Headlines: NIC – letter to BP re maximizing discharge recovery; NIC – letter to BP re claims accounting; USCG – Safety Alert re explosives; New Bedford – fishing vessel decontamination plan approved; New Bedford – dredging of contaminated sediment to resume; NASA – Arctic research mission; USACE – EIS re barge loading facility on Maury Island; Senate – hearing on corporate behavior; Senate – hearing on safety measures for offshore energy development; Congress – bills introduced to give subpoena power to National Commission; UN – Security Council imposes sanctions on Iran; and Hong Kong – joint SAR exercise.
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NIC – letter to BP re maximizing discharge recovery
The National Incident Command (NIC) released a copy of the letter sent to BP with regard to maximizing discharge recovery from the source of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. BP is directed to establish system(s) capable of safely collecting the oil and gas flowing from the Macondo 252 well. The system(s) established must have appropriate redundancies to maintain complete collection rates in the event that operational problems are encountered in any part of the system. Further, plans and processes must be put into place to ensure that, in the event that a hurricane or other severe weather causes recovery vessels to go off station, those vessels (or alternate vessels) can be brought back on station as quickly as possible after the storm passes and that collection efforts can resume without delay. BP is directed to provide the plans for these parallel, continuous, and contingency collection processes, including an implementation timeline, within 72 hours. (6/8/10).
NIC – letter to BP re claims accounting
The National Incident Commander (NIC) released a copy of the letter sent to BP directing it to provide a transparent accounting of its process for processing and paying claims presented by third parties alleging property damage or economic loss. (6/8/10).
USCG – Safety Alert re explosives
The US Coast Guard issued a Safety Alert reminding the maritime community of dangers associated with the incidental discovery of munitions and explosives at sea. Recently, a commercial fishing vessel operating off Long Island, New York dredged up some old munitions canisters that contained mustard gas. One of the canisters broke open while being brought on board and four crewmembers were exposed to the gas. They experienced chemical burns and respiratory problems. The vessel required decontamination and the catch was seized. Persons would might inadvertently retrieve similar objects from the seabed should review navigational charts to avoid explosives dumping areas, review the US Army Explosives Safety Guide, and report any discoveries to the National Response Center. (6/9/10).
New Bedford – fishing vessel decontamination plan approved
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that the decontamination plan for the New Bedford fishing vessel that accidently hauled aboard some canisters that contained mustard gas has been approved. (6/9/10).
New Bedford – dredging of contaminated sediment set to resume
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a news release stating that the seventh season of dredging PCB-contaminated sediment from the New Bedford Harbor is set to resume. Approximately 193,000 cubic yards of sediment have been removed to date, with 700,000 cubic yards of sediment yet to be addressed. (6/9/10).
NASA – Arctic research mission
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) issued a news release stating that it will conduct an oceanographic field campaign to examine changing conditions in the Arctic and how they affect the ocean’s chemistry and ecosystems. The Impacts of Climate on Ecosystems and Chemistry of the Arctic Pacific Environment (ICESCAPE) research mission will take more than 40 scientists on the US Coast Guard icebreaker Healy on a voyage through the Bering Sea, Chukchi Sea, and Beaufort Sea and into the Arctic Ocean. (6/8/10).
USACE – EIS re barge loading facility on Maury Island
The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) issued a notice stating that it intends to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed replacement of an existing barge loading facility in East Passage of Puget Sound on the southeast shoreline of Maury Island, King County, Washington. Scoping meetings will be held in Seattle (July 12) and Vashon Island (July 14). Written comments must be submitted by August 9. 75 Fed. Reg. 32919 (June 10, 2010).
Senate – hearing on corporate behavior
The Senate Committee on the Judiciary conducted a hearing on The Risky Business of Big Oil: Have Recent Court Decisions and Liability Caps Encouraged Irresponsible Corporate Behavior? Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) made an opening statement, saying that the hearing will examine how current law has shaped corporate behavior. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) made an opening statement, noting that key regulatory agencies were asleep at the switch. Mr. Christopher Jones testified concerning the need to amend the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) so that the families of persons who died on the Deepwater Horizon can recover non-pecuniary damages. Mr. W. Jackson Coleman, EnergyNorthAmerica, testified concerning the potential breach of contract by the federal government if offshore oil and gas leases are unilaterally amended. Mr. Tom Galligan, Colby Sawyer College, testified that current law does not sufficiently compensate families of persons who lose their lives at sea. (7/8/10).
Senate – hearing on safety measures for offshore energy development
The Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources conducted a hearing on Increased Safety Measures for Energy Development on the Outer Continental Shelf. Secretary Ken Salazar, Department of the Interior, accompanied by Deputy Secretary David Hayes, testified concerning substantive and systemic enhancements in safety measures applicable to offshore energy development, as well as providing an update on developments regarding the ongoing Gulf of Mexico oil spill. (6/9/10).
Congress – bills introduced to give subpoena power to National Commission
Senator Shaheen (D-NH) and Representative Capps (D-CA) introduced bills (S. 3462 and H.R. 5481) to give subpoena power to the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. Official text of the bills is not yet available. (6/8/10).
UN – Security Council imposes sanctions on Iran
The United Nations issued a news release stating that a fourth round of economic sanctions against Iran has been adopted by the UN Security Council. Details of the sanctions will await posting of the Security Council Resolution, but it apparently includes a framework of cargo inspections intended to detect and stop acquisition by Iran of illicit materials. The White House issued a Fact Sheet regarding the new UNSC sanctions. It states that the sanctions include, among other things, a ban on providing bunkering services to ships suspected of carrying prohibited cargoes. (6/9/10).
Hong Kong – joint SAR exercise
The Hong Kong Marine Department issued a press release stating that, on June 10, the maritime administrations of Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macao will conduct a joint search and rescue (SAR) exercise in the waterway east of Macau International Airport. (6/9/10).
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 – June 2010