Headlines: Loran-C shutdown and GPS outages; NATO – military forces stop hijacking in progress; Court – NYS ballast water conditions upheld; California – proposed ballast water treatment system reporting requirement; Michigan – request renewed for closure of Chicago locks; Barbers Point – bulk carrier aground; Key West – homeland security and pollution response exercise; CBP – C-TPAT metrics; COAC meeting; NOAA – EIS re oil and gas activities in Arctic Ocean; HOGANSAC meetings; FMC meeting; DOT – drug and alcohol testing procedures; House – bill introduced to prevent spread of Asian carp; IMO – passenger ship safety; UNCITRAL – Arab Academy supports Rotterdam Rules; ReCAAP – Piracy and Sea Robbery Conference; Tokyo – results of lifeboat launching CIC disappointing; and EMSA – newsletter.
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. Who Dat?
Loran-C shutdown and GPS outages
By now, almost everyone is aware that, in accordance with a Congressional directive and as a budget measure, the Loran-C signal from most US transmission sites is being terminated as of 2000Z, 8 February 2010. The United States is now relying almost exclusively on the Global Positioning System (GPS) as its sole method of electronic navigation. I have been opposed to putting all of our eggs into one basket and have mentioned previous problems with GPS. The GPS Operations Center reported a significant GPS outage in the San Diego area on January 22, 2007 that forced the Coast Guard to operate its vessels in restricted status. Medical paging in the area was shut down for approximately two hours and two cell phone towers were out of service. The 2007 event in San Diego is not unique; rather it is just one of many localized GPS service outages. This newsletter has always relied on open sources for its information. Today, I am making an exception. A recent, and disturbing, report has come to my attention stating that a similar, but possibly more severe, disruption occurred on February 6, 2010, again in the San Diego area, affecting airlines and cell phone service, among others. I do not know the cause and it is not particularly relevant. The point is that GPS is highly susceptible to disruption; Loran-C is not. Loran-C is admittedly old technology, but it is proven. It is not too late for the Loran-C shutdown decision to be re-examined.
NATO – military forces stop hijacking in progress
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) issued a news release stating that the Danish warship HDMS Absalon rescued the cargo ship Ariella, which had come under attack by armed pirates in the Gulf of Aden. The master of the Ariella sent a may-day call that pirates had boarded his ship and that the crew had fled to a safe-room. A team of specially trained forces were sent from the warship to regain control of the merchant vessel. The EU Maritime Security Centre-Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA) also issued a press release stating that the cargo ship was boarded by Somali pirates while sailing in a “Group Transit” within the Internationally Recognized Transit Corridor (IRTC) under the protection of Coalition warships. The master alert, relayed to Coalition forces by a nearby Indian warship, confirmed that all crewmembers were in a “safe room” not accessible by the pirates. The Danish warship under NATO control used helicopters to place a specialist team on the Ariella and free the crewmembers. The pirates departed before the specialist team arrived. A Russian warship operating nearby boarded and detained a pirate skiff. (2/5/10).
Court – NYS ballast water conditions upheld
The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division upheld conditions promulgated by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) establishing standards for discharge of ballast water within the state. In a 6-page decision, the court stated that it may not substitute its judgment for that of the agency and the agency’s determinations would be disturbed only when they lack a rational basis or are arbitrary and capricious. It found sufficient scientific evidence and expert opinion in the DEC record to support the decision. The court found that the DEC had the legal authority to impose the conditions. Finally, it found that the DEC action did not violate the US Constitution. Port of Oswego Authority v. Grannis, No. 507661 (NY App. Div., February 4, 2010). Note: It is too early to know whether the plaintiffs in this action will appeal the decision. While I understand New York’s frustration with the slow pace of international and federal mandates, I deplore the continuing proliferation of differing local standards. This is not the way to solve a worldwide problem.
California – proposed ballast water treatment system reporting requirement
The California State Lands Commission (SLC) issued a Notice of Proposed Regulatory Action that would, if adopted, require a vessel report regarding installation and use of ballast water treatment systems. According to the Initial Statement of Reasons, submission of the “Ballast Water Treatment Technology Annual Reporting Form” and the Ballast Water Treatment Supplemental Reporting Form” would allow the state to acquire important information regarding use of ballast water treatment technology be vessels calling in California. Comments on the proposal should be submitted by March 22. (2/4/10).
Michigan – request renewed for closure of Chicago locks
The Office of the Attorney General for the State of Michigan issued a media release stating that the Attorney General has filed a renewed motion with the US Supreme Court asking for a preliminary injunction to close the locks on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal because new information shows evidence of Asian carp in Lake Michigan that was available three days before the Court made its earlier decision to deny the request was not provided by the US Army Corps of Engineers until afterward. (2/4/10).
Barbers Point – bulk carrier aground
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that a 734-foot long bulk carrier grounded at Kalaeloa Barbers Point Harbor. There have been no reports of injury or pollution. Salvage operations are preventing other vessels from arriving or departing. The incident is under investigation. A second news release states that the bulk carrier has been refloated. Preliminary examination has revealed a crack in the bottom of the hull amidships. The vessel will be towed to an anchorage for temporary repairs. State officials are checking to determine whether the reef incurred damage. A photo release shows the grounded vessel. (2/5/10).
Key West – homeland security and pollution response exercise
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it will facilitate a multi-agency homeland-security and pollution response exercise in Key West on February 10 and 11. (2/5/10).
CBP – C-TPAT metrics
The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a news release stating that, for 2009, the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) evidenced continued membership growth and increased quality assurance, due in large part to enhanced validation efforts. (2/3/10).
COAC – meeting
The Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations of Customs and Border Protection (COAC), sponsored by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), will meet in Miami on February 25. Topics on the agenda include: C-TPAT; Importer Security Filing (“10+2”); and the Automated Commercial Environment/International Trade Data System (ACE/ITDS). 75 Fed. Reg. 6214 (February 8, 2010).
NOAA – EIS re oil and gas activities in Arctic Ocean
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a notice stating that it intends to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) to analyze the environmental impacts of issuing Incidental Take Authorizations (ITAs) pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act to the oil and gas industry for the taking of marine mammals incidental to offshore exploration activities in federal and state waters of the US Chukchi and Beaufort Seas off Alaska. Comments should be submitted by April 9. 75 Fed. Reg. 6175 (February 8, 2010).
HOGANSAC – meetings
The Houston-Galveston Navigation Safety Advisory Committee (HOGANSAC) and its working groups, sponsored by the US Coast Guard, will meet in Houston on March 11 and February 25 respectively. 75 Fed. Reg. 6215 (February 8, 2010).
FMC – meeting on February 10
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued an official notice stating that it will meet in open session in its offices on February 10 to consider, among other things, a petition from the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America for exemption from mandatory rate tariff publication. 75 Fed. Reg. 6205 (February 8, 2010).
DOT – drug and alcohol testing procedures
The Department of Transportation (DOT) proposes to amend certain provisions of its drug testing procedures dealing with laboratory testing of urine specimens. Some of the proposed changes will also affect the roles and standards applying to collectors and Medical Review Officers. The proposed changes are intended to create consistency with new requirements established by the Department of Health and Human Services Mandatory Guidelines. Comments on the proposal should be submitted by April 5. 75 Fed. Reg. 5722 (February 4, 2010).
House – bill introduced to prevent spread of Asian carp
Representative Hoekstra (R-MI) introduced a bill (H.R. 4604) to direct the Secretary of the Army to prevent the spread of Asian carp in the Great Lakes and the tributaries of the Great Lakes, and for other purposes. An official copy of the bill is not yet available. (2/4/10).
IMO – passenger ship safety
The IMO published information resources on passenger ship safety. Information Sheet No. 37 (1/26/10). Note: This item was brought to my attention by my good friend John Bennett of Maritime Protective Services.
UNITRAL – Arab Academy supports Rotterdam Rules
The Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport issued a press release recommending that Arab League transport and trade ministers jointly sign the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea, 2008, commonly referred to as the Rotterdam Rules. (2/3/10).
ReCAAP – Piracy and Sea Robbery Conference
The ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre issued a notice stating that ReCAAP is sponsoring the Piracy and Sea Robbery Conference to be held in Singapore on 29 April 2010. (2/5/10).
Tokyo MOU – results of lifeboat launching CIC disappointing
The Tokyo MOU issued a news release summarizing the results of the Concentrated Inspection Campaign (CIC) on lifeboat launching arrangements conducted jointly with the Paris MOU between 1 September and 30 November 2009. Tokyo MOU authorities conducted 4,834 CIC inspections, of which 18.2% revealed CIC-related deficiencies. During this period, 324 ships were detained for serious deficiencies and 38% of these detentions were for CIC-related deficiencies. Almost 12% of the lifeboat-launching drills were not performed in a satisfactory manner. (1/28/10).
EMSA – newsletter
The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) released the February edition of its newsletter. This edition discusses new inspection regime being implemented by the Paris MOU on 1 January 2011; an inventory of oil pollution R&D projects; and the possible use of SAT-AIS to track ships. (2/5/10).
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