|Alaska Maritime Newsletter|
The Marine Exchange of Alaska is a non-profit, maritime organization established to serve the Alaska Maritime Community by providing information, communications and services to ensure safe, secure, efficient and environmentally responsible maritime operations.
This is the first, of hopefully many newsletters
we will periodically send out to broker information on
maritime issues related to Alaska operations.
Marine Exchanges were established in the 1800's
to "exchange" information on vessel arrivals. This
21st Century e-mail replaces the 19th Century
semaphore as a means of distributing information to
aid safe and efficient maritime operations. We
welcome input, feedback and ideas for making this
newsletter something of value. This along with our
web site and newsletters should keep you in the
The Pacific States / British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force has selected the Marine Exchange of Alaska as the recipient of one of its prestigious 2006 Legacy Awards.
The Marine Exchange was honored for its development of its Automated Secure Vessel Tracking System (ASVTS) which tracks the location of vessels to ensure safe, secure, efficient,and environmentally responsible marine operations.
The U.S. Coast Guard issued a notice in the Federal Register concerning the proposed Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) which had been originally proposed on May 22, 2006. The Coast Guard and TSA have decided to press ahead with the TWIC requirement for personnel working in certain facilities, however the proposed requirement for purchasing "card readers" will be postponed for a later rulemaking. The Marine Exchange has submitted comments to the regulatory docket suggesting TWIC is unneeded for most Alaska facilities and ports where the numbers of persons accessing facilities is limited. We will continue to monitor this initiative and keep you informed of developments.
The Coast Guard has increased the requirements for applicants of merchant mariners' documents to provide proof of identity, now including fingerprints, a criminal record review, and a National Driver Register Review. These requirements are significant to many Alaska mariners in that the applicants for original issue, renewal, raise of grade, or issue of a duplicate licenses are now required to personally appear at a USCG Regional Exam Center.
In an effort to lessen the burden on mariners residing in remote areas, the Coast Guard may establish "Traveling Examination Teams" to serve groups of applicants in remote locations. These individuals, or groups would be responsible for reimbursing the Coast Guard for the costs of this travel. Click "More info" below for additional details, as well as REC Juneau's newsletter which discusses this topic.
As the annual security plan audit season draws to a
close, bear in mind that maintaining your facility
and/or vessel security program is year-round
requirement. Remember that drills must be
conducted once a quarter, and one exercise must be
conducted every year. The Marine Exchange plans
to provide reminders to those we have
conducted audits for in the past year, which will
scenarios & worksheets to help the FSO/VSOs meet
The Marine Exchange of Alaska's Automated Secure Vessel Tracking System (ASVTS) continues to grow and we are working hard with Secure Asset Reporting Service (SARS) to upgrade the system to improve its reliability and usefulness. In the past few months we have expanded the number of Alaska AIS receiving sites by 50% and now are providing total coverage of approximately 50,000 square miles. We are planning to bring on line 10 more sites this year. Between AIS and long-range satellite systems, we currently track several hundred vessels sailing Alaska waters each day. While ASVTS aids the efficiency of maritime operations daily, it also at times aids maritime safety, security and environmental protection.
The following maritime-related events are scheduled in the upcoming months. Please contact the person listed for additional information regarding these events. If you know of a relevant event that should be highlighted in future newsletters, please contact the Marine Exchange of Alaska and we will be happy to post it.
September 7, 2006
During this summer there have been a few changes in
the Coast Guard's leadership in Alaska, some of which
have been related to the reorganization of the
through the standing up of "Sectors" that combine
Coast Guard marine safety, law enforcment and
Search and Rescue missions. The changes in
personnel, starting with the District Commander are
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has unveiled a new online nautical chart viewer. Each chart is up to date with the most recent Notices to Mariners, and while not intended for navigation, this service provides a convenient reference or planning tool.