Headlines: White House – Coast Guard Authorization Act signed into law; GAO – report on USCG Arctic requirements; Southeastern New England – security zones; COAC – meeting; SHC – meeting; MARAD – members sought for MTSNAC; FMC – comments of Commissioner Rebecca Dye; Court – Katrina claims against dredgers dismissed; New Jersey – funding received for natural resource damages; EU NAVFOR – support for regional counter-piracy training; and Delayed newsletter.
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White House – Coast Guard Authorization Act signed into law
The White House issued a news release containing the statement of President Obama regarding his signing into law the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010 (H.R. 3619). Among other provisions in this extensive legislation is the provision of organizational flexibility to the Coast Guard and material enhancements to its marine safety and maritime security missions. (10/15/10).
GAO – report on USCG Arctic requirements
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report on US Coast Guard requirements for its Arctic missions. Coast Guard expansion into the Arctic is hampered by an undefined mission and an uncertain funding stream, but it could benefit from improved communication with stakeholders, particularly at the state and local level in Alaska. GAO-1-870 (9/15/10).
Southeastern New England – security zones
The US Coast Guard has established temporary fixed and moving security zones around large passenger vessels operating in the Sector Southeastern New England Captain of the Port Zone. This temporary rule will be in effect through April 1, 2011, while a permanent rulemaking project is undertaken. 75 Fed. Reg. 63714 (October 18, 2010).
COAC – meeting
The Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations of Customs and Border Protection (COAC), sponsored by the US Customs and Border Protection, will meet in Washington, DC on November 9. Topics on the agenda include: Management by Account – CBP’s Future Trade Vision; Importer Security Filing (“10+2”); and Automation/International Trade Data System. 75 Fed. Reg. 63847 (October 18, 2010).
SHC – meeting
The Shipping Coordinating Committee (SHC), sponsored by the US Department of State, will meet in Washington, DC on November 8. The purpose of the meeting is to prepare for the upcoming session of the IMO Legal Committee. Topics on the agenda include: provision of financial security in cases of abandonment, personal injury to, or death of seafarers; fair treatment of seafarers in the event of a maritime accident; and review of national legislation regarding piracy. 75 Fed. Reg. 63888 (October 18, 2010).
MARAD – members sought for MTSNAC
The Maritime Administration (MARAD) seeks applications for membership on the Marine Transportation System National Advisory Council (MTSNAC). Applications should be submitted by November 17. 75 Fed. Reg. 63892 (October 18, 2010).
FMC – comments of Commissioner Rebecca Dye
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) posted the comments delivered by Commissioner Rebecca Dye at the Midwest Specialty Grains Conference. In particular, she discussed the results of the recent fact-finding into vessel capacity and equipment availability. As a result of that investigation, the FMC has increased its oversight of the liner industry. (10/5/10).
Court – Katrina claims against dredgers dismissed
The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of claims filed by Hurricane Katrina flood victims against private companies that operated 22 dredging vessels along the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MR-GO) pursuant to contracts with the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in the years preceding the hurricane. Petitioners alleged that several levee systems along the outlet failed during the hurricane as a result of negligent maintenance dredging operations by the private companies. The dredging companies had each filed complaints for exoneration from or limitation of liability. Those complaints and the various petitions were consolidated for this action. The court held that the dredging companies owed no duty to the claimants because the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina was not a foreseeable result of the allegedly negligent conduct of any of the limitation petitioners. In re Great Lakes Dredge & Dry Dock, No. 08-30738 (5th Cir., October 14, 2010).
New Jersey – funding received for natural resource damages
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection issued a news release stating that it received $20.3 million from the federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (OSLTF) as natural resource compensation for damages resulting from the Athos I oil spill in the Delaware River in 2004. The funds will be used to restore wetlands and grasslands in Salem County, to create an oyster reef, and to build a public boat ramp to compensate the public for the ecological harm caused by the spill. (10/14/10).
EU NAVFOR – support for regional counter-piracy training
The EU NAVFOR issued a press release stating that it has provided support during a training course on Maritime Law Enforcement on counter-piracy organized by the IMO in Djibouti for representatives of the “Djibouti Code of Conduct” states. Participants in the course were from: Djibouti, Comoros, Ethiopia, Kenya, Jordan, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Sudan, the United Republic of Tanzania, and Yemen. Since the beginning of its counter-piracy operations in December 2008, the EU NAVFOR has arrested 92 suspected pirates. Of these, 79 were transferred to Kenya for prosecution, eleven were transferred to Seychelles, and two were transferred to Spain. (10/15/10).
Long-suffering readers may have been puzzled to have received Friday’s newsletter on Sunday. It did not fall into a wormhole. Rather, my email service provider experienced issues that were not resolved until Sunday. Things are hopefully back to normal, or some semblance thereof.
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 – October 2010