Headlines: USN – Vision for Confronting Irregular Challenges; Somalia – ransom paid for release of chemical tanker; Philippines – hijacked tug recovered, pirates arrested; ReCAAP – report for January 2010; NOAA – federal consistency appeal re San Juan port facilities; Tacoma – shipment of machineguns intercepted; Senate – hearing on FY 2011 DHS budget request; and House – hearing on FY 2011 budget for USCG, MARAD & FMC.
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USN – Vision for Confronting Irregular Challenges
The US Navy posted its position paper entitled The U.S. Navy’s Vision for Confronting Irregular Challenges. The paper proposes that the Navy rebalance its ships, aircraft, and personnel so as to address challenges posed by terrorists, pirates, insurgents, and other state and non-state actors. Closer ties with the Coast Guard and the Marine Corps are called for, as well as expanded coordination with interagency and international partners and private and non-governmental organizations. The goal is to have a flexible, agile, and broad array of multi-mission capabilities to overcome the new challenges presented. (January 2010). Note: The report includes no mention of the shores of Tripoli, but probably should. This item was brought to my attention by my friend John Bennett of Maritime Protective Services.
Somalia – ransom paid for release of chemical tanker
The EU Maritime Security Centre-Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA) issued a press release stating that a ransom drop was successfully made for release of the chemical tanker Pramoni. The tanker, with its crew of 24, was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden on 1 January and has been held of the pirate stronghold of Eyl, Somalia. (2/26/10).
Philippines – hijacked tug recovered, pirates arrested
The ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre issued an Incident Report stating that the tug Asta, which was hijacked in the South China Sea on February 7, has been found and recovered in the area of Surigao City in the Philippines. Seven suspected pirates are currently in custody. The Chief Engineer, who was taken with the tug, has also been found alive. (2/26/10).
ReCAAP – report for January 2010
The ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre issued its Report for January 2010. There were eleven incidents of armed robbery against ships reported in Asia during the month. Of these, eight were actual incidents and three were attempted incidents. This represents an increase over incidents reported in January 2009, when there were only two reported incidents (both actual). (2/25/10).
NOAA – federal consistency appeal re San Juan port facilities
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a notice stating that the Pan American Grain Co. has filed an administrative appeal with the Department of Commerce requesting that the Secretary override an objection by the Puerto Rico Planning Board to the proposed improvement of port facilities located in San Juan Bay. Comments on the appeal should be submitted by March 29. 75 Fed. Reg. 8919 (February 26, 2010).
Tacoma – shipment of machineguns intercepted
The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a news release stating that a shipment of 30 machineguns, manifested as toys and parts, was seized in the Port of Tacoma for failure to arrive with required entry permits. The machineguns, shipped from Taiwan, were tooled to shoot plastic balls, but could be easily modified to so as to be capable of firing live ammunition. (2/24/10). Note: This item was brought to my attention by my friend John Bennett of Maritime Protective Services.
Senate – hearing on FY 2011 DHS budget request
On February 24, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs conducted a hearing regarding the FY 2011 budget request for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Committee Chair Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) made an opening statement, which was followed by an opening statement by Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-ME). DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano explained the operations of the various departmental components and how the requested monies would be expended. After the hearing, the Committee issued a press release. (2/24/10).
House – hearing on FY 2011 budget for USCG, MARAD & FMC
The Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure conducted a hearing on the FY 2011 Budget for the Coast Guard, the Maritime Administration, and the Federal Maritime Commission. The Subcommittee noted that budget request for FY 2011 represented a 0.4% decrease for the Coast Guard; a 3% decrease for MARAD; and a 5.8% increase for the FMC. Committee Chair James Oberstar (D - MN) expressed great concern regarding the projected decrease in the Coast Guard’s operational capabilities mandated by the proposed budget and the fact that the budget would provide no monies for either the Assistance to Small Shipyards program or the Title XI Loan Guarantee program. Subcommittee Chair Elijah Cummings (D-MD) noted that the Coast Guard would lose over 1,000 military billets under the proposal. Admiral Thad Allen, Commandant, US Coast Guard, testified about how the service will accommodate the reduced funding envisioned in the budget request. Mr. David Matsuda, Acting Administrator, Maritime Administration, testified that the proposed funding level is sufficient to sustain current service levels for the full range of MARAD program operations and activities. Mr. Richard Lidinsky, Chairman, Federal Maritime Commission, explained the role of the FMC. Mr. Stephen Caldwell, Government Accountability Office, focused on the Coast Guard budget and testified that the Coast Guard is reducing funds for current assets and missions to increase funds for its top budget priority – long-term recapitalization of vessels and aircraft. This will result in a short-term decline in mission performance. (2/25/10).
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