Headlines: USCG – Deepwater Horizon ISPR; BOEMRE – supplemental guidance for deepwater drilling; DOI – wind energy development off Delaware; Lower Mississippi River – bridge allision slows traffic; St. Lawrence Seaway – maximum allowable draft; Great Lakes – restoration of aids to navigation; USCG – standards for new DSC marine radios; House – bill introduced to amend MDRPRA; Senate – bill introduced re taxation of foreign shipping earnings; Senate – bill introduced to promote hydrokinetic renewable energy; Senate – bill introduced to facilitate judicial redress; Court – California may regulate fuel use 24 miles offshore; Court – liability for hazardous substance release; Mediterranean Sea – enforcement of Libyan arms embargo; Gulf of Aden – tanker hijacked; Arabian Sea – pirate attack disrupted; EC – emissions reduction strategy adopted; Ireland – reporting alleged inadequate port reception facilities; and Malta – investigation of MV Oliva grounding.
March 29, 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.
USCG – Deepwater Horizon ISPR
The US Coast Guard issued its Incident Specific Preparedness Review (ISPR) regarding the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The review notes, among other things, that the Coast Guard’s marine environmental response (MER) preparedness and response programs have atrophied over the years, primarily due to the success of OPA 90-driven prevention programs. Area Contingency Plans (ACPs) are frequently inadequate for large-scale incidents. Protection measures for environmentally sensitive areas tend to be vague. Additional research is needed to focus on alternative response technologies. The effective daily recovery capacity (EDRC) for mechanical recovery equipment should be revised to include a reliable, dynamic efficiency measure. Additional funding should be identified for research and development and to create incentives for local officials and non-government organizations to participate in the ACP process. The National Contingency Plan (NCP) and the National Response Framework (NRF) must be better integrated. (3/18/11). Note: This item was brought to my attention by my good friend Jon Waldron of Blank Rome LLP.
BOEMRE – supplemental guidance for deepwater drilling
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEMRE) issued Supplemental Guidance for offshore deepwater drillers to comply with safety and containment requirements. The guidance clarifies certain regulations, particularly with regard to use of blowout preventers (BOPs) and cementing practices. (3/28/11).
DOI – wind energy development off Delaware
The Department of the Interior (DOI) issued a press release stating that it is initiating the process for awarding a noncompetitive lease for commercial wind energy development on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) off Delaware under its “Smart from the Start” Atlantic Offshore Wind program. Only one company, NRG Bluewater Wind Delaware, expressed an interest in the development. The process still awaits environmental reviews and consultation with other federal, state, local, and tribal interests. (3/24/11).
Lower Mississippi River – bridge allision slows traffic
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it has imposed vessel traffic restrictions on the Lower Mississippi River in the vicinity of the Old Vicksburg Bridge and the I-20 Bridge. A tug allided with the Old Vicksburg Bridge. One of its barges broke loose and allided with the I-20 Bridge, where it is now partially sunk. Salvage efforts are under way. Based on the river conditions and the hazard presented by the barge, the Coast Guard has restricted southbound traffic to daytime passage and northbound traffic to nighttime passage. Currently, there are 36 vessels waiting to transit southbound. (3/28/11).
St. Lawrence Seaway – maximum allowable draft
The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System issued a notice stating that, with the opening of the 2011 navigation season, the maximum allowable draft in the Montreal to Lake Ontario section has been increased to 80.8 dm (26’ 06”), subject to favorable water elevations. (3/22/11).
Great Lakes – restoration of aids to navigation
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it has begun restoring the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway aids to navigation system following the resumption of the navigation season. This involves the re-installation of 1,263 navigational aids, lighted and unlighted buoys, and beacons. (3/28/11).
USCG – standards for new DSC marine radios
The US Coast Guard Navigation Center issued a Special Notice reminding the marine community that, beginning March 25, 2011, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has prohibited the manufacture, importation, sale, or installation of fixed mounted (non-portable) digital selective calling (DSC) equipped marine radios that do not meet the requirements of ITU-R Recommendation M.493-11 or higher, and in the case of Class D VHF DSC equipment only, IEC International Standard 62238. Therefore, after March 25, 2011, radios built to RTCM Standard SC-101 can no longer be manufactured, import, sold, or installed. However, previously installed radios meeting the older standard may continue to be used. (8/12/10). Note: This item was brought to my attention by my good friend Richard Hiscock of Off Soundings.
House – bill introduced to amend MDRPRA
Representative Farr (D-CA) introduced the Marine Debris Act Reauthorization Amendments of 2011 (H.R. 1171) to reauthorize and amend the Marine Debris Research, Prevention, and Reduction Act. (3/17/11).
Senate – bill introduced re taxation of foreign shipping earnings
Senator Cantwell (D-WA) introduced the American Shipping Reinvestment Act of 2011 (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. (3/17/11).
Senate – bill introduced to promote hydrokinetic renewable energy
Senator Murkowski (R-AK) introduced the Marine and Hydrokinetic Renewable Energy Promotion Act of 2011 (S. 630) to promote marine and hydrokinetic renewable energy research and development, and for other purposes. (3/17/11).
Senate – bill introduced to facilitate judicial redress
Senator Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced the Oil Spill Victims Redress Act (S. 594) to amend the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to facilitate the ability of persons affected by oil spills to seek judicial redress. (3/16/11).
Court – California may regulate fuel use 24 miles offshore
The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) regulation requiring ocean-going vessels to utilize cleaner marine fuels when operating within 24 nautical miles off the California coast is not violative of the US Constitution or federal law. In particular, the regulation was found to not violate the Commerce Clause or prejudice any characteristic feature of federal maritime law. The court stated that interests weighing in favor of uniformity are attenuated by, among other things, the health concerns that resulted in promulgation of the CARB regulation. The court further stated that it expects the CARB regulation to be terminated once the North American Emission Control Area (ECA) comes into effect in August 2012. Pacific Merchant Shipping Association v. Goldstene, No. 09-17765 (9th Cir., March 28, 2011). Note: The precedent established by this decision is troubling as it provides states with broad authority to regulate maritime activity on the high seas. The previous bright line limiting state jurisdiction at three nautical miles has been significantly eroded.
Court – liability for hazardous substance release
In an unpublished decision, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that the insurance policy issued by the primary insurer covered various damages incurred by third parties following release of over three million pounds of propane and propylene (hazardous substances) after a the allision of a tug and its tow with a bridge. In the Matter of Taira Lynn Marine Limited Number 5 LLC, No. 09-30878 (5th Cir., March 25, 2011).
Mediterranean Sea – enforcement of Libyan arms embargo
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has created a new website – Operation Unified Protector Arms Embargo – providing merchant vessels operating in the Mediterranean Sea with information regarding enforcement of the United Nations sanctions against Libya, with particular emphasis on the arms embargo. Vessels transiting the Maritime Surveillance Area off the coast of Libya are requested to provide identifying information to the NATO Shipping Centre and the NATO Maritime Operations Centre. (3/28/11).
Gulf of Aden – tanker hijacked
The EU NAVFOR issued a press release stating that the crude oil tanker Zirku was hijacked by pirates in the Gulf of Aden approximately 250 nautical miles southeast of Salalah, Oman. The pirates attacked in two skiffs, firing rocket-propelled grenades and small arms. The condition of the 29 crewmembers is not known at this time. (3/28/11).
Arabian Sea – pirate attack disrupted
The US Navy issued a press release stating that two of its warships disrupted a pirate attack on a merchant vessel in the Arabian Sea. As pirates boarded the merchant vessel, the master issued a distress call and stated that the crew had secured themselves in a safe room (citadel). As two helicopters from the warship approached, the pirates were seen jumping overboard and departing in their skiff. The pirates retreated to a mothership. Due to the possible presence of hostages on the mothership, it was not pursued. (3/25/11).
EC – emissions reduction strategy adopted
The European Commission (EC) issued a press release stating that it adopted a transport strategy to increase mobility and reduce air emissions. Among other things, the strategy calls for at least a 40% cut in shipping emissions by 2050. The strategy is discussed in greater detail in the White Paper entitled: Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area. (3/28/11). Note: This item was brought to my attention by my good friend Louis J. Le Gendre.
Ireland – reporting alleged inadequate port reception facilities
The Irish Department of Transport issued a notice advising the marine community that it has revised the format of its form for reporting alleged inadequate port reception facilities for disposal of ship-generated waste and cargo residues. Marine Notice 17-2011 (3/24/11).
Malta – investigation of MV Oliva grounding
Transport Malta issued a news release stating that it is investigating the grounding and subsequent complete hull failure of the Malta-registered Oliva on 16 March 2011 on Nightingale Island in the South Atlantic Ocean. No injuries have been reported. (3/21/11).
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 – March 2011