Headlines: USCG – Policy on SMC and ACTSUS authority; USCG – updated advisory re piracy and armed robbery against ships; USCG – random drug testing rate stays at 50%; USCG – suspension of certain CDC reporting requirements; NOAA – critical habitat proposed for salmon and steelhead; OSHA – reestablishment of MACOSH; Jacksonville – vessel aground; House – bill introduced re veterans benefits for WWII mariners; House – bill introduced to delist the polar bear; Court – summary judgment premature where facts are in dispute; Washington – proposal to create regional ferry district; and Panama Canal – summary of December operations.
January 10, 2011
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. Keep misbehaving.
USCG – Policy on SMC and ACTSUS authority
The US Coast Guard posted its updated policy on Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator (SMC) and Active Search Suspended (ACTSUS) authority. The policy identifies the positions with the search and rescue (SAR) chain of command and the minimum training and experience levels for designation as SMC and ACTSUS. The SMC provides oversight to ensure proper SAR mission execution. The ACTSUS has authority to suspend an active SAR mission. The SMC and the ACTSUS may not be the same individual for the same SAR case. The ACTSUS should be at least one level above the SMC in the chain of command. ALCOAST 004/11 (1/5/11).
USCG – updated advisory re piracy and armed robbery against ships
The US Coast Guard issued an updated advisory relating to prevention and deterrence of piracy and armed robbery against ships. The advisory has been revised solely to reflect the latest release of MARSEC Directive 104-6 (series). Port Security Advisory (2-09)(Rev 3). (1/7/11).
USCG – random drug testing rate stays at 50%
The US Coast Guard issued a notice stating that the 2011 minimum random drug testing rate for covered crewmembers on US vessels will remain at 50%. 76 Fed. Reg. 1448 (January 10, 2011).
USCG – suspension of certain CDC reporting requirements
The US Coast Guard issued a temporary rule suspending reporting requirements for barges loaded with certain dangerous cargoes (CDCs) in the inland rivers area of the Eighth Coast Guard District. The Coast Guard will evaluate future reporting needs and requirements. The temporary rule comes into effect at midnight on January 15 and will remain in effect until midnight on January 15, 2013. 76 Fed. Reg. 1360 (January 10, 2011).
NOAA – critical habitat proposal for salmon and steelhead
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) stating that it is considering the designation of critical habitat for threatened Lower Columbia River Coho Salmon and Puget Sound Steelhead. The areas under consideration include watersheds in the Lower Columbia River basin and in Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Comments on this issue should be submitted by March 11. 76 Fed. Reg. 1392 (January 10, 2011).
OSHA – reestablishment of MACOSH
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a notice stating that the Secretary of Labor intends to reestablish the Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (MACOSH). 76 Fed. Reg. 1460 (January 10, 2011).
Jacksonville – vessel aground
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that a 235-foot research vessel grounded in the St. John’s River. There have been no reports of injury or pollution. The incident is under investigation. (1/7/11). Note: Unofficial reports indicate that the vessel has been refloated.
House – bill introduced re veterans benefits for WWII mariners
Representative Filner (D-CA) introduced the Belated Thank You to the Merchant Mariners of World War II Act of 2011 (H.R. 23) to amend title 38, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish the Merchant Mariner Equity Compensation Fund to provide benefits to certain individuals who served in the United States merchant marine (including the Army Transport Service and the Naval Transport Service) during World War II. (1/5/11).
House – bill introduced to delist the polar bear
Representative Young (R-AK) introduced the Polar Bear Delisting Act (H.R. 39) to delist the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. (1/5/11).
Court – summary judgment premature where facts are in dispute
In an unpublished decision, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed a grant of partial summary judgment in favor of the owners of the Tintomara and remanded the case for further proceedings. As part of this multiparty litigation arising out of the July 23, 2008 collision between the Tintomara and the tug/barge Mel Oliver/DM 932, the owners of the Mel Oliver sought contribution from the owners of the Tintomara for allegedly causing the oil spill that followed the collision. In the motion for partial summary judgment, the owners of the Tintomara contended that the owners of the Mel Oliver stated in pleadings that they were in a contractual relationship with the company that operated the Mel Oliver and that the latter company was at least partially at fault. Under OPA 90, if those assertions are accurate, then the owners of the Mel Oliver would not be entitled to shift liability to a third party. The federal district court granted the motion for partial summary judgment, exonerating the owners of the Tintomara from liability under OPA 90. On appeal, the court said that there were contradictions in the various pleadings filed by the owners of the Mel Oliver and the exact contractual relationship between them and the operator of the Mel Oliver was still in dispute. Until that contractual relationship was resolved, summary judgment on this issue was premature. Gabarick v. Laurin Maritime, No. 10-30148 (5th Cir., December 30, 2010). Note: This case was brought to my attention by my good friend Michael Marks Cohen of Nicoletti Hornig & Sweeney.
Washington – proposal to create regional ferry district
The Governor of Washington State, Chris Gregoire, issued a news release proposing, among other things, to transfer responsibility for state ferries to a Puget Sound Regional Ferry District. The district’s funds would come from fares, a state subsidy to fund a core level of service, and regional taxing authority to ensure service levels consistent with local and regional needs. (1/6/11). Note: This sounds to me like a shell game. The Washington State Ferries have been underfunded for years. Now that vessel replacement needs are mounting, the state wants out.
Panama Canal – summary of December operations
The Panama Canal Authority issued an advisory summarizing Canal operations during December 2010. It also includes a schedule of locks maintenance work of 2011. Advisory 01-2011 (1/6/11).
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 – January 2011