News Archives from 8-22-06 to 9-28-06

Coast Guard physical examination requirements ... - 09/28/2006

The Coast Guard issued two important notices in the Federal Register of September 28, 2006, regarding the physical examination requirements for merchant marine personnel. In the first notice the Coast Guard advised that it was seeking comment on a draft Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular which would give clarity to the guidelines that the Coast Guard uses to evaluate medical and physical examinations for Merchant Mariner Credentials. The second notice advised that the Coast Guard is now going to require licensed pilots to submit their annual physical examinations to the Coast Guard for review. In the past the regulations allowed the Coast Guard to request an annual physical examination if it deemed this necessary, but submitting annual physical results to the Coast Guard was not the regular practice. The increased vigilance over annual physical examinations for marine pilots stems from a recommendation made by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in their report on the 2003 allision of the Staten Island Ferry ANDREW J. BARBERI with its pier in Staten Island which resulted in numerous deaths and injuries. Complete details on the information above are contained in the Federal Register notice linked below.



Coast Guard seeks owner of derelict barge . . . - 09/27/2006

The Coast Guard is seeking the owner of the derelict barge that has been floating loose in the Gulf of Alaska throughout the summer. The barge has been towed to Kodiak and the Coast Guard will dispose of it if the owner cannot be located. The Coast Guard is requesting anyone with information on the barge to contact Sector Anchorage.

NOTICE OF REMOVAL OF ABANDONED BARGE – On May 1, 2006, an abandoned barge was reported adrift at approximate position 48 degrees 34 minutes North latitude, 175 degrees 24 minutes East longitude, approximately 270 nautical miles south of Attu Island in the Western Aleutian Islands. On September 8, 2006, the barge was observed drifting in the central Gulf of Alaska. The barge has the identifying markings “CTP-424”and is approximately 125 feet long by 40 feet wide. Notice is hereby given that if the barge is not claimed within 30 days after publication of this notice, it will be removed at the owner’s or operator’s expense. Anyone having information regarding the owner or operator of this barge is urged to contact U.S. Coast Guard Sector Anchorage, Alaska, at (907) 271-6700.


New Coast Pilot for Alaska . . . - 09/15/2006

In order to promote safe navigation and enhance marine conservation, NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey and the National Marine Protected Areas Center have partnered to publish key information about the location, purpose, and permitted activities of existing marine managed areas off Alaska's southeastern coast in the United States Coast Pilot Volume 8. The U.S. Coast Pilot is used by the maritime industry, fishermen, the military, recreational boaters, and other coastal users of sensitive marine ecosystems.

The southeastern Alaska edition includes marine managed areas between Dixon Entrance and Cape Spencer. It is the first in a series of Coast Pilot publications being produced for all regions throughout the United States. The other eight books of the U.S. Coast Pilot series will be published over the next year, and contain similar information about marine managed areas. The maritime community relies heavily on the U.S. Coast Pilot and NOAA navigational charts for information about coastal issues relating to safe navigation, access to marine facilities, and environmental regulations. The U.S. Coast Pilot has been in continuous print by the federal government since 1867. Ships of 1,600 or more gross tons, and large U.S. naval vessels, are required to carry both the U.S. Coast Pilot and the local NOAA charts that pertain to their area of transit. Many smaller vessels also carry both the U.S. Coast Pilot and local NOAA charts, although they are not required to do so.




Marine Exchange Receives Legacy Award - 08/24/2006

This August, the Pacific States / British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force awarded the Marine Exchange of Alaska its prestigious 2006 Legacy Award.

The Task Force gives Legacy Awards for projects, accomplishments, or leadership that demonstrates innovation, management commitment, and improvements in oil spill prevention, preparedness, or response resulting in enhanced environmental protection.

In the citation accompanying the award, the BC States stated:

The Marine Exchange of Alaska is receiving a Legacy Award in recognition of the organization’s development of the Automated Secure Vessel Tracking System (ASVTS) that has served as an exemplary oil spill prevention, preparedness, and response tool for Alaska with applications throughout the Pacific and nationwide. ASVTS is unique in that it utilizes both satellite communications and AIS (Automatic Identification System) to track the locations of vessels around the world. By sharing information on vessels’ positions with the Coast Guard and other agencies, ASVTS helps locate response vessels (tugs, salvage vessels, CG and other vessels) to assist stricken vessels and prevent their sinking or grounding which can lead to environmental impacts. The utility of ASVTS was highlighted by the M/V SELENDANG AYU tragedy in late 2004 and the subsequent response operations, and when the tank vessel SEABULK PRIDE grounded in Cook Inlet Alaska this past winter, the Marine Exchange was tracking the vessel as it broke free and ran aground, then subsequently located and tracked the various response vessels as they proceeded to Cook Inlet to aid the grounded tanker. When the Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service in Valdez recently needed to be shut down and relocated, the Coast Guard used the Marine Exchange’s ASVTS to continue monitoring vessel traffic to ensure environmentally sound maritime operations. The Marine Exchange of Alaska’s innovative and proactive measures to track the locations of vessels and disseminate real time information to response agencies, oil spill response organizations and other entities with a “need to know” is leading to substantial improvements in environmental protection and response that will have regional and national implications. The system can also aid verification of compliance with other environmental protection issues including compliance with Areas-To- Be-Avoided and other routing measures.

Information on the Automated Secure Vessel Tracking System

USCG Licensing and Documentation Guidance . . . - 08/22/2006

The U.S. Coast Guard SECTOR Juneau released a newsletter with information for merchant marine personnel who transact business with the Regional Examination Center (REC) of SECTOR Juneau. The most interesting part is that the Regional Examination Center will be moving from its present location on Sherwood Lane in the Mendenhall Valley to the Juneau Federal Building on 9th Street in Juneau. This move will occur in the fall. Along with the REC newsletter the Coast Guard also issued some guidance on background investigations and information needed for renewing merchant marine licenses and documents. The Coast Guard also issued guidance on the use of Traveling Examination Teams for processing merchant marine document applications in areas remote from the REC. More details are in the attached documents below.