News Archives from 5-03-07 to 6-21-07

NPDES Permits for All Vessels . . . - 06/21/2007
This notice provides the public with early notification that EPA is in the process of developing National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits under the Clean Water Act (CWA) for the discharge of pollutants incidental to the normal operation of vessels and is seeking comment and relevant information from the public on this matter. Beginning development of NPDES permitting is necessary in light of a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in which the Court found that an EPA regulation, which excludes certain discharges incidental to the normal operation of vessels from NPDES permitting, exceeded the Agency’s statutory authority. The Court issued a final order in September 2006 that will vacate (revoke) the regulatory exclusion for discharges incidental to the normal operation of vessels effective September 30, 2008. As of that date, those discharges incidental to the normal operation of vessels previously excluded from NPDES permitting by the regulation will become prohibited unless the discharge is covered under an NPDES permit. The decision potentially implicates all vessels, both commercial and recreational, that have discharges incidental to their normal operation (e.g., deck runoff, graywater, etc). Although the Government is appealing, this court ruling has great potential for causing a monumental train wreck and nightmare for anyone who operates any kind of watercraft from a 950 foot containership to a 14 ft outboard. Complete details on the EPA activity are contained in the federal register notice below.

NPDES Permits for Incidental Discharges

EPA Information Gathering for NPDES Permits for All Vessels Federal Register

New NOAA chart for Columbia Bay ... - 06/15/2007
NOAA chart 16713 edition 3, Naked Island to Columbia Bay, has a new extension that charts the water in front of the rapidly receding Columbia Glacier. This is important to cruise ships that like to get up close to the front of the glacier. Until this chart was revised and released this April the cruise ships have done so at their own risk because the bottom was uncharted. Now the coverage is more complete to serve the cruise ship industry.The chart is available print-on-demand from the Marine Exchange. Illustration shows Columbia Glacier in 1975 before it started its current retreat.

Reward for Shark Tags - 06/12/2007
The Auke Bay Laboratory is offering a reward for anyone who finds and turns in electronic tags that the laboratory attached to Pacific sleeper sharks in a research project over the last year. Complete details on the project and where to look for the tags are in the attached notice below.

Pacific Sleeper Shark Electronic Survey Tags

Reward Program for Recovering Electronic Tags

Southeast Alaska Waterway User Guide . . . - 06/04/2007
The Marine Safety Task Force published a new version of the Southeast Alaska Waterway User Guide for 2007. The Marine Exchange provides a copy of the waterway guide at the link below. The guide is also available from MSD Ketchikan, MSD Sitka and at Sector Juneau.

Southeast Alaska Waterway User Guide for 2007

Southeast Alaska Waterway User Guide for 2007

Coast Guard launches Mariner Web Site . . . - 05/03/2007
WASHINGTON - Today the Coast Guard launched a website to provide merchant mariners with real-time information on the status of pending mariner credential applications.

Merchant mariners can check the status of application packages throughout the verification and approval process by logging onto, clicking on the Merchant Mariners tab and then clicking on Merchant Mariner Application Status.

When application information is entered, Homeport will display the information submitted with the application package and current application status information. Mariner credentials that have already been issued will be displayed in Homeport as "issued" for a 120 day period. Mariners who need additional information after visiting the website can request additional information by telephone or email.