Headlines: White House – President Obama addresses the nation re oil spill; White House – members of National Commission announced; NIC – updated estimate of oil flow rate; NIC – lightning causes small fire on recovery vessel; NIC – guidance to ensure expedited Jones Act waiver processing; MMS – Cape Wind Record of Decision; FEMA – Voluntary Private Sector Accreditation and Certification Preparedness Program; House – bill introduced re environmental assessment of offshore leases; House – bill introduced to require royalties on discharged oil; House – bill introduced to terminate drilling moratorium; House – bill introduced to extend credits for offshore wind energy; House – bill introduced to require payment to compensate oil spill victims; House – hearing on oil spill response capability; House – hearing on offshore drilling contingency planning; IMO – preview of Conference on STCW Convention; IMO – reports of piracy during April; IMO – technical information on vapor pressure control system; IMO – revision to Supplement to IAPP Certificate; and New Zealand – multi-agency response to tug fire.
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White House – President Obama addresses the nation re oil spill
The White House released President Obama’s Address to the Nation concerning the Gulf oil spill. It also released remarks delivered by President Obama in Pensacola regarding the oil spill response and compensation for those who have suffered damage. (6/15/10).
White House – members of National Commission announced
The White House issued a news release announcing the individuals to be appointed to the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. (6/14/10).
NIC – updated estimate of oil flow rate
The National Incident Command (NIC) issued a news release stating that, based on new analysis and data points, the oil flow rate is now estimated to be between 35,000 and 60,000 barrels per day. Of this, about 18,000 barrels per day are being recovered. New equipment may allow the recovery rate to rise soon to between 20,000 and 28,000 barrels per day. (6/15/10).
NIC – lightning causes small fire on recovery vessel
The National Incident Command (NIC) issued a news release stating that a small fire at the top of the derrick on the oil recovery vessel Discoverer Enterprise resulted in a temporary shutdown of recovery operations. A preliminary review indicates that the fire was caused by a lightning strike. (6/15/10).
NIC – guidance to ensure expedited Jones Act waiver processing
The National Incident Command (NIC) issued a news release stating that specific guidance has been developed to ensure accelerated processing of requests for Jones Act waivers should they be received as part of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill response. The 15 foreign-flag vessels currently engaged in the response effort have not required such waivers because their activities to date have not involved Jones Act issues. (6/15/10).
MMS – Cape Wind Record of Decision
The Minerals Management Service (MMS) announced availability of the Record of Decision (ROD) and Notice to the Public of the Secretary of the Interior’s Response to Comments from the Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation (ACHP) with regard to the Cape Wind Energy Project in Nantucket Sound. 75 Fed. Reg. 34152 (June 16, 2010).
FEMA – Voluntary Private Sector Accreditation and Certification Preparedness Program
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced adoption of three standards for the Voluntary Private Sector Accreditation and Certification Preparedness Program (“PS-Prep” Program). The adopted standards are: (1) National Fire Protection Association 1600 – Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs, 2007 and 2010 Editions; (2) British Standards Institution 25999 (2007 Edition) – Business Continuity Management; and (3) ASIS International SPC. 1-2009 – Organizational Resilience: Security Preparedness, and Continuity Management Systems – Requirements with Guidance for Use (2009 Edition). 75 Fed. Reg. 34148 (June 16, 2010).
House – bill introduced re environmental assessment of offshore leases
Representative Connolly (D-VA) introduced the Oil Pollution Environmental Review Act (OPERA) (H.R. 5506) to amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to require that treatment of the issuance of any exploration plans, development production plans, development operation coordination documents, and lease sales required under Federal law for offshore drilling activity on the outer Continental Shelf as a major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment for the purposes of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, and for other purposes. (6/10/10).
House – bill introduced to require royalties on discharged oil
Representative Pingree (D-ME) introduced the Spilled Oil Royalty Collection Act (H.R. 5513) to amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to require payment of royalty on all oil and gas saved, removed, sold, or discharged under a lease under that Act, and for other purposes. (6/10/10).
House – bill introduced to terminate drilling moratorium
Representative Cassidy (R-LA) introduced the Gulf Coast Jobs Preservation Act (H.R. 5519) to terminate the moratorium on deepwater drilling and to require the Secretary of the Interior to ensure the safety of deepwater drilling operations. (6/14/10).
House – bill introduced to extend credits for offshore wind energy
Representative Castle (R-DE) introduced a bill (H.R. 5521) to extend credits related to the production of electricity from offshore wind, and for other purposes. (6/14/10).
House – bill introduced to require payment to compensate oil spill victims
Representative Kagen (D-WI) introduced a bill (H.R. 5520) to require immediate payment by BP p.l.c to the United States of an amount for use to compensate all affected persons for removal costs and damages arising from the explosion and sinking of the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon, to make that amount available to the Secretary of the Interior to pay such compensation, and for other purposes. Official text of this bill is not yet available. (6/14/10).
House – hearing on oil spill response capability
The Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife of the House Committee on Natural Resources conducted a hearing on Ocean Science and Data Limits in a Time of Crisis: Do NOAA and FWS have the Resources to Respond? Chairwoman Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU) made an opening statement. Mr. David Kennedy, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, testified concerning NOAA’s role in the oil spill response and natural resource damage assessment process. Dr. Marcia McNutt, US Geological Survey, testified concerning the difficulties experienced in collecting hard data regarding a dynamic event such as the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Dr. Jonathan Coddington, Smithsonian Institution, testified concerning the Institution’s collaborative efforts with the Minerals Management Service (MMS) to collect marine specimens from the Gulf of Mexico. Dr. Merv Fingas, National Research Council, testified concerning the fate of oil in the sea. Dr. Christopher Reddy, Woods Hole Institute, testified concerning the limited scientific research that has been done on oil spill response. Dr. Robert Weisberg, University of South Florida, testified that NOAA and the FWS do not have the resources to respond to the oil spill, but the steps can be taken to improve their capabilities. Ms. Valerie Lee, Environment International, testified that scientific knowledge of ocean ecosystems is lacking. Dr. Denise Reed, University of New Orleans, testified that better understanding of coastal ecosystems is necessary in order to predict the impact of oil spills and other adverse events. Dr. Christopher D’Elia, Louisiana State University, testified that more observational data is needed in order to predict the trajectory of oil spills. (6/15/10).
House – hearing on offshore drilling contingency planning
The Subcommittee on Energy and Environment of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce conducted a hearing on Drilling Down on America’s Energy Future: Safety, Security & Clean Energy. Committee Chairman Henry Waxman made an opening statement. Subcommittee Chairman Edward Markey made an opening statement. Representative Bart Stupak made an opening statement. Mr. Rex Tillerson, ExxonMobil, testified that, if wells are properly designed and safety procedures are followed, blowouts are unlikely. Mr. John Watson, Chevron Corporation, testified that his company has re-emphasized safety following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Mr. James Mulva, ConocoPhillips, testified that the industry must learn lessons from incident and prevent its recurrence. Mr. Lamar McKay, BP America, testified that America’s energy policy is sound and significant changes are unwarranted. Mr. Marvin Odum, Shell Oil, testified that more emphasis needs to be placed on renewable energy, but that for the near-term carbon-based fuels will predominate. (6/15/10).
IMO – preview of Conference on STCW Convention
The IMO issued a news release providing a preview of the upcoming Conference of Parties to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978. The Conference will be held in Manila on 21-25 June. Among the changes being proposed for the STCW Convention are: expanded requirements relating to hours of work and rest; training for modern technology such as electronic chart display and information systems (ECDIS); and introduction of modern training methods, such as distance learning. (6/15/10).
IMO – reports of piracy during April
The IMO issued a circular summarizing reports received during April 2010 of acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships. A total of 55 such reports were received during the month. MSC.4/Circ.154 (5/5/10).
IMO – technical information on vapor pressure control system
The IMO issued a circular forwarding technical information on a vapor pressure control system in order to facilitate the development and the update of VOC Management Plans for tankers carrying crude oil. MEPC.1/Circ.719 (4/20/10).
IMO – revision to Supplement to IAPP Certificate
The IMO issued a circular forwarding the revised form of the Supplement to the International Air Pollution Prevention (IAPP) Certificate. The revision comes into force on 1 July 2010. MEPC.1/Circ.718 (4/20/10).
New Zealand – multi-agency response to tug fire
Maritime New Zealand issued a media release stating that multiple agencies responded after a tug towing an empty barge from Auckland to Whangarei experienced an engine room fire. The crew’s distress call was received by Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ), which tasked two Coastguard vessels to respond. Meanwhile, the crew abandoned the tug into two liferafts. A rescue helicopter was dispatched. RCCNZ requested a Royal New Zealand Navy warship in the vicinity to also respond. A fire fighting team from the warship extinguished the fire. The tug’s crew boarded the tug and was able to restart one of the engines. The tug is headed back to Auckland. (6/15/10). Well done!
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