Headlines: Gulf of Mexico – USCG medevacs UK citizen from Russian research vessel; House – bill introduced to revitalize waterfronts; IMO – 2010 STCW International Diplomatic Conference; NATO – counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden; EC – Cypriot special reduced tax proposal approved; EU – rights of ship passengers; Australia – “distinct occasion” for purposes of limitation of liability; and Haiti – turnover to APN for normal operation.
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Gulf of Mexico – USCG medevacs UK citizen from Russian research vessel
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it medically evacuated a UK citizen from a Russian seismic survey vessel in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 250 miles west of St. Petersburg, Florida. (3/24/10). Note: The news release does not explain why a Russian vessel was conducting a survey of the US outer continental shelf.
House – bill introduced to revitalize waterfronts
Representative Pallone (D-NJ) introduced the Coastal Jobs Creation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4914) to promote coastal jobs creation, promote sustainable fisheries and fishing communities, revitalize waterfronts, and for other purposes. (3/23/10).
IMO – 2010 STCW International Diplomatic Conference
The 2010 STCW International Diplomatic Conference will be held in Manila on 21-25 June. (1/11/10).
NATO – counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) issued a news release stating that its counter-piracy mission commenced on 24 March 2009. Since then, piracy activity in the Gulf of Aden has decreased. In addition to direct counter-piracy operations, NATO forces in the area also engage in regional-state counter-piracy capacity building. (3/24/10).
EC – Cypriot special reduced tax proposal approved
The European Commission (EC) issued a press release stating that it approved under state aid rules a proposal by the Cypriot government to impose a special reduced tax on companies engaged in international maritime transport, which replaces the corporate tax. (3/24/10).
EU – rights of ship passengers
The Council of the European Union issued a press release stating that it adopted a position at first reading on a proposal for regulations aimed at improving the rights of ship passengers. (3/24/10).
Australia – “distinct occasion” for purposes of limitation of liability
In a case of first impression, the Federal Court of Australia ruled that a series of events surrounding one ship caught in very heavy weather can constitute two “distinct occasions” for purposes of the limitation of liability under the Convention for the Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, 1976. In the instant case, a container ship arrived off the Port of Melbourne on 13 December 2008 as the weather deteriorated. The Port Phillip sea pilot brought the ship to an exposed anchorage near a gas pipeline and departed before the ship was anchored. After anchoring, the master called the Port of Melbourne Authority seeking permission to relocate. Approval was not given for an extended period and the pilot finally returned to the vessel. By then, the ship’s anchor had fouled the pipeline. The pilot directed various ship movements. Ultimately, the pipeline ruptured. The court held that the events leading up to the fouling of the pipeline constituted a “distinct occasion” and the events leading up to the rupture of the pipeline constituted a separate “distinct occasion”. As a result, the owner will be required to establish two limitation funds. Strong Wise Ltd v. Esso Australia Resources Pty Ltd,  FCA 240 (18 March 2010).
Haiti – turnover to APN for normal operation
The US Maritime Administration (MARAD) issued an advisory stating that port activities in Haiti have been turned over to Autorite Portuaire Nationale (APN) for normal operation. (3/22/10).
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