The Captain of the Port, New York-New Jersey, has issued a reminder about the importance of providing accurate clearance information, and warns that civil penalties may be pursued against any vessel owner, master or person in charge that provides inaccurate information that contributes to a bridge strike, GAC said in its daily Hot Port News alert.
The Coast Guard Sector New York Marine Safety Information Bulletin 01-14 states, “The Bayonne Bridge is undergoing a two-year construction project to raise the roadway an average of 65 feet. The associated demolition activities and work platforms outside of the navigable channel present serious safety considerations for mariners. Despite previous Coast Guard advisories, the Bayonne Bridge has been struck twice within the past four months. The most recent allision demasted a ship’s INMARSAT C and Ship Safety Alert System antennas. In this case, the Coast Guard is pursuing a civil penalty against the ship’s owner.
“To ensure the safety of the bridge work crews, as well as ships navigating in the vicinity of the construction project. Each vessel owner, master, or person in charge is reminded to review and update as necessary their ship’s particulars. In accordance with Title 22 Code of Federal Regulations Section 164.11(k), this includes knowing the distance from their ship’s keel to its highest point, providing accurate information to the Pilot and the ship’s agent for safe navigation, and clearly indicating whether vessel modification data or any adjustable or whip antennas are included.
“Bridge allisions, including ship antenna and mast strikes, may cause severe property damage or even loss of life. Vessels must take proactive measures to ensure they can safely navigate under bridges and other overhead obstructions before attempting such transits. Depending on the facts of future incidents, the Coast Guard will likely pursue civil penalties against any vessel owner, master or person in charge that provides inaccurate information that contributes to a bridge allision within the New York-New Jersey Caption of the Port Zone. The maximum penalty authorized by the Ports and Waterway Safety Act is USD 40,000 per incident.”