Alaska – Kulluk response update;
NOAA – marine mammal stock assessment reports;
DON – Gulf of Alaska Navy training activities;
Court – floating house may not be a vessel;
Alaska – Kulluk response;
California – unannounced spill drills;
UK – eLoran; and
UK – oil and gas drilling in the Arctic.
January 16, 2013
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. Bringing the idiot back to idiosyncratic.
Alaska – Kulluk response update
The Kulluk Response Unified Command issued a news release stating that the CDU Kulluk remains in stable condition in Kiliuda Bay with no reports of a release. Data from the underwater assessment of the Kulluk continues to be analyzed. Mitigation strategies have been developed to minimize any adverse impact on crab fishermen due to the presence of the Kulluk and its support vessels in these waters. (1/14/13).
NOAA – marine mammal stock assessment reports
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has reopened, through 16 April, the period within which to submit comments on its marine mammal stock assessment reports (SARs). The SARs for ten marine mammals in the Atlantic region have been updated with revised abundance estimates and some corrections to bycatch estimates since originally issued. 78 Fed. Reg. 3399 (January 16, 2013).
DON – Gulf of Alaska Navy training activities
The Department of the Navy (DON) issued a notice stating that it intends to prepare a supplement to the 2012 Gulf of Alaska Navy Training Activities Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (EIS/OEIS). Among other things, the SEIS/OEIS will analyze data using an acoustic model not available to the earlier analysis to estimate potential marine species effects. Comments on the proposed training activities should be submitted by 18 March. 78 Fed. Reg. 3408 (January 16, 2013).
Court – floating house may not be a vessel
The Supreme Court of the United States ruled that, in this instance, a floating house is not a vessel for purposes of admiralty jurisdiction. Petitioner had moored his floating home at a marina owned by the City of Riviera Beach, Florida. After various disputes between the home owner and the city, the city brought an in rem action in federal court seeking a lien on the “vessel”. The district court and the appellate court agreed that the floating home was a vessel because it was potentially capable of movement and transportation over the water (having been towed in the past to various locations). The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the definition of “transportation” must be applied in a practical way. A structure does not fall within the scope of the statutory phrase unless a reasonable observer, looking at the house’s physical characteristics and activities, would consider it designed to a practical degree for carrying people or things over water. Two justices dissented, arguing that the case should be remanded in order to more fully develop the record regarding the reasonable intent of the owner. Lozman v Riviera Beach, No. 11-626 (U.S., January 15, 2013). Note: This decision will, at least for a time, open the floodgates to litigation involving jurisdiction over specialized floating structures. Perhaps the lower courts here should have been afforded an opportunity to provide more detail regarding significant factors rather than leaving future litigants and courts to envisage tea leaves.
Alaska – Kulluk response
The State of Alaska issued a press release stating that Governor Sean Parnell expressed his appreciation for those who worked diligently to ensure the safe arrival of the drill rig Kulluk at Kiliuda Bay, Kodiak Island. He also expressed his belief that it is in the state’s and the nation’s interests that responsible exploration continue for the vast hydrocarbons known to be available in the shallow waters of the Arctic outer continental shelf (OCS). (1/8/13).
California – unannounced spill drills
The Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) issued a Letter to holders of oil spill response plans announcing that unannounced drills will be conducted to test the plan holder’s notification process and the initial response actions by their contracted Spill Management Team (SMT). The OSPR also issued Objectives and Guidelines for unannounced drills. (1/4/13). Note: This item was brought to my attention by my friend Whitney Leake of Patriot Maritime Compliance.
UK – eLoran
The UK Trinity House issued a news release stating that the General Lighthouse Authorities of the UK and Ireland (GLA) has activated the eLoran radio navigation system in the Port of Dover Approaches and the Dover Strait Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS). The eLoran system provides a backup to satnav systems like GPS and Galileo. Mariners are encouraged to assess eLoran and provide feedback to the GLA on its performance. (1/8/13). Note: How prudent to not put all your eggs into one basket, as has been done on this side of the pond.
UK – oil and gas drilling in the Arctic
The UK House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee issued a news release stating that the Government has declined to support a moratorium on oil and gas drilling in the Arctic, saying that existing efforts to protect the Arctic environment are more likely to be effective. The Government also does not believe that it has the necessary expertise of drilling in Arctic conditions in order to advise the Arctic states. (1/15/13).
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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 – January 2013