Headlines: EU – rescuing migrants at sea; Indian Ocean – pirates mistakenly attack warship; Somali Basin – suspected pirates transferred to Seychelles for prosecution; Western Alaska – severe weather operating procedures; San Francisco Bay – safety zone for crane delivery; NOAA – amendment of rules for administrative proceedings; NOAA – Pacific eulachon listed as threatened; NOAA – recovery plan for coho salmon; NOAA – five-year review of Pacific salmon and steelhead; OMB – review of CBP proposal re coastwise trade; House – hearing re capacity of vessels to meet export requirements; FMC – investigation of vessel and equipment capacity; IMO – preview of MEPC session; Canada – transportation safety; Ireland – development and modernization of Irish Maritime Administration; and UK – MAIB business plan.
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EU – rescuing migrants at sea
The European Parliament issued a news release stating that a resolution was adopted rejecting a proposed set of guidelines on the EU FRONTEX border agency’s duty to search for and rescue migrants at sea. The basis for the rejection was the view that the measure should be adopted under the legislative procedure so that it would be legally binding on Member States. (3/17/10).
Indian Ocean – pirates mistakenly attack warship
The EU Maritime Security Centre-Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA) issued a press release stating that two small skiffs made a fast approach on an EU NAVFOR warship for what appeared to be a pirate attack. The warship fired warning shots and then pursued the fleeing skiffs, which was headed toward an apparent mother skiff. Search of the three skiffs revealed ammunition and rocket-propelled grenades. Two of the skiffs were destroyed and the suspects were released. (3/17/10). Note: Warship identification and avoidance continues to be a problem for Somali “fishermen”.
Somali Basin – suspected pirates transferred to Seychelles for prosecution
The EU Maritime Security Centre-Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA) issued a press release stating that an EU NAVFOR warship disrupted a suspected pirate action group (PAG) in the Somali Basin about 350 miles off Somalia. The mother ship was destroyed and two smaller skiffs, along with eleven suspected pirates, were taken on board. The detainees and evidence will be transferred to the Seychelles for prosecution. (3/17/10).
Western Alaska – severe weather operating procedures
The USCG Captain of the Port (COTP) Western Alaska is seeking comments on the 2009-2010 Operating Procedures for Severe Weather in the Aleutian Islands and Pribilof Islands. In particular, comments are sought on whether the sustained wind threshold should be reduced from 45 knots to 35 knots. Comments should be submitted by April 30. MSIB 01-10 (3/11/10). Note: This item was brought to my attention by my friend Tom Rueter of Alaska Maritime Agencies.
San Francisco Bay – safety zone for crane delivery
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it enforced a safety zone on waters of San Francisco Bay during delivery of three large container cranes to the Port of Oakland by a heavy-lift ship. (3/17/10).
NOAA – amendment of rules for administrative proceedings
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) proposes to amend its regulations relating to administrative proceedings for assessment of civil penalties; suspension, revocation, modification, or denial of permits; issuance and use of written warnings; and release or forfeiture of seized property. Comments on the proposal should be submitted by April 16. 75 Fed. Reg. 13050 (March 18, 2010).
NOAA – Pacific eulachon listed as threatened
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a final rule listing the southern distinct population segment of the Pacific eulachon (commonly referred to as the Pacific smelt) as threatened in accordance with the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The listing comes into effect on May 17. 75 Fed. Reg. 13012 (March 18, 2010).
NOAA – recovery plan for coho salmon
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is seeking comments on its draft recovery plan for Central California Coast coho salmon. Comments should be submitted by May 17. 75 Fed. Reg. 13081 (March 18, 2010).
NOAA – five-year review of Pacific salmon and steelhead
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a notice stating that it has initiated a five-year review for 27 environmentally significant units and distinct population segments of Pacific salmon and steelhead. Comments should be submitted by May 17. 75 Fed. Reg. 13082 (March 18, 2010). Note: Long-suffering readers may ask why I include NOAA and FWS endangered species and critical habitat items in this newsletter, which does not directly address fisheries. The answer is that first, we are all on one planet together and second, maritime activities that take an endangered or threatened species or damage a critical habitat are subject to government sanctions. It is truly a complex world.
OMB – review of CBP proposal re coastwise trade
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has commenced its review of a proposal by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regarding transportation of certain merchandise and equipment between coastwise points. OMB review normally takes about two months. (3/17/10). Note: It is uncertain what is involved in this proposal, but it should be noted that CBP recently had to withdraw a plan to revise by means of a Customs ruling its policy regarding coastwise transportation of merchandise and equipment on the outer continental shelf (OCS) when objections were raised in various quarters, including this newsletter, regarding use of a ruling letter to make a major policy change.
House – hearing on capacity of vessels to meet export requirements
The Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure conducted a hearing on the capacity of vessels to meet US import and export requirements. The hearing was in conjunction with the recent Executive Order creating a National Export Initiative. Committee Chair James Oberstar (D-MN) expressed concern about an apparent shortage of cargo containers, particularly at inland areas of the United States. Subcommittee Chair Elijah Cummings (D-MD) stated the recent economic crises seems to have resulted in a shortage of ships and containers for US exports. Mr. Richard Lidinsky, Chairman, Federal Maritime Commission, testified that FMC analysis indicates that carriers are slowly increasing capacity as demand rises from recent historic lows. He stated that the FMC is launching an investigation into the situation. Mr. Robert Sappio, American President Lines, testified that APL regularly talks with its customers in order to gauge future demand and then works to have capacity meet demand. Mr. Chris Mullally, Mohawk Trading Company, testified concerning his frustration in finding an adequate supply of containers for use in exporting his cargo, particularly when it seems that many containers are transported overseas empty. Mr. Michael Berzon, National Industrial Transportation League, testified concerning recent efforts by carriers to control import capacity and pricing.
FMC – investigation of vessel and equipment capacity
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued an Order of Investigation for a non-adjudicatory investigation into current conditions and practices in the US liner trades and into potential impediments to the flow of ocean-borne import and export trades. (3/17/10).
IMO – preview of MEPC session
The IMO issued a news release previewing the upcoming session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), schedule to be held in London on 22-26 March. Among other things, the session will consider formal approval of the proposed North American Emission Control Area, special requirements for the use or carriage of oils in the Antarctic area, and establishment of a date on which the discharge requirements for the Wider Caribbean Region Special Area (including the Gulf of Mexico) under MARPOL Annex V (garbage) will come into effect. (3/17/10).
Canada – transportation safety
The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada issued its Watchlist outlining safety recommendation for marine, air, and rail transportation. Transport Canada issued a news release summarizing progress in transportation safety in Canada. Among other things, it reports that 2008 showed an 8% decrease from the 2007 number of marine accidents. (3/16/10).
Ireland – development and modernization of Irish Maritime Administration
The Irish Minister for Transport, Mr. Noel Dempsey T.D., issued a press release addressing the development and modernization of the Irish Maritime Administration, with emphasis on the recent assessment of marine aids to navigation around the United Kingdom and Ireland. (3/16/10).
UK – MAIB Business Plan
The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) published its Business Plan 2010-11. In addition to conducting accident investigations, the MAIB plans to replace the existing Marine Incident Database System with an efficient and cost effective system that will reflect modern accident investigation processes and fulfill the UK’s data provision obligations to the European Commission and IMO. (3/17/10).
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 – March 2010