Headlines: IMO – submissions to COP 15; EU – international shipping and climate change; New Zealand – meeting re Antarctic tourism; Australia – attack of the giant iceberg; USCG – study of port access route off San Francisco; Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal – safety and security zone; MACOSH meetings; NTSB – report on juice carrier allision with dredge in Newark Bay; Bill introduced re Arctic deep water sea port; Application of the focus-of-the-contract test to OCS dispute; Mexican maritime tort may be tried in a US court; EC – funding approved for offshore wind energy projects; Singapore – cancellation of bunkering license; and UK – report on windlass hydraulic motor failure.
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IMO – submissions to COP 15
The IMO has made three formal submissions to the Fifteenth Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen. The Second IMO GHG Study 2009 Executive Summary provides the results of a study of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships undertaken by an international consortium. The Position Note on control of GHG from ships engaged in international trade explains why the IMO should continue to be entrusted with the regulation of air emissions from ships. The Information Note on control of GHG from ships engaged in international trade provides detailed information on the IMO’s continuing efforts toward regulating air emissions from ships. (12/9/09).
EU – international shipping and climate change
The European Union (EU) posted a Webcast from the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen regarding the importance of international shipping. (12/9/09).
New Zealand – meeting re Antarctic tourism
Maritime New Zealand issued a media release stating that it is hosting a meeting of experts regarding the Antarctic Treaty. The meeting will examine issues surrounding ship-borne tourism in the Antarctic. (12/9/09).
Australia – attack of the giant iceberg
The Australian Antarctic Division issued a media release stating that a giant iceberg is heading toward Australia. The iceberg, labeled B17B, is 140 square kilometers in size (19 km long and 8 km wide, or about twice the size of Manhattan Island). It is drifting north from Antarctica toward Western Australia. The berg calved off the Ross Ice Shelf nearly ten years ago, but has made significant movement only recently. (12/9/09). Note: While presenting a possible hazard to shipping, it could also relieve Australia’s perennial water shortage.
USCG – study of port access route off San Francisco
The US Coast Guard issued a notice stating that it is conducting a Port Access Route Study (PARS) to evaluate the continued applicability of and the need for modifications to current vessel routing measures in the approaches to San Francisco Bay. Comments should be submitted by February 8, 2010. 74 Fed. Reg. 65543 (December 10, 2009).
Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal – safety and security zone
The US Coast Guard has established a temporary safety and security zone on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal near Romeoville, Illinois. This rule, which will be in effect through December 18, restricts all vessels from transiting this section of the waterway. 74 Fed. Reg. 65439 (December 10, 2009).
>MACOSH – meetings
The Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (MACOSH), sponsored by the Occupational Safety and health Administration (OSHA), will meet in Washington, DC on January 20, 2010. Its Shipyard and Longshore workgroups will meet in Washington, DC on January 19, 2010. 74 Fed. Reg. 65551 (December 10, 2009).
NTSB – report on juice carrier allision with dredge in Newark Bay
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released the report of its investigation of the allision of a fruit juice carrier with a moored dredge in Newark Bay on January 24, 2008. The probable cause of the casualty was the master’s failure to appropriately use bridge resource management and to communicate with the bridge crew and the pilot. In particular, he failed to advise the pilot of the vessel’s tendency to sheer at low speed. MAR-09/03 (12/9/09). Note: The role of the voyage data recorder (VDR) in reconstructing events leading up to the allision is particularly interesting.
Bill introduced re Arctic deep water sea port
Senator Murkowski (R-AK) introduced a bill (S. 2849) to require a study and report on the feasibility and potential of establishing a deep water sea port in the Arctic to protect and advance strategic United States interests within the evolving and ever more important region. Text of the bill is not yet available. (12/8/09).
Application of the focus-of-the-contract test in OCS dispute
Despite two vigorous dissenting opinions, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (in an en banc decision) ruled that a dispute involving a contract where the majority of the work to be performed is on a stationary platform on the US outer continental shelf (OCS), where the underlying tort occurred on waters above the OCS, the focus-of-the-contract test is to be applied to determine the situs of the controversy in contract cases. In the instant case, a platform worker was injured while be transported from one platform to another. The contract between the owner of the transport vessel and the worker’s employer included an indemnity provision. The employer asserted that the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), incorporating Louisiana law, rendered the indemnity provision invalid. The vessel owner argued that the indemnity provision was valid under general maritime law, which should be applied because the tort occurred on a vessel, not a platform. Some prior cases in the Circuit had looked to the site of the tort to resolve the contractual dispute, while others had applied the focus-of-the-contract test. The issue has now been resolved for the Fifth Circuit, unless there is an appeal to the Supreme Court. Grand Isle Shipyard v. Seacor Marine, No. 07-31019 (5th Cir., December 8, 2009).
Mexican maritime tort may be tried in a US court
In an unpublished decision, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that a federal district court could go forward with the trial of a suit by a Mexican company that owned a mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU) against another Mexican company that owned a supply vessel. The suit was for damages incurred by the MODU following an allision by the tug. The allision occurred in waters of the Mexican exclusive economic zone (EEZ). If the suit had been brought in Mexico, damages would have been capped by the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, 1976. The federal district court ruled that damages in the instant case were controlled by the US Limitation of Liability Act. After considering subject matter jurisdiction, forum non conveniens, international comity, and choice of law, the appellate court affirmed the rulings of the district court and remanded the case to allow trial to proceed on the scope of damages. Protexa v. MarMex, No. 08-41021 (5th Cir., December 9, 2009).
EC – funding approved for offshore wind energy projects
The European Commission issued a press release stating that it approved €565 million in funding for nine offshore wind energy projects in European waters. The EC also approved €1 billion in funding for six carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects. Further details are provided in a second press release. (12/9/09).
Singapore – cancellation of bunkering license
The Singapore Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) issued a news release stating that it has cancelled the bunkering license of a local company following the conviction of a director of the company for offenses under the Prevention of Corruption Act in connection with the delivery of bunkers. (12/9/09).
UK – report on windlass hydraulic motor failure
The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) issued the report of its investigation of the catastrophic failure of a windlass hydraulic motor on board a tanker off Tees Bay resulting in a major injury on 23 March 2009. Investigation indicated that the windlass had been over-pressurized. The same basic casualty has occurred previously. Safety bulletins have been issued highlighting the failures. Manufacturers, owners, operators, masters, and classification societies should carefully consider the issue. Report No. 25/2009 (12/9/09).
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