Headlines: White House – monies sought for improvements to Port of Guam; USCG & Air National Guard – long-range medical evacuation; USCG – Port Access Route Study – Santa Barbara Channel; Shipping Coordinating Committee meeting; NOAA – spectacled eider five-year review; NOAA – delta smelt 12-month finding; NOAA – high resolution mapping of the Gulf of Mexico; USCG – efficiencies in VRP program; GAO – report on Delaware River deepening project; Australia – reminder re changes to ISM Code; Great Barrier Reef – update re grounded coal carrier; New Zealand – court upholds MNZ Director’s decision; and UK – MCA Targets 2010-11.
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White House – monies sought for improvements to Port of Guam
The White House released the text of a letter from President Obama to the Speaker of the House seeking authorization to transfer up to $50 million of Department of Defense funds that will expire in FY 2010 to the Maritime Administration (MARAD) for improvements to the Port of Guam. Modernization of the Port is a critical prerequisite for the military construction program supporting realignment of Marine Corps forces from Japan to Guam. (4/5/10).
USCG & Air National Guard – long-range medical evacuation
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it and the California Air National Guard teamed up to medically evacuate an injured man from a sailboat in the North Pacific Ocean 1,400 miles southwest of San Diego. A USCG C-130 aircraft delivered four Air National Guard pararescuemen and their equipment to the site. An AMVER-participating vessel diverted to pick up the injured man and the pararescuemen. (4/5/10).
USCG – Port Access Route Study – Santa Barbara Channel
The US Coast Guard is conducting a Port Access Route Study (PARS) to evaluate the continued applicability of and the need for modifications to current vessel routing in the approaches to Los Angeles-Long Beach and in the Santa Barbara Channel. The goal of the study is to help reduce the risk of marine casualties and increase the efficiency of vessel traffic in the study area. Comments on the PARS should be submitted by June 7. 75 Fed. Reg. 17562 (April 7, 2010).
Shipping Coordinating Committee – meeting
The Shipping Coordinating Committee, sponsored by the US Department of State, will meet in Washington, DC on April 20. The purpose of the meeting is to prepare for the IMO Diplomatic Conference to Revise the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea, 1996 (HNS Convention), to be held in London on April 26-30. 75 Fed. Reg. 17822 (April 7, 2010).
NOAA – spectacled eider five-year review
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has initiated a five-year status review for the spectacled eider, currently listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Three breeding populations have been identified on the Siberian coast, the coastal zone of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, and on the Arctic Coastal Plain. Molting occurs at sea in nearshore waters. The wintering area is in polynyas in the central Bering Sea. Comments on the review should be submitted by June 7. 75 Fed. Reg. 17760 (April 7, 2010).
NOAA – delta smelt 12-month finding
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a notice stating that it has completed its 12-month finding on a petition to reclassify the delta smelt as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The finding shows that the reclassification is warranted. The reclassification is precluded at this time due to other higher priority listing actions. NOAA will develop a proposed rule to reclassify the species as its priorities allow. 75 Fed. Reg. 17667 (April 7, 2010).
NOAA – high-resolution mapping of the Gulf of Mexico
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a news release stating that one of its hydrographic survey vessels is commencing a five-month effort to assemble a high-resolution map of the US waters of the Gulf of Mexico. (4/6/10).
USCG – efficiencies in VRP program
The US Coast Guard posted an article regarding efficiencies in the vessel response plan (VRP) program. By automating the program, costs have been reduced, as has the time between receipt of a plan and completion of the review process. In the future, most VRP will be in electronic format, making them readily accessible by field units. (4/2/10).
GAO – report on Delaware River deepening project
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued the report of its examination of the US Army Corps of Engineers proposed Delaware River deepening project. The planning for the project, which would deepen portions of the river from 40 feet to 45 feet, was examined in 2002 and found to be deficient. The Corps completed a new analysis in 2004, correcting many of the deficiencies identified earlier. The major problem with the 2004 analysis is that it has grown outdated, particularly with regard to the economic forecasts made at that time. The GAO recommends that the economic analysis be updated and that the opportunity for public notice and comment be expanded. GAO-10-420 (4/5/10).
Australia – reminder re changes to ISM Code
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) issued a notice reminding mariners that various changes to the International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention (ISM Code) come into effect. Among the changes is a new requirement to assess all identified risks and show within the company’s safety management system how those risks have been addressed. (3/31/10).
Great Barrier Reef – update on grounded coal carrier
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) issued a news release stating that it is investigating the April 3 grounding of the coal carrier at Douglas Shoal off the Queensland coast. Meanwhile, Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) issued a media release stating that an initial report into the structural integrity of the vessel has been prepared. (4/6/10).
New Zealand – court upholds MNZ Director’s decision
Maritime New Zealand issued a news release stating that the High Court has upheld the decision of the Director of Maritime New Zealand to withdraw approval for a company to operate as an inspector within the NZ Safe Ship Management (SSM) system. Approved SSM companies certify that vessels, their equipment, and their safety systems meet necessary maritime safety standards. The Director had withdrawn approval for a particular company following ongoing concerns over the company’s application and safety standards and after had been provided opportunity to address those concerns. (4/6/10).
UK – MCA Targets 2010-11
The UK Department for Transport published the Targets for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) for 2010-11. These include maintaining the quality of maritime emergency coordination and response and continuing work with various stakeholders on a coherent strategy to reduce seafarer fatigue. (4/6/10).
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