Headlines: CRS – changes in the Arctic; MARAD - $14.7 million in grants to small shipyards; DHS OIG – efficacy of DHS grant programs; USCG – Port Security Advisory re conditions of entry; Mayport, Florida – restricted areas and danger zone; Missouri River – Authorized Purposes Study; FMC – meeting on April 21; Houston – study of air emissions from ships; FMC – remarks of Commissioner Khouri at Global Liner Shipping Conference; Great Barrier Reef – Shen Neng 1 update; New Zealand – Safe Seas, Clean Seas; and Texas City disaster – April 16, 1947.
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CRS – changes in the Arctic
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) issued a report on Changes in the Arctic. It notes that, with the diminishment of ice-cover in the Arctic Ocean, human (and particularly commercial) activity in that region has increased. As one of the five Arctic coastal nations, the United States has significant economic and environmental interests in the Arctic. It is in the best interests of the United States to devote increased attention to that region. R41153 (3/30/10).
MARAD – $14.7 million in grants for small shipyards
The Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a news release stating that the Maritime Administration (MARAD) is awarding grants totaling $14.7 million to small US shipyard for the purchase of modern equipment and the training of workers. (4/15/10).
DHS OIG – efficacy of DHS grant programs
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released its report on the efficacy of DHS grant programs. The report states that the programs lead to redundancy and gaps because of the lack of coordination between the various programs. The major cause of the lack of coordination is the implementing legislation, which is largely separate for the various programs, with different criteria and timelines. OIG-10-69 (4/9/10).
USCG – Port Security Advisory re conditions of entry
The US Coast Guard issued a revised 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. A revision was necessary because Timor Leste had been inadvertently omitted from the earlier advisory. Port Security Advisory 3-10 (4/14/10).
Mayport, Florida – restricted areas and danger zone
The US Army Corps of Engineers issued a final rule expanding the existing restricted area at Naval Station Mayport, as well as establishing two new restricted areas at that facility. In addition, it established a new danger zone in waters adjacent to and within the facility. The rule comes into effect on May 17. 75 Fed. Reg. 19885 (April 16, 2010).
Missouri River – Authorized Purposes Study
The US Army Corps of Engineers issued a notice stating that it intends to prepare an environmental impact statement for the Missouri River Authorized Purposes Study. The authorized Missouri River project purposes are: fish and wildlife, flood control, irrigation, navigation, power, recreation, water quality, and water supply. 75 Fed. Reg. 19948 (April 16, 2010).
FMC – meeting on April 21
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued an official notice 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. 75 Fed. Reg. 19974 (April 16, 2010).
Houston – study of air emissions from ships
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a news release stating that it is engaged in a study of air emissions from ships in the Gulf of Mexico. The study involves a partnership with the Mexican federal government, the Port of Houston Authority, and Hamburg Süd (which is making one of its vessels available for the testing). Measurements will be taken before, during, and after the ship utilizes lower sulfur marine fuel. The requirement for most vessels in US waters (including the EEZ) to utilize lower sulfur marine fuel comes into force in August 2012. (4/15/10).
FMC – remarks of Commissioner Khouri at Global Liner Shipping Conference
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) released remarks given by Commissioner Michael Khouri at the Global Liner Shipping Conference. His remarks focused on anti-trust immunity and the current fact-finding investigation regarding vessel capacity and availability. (4/13/10).
Great Barrier Reef – Shen Neng 1 update
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) issued a preliminary report including various facts known about the April 3 grounding, but not reaching any conclusions. Among other things, it states that the first mate, who was on watch at the time of the grounding, had only 2.5 hours of sleep in the previous 37 hours. Due in part to a last minute course change, the GPS off-track alarm had been disabled. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) issued an update summarizing response operations since the April 3 grounding. Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) issued a media release stating that inclement weather has delayed underwater inspection of the Shen Neng 1. (4/15/10).
New Zealand – Safe Seas, Clean Seas
Maritime New Zealand released the latest edition of its Safe Seas, Clean Seas newsletter regarding maritime safety and marine environmental protection. (4/15/10).
Texas City disaster – April 16, 1947
On April 16, 1947, in the port of Texas City, Texas, the freighter GRANDCAMP, with a cargo of ammonium nitrate, small arms ammunition, machinery, and sisal twine, caught fire. The fire quickly spread to the nearby freighter HIGH FLYER, loaded with ammonium nitrate and sulfur. When the two ships exploded, it largely flattened the harbor area. It is estimated that over 600 people died in the explosion and fires (exact numbers were unattainable due to the extent of damage). The US Coast Guard investigation of the casualty determined that the fire was initiated by unauthorized smoking in the cargo hold of the GRANDCAMP. It recommended, among other things, that regulations for carriage of dangerous goods be revised.
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