Headlines: FMC – update re Cruise West cancellations and refunds; House – hearing on DHS planning and response; Senate – bill introduced to restrict participation in oil and gas leasing; Court – COGSA trumps Carmack Amendment; IHO – Arctic maritime safety information services; WTO – trade growth of 13.5% forecast for 2010; EC – Norway to host two Galileo ground stations; EU NAVFOR – Atalanta Area of Operations extended; and NATO – vessel protection measures.
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FMC – update re Cruise West cancellations and refunds
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued a news release updating its earlier notice regarding Cruise West. The company has ceased operations. The release discusses options for obtaining refunds of payments for cruises that have been cancelled. (9/22/10).
House – hearing on DHS planning and response
The House Committee on Homeland Security conducted a hearing regarding DHS Planning and Response: Preliminary Lessons from Deepwater Horizon. Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) explained that the purpose of the hearing is to examine the role of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in incident management and the part it plays in coordinating other federal agencies in any response scenario. Mr. Craig Taffaro, St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, testified that the response effort was confused (particularly in the beginning) and the local governments were not sufficiently consulted. Mr. Richard Skinner, DHS Inspector General, testified that his office has commenced three audits of the response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and it would be premature to comment at this time. Rear Admiral Peter Neffenger, US Coast Guard, testified concerning the need for alternative response technologies, better access to funding in emergent situations, and the inclusion of local entities in response coordination. Mr. William Jenkins, Government Accountability Office (GAO), testified concerning development of effective response plans generally, but noted that the National Oil and Hazardous Materials Response Plan is exemplary in its inclusion of clear roles, responsibilities, and legal authorities. Mr. Richard Chávez, DHS, testified concerning the coordination throughout the Department during the oil spill response effort. (9/22/10).
Senate – bill introduced to restrict participation in oil and gas leasing
Senator Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced a bill (S. 3810) to restrict participation in offshore oil and gas leasing by a person who engages in any activity for which sanctions may be imposed under section 5 of the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996, to require the lessee under an offshore oil and gas lease to disclose any participation by the lessee in certain energy-related joint ventures, investments, or partnerships located outside Iran, and for other purposes. Official text of the bill is not yet available. (9/21/10).
Court – COGSA trumps Carmack Amendment
In a per curiam decision, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed and remanded a district court summary judgment order because of an intervening Supreme Court decision. The lower court, in accord with binding precedent, ruled that the Carmack Amendment applies to an international intermodal shipment. Subsequently, the US Supreme Court ruled that the Carriage of Goods at Sea Act (COGSA) supersedes the Carmack Amendment with regard to international intermodal shipments on a through bill of lading. The Court of Appeals therefore directed the District Court to apply the new Supreme Court ruling. Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance v. Evergreen Marine, No. 08-5184-cv (2nd Cir., September 22, 2010).
IHO – Arctic maritime safety information services
The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) issued an announcement stating that it, the IMO, and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) have established five new Arctic NAVAREAs/METAREAs as part of the expansion of the IMO/IHO World-Wide Navigational Warning Service (WWNWS) into Arctic waters. Through 31 May 2011, navigational warnings and meteorological warnings and forecasts for these new areas will be provided on an intermittent basis. Regular broadcasts are planned starting 01 June 2011. (8/19/10). Note: The graphic mentioned in the announcement is not included therewith.
WTO – trade growth of 13.5% forecast for 2010
The World Trade Organization (WTO) issued a press release stating that it expects trade growth of 13.5% in 2010 as compared with 2009. It attributes this in part to governments having largely rejected protectionism during the economic recession. (9/20/10).
EC – Norway to host two Galileo ground stations
The European Commission (EC) issued a press release stating that Norway has agreed to host two Galileo ground stations, one on the island of Svalbard and the other on the Norwegian Antarctic Territory. The Galileo satellite program will provide precise navigation and timing signals worldwide and is due to start operating in 2014. (9/22/10).
EU NAVFOR – Atalanta Area of Operation extended
The EU NAVFOR issued a press release stating that its area of operation has been increased to maintain pressure on the Somali pirates and to continue to constrain their freedom of action. (9/22/10). Note: The press release does not identify the new area of operation. It is unknown whether this omission was intentional.
NATO – vessel protection measures
The NATO Shipping Centre site generally provides similar information every day. Today, it includes information for the September 14 TRANSEC Conference. The new information is found in the center of the page. It includes copies of slides discussing vessel protection measures and an update on activities of Somali pirates. There is also a link to a Clipper video (this latter file is large and loads slowly). (9/22/10). Note: The vessel protection slides are divided into “left screen” and “right screen”, which detracts from their presentation on a computer.
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