Headlines: NOAA – Arctic Vision and Strategy; NOAA – recovery plan for Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle; USCG – members sought for National Boating Safety Advisory Committee; Gulf of Mexico oil spill – vessel decontamination update; New York – Staten Island Ferry allides with pier, passengers injured; Senate – Coast Guard authorization bill passes; Senate – hearing on offshore oil and gas development; Senate – bills introduced re oil spill liability; House – bill introduced re oil spill liability; Congress – bill introduced to temporarily suspend certain OCS activities; Senate – bill introduced to modify OSLTF tax rate; Senate – bill introduced to stimulate offshore wind power industry; Arabian Sea – pirates hijack chemical tanker; Somali Basin – pirate action group disrupted; Spratly Islands – crew of hijacked tug found alive; IMO – 2005 Protocol to SUA Convention to come into force; Australia – meeting of National Plan Committee; Hong Kong – adherence to safe working practices; and Panama – envisioned as transportation and logistics hub.
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. No added salt or MSG.
NOAA – Arctic Vision and Strategy
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) seeks comments on its draft Arctic Vision and Strategy. The document provides a high-level framework and six strategic goals to address the agency’s highest priorities in the Arctic region. It is based upon assumptions that the region will: (1) continue to experience dramatic change; (2) become more accessible to human activities; and (3) be a focus of increasing global strategic interest. Comments must be submitted by June 10. 75 Fed. Reg. 25843 (May 10, 2010).
NOAA – recovery plan for Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has extended, through July 1, the period within which to submit comments on the draft Bi-National Recovery Plan for the Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle. 75 Fed. Reg. 25840 (May 10, 2010).
USCG – members sought for National Boating Safety Advisory Committee
The US Coast Guard seeks applications for membership on the National Boating Safety Advisory Committee (NBSAC), which advises the agency on recreational boating safety regulations and other major boating safety matters. Applications should be submitted by July 9. 75 Fed. Reg. 25872 (May 10, 2010).
Gulf of Mexico oil spill – vessel decontamination update
The Marine Transportation System Unit of the Unified Command issued a Vessel Decon Update advising how vessels can make arrangements to have hulls cleaned of oil from the Gulf of Mexico spill, as well as providing other relevant information. A bulletin has been issued updating the location of the vessel cleaning station in Offshore Mississippi Canyon. A second bulletin has been issued regarding offshore decontamination sites for COTP Zone Mobile. A separate Decontamination Plan has been issued for Louisiana vessels directly involved in the spill response effort. (5/7/10). Note: This item was brought to my attention by my good friend Sean Duffy of Gulf States Maritime Association and by George Duffy of Navios Ship Agencies.
New York – Staten Island Ferry allides with pier, passengers injured
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it is responding to a marine casualty at the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island. Reports indicate that the Staten Island Ferry boat Andrew J. Barberi lost propulsion and allided with the pier. There were 252 passengers and 18 crew members on board. (5/8/10). Note: Unofficial reports indicate that up to 60 passengers may have suffered injuries, most of a minor nature. This is the same vessel that was involved in the 2003 allision in which eleven persons died and 42 were injured.
Senate – Coast Guard Authorization Bill passes
The Senate passed by unanimous consent a substitute version of the Coast Guard Authorization Act (H.R. 3619). The measure now goes to a Conference Committee to resolve differences with the House version. Official text of the Senate version is not yet available. Senator Cantwell (D-WA) issued a news release stating that the bill, if enacted into law, would extend the “high volume port area” designation west from Puget Sound to Cape Flattery, expanding oil spill response requirements throughout the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It would also authorize the Coast Guard to reorganize its command structure and mandate an analysis of the costs and benefits of building new polar icebreakers versus rebuilding existing ones. (5/7/10).
Senate – hearing on offshore oil and gas development
The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources issued a notice stating that, on May 11, it will conduct a hearing to review current issues related to offshore oil and gas development including the accident in the Gulf of Mexico involving the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon. (5/6/10). Note: This hearing was originally scheduled for May 6.
Senate – bills introduced re oil spill liability
Senator Menendez (D-NJ) introduced two bills relating to oil spill liability. The Big Oil Bailout Prevention Liability Act of 2010 (S. 3305) would raise the limit of liability for oil spills from offshore facilities for costs other than removal costs from $75 million to $10 billion. It would also be retroactive to April 15, 2010. The Big Oil Bailout Prevention Trust Fund Act of 2010 (S. 3306) would eliminate the provision that currently prevents expenditure by the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (OSLTF) of more than $1 billion per incident. It would also allow the OSLTF to borrow from the General Treasury all monies as may be necessary to carry out the purpose of the Trust Fund. Additionally, it would authorize the promulgation of regulations that allow advance payments to be made from the Fund to states and political subdivisions for actions taken to prepare for and mitigate substantial threats from the discharge of oil. (May 4, 2010).
House – bill introduced re oil spill liability
Representative Holt (D-NJ) introduced the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act of 2010 (H.R. 5214) to amend the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to require oil polluters to pay the full cost of oil spills, and for other purposes. This is a companion bill to one introduced the previous day in the Senate (see above). (May 5, 2010).
Congress – bills introduced to temporarily suspend certain OCS activities
Senator Nelson (D-FL) and Representative Meek (D-FL) introduced companion bills (S. 3308 and H.R. 5222) to suspend certain activities in the outer Continental Shelf until the date on which the joint investigation into the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico has been completed, and for other purposes. Representative Meek issued a media release stating that the bill, if enacted into law, would stop the drilling of new test wells offshore until the investigation is completed. (May 5, 2010).
Senate – bill introduced to modify OSLTF tax rate
Senator Murkowski (R-AK) introduced the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund Improvement Act of 2010 (S. 3309) to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify the rate of tax for the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. (May 5, 2010). If enacted into law, the bill would increase the rate of tax for the Trust Fund from 5 to 9 cents per barrel, but would reduce the tax rate to zero when the unobligated balance of the Trust Fund exceeds $10 billion.
Senate – bill introduced to stimulate offshore wind power industry
Senator Brown (D-OH) introduced the Program for Offshore Wind Energy Research and Development Act of 2010 or the “POWERED Act of 2010” (S. 3226) to require the Secretary of Energy to take actions to stimulate the emergence of an offshore wind power industry in the United States, and for other purposes. Senator Brown issued a press release explaining that the goal is to create more clean energy jobs. (4/19/10).
Arabian Sea – pirates hijack chemical tanker
The EU Maritime Security Centre-Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA) issued a press release stating that a chemical tanker was hijacked by pirates in the Arabian Sea. The pirates fired automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades in their attack. (5/8/10).
Somali Basin – pirate action group disrupted
The EU Maritime Security Centre-Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA) issued a press release stating that one of its warships intercepted a pirate action group in the Somali Basin. The eleven suspected pirates and their three vessels (a mother ship and two skiffs) have been taken on board. (5/7/10).
Spratly Islands – crew of hijacked tug found alive
The ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre issued an Incident Update stating that the crew of the tug boat Atlantic 3 have been found alive. Contact was lost with the tug and its barge on April 27 while they were transiting near Pulau Bintan, Indonesia. On May 3, the Vietnamese Navy rescued the nine crewmembers of the tug from a life raft near the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. It has been assessed that the pirates who hijacked the tug and its tow are headed toward the Philippine Islands. (5/7/10).
IMO – 2005 Protocol to SUA Convention to come into force
The IMO issued a news release stating that, with deposit of its instrument of ratification by Nauru on April 29, the 2005 Protocol to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Navigation, 1988 (SUA Convention) and the related 2005 Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Fixed Platforms Located on the Continental Shelf, 1988 are set to come into force on 28 July 2010. (5/7/10). Note: It is ironic that the United States, the prime proponent of both the SUA Convention and its 2005 Protocol, has yet to ratify the 2005 Protocol.
Australia – meeting of National Plan Committee
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) issued a media release stating that the National Plan Committee met in Canberra on 6 May. The Committee is responsible for providing strategic oversight of the National Plan to Combat Pollution of the Sea by Oil and Other Noxious and Hazardous Substances. (5/7/10).
Hong Kong – adherence to safe working practices
The Hong Kong Marine Department issued a notice reminding owners, operators, and persons working on dredgers, lighters, and vessels engaged in marine construction of the importance of adhering to safe working practices. Recently, the coxswain onboard a dredger was seriously injured while attempting to lubricate the crane turntable. He climbed beneath the turntable without notifying the crane operator and got caught between the mudguard and the turntable. (5/7/10).
Panama – envisioned as transportation and logistics hub
The Panama Canal Authority issued a press release highlighting a recent speech by CEO Alberto Aleman Zubieta expressing his vision of Panama as the transportation and logistics hub of the Americas. (5/6/10).
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 – May 2010