Headlines: White House – Executive Order re persons contributing to the conflict in Somalia; UK – House of Lords report on Combating Somali Piracy; DOS – signing of Megaports Agreement with Argentina; USCG – Port Security Advisory re conditions of entry; Port Angeles – ship held to investigate allegedly intoxicated master; MARAD – solicitation of applications for Marine Highway Projects; USCG – Inland Navigation Rules moved to CFR; COAC meeting; PHMSA – meeting re international standards on transport of dangerous goods; FMC – meeting on April 21; FMC – remarks of Commissioner Dye at NCBFAA Conference; FMC – vacancy announcement; Seattle – wood-boring insects found in containers; EC – suit to be brought against Greece for illegal shipyard aid; Australia – investigation of fatality on container ship; Great Barrier Reef – update re Shen Neng 1; and RMS Titanic sinks – April 15, 1912.
April 15, 2010
Bryant’s Maritime Blog
Bryant’s Maritime Consulting - 4845 SW 91st Way - Gainesville, FL 32608-8135 - USA
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. Good morning, Mr. and Mrs. America and all the ships at sea (with apologies to the later Walter Winchell).
White House – Executive Order re persons contributing to the conflict in Somalia
The White House released an Executive Order signed by President Obama that blocks all property and interests in property of any person listed in the Annex to the Executive Order and any other person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury to have engaged in acts that directly or indirectly threaten the peace, security, or stability of Somalia. The text of a Message to Congress concerning Somalia was also released. At the same time, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued a Bulletin listing various and entities that have been added to (or changed on) its list of Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs) referred to in the Executive Order. (4/13/10). I find the new Executive Order re Somalia to be highly confusing. Piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia are mentioned in the preamble of the Executive Order, but the real focus seems to be on individuals and entities that threaten the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). The OFAC Bulletin revising the list of Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs) seems to be addressing Al-Shabaab and its leadership. There may be a pirate or two on the list, but I can’t tell for sure, not knowing the pirates or Al-Shabaab that well. The Executive Order does not mention whether the payment of ransom to pirates, Al-Shabaab, or anyone else is prohibited. Certainly, the federal government took no action when at least one US company paid ransom to rebels/terrorists in Latin America. The Executive Order does succeed in causing uncertainty within the international maritime community. At the moment, there are no US citizens or US-registered vessels being held hostage by Somali pirates. There are citizens and ships of allied nations being held hostage though. Could a zealous US Attorney charge a foreign ship owner (or its insurer) that has a US presence for paying a ransom to the pirates? It is now a possibility. While there might not be a conviction, there could easily be a messy court proceeding if such charges were brought. Assuming that Al-Shabaab (and their fellow-travelers) is the real target here, inclusion of the mention of piracy in the Executive Order is unfortunately misleading. If piracy is one of the intended targets of the Executive Order, then it should have been more clearly stated. Then again, possibly this uncertainty was intentional.
UK – House of Lords report on Combating Somali Piracy
The European Union Committee of the UK House of Lords released its report on Combating Somali Piracy: the EU’s Naval Operation Atalanta. The 114-page report is highly nuanced and comprehensive. The report condemns piracy and expresses strong support for efforts to eradicate it. Use of private security guards on merchant vessels is opposed, but assignment of military personnel to civilian vessels transiting high-risk waters is endorsed. Payment of ransom to pirates to secure the release of hijacked ships and crews is confirmed to not be an offense under either international or UK law, even though its necessity is highly regrettable. Marine insurance companies are encouraged to require ship owners to adopt best management practices to reduce the risk of hijacking by pirates. (4/14/10).
DOS – signing of Megaports Agreement with Argentina
The US Department of State (DOS) issued the remarks delivered by Secretary Clinton at the signing of the Megaports Agreement with Argentina. The agreement is intended to reduce the risk of smuggling of nuclear and other radioactive material. It provides for installation of radiation detection equipment and associated infrastructure in the Port of Buenos Aires. (4/13/10).
USCG – Port Security Advisory re conditions of entry
The US Coast Guard issued an advisory stating that, effective April 27, it will impose conditions of entry on vessels arriving to the United States from the Sao Tome and Principe, during their last five port calls. The advisory includes the current list of countries that the US Coast Guard had determined to be not maintaining effective anti-terrorism measures. In summary, each affected vessel must: (1) implement the Security Level 2 measures from its ship security plan while in a port of a listed country; (2) ensure that each access point is guarded and that guards have total visibility of the exterior of the vessel while in such a port; (3) attempt to execute a Declaration of Security while in such a port; (4) log all security actions; and (5) report actions taken to the pertinent USCG Captain of the Port [COTP] prior to arrival in the US. Port Security Advisory 3-10 (4/14/10).
Port Angeles – ship held to investigate allegedly intoxicated master
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it has ordered a cargo vessel to remain at anchor in Port Angeles. During a routine boarding, Coast Guard personnel found that the master showed signs of intoxication. The matter is now under investigation. (4/14/10).
MARAD – solicitation of applications for Marine Highway Projects
The Maritime Administration (MARAD) is soliciting applications for Marine Highway Projects, as specified in the America’s Marine Highway Program Final Rule. The application period begins immediately and is open through June 11. 75 Fed. Reg. 19383 (April 15, 2010). Note: An application may be submitted by a Project Sponsor, which is defined as a public entity, including but not limited to a metropolitan planning organization, state government, port authority, or tribal government. Project Sponsors are encouraged to develop coalitions and public/private partnerships with the common objective of developing the specific Marine Highway Project.
USCG – Inland Navigation Rules moved to CFR
The US Coast Guard issued a final rule placing the Inland Navigation Rules in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Several years ago, Congress authorized the Coast Guard to adopt regulations for the Inland Navigation Rules and directed that the statutory version of the Rules would be repealed upon such adoption. The final rule comes into effect on May 17. This is solely an administrative process and no substantive changes to the Inland Navigation Rules are intended. 75 Fed. Reg. 19544 (April 15, 2010).
COAC – meeting
The Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations of Customs and Border Protection (COAC), sponsored by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), will meet in Philadelphia on May 11. Topics on the agenda include Importer Security Filing (“10+2”), automation, import safety, and trade facilitation. 75 Fed. Reg. 19655 (April 15, 2010).
PHMSA – meeting re international standards on transport of dangerous goods
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) will conduct a public meeting in Washington, DC on June 9 to prepare for an upcoming session of the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods. 75 Fed. Reg. 19671 (April 15, 2010).
FMC – meeting on April 21
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued a news release stating that it will conduct a meeting in its office in Washington, DC on April 21. During the open session, the Commission will consider the FY 2010 budget and its study of the EU position on liner conferences. (4/14/10).
FMC – remarks of Commissioner Dye at NCBFAA Conference
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) released remarks delivered by Commissioner Rebecca Dye at the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA) Conference. Among other things, she discussed the investigation into shipping capacity, regulatory relief for non-vessel-operating common carriers (NVOCCs), and anti-trust immunity for liner conferences. (4/13/10).
FMC – vacancy announcement
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued a Vacancy Announcement stating that the agency is seeking to hire an attorney. Applications must be received by May 12. (4/14/10).
Seattle – wood-boring insects found in containers
The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a news release stating that wood-boring insects and other pests have been found in containers arriving in the Port of Seattle from overseas. (4/13/10).
EC – suit to be brought against Greece for illegal shipyard aid
The European Commission (EC) issued a press release stating that it has decided to refer Greece to the European Court of Justice for not complying with a Commission decision that found that state aid was unlawfully granted to Hellenic Shipyards and should, therefore, have been recovered. (4/14/10).
Australia – investigation of fatality on container ship
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) issued the report of its investigation into the fatality on board a container ship at Townsville, Queensland on 24 November 2008. The crewmember died after he fell during an operation to stow the number three cargo crane hook. Investigation revealed that the design of the cargo crane hook cradle did not allow for unassisted stowage when the ship had a stern trim in excess of 2.1m; there were no guidelines or procedures available on board to assist the crew with the task of stowing the hook when it was misaligned with the cradle; the crane operations job safety analysis did not identify the risks associated with stowing the hook in these circumstances; and in these circumstances the crew routinely violated the working aloft procedure by climbing the emergency ladder adjacent to the hook’s cradle without a permit or appropriate personal protective equipment. The crewmember may also have been under the influence of alcohol, which may have adversely affected his reaction time. MO-2008-011 (4/14/10).
Great Barrier Reef – update re Shen Neng 1
Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) issued a media release stating that initial reports from divers indicate that the Shen Neng 1 incurred substantial damage to the bottom in way of the engine room. Workers are removing a small amount of oil, presumed to be from the vessel, that washed ashore on North West Island, about ten miles from the site of the April 3 grounding. (4/14/10).
RMS Titanic sinks – April 15, 1912
On this date 98 years ago, the RMS Titanic of the White Star Line sank in the North Atlantic several hours after having struck an iceberg. The ship was on its maiden voyage. Of the 2,223 persons on board, 1,517 died, due in large part to the fact that there was not enough lifeboat capacity for all on board. The International Convention on Safety of Life at Sea (which was a direct outgrowth of the tragedy) set minimum standards for lifeboat capacity thereafter, among other things. I reported yesterday that the Titanic was attempting to set a speed record when it allided with the iceberg. Several long-suffering readers advised me that this aspect has been widely reported over the years, but is incorrect. The ship was, though, running at speed at night in waters where icebergs had been reported. Several other ships in the area had stopped for the night due to poor visibility and the possible presence of icebergs.
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 – April 2010