Headlines: Gulf of Mexico – photo releases; New England – spill response equipment headed to the Gulf; USCG – changes proposed to Standard Numbering System, etc.; FMC – proposal re NVOCC negotiated rate arrangements; Chukchi Sea – taking of marine mammals; NOAA – proposed listing of largetooth sawfish; Massachusetts – proposed “no discharge” zone; Puget Sound – EIS for replacement of existing barge loading facility; Alameda – commissioning of second National Security Cutter; House – bills introduced re oil spill liability; Congress – bills introduced to temporarily suspend certain OCS activities; Senate – bill introduced to modify OSLTF tax rate; Malta – port tariffs revision; and Singapore – reporting of security-related incidents.
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Gulf of Mexico – photo releases
The Unified Command issued a photo release showing a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) successfully capping one of the three leaks in the piping from the subsea oil well. A second photo release shows several controlled burns of oil in the Gulf of Mexico. (5/6/10).
New England – spill response equipment headed to the Gulf
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that two vessel of opportunity skimming systems (VOSSs) are being shipped to Mobile to be used in the response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. One VOSS each is being deployed from Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Quonset, Rhode Island. Coast Guard units in New England, though, remain fully ready to respond to local spills. (5/5/10).
USCG – changes proposed to Standard Numbering System, etc.
The US Coast Guard proposes to amend its rules related to numbering of undocumented vessels and reporting of casualties. These changes would align and modernize terminology used in the Standard Numbering System (SNS), the Vessel Identification System (VIS), and casualty reporting; require validation of vessel hull identification numbers; require SNS vessel owners to provide personally identifiable information; and provide administrative flexibility for States. Comments on this proposal should be submitted by August 5. 75 Fed. Reg. 25137 (May 7, 2010).
FMC – proposal re NVOCC negotiated rate arrangements
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) proposes a new exemption for non-vessel-operating common carriers (NVOCCs) agreeing to negotiated rate arrangements from certain provisions and requirements of the Shipping Act of 1984 and from certain provisions and requirements of the Commission’s regulations. Written comments are due by June 4. If an interested party requests, by May 14, an opportunity to present oral comments to the Commission concerning this proposal, the FMC will hold a public meeting on May 24. 75 Fed. Reg. 25150 (May 7, 2010).
Chukchi Sea – taking of marine mammals
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) received an application for an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to take marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to offshore exploration drilling on outer continental shelf (OCS) leases in the Chukchi Sea off the coast of Alaska. Comments on this application should be submitted by June 7. 75 Fed. Reg. 25729 (May 7, 2010).
NOAA – proposed listing of largetooth sawfish
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) proposes to list the largetooth sawfish as endangered for purposes of the Endangered Species Act. The largetooth sawfish has been found in US waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Comments on this proposal should be submitted by July 6. 75 Fed. Reg. 25174 (May 7, 2010).
Massachusetts – proposed “no discharge” zone
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) received a petition from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts requesting a determination that adequate facilities for the safe and sanitary removal and treatment of sewage from all vessels are reasonably available for the waters of Pleasant Bay/Chatham Harbor. Comments on this petition should be submitted by June 7. 75 Fed. Reg. 25247 (May 7, 2010).
Puget Sound – EIS for replacement of existing barge loading facility
The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) issued a notice stating that it intends to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) to analyze the environmental effects of replacing an existing dock and resuming sand and gravel mining operations at a facility in the East Passage of Puget Sound on the southeast shoreline of Maury Island, King County, Washington. Public meetings will be held in Seattle (May 17) and Vashon Island (May 18). Comments should be submitted by June 7. 75 Fed. Reg. 25217 (May 7, 2010).
Alameda – commissioning of second National Security Cutter
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that its second National Security Cutter, the 418 foot USCGC Waesche, will be commissioned in Alameda on May 7. The cutter is named for Admiral Russell R. Waesche, the wartime Commandant of the US Coast Guard. (4/6/10).
House – bills introduced re oil spill liability
Representative Holt (D-NJ) introduced two bills relating to oil spill liability. The first (H.R. 5214) is intended to amend the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to require oil polluters to pay the full cost of oil spills, and for other purposes. The second (H.R. 5215) is intended to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to require polluters to pay the full cost of oil spills, and for other purposes. Official text of the two bills is not yet available. (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. Official text of the bills is not yet available, but 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 a bill (S. 3309) to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify the rate of tax for the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. Official text of the bill is not yet available. (May 5, 2010).
Malta – port tariffs revision
Transport Malta issued a Port Notice announcing revisions in certain port tariffs, with effect from 1 May. (4/26/10). Note: This item was brought to my attention by my good friend John Bennett of Maritime Protective Services.
Singapore – reporting of security-related incidents
The Singapore Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) issued a circular reminding owners, managers, and masters of Singapore-registered vessels of the requirement to promptly report to MPA any marine security-related incidents. Shipping Circular 6/2010 (5/4/10).
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