Headlines: UN – Security Council extends Somali authorization; Somalia – EU NAVFOR assists dhow released by pirates; USCG – Loran-C termination; Encouragement and proportionality in salvage awards; Extended work hours may constitute negligence or unseaworthiness; UK – seafarers and the Equality Bill; IMO – Council election results; EC – realignment of Commissions; USCG – merchant mariner credential medical evaluation report forms; San Clemente Island – temporary safety zones for naval training; Australia – actions expected of bridge teams; USCG – unapproved EPIRB battery replacements; and FMC – December meeting cancelled.
Note: This blog is one section of the Bryant’s Maritime Consulting website. Visit the site for more extensive maritime regulatory information. Individual concerns may be addressed by retaining Dennis Bryant directly. Much of the highlighted text in this newsletter constitutes links to Internet sites providing more detailed information. Links on this page may be in PDF format, requiring use of Adobe Acrobat Reader. Comments on these postings are encouraged and may be made by clicking the envelope that appears at the end of each posting. Be aware that the daily blog entry is a single posting, even though it contains a number of individual items.
UN – Security Council extends Somali authorization
The United Nations issued a news release stating that the Security Council adopted a resolution extending for twelve months authorization for States and regional organizations cooperating with the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to enter Somalia’s territorial waters and use all necessary means to fight piracy and armed robbery at sea off Somalia’s coast. The resolution also invites States and regional organizations to conclude special agreements with countries willing to take custody of and to prosecute suspected pirates. (11/30/09). Note: This development was brought to my attention by my friend John Bennett at Maritime Protective Services.
Somalia – EU NAVFOR assists dhow released by pirates
The EU Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA) issued a press release stating that a NAVFOR warship assisted an Indian dhow that was released by Somalian pirates. The pirates intended to use the dhow, which was hijacked on November 18, as a mothership from which to stage piratical attacks. They released the dhow when it proved unsuitable for that purpose. (11/30/09).
USCG – Loran-C termination
The US Coast Guard released an internal message advising of the imminent termination of the long range aid to navigation Loran-C. Current plans call for the termination process to commence on 4 January 2010. The process is expected to take several months. ALCOAST 675/09 (11/25/09). Note: This will mark the end of an era that started during World War II. The Loran system has improved greatly over the years and was on the edge of yet another advance: to enhanced Loran (eLoran). It is unclear how other nations, which operate their own independent Loran-C systems, will react to this development.
Encouragement and proportionality in salvage awards
The UK High Court of Justice issued a well-reasoned decision on the application of the principles of encouragement and proportionality in salvage awards. In the instant case, a bulk carrier loaded with copper concentrate grounded in a remote waterway in Chile. Owners and cargo interests entered into a Lloyd’s Open Forum (LOF) salvage contract with a salvage company. After a lengthy and complex salvage effort, the ship and its cargo (with a total combined value of over $166 million) were salved. The arbitrator awarded remuneration in the amount of $34.5 million. The appeal arbitrator increased the remuneration to $40.75 million. The owners and cargo interests appealed. The court reversed and remanded the decision of the appeal arbitrator, finding possible error on two grounds. While the appeal arbitrator properly recognized application of the principle of encouragement in salvage awards, he improperly cited the possibility of difficult economic conditions in the future as a factor to be considered. Also, while the arbitrator cited the principle of proportionality in salvage awards, his decision incorrectly states that the principle has little application in complex cases such as this. Ocean Crown v. Five Oceans Salvage,  EWHC 3040 (QBD Admiralty Court, 26 November 2009).
Extended work hours may constitute negligence or unseaworthiness
In an unpublished decision, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that a shipowner may be liable to a crewmember for injuries resulting from extended work hours. In the instant case, plaintiff crewmember served on a fishing vessel that required the crew to work 16 hour days for months at a time. Plaintiff was injured when he fell while working at the end of one of his shifts. He sued the shipowner, alleging negligence under the Jones Act and unseaworthiness. The federal district court granted summary judgment for the shipowner and plaintiff appealed. The appellate court reversed, holding that, since other ships owned by the defendant used shorter shifts, it is a question of fact whether the extended work hours on this particular vessel constituted negligence or made the vessel unseaworthy. Ili v. American Seafoods Co., No. 09-35000 (9th Cir., November 25, 2009).
UK – seafarers and the Equality Bill
The Department for Transport posted the statement of Paul Clark, MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport regarding aspects of the Equality Bill that impact seafarers. The European Commission (EC) informed the UK Government that a provision of the Race Relations Act 1976 that permitted wage differentiation on the ground of nationality was violative of EC law to the extent that it allowed pay differentiation to the disadvantage of seafarers from other EC or EEA States or others with corresponding rights in EC law. The Equality Bill, if enacted, with address this and other issues. Regulations are also being developed to implement the Equality Bill. (11/30/09).
IMO – Council election results
The IMO issued a news release announcing the results of the election for the 40-member Council. The Council is the executive organ of the IMO and is responsible, under the Assembly, for supervising the work of the Organization. (11/27/09).
EC – realignment of Commissions
European Commission (EC) President José Manuel Barroso announced the portfolio responsibilities for the next Commission. Various realignments may impact the maritime industry. The Transport and Energy Commission (TREN) will be split into a separate Transport Commission and an Energy Commission. State aid competencies currently in TREN will move to the Competitiveness Commission. The Galileo project will move to the Industry and Entrepreneurship Commission. Siim Kallas has been designated as the Commissioner of the Transport Commission, as well as an EC Vice-President. Maria Damanaki has been designated as the Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. (11/30/09).
USCG – merchant mariner credential medical evaluation report forms
The US Coast Guard issued a notice officially announcing the availability of the final version of the Merchant Mariner Credential Medical Evaluation Report (CG-719 K) and the Merchant Mariner Evaluation of Fitness for Entry Level Ratings (CG-719 K/E) forms. The forms will be used to facilitate obtaining medical information relating to US merchant mariners and perspective merchant mariners, which will assist the Coast Guard in making accurate and timely fit-for-duty determinations in order to reduce maritime safety risks. 74 Fed. Reg. 62800 (December 1, 2009). An Instruction Guide for completion of these forms was also released.
San Clemente Island – temporary safety zones for naval training
The US Coast Guard has established, through January 31, 2010, a temporary safety zone in certain waters of the Pacific Ocean at the north end of San Clemente Island in support of Naval Live Fire Training. 74 Fed. Reg. 62700 (December 1, 2009). A second safety zone has been established in waters of the Northwest Harbor of San Clemente Island in support of Naval Underwater Detonation Training. 74 Fed. Reg. 62703 (December 1, 2009).
Australia – actions expected of bridge teams
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) issued a notice outlining the actions expected of bridge teams on ships operating in Australian pilotage waters. Emphasis has been placed on use of the berth-to-berth passage plan and continuing cooperation between the bridge team and the pilot. Marine Notice 16/2009 (11/30/09).
USCG – unapproved EPIRB battery replacements
The US Coast Guard issued a Safety Alert warning of unapproved EPIRB battery replacements. Reports have been received of deficient batteries being used as replacements in EPIRBs. These deficient batteries are prone to failure and are also in violation of the EPIRB manufacturer’s warranty. (11/30/09).
FMC – December meeting cancelled
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued a notice stating that the Commission meeting previously scheduled for December 9 has been cancelled. (11/30/09).
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 – December 2009