Headlines: White House – President signs cruise vessel bill into law; NIC – update re Gulf of Mexico oil spill; Mississippi River – closed to navigation due to hazmat spill; Barataria Bay – allision and oil spill; FMC – petition of Hainan P O Shipping for Shipping Act exemption; House – bill introduced for benefit of WWII merchant mariners; House – bill introduced to require OCS drilling certification; Senate – bill introduced to improve transportation system; Senate – bill introduced to promote protection of marine ecosystems; House – bill introduced to provide whistleblower protection; House – bill introduced re oversight of oil and gas industry; Senate – Senator Hutchison comments on port security; EU – economic sanctions against Iran; Canada – economic sanctions against Iran; and Australia – update on drifting bulker.
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White House – President signs cruise vessel bill into law
The White House announced that President Obama signed into law the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010 (H.R. 3360), which requires, among other things, that doors to passenger cabins be equipped with peep holes and that ship rails extend at least 42 inches above the deck. (7/27/10).
NIC – update re Gulf of Mexico oil spill
The National Incident Command issued a news release providing an update on the response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, including efforts to advance the static kill and the drilling of the relief wells. (7/27/10).
Mississippi River – closed to navigation due to hazmat spill
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that the Mississippi River between mile markers 776 and 769 (just north of Memphis) has been closed to navigation due to a collision between two tows and the spill of an unknown quantity of acrylonitrile, a hazardous material. Three members of the crew of one of the towboats have been taken to hospital. Cleanup companies are responding to the discharge. The incident is under investigation. (7/27/10).
Barataria Bay – allision and oil spill
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that a towing vessel allided with a wellhead in the Barataria Waterway. The wellhead subsequently discharged oil and natural gas into Barataria Bay. Cleanup personnel are responding to the discharge. A safety zone has been established around the site of the allision and discharge. The incident is under investigation. (7/27/10).
FMC – petition of Hainan P O Shipping for Shipping Act exemption
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued a notice stating that it has received a petition from Hainan P O Shipping Company for an exemption from the first sentence of section 9(c) of the Shipping Act of 1984. Petitioner seeks an exemption so that it can lawfully reduce its tariff rates, charges, classifications, rules, or regulations effective upon publication. Comments on the petition should be received by August 20. Petition No. P1-10 (7/26/10).
House – bill introduced for benefit of WWII merchant mariners
Representative Butterfield (D-NC) introduced the World War II Merchant Mariner Service Act (H.R. 5829) to direct the Secretary of Defense to accept additional documentation when considering the application for veterans status of an individual who performed service in the merchant marines during World War II, and for other purposes. Representative Butterfield issued a news release explaining the purpose of the legislation. (7/22/10). Note: This item was brought to my attention by my good friend Dave Shirlaw of SeaWaves Magazine.
House – bill introduced to require OCS drilling certification
Representative Sarbanes (D-MD) introduced a bill (H.R. 5846) to amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to require the chief executive officer of each drilling and production operation under a lease under that Act to annually certify the operator's compliance with all applicable laws and operating regulations. (7/22/10).
Senate – bill introduced to improve transportation system
Senator Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced the Focusing Resources, Economic Investment, and Guidance to Help Transportation Act (the FREIGHT Act) (S. 3629) to improve the efficiency, operation, and security of the national transportation system to move freight by leveraging investments and promoting partnerships that advance interstate and foreign commerce, and for other purposes. If enacted into law, the bill would establish a national freight transportation policy and create an Office of Freight Planning and Development within the Department of Transportation. (7/22/10).
Senate – bill introduced to promote protection of marine ecosystems
Senator Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced the National Endowment for the Oceans Act (S. 3641) to create the National Endowment for the Oceans to promote the protection and conservation of United States oceans, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems, and for other purposes. (7/22/10).
House – bill introduced to provide whistleblower protection
Representative Miller (D-CA) introduced a bill (H.R. 5851) to provide whistleblower protections to certain workers in the offshore oil and gas industry. Official text of this bill is not yet available. (7/26/10).
House – bill introduced re oversight of offshore oil and gas industry
Representative Polis (D-CO) introduced a bill (H.R. 5863) to amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act with regard to oversight and judicial review in connection with offshore oil production and exploration, and for other purposes. Official text of this bill is not yet available. (7/26/10).
Senate – Senator Hutchison comments on port security
Senator Hutchison (R-TX) issued a Capitol Comment on the importance of port security to the economic vitality of the nation, singling out the port security grant program and cargo screening as of particular significance. (7/23/10).
EU – economic sanctions against Iran
The Council of the European Union ((EU) issued its Conclusions on Iran’s nuclear program and the need for economic sanctions. The document announces that the EU Council has adopted a Decision to impose targeted economic sanctions against Iran, including sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (ISIRL). The Council Implementing Regulation provides, among other things, that the obligation to freeze economic resources of designated entities of the ISIRL does not require the impounding or detention of vessels owned by such entities or the cargoes carried by them insofar as such cargoes belong to third parties, nor does it require the detention of the crew contracted by them. (7/26/10).
Canada – economic sanctions against Iran
The Office of the Prime Minister of Canada issued a notice stating that the Government of Canada has imposed economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran. The sanctions prohibit, among other things, providing services for the operation or maintenance of a vessel owned or controlled by, or operating on behalf of, the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line (IRISL). The restrictions, though, do not apply to shipment of bulk agricultural commodities by IRISL. (7/26/10).
Australia – update on drifting bulker
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) issued a media release stating that the fully-loaded coal carrier that lost power off the outer Great Barrier Reef is approximately 130 kilometers east of Cooktown and is drifting slowly to the west. The AMSA’s emergency towage vessel is due on scene shortly and a salvage tug is expected to arrive on Wednesday, July 28. (7/27/10).
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 – July 2010