Headlines: Gulf of Mexico – presence of small quantities of subsurface oil confirmed; Unified Command – BP to donate monies to rehabilitate wildlife; DOI – clarification of offshore drilling policy; DOI OIG – report re MMS employee gift acceptance; DOI – Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium; DHS OIG – report re USCG boat crew communications system; Massachusetts – decontamination plan for fishing vessel; North Pacific – search for crewmember who fell overboard; Prince William Sound – oil spill response exercise; Senate – bill introduced re oil spill economic damages; EP – Galileo needs more funding; Panama Canal – Gatun Lake dredging contract awarded; and Singapore – carriage of transponders.
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Gulf of Mexico – presence of small quantities of subsurface oil confirmed
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a news release stating that an independent analysis of water samples obtained by the University of South Florida confirmed the presence of very low concentrations of subsurface oil and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) at sampling depths ranging from 50 meters to 1,400 meters. One sample of surface oil, obtained 40 miles northeast of the wellhead, was consistent with the Gulf of Mexico spill source. Subsurface samples obtained 42 miles northeast of the wellhead were petroleum-derived, but the concentrations were too low to confirm the source. Subsurface samples obtained 142 miles southeast of the wellhead were not consistent with the Gulf of Mexico spill source. (6/8/10).
Unified Command – BP to donate monies to rehabilitate wildlife
The Unified Command issued a news release stating that BP will donate the net revenue from oil recovered from the MC252 spill to create a new wildlife fund to create, restore, improve, and protect wildlife habitat along the coastline of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Mississippi. Creation of the fund is over and above BP’s obligations under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90). (6/8/10).
DOI – clarification of offshore drilling policy
The Department of the Interior (DOI) issued a press release clarifying its policy on offshore drilling. It states that a Notice to Lessees (NTL) establishes new safety requirements for shallow water drilling and production and for deep water production. Operators must submit a certification of compliance with applicable regulations and information concerning blowout preventer (BOP) and well control measures. The six-month moratorium on deep water drilling remains in effect. (6/8/10).
DOI OIG – report re MMS employee gift acceptance
The Department of the Interior (DOI) Office of Inspector General (OIG) posted its Investigative Report addressing allegations that Minerals Management Service (MMS) employees at the Lake Charles District Office had accepted gifts from oil and gas production companies. The report found the allegations to be largely substantiated. It noted that personnel in the District Office and in the regulated companies have often known one another since childhood. It is noted that the investigation was completed prior to the April 20 explosion and fire on an offshore facility in the Gulf of Mexico. (5/24/10).
DOI – Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium
The Department of the Interior (DOI) issued a news release stating that Secretary Ken Salazar and governors of ten East Coast states signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that formally establishes an Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium to promote the efficient, orderly, and responsible development of wind resources on the outer continental shelf (OCS). The participating states consist of: Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. (6/8/10).
DHS OIG – report re USCG boat crew communications system
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released its report on the boat crew communications system utilized on the US Coast Guard’s Response Boat – Small. The investigation found that the system is unreliable, primarily due to faulty headsets. The Coast Guard concurs and is recalling the headsets and developing a long-term solution. OIG-10-85 (6/8/10).
Massachusetts – decontamination plan for fishing vessel
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it and other stakeholders are developing a decontamination plan for the fishing vessel that unintentionally picked up containers holding hazardous material while dredging for clams. At least three crewmembers have some nose and eye irritation consistent with exposure to a blistering agent. The presence of a blistering agent has been found on the vessel. The fishing vessel is being kept in an isolated area of its homeport of New Bedford until this issue is resolved. (6/8/10).
North Pacific – search for crewmember who fell overboard
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that a crewmember fell overboard from the bulk carrier Yasa Fortune in the North Pacific Ocean approximately 775 miles southwest of Kodiak. The Yasa Fortune is searching for the crewmember, assisted by another merchant vessel and a Coast Guard C-130 aircraft. A subsequent news release states that the search has proven unsuccessful and has been suspended. (6/8/10).
Prince William Sound – oil spill response exercise
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it is joining SeaRiver Maritime and other stakeholders in conducting a three-day oil spill response exercise in Prince William Sound, Alaska. (6/8/10).
Senate – bill introduced re oil spill economic damages
Senator Vitter (R-LA) introduced a bill (S. 3461) to create a fair and efficient system to resolve claims of victims for economic injury caused by the Deepwater Horizon incident, and to direct the Secretary of the Interior to renegotiate the terms of the lease known as ``Mississippi Canyon 252'' with respect to claims relating to the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill that exceed existing applicable economic liability limitations. Official text of the bill is not yet available. (6/7/10).
EP – Galileo needs more funding
The European Parliament (EP) issued a press release stating that the Galileo satellite positioning and navigation project needs additional funding. Current funds are sufficient for the first batch of 18 satellites, but 30 are needed in order to guarantee global coverage. The expected budget is €750 million a year. Cost overruns like those experienced in the past must be avoided. (6/7/10).
Panama Canal – Gatun Lake dredging contract awarded
The Panama Canal Authority issued a press release stating that the contract for dredging Gatun Lake has been awarded to Dredging International N.V., the low bidder. (6/7/10).
Singapore – carriage of transponders
The Singapore Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) issued a circular stating that, with effect from 1 January 2012, all power-driven vessels regardless of size will be required to be fitted with a working transponder as a port entry requirement. The transponder may be one of the following types: (1) IMO AIS Class A; (2) IMO AIS Class B; or (3) MPA HARTS. Port Marine Circular 10/2010 (6/7/10). Note: For some unknown reason, the circular fell off the MPA website. Therefore, I have posted a Copy on my site. Since the MPA site does not explain the unposting, we do not know if it was accidental or if the original posting was in error.
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