Headlines: Port Arthur oil spill – update; DOS – meeting of Contact Group on Somali piracy; DHS – enforcement of 10+2 rule commences; FMC – inquiry and meeting re passenger vessel financial responsibility; NOAA – recovery plan for Cook Inlet beluga whales; North Pacific – search for missing crewman; North Pacific – AMVER response to disabled fishing vessel; House – NTSB reauthorization hearing; Court – private carriage, voyage charter, and COGSA; EC – Franco-Spanish Motorway of the Sea project; EU – Pakistani fisherman wounded by pirates receives medical treatment; Singapore – Safety Convention Regulations; USCGC Blackthorn memorial service; and Establishment of US Coast Guard – January 15, 1915.
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.
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. The damaged tanker has been cleaned and moved to a dock for discharge of its remaining cargo. The barges have been lightering and are being cleaned. The waterway remains closed to navigation while the cleanup continues. There are 14 vessels awaiting entry and 12 vessels awaiting departure. A second news release states that the Sabine-Neches Waterway has been reopened to limited traffic. (1/27/10).
DOS – meeting of Contact Group on Somali piracy
The US Department of State issued a media release stating that the United States will join partners from more than 50 countries and international organizations at the United Nations in New York on January 28 for a plenary meeting of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia. (1/26/10).
DHS – enforcement of 10+2 rule commences
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a news release stating that US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has begun enforcement of the Importer Security Filing and Additional Carrier Requirements regulation (commonly referred to as the “10+2” rule). The rule increases the scope of information gathered on maritime shipments of cargo to the United States. CBP will now begin enforcement of the rule. A one-year informed compliance period that allowed the industry to acclimate to the new requirements ended on January 26. (1/27/10).
FMC – inquiry and meeting re passenger vessel financial responsibility
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) published its official notice stating that it has commenced an inquiry to solicit information and comments concerning the benefits and burdens of the current FMC requirements by which passenger vessel operators establish proof of financial responsibility in the event to nonperformance. Comments should be submitted by February 10. 75 Fed. Reg. 4558 (January 28, 2010). The FMC also published its official notice that it will hold a public hearing in Washington, DC on March 3 to receive public testimony concerning the Passenger Vessel Financial Responsibility Program. Requests to participate in the hearing should be received by February 16. 75 Fed. Reg. 4560 (January 28, 2010). Note: I respectfully recommend that the comment period be extended to at least March 10 so that interested persons may submit comments reflecting on the public hearing.
NOAA – recovery plan for Cook Inlet beluga whales
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a notice stating that it intends to prepare a recovery plan for Cook Inlet beluga whales. Comments and information should be submitted by March 29. 75 Fed. Reg. 4528 (January 28, 2010).
North Pacific – search for missing crewman
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it is searching for a crewman missing from a container ship in the North Pacific Ocean approximately 450 miles south of Adak. Two Coast Guard C-130 aircraft and the container ship are engaged in the search. (1/27/10).
North Pacific – AMVER response to disabled fishing vessel
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that two merchant vessels, alerted by the Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue (AMVER) program, came to the assistance of a disabled fishing vessel in the North Pacific Ocean approximately 260 miles northwest of Midway. The merchant vessels are standing by while another fishing vessel attempts to tow the disabled vessel. (1/26/10).
House – NTSB reauthorization hearing
The Subcommittee on Aviation of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure conducted a hearing on Reauthorization of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The Honorable Deborah A.P. Hersman, Chair, NTSB testified that the Board is seeking more explicit authority to conduct investigations, as well as improved right of access to critical information, such as medical records. Dr. Gerald L. Dillingham, GAO, testified that the NTSB seeks, among other things, reduced statutory requirements for investigating maritime accidents.
Court – private carriage, voyage charter, and COGSA
The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in a 19-page unpublished decision, ruled that carriage of other cargo is not inconsistent with private carriage by means of a voyage charter. In the instant case, plaintiff cargo owner brought suit against a vessel owner and the vessel’s time charterer for damages to a load of cold-rolled steel coils transported by the vessel. The agreement between the cargo owner and the time charterer was memorialized in a voyage charter, which was then incorporated into various bills of lading. The District Court held that the voyage charter was the contract of carriage and that the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA) applied. Because the time charterer, but not the vessel owner, signed the voyage charter, and because the agreement constituted private carriage, the District Court held that the time charterer was solely liable for damage to the cargo. Tradearbed Inc. v. Western Bulk Carriers, No. 08-31075 (5th Cir., January 26, 2010). Note: This case was brought to my attention by my good friend Michael Marks Cohen of Nicoletti Hornig & Sweeney.
EC – Franco-Spanish Motorway of the Sea project
The European Commission (EC) issued a press release stating that it has approved public financing from France and Spain for the Fres Mos Motorway of the Sea project. The project will link Nantes-Saint Nazaire with Gijon. (1/27/10).
EU – Pakistani fisherman wounded by pirates receives medical treatment
The EU Maritime Security Centre-Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA) issued a press release stating that in December when Somali pirates hijacked a Pakistani fishing vessel, one of the fishermen was wounded. The pirates later abandoned the vessel, which was then rescued by an EU NAVFOR warship. The wounded fisherman was provided with medical care and has now arrived in Pakistan. (1/27/10).
Singapore – Safety Convention Regulations
The Singapore Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) issued a circular reminding owners, operators, and masters of Singapore ships that Singapore Merchant Shipping Regulations have been amended to implement May 2008 changes to the SOLAS Convention. These amendments address, among other things, means of embarkation and disembarkation; investigation of marine casualties; emergency towing procedures; and AIS-SART. Shipping Circular No. 2/2010 (1/20/10).
USCGC Blackthorn memorial service
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that a memorial service will be conducted in St. Petersburg, Florida on January 28 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of sinking of the Coast Guard buoy tender Blackthorn following its collision in Tampa Bay with the tanker Capricorn. Twenty-three of the Blackthorn’s fifty crewmembers lost their lives during the Coast Guard’s worst peacetime disaster. (1/27/10).
Establishment of US Coast Guard – January 28, 1915
The United States Coast Guard was created by Act of Congress on January 28, 1915, when the Life-Saving Service was combined with the Revenue-Cutter Service. From the beginning, the Coast Guard constituted part of the military forces of the United States. It operated (at that time) under the Treasury Department in time of peace and as part of the Navy in time of war or when the President shall so direct. Semper Paratus!
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