Headlines: Arctic Ocean – USN-sponsored research; USCG – 2011 Arctic Domain Awareness; Gulf of Mexico – third deepwater drilling permit approved; CBP – monitoring traffic from Japan for radioactivity; San Diego – security zones for cruise ships; Narragansett Bay & Rhode Island Sound – anchorage regulations; DON – explosives handling wharf at Kitsap Bangor; OFAC – economic sanctions against Iran; Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force – meeting; Senate – bill introduced re CNMI submerged lands; Senate – bill introduced to remove punitive damages cap; house – bill introduced to amend MDRPRA; Senate – bill introduced re taxation of foreign shipping earnings; Senate – bill introduced to promote hydrokinetic renewable energy; CRS – transportation security issues; Court – Corps not subject to suit for failure to dredge; Strait of Juan de Fuca – cargo ship experiences engine trouble; UN – resolution to protect civilians in Libya; Arabian Sea – pirate skiffs destroyed; Panama Canal – one of the world’s most ethical companies; Singapore – reminder to adopt BMP3; Singapore Strait – attempted boarding of a bulk carrier; Tristan da Cunha – grounded bulker breaking up; and Vernal equinox – March 20, 2011.
March 21, 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. Planck’s Constant isn’t.
Arctic Ocean – USN-sponsored research
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it is supporting a Navy-sponsored research mission on an ice-island in the Arctic Ocean located approximately 100 miles north of Point Barrow, Alaska. The release includes an interesting photograph of the submarine USS Connecticut (SSN 22) that surfaced through the ice. (3/18/11).
USCG – 2011 Arctic Domain Awareness
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it is commencing its fifth annual Arctic Domain Awareness initiative, which utilizes cutters, aircraft, and personnel to expand operations in the Arctic environment. Three exercises are planned this year to practice elements of search and rescue, pollution response, towing operations, and mass casualty response with local communities and state agencies. (3/18/11).
Gulf of Mexico – third deepwater drilling permit approved
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEMRE) issued a press release stating that it approved a third deepwater drilling permit that complies with all the new safety standards, including demonstrated containment capability. The new well is to be drilled in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 90 miles south of Venice, Louisiana. (3/18/11).
CBP – monitoring traffic from Japan for radioactivity
The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a news release stating that it will monitor maritime and air traffic arriving in the United States from Japan for radioactivity. (3/17/11).
San Diego – security zones for cruise ships
The US Coast Guard promulgated a final rule amending its regulations for security zones for cruise ships in the Port of San Diego. The security zones apply to navigable waters within a 100-yard radius of any cruise ship in the Port. The amendment comes into effect on April 20. 76 Fed. Reg. 15216 (March 21, 2011).
Narragansett Bay & Rhode Island Sound – anchorage regulations
The US Coast Guard proposes to remove an obsolete naval explosives anchorage in Narragansett Bay and to add an offshore anchorage in Rhode Island Sound, south of Brenton Point, Rhode Island, for use by vessels waiting to enter Narragansett Bay. Comments on the proposal should be submitted by April 20. 76 Fed. Reg. 15246 (March 21, 2011).
DON – explosives handling wharf at Kitsap Bangor
The Department of the Navy (DON) issued a notice stating that it will hold public meetings to receive comments on its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the TRIDENT Support Facilities Explosives Handling Wharf, Naval Base Kitsap Bangor, Silverdale, Kitsap County, Washington. The meetings will be held in Poulsbo (April 19); Chimacum (April 20); and Seattle (April 21). 76 Fed. Reg. 15302 (March 21, 2011).
OFAC – economic sanctions against Iran
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) published the names of 26 newly-designated entities whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to the Executive Order relating to economic sanctions against Iran. Many of these entities appear to be affiliated with the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL). 76 Fed. Reg. 15366 (March 21, 2011).
Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force – meeting
The Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force (ANSTF), sponsored by the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), will meet in Little Rock on May 5-6. Topics on the agenda include Asian carp and recreational guidelines. 76 Fed. Reg. 15334 (March 21, 2011).
Senate – bill introduced re CNMI submerged lands
Senator Bingaman (D-NM) introduced a bill (S. 590) to convey certain submerged lands to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in order to give that territory the same benefits in its submerged lands as Guam, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa have in their submerged lands. (3/15/11).
Senate – bill introduced to remove punitive damages cap
Senator Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced the Maritime Liability Fairness Act (S. 592) to amend title 46, United States Code, to remove the cap on punitive damages established by the Supreme Court in Exxon Shipping Company v. Baker. (3/16/11).
House – bill introduced to amend MDRPRA
Representative Farr (D-CA) introduced a bill (H.R. 1171) to reauthorize and amend the Marine Debris Research, Prevention, and Reduction Act. Official text of the bill has not yet been posted. (3/17/11).
Senate – bill introduced re taxation of foreign shipping earnings
Senator Cantwell (D-WA) introduced a bill (S. 626) to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the shipping investment withdrawal rules in section 955 and to provide an incentive to reinvest foreign shipping earnings in the United States. Official text of the bill has not yet been posted. (3/17/11).
Senate – bill introduced to promote hydrokinetic renewable energy
Senator Murkowski (R-AK) introduced a bill (S. 630) to promote marine and hydrokinetic renewable energy research and development, and for other purposes. Official text of the bill has not yet been posted. (3/17/11).
CRS – transportation security issues
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a report entitled “Transportation Security: Issues for the 112th Congress”. While the majority of the report focuses on aviation, it does address scanning of maritime containers and the threat posed by small craft. RL33512 (2/1/11).
Court – Corps not subject to suit for failure to dredge
The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that the US Army Corps of Engineers is immune from liability for damages allegedly caused by its failure to properly dredge the Mississippi River. In June 2008, a ship owned by plaintiff shipowner grounded while approaching the Napoleon Avenue Wharf in the Port of New Orleans and allided with the wharf. The shipowner brought suit against the Port for its damages. The Port in turn brought suit against the US Army Corps of Engineers for failure to dredge the waters adjacent to the wharf to the prescribed depth of 45 feet below Mean Low Gulf (MLG). The federal government’s motion to dismiss the failure to dredge claim was granted by the district court and the shipowner and the Port appealed. The Port in particular asserted that, because the Corps had granted it a permit to dredge to that depth and it had so dredged at its own expense, the Corps became responsible for maintaining that depth. The appellate court affirmed the dismissal of the failure to dredge claim, holding that, despite issuing the permit, the Corps retained the discretion for committing federal funds to maintaining a harbor project. The federal government is not subject to suit for the manner in which it exercises its discretion. MS Tabea Schiffahrtsgesellschaft MBH v. Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans, No. 10-30259 (5th Cir., March 18, 2011).
Strait of Juan de Fuca – cargo ship experiences engine trouble
The Washington State Department of Ecology issued a news release stating that it and the US Coast Guard are monitoring the transit through the Strait of Juan de Fuca of a cargo ship that experienced engine trouble just outside the Strait. The Coast Guard directed that the ship, which is en route Vancouver, British Columbia, engage a tug escort for its passage through the Strait. (3/18/11).
UN – resolution to protect civilians in Libya
The United Nations (UN) issued a news release stating that the Security Council adopted Resolution 1973 (2011) authorizing member states “to take all necessary measures . . . to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding an occupation force.” The resolution also calls on Member States to ensure strict implementation of the arms embargo, including through inspection of suspect ships on the high seas going to or from Libya. (3/17/11). Note: Vessels operating in the vicinity of Libya should exercise caution.
Arabian Sea – pirate skiffs destroyed
The Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) issued a news release stating that one of its warships disrupted a pirate action group in the Arabian Sea, destroying two pirate skiffs. (3/16/11).
Panama Canal – one of the world’s most ethical companies
The Panama Canal Authority issued a press release stating that it has been recognized by the Ethisphere Institute as one of the 2011 World’s Most Ethical Companies. The award was for "going the extra mile and implementing upright business practices and initiatives that are instrumental to the company's success, benefit the community, and raise the bar for ethical standards within the industry." (3/16/11).
Singapore – reminder to adopt BMP3
The Singapore Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) issued a circular reminding the shipping community to adopt the Best Management Practices (version 3) to deter piracy in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia. An essential part of BMP3 is for all ships to keep the naval forces operating in the area aware of their sea passages through the High Risk Area. Shipping Circular 6-2011 (3/17/11).
Singapore Strait – attempted boarding of a bulk carrier
The ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre issued an Incident Alert stating that a bulk carrier transiting the Singapore Strait was chased by four small boats in the early morning hours of March 18. The master took evasive action by increasing speed and effecting zig-zag maneuvers. The crew was mustered on the bridge. The men in the small boats aborted their attempt to board the ship after half an hour. (3/18/11).
Tristan da Cunha – grounded bulker breaking up
The Tristan da Cunha Administration issued a news release stating that the grounded bulk carrier Oliva is breaking up. The 75,300 tonne vessel, carrying 60,000 tonnes of soya beans from Santos, Brazil to Singapore, grounded off the northwest shore of Nightingale Island (about 20 miles southwest of the main island of Tristan) on the morning of March 16. Twelve of the 22 crewmembers were evacuated by a fishing vessel. When the bulker began to break up, the remaining crew were evacuated by zodiacs from a cruise ship that was fortuitously in the vicinity. Bunker oil from the vessel has impacted the coastline of Nightingale Island and has spread through waters offshore. Salvage and response resources are en route. The cause of the casualty is not currently known. (3/20/11). Note: Tristan da Cunha is a group of small islands in the South Atlantic about 1,700 miles west of Cape Town, South Africa. It is an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom. This casualty has some obvious parallels to the December 8, 2004 grounding of the bulk carrier Selendang Ayu on Unalaska Island.
Vernal equinox – March 20, 2011
If things were sufficiently quiet last night (specifically at 2321 UTC, March 20, 2011), you may have heard the crash when the sun tripped over the equator as it slipped north. This marked the commencement of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the commencement of autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. Coincidently, this weekend the moon reportedly made its closest approach to the earth in 18 years. The average distance between these heavenly bodies is 238,857 miles, but Saturday night it was only 221,567 miles. Don’t blame me!
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 – March 2011