Headlines: Gulf of Mexico – oil rig explosion and fire; Gulf of Aden – bulker hijacked by pirates; Somali Basin – pirates attack warship, results as expected; IMO – piracy and armed robbery against ships during 2009; USMMA – seeking professors in marine transportation; Florida – seaport security assessment; IMO – preview of Conference on Revision of HNS Convention; Australia – Shen Neng 1 kept out of port by “lumpy” seas; New Zealand – MOSS consultation; UK – report on scalding injury; and Earth Day.
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Gulf of Mexico – oil rig explosion and fire
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it was responding to an explosion and fire on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 52 miles southeast of Venice, Louisiana. There are approximately 126 people on the rig. A second news release states that seven critical injuries have been reported. Approximately 12 persons are missing. The fire is still burning. The incident is under investigation. A third news release states that 115 crewmembers have been accounted for. Of these, 17 have been medically evacuated to hospitals ashore. Eleven crewmembers remain unaccounted for. Response efforts continue. Several photographs are posted on a video release. (4/21/10).
Gulf of Aden – bulker hijacked by pirates
The EU Maritime Security Centre-Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA) issued a press release stating that a bulk carrier was hijacked by pirates in the Gulf of Aden. The ship was headed toward the International Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) at the time, but was 280 miles east, when four pirates stormed aboard with AK47s and an RPG. (4/21/10).
Somali Basin – pirates attack warship, results as expected
The EU Maritime Security Centre-Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA) issued a press release stating that, on the night of 19 April, a French Navy replenishment ship came under attack by two skiffs with six pirates on board. After the pirates opened fire, the naval vessel fired warning shots, causing the pirates to flee. While chasing the skiffs, the naval vessel found and boarded the suspected mother ship. In addition to two suspected pirates, the mother ship had weapons, grappling hooks, and extra fuel on board. The mother ship was destroyed and the suspected pirates detained. One of the two skiffs was then found, with a further four individuals on board. Those suspected pirates were also detained. (4/21/10). Note: This is about the fifth time that pirates have attacked warships off the coast of Somalia. If more warships were deployed, the pirates would be fully occupied with such endeavors. Merchant vessels could then operate in relative peace.
IMO – piracy and armed robbery against ships during 2009
The IMO issued a circular summarizing and analyzing acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships reported to the organization during 2009. It received reports of 406 such incidents, an increase of 24.6% over the 300 reports received during 2008. Most reports related to incidents in waters off East Africa and in the Far East. MSC.4/Circ.152 (3/29/10).
USMMA – seeking professors in marine transportation
The US Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) at Kings Point, New York posted a job announcement stating that it is seeking applicants for five (5) positions as assistant professors of marine transportation. Applications must be received by 21 May. (4/21/10).
Florida – seaport security assessment
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) issued the Florida Seaport Security Assessment 2010. The report notes that, while the state seaport security legislation predates the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the federal Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) and its implementing regulations have largely made the state requirements duplicative and unnecessarily costly. (February 2010).
IMO – preview of Conference on Revision of HNS Convention
The IMO issued a news release providing a preview of the International Conference on the Revision of the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea, 1996 (HNS Convention). The Conference is to be held in London on 26-30 April and will go ahead as scheduled now that airspace restrictions in the UK have been lifted. (4/21/10).
Australia – Shen Neng 1 kept out of port by “lumpy” seas
Maritime Safety Queensland issued a media release stating that the damaged bulker Shen Neng 1 is being kept from docking in Gladstone due to continuing bad weather and “lumpy” seas. (4/22/10).
New Zealand – MOSS consultation
Maritime New Zealand is proposing a new Maritime Operator Safety System (MOSS) to replace the current Safe Ship Management (SSM) system. The changes are intended to reduce complexity and improve the quality of regulatory oversight. Comments on the proposal should be submitted by 2 July. (4/21/10).
UK – report on scalding injury
The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) issued the summary of its preliminary examination of a scalding injury incurred by a fitter in the engineroom of a merchant ship. The fitter and two engineering officers were installing protection shields on several main engine cylinders. One of the shields could not be installed, so one of the engineering officers removed some bolts holding a piece of equipment that was blocking access. Unfortunately, the bolts also secured the cooling water pipe. The pipe came loose and drenched the fitter with very hot water. (4/21/10).
Earth Day – April 22, 2010
Today marks the fortieth anniversary of the recognition of Earth Day, intended to increase our awareness of the complexity and interdependence of life. A lot has changed in those 40 years. There have been a number of ecological success stories, such as the increase in the number of bald eagles. Other species, such as the North Atlantic right whale, remain at risk. Do your part today.
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