Headlines: IMO – June 25, 2011 – Day of the Seafarer; USCG – risk-based targeting of foreign MODUs; USCG – qualification as OIC of navigation watch; USGS – science and knowledge gaps in Arctic OCS energy development; NTSB – Most Wanted List; EPA – reducing emissions from dray trucks in US ports; USCG – Meritorious Public Service Award; Senate – hearing on Coast Guard budget; Court – liability does not require proximate cause to be proved; Court – defective design claim in maritime product liability case; Court – sanction imposed for spurious motion; EC & US – joint statement on supply chain security; EMSA – assessment of classification societies; ESA – last two Galileo contracts signed; and UK – Select Committee report on proposed Coastguard reorganization.
June 24, 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. The Ship of Theseus sails forever.
IMO – June 25, 2011 – Day of the Seafarer
June 25, 2011 has been designated by the IMO as the Day of the Seafarer. It recognizes the unique contribution made by seafarers to international seaborne trade, the world economy, and civil society as a whole. It is an opportunity to educate the public about issues, such as piracy, facing the modern-day seafarer. Most importantly, though, it is an occasion to say “Thank you, seafarers.”
USCG – risk-based targeting of foreign MODUs
The US Coast Guard issued procedures for risk-based targeting of foreign mobile offshore drilling units (MODUs) operating on the US outer continental shelf (OCS). It includes general guidelines on required documentation of foreign MODU examination and an attachment describing how to enter the relevant examination activities into Coast Guard files. Policy Letter 11-06 (June 8, 2011).
USCG – qualification as OIC of navigation watch
The US Coast Guard issued guidance regarding appropriate qualifications for STCW endorsements as office in charge (OIC) of a navigational watch on ships of 200 GRT / 500 GT or more for applicants qualifying for an officer endorsement (license) through in-service experience (“via the hawsepipe”) rather than completing a comprehensive, Coast Guard-approved program such as that offered at a maritime academy. Policy Letter 11-07 (June 17, 2011).
USGS – science and knowledge gaps in Arctic OCS energy development
The Department of the Interior (DOI) issued a press release stating that the US Geological Survey (USGS) prepared a report evaluating science needed to better inform decisions regarding oil and gas exploration and development in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas off Alaska. Among the areas where additional scientific research, analysis, and synthesis could reduce uncertainties is building upon advances in spill-risk evaluation and response knowledge by developing better information on key inputs to spill models. (6/23/11).
NTSB – Most Wanted List
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) posted its annual Most Wanted List. The list consists of those areas in transportation most in need of improvement. Prominently mentioned on the list is human fatigue. (6/23/11).
EPA – reducing emissions from dray trucks in US ports
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a press release stating that it and other stakeholders a new SmartWay Transport Partnership program to slash pollution from the air emissions of trucks that service US ports. The program will focus on dray trucks – large diesel trucks used to haul freight from cargo ships to nearby local distribution points. (6/23/11).
USCG – Meritorious Public Service Award
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that the Meritorious Public Service Award was presented in Stockholm to Captain Finn Jorgenson and the crew of the tug Tor Viking II for their assistance in rescuing the cargo vessel Golden Seas after it suffered an engine failure in the Bering Sea north of Adak on December 3, 2010. The Golden Sea was en route from British Columbia to the United Arab Emirates with a cargo of 60 metric tons of rapeseed oil. It was also carrying 450,000 gallons of fuel oil and 11,700 gallons of diesel. (6/22/11).
Senate – hearing on Coast Guard budget
The Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation conducted an oversight hearing on the US Coast Guard budget. Committee Chair John D. Rockefeller IV made an opening statement. Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr., USCG testified regarding the FY 2012 budget request, rebuilding the Coast Guard, and enhancing maritime incident prevention and response. (6/23/11).
Court – liability does not require proximate cause to be proved
In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that, in accordance with the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA), a railroad is liable for employee injuries resulting in whole or in part from the carrier’s negligence. Reasonable foreseeability of harm is an essential ingredient of FELA negligence. If negligence is proved, however, and is shown to have played any part, even the slightest, in producing the injury, then the carrier is answerable in damages even if the extent of the injury or the manner in which it occurred was not probable or foreseeable. In a strongly-worded dissent, four Justices, led by Chief Justice Roberts, argued that the FELA does not eliminate the common-law requirement for proximate cause. CSX Transportation v. McBride, No. 10-235 (6/23/11). Note: While this is not a maritime case, it has great relevance to the US maritime industry because the Jones Act incorporates the FELA for purposes of recovery for death or personal injury of seafarers.
Court – defective design claim in maritime product liability case
The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that a design defect claim in a maritime product liability action need not show that the product in question violated any applicable safety standard and only needs to introduce expert evidence to establish that a reasonable alternative design could have been adopted. At that point, the issue becomes one for consideration by the trier of fact. In the instant case, plaintiff vessel owner hired defendant shipyard to repair a heater on the vessel. Defendant’s employee partially disassembled the heater. During the employee’s brief absence from the vessel, the heater caught fire and damaged the vessel. Defendant brought a third-party action against the manufacturer of the heater, alleging, among other things, that the heater was defectively designed. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the manufacturer. The appellate court reversed and remanded. Oswalt v. Resolute Industries, No. 10-35313 (9th Cir., June 16, 2011).
Court – sanction imposed for spurious motion
In an unpublished decision, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that defendants are entitled to recovery of attorneys’ fees and costs in defending against plaintiffs’ motion to stay appeal. The instant case involved a 2004 collision between a fishing vessel and container ship off Montauk Point. The jury found in favor of the container ship and the individuals on the fishing vessel appealed. In affirming the lower court judgment, the appellate court stated “that plaintiffs’ multiplication of litigation expenses through a motion so totally lacking in support in law or evidence warrants” such a sanction. Stepski v. MV Norasia Alya, No. 10-1756-cv (2nd Cir., June 23, 2011)
EC & US – joint statement on supply chain security
The European Commission (EC) issued a press release stating that the EU and the United States signed a joint statement on supply chain security. The statement defines an ambitious agenda for enhanced bilateral cooperation between EC services and their counterparts within the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) relating to customs, aviation security, maritime security, and research and development. (6/23/11). Note: This item was brought to my attention by my good friend John Bennett of Maritime Protective Services.
EMSA – assessment of classification societies
The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) issued a notice providing a summary of the EU process for assessment of classification societies. (6/23/11).
ESA – last two Galileo contracts signed
The European Space Agency (ESA) issued a press release stating that contracts have been signed covering completion of the Ground Control Segment and the Ground Mission Segment for the Galileo satellite navigation system. All six contracts for the Galileo project are now in place. The first two in-orbit validation satellites are due for launch later this year. (6/22/11).
UK – Select Committee report on proposed Coastguard reorganization
The UK House of Commons Select Committee on Transport posted its report on the Government’s plans for the future shape of the Coastguard Service. While accepting that there is a need for some modernization, the Committee found that the Government’s proposal was seriously flawed, raising concerns that the safety of people at sea and on cliffs and beaches will be jeopardized. (6/23/11).
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 – June 2011