Headlines: USCG – Commandant delivers State of the Coast Guard address; Houston – waterway reopened after tug salvaged; North Pacific – injured crewmember medically evacuated; FMC – agenda for February 18 meeting; NOAA – North Atlantic right whale Dynamic Management Area; CIA – Project Azorian; Florida – harbor pilot oversight; Washington State – tug company fined for discharge into Columbia River; Australia - LRIT Data Centre developmental testing completed; UK – Steven Clinch appointed as new MAIB Chief Inspector; and Sea Empress grounding & salvage – 15-21 February 1996.
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. Gluten free.
USCG – Commandant delivers State of the Coast Guard address
The US Coast Guard issued a news release saying that Admiral Thad Allen delivered the State of the Coast Guard address at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. He reported that, even with the pending budget cuts, the Coast Guard is “ready and resilient”. He cited the agency’s recent relief efforts in Haiti as evidence of the operational character of the service. (2/13/10).
Houston – waterway reopened after tug salvaged
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that the tug which sank in the Houston Ship Channel on February 10 with one fatality has been salvaged. The waterway has been reopened to all traffic. The casualty is under investigation. (2/13/10).
North Pacific – injured crewmember medically evacuated
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that a crewmember on merchant vessel en route to Coos Bay broke both arms when he fell into a cargo hold. The ship was 975 mile south of Unalaska Island at the time. It diverted to come within helicopter range. A Coast Guard helicopter evacuated the man to Dutch Harbor. (2/13/10).
FMC – agenda for February 18 meeting
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued a notice providing the agenda for its meeting on February 18. Among other things, the Commission will consider the petition of the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America for exemption from mandatory rate tariff publication. (2/12/10).
NOAA – North Atlantic right whale Dynamic Management Area
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has extended through February 23 the North Atlantic right whale Dynamic Management Area (DMA) in the vicinity of Ponce Inlet, Florida. Mariners should avoid this area if possible, or transit at 10 knots or less. (2/12/10).
CIA – Project Azorian
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) released a redacted copy of its report on Project Azorian. This was the secret 1973-4 operation that involved raising a sunken Soviet submarine from the floor of the Pacific Ocean. In March 1968, the submarine, and armed with three long-range nuclear missiles, various nuclear torpedoes, and secret code material, sank in 16,000 feet deep waters northwest of Hawaii. The US Navy had monitored the sinking and was surprised when it became apparent that the Soviet Navy was unable to locate the wreck. A plan was then developed by the CIA for attempted recovery of the submarine. Arrangements were made with the reclusive Howard Hughes to use a bogus deep seabed mining venture as a cover story. The special-purpose ship Glomar Explorer was built in the Sun Shipyard in Chester, Pennsylvania. Once on-site in the North Pacific, it slipped special cables around the submarine’s hull and commenced raising the wreck. Part way up, the after portion of the submarine broke off and crashed back to the bottom. The forward portion was recovered and brought ashore for analysis. Many aspects of this operation remain highly classified. (2/12/10).
Florida – harbor pilot oversight
The Florida Legislature’s Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) issued its report on Harbor Pilot Oversight. The OPPAGA reviewed options to modify harbor pilot oversight that could improve regulation and rate setting. It reports that the Legislature could consider several options for modifying Florida’s current harbor pilot regulatory and rate-setting systems, including: (1) maintaining the current system, but making changes to address concerns about foreign ships that frequent Florida ports and regulatory and rate-setting consistency; and (2) implementing an alternative regulatory or rate-setting process similar to that used by other states or by the federal government. (2/11/10).
Washington – tug company fined for discharge into Columbia River
The Washington State Department of Ecology issued a news release stating that it assessed a civil penalty of $21,000 against a tug company after one of its tugs discharged an estimate 150 gallons of lubricating and diesel oils into the Columbia River on January 29, 2009 and failed to report the spill. (2/11/10).
Australia – LRIT Data Centre developmental testing completed
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) issued a news release stating that developmental testing for the Australian National Data Centre (AusCDC) for the Long-Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) system has been completed. The AusCDC will serve Australia, Cook Islands, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea. (2/15/10).
UK – Steven Clinch appointed as new MAIB Chief Inspector
The UK Department for Transport issued a news release stating that Steven Clinch has been appointed as the new Chief Inspector of the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB). Mr. Clinch currently serves as the Deputy Chief Inspector. He will take his new port later this year when Stephen Meyer, the current Chief Inspector retires after more than eight years of distinguished service. (2/15/10).
Sea Empress grounding & salvage – 15-21 February 1996
On 15 February 1996, the tanker Sea Empress grounded while entering the port of Milford Haven, spilling approximately 2,500 tons of its cargo of crude oil. The vessel was quickly refloated and anchored in deep water in preparation for lightening some of the remaining cargo. Gale force winds drove the tanker aground again, spilling an additional 69,300 tons of crude oil. The tanker was finally refloated again on 21 February and salvage was completed. Investigation revealed that the initial grounding was due to pilot error. The subsequent grounding was the result, in part, of insufficient tugs of appropriate power and maneuverability, together with a lack of full understanding of local tidal currents.
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