Headlines: CRS – shutdown of the federal government; DOJ – guilty plea agreement in price fixing case; USCG – foreign rebuilding determinations; Sacramento River – EIS for deepening/widening; Potomac River – danger zone; OMB – prerule re TWIC card readers; USCG – reporting significant harm to the environment; USCG – access to marine casualty investigations; NTSB – factual reports re 2009 collision in San Diego Harbor; DOI – making regulations less burdensome and more effective; and Australia – medical examinations for Australian seafarers.
February 25, 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.
CRS – shutdown of the federal government
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) issued a report entitled “Shutdown of the Federal Government: Causes, Processes, and Effects”. The report was prepared in the event that Congress is unable (or unwilling) to come to an agreement on the continued funding of the federal government. The current funding legislation (a continuing resolution) is due to expire on March 4. The report points out that certain federal officials (including Members of Congress, the President, and Presidential appointees) are exempt. Certain other federal employees are considered essential and will continue doing whatever they are doing. The remainder may have to cease work, at least temporarily. Various federal activities are excepted from any shutdown. Excepted activities include, but are not limited to, national security, foreign relations, public health and safety, transportation safety and protection of transport property, border and coastal protection and surveillance, protection of federal property, waterways, and equipment, law enforcement, and emergency assistance. RL34680 (2/18/11). Note: From the maritime perspective, it appears that most Coast Guard and Customs activities are excepted from the shutdown, if one is to occur. The Maritime Administration and the Federal Maritime Commission may not benefit from this exception, though.
DOJ – guilty plea agreement in price fixing case
The Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a news release stating that a US carrier has agreed to plead guilty and pay a $45 million criminal fine for its role in a conspiracy to fix prices in the coastal water freight transportation industry. (2/24/11).
USCG – foreign rebuilding determinations
The US Coast Guard seeks comment on a petition for rulemaking the requests the Coast Guard to amend its regulations relating to an application for a foreign rebuilding determination. The petition requests amendments to the major-component test, the considerable-parts test, the criteria for when vessels altered outside the United States must submit material to the National Vessel Documentation Center and what materials must be submitted, and the preliminary rebuilt determinations application requirements. It also proposes addition of a requirement for the Coast Guard to publish in the Federal Register notices of applications for rebuild determinations and a requirement that the owner of a coastwise trade eligible vessel that had any work performed on that vessel at a facility outside the United States to submit a Customs Form 226, Record of Vessel Foreign Repair or Equipment Purchase to the Commandant. Comments on the petition should be submitted by May 26. 76 Fed. Reg. 10553 (February 25, 2011). Note: Being philosophically in favor of transparent government, I support the proposal for publication in the Federal Register of notices of applications for a rebuild determination. I am unconvinced of the need for the other changes to the existing system.
Sacramento River – EIS for deepening/widening
The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) seeks comments on the draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for completion of the previously authorized project to deepen the Sacramento River Deep Water Ship Channel from 30 feet to 35 feet and to perform selective widening of the Channel. Comments should be submitted by April 11. 76 Fed. Reg. 10572 (February 25, 2011).
Potomac River – danger zone
The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) promulgated a final rule amending the regulations relating to the danger zone on the Potomac River and adjacent waters in the vicinity of Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren, Virginia. The amendments come into effect on March 28. 76 Fed. Reg. 10522 (February 25, 2011).
OMB – prerule re TWIC card readers
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a notice stating that it has completed its review of the US Coast Guard prerule document regarding TWIC card reader requirements. (2/23/11). Note: This prerule document is rumored to be guidance on voluntary use of electronic TWIC card readers.
USCG – reporting significant harm to the environment
The US Coast Guard issued a revised bulletin reminding the maritime industry of the requirement to report incidents that cause significant harm to the environment. Such incidents must be immediately reported to the National Response Center or nearest Coast Guard unit. A written marine casualty report must also be submitted within five days. (2/22/11).
USCG – access to marine casualty investigations
The US Coast Guard issued a revised bulletin reminding interested parties on how to obtain copies of completed marine casualty investigations through submission of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act requests. (2/22/11). Note: In my experience, it is helpful to state in the request that you are not seeking personal information protected from disclosure by those Acts (such as home addresses and Social Security numbers).
NTSB – factual reports re 2009 collision in San Diego Harbor
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released Factual Reports and Related Documents regarding the December 20, 2009 collision involving a US Coast Guard boat and a recreational vessel in San Diego Harbor. These documents do not provide analysis. The NTSB investigation is ongoing. (2/24/11).
DOI – making regulations less burdensome and more effective
The Department of the Interior issued a press release stating that it is seeking suggestions to make its regulations less burdensome and more effective. (2/24/11).
Australia – medical examinations for Australian seafarers
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) issued a notice advising Australian seafarers, coastal pilots, and other stakeholders of changes to the administration of medical examinations leading to the issue of a Certificate of Medical Fitness. Commencing on 1 June, the administration of all AMSA medical examinations leading to the issue of a Certificate of Medical Fitness, including the booking of an appointment, will be administered by Health Services Australia. Marine Notice 4/2011 (2/23/11).
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