Headlines: Indian Ocean – US bulker and Dutch tanker unsuccessfully attacked; IMO – support for Somalia to repress piracy; IRS – foreign taxpayers engaged in OCS activities; Australia – update re offshore oil leak and fire; New Orleans – Channel 12 VHF-FM for Harbor Area VTS; DHS OIG – detection of biological and chemical threats in containers; Gulf of Mexico – hole in freighter patched, stopping oil leak; APHIS – withdrawal of proposed increase in user fees; NTSB meeting; TRB meeting; IMO – implementation of MARPOL Annex I regulations 20 and 21; and UK – ship destined for breaking finds new career.
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Indian Ocean – US bulker and Dutch tanker unsuccessfully attacked
The EU Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA) issued a press release stating that the US-flag bulker Harriette and the Dutch-flag tanker Jo Cedar came under piratical attacks in the Indian Ocean approximately 360 nautical miles east of Mombasa, Kenya. The attacks from several skiffs occurred within hours of each other and involved use of automatic weapons by the pirates. In both cases, the ships successfully fended off the attacks through employment of speed and evasive maneuvering. A second press release reports that an EU NAVFOR warship subsequently located a suspected pirate skiff in the vicinity. (11/3/09). This sounds like good employment of the best management practices by the two merchant ships and business as usual otherwise.
IMO – support for Somalia to repress piracy
The IMO issued a news release stating that the Organization supported efforts by Somalia to repress piracy off its coast and in the Gulf of Aden. Among other things, through its technical cooperation program and with assistance from Member States, the IMO would help Somalia to establish a national coast guard. (10/2/09).
IRS – foreign taxpayers engaged in OCS activities
The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a directive providing notice and guidance to foreign taxpayers engaged in activities related to the exploration for or exploitation of natural resources on the US Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). Generally, monies derived from such activities are considered US-source income, requiring the entity to file with the IRS and pay the appropriate tax on that income. (10/28/09). Note: This item should not be construed as tax advice. Tax matters just make my head hurt, and my wallet lighter.
Australia – update re offshore oil leak and fire
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) issued an update stating that the leak from the offshore oil rig in the Timor Sea has been capped and the recent fire on the rig has been extinguished. Response operations continue. (11/4/09).
New Orleans – Channel 12 VHF-FM for Harbor Area VTS
US Coast Guard Sector New Orleans issued a Marine Safety Information Bulletin stating that, effective December 1, it is establishing Channel 12 VHF-FM (156.600 MHz) as the Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) working channel for the New Orleans Harbor Area. The Harbor Area consists of the portion of the Lower Mississippi River between Twelve Mile Point Light (MM 109.0 LDB) and Saxonholm Light 86 (MM 86.0 LDB), including the riverside lock forebays for the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal (IHNC), Algiers Canal, and Harvey Canal. Within this section of the river, vessels will no longer be required to monitor Channel 16 VHF-FM. (10/23/09).
DHS OIG – detection of biological and chemical threats in containers
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued its redacted report on the ability of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to detect biological and chemical threats in maritime cargo containers. The report concludes that, while CBP has taken various steps to mitigate the threat posed by nuclear and radiological weapons in maritime cargo containers, it could do more to mitigate threats posed by biological and chemical weapons. In particular, CBP has not conducted a formal risk assessment to determine which pathways pose the highest risk of these weapons entering the United States. Further, the agency needs updates policies and procedures for conducting its inspections for these threats. OIG-10-01 (11/2/09).
Gulf of Mexico – hole in freighter patched, stopping oil leak
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that divers patched the hole in the hull of the freighter anchored in the Gulf of Mexico near Southwest Pass. Approximately 12,000 gallons of bunker fuel had leaked from the ship before the hole could be closed. Once the patch was applied, the ship was able to journey up the Mississippi River to a shipyard in New Orleans for permanent repairs. The incident is under investigation. (11/2/09).
APHIS – withdrawal of proposed increase in user fees
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has withdrawn its proposed increase in user fees for certain agricultural quarantine and inspection services. 74 Fed. Reg. 57057 (November 4, 2009).
NTSB – meeting
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will meet in Washington, DC on November 17 to consider the marine accident report relating to the engineroom fire on the small passenger vessel Queen of the West on the Columbia River that occurred on April 8, 2008. 74 Fed. Reg. 57206 (November 4, 2009).
TRB – meeting
The Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies will conduct its Annual Meeting in Washington, DC on January 10-14, 2010. (11/3/09).
IMO – implementation of MARPOL Annex I regulations 20 & 21
The IMO issued a circular summarizing communications received from MARPOL Parties relating to implementation of regulations 20 and 21 of MARPOL Annex I concerning continued operation allowances or exemptions that may be granted by Administrations to oil tankers flying their flags and on denial of entry into ports of other States to those tankers that have been granted those allowances or exemptions. MEPC.1/Circ.695 (10/2/09).
UK – ship destined for breaking finds new career
The UK Environment Agency issued a news release stating that it initially detained a gas tanker under suspicion that it would be taken overseas for dismantling in a manner prohibited by UK law. Working with the mortgagee in possession, arrangements were made for the ship to be refurbished and put into service as a floating treatment plant for liquefied natural gas (LNG). The ship was then released from detention. (10/29/09).
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 – November 2009