Headlines: DOJ – master and owner charged in fatal 2005 barge explosion; Haiti – USCG evacuates Embassy personnel; USCG – sharing of NAIS information; USACE – continuing contract clause for civil works projects; USACE – Lower San Joaquin River Feasibility Study; Morehead City – port reopened; and Panama Canal – BAPLIE EDI file method postponed.
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DOJ – master and owner charged in fatal 2005 barge explosion
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a press release stating that the master and owner of the tug and barge involved in the 2005 explosion and fire on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal in which one crewmember died and thousands of gallons of oil were discharged into the waterway have been charged with maritime negligence and oil pollution. The explosion allegedly occurred when the crewmember attempted to heat a cargo pump with a propane torch. Use of an open flame on a tank barge in these circumstances is prohibited by safety regulations promulgated by the US Coast Guard. (1/13/10). Note: The maritime negligence statute (also called the seaman’s manslaughter statute) has been abused in the past by obtaining criminal convictions upon a mere showing of simple negligence. Only time will tell if the evidence in this case proves stronger.
Haiti – USCG evacuates Embassy personnel
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it evacuated some personnel that were stationed at the US Embassy in Port-au-Prince following the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Further information is found in a second news release. (1/14/10). A third news release shows delivery of aid supplies. (1/15/10). My friend Ronald Signorino of The Blueoceana Company has provided additional pictures showing damage around the port area. (1/14/10).
USCG – sharing of NAIS information
The US Coast Guard issued a notice stating that it is seeking comments on an interim policy for access to and sharing of information collected by the agency’s Nationwide Automatic Identification System (NAIS). It is particularly interested in comments on the applicability and levels of sharing of information collected by the NAIS, the definition of historical NAIS information, and any commercial or security sensitivities with respect to sharing NAIS information. Comments on the interim policy should be submitted by February 16. 75 Fed. Reg. 2557 (January 15, 2010). Note: Under the proposal, Level A information (unfiltered, real-time) would be provided only for certain government uses. Level B information (filtered, real-time) would be provided to groups such as port authorities and pilot associations. Level C information (filtered, more than 12 hours old) would be available through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The notice does not explain what data would be filtered out. I support the basic concept, but would like to know the extent of filtering involved. Also, I recommend that Level C information (possibly delayed 24 hours) be posted on the Internet so that FOIA requests would not be necessary.
USACE – continuing contract clause for civil works projects
The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) proposes to amend its Continuing Contract clause for use on specifically authorized Civil Works projects only. The proposal is in response to a recurring statutory provision that requires a change to the clause that USACE had previously used. Comments should be submitted by March 16. 75 Fed. Reg. 2463 (January 15, 2010).
USACE – Lower San Joaquin River Feasibility Study
The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) issued a notice stating that it intends to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Lower San Joaquin River Feasibility Study (LSJRFS). The LSJRFS will evaluate alternatives for providing flood damage reduction and ecosystem restoration along the lower (northern) portion of the San Joaquin River system in the Central Valley of California. Comments should be submitted by February 15. 75 Fed. Reg. 2517 (January 15, 2010).
Morehead City – port reopened
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that the Unified Command in charge of cleaning up explosives that spilled at a port facility in Morehead City, North Carolina has completed its work. The port has reopened and normal operations have resumed. (1/14/10).
Panama Canal – BAPLIE EDI file method postponed
The Panama Canal Authority is postponing until further notice implementation of the mandatory use of the BAPLIE EDI fie method for submittal of containerized cargo information. Advisory 02-2010 (1/13/10).
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