Headlines: Gulf of Aden – suspected pirates detained following unsuccessful attack; Somalia – pirates release hijacked vessel; USCG – port state weapons information updated; IMO – anti-piracy resolution adopted; USCG – regulatory definition of ferry; USCG – merchant mariner application status notification; USCG – new National Centers of Expertise; FMC – inquiry re PVO nonperformance financial responsibility; Hearing re transportation security challenges; Australia – conclusion of cleanup of offshore oil leak; New Zealand – NMZ Annual Report; and SS Mont Blanc explosion in Halifax – December 6, 1917.
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Gulf of Aden – suspected pirates detained following unsuccessful attack
The EU Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA) issued a press release stating that the merchant vessel that came under piratical attack in the Gulf of Aden off Oman was able to fend the pirates off through use of barbed wire stretched around the fantail and other self-protection measures. An EU NAVFOR warship located a dhow and two skiffs in the area. A boarding party found 13 suspected pirates and two original crew on board. Also located were ladders, grappling hooks, nine automatic weapons, one rocket-propelled grenade, and several cases of ammunition. The suspected pirates have been detained. (12/2/09).
Somalia – pirates release hijacked vessel
The EU Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA) issued a press release stating that the M/V Charelle, hijacked by pirates off Oman on 12 June, has between released by Somalian pirates. (12/3/09).
USCG – port state weapons information updated
The US Coast Guard issued an updated version of its port state weapons information. This listing provides summary information for various port states that have responded to a demarche from the US Department of State regarding whether merchant vessels calling in their ports may have defensive weapons on board. A new column has been added to the report showing the responsible authority for addressing such issues for various nations. The information regarding Djibouti, Oman, South Africa, Mauritius, and Sweden has been clarified. Responses have been newly received from Kenya and Tanzania. (12/2/09).
IMO – anti-piracy resolution adopted
The IMO issued a news release stating that the IMO Assembly adopted a resolution supporting the recent action of the UN Security Council regarding the problem of piracy and armed robbery against ships in waters off Somalia. The IMO resolution appeals to all parties that may be able to assist, to take action (within the provisions of international law) to ensure that all acts or attempted acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships are stopped and any plans for committing such acts are curtailed; and that hijacked ships and any persons on board are immediately and unconditionally released and that no harm is caused to them. (12/3/09).
USCG – regulatory definition of ferry
The US Coast Guard issued a final rule incorporating into its regulations the statutory definition of “ferry” that was recently adopted by Congress. Ferry means a vessel that is used on a regular schedule: (1) to provide transportation only between placed that are not more than 300 miles apart; and (2) to transport only: (a) passengers; or (b) vehicles or rail cars that are being used or have been used in transporting passengers or goods. These regulatory amendments, which make to substantive changes, come into effect immediately. 74 Fed. Reg. 63617 (December 4, 2009).
USCG – merchant mariner application status notification
The US Coast Guard National Maritime Center (NMC) issued a notice stating that it has launched a new service that will automatically send an email notification to US merchant mariners informing them of changes in the status of their credential application as it is being processed by the Coast Guard. Mariners need only provide an email address to make use of this service. (12/3/09).
USCG – new National Centers of Expertise
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it plans to open two new National Centers of Expertise. The Marine Casualty Investigation National Center of Expertise will be located in New Orleans and the Outer Continental Shelf National Center of Expertise will be located in Morgan City. The Centers will capture the best practices in their subject matters and incorporate them into advanced training opportunities for personnel throughout the Coast Guard. (12/3/09).
FMC – inquiry re PVO nonperformance financial responsibility
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued a notice of inquiry seeking information regarding the benefits and burdens of the current FMC requirements by which passenger vessel operators (PVOs) establish proof of financial responsibility in the event of nonperformance of a contracted cruise from a US port. The FMC is particularly interested in three issues: (1) cost of compliance with the requirement; (2) adequacy of nonperformance coverage; and (3) practices of sureties, credit card companies, and others. Comments should be submitted by February 10, 2010. (12/3/09).
Hearing re transportation security challenges
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation conducted an oversight hearing on Transportation Security Challenges Post 9-11. Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) issued a press release, saying, among other things, that the mandate for 100% scanning of US-bound maritime shipping containers was unquestionably well intended, yet premature. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano explained the current program for screening maritime cargoes and pointed out that deployment of scanning equipment for the more than 2,100 shipping lanes at more than 700 foreign ports would cost about $8 million per lane, not counting maintenance costs. She also noted that piracy and small vessel security present unique security challenges. The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) presented its report for the record on the Department’s progress and challenges regarding transportation security. (12/2/09).
Australia – conclusion of cleanup of offshore oil leak
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) issued a media release stating that it has concluded its response activities with regard to the oil leak from the offshore platform in the Timor Sea. (12/3/09).
New Zealand – MNZ Annual Report
Maritime New Zealand issued its Annual Report 2008-09. The report highlights the safe ship management development program and commencement of a comprehensive review of maritime qualifications. (12/3/09).
SS Mont Blanc explosion in Halifax – December 6, 1917
The SS Mont Blanc exploded in the Halifax Narrows on December 6, 1917, following its collision with the SS Imo. The Mont Blanc was carrying military explosives and ammunition from New York to France. The crew abandoned ship after the collision, but a fire caused by the collision detonated 20 minutes later. The entire crew survived, except for one individual killed by falling debris. The explosion, though, was so powerful that it destroyed nearby buildings and houses in Halifax and Dartmouth, killing approximately 2,000 residents. The incident is explored in depth in the book Curse of the Narrows by Laura MacDonald.
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