Headlines: NIC – directive to undertake relief well procedures; DOE – awards for marine and hydrokinetic energy technology development; NTSB – preliminary report on Philadelphia tour boat allision; MARAD – Buy American waiver request; Court – DOHSA preempts Alien Tort Statute; Alaska – state sues to overturn offshore drilling moratorium; Hong Kong – sea parade on 1 October; and Panama Canal – new Canal dredge launched.
Note: This blog is one section of the Bryant’s Maritime Consulting website. Visit the site for more extensive maritime regulatory information. Individual concerns may be addressed by retaining Dennis Bryant directly. Much of the highlighted text in this newsletter constitutes links to Internet sites providing more detailed information. Links on this page may be in PDF format, requiring use of Adobe Acrobat Reader. Comments on these postings are encouraged and may be made by clicking the envelope that appears at the end of each posting. Be aware that the daily blog entry is a single posting, even though it contains a number of individual items. If a single alligator can lay 5,000 in her lifetime, just think how many a married one could lay.
NIC – directive to undertake relief well procedures
The National Incident Commander (NIC) issued a directive to BP to move forward with specific relief well procedures relating to the Macondo wellhead. (9/10/10).
DOE – awards for marine and hydrokinetic energy technology development
The Department of Energy issued a news release stating that it is awarding more than $37 million in funding to accelerate the technological and commercial readiness of emerging marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) technologies, which seek to generate renewable electricity from the oceans and free-flowing rivers and streams. Among the 27 projects receiving funding is one to harness wave energy off the Oregon coast. Another will convert tidal flows off the coast of Maine into electrical power. (9/9/10).
NTSB – preliminary report on Philadelphia tour boat allision
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released its Preliminary Report on the July 7, 2010 allision in the Delaware River at Philadelphia involving an anchored amphibious small passenger vessel and a barge being towed alongside by a towing vessel. The small passenger vessel was carrying 35 passengers and two crewmembers. Two passengers died in the casualty. The investigation to date reveals that the passenger vessel suffered an engine casualty and anchored in the river. The master made radio calls to alert other vessels that the passenger vessel had broken down and lost propulsion. Several radio calls were specifically made to the northbound tug, but no responses were received prior to the allision. The mate on the towboat, who was operating it at the time, has invoked his rights under the Fifth Amendment and refused to be interviewed. (9/10/10).
MARAD – Buy American waiver request
The Maritime Administration (MARAD) issued a notice stating that it is seeking comments on whether a waiver of the Buy American requirements should be granted to permit the purchase of foreign mobile harbor cranes for projects in Maine, Rhode Island, and California. A waiver may be considered when conditions have been met for non-availability showing (a) application of the provision would be inconsistent with the public interest; or (b) manufactured products are not produced in the United States in sufficient and reasonably available quantities, which are of a satisfactory quality. Comments should be submitted within 15 days. (9/9/10).
Court – DOSHA preempts Alien Tort Statute
The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) preempts a survival claim brought under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS). Relevant events in the instant case occurred on an oil platform located in the Atlantic Ocean nine miles off the coast of Nigeria. The platform was operated by a subsidiary of defendant oil company. On May 25, 1998, over 100 Nigerians took over the platform in a protest action. After four days, the platform operator sought assistance from the Nigerian Government. Government Security Forces shot a number of the protestors, killing two. The injured protestors and family of a deceased protestor brought suit. One of the claims (and the one on appeal here) was a survival action brought under the Alien Tort Statute. The court concluded that Congress intended DOSHA to preempt survival claims brought under other statutes, particularly a more general statute such as the ATS, which created no new causes of action. Bowoto v. Chevron Corporation, No. 09-15641 (9th Cir., September 10, 2010).
Alaska – state sues to overturn offshore drilling moratorium
The Office of the Governor of Alaska issued a press release reporting that the State of Alaska has filed a lawsuit against the Secretary of the Interior to overturn the federal moratorium on offshore drilling in Alaska’s outer continental shelf (OCS). The state contends that the moratorium decision is arbitrary and capricious and violates federal law by: (1) failing to consult with state officials; (2) failing to consider the economic consequences of the action; and (3) failing to issue a written decision explaining the action. (9/9/10).
Hong Kong – sea parade on 1 October
The Hong Kong Marine Department issued a Notice stating that a sea parade will be conducted in waters between Causeway Bay and the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) at 0745 and 0805 hours on 1 October to celebrate the 61st anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Mariners in the vicinity should exercise caution. (9/9/10).
Panama Canal – new Canal dredge launched
The Panama Canal Authority issued a press release stating that a new cutter suction dredge custom-built for operations on the Panama Canal expansion project has been launched in the Netherlands. It is expected to arrive in Panama by the second quarter of 2011. (9/9/10).
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 – September 2010