Headlines: Panama Canal – temporary closure due to heavy rain; FMC – Vessel Capacity and Equipment Availability Report; Long Island Sound – anchorage grounds; Commencement Bay – RNA; Columbia River – proposed security zone; USCG – detecting oil leaks from vessels; Dutch Harbor – disabled bulker safely anchored; DOI – IG report on offshore energy oversight; and GAO – ferry security measures.
December 9, 2010
Bryant’s Maritime Blog
Bryant’s Maritime Consulting - 4845 SW 91st Way - Gainesville, FL 32608-8135 - USA
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. When all else fails, SHOUT.
Panama Canal – temporary closure due to heavy rain
Unofficial reports indicate that the Panama Canal has been closed temporarily to shipping due to heavy rain. The Canal is expected to reopen as soon as the weather abates. It is too early to determine whether this will impact the Canal Expansion Project. (12/9/10).
FMC – Vessel Capacity and Equipment Availability Report
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued a news release stating that it has accepted Commissioner Rebecca Dye’s final report and recommendations for action in the Commission’s Fact Finding Investigation No. 26, Vessel Capacity and Equipment Availability in the United States Export and Import Trades. The final report concluded that although capacity conditions in the U.S. trades have stabilized, certain underlying problems revealed during the Commission’s investigation should be addressed. The Report also concluded that the most effective long-term solutions to the commercial problems experienced by U.S. exporters and importers this year will be developed by ocean carriers working closely with their customers within a framework organized by the Commission. (12/8/10).
Long Island Sound – anchorage grounds
The US Coast Guard is establishing seven anchorage grounds in Long Island Sound, effective January 7, 2011. These anchorages are located in Connecticut and New York waters. The action is intended to facilitate the safe and secure anchoring and transiting of vessels, particularly deep draft vessels, transiting Long Island Sound or awaiting entry to a port or facility in Connecticut or New York. 75 Fed. Reg. 76275 (December 8, 2010).
Commencement Bay – RNA
The US Coast Guard is establishing a permanent regulated navigation area (RNA) on portions of the Thea Foss and Wheeler-Osgood Waterways in Commencement Bay, Tacoma, Washington. The RNA is intended to protect the seabed in portions of those waterways that are subject to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) superfund cleanup remediation efforts. The RNA will prohibit activities that might disturb the seabed, such as anchoring, dragging, and spudding. The rule comes into effect on January 7, 2011. 75 Fed. Reg. 76280 (December 8, 2010).
Columbia River – proposed security zone
The US Coast Guard proposes to establish a 500-yard security zone around vessels carrying hazardous cargo when such vessels are in the Sector Columbia River Captain of the Port (COTP) Zone. Comments on the proposal should be submitted by March 8, 2011. 75 Fed. Reg. 76328 (December 8, 2010).
USCG – detecting oil leaks from vessels
The US Coast Guard is seeking information about the current state of technology to detect loss of oil into the water from vessels greater than 400 gross tons. Comments and related material should be submitted by January 24, 2011. 75 Fed. Reg. 76742 (December 9, 2010).
Dutch Harbor – disabled bulker safely anchored
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that the bulk carrier Golden Seas has safely anchored in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. The vessel, carrying a cargo of rapeseed, suffered a turbocharger failure in heavy weather in the Bering Sea north of Adak. The turbocharger failure severely reduced its power and the vessel was in danger of grounding. The tug Tor Viking II put a tow line on the vessel and towed it 500 miles to Dutch Harbor. (12/7/10).
DOI – IG report on offshore energy oversight
The Department of the Interior (DOI) issued a press release discussing the Inspector General (IG) report on offshore energy oversight. The IG report expands on the earlier review by the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Safety Oversight Board. Many of the recommendations of the IG report have been implemented and others are under consideration. (12/7/10).
GAO – ferry security measures
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) posted the public version of its report on ferry security measures. It found that stakeholders, including the Coast Guard, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and ferry operators, have taken various actions to enhance the security of ferries and facilities. There are several studies, though, that have not yet been fully evaluated. The GAO recommends that the Coast Guard, after evaluating the completed studies on ferry security, reassess vehicle screening requirements and take further actions to enhance security, if determined warranted. GAO-11-207 (12/7/10). Note: This item was brought to my attention by my good friend John Bennett of Maritime Protective Services.
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 – December 2010