Headlines: Somalia – pirates using hijacked ro-ro; Gulf of Aden – Canadian warship deters pirate attack; DOS – Fifth Plenary Meeting of Contact Group on Somali Piracy; Port Arthur oil spill – update; NOAA & GAO – protest re contract for MOC-P site; NOAA – public meetings re sea turtle critical habitat; NOAA – EIS for Port Harbor, Oregon; Miami – two empty containers recovered; and USCG – IMO e-newsletter.
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Somalia – pirates using hijacked ro-ro
The NATO Shipping Centre issued an update stating that the vehicle carrier Asian Glory, previously hijacked by pirates and still under piratical control, has gotten underway from its position off the Somalian coast and is proceeding generally north at a speed of 14 knots. Other merchant vessels are advised to avoid contact with this ro-ro. (1/30/10). Note: Speculation is that the Asian Glory may be used to support pirate motherships (possibly by refueling them).
Gulf of Aden – Canadian warship deters pirate attack
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) issued a news release stating that a Canadian warship intercepted a suspected pirate skiff in the Gulf of Aden. The skiff was spotted loitering beside the International Recommended Transit Corridor. The skiff had no equipment on board showing that the Somali occupants were either fishermen or legitimate merchants. (1/28/10).
DOS – Fifth Plenary Meeting of Contact Group on Somali Piracy
The US Department of State issued a news release stating that the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia held its Fifth Plenary Meeting at UN Headquarters in New York on January 28. Concern was expressed that a minority of shipping transiting these waters still does not comply with the Best Management Practices (BMP). It was noted that piracy attacks continue, but that the rate of successful hijackings by pirates has decreased. (1/29/10).
Port Arthur oil spill – updates
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that the unified response to the Port Arthur oil spill continues. To date, 6,590 barrels of crude oil have been recovered, evaporated, or dispersed naturally of the 11,000 barrels spilled. Limited vessel traffic through the affected waterway continues. The tanker from which the spill occurred has been fully offloaded and moved to anchorage. The investigation continues. (1/29/10). A second news release states that two vessels await entry into the waterway and three await departure. (1/30/10). A third and final news release states that the unified response continues. More than 9,600 barrels of oil/water mixture have been recovered, evaporated, or dispersed naturally of the 11,000 barrels spilled. Vessel traffic in the affected waterway has returned to normal. The focus now is on shoreline cleanup and restoration. (1/31/10).
NOAA & GAO – protest re contract for MOC-P site
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) in its role as Comptroller General has sustained the protest of the award of a lease by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to the Port of Newport to provide office, warehouse, and related space to NOAA’s Marine Operations Center-Pacific (MOC-P). The GAO determined that NOAA had no reasonable basis to determine that the awardee’s proposed pier was located outside a designated floodplain. Where awardee’s proposed pier construction was within a designated floodplain area, NOAA failed to properly consider whether there was any practicable alternative to selecting awardee’s proposal, as was required by the terms of the solicitation. B-401837 (12/2/09). NOAA issued a news release stating that, consistent with GAO’s recommendations, it will conduct an assessment of whether there was a practicable alternative to awarding the lease to the Port of Newport that does not involve development in a base floodplain and otherwise presents a feasible selection award under the solicitation of offers. (1/29/10).
NOAA – public hearings re sea turtle critical habitat
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a notice stating that it will hold public hearings in Carlsbad (February 17) and San Jose (February 18) to answer questions and receive comments on the proposed critical habitat designation for the endangered leatherback sea turtle. Written comments should be received by March 8. 75 Fed. Reg. 5015 (February 1, 2010).
NOAA – EIS re Portland Harbor, Oregon
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a notice stating that it intends to prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement and to conduct restoration planning to compensate for injuries to natural resources in Portland Harbor, Oregon. A public scoping meeting will be held in Portland on March 3. Written comments should be submitted by March 15. 75 Fed. Reg. 5039 (February 1, 2010).
Miami – two empty containers recovered
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that the owner of the ship from which various containers fell overboard near Key West has recovered two empty containers. The containers were located off Miami Beach and have been towed into the Port of Miami. One other container is confirmed to have sunk in approximately 250 feet of water off Miami Beach. The search continues for other containers that may possibly remain afloat. (1/29/10).
USCG – IMO e-newsletter
The US Coast Guard issued the winter 2010 edition of its IMO e-newsletter. This issue discusses recent developments at IMO of particular interest to the United States. Summaries are provided of recent sessions of IMO Assembly, committees, and sub-committees, as well as the 2009 World Maritime Day Parallel Event held in New York on October 16. Of particular interest to me was the discussion concerning the recent election of my friend Jeffrey Lantz, USCG Director of Commercial Regulations and Standards, to serve as Chairman of the IMO Council for the next biennium (2010-2011). Well done! (1/29/10).
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 – February 2010