As US coal consumption declines, the US Department of the Interior is indicated that it is considering using military bases to accommodate export facilities for coal or natural gas. Six proposed coal ports in Washington and Oregon have been rejected or shelved due to worries about air and water pollution and rail safety, combined with changing market conditions. The department’s strategy is to use naval facilities on the west coast regardless of whether or not the states where the bases are located agree to it. Washington State governor, Jay Inslee, released a statement questioning the “harebrained” logic behind this move in view of Pentagon reports on climate change.
US Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Karl L. Schultz has released the Coast Guard's 40-paged document that outlines their "VISION for Enabling Maritime Commerce." The document establishes three lines of effort that are critical to the success of the Coast Guard: 1) facilitating lawful trade and travel on secure waterways; 2) modernizing aids to navigation and mariner information systems; and 3) transforming our workforce capacity and partnerships to meet the increasingly complex operating environment.
The Port of Long Beach will build and demonstrate a $7.1 million “microgrid” to show the promising new technology’s effectiveness in providing a clean, reliable supply of electricity for critical operations at the nation’s second-busiest seaport. With the help of a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission, the Port will install a solar carport, power storage systems and advanced controls at its security headquarters, the Joint Command and Control Center. The goal of the California Energy Commission’s grant is to accelerate development of microgrids that can also improve participation in utilities’ demand response programs, where users agree to limit energy use during peak periods.
The US Coast Guard has summarized its latest presentation on the US ballast water management program in its blog dated 10/2/2018. The bulletin covers a summary of compliance options and what one can expect during a port state control exam.
California Governor Jerry Brown (D) has signed into law a bill that aims to hold retailers partly accountable for working with trucking companies that have a record of labour violations. The bill, SB 1402, makes retailers jointly liable for violations of state labour and employment laws when they hire trucking companies with unpaid final judgements for failure to pay truck driver wages, imposing unlawful expenses on employees, failure to remit payroll taxes or to provide worker’s compensation insurance, misclassifying employees as independent contractors, and other labour law violations.
Over the next year the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) will continue to address detention and demurrage practices, along with seeking further regulatory reform and regulatory priorities.Commissioner Rebecca Dye reported that there are six key questions that she will explore on the issues surrounding detention and demurrage and has set date for her first two field interviews:
A date for interviews in the Port of New York and New Jersey will be announced soon.
The US Coast Guard issued a news release providing an update on Hurricane Florence response efforts in North Carolina. To date, USCG air and surface crews have rescued 1,103 individuals and 419 pets. Working with local county partners, Coast Guard crews were able to help assess and clear 765 miles of road, assess 23 bridges, and 14 dams. The ports of Wilmington and Morehead City are open with restrictions as port reconstitution operations continue. Port assessments identified more than 100 aids-to-navigation discrepancies, 24 have been corrected.
The Port of San Diego has enrolled in Green Marine, North America’s largest voluntary environmental certification program for the maritime industry. Green Marine’s environmental program makes it possible for port authorities, terminal operators and ship owners to voluntarily reduce their environmental footprint through a comprehensive program that addresses key environmental issues that are common to most ports. The Port of San Diego established a Blue Economy Incubator in 2016 to foster sustainable aquaculture and pilot emerging blue technologies to deliver multiple benefits to the whole Port community such as fisheries enhancement, ecosystem restoration, water quality improvements, environmental monitoring, and education and outreach.
Thousands of members of the International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO at ports from Maine to Texas overwhelmingly approved a six-year master contract extension with United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) that will labour stability to ports in the East Coast and Gulf Coast through September 30, 2024. The newly ratified contract sets clear guidelines on what type of automation ports in the eastern half of the US can adopt, and procedures for labour protection when they do. Specifically, the contract prohibits fully automated terminals or equipment and demands port employers negotiate job-protection strategies with the local union before any machinery "devoid of human interaction" is deployed.
The Federal Maritime Commission's Commissioner Rebecca Dye has released key initial observations in the interim report for Fact Finding 28, an investigation into "Conditions and Practices Relating to Detention, Demurrage, and Free Time in International Oceanborne Commerce." The resulting record strongly suggests that concerns about demurrage and detention in US trades are not limited primarily to weather-or-labor-related port congestion in 2014-2015, a small subset of large ports, or episodic events unrelated to potentially systemic issues. Additionally, the record supports further consideration of the benefits to the US international freight delivery system of:
The final report for this FMC fact-finding investigation is scheduled for release by Dec. 2.
The Office of Design and Engineering Standards announced the availability of Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) 01-09, Change 1, “Voluntary Compliance with International Sewage Regulations in Annex IV TO MARPOL 73/78.” The purpose of NVIC 01-09, Change 1 is to provide additional guidance for vessel owners or operators as well as manufacturers of any shipboard sewage processing equipment, including facilities that test shipboard sewage and related processing equipment, to voluntarily request US Coast Guard certification of compliance with international sewage regulations in Annex IV to MARPOL 73/78. It also provides for reciprocity under Annex IV for non-U.S. flagged ships operating in waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway. Stakeholders identified several challenges that affect traditional uses of the Great Lakes-Seaway such as the transport of dry bulk commodities and imported steel, and also considered the challenges affecting “emerging use” of the system, such as the cruise industry and container market. These included increase pilotage rates, condition of lock infrastructure, complexity of ballast water regulations, insufficient dredging, winter closures, and inadequate portside infrastructure.
The US Coast Guard's Inspections and Compliance Directorate issued Marine Safety Alert 14-18, “Don’t Forget About Gangways and Ladders,” following the death of a vessel pilot who died while boarding a vessel when its gangway separated from the vessel, causing two persons to fall into the water. Although the investigation is still underway and additional facts are being gathered, this casualty serves as another reminder that shipboard equipment that seems benign can quickly become a hazard to persons boarding and departing a vessel.
The US Coast Guard has also issued a Marine Safety Alert following reports from crews, ship owners, inspectors and other mariners regarding poor reception on VHF frequencies used for radiotelephone, digital selective calling (DSC) and automatic identification systems (AIS) when in the vicinity of light emitting diode (LED) lighting on-board ships (e.g., navigation lights, searchlights and floodlights, interior and exterior lights, adornment). If the noise floor is found to have been raised, then it is likely that both shipboard VHF marine radio and AIS reception are being degraded by LED lighting. In order to determine the full impact of this interference, the Coast Guard requests those experiencing this problem to report their experiences to the Coast Guard Navigation Center.
The Coast Guard Marine Safety Center issued the 10th Ballast Water Management System Type Approval Certificate to Wartsila Water Systems, Ltd. The treatment principle of the Wartsila Aquarius EC BWMS consists of filtration with electrolysis during uptake and neutralization at discharge. This approval covers models with maximum treatment rated capacities between 250 m3/h and 4,000 m3/h.
The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has placed sanctions on two more Russian shipowners and their vessels for violating United Nations and US trade sanctions against North Korea. Primorye Maritime Logistics Co. Ltd. and Gudzon Shipping Co., the registered shipowners and managers of the Russian-flagged ship Patriot conducted two ship-to-ship transfers of oil for the benefit of North Korea, including 1,500 tons of oil to the Chong Rim 2 and 2,000 tons of oil to the Chon Ma San, both sanctioned North Korean-flagged vessels.
The Rio Vista Bridge on the Sacramento River suffered a mechanical failure on August 9th and since then, bridge operators have been manually lowering and raising the bridge. The US Coast Guard and industry stakeholders are coordinating vessel transits with the scheduled openings until operations resume back to normal, possibly on September 24th.
California Air Resources Board (CARB) has posted informational materials for the draft Control Measure for Ocean-Going Vessels At Berth and At Anchor (At Berth and At Anchor Regulation) rulemaking. The materials include draft regulatory concepts and preliminary cost analysis and are available on the Shore Power for Ocean-going Vessels program webpage. Public input is being solicited on potential concepts for the At Berth and At Anchor Regulation and its alternatives. CARB staff anticipates bringing a proposed rulemaking for Board consideration in the Spring 2019.