News Archives from 1-30-2015 to 8-20-2015

Government Proposes DGPS Shutdowns . . . August 20, 2015

The Nationwide Differential Global Positioning System (NDGPS) service augments GPS by providing increased accuracy and integrity using land-based reference stations to transmit correction messages over radiobeacon frequencies. According to the Federal Register Notice a number of factors have contributed to declining use of NDGPS and, based on an assessment by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), DOT, and USACE, DHS, DOT, and USACE are proposing to shutdown and decommission 62 DGPS sites, which will leave 22 operational sites available to users in coastal areas. Five sites are slated for shutdown in Alaska. Ship pilots have noted that DGPS can be critical in confined waterways for precise shiphandling maneuvers. This notice seeks public comments on the shutdown and decommissioning of a total of 62 DGPS sites. Termination of the NDGPS broadcast at these sites is planned to occur on January 15, 2016. Comments must be submitted on or before November 16, 2015. Complete details are in the Federal Register linked below.

Federal Register DGPS Site Shutdowns

Safety Zone for POLAR PIONEER Drilling . . . July 14, 2015

See Federal Register Notice for Complete Details


Restricted Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels Clarifications Issued . . . April 23, 2015

Coast Guard Sector Anchorage issued a clarification and a draft Marine Safety Information Bulletin regarding changes to these licenses which are more commonly known as the Fishing and Hunting Guide Licenses. An explanation of the method used to determine the navigability of waters in the Sector Anchorage Marine Inspection Zone and provisions for grandfathering persons who already are holders of these licenses was provided. For any unanswered questions please contact the Sector Anchorage Regional Examination Center in the Dimond Mall. Full details are in the document linked below.

Restricted Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels Clarifications

Electrical Equipment in Hazardous Locations … March 31, 2015

On 31 March 2015, the Coast Guard issued regulations applicable to newly constructed mobile offshore drilling units (MODUs), floating outer continental shelf (OCS) facilities, and vessels other than offshore supply vessels (OSVs) that engage in OCS activities. The regulations expand the list of acceptable national and international explosion protection standards and add the internationally accepted independent third-party certification system, the International Electrotechnical Commission System for Certification to Standards relating to Equipment for use in Explosive Atmospheres (IECEx), as an accepted method of testing and certifying electrical equipment intended for use in hazardous locations. The regulations also provide owners and operators of existing U.S. MODUs, floating OCS facilities, vessels other than OSVs, and U.S. tank vessels that carry flammable or combustible cargoes, the option of following this compliance regime as an alternative to the requirements contained in existing regulations. This final rule is effective April 30, 2015. Complete details are in the Federal Register linked below.

Federal Register Electrical Equipment in Hazardous Locations

Port of Juneau Environmental Sensors Project . . . February 5, 2015

The Port of Juneau has contracted with the Marine Exchange to identify the technologies and costs of installing meteorological and oceanographic sensors in the port area to provide information that can assist mariners and port users in safely maneuvering vessels in an increasingly confined waterway.   The Marine Exchange has developed a survey form that is being disseminated to port users and stakeholders to get feedback on the proposed locations of wind and current sensors and the dissemination of this information via smart phones, PDAs, Automatic Identification System and other means.  A public meeting on the feedback received and future plans is anticipated to ensure public input is heard and considered prior to implementing this project that will provide information that enhances safe and efficient maritime operations in Port of Juneau.   Input from all port users is welcome, including but not limited to facility operators, operators of fishing vessels, cruise ships, small passenger vessels, tugs and recreational boaters.  The port survey may be downloaded by selecting the link below.

Port of Juneau Meteorological & Oceanographic Sensor Data Survey

Final Rule AIS Carriage Requirements Expansion . . . Jan 30, 2015

The Coast Guard promulgated new regulations on January 30th, 2015 that expand the AIS (Automatic Identification System) installation and operation requirements to all self propelled commercial vessels over 65’ in length along with other classes of vessels including towing vessels over 26’.  Vessel operators are required to comply with these regulations in 13 months, by March 2016.  For fishing vessels that operate at speeds less than 14 kts and do not sail in a VTS covered area, the less expensive Class B AIS transponders are authorized.  The full text of the rulemaking can be found by selecting the link below.  

Complete details are in the federal register notice linked here.