Headlines: White House – National Commission on oil spill and offshore drilling; USCG/MMS – joint investigation to resume on May 26; NOAA – update on Gulf of Mexico oil spill; Gulf of Mexico oil spill – hair boom will not be used; OSHA – proposal re walking-working surfaces and fall protection equipment; USN – availability of ex-IOWA (BB 61); Tampa – operator of commercial ship fined $725,000; Sabine-Neches Waterway – PORTS now operational; Columbia River – container ship aground; House – bill introduced to extend Galveston channel; House – ports and waterways security bill introduced; House – bill introduced to repeal limitation of liability for offshore oil facility; House – bill introduced to increase liability for economic damages; CRS – defining “waters of the United States”; IMO – adoption of goal-based standards; Australia – investigation of injuries on LNG carrier; Australia – update re Shen Neng 1; Canada – chartering of two new ferries; Somalia – persons ashore fire on warship; Somalia – NATO warship rescues crew of imperiled vessel; and Seized – a book review.
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.
White House – National Commission on oil spill and offshore drilling
President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order establishing a National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. The seven-member commission will examine the relevant facts and circumstances concerning the root causes of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster; develop options for guarding against and mitigating the impact of oil spills associated with offshore drilling; and submit a final report within six months. The White House issued a news release stating that former Senator Bob Graham and former EPA Administrator William Reilly have been named co-chairs of the National Commission. (5/22/10).
USCG/MMS – joint investigation to resume on May 26
The US Coast Guard and the Minerals Management Service (MMS) issued a joint news release stating that their joint investigation of the MODU Deepwater Horizon marine casualty will resume in Kenner, Louisiana on May 26. (5/21/10).
NOAA – update on Gulf of Mexico oil spill
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued an Update summarizing its activities regarding the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The agency is measuring the extent and environmental impact of the spill and advising the US Coast Guard on response options. (5/21/10).
Gulf of Mexico oil spill – hair boom will not be used
The Unified Command issued a news release stating that a proposed hair boom will not be utilized to collect surface oil from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. A recent side-by-side test showed that commercial sorbent boom absorbed more oil and much less water than hair boom. Additionally, response personnel are familiar with and properly trained to safely deploy, maintain, recover, and dispose of commercial sorbent boom. (5/21/10).
OSHA– proposal re walking-working surfaces and fall protection equipment
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposes to revise its walking-working surfaces standards and its fall protection equipment standards. Among other things, the changes would increase consistency between construction, maritime, and general industry standards. Comments on the proposal should be submitted by August 23. 75 Fed. Reg. 28861 (May 24, 2010).
USN – availability of ex-IOWA (BB 61)
The Department of the Navy issued a notice re-opening the availability for donation as a museum/memorial the battleship ex-IOWA (BB 61). Applications must be submitted within 45 days. 75 Fed. Reg. 28786 (May 24, 2010).
Tampa – operator of commercial ship fined $725,000
The Department of Justice issued a news release stating that the operator of a commercial ship pleaded guilty in federal court in Tampa to failure to properly maintain an oil record book (ORB). The operator was sentenced to pay a criminal fine of $750,000 and to three years’ probation, during which time it is to institute an environmental compliance program. Officers and crew, acting on behalf of the operator, had installed a “magic pipe” to bypass the oily water separator and pump oily bilge water directly overboard. They did not record such discharges in the ORB. (5/21/10). Note: This item was brought to my attention by my good friend Dave Shirlaw of SeaWaves Magazine.
Sabine-Neches Waterway – PORTS now operational
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a news release stating that the Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS) is now operational in the Sabine-Neches Waterway in Texas. Monitoring stations along the waterway provide real-time information regarding such factors as tides, currents, temperatures, and wind speed/direction. There are now 20 PORTS systems operational nationwide. (5/21/10).
Columbia River – container ship aground
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that a 648-foot container ship has grounded in the Columbia River near Kalama, Washington. There have been no reports of injury or pollution. Initial reports indicate that the grounding was caused by a steering casualty. (5/23/10).
House – bill introduced to extend Galveston channel
Representative Gene Green (D-TX) introduced a bill (H. R. 5329) to modify the project for navigation and environmental restoration, Houston-Galveston Navigation Channels, Texas, authorized by the Water Resources Development Act of 1996, and for other purposes. This bill, if enacted into law, would allow for extension of the boundaries of the Galveston channel approximately 2600 feet beyond Pier 38, if feasible. (5/18/10).
House – ports and waterways security bill introduced
Representative Thompson (D-MS) introduced a bill (H.R. 5346) to enhance homeland security in the ports and waterways of the United States, and for other purposes. This is a catch-all bill, with sections relating to America’s Waterway Watch, review of the TWIC access control technology pilot program, review of interagency operational centers, and review of the vulnerability of gasoline and chemical cargo shipments, among other things. (5/19/10).
House – bill introduced to repeal limitation of liability for an offshore oil facility
Representative Grijalva (D-AZ) introduced a bill (H.R. 5355) to amend the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to repeal the limitation of liability of a responsible party for a discharge or substantial threat of a discharge of oil from an offshore oil facility. Official text of the bill has yet to be posted. (5/20/10).
House – bill introduced to increase liability for economic damages
Representative Blunt (R-MO) introduced a bill (H.R. 5356) to amend the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to increase the cap on liability for economic damages resulting from an oil spill, and for other purposes. Official text of the bill has yet to be posted. (5/20/10).
CRS – defining “waters of the United States”
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) issued a Report for Congress on legislative approaches to defining “waters of the United States” for purposes of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA), also referred to as the Clean Water Act. The report notes the controversy regarding whether bills currently before Congress would restore the statute’s jurisdictional reach to that which existed prior to two recent Supreme Court decisions or the bills would expand the jurisdictional reach. R41225 (4/30/10). Note: The jurisdictional reach of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90) is coterminous with that of the FWPCA.
IMO – adoption of goal-based standards
The IMO issued a news release stating that the recently-concluded session of the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) adopted regulations establishing goal-based standards (GBS) for construction of oil tankers and bulk carriers. The MSC also adopted guidelines establishing procedures to be followed in order to verify that the design and construction rules of the Administration (or its recognized organization) for bulk carriers and/or oil tankers conform to the GBS. (5/21/10).
Australia – investigation of injuries on LNG carrier
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) issued a notice stating that it commenced an investigation into injuries to crew members of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier off Darwin on 16 May 2010. (5/21/10).
Australia – update re Shen Neng 1
Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) issued a media release stating that offloading of coal from the damaged bulk carrier Shen Neng 1 has been completed. The ship is now being towed to a safe anchorage off the Gladstone coast in preparation for the long-distance tow to China for repairs. (5/21/10).
Canada – chartering of two new ferries
Transport Canada issued a news release stating that it is providing C$175 million over the next two years to Marine Atlantic Inc. for the chartering of two modern ferries to replace older ferries on the route from North Sydney to Newfoundland and Labrador. (5/21/10).
Somalia – persons ashore fire on warship
The EU Naval Force Somalia issued a press release stating that, as one of its warships entered the port of Mogadishu to escort two merchant ships that had just unloaded relief supplies, it was fired on by persons ashore outside the port area. The warship returned fire and no more firing from ashore was detected. (5/21/10).
Somalia – NATO warship rescues crew of imperiled vessel
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) issued a news release stating that one of its warships patrolling for pirates off the coast of Somalia responded to a distress call and rescued the 23 crew members of a cargo ship that was imperiled by a tropical cyclone. (5/21/10).
Seized – a book review
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