Headlines: DOJ – lodging of consent decree; NBSAC meeting; FMC – ocean carrier export and import capacity; St. Lawrence Seaway – general notice; Houston – pest discovered in wood packing material; Senate – nomination hearing; Australia – increase in Protection of the Sea Levy; UK – seafarer statistics; and Torrey Canyon oil spill – March 18, 1967.
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DOJ – lodging of consent decree
The Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a notice stating that a proposed consent decree has been lodged with the US District Court for the Western District of Washington. The consent decree relates to proposed settlement of claims by the federal government, the State of Washington, and two Indian tribes as natural resource trustees for natural resource damages resulting from an oil spill from a tanker into waterways near Vashon and Maury Islands in Puget Sound on October 13, 2004. Under the proposed consent decree, the tanker owner would pay assessment costs and damages totaling $588,000. Comments on the proposal should be submitted within 30 days. 75 Fed. Reg. 13304 (March 19, 2010).
NBSAC – meeting
The National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC) and its subcommittees, sponsored by the US Coast Guard, will meet in Arlington, Virginia on April 15-17. 75 Fed. Reg. 13294 (March 19, 2010).
FMC – ocean carrier export and import capacity
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued a news release stating that its fact finding investigation into ocean vessel capacity and shipping equipment availability has been launched. Commissioner Rebecca Dye has been named to lead the fact finding. The FMC staff has also been working with the Department of Agriculture, exporters, and ocean carriers on ways to make shipping container demand, location, and availability more transparent to all parties. (3/17/10).
St. Lawrence Seaway – general notice
In anticipation of the March 25 opening of the navigation season, the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System issued its General Notice providing information on such things as seaway drafts, speed limits, and vessel dimensions. (3/18/10).
Houston – pest discovered in wood packing material
The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a news release stating that its inspectors recently found some wood-boring beetles in wood packing material associated with cargo arriving in Houston from Italy. One of the beetle species had never before been identified in the United States. The wood packing material and its associated cargo were fumigated and re-exported to Italy. (3/17/10).
Senate – nomination hearing
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation conducted a hearing on several nominations to senior positions in the Executive Branch. Committee Chair Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) made an opening statement, as did Ranking Member Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX). VADM Robert J. Papp, Jr., nominated to be the next Commandant of the US Coast Guard testified regarding his priorities and objectives for the service. Dr. Larry Robinson was nominated to the position of Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere. Dr. Earl Weener was nominated to be a Member of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Dr. Michael Tillman was nominated to be a Member of the Marine Mammal Commission. Dr. Daryl Boness was nominated to be a Member of the Marine Mammal Commission and renominated to serve as Chairman. (3/18/10).
Australia – increase in Protection of the Sea Levy
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) issued a notice reminding ship owners, operators, and masters that, effective 1 April, the Protection of the Sea Levy will increase from 11.25 cents to 14.25 cents per net registered ton. Marine Notice 7/2010 (3/18/10).
UK – seafarer statistics
The UK Department for Transport issued the UK Seafarer Statistics: 2009. In that year, there were approximately 26,700 UK national working regularly as seafarers. This represents a 4% increase over 2002, when full statistics were first collected. The number of certified officers has decreased though. (3/18/10).
TORREY CANYON oil spill – March 18, 1967
On the world stage, the grounding of the supertanker TORREY CANYON on Pollard’s Rock in the Seven Stones reef between Cornwall and the Scilly Isles is more significant than the 1989 EXXON VALDEZ oil spill. The TORREY CANYON was one of the first tankers large enough (120,000 tons capacity) to be designated a supertanker. It was also the first loaded supertanker to spill its entire cargo. After salvage efforts failed and the oil flow increased, the British Government decided to bomb the ship in an attempt to burn the oil. This was a radical decision because the wreck was outside the three-mile territorial sea limit prevalent at that time. The Royal Air Force had difficulty hitting the ship, so the Royal Navy sent its planes in. They succeeded in striking the ship, but the bombs did not ignite the oil, which washed up on beaches throughout the British Isles and France. The actions of the British Government were subsequently ratified with the adoption of the International Convention relating to Intervention on the High Seas in cases of Oil Pollution Casualties, 1969. Liability of ship owners for such events was codified in the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1969. By raising the awareness of both the industry and the public concerning the threat of maritime pollution, the disaster was also a major factor in development of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973.
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