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April 13th, 2018 at 11:11 am

Bryant’s Maritime Blog – 13 April 2018


Mississippi River – closed due to oil spill;

USCG – oily mixtures management;

Port Canaveral – security zone;

NTSB – engine room fire; and

RMS Titanic strikes iceberg – 14 April 1912.

April 13, 2018

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Mississippi River – closed due to oil spill

clip_image004 The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that the Lower Mississippi River has been closed to vessel movement from mile marker 91 to mile marker 101 following an oil spill. Reports indicate that the vessel Pac Antares hit a pier near mile marker 100, leaking diesel fuel into the river. The leak has reportedly been plugged. Response efforts are underway and the incident is under investigation. []. A second news release states that the response continues after an estimated 4,200 gallons of oil was spilled. []. (4/12/18).

USCG – oily mixtures management

clip_image005 The US Coast Guard issued a Marine Safety Information Bulletin summarizing requirements for the proper management and disposal of oily mixtures by oceangoing vessels under 400 gross tons. MSIB 03-18 (4/12/18) [].

Port Canaveral – security zone

clip_image006 The US Coast Guard promulgated a final rule extending the geographical boundaries of the permanent security zone at Port Canaveral Harbor. The change enters into effect on 14 May. 83 Fed. Reg. 15948 (4/13/18) [].

NTSB – engine room fire

clip_image008 The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued the report of its investigation of the 16 January 2017 engine room fire on the vehicle carrier Alliance St. Louis. A pipe plug on the fuel pump for the main engine’s no. 6 cylinder came loose, resulting in fuel spray onto the engine’s hot exhaust gas pipe manifold. The atomized fuel quickly ignited. The fire was contained to the main engine room and extinguished by the CO2 fixed fire-suppression system. No injuries were reported; property damage exceeded $3,750,000. ​The probable cause of the fire was improper tightening of a pipe plug on the top cover of the no. 6 cylinder fuel pump housing, which resulted in a high-pressure release of marine gas oil. Contributing to the fire was the improper attachment of a fuel spray shield to the top cover, which allowed fuel to spray directly onto the cylinder’s hot exhaust pipe and ignite. MAB 18-08 (4/12/18) [].

RMS Titanic strikes iceberg – 14 April 1912

clip_image009 Late on the night of 14 April 1912, the “unsinkable” passenger ship RMS Titanic, on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York, struck an iceberg. It sank about three hours later, at about 2:20 a.m. on 15 April 1912. Of the 2,224 persons on board, 1,514 lost their lives. In the century that followed, ships are better-constructed. They carry more lifeboat capacity than there are persons on board. They have radios for instant communication with shore and with other ships. They have radar, fathometers, and other devices to warn of danger. On the other hand, persons in charge of the operation and navigation of ships still succeed in running into islands, grounding on charted reefs, and colliding with other ships in clear weather. In other words, as happened a century ago, negligence, complacency, and hubris continue to override all the preventative and remedial measures available. I do not mean to single out the officer in charge of the navigation watch. The master, the operator, and the owners are also deeply involved. The system puts pressure on the people on the ship to run at excessive speed, to cut corners, to sail close to shore, to operate with minimal watchstanders, to continue working when severely fatigued, and to engage in other practices that unreasonably increase risk. Most of the time, these practices do not result in casualties, but when they do, everyone takes cover and blames someone else – most frequently the person on scene. It is incumbent on owners and operators to not only talk the talk, but also to walk the walk. Encourage masters and officers to be cautious and back them up when they are. Spend the additional monies necessary to do the right thing. Otherwise, we will have learned nothing meaningful from the sinking of the Titanic!

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Dennis L. Bryant

Bryant’s Maritime Consulting

4845 SW 91st Way
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© Dennis L. Bryant – April 2018

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    logo11 The Forward-Facing Coast Guard

    In the November 2018 edition of Maritime Reporter and Engineering News, you can find my article entitled "The Forward-Facing Coast Guard". The article discusses the recently-published Coast Guard Maritime Commerce Strategic Outlook. The document identifies three major lines of effort for meeting the service's challenges ahead: (1) facilitating lawful trade and travel on secure waterways; (2) modernizing aids to navigation and mariner information systems; and (3) transforming workforce capacity and partnerships. The Outlook goes a long way toward providing Coast Guard members and employees and those who work with or are impacted by the service with a better understanding of where this national treasure is headed.