13 Nov 2018
U.S. Flag Vessel Safety
Congressional and Agency Actions to Implement Changes to U.S.-Flag Vessel Safety Requirements Three Years after the M/V El Faro IncidentOctober 1, 2018 marked three years since the tragic sinking of the M/V El Faro – ranking as one of the worst maritime disasters in U.S. history and resulting in the highest death toll for a U.S. commercial vessel sinking in almost 40 years. Following this incident, both the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and U.S.
16 Dec 2016
Could Offshore Crewing Requirements Make Things Worse?
It has been years (2009) since I last wrote an article discussing the availability of U.S. citizens to work offshore in support of oil and gas projects during a downturn in the economy. And now, it is even worse. With the price of oil and gas remaining depressed for many months now, and the many new developments related to drilling ashore, and domestic vessels remaining stacked in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM), companies are working hard to find work in any market around the world.
20 Apr 2015
Dispersants ... Will we ever be able to use them again?
On January 22, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a Proposed Rule on dispersants. The Proposed Rule drastically changes the EPA’s approach to dispersants and could imperil proven and effective means of responding to marine oil disasters. The Proposed Rule seems to be written from the perspective that dispersants are dangerous and should not be used and seeks to establish new toxicity and other standards.
25 Nov 2014
How Difficult is it to Obtain a Jones Act Waiver?
The American Salvage Association’s Jon Waldron provides the ultimate cabotage primer. There always seems to be constant chatter about waiving the Jones Act. In reality…
25 Nov 2014
Will Congress Pass Any Maritime Legislation in 2014?
Following its usual summer break over August 2014, Congress came back from its five-week summer recess and spent a whopping eight days or so back in session before recessing once again, approximately a week early, to hit the campaign trail for the November elections. This essentially means that including the summer recess, Congress will have been in session for a total of about eight days between the end of July and the middle of November 2014.
27 Jun 2014
Marine Salavage: Responder Immunity Benefits a Responsible Party
Putting to rest the fears and misconceptions about what responder immunity means and what it will eventually do. It’s all good. As many in the response industry, and in many cases the marine industry in general appreciate, there has been an extended effort to enact an enhanced responder immunity regime following the lessons learned from the Deepwater Horizon incident. It is hard to believe that we only recently observed the fourth anniversary of this unfortunate incident.
17 Mar 2014
Marine Casualty Reports – Clarified
So you think you know when to make a marine casualty report? There has been a lot of confusion over the years as to when to make a marine casualty report with regard to certain incidents. Yet, although the Coast Guard constantly urges industry to make required reports, it has never promulgated national guidance to promote consistency in reporting based on uniform interpretation of the regulatory standards – until now.
17 Oct 2013
Congress Should Enhance OPA 90 Responder Provisions
The Benefits to the Scope of Coverage in an Expanded Responder Immunity Regime are many. The response industry has been extremely supportive of a coalition effort…
11 Sep 2013
Is it Safer to Work Offshore in 2013?
It has been over three years since the tragic accident occurred aboard the Deepwater Horizon on April 20, 2010. The industry and the relevant federal agencies have done much to put in place improved safeguards to prevent such an accident – which left 11 dead and 17 injured – from happening again. Congress, on the other hand, has done little to intervene to force new requirements on either the federal government or industry.
17 Apr 2013
Key Salvage Issues for 2013 – and Beyond…
This is a good time to look aft and reflect on the accomplishments achieved in 2012, as well as to the distant horizon to see what challenges loom in 2013, and beyond. It is fair to say that the Coast Guard and salvage industry have come a long way in the last few years with implementation of a salvage and firefighting final rule; first published in December 2008, delayed until February 22, 2011, to…
18 Jan 2013
Jones Act Offshore: Navigating in 2013
Following the hubbub created in 2009-2010 by U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) proposed modification and revocation of certain Jones Act ruling letters pertaining to offshore operations, all was relatively quiet in 2011-2012 with respect to Jones Act offshore issues. Indeed, in the aftermath of the tragic Deepwater Horizon incident in 2010, which included the implementation of more prescriptive regulatory and environmental requirements and a deepwater drilling moratorium…
03 Jan 2013
The Continued Pressing Need for Responder Immunity Enhancements
It has been over 2.5 years since the tragic incident involving the Deepwater Horizon occurred, resulting in the deaths of 11 and injuries to 17 men working on the platform and the discharge of approximately five million barrels of oil. The cleanup response required thousands of responders working several months to contain and clean up the spill under challenging conditions. In addition, immediately…
27 Nov 2012
Are You Prepared for the New MARPOL Annex V Garbage Regulations? New regulations addressing garbage management go into effect on January 1, 2013 pursuant to action taken by the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) at its sixty-second session in July 2011 after a comprehensive review of MARPOL Annex V. The new regulations impose stricter garbage management procedures and documentation requirements…
23 Mar 2012
Maritime Pollution and Other Legislation Outlook 2012
It has been almost two years since the Deepwater Horizon incident occurred on April 20, 2010. As a result of this incident, although there have been many bills introduced in Congress to address issues raised by this incident, as well as numerous related hearings, Congress was unable to see the way clear to actually enact any pollution-related legislation, or for that matter any substantial maritime legislation in 2011.
04 Nov 2011
Deepwater Horizon Lingers
It has been more than 16 months since the Deepwater Horizon incident on April 20, 2010 which resulted in the deaths of 11 and injuries to 17 men working on the platform…
08 Sep 2008
From Canines to Liquefied Natural Gas
For the past several years, maritime security has been on everyone's mind. From the halls of Congress to the longshoremen working the midnight shift, the threat…