Headlines: DOJ – convicted pirate sentenced to 405 months in prison; MARAD – contracts awarded for National Defense Reserve Fleet; NOAA – Gulf spill restoration planning; USCG – response plans for hazardous substance spills; DOT – Defense Production Act prioritization and allocation; USCG – FY 2012 budget; OFAC – General License issued to allow judicial sale of blocked ships; FMC – results of Commission meeting; St. Lawrence Seaway – navigation season to open on March 22; Senate – bill introduced to require restitution for certain oil spill victims; Court – liability for failure to provide specific warning of hazardous cargo; Court – payment of medical benefits is not LHWCA compensation; EC – Poland warned over failure to protect its sea; and UK – hostages and hijacked vessel freed from pirates.
February 17, 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.
DOJ – convicted pirate sentenced to 405 months in prison
The Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a news release stating that, Abduwali Muse, the Somali national convicted of participating in the hijacking of three merchant vessels in the Indian Ocean (including the April 8, 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama and the kidnapping of its master), was sentenced to 405 months (33 years, 9 months) in federal prison. He had previously pled guilty to two counts each of hijacking maritime vessels, kidnapping, and hostage taking. (2/16/11). Note: The conviction and sentencing send a clear message that the United States will use the rule of law to deter piracy and punish those who engage in this international crime.
MARAD – contracts awarded for National Defense Reserve Fleet
The Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a news release stating that the Maritime Administration (MARAD) awarded contracts for $77 million to three US maritime firms to operate ten National Defense Reserve Fleet ships through July 27, 2015. Eight of the ships are reserve-status cargo ships, part of the DOT Ready Reserve Force, whose ships have been activated 91 times since 2002. The other two ships are used to assist Missile Defense Agency operations. (2/16/11).
NOAA – Gulf spill restoration planning
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a notice of intent to begin restoration scoping and preparation of a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) regarding the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Comments regarding this effort should be submitted by May 18. The dates and specific locations of public scoping meetings will be announced separately. 76 Fed. Reg. 9327 (February 17, 2011).
USCG – response plans for hazardous substance spills
The US Coast Guard is reopening, through May 18, the period within which to submit comments on the previously proposed rules regarding tank vessel response plans for hazardous substances and marine transportation-related facility response plans for hazardous substances. 76 Fed. Reg. 9276 (February 17, 2011). Note: I recommend that the response plan regulations for non-tank vessels be finalized prior to proceeding further with this effort.
DOT – Defense Production Act prioritization and allocation
The Department of Transportation (DOT) proposes to clarify the priorities and allocation authorities exercised by the Secretary under Title I of the Defense Production Act of 1950. It is intended to establish standards and procedures by which the priorities and allocations authority is used to promote the national defense, both under emergency and nonemergency conditions. Comments should be submitted by March 17. 76 Fed. Reg. 8675 (February 15, 2011). Note: The Maritime Administration (MARAD) is significantly involved in utilization of Defense Production Act authorities.
USCG – FY 2012 budget
Admiral Bob Papp, Commandant, US Coast Guard, issued a message outlining the President’s budget for the Coast Guard for fiscal year 2012. The budget provides for delivery of the CGC Stratton, the third National Security Cutter (NSC), as well as further work on the planned fourth and fifth NSCs. Three of the older cutters are to be decommissioned, as well as the icebreaker Polar Sea and MSST Anchorage. Monies are requested for acquisition of six fast response cutters and various replacement aircraft. ALCOAST 059/11 (2/15/11).
OFAC – General License issued to allow judicial sale of blocked ships
The US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued General License No. 3 under the Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators Sanctions Regulations (directed primarily at the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea) so as to allow the judicial sale of two previously blocked ships that were arrested and detained in ports in China. (2/15/11).
FMC – results of Commission meeting
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued a news release stating that, at its February 16 meeting, the Commission voted 3-1 to issue a final rule lifting rate-tariff publication requirements for non-vessel-operating common carriers (NVOCCs); modernize its rules of practice and procedure; and prepare a plan to systematically review its existing rules. (2/16/11).
St. Lawrence Seaway – navigation season to open on March 22
The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System issued a Notice stating that the Montreal/Lake Ontario section and the Welland Canal will open to navigation on March 22. The US Soo Locks will open on March 25. The maximum allowable draft in the Montreal/Lake Ontario section will initially be 80.0 dm. (2/16/11).
Senate – bill introduced to require restitution for certain oil spill victims
Senator Leahy (D-VT) introduced a bill (S. 350) to require restitution for victims of criminal violations of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, and for other purposes. Senator Leahy issued a press release discussing the bill. Official text of the bill has not yet been posted. (2/15/11).
Court – liability for failure to provide specific warning of hazardous cargo
In an unpublished decision, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that a shipper is liable for damages resulting from a shipboard explosion of its cargo where the cargo, due to its packaging, was more hazardous than usual and the shipper failed to warn the carrier of that particular hazard. In the instant case, defendant shipper knowingly packaged its shipment of calcium hypochlorite in a manner that made it more hazardous than usual. The shipper failed to warn plaintiff carrier of the increased danger and the cargo was stowed in a manner customary for that cargo. The cargo exploded in transit, damaging the ship and other cargo. Defendant’s appeal of liability was denied. In re: M/V DG Harmony, No. 09-4552-cv (2nd Cir., January 31, 2011). Note: This case was brought to my attention by my good friend Michael Marks Cohen of Nicoletti Hornig & Sweeney.
Court – payment of medical benefits is not LHWCA compensation
The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that voluntary payment by a maritime employer of medical benefits to a claimant under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) does not extend the period within which the claimant may file a request for modification of an award of compensation. Wheeler v. Newport News Shipbuilding, No. 10-1164 (4th Cir., February 15, 2011).
EC – Poland warned over failures to protect its sea
The European Commission issued a press release stating that it is asking Poland to comply with EU legislation requiring Member States to draw up marine strategies to protect their seas. (2/16/11).
UK – hostages and hijacked vessel freed from pirates
The Royal Navy issued a news release stating that on February 10, 2011, the HMS Cornwall, serving with the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) secured the release of the crew of a Yemeni dhow that had been hijacked by Somali pirates on November 11, 2010. Searching a dhow that had been associated with a pirate assault on a merchant vessel, the Cornwall found 22 persons, three skiffs, and pirate paraphernalia. Five of those on board were determined to be from the original Yemeni crew, who had been held hostage for 92 days. (2/15/11).
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