Court – oil spill responder immunity;
EPA – extension of VGP deadline;
EPA – temporary debarment of BP;
USCG & BSEE – MOU re safety and environmental protection;
BSEE – hurricane preparedness and reporting requirements;
MARAD – $1.5 million for innovative projects;
NTSB – USCG alcohol and drug testing standards;
Massachusetts – Cape Wind power contract approved;
IMO – implementation of MARPOL Annex V;
IMO – awards for exceptional bravery at sea;
Italy – Costa Concordia preliminary investigation; and
New Zealand – seafarer certification.
November 29, 2012
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. Facts are the playthings of the devil.
Court – oil spill responder immunity
In a case of first impression, the US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana (Judge Barbier) granted a motion for summary judgment filed by companies that responded to the explosion, fire, and oil spill on the MODU Deepwater Horizon. The companies had been sued by various plaintiffs who allegedly were injured by the response effort, including the use of dispersants. In granting the motion for summary judgment and dismissing the complaints against the responders, the court ruled that the actions, whether brought under state law or general maritime law, are preempted by the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (also referred to as the Clean Water Act) and the National Contingency Plan. Order, MDL No. 2179 (ED La., November 28, 2012). Note: This is the clearest ruling yet that a responder who acts in accordance with the National Contingency Plan and under the direction of the Federal On-Scene Coordinator (FOSC) is entitled to immunity for any alleged harm resulting therefrom. As such, it is of great import to the entire response community.
EPA – extension of VGP deadline
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an email announcing that the deadline for its issuance of the 2013 Vessel General Permit (VGP) has been extended from 30 November 2012 until 15 March 2013. The extension will not impact the 19 December 2013 effective date for the next VGP. (11/28/12).
EPA – temporary debarment of BP
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a news release stating that BP Exploration and Production, Inc., BP PLC, and named affiliated companies (BP) have been temporarily suspended from new contracts with the federal government due to BP’s lack of business integrity as demonstrated by the company’s conduct with regard to the Deepwater horizon blowout, explosion, oil spill, and response. The BP suspension will temporarily prevent the company and the named affiliates from getting new federal government contracts, grants or other covered transactions until the company can provide sufficient evidence to EPA demonstrating that it meets Federal business standards. The suspension does not affect existing agreements BP may have with the government. (11/28/12).
USCG & BSEE – MOU re safety and environmental protection
The US Coast Guard and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to coordinate regulatory action, review and improve oil spill response and preparedness, and improve outer continental shelf (OCS) inspector oversight, competency, and capacity. (11/27/12). Note: This item was first brought to my attention by my friend Charles Dudek of Murphy Oil Corporation.
BSEE – hurricane preparedness and reporting requirements
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) posted its Hurricane Preparedness and Reporting Regulations. These provisions apply to outer continental shelf (OCS) facilities subject to BSEE oversight and include both preparations for hurricanes, tropical storms, and severe weather, and reporting requirements if such weather events move through an area of the OCS. (8/27/12).
MARAD – $1.5 million for innovative projects
The Maritime Administration (MARAD) issued a news release stating that a combined $1.5 million is being awarded for three demonstration projects at Los Angeles Harbor, Puget Sound, and Perryville, Missouri to reduce harmful marine emissions by repowering ship engines to use alternative fuels and technologies. (11/28/12).
NTSB – USCG alcohol and drug testing standards
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a press release calling for the US Coast Guard to raise its internal post-accident alcohol and drug testing standards to the same level as that imposed upon the maritime industry. (11/27/12).
Massachusetts – Cape Wind power contract approved
The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) issued an Order approving a long-term contract for NSTAR Electric Company to purchase wind power and renewable energy certificates from Cape Wind Associates LLC. The Cape Wind project is a wind energy generating facility to be located offshore Massachusetts in federal waters of Nantucket Sound. The facility will have up to 130 wind turbine generators of 3.6 MW each. The first phase (101 turbines) is expected to achieve commercial operation by 31 December 2015. (11/26/12).
IMO – implementation of MARPOL Annex V
The IMO issued a circular relating to the provisional classification of certain solid bulk cargoes under the revised MARPOL Annex V (Garbage) between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2014. The new and more restrictive provisions of Annex V relating to discharge of cargo residues enter into force on 1 January 2013. MEPC.1/Circ.791 (10/18/12). Note: This item was brought to my attention by my good friend Bryan Bittner of Eagle Bulk Shipping.
IMO – awards for exceptional bravery at sea
The news release stating that Canadian and Chilean rescuers have been presented with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea 2012, during a special ceremony held on 26 November 2012 at IMO Headquarters in London. Sergeant Janick Gilbert (posthumously), Master Corporal Max Lahaye-Lemay and Master Corporal Marco Journeyman, crew members of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 424 (Transport and Rescue) Squadron, were nominated by the Government of Canada, in recognition of the exceptional bravery which was displayed by them, in saving the lives of two Inuit hunters stranded in an open boat in icy waters near Igloolik, Nunavut. Able Seaman César Flores, a rescue swimmer in the aerial detachment of the Chilean Navy, was nominated by the Government of Chile, in recognition of the exceptional bravery which he displayed in rescuing seven survivors from the motor launch Rosita V, in Locos islet, Moraleda Channel, in extremely dangerous weather, and at considerable risk to his own life. (11/27/12).
Italy – Costa Concordia preliminary investigation
The Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport (MIT) made a presentation at the recent session of the IMO Maritime Safety Committee on its preliminary investigation into the facts surrounding the grounding of the cruise ship Costa Concordia on 13 January 2012. The presentation does not include any findings or recommendations. (5/18/12). Note: This item was brought to my attention by my good friend Richard Hiscock of Off Soundings.
New Zealand – seafarer certification
Maritime New Zealand issued a notice stating that it has opened a consultation relating to seafarer certification and operational limits (formerly referred to as qualifications and operational limits – QOL). The primary issues are operational limits; crewing and watchkeeping; seafarer certification; and training and examinations. Comments should be submitted by 25 January 2013. (11/28/12).
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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