption from the FMC rule requiring the filing of individual service contract amendments. Petitioner is in the process of a corporate reorganization that would, under the current FMC regulation, require the filing of more than 2,700 service contract amendments solely to reflect the reorganization. No substantive changes are being made to the service contracts. Petitioner requests authorization to submit a “universal notice” to the Commission to reflect this reorganization. Comments on this petition should be submitted by November 16. 74 Fed. Reg. 58291 (November 12, 2009).
NOAA – survey vessel strikes whale
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a news release stating that, on October 17, a hydrographic survey vessel mapping the California coast under a contract managed by NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey struck a blue whale in the Pacific Ocean approximately 1.3 miles off Fort Bragg, California. The ship was traveling at a speed of approximately 5.5 knots at the time. A few hours later, a dead 70-foot long female whale washed ashore approximately seven miles down the coast from Fort Bragg. (10/28/09).
Houston – fuel switching demonstration project
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a news release stating that it has partnered with the Port of Houston Authority and Maersk Line in a fuel switching demonstration project. The container ship Maersk Roubaix will, when within 24 nautical miles of the US or Mexican coastlines, switch from its usual bunker fuel to a low-sulfur (0.1%) distillate marine diesel fuel. The ship generally operates between Houston, Texas and Progreso, Mexico. The EPA also notes that the Government of Mexico has expressed interest in participating with the US and Canada in the planned North American Emissions Control Area (ECA). (11/10/09).
Charleston – oil spill source identified
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it formally notified the owner of a cargo ship that the ship has been identified as the source of the oil spill that affected Charleston-area beaches with tar balls and oil debris beginning October 20. The ship had reported a 10-gallon oil spill on October 19 that occurred during the transfer of heavy bunker fuel from a barge to the ship at anchorage in Charleston Harbor. A local contractor was hired to clean the oil from the ship’s decks and hull, but no oil was seen in the water. The wide area impacted by tar balls and oil debris is consistent with a spill of up to a few hundred gallons. (11/10/09).
NOAA – BookletCharts
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has initiated an experimental BookletChart program to help recreational boaters locate themselves on the water. The charts for US waters have been reduced in scale and divided into pages for convenience, but otherwise contain all the information of a full-scale paper nautical chart. The BookletCharts, though, may not be substituted for regular nautical charts or electronic charts on regulated commercial vessels. (11/10/09).
Bill introduced to reauthorize NTSB
Senator Dorgan (D-ND) introduced a bill (S. 2768) to amend title 49, United States Code, to authorize appropriations for the National Transportation Safety Board for fiscal years 2010 through 2014, and for other purposes. Official text of the bill is not yet available. (11/10/09).
Veterans Day/Remembrance Day/Armistice Day
Yesterday, November 11, was marked as the 91st anniversary of the signing of the armistice ending World War I - the war to end all wars, as it was proclaimed at the time. The day is commemorated as Veterans Day in the United States; as Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth nations; and as Armistice Day in France and Belgium. On this day, we should be remember the sacrifices of our military personnel, as well as those of the merchant marine who delivered vital supplies across dangerous seas in time of war.
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 – November 2009