Headlines: Court – Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet subject to FWPCA & state hazardous waste law; MARAD – Haitian maritime coordination; MARAD – sixth merchant ship activated for Haitian relief; House – bill introduced to prevent Asian carp migration; Senate – bill introduced to prevent Asian carp migration; MMS – revised finding of adverse effect of Cape Wind project; USCG – safety zone for Baltimore COTP Zone; Mayport, Florida – proposed restricted area and danger zone; USGS – large oil deposit identified in Orinoco Oil Belt; UK – wreck to reef project; and Manila Bay – robbery from ship at anchor.
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Port Arthur – collision and oil spill closes waterway
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it has closed the waterway at Port Arthur, Texas to navigation following a collision involving a crude oil tanker and a barge being pushed by a tug. The tanker sustained a breach in its hull in way of the number one starboard cargo tank, spilling an estimated 450,000 gallons (11,000 barrels) of crude oil into the Sabine Neches Waterway. A photo release and a video release have also been issued. No injuries have been reported. Clean-up efforts have commenced. The incident is under investigation. (1/23/10). A second news release states that the tug and its two barges have separated from the tanker. The Sabine Neches Waterway is closed to navigation from Intracoastal Waterway mile marker 278 to Mesquite Point. The Coast Guard is conducting a joint investigation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). (1/24/10).
Court – Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet subject to FWPCA & state hazardous waste law
The US District Court for the Eastern District of California ruled that the non-retention vessels in the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet, operated by the US Maritime Administration (MARAD), are point sources subject to the permitting requirements of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) [also referred to as the Clean Water Act (CWA)]. Exfoliated paint and other materials discharged into water are pollutants under the FWPCA and permits under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) should be obtained. The court also ruled that the exfoliated paint constitutes a hazardous waste under California law. This results in MARAD being both a generator of hazardous waste and the operator of a hazardous waste storage facility. The court determined that plaintiff environmental advocacy groups were without standing to pursue a claim against MARAD for alleged violation of the open dumping prohibition found in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Arc Ecology v. US Maritime Administration, No. 2:07-cv-2320-GEB-GGH (E.D. Cal., January 20, 2010). Note: The case is scheduled for trial in June to determine the scope of remedy, which may include clean-up and removal measures. It is too early to determine whether an appeal of this interlocutory order will be filed and the potential impact, if any, on the two other Reserve Fleets that MARAD maintains.
MARAD – Haitian maritime coordination
The Maritime Administration (MARAD) issued guidance for merchant vessels transiting to or from Haiti or the Dominican Republic during the earthquake relief effort. Masters of these vessels are requested to submit reports to the US Shipping Coordination Center prior to approaching the area. Participation is voluntary, but encourages so as to minimize confusion and congestion. Advisory 2010-01 (1/21/10).
MARAD – sixth merchant ship activated for Haitian relief
The Maritime Administration (MARAD) issued a news release stating that the fast-ferry Alakai is being prepared for earthquake relief duty in Haiti. The ro-ro catamaran is capable of carrying up to 866 passengers and numerous vehicles at nearly 40 knots in the open ocean. (1/20/10).
House – bill introduced to prevent Asian carp migration
Representative Camp (R-MI) introduced the Close All Routes and Prevent Asian Carp Today Act of 2010 (H.R. 4472) to direct the Secretary of the Army to take action with respect to the Chicago waterway system to prevent the migration of bighead and silver carps into Lake Michigan. (1/20/10).
Senate – bill introduced to prevent Asian carp migration
Senator Stabenow (D-MI) introduced a bill (S. 2946) to direct the Secretary of the Army to take action with respect to the Chicago waterway system to prevent the migration of bighead and silver carps into Lake Michigan, and for other purposes. Official text of the bill is not yet available, Senator Stabenow issued a press release explaining the goals of the measure. As noted in the press release, this Senate bill is a companion to the one introduced by Representative Camp in the House of Representatives (see above). (1/21/10).
MMS – revised finding of adverse effect re Cape Wind project
The Minerals Management Service (MMS) issued a notice stating that it prepared a revised version of its Finding of Adverse Effect document related to the Cape Wind Energy Project. The Project calls for construction and operation of an offshore windfarm in Nantucket Sound. Comments on the revised document should be submitted by February 12. 75 Fed. Reg. 3922 (January 25, 2010).
USCG – safety zone for Baltimore COTP Zone
The US Coast Guard has established a temporary safety zone on all navigable waters of the Captain of the Port (COTP) Baltimore Zone. Due to hazards associated with ice, vessels are restricted from transiting the safety zone unless authorized by the COTP. The zone will remain in effect until April 15. Comments on the rulemaking should be submitted by February 24. 75 Fed. Reg. 3859 (January 25, 2010).
Mayport, Florida – proposed restricted area and danger zone
The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) proposes to revise regulations for a restricted area and to establish a danger zone in waters adjacent to and within the boundaries of Naval Station Mayport, Florida. Comments on the proposal should be submitted by February 24. 75 Fed. Reg. 3883 (January 25, 2010).
USGS – large oil deposit identified in Orinoco Oil Belt
The US Geological Survey (USGS) issued a news release stating that new research indicates that an estimated 513 billion barrels of technically recoverable heavy oil are in Venezuela’s Orinoco Oil Belt. This amounts to one of the world’s largest recoverable oil accumulations. Because this oil is very thick, specialized production and refining processes will be required. (1/22/10). Note: This is not currently a maritime issue, since it will be some time before these new deposits can be exploited. Eventually, though, numerous tankers may be engaged in this trade.
UK – wreck to reef project
The UK Environment Agency issued a news release stating that it is supporting a scheme to sink a ship that can be used as an artificial reef for divers to the east of Weymouth and Portland on the southwest coast. (1/22/10).
Manila Bay – robbery from a ship at anchor
The ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre issued an Incident Alert stating that a ship anchored in a designated anchorage area in Manila Bay experienced a robbery during daylight hours. A crewmember noticed wet footprints on the deck. Investigation revealed that an inflatable life raft and two immersion suits were missing. The incident was reported to local authorities and is under investigation. (1/21/10).
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