Headlines: EPA – California standards for mobile cargo handling equipment; FMC – NOI re impact of slow steaming; USCG – safety alert re fuel oil quick-closing valves; Alabama – Mobile Point DGPS site to be decommissioned; Court – failure to notify Coast Guard is a continuing offense; IMO – supply chain security and addressing threat of piracy; EIB – loan approved involving Dutch offshore windfarms; New Zealand – online accident reporting; and UK Court – payment of ransom to pirates not illegal.
February 1, 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. Remembering the future.
EPA – California standards for mobile cargo handling equipment
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice stating that California has developed standards for air emissions from mobile cargo handling equipment at ports and intermodal rail yards. The EPA will hold a public meeting on these state standards on February 17, but only if by February 7 it receives a request for such a meeting. Written comments on the state standards should be submitted by March 17. 76 Fed. Reg. 5586 (February 1, 2011).
FMC – NOI re impact of slow steaming
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) stating that it is soliciting public comment on the impact of slow steaming on US ocean liner commerce. It is particularly interested in whether the practice of slow steaming has (1) impacted ocean liner carrier operations and shippers’ international supply chains; (2) affected the cost and/or price of ocean liner service; and (2it is soliciting public comment on the impact of slow steaming on US ocean liner commerce. It is particularly interested in whether the practice of slow steaming has (1) impacted ocean liner carrier operations and shippers’ international supply chains; (2) affected the cost and/or price of ocean liner service; and (3) mitigated greenhouse gas emissions. Comments should be submitted by April 5. (1/31/11).
USCG – safety alert re fuel oil quick-closing valves
The US Coast Guard issued a safety alert recommending that fuel oil quick-closing valves (QCVs) be inspected. Recent inspections by USCG boarding officers have revealed QCVs that have been intentionally blocked, modified, and/or poorly maintained. QCVs serve to isolate fuel tanks in the event of fire and are operated from a remote location. Engineers and other stakeholders should examine the QCVs to ensure that they are operational. Safety Alert 01-11 (1/31/11).
Alabama – Mobile Point DGPS site to be decommissioned
The US Coast Guard issued a notice stating that the Mobile Point Differential GPS will be decommissioned on March 15. DGPS used along the Gulf coast may utilize DGPS broadcast sites at English Turn, Louisiana (293 KHz) and Elgin, Florida (295 KHz). (1/31/11).
Court – failure to notify Coast Guard is a continuing offense
The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that the willful failure to notify the Coast Guard of a hazardous condition on the vessel is a continuing offense for purposes of venue. Defendant’s barge was loaded benzene and was under towage by defendant’s tug. While the barge was on the Mississippi River near St. Louis, it sprang a leak, emitting benzene. The pilot on the towboat instructed deckhands to seal the leak with a bar of soap. When notified by the pilot, the port captain instructed the pilot to apply a temporary epoxy patch. Meanwhile, the barge was taken down the Mississippi River to Cairo and then up the Ohio River toward its intended destination. The epoxy patch failed while the barge was near Louisville, four days after the initial leak. It was then that the Coast Guard was notified for the first time. Defendant was prosecuted and convicted by a federal court in the Western District of Kentucky. Defendant moved for dismissal, contending that the offense was committed, if at all, when the benzene leak initially occurred near St. Louis and could not be tried in any other venue. The district court granted the motion and the government appealed. The appellate court ruled that the offense of failing to notify the Coast Guard continued until proper notification was given. Since the barge travelled through several federal districts prior to the notification, defendant was subject to prosecution in any of those districts. United States v. Canal Barge Co., No. 09-5388 (6th Cir., January 7, 2011).
IMO – supply-chain security and addressing threat of piracy
The IMO issued a news release stating that IMO Secretary-General Efthimios Mitropoulos met in London with US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to discuss partnership arrangements to improve supply-chain security. Secretary Napolitano also assured Secretary-General Mitropoulos of the United States’ ongoing support for the initiative of the IMO to address the threat of piracy to vital shipping lanes, such as the Gulf of Aden. (1/28/11).
EIB – loan approved involving Dutch offshore windfarms
The European Commission (EC) issued a press release stating that the European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to provide a €450 million loan to finance construction of an electricity transmission ring between the Hague and Rotterdam. This project will connect offshore wind farms and the UK interconnector to the Dutch high voltage grid. (1/31/11).
New Zealand – online accident reporting
Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) issued a news release stating that it has launched an online accident reporting system so that commercial operators and recreational boaters can report accidents, incidents, or serious harm injuries online by completing and submitting an electronic form directly to MNZ. (1/31/11).
UK Court – payment of ransom to pirates not illegal
The UK Court of Appeal ruled that the owner of cargo on a vessel hijacked by Somali pirates did not have a claim against its insurer for actual total loss (ATL) of the cargo where the vessel was released by the pirates when the vessel owner paid a $2 million ransom approximately two months after the hijacking. The primary issue before the court involved the interplay between the UK Marine Insurance Act 1906 and definition of ATL. More interesting, at least to me, was the extended discussion of the legality of payment of ransom to the pirates and the ability of the owner, depending on the insurance coverage, of obtaining reimbursement from the insurer. The court conceded that payment of ransom is, in the abstract, undesirable, but that in the circumstances currently existing in waters off Somalia it is the lesser of the various unsatisfactory alternatives. The Bunga Melati Dua, UK Court of Appeal (Civil Division),  EWCA Civ 24 (1/26/11).
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 – February 2011