Headlines: New York – tanker ruptures cargo tank; Turkey – recommendation for UN-supervised prosecution of pirates; USCG – termination of Loran-C signal; USCG – change to SSAS point-of-contact; St. Lawrence Seaway – conclusion of 2009 navigation season; Court – duty of breaching party to mitigate damages; Court – defendant in Jones Act case can demand jury trial; EMSA – January newsletter; Singapore – hydrogen sulphide safety procedures; UK – master fined for being drunk underway; and Panama Canal – December operations summary.
January 11, 2010
Bryant’s Maritime Blog
Bryant’s Maritime Consulting - 4845 SW 91st Way - Gainesville, FL 32608-8135 - USA
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. No animals were harmed during the production of this blog.
New York – tanker ruptures cargo tank
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that a tanker in New York Harbor suffered a ruptured cargo tank. The ship was loading 55,000 barrels of ethanol at the time. The master reported that the #3 tank over-pressurized. A one-meter section of the main deck collapsed. The tanker has been moved to anchorage in Gravesend Bay and a safety zone has been established. There have been no reports of injury or pollution. The incident is under investigation. A second news release states that the tanker is listing six degrees. Salvage and repair plans are being developed. The Gravesend Bay anchorage has been closed for use by other vessels. (1/10/10).
Turkey – recommendation for UN-supervised prosecution of pirates
The Government of Turkey released its note verbale to the Secretary-General of the United Nations recommending that, under the supervision of the United Nations, a mechanism be put in place in one of the countries near Somalia to effectively prosecute persons suspected of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia. Turkey recognizes that this enhancement of the capacity of the States in the region would require the support of the international community and believes that the newly established trust fund can be utilized in this regard. (12/28/09). This item was brought to my attention by my friend Dave Shirlaw of SeaWaves.
USCG – termination of Loran-C signal
The US Coast Guard issued a safety alert stating that federal broadcast of the Loran-C signal will cease at 2000Z on 08 February 2010 with some exceptions, including the following five sites that are bound by bi-lateral agreements with either Canada (Caribou, ME; George, WA; Nantucket, MA; Shoal Cove, AK) or the Russian Federation (Attu, AK). Mariners or other users of Loran-C are encouraged to shift to GPS navigation and plotting systems as soon as possible and not later than the termination date. (1/8/10).
USCG – change to SSAS point-of-contact
The US Coast Guard issued a message advising that, effective 25 December 2009, the US International Point-of-Contact for the Ship Security Alert System (SSAS) changed from the Pacific Area Command Center (RCC Alameda) to the Atlantic Area Command Center (RCC Norfolk). The new telephone number is 1-757-398-6700. The new fax number is 1-757-398-6775. The email address (email@example.com) and the telex number (230172343) have not been changed. Therefore, the automated notification systems on the SSAS ship-board equipment need not be reconfigured. The new mailing address should be used by US-flag ships for submittal of the Post Incident Report-Accidental Activation. That address is: Commander, US Coast Guard Atlantic Area; Attn: RCC Norfolk – Suite 520; 431 Crawford Street; Portsmouth, VA 23704. (12/18/09). This item was brought to my attention by my friend Rick Scricca of Seabulk Tankers.
St. Lawrence Seaway – conclusion of 2009 navigation season
The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System issued a press release stating that the 2009 navigation season concluded on December 28. Total Seaway cargo volume for the year is estimated at 30.5 million tonnes, the lowest volume since the early 1960s, and 25% below 2008. In a testament to ballast water management methodologies, no new introductions of aquatic invasive species have been reported since 2006. (1/8/10).
Court – duty of breaching party to mitigate damages
The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that, in a contract dispute, the breaching party has a greater obligation to mitigate damages than does the non-breaching party. In the instant case, plaintiff ocean carrier contracted to deliver multiple containers of garlic to its wharf in Los Angeles. The contract obligated defendant non-vessel-operating common carrier (NVOCC) to remove the containers from the wharf and to pay demurrage for delayed removal. The containers became subject to various holds, including an assertion by the federal government of anti-dumping tariffs on the cargo. Other delays were caused by confusion over how the cargo could be disposed of. Plaintiff brought suit for its demurrage charges. The district court ruled in favor of plaintiff carrier regarding entitlement to demurrage, but reduced damages due to plaintiff’s failure to mitigate damages by not doing more to clear the government holds on the cargo. The appellate court reversed, holding that defendant NVOCC was in a better position and had a greater obligation to reduce the damages by clearing the government holds on the cargo. APL Co. PTE. Ltd. v. Blue Water Shipping, No. 08-1516-cv (2nd Cir., January 8, 2010).
Court – defendant in Jones Act case can demand jury trial
In an en banc decision, the Supreme Court of the State of Washington ruled that the defendant in a state court case brought under the Jones Act has a right to trial by jury. In the instant case, plaintiff crewmember brought suit in state court against his ship owner for personal injury. Plaintiff alleged negligence under the Jones Act and unseaworthiness under general maritime law. Plaintiff elected to have the dispute heard by the trial judge. Defendant’s request for a jury trial was denied. The court found in favor of plaintiff and awarded damages and prejudgment interest. Defendant appealed. The state supreme court held that a Jones Act election by the plaintiff amounts to selecting whether the action is to be heard in admiralty or in law. There is no right to trial by jury in admiralty. If the action is to be heard in law, then both sides have an equal right to demand trial by jury. The case was remanded for a new trial. The court also upheld the assessment of prejudgment interest. Endicott v. Icicle Seafoods, Inc., No. 82635-8 (Washington, January 7, 2010). This item was brought to my attention by my colleague Charles M. Davis, Esq.
EMSA – January newsletter
The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) released the January edition of its newsletter. Topics addressed in this edition include a symposium on judicial and safety investigations into marine casualties and development of claims management guidelines following maritime incidents. (1/8/10).
Singapore – hydrogen sulphide safety procedures
The Singapore Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) issued a circular providing operational guidance to minimize risk associated with carriage and handling of oil and petroleum cargoes including bunker fuels containing high concentrations of hydrogen sulphide – H2S. Precautions against high H2S concentrations in work areas are generally considered necessary if the H2S content in the vapor phase is 5 ppm by volume in air or above. Port Marine Circular 02-2010 (1/7/10).
UK – master fined for being drunk underway
The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) issued a press notice stating that the master of a general cargo ship was fined £2,000 plus £100 costs after pleading guilty to operating his ship with a blood alcohol level nearly three times higher than the legal limit. (1/8/10). Note: The incident occurred on Thursday. The master was brought to court, convicted, and sentenced on Friday. Justice can be swift in Britain.
Panama Canal – December operations summary
The Panama Canal Authority issued an advisory summarizing its operations for the month of December. The advisory also includes the planned locks maintenance schedule for the remainder of the fiscal year. Advisory 01-2010 (1/4/10).
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 – January 2010