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Alaska Maritime Newsletter )
Making Maritime Connections Across Alaska October 2007
In this issue
  • Note from the Executive Director
  • Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) Update
  • Mariner Licensing and Documentation Information
  • USCG Issues NPRM for Long Range Tracking
  • Upcoming Courses at UAS
  • 2007 Alaska Harbormaster Conference
  • 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.

    Note from the Executive Director
    Capt. Ed Page

    Greetings to all our members, associates, partners, and friends!

    I hope everyone had a safe, secure, efficient, environmentally responsible, and prosperous season. The Marine Exchange is just getting a breather from another very busy summer/fall. We conducted over 50 facility and vessel security audits, amended numerous security plans in anticipation of the new Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) regulations, facilitated a number of drills, exercises and training sessions, worked with USDOT to obtain special permits for HAZMAT shipments to Alaska via barges, helped several of you with oil spill response plans and transfer manuals, and assisted with many other regulatory compliance issues throughout Alaska.

    On the vessel tracking front, we spent the summer enhancing our network of Automatic Identification System (AIS) receivers throughout Alaska. We now have almost 50 receivers, providing over 150,000 square miles of AIS coverage. In an effort to meet the requirements of the recent Cruise Ship legislation, we provided the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation with combined satellite and AIS position reports for all the cruise ships visiting Alaska this season. And of course we continue to provide tracking services for many of our "regular" customers within Alaska. As the network and our capabilities grow, I'm convinced more than ever that this service will improve the efficiency of your operations, and will save lives in the future.

    Now that the busy season is winding down, we felt it important to get back in touch and bring everyone up to speed on the latest news within Alaska's maritime community. The big news continues to be the rollout of TWIC and its impact to the community. We have been working closely with the USCG and our members to ensure these regulations are implemented in a "common sense" fashion which make sense for Alaska, and to limit the logistical burden and/or cost to industry. The intent of the regulations is to improve the security of the Nation's waterfront, which is one of the Marine Exchange's primary missions as well. We look forward staying involved with this process as it moves into Alaska and promise to do our part to help implement these regulations as painlessly and efficiently as possible.

    Thank you for your continued support of the Marine Exchange of Alaska. We look forward to working with all of you through the winter, and into the New Year.

    Captain Ed Page, USCG (Ret)
    Executive Director

    Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) Update
    TWIC Card

    Most of you are well aware that the TSA and USCG have recently published a final rule mandating TWIC for all licensed mariners and anyone requiring unescorted access to secure areas of facilities regulated under the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA). This program will be phased in nationwide by September 2008.

    The first "port" to begin the enrollment process for TWIC was the Port of Wimington, Delaware. As of this date, this is the only area of the country actively enrolling applicants. A Federal Register published 10/26/07 announced that Corpus Christi, Texas will begin enrolling applicants on 11/1/07. It is unknown when Alaska will see its first enrollment center, but the TSA has announced that we will have centers in Anchorage, Juneau, Valdez, and Nikiski. The regulations stipulate that a Federal Register will be published announcing the opening of each enrollment center at least 90 days prior to the TWIC "compliance" date within a specified area. The Marine Exchange has been actively pushing for the establishment of "mobile" enrollment centers to ease the process for many of Alaska's remote facilities and mariners. We will continue to press for this as it represents a "common sense" solution for Alaska.

    What should you be doing to prepare for this requirement?

    If you are a USCG licensed mariner, you should keep track of the TWIC implementation timeline and ensure you apply for TWIC as soon as possible once an enrollment center is established in your area.

    If you are a MTSA-regulated facility (33CFR105), you should evaluate your existing Facility Security Plan and its measures. If your plan has not been amended to exclude any areas within your facility which do not have a significant role in maritime transportation, the USCG will likely view your entire facility (within perimeter fencing, etc) as a "secure area." You should evaluate which personnel will need UNESCORTED or UNMONITORED access to your secure area and be ready to have them enroll in TWIC as soon as possible after the center is established in your area. In all cases, the Facility Security Officer will be required to enroll in TWIC.

    You can keep tabs on the implementation timeline by using the link below to periodically visit TSA's TWIC Website. This website has good, general info on TWIC, including the opportunity to "pre-enroll." The Marine Exchange is also committed to keeping Alaska's Maritime Community up to date through the use of our own website (, and future newsletters.

    Mariner Licensing and Documentation Information
    CG Stripe

    In an effort to improve its service to mariners, the USCG National Maritime Center (NMC) has recently developed an automated "listserv." This service allows mariners and other interested parties to sign up for periodic email notifications.

    Available reports include:

    • Information concerning the NMC's operations, process improvements, and important information on merchant mariner credentials.
    • Information from NMC on credential production performance statistics, including processing time, application inventory, and customer satisfaction. li>
    • Information from the Mariner Licensing and Documentation program manager at Coast Guard Headquarters on changes to regulations, Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circulars (NVICs) and other policy guidance.
    • Announcements concerning Regional Examination Center (REC) locations, hours of operation, contact information and other pertinent REC operations information.
    • Information for individual mariners seeking licenses and/or Merchant Mariner Documents, including changes to the credential application, medical physical and other forms, revisions to checklist, information packets, instruction guides, information for healthcare professionals, selected Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's), NMC Point of Contact (POCs), and other pertinent information.
    • Information on Coast Guard approved training, courses, examinations, course audits, and other pertinent information.

    USCG Issues NPRM for Long Range Tracking

    In a Federal Register dated 10/3/07, the USCG announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which will require certain vessels to participate in an automated, long range identification and tracking (LRIT) system.

    These regulations will mirror the recently amended SOLAS Convention, agreed to at the 81st session of IMO's Maritime Safety Committee. This amendment states that the following ships (on international voyages) must have have equipment onboard which automatically transmits the identity of the ship, its position, and the date/time the report was provided:

    1. Passenger ships (more than 12 passengers)
    2. Cargo ships of 300gt and greater, including high speed craft
    3. Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (self-propelled)

    The USCG estimates that 450 U.S.-flagged vessels will be affected by this rulemaking. They also estimate that all but approximately 23 of these vessels are currently outfitted with the equipment necessary to provide LRIT. In addition to these 450 US vessels, the SOLAS amendment will apply to the thousands of foreign-flagged vessels which transit within 1000 miles of the US coastline.

    While this is certainly a step in the right direction, the Marine Exchange feels that this rulemaking falls short in several areas:

    • Under the current agreement, the US will only be allowed to see the position data from foreign vessels from the time they announce their intention to visit the US (96 hrs), or when they are within 1000 miles of the US coastline. In other words, the US will be able to "see them coming," but will have no way to validate where they "came from," nor be able to spot any anomalies in their reported voyages while enroute.
    • The requirement calls for 4 position reports/day (every 6 hours). At 20kts, a vessel can transit anywhere within 45,000 square miles between 6 hour reports. It's debatable whether this level of accuracy is adequate for the purpose of maritime security, but it is certainly unacceptable for Search & Rescue purposes (unless you were fortunate enough to sink within a few minutes of your last report!)
    • The USCG is not only required to pay for position reports of all 450 US vessels, but also for the estimated 2550 foreign-flagged vessels operating within 1000 miles of the US on any given day. It has long been the stance of the Marine Exchange that most responsible vessel owners (US & foreign) would voluntarily participate in a LRIT program, as many companies already do. We have proposed to the USCG that they incorporate LRIT into their Port State Control Boarding Matrix (which is used to target vessels for dockside boardings). If a foreign vessel voluntarily provides the USCG with unlimited access to their current and previous position reports, they would receive credit in the Matrix for doing so, thus lessening their chance of a dockside boarding. This would cost the taxpayers nothing and would highlight those vessels choosing not to provide full- disclosure to the US.
    The USCG is encouraging comment to this proposed rulemaking until January 2, 2008. Please use the link below to read more, or for instructions on submitting comments.

    Upcoming Courses at UAS
    UAS Logo

    The University of Alaska (Southeast) is offering the following courses for mariners in the next few months:

    Radar Observer - 5 day
    Able Seaman
    Outboard Motor Maintenance

    Radar Renewal - 1 day
    Radar Renewal - 2 or 3 day

    200 Ton Upgrade
    Master 100 Ton & 6-pack

    Please visit the UAS website below for additional information.

    2007 Alaska Harbormaster Conference
    AAHPA Logo

    Juneau was the host of the 28th annual conference of the Alaska Association of Harbormasters and Port Administrators (AAHPA) on October 22-26, 2007.

    In addition to a keynote address from Senator Bert Stedman (District A - Sitka) and the annual AAHPA board meeting, many topics related to the management of Alaska's harbors were discussed.

    The Marine Exchange would also like to congratulate Hoonah's Harbormaster, Paul Dybdahl on being selected as Alaska's Harbormaster of the Year!

    To view this year's agenda or find out more about AAHPA, please use the link below to visit their website.

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