Headlines: Somalia – seven pirates attack, one dies; Indian Ocean – freighter hijacked by pirates; Gulf of Aden – freighter hijacked by pirates; ReCAAP – report for February; MARAD – extension of VISA; Savannah – oil spill response update; Puget Sound – oil spill response exercise; California – Prevention First oil spill symposium; UK – bulletin re fixed high expansion foam fire extinguishing systems; and Exxon Valdez oil spill – March 24, 1989.
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Somalia – seven pirates attack, one dies
The EU Maritime Security Centre-Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA) issued a press release stating that a freighter successfully repelled pirates when attacked off the coast of Somalia. A second press release provides more details. It states that the pirates attacked twice. The freighter carried an armed private vessel protection detachment, which returned the pirate’s gun fire. An EU warship was dispatched. The warship’s helicopter fired warning shots at the fleeing pirate skiffs. When the skiffs were boarded, one of the pirates was found to be dead from a small caliber gunshot wound. The six remaining suspects were taken into custody. The mother skiff was destroyed. (3/23/10).
Indian Ocean – freighter hijacked by pirates
The EU Maritime Security Centre-Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA) issued a press release stating that a freighter in the Indian Ocean approximately 1,000 miles east of Somalia has been hijacked by pirates. No information is currently available regarding the 21 crewmembers. (3/23/10). Note: This is one of the closest pirate attacks to the coast of India (approximately 400 miles offshore) and provides further evidence of the range of the Somali-based pirates.
Gulf of Aden – freighter hijacked by pirates
The EU Maritime Security Centre-Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA) issued a press release stating that a freighter in the Gulf of Aden approximately 120 miles off the coast of Oman has been hijacked by pirates. No information is currently available regarding the 23 crewmembers. (3/23/10).
ReCAAP – report for February
The ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre issued its Report for February 2010. It states that there were seven incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships reported in Asia during the month. Of these, six were actual incidents and one was an attempted incident. Of the six actual incidents, one (involving the hijacking of the tug Asta on 6 February) was considered Category 1 (very significant). Compared to the same period in 2007, 2008, and 2009, there was an increase in the total number of incidents reported. (3/23/10).
MARAD – extension of VISA
The Maritime Administration (MARAD) issued a notice stating that the Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement (VISA) has been extended until October 1, 2011. The purpose of the VISA is to make intermodal shipping services/systems, including ships, ships’ space, intermodal equipment, and related management services, available to the Department of Defense as required to support emergency deployment and sustainment of US military forces. 75 Fed. Reg. 14245 (March 24, 2010).
Savannah – oil spill response update
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that response to the recent oil spill on the Savannah River continues. Vessels are required to operate at the minimum safe speed when transiting between Elba Island and the Ocean Terminal. (3/23/10).
Puget Sound – oil spill response exercise
The Washington State Department of Ecology issued a news release stating that it and private sector entities will conduct a oil spill response exercise in Padilla Bay in Puget Sound on March 25. (3/23/10).
California – Prevention First oil spill symposium
The California State Lands Commission (SLC) is sponsoring Prevention First 2010, to be held in Long Beach on October 19-20. (3/23/10).
UK – bulletin re fixed high expansion foam fire extinguishing systems
The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) issued a safety bulletin advising that the fixed high expansion foam fire extinguishing system on a ro-ro passenger ferry recently failed to extinguish a fire in the auxiliary machinery space. The system have been installed and maintained in accordance with applicable manufacturer’s instructions and IMO guidance and had recently been tested to the satisfaction of the classification society/flag state surveyor. Post-accident investigation, though, revealed that numerous foam generator nozzles were blocked by debris. The distribution pipework also contained debris and corrosion. Owners and operators of ships having similar systems are advised, on an urgent basis, to remove and inspect all foam generator nozzles and to inspect sections of the distribution piping in which water or foam solution might collect and to fit drains where appropriate. (3/23/10).
EXXON VALDEZ oil spill – March 24, 1989
On March 24, 1989, the single-hull tanker EXXON VALDEZ was departing the Port of Valdez, Alaska will a full load of North Slope crude oil (approximately 1.26 million barrels) destined for Long Beach when it grounded on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound. The resulting oil spill (approximately 258,000 barrels), while not the largest in US history, was clearly the most important. It engendered much litigation. Public concern over the spill led directly to enactment of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90), which mandated double hulls for new tankers, response plans, and a number of other remedial measures. OPA 90 also significantly changed the liability and compensation scheme for oil spills in US waters. The amount of oil entering waters of the United States from ships drastically decreased following implementation of OPA 90. As a personal note, I was directly involved in development and promulgation of regulations implementing OPA 90 for the US Coast Guard. A lot has changed in the succeeding 21 years, most significantly the commitment of the maritime industry to prevent oil pollution from ships. One can only hope that oil discharges from point sources and non-point sources ashore demonstrate similar reductions.
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