Headlines: DOJ – suspected pirate leader apprehended in Somalia; DOJ – mariner sentenced for creating hazardous condition; DOJ – proposed consent decree; Columbia River – temporary safety zone; MARAD – National Ports Summit; House – bill introduced re Salem Maritime National Historic Site; House – bill introduced to require best available technology on OCS; IMO – Denmark signs 2010 HNS Protocol; Australia – investigation shows fatigue-induced grounding; Somalia – pirates release general cargo ship; and Texas City disaster – April 16, 1947.
April 15, 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. “Honesty is the best policy, but insanity is a better defense.” (Steve Landesburg).
DOJ – suspected pirate leader apprehended in Somalia
The Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a press release stating that an alleged Somali hostage negotiator, Mohammad Saali Shibin, was apprehended in Somalia, transferred to the United States, and has be indicted for piracy, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and use of a destructive device during a crime of violence. Fourteen co-conspirators have also been indicted. The arrests and indictments stem from the February hijacking of the US yacht Quest in the Arabian Sea. The indictment alleges that the 14 co-conspirators conducted the actual hijacking of the yacht and the kidnapping of the four US citizens on board. Mr. Shibin then allegedly assumed responsibility for negotiating a ransom for release of the yacht and the US citizens. While the negotiations were on-going, one of the pirates fired a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) at the US Navy warship shadowing the yacht. The indictment alleges that three of the pirates then intentionally shot and killed the four US citizens. The 14 co-conspirators were then detained by the US Navy and transported to the United States. Mr. Shibin was apprehended in Somalia and transported separately to the United States. Piracy carries a mandatory penalty of life in prison. Conspiracy to commit kidnapping carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. Use of a destructive device during a crime of violence carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison. (4/13/11). Note: This marks the first time that US forces have gone ashore in Somalia to apprehend a suspected pirate. This more aggressive action could be a game-changer in counter-piracy.
DOJ – mariner sentenced for creating hazardous condition
The Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a news release stating that the mariner who was supposed to be serving as master of the tug Mel Carter when its tank barge collided with another ship in the Mississippi River near New Orleans on July 23, 2008 was sentenced to three years of probation for creating a hazardous condition when he left the tug in the control of an unqualified crew member. (4/13/11).
DOJ – proposed consent decree
The Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a notice stating that it and other government entities are proposing to enter into a consent decree regarding claims under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA), and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90) for damages for injury to, destruction of, or loss of natural resources resulting from the release of hazardous substances and discharges of oil into the Middle Waterway of the Commencement Bay/Nearshore Tideflats Superfund site in Tacoma, Washington. In settlement of the claims, defendants have agreed to preserve the site of a former marine dock at the mouth of the Middle Waterway in perpetuity for use as a habitat restoration site and will pay $7,802,081.29 in cash. In addition, defendants will pay $300,000 toward the trustees’ long-term restoration project oversight and $700,000 to reimburse trustee damage assessment costs. Comments on the proposed consent decree should be submitted within the next 30 days. 76 Fed. Reg. 21405 (April 15, 2011).
Columbia River – temporary safety zone
The US Coast Guard is expanding the emergency safety zone on waters of the Columbia River around the remains of the sunken barge Davy Crockett and extending the period of the safety zone to continue in effect through May 17 while response operations continue. 76 Fed. Reg. 21253 (April 15, 2011).
MARAD – National Ports Summit
The Maritime Administration (MARAD) issued a news release stating that it will host the second annual National Ports Summit in Chicago on April 21. The conference will address issues such as port financing, port infrastructure, redevelopment plans, and America’s Marine Highway System. (4/14/11).
House – bill introduced re Salem Maritime National Historic Site
Representative Tierney (D-MA) introduced the Salem Maritime National Historic Site Boundary Study Act of 2011 (H.R. 1500) to direct the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a boundary study of the lands and waters in the greater Salem Sound and the city of Salem to determine the suitability and feasibility for inclusion within the boundary of the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, and for other purposes. (4/12/11).
House – bill introduced to require best available technology on OCS
Representative Inslee (D-WA) introduced a bill (H.R. 1520) to amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to require that oil and gas drilling and production operations on the outer Continental Shelf must have in place the best available technology for blowout preventers and emergency shutoff equipment, and for other purposes. Official text of the bill has not yet been posted. (4/13/11).
IMO – Denmark signs 2010 HNS Protocol
The IMO issued a news release stating that Denmark has become the first country to sign, subject to ratification, the Protocol of 2010 to the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious by Sea, 1996. The Protocol will enter into force eighteen months after the following conditions are fulfilled: (1) at least 12 States, including four States each with not less than 2 million units of gross tonnage, have expressed their consent to be bound by it; and (2) the Secretary-General has received information that those persons in such States who would be liable to contribute under the Convention have received during the preceding calendar year a total of at least 40 million tonnes of cargo contributing to the general account. (4/14/11).
Australia – investigation shows fatigue-induced grounding
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) issued the report of its investigation into the grounding of the bulk carrier Shen Neng 1 on Douglas Shoal, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland on 3 April 2010. The grounding resulted when the mate on duty did not change course at the designated course alteration position. This failure was the result of extreme fatigue, the mate having gotten only 2.5 hours of sleep during the 38 hours preceding the grounding. The ship was not in a mandatory pilotage zone and was not carrying a pilot. MO-2010-003 (4/14/11). Note: This item was brought to my attention by my good friend Larry Brennan of Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker LLP.
Somalia – pirates release general cargo ship
The EU NAVFOR issued a press release stating that Somali pirates have released the general cargo ship Beluga Nomination. The ship was hijacked in the Indian Ocean approximately 390 nautical miles north of the Seychelles on January 22. (4/14/11).
Texas City disaster – April 16, 1947
On April 16, 1947, in the port of Texas City, Texas, the freighter GRANDCAMP, with a cargo of ammonium nitrate, small arms ammunition, machinery, and sisal twine, caught fire. The fire quickly spread to the nearby freighter HIGH FLYER, loaded with ammonium nitrate and sulfur. When the two ships exploded, it largely flattened the harbor area. It is estimated that over 600 people died in the explosion and fires (exact numbers were unattainable due to the extent of damage). The US Coast Guard investigation of the casualty determined that the fire was initiated by unauthorized smoking in the cargo hold of the GRANDCAMP. It recommended, among other things, that regulations for carriage of dangerous goods be revised.
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 – April 2011