Headlines: DOJ – man convicted of lasering a helicopter escorting an LNG carrier; USCG – Port Security Advisory re Haiti; MARAD – ISO Superintendent for Kings Point; Key West – search for overboard containers; Port Arthur oil spill – update; MARAD – vessels eligible for administrative waivers; St. Lawrence Seaway – update of Seaway regulations and rules; Maine – “no discharge” zone; NTSB – assisting in investigation of Port Arthur casualty; NOAA – teaming with Google to visualize scientific data; CBO – long-term outlook for US Navy fleet; IMF – economic improvement driven by production and trade; Court – public port authority not eligible for salvage award; and Errata – FMC – meeting re passenger vessel financial responsibility.
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DOJ – man convicted of lasering a helicopter escorting an LNG carrier
The Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a press release stating that a man was convicted of shining a powerful green laser beam into a Massachusetts State Police helicopter that was escorting a liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier through Boston Harbor on December 8, 2007, forcing the helicopter to abandon its escort mission. The man was also convicted of making false statements to the police. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 29. The charge of interfering with the operation of an aircraft carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment, a five-year term of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. The charge of making false statements carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment, a three-year term of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. (1/25/10).
USCG – Port Security Advisory re Haiti
The US Coast Guard issued a Port Security Advisory regarding Haiti. Due to the devastation caused by the recent earthquake in Haiti, concerns have arisen regarding that government’s ability to maintain international port facility security requirements. Therefore, the US Coast Guard recommends that vessels calling in Haiti take precautionary measures as follows: (1) take measures consistent with the ship’s security plan for Security Level 2; (2) guard each access point to the ship and ensure that the guards have total visibility of the exterior of the ship; (3) attempt to execute a Declaration of Security; (4) log all security actions taken; and (5) report actions taken to the cognizant USCG Captain of the Port (COTP) prior to arrival in the United States. These recommendations are not conditions of entry, but will generally expedite entry into US ports for ships having made calls in Haiti. (1/25/10).
MARAD – ISO Superintendent for Kings Point
The Maritime Administration (MARAD) posted an official announcement stating that it is seeking applications for the position of Superintendent, US Merchant Marine Academy, located at Kings Point, NY. Applicants must meet various technical requirements to be eligible for consideration for the position, which pays between $120,000 and $180,000 per year. Applications must be received by April 19. (1/22/10). This item was brought to my attention by my friend Don Yearwood of Sanborn Yearwood & Associates.
Key West – search for overboard containers
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it is responding to a report that 30 containers fell overboard from a container ship approximately 30 miles south of Key West. Efforts are being made to identify the contents of the containers. An assessment is being done to facilitate safe removal of the cargo remaining on the vessel. (1/26/10).
Port Arthur oil spill – update
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that the unified response to the collision and oil spill in Port Arthur continues. Lightering operations are underway. The waterway remains closed during the clean-up. There are 14 vessels awaiting entry and 12 vessels awaiting departure. (1/26/10).
MARAD – vessels eligible for administrative waivers
The Maritime Administration (MARAD) proposes to amend its regulations relating to administrative waivers of the coastwise trade laws that may, subject to certain conditions, allow vessels which do not meet the US-build requirement to operate as small passenger vessels or uninspected passenger vessels authorized to carry no more than 12 passengers for hire. The proposed change would eliminate the requirement in the regulation that an eligible vessel be five net tons or more. Comments on the proposal should be submitted by March 29. 75 Fed. Reg. 4334 (January 27, 2010).
St. Lawrence Seaway – update of Seaway regulations and rules
The Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC), in cooperation with the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) of Canada, proposes to update various Seaway regulations and rules. The proposed changes relate to: condition of vessels; radio communications; and general. Comments on the proposal should be submitted by February 26. 75 Fed. Reg. 4331 (January 27, 2010).
Maine – “no discharge” zone
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice stating that it has determined that adequate facilities for the safe and sanitary removal and treatment of sewage from all vessels are reasonably available for coastal waters of Camden, Rockport, Rockland, and portions of Owls Head, Maine. 75 Fed. Reg. 4379 (January 27, 2010). Note: It is unclear whether this determination will impact the commercial maritime sector. A quick review of the docket revealed no comments on the proposal. Since these EPA determinations impact both the recreational and the commercial sectors, it is incumbent upon any party who will be adversely affected to submit a comment while the proposal is still under consideration.
NTSB – assisting in investigation of Port Arthur casualty
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a press release stating that it has launched a team to participate with the US Coast Guard in the investigation of the recent collision in Port Arthur. (1/25/10).
NOAA – teaming with Google to visualize scientific data
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a news release stating that it signed a cooperative research and development agreement with Google to create state-of-the-art visualizations of scientific data to illustrate how our planet works. Under the agreement, some of NOAA’s oceanographic, meteorological, biological, and climatological data will be incorporated into Google Earth. (1/25/10).
CBO – long-term outlook for US Navy fleet
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its testimony to Congress on the long-term outlook for the US Navy’s fleet. It reports that, if the Navy receives the same amount of money for ship construction in the next 30 years that it has over the past three decades, it will not be able to execute its fiscal year 2009 plan to increase the fleet from 287 battle force ships to 313. The draft 2011 shipbuilding plan would buy only 222 new ships, reducing the battle force to 237 ships by 2040. (1/20/10).
IMF – economic improvement driven by production and trade
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released its World Economic Outlook Update. It states that the global economic recovery is stronger than anticipated, but proceeding at different speeds in the various regions. Overall, though, global production and trade bounced back in the second half of 2009, with normalization of global trade playing an important role. (1/26/10).
Court – public port authority not eligible for salvage award
The Western Cape High Court of South Africa ruled that a public port authority is not eligible for a salvage award. In the instant case, the ship lost power while departing the port of Saldanha, South Africa. The port had compulsory pilotage. The pilot boarded the ship when it finished loading cargo. He called a port authority tug to attend the departure. As the ship was outbound, it lost power and was in danger of grounding. The pilot directed the tug to put a line on the ship and tow it out of danger, which it did. The port authority subsequently submitted a claim for salvage to both the ship and its cargo. Litigation ensued. The court held that, under the circumstances, the pilot acted within his basic duties, as did the tug. The Cleopatra Dream, AC 54/2004 (WCHC, South Africa, 22 January 2010). Note: This case was brought to my attention by my good friend Michael Marks Cohen of Nicoletti Hornig & Sweeney.
Errata – FMC – meeting re passenger vessel financial responsibility
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued a notice stating that, on March 3, it will hold a public hearing on the agency’s Passenger Vessel Financial Responsibility Program. This hearing is in conjunction with the FMC’s earlier Notice of Inquiry to solicit information and comments concerning the benefits and burdens of the current Commission requirements by which passenger vessel operators establish proof of financial responsibility in the event of nonperformance. (1/25/10). Note: A previous edition of this newsletter erroneously reported that the public hearing would be on February 16. That is actually the date by which requests to participate in the hearing must be submitted to the FMC. Mea culpa!
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