Headlines: Hearing on maritime domain awareness; GAO – report on TWIC challenges; IMO – basic & final approvals of active substance BWM systems; IMO – concern over hijacked tanker; DOJ – shipping company fined and banned for three years; Alaska – master evacuated from ship far at sea; Philadelphia – USCG Maritime All Hazard Response Unit; Bill introduced to support renewable energy; Bill introduced to reauthorize Coral Reef Conservation Act; New Zealand – marine contractor sentenced for safety violations; UK – provisional port statistics – third quarter 2009; and Greetings of the season.
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Hearing on maritime domain awareness
The Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure conducted an oversight hearing on Maritime Domain Awareness. The focus of the hearing was on the Coast Guard’s ability to identify and its preparedness to respond to security threats present in the maritime domain, particularly those associated with small vessels. Rear Admiral Brian Salerno, USCG testified regarding the Small Vessel Security Strategy and the challenges presented by the numerous and varied small vessels in US waters. Ms. Margaret Podlich, Boat Owners Association of the United States, testified that her organization is opposed to recreational boaters being required to install an Automatic Identification System transponder (AIS-B) on their boats. BOATUS does, though, support the America’s Waterway Watch (AWW) program. The Committee issued a press release discussing the issues. (12/9/09).
GAO – report on TWIC challenges
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued its report on challenges relating to the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program. Issuance of TWICs to maritime workers was delayed, but is now largely completed. A significant source of delay was the power failure at the government facility processing TWIC data. Full recovery from that incident pends and the cost is estimated at $26 million. Development of the electronic card reader faces challenges due to inadequate planning. GAO-10-43 (12/10/09).
IMO – basic & final approvals of active substance BWM systems
The IMO issued a circular providing an updated list of ballast water management systems that make use of active substances which have received basic and final approvals. BWM.2/Circ.23 (9/24/09).
IMO – concern over hijacked tanker
The IMO issued a news release stating that Secretary-General Mitropoulos has expressed concern that adverse weather conditions and other contributing factors may bring about an accident to the supertanker Maran Centaurus. The tanker was hijacked by pirates in the Indian Ocean on 29 November and is currently anchored off Hobyo, Somalia. (12/10/09).
DOJ – shipping company fined and banned for three years
The US Department of Justice issued a news release stating that, after pleading guilty, a shipping company has been sentenced to pay a criminal fine of $2.7 million for violation of pollution and safety laws and for making false statements. In addition, ships owned or managed by the company will be prohibited from entering US ports for three years. The court awarded $540,000 to nine former crew members who extensively cooperated in the investigation. This is the first conviction of a shipping company for violation of the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act. (12/9/09).
Alaska – master evacuated from ship far at sea
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it medically evacuated the master of a car carrier in the North Pacific about 150 miles south of Kodiak after he suffered an apparent stroke. One helicopter performed the medevac while a second helicopter flew cover and provided communications. (12/9/09).
Philadelphia – USCG Maritime All Hazard Response Unit
The US Coast Guard issued a news release discussing the work of the Coast Guard Maritime All Hazard Response Unit at Sector Delaware Bay in Philadelphia. (12/10/09).
Bill introduced to support renewable energy
Senator Begich (D-AK) introduced a bill (S. 2852) to establish, within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an integrated and comprehensive ocean, coastal, Great Lakes, and atmospheric research, prediction, and environmental information program to support renewable energy. Text of the bill is not yet available. (12/9/09).
Bill introduced to reauthorize Coral Reef Conservation Act
New Zealand – marine contractor sentenced for safety violations
Maritime New Zealand issued a media release stating that the lead contractor on a marine pipeline project was convicted and fined NZ$115,000 plus costs after admitting to a series of safety violations on the project. A diving barge with 11 workers onboard broke free from its tow vessel and drifted toward shore before being corralled by another vessel. Neither the barge nor the towboat had an emergency towline and none of the persons on the barge were trained in operating its emergency equipment. The barge was not certified under the Safe Ship Management system, as required. (12/9/09).
UK – provisional port statistics – third quarter 2009
The UK Department for Transport issued the provisional port statistics for the third quarter of 2009. For the year to date, traffic is down 9% compared to last year. (12/10/09).
Greetings of the season
December is a special season. Some of us celebrate Hanukkah, some celebrate Christmas, and others celebrate Kwanzaa. For many Muslims, Ashura is a day of fasting. Regardless of your personal beliefs, this period marks a traditional time for family gatherings and for reflection on the deeper meaning of life. Let us remember what we have in common and give thanks.
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