Headlines: EPA – IMO approves North American ECA; IMO – report on MEPC session; Houston/Galveston/Freeport – VOC emissions control; Narragansett Bay – modifications to RNA; FEMA – information collection for Port Security Grant Program; USA – interim change to Military Freight Traffic Unified Rules Publication No. 1; Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force meeting; White House – Alan Bersin appointed CBP Commissioner; Grays Harbor – vessel temporarily loses power; Indian Ocean – tanker evades pirate attack; EC – investigation closed re Baltic Max Feeder scheme; and New Zealand – ship and craft stores.
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EPA – IMO approves North American ECA
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a news release stating that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) officially accepted the proposal to designate certain waters off the coasts of North America as an Emission Control Area (ECA). When the ECA comes into effect starting in 2012 (sic), the sulphur content of fuel oil for ships subject to MARPOL Annex VI will be limited to 1.00% m/m. Ships may also utilize approved technical measures to lower their sulphur-oxide emissions to an equivalent level. (3/26/10). Note: The North American ECA will apply to most coastal waters of Canada and the United States and to waters surrounding the French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon. It will have a particular impact on vessels engaged in the Canadian and US coastwise trade as those vessels will operate almost exclusively within the ECA. While the EPA news release states that the ECA will come into effect in 2012, I believe this is a typo and that the ECA will actually come into effect on 1 August 2011. EPA rulemaking is expected to be forthcoming.
IMO – report on MEPC session
The IMO issued a news release stating that the 60th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) has concluded. Progress was made with regard to the proposed mandatory application of technical and operational measures designed to regulate and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from international shipping, but further efforts are required to finalize an agreement. The Committee adopted amendments to MARPOL Annex VI to formally establish the North American Emissions Control Area (ECA), which will come into effect on 1 August 2011. Another amendment will prohibit carriage of heavy-grade fuel oils in Antarctic waters. Final approval was granted to five ballast water management systems that make use of active substances and basic approval was granted to eight other systems. The Wider Caribbean Region Special Area under MARPOL Annex V (Garbage) will come into effect on 1 May 2011. Preliminary approval was given to proposed amendments to replace the text of MARPOL Annex III – Regulations for the prevention of pollution by harmful substances carried by sea in packaged form, with a view to subsequent adoption by MEPC 61. (3/26/10).
Houston/Galveston/Freeport – VOC emissions control
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a direct final rule approving a revision to the Texas State Implementation Plan (SIP) under the Clean Air Act. The revision adds additional requirements to control volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from storage tanks, transport vessels, and marine vessels in the Houston/Galveston/Brazoria (HGB) 1997 8-hour ozone nonattainment area, which consists of Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, and Waller counties. Specifically, this revision subjects owners and operators of VOC storage tanks, transport vessels, and marine vessels located in the HGB 1997 8-hour ozone nonattainment area to more stringent control, monitoring, and recordkeeping requirements. The direct final rule comes into effect on May 28, unless the EPA receives relevant adverse comments by April 28. 75 Fed. Reg. 15348 (March 29, 2010). For procedural reasons, the EPA also published a proposed rule containing the same information. Comments on the proposal should be submitted by April 28. 75 Fed. Reg. 14383 (March 29, 2010).
Narragansett Bay – modification to RNA
The US Coast Guard is modifying provisions contained in the existing regulated navigation area (RNA) that were implemented to address severe shoaling in the Providence River. This rule includes additional navigation safety measures for vessels transiting Narragansett Bay, namely a requirement to make periodic Safety Signal (SECURITE) calls at certain points along the transit and a requirement to maintain a minimum underkeel clearance to prevent groundings. Some measures previously proposed for the Taunton River and Mount Hope Bay in the vicinity of the two Brightman Street bridges have not been adopted. The modifications come into effect on April 28. 75 Fed. Reg. 15343 (March 29, 2010).
FEMA – information collection for the Port Security Grant Program
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued a notice stating that it is seeking approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for its expanded information collection activities regarding the Port Security Grant Program (PSGP). The notice states that the number of entities from which information will be sought and the estimated total annual burden hours have increased since the information collection program was last approved in 2009. FEMA now estimates that there will be 478 respondents and that it will take the average respondent 306 hours to meet the information collection burden. Comments on the proposal should be submitted by April 28. 75 Fed. Reg. 15444 (March 29, 2010).
USA – interim change to Military Freight Traffic Unified Rules Publication No. 1
The US Army issued a notice stating that, on March 29, it is making an interim change to the Military Freight Traffic Unified Rules Publication (MFTURP) No. 1. The interim change is intended to ensure that any fuel-related adjustment in a carriage contract is passed through to the entity bearing the cost of the fuel corresponding to that adjustment. 75 Fed. Reg. 15420 (March 29, 2010).
Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force – meeting
The Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) Task Force, sponsored by the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), will meet in Portland, Maine on May 5-6. 75 Fed. Reg. 15457 (March 29, 2010).
White House – Alan Bersin to be appointed CBP Commissioner
The White House issued a news release stating that President Obama will be making a number of “recess appointments” while the Senate is not in session. Among those to be appointed to high level positions within the Administration is Mr. Alan D. Bersin, to be appointed as Commissioner, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). (3/27/10).
Grays Harbor – vessel temporarily loses power
The Washington State Department of Ecology issued a news release stating that it and the US Coast Guard are monitoring a cargo vessel that lost power while approaching the port of Grays Harbor. The vessel anchored offshore after losing power and a tug was dispatched to attend the vessel. Power has been restored, but the vessel is prohibited from entering port until tests to determine the cause of the failure have been completed. (3/26/10).
Indian Ocean – tanker evades pirate attack
The EU Maritime Security Centre-Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA) issued a press release stating that a tanker en route from Durban to Kuwait was attacked by pirates in the Indian Ocean approximately 300 miles north of the Seychelles. The attack lasted about two hours and shots were fired by the pirates. Utilizing best management practices, the master was able to evade the pirates. (3/28/10).
EC – investigation closed re Baltic Max Feeder scheme
The European Commission (EC) issued a press release stating that it has closed its investigation into a potential breach of European Union competition rules in the planned “Baltic Max Feeder” scheme for feeder vessel owners since the scheme was abandoned. (3/26/10).
New Zealand – ship and craft stores
The New Zealand Customs Service issued a media release reminding masters that all stores for use or consumption on board a ship or seacraft must comply with legislative requirements for both stores imported on vessels and stores loaded in New Zealand for subsequent export. (3/26/10).
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