News Archives from 11-30-07 to 12-21-07

Short Sea Shipping Law Passed . . . - 12/21/2007
President Bush signs Marine Highway Legislation

On Dec. 19, 2007, President George W. Bush signed into law the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which contains provisions establishing a formal marine highway program within the federal government. Under the new law, marine highway or "short sea" transportation refers to the carriage by vessel of cargo in containers, loaded on the vessel by cranes or by means of wheeled technology.

Specifically, the new law requires the establishment of a program and the designation of transportation projects to mitigate landside congestion. The program will encourage the development and expansion of vessels, shippers, port and landside infrastructure, and marine transportation strategies by state and local governments. Water transportation routes will be designated as extensions of the surface transportation system to focus public and private efforts to use the waterways to relieve landside congestion along coastal corridors. A project may be so designated if it offers a waterborne alternative to available landside transportation services using vessels and provides transportation services for passengers, freight or both.

For designated transportation projects, the federal government will promote the use of waterborne transportation services as well as coordinate the development of landside facilities and infrastructure with ports, state departments of transportation, localities, other public agencies, and the private sector. In addition, the federal government will develop strategies to encourage the use of "short sea" transportation for transportation of passengers and cargo.

Federal entities are encouraged to transport federally-owned or -generated cargo via waterborne transportation when practical or available. Other shippers and other participants in transportation logistics shall be consulted to develop proposals for short-term incentives to encourage the use of "short sea" transportation.

A federal board will be established to identify and seek solutions to impediments hindering effective use of "short sea" transportation. Members of the board will include representatives from the U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other federal, state, and local governmental entities as well as private sector entities.

Research on "short sea" transportation will be pursued regarding the environmental and transportation benefits to be derived from "short sea" transportation alternatives for other forms of transportation. Research areas will include technology, vessel design, and other improvements that would reduce emissions, increase fuel economy, and lower costs of "short sea" transportation and increase the efficiency of intermodal transfers; and solutions to impediments to "short sea" transportation projects designated.

Also under the new law, vessels involved in "short sea" shipping will be eligible for capital construction funds under a program already administered by the Maritime Administration.

A report on the "short sea" transportation program must be submitted to Congress within 1 year. It will include a description of the activities conducted under the program, and any recommendations for further legislative or administrative action that are considered appropriate.

Boarding Ladders to be Required on Fishing Vessels - 12/18/2007
The Department of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Marine Fisheries Service published a Notice of Proposed Rule Making in the Federal Register which would require all fishing vessels which have freeboards greater than 4 feet to provide a Coast Guard approved boarding ladder for the use of Coast Guard boarding officers and NMFS observers when boarding these vessels at sea. Comments on this proposed rule will be accepted until January 10, 2008. Complete details are in the attached federal register notice.


Proposed Rule to Require USCG Approved Boarding Ladders on Fishing Vessels

USCG Regulations and Specifications for Boarding Ladders

New Fiber Optic Cable for Southeast . . . - 12/14/2007
GCI announced the Southeast Submarine Fiber Optic Project in August 2007. This project will cost $30 million and will connect Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Angoon and Sitka to the Alaska United West Line currently connecting Alaska to the lower 48 states. A diagram of the proposed location of the project, consisting of 754 miles of fiber optic cable is shown at the link below. Additional information from GCI concerning the project is found in the press release concerning the project.


Proposed Route of New fiber Optic Cable in Southeast Alaska

Press Release

Vessel Security Officer training certificates... - 12/13/2007
Ship Security Officer to Provide Evidence of Training by January 1, 2008

Effective January 1, 2008, mariners sailing in the capacity of Ship Security Officer (SSO) on international voyages will have to show evidence of being “qualified” to hold that position. Evidence of qualification will include the following:

Course completion certificate (in accordance with the Maritime Transportation Security Act [MTSA] and/or in accordance with the International Maritime Organization [IMO] model course for Ship Security Officer [SSO]).

Company letter or certificate attesting to the qualifications (in accordance with the Maritime Transportation Security Act [MTSA] regulations and the International Ship and Port Facility [ISPS] Code).

The U.S. Coast Guard has determined that any training completed in accordance with 33 CFR, Part 104.215, is substantially equivalent to the STCW requirements. Therefore, no additional training should be required. The Coast Guard has informed Port State Control worldwide of this arrangement.

Before July 1, 2009, the Coast Guard intends to amend 33 CFR, Part 104.215, to create a “Ship Security Officer” endorsement that will be included on the mariners license or documents. Additional information should become available sometime next year.

For more information on the qualifications associated with the position of Ship Security Officer, please see the training requirements in 33 CFR 104.215 and the Information Sheet and Frequently Asked Questions below.

Maritime Security Regulations for Vessels

Fact Sheet and Frequently Asked Questions

New EPA Regs for Diesel Engines . . . - 11/30/2007
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a news release, a fact sheet and an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking stating that it is proposing a new rule to significantly reduce air emissions from marine diesel engines above 30 liters per cylinder displacement. The requirements would apply to large ocean going vessels. The proposal is discussed in greater detail in the accompanying documents.

EPA Air Emission Standards for Large Marine Diesel Engines

Fact Sheet

Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making

EPA Web Site with Additional Information