Headlines: IHO – urgent re-examination of ENC data; GPS – upgrade of Ground Control Segment software; NATO – pirate mother skiff intercepted and sunk off Somalia; USN – use of best management practices deters piracy; DRBOSAC meeting; FMC – hearing schedule re passenger vessel financial responsibility; USCG – Marine Inspector/Port State Control Officer Certification Policy; Alameda – newest cutter arrives; Norfolk – tug sinks at dock, spills fuel oil; Seattle – tug sinks at mooring; EMSA – newsletter; Australia – AMSA newsletter; and Douglas, Arizona – smugglers navigating in sewer.
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. An above-average newsletter.
IHO – urgent re-examination of ENC data
The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) issued a Circular Letter advising that, if electronic navigation charting (ENC) data regarding isolated shoals is not encoded in full accord with appropriate procedures, then the depth of the shoal will not be display when the Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) is operating in the “standard” or “base” display mode. In addition, on most ECDIS those same shoal depths will not trigger any automatic grounding alarms in any mode of display. States and commercial companies that produce ENC data are urged to take immediate action to verify the integrity of such data. Until that data can be verified, notices to mariners should be issued advising mariners of the potential problem. During this period, while engaged in voyage planning, mariners should visually inspect the planned route and any deviations using the ECDIS configured to display “all data”. Circular Letter 21/2010 (2/24/10). Note: Be careful out there. As Toyota has recently discovered, technology is not infallible.
GPS – upgrade of Ground Control Segment software
The Civil Global Positioning System Service Interface Committee (CGSIC), administered by the US Coast Guard issued a notice stating that, on March 5, the GPS program will be revising the Ground Control Segment software to the 5.5.0 D version. This software upgrade does not modify the content of the broadcast navigation message and should therefore be transparent to all users. All testing has been completed and confidence is very high that the upgrade will perform without any change noticeable to users. The CGSIC would like your confirmation on this. If you observe anything unusual in the GPS constellation or in user GPS equipment operation on March 5, or during the following week, please notify the USCG Navigation Center as soon as possible, in accordance with Notice Advisory to NAVSTAR Users (NANU) 2010041. (3/1/10).
NATO – pirate mother skiff intercepted and sunk off Somalia
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) issued a news release stating that one of its warships intercepted and sank a pirate mother skiff in the Somali Basin shortly after the skiff left a well-known pirate camp on the eastern Somali coast. The skiff was loaded with pirate equipment and supplies when it was intercepted. (3/1/10).
USN – use of best management practices deters piracy
The US Navy issued a news release noting that commercial vessels that have adopted and utilized the Best Management Practices relating to counter-piracy measures have had a high degree of success in avoiding hijacking by Somali pirates. (3/1/10).
DRBOSAC – meeting
The Delaware River and Bay Oil Spill Advisory Committee (DRBOSAC), sponsored by the US Coast Guard, will meet in Philadelphia on March 17. 75 Fed. Reg. 9426 (March 2, 2010).
FMC – hearing schedule re passenger vessel financial responsibility
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued an official notice establishing the schedule for its March 3 hearing on passenger vessel financial responsibility. 75 Fed. Reg. 9415 (March 2, 2010).
USCG – Marine Inspector/Port State Control Officer Certification Policy
The US Coast Guard posted a revised version of its Policy Letter on Marine Inspector/Port State Control Officer Certification Program. (12/29/09). Note: I observed several non-substantive changes from the original, but without some assistance these tired eyes are unable to locate any substantive changes.
Alameda – newest cutter arrives
The US Coast Guard issued a news release and accompanying photos stating that the service’s newest cutter, the USCGC Waesche arrived at its homeport of Alameda. (2/28/10).
Norfolk – tug sinks at dock, spills fuel oil
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that a tug capsized and sank in a shipyard in Norfolk, resulting in the release of approximately 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel. Clean-up and salvage are underway. The incident is under investigation. (3/1/10).
Seattle – tug sinks at mooring
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that the bow of a tug moored in Seattle became wedged under the dock. When the tide rose, the tug took on water and sank. The extent of the resulting oil spill is undetermined at this time. A salvage plan is being developed. The incident is under investigation. (2/28/10).
EMSA – newsletter
The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) issued its newsletter for March. (3/1/10).
Australia – AMSA newsletter
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) posted the latest edition of its newsletter – AMSA Aboard. The newsletter discusses the latest developments at the agency. (3/1/10).
Douglas, Arizona – smugglers navigating in sewers
The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a news release stating that, in an attempt to smuggle drugs across the US-Mexico border, criminals have adopted the practice of “navigating in sewers”. A suspicious person was observed in the sewer in Douglas, Arizona, located on the border with Mexico. When approached, the individual fled by wading through the sewer toward Mexico, leaving his things behind. The objects left behind included a 55-pound bundle of marijuana, a wet suit, a swimming mask, and a scuba tank. (2/26/10). Note: There was no word on whether the Douglas sewer system is considered to be part of the navigable waters of the United States. Assuming that the sewer is dark, should the “vessel” have been equipped with lights? Is this a new challenge for the Coast Guard?
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