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November 19th, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Bryant’s Maritime Blog – 19 November 2012


Gulf of Mexico – two missing after fire on offshore platform;

Mississippi River – extreme low-water condition;

OMB – draft TWIC card reader requirements;

IWUB – meeting;

Somalia – warships operating near coast;

EC – marine litter reduction; and

Prestige sinking and oil spill – 19 November 2002.

November 19, 2012

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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. Facts are the playthings of the devil.

Gulf of Mexico – two missing after fire on offshore platform

clip_image004 The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that it is searching for two missing men following an explosion and fire on an offshore oil platform in waters of the Gulf of Mexico approximately 20 miles southeast of Grand Isle, Louisiana. Twenty men have been evacuated from the rig. The fire has been extinguished and a sheen has been potted in the area. (11/16/12). Note: Unofficial reports indicate that one body has been recovered in the vicinity of the platform. The well was shut-in and nonproducing at the time, eliminating the risk of a significant oil spill.

Mississippi River – extreme low-water condition

clip_image006 The Mississippi River Commission (MRC), administered by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), recently issued its 2012 Executive Summary. The Summary includes a 2-page Statement concerning the river’s extreme low-water condition. It notes that these conditions coincide with the height of the of the harvest season. The Summary then states: “A safe and reliable marine interstate system on the Mississippi River is an absolute necessity at this critical time when the nation is trying to move its bountiful agricultural product to export.” (8/24/12). Note: This item was brought to my attention by my friend Jorge Romero of K&L Gates.

OMB – draft TWIC card reader requirements

clip_image008 The US Coast Guard has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) its proposed rule relating to TWIC Card Reader Requirements. OMB review generally takes three or more months. (11/16/12).

IWUB – meeting

clip_image010 The Inland Waterways Users Board (IWUB), sponsored by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), will meet on 19 December in Paducah, Kentucky. Topics on the agenda include: status of the Olmsted Locks and Dam Project; levels of service; and the impacts of low water. 77 Fed. Reg. 69447 (November 19, 2012).

Somalia – warships operating near the coast

clip_image012 NATO issued a news release stating that its warships have been operating near the coast of Somalia, liaisoning with dhows and skiffs to exchange information and deter piracy. (11/16/12).

EC – marine litter reduction

clip_image014 The European Commission (EC) issued a press release stating that it is taking measures to reduce marine litter. Marine litter, much of which is composed of plastic, poses environmental, economic, health, and esthetic problems and originates from a variety of sources. (11/16/12).

Prestige sinking and oil spill – 19 November 2002

clip_image016 On 19 November 2002, the single-hull Aframax tanker PRESTIGE broke in two and sank in waters of the North Atlantic off the northwest coast of Spain. It had been carrying a cargo of 77,000 metric tons of heavy fuel oil from Russia and Latvia to Singapore when it encountered heavy weather on 13 November. It suffered structural failures and developed a substantial list. A distress call to Spanish authorities resulted in it being ordered to move further away from the Spanish coast. The crew was evacuated shortly before the ship broke up. Much of the oil onboard was spilled immediately, and much of that came ashore on the beaches of Spain and Portugal and, to a lesser extent, France. Oil that remained onboard the wreck slowly seeped out and also came ashore. Remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) were used to remove much of the remaining oil. In the aftermath, the European Union tightened its marine environmental protection regulations and pressed the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to take action. The phase-out dates for single-hull oil tankers were accelerated and restrictions were placed on the carriage of heavy fuel oil as cargo in single-hull tankers. In a major miscarriage of justice, the master of the Prestige was arrested and held in Spain for an inordinate period on charges of impeding the movement of the tanker during the crisis. The Kingdom of Spain brought suit against the American Bureau of Shipping for negligent classification of the tanker. The suit was eventually dismissed for lack of evidence. The criminal trial in Spain of the master and various others has only now commenced in Spain. The saga continues.

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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 – November 2012

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    logo11 Tugs and VRPs

    In the April 2018 edition of Maritime Reporter and Engineering News, you can find my article entitled "Tugs and VRPs". The article discusses the transition of tugs and towboats from being uninspected vessels to inspected vessels of the United States and that transition's impact on vessel response plans (VRPs). VRP plan holders and preparers should carefully review their current plans to ensure that the tugs identified therein will actually be eligible to provide the services stated in the locations called for.