US Coast Guard Tows in Disabled Fishing Boat
The 86-foot fishing vessel Buzzards Bay, which became disabled with five people aboard 50 miles northeast of Cape Cod, was towed in by U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane on Tueday. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England were notified by the captain of the Buzzards Bay at around 3:30 a.m. that the boat was disabled due to a main diesel engine failure. Harriet Lane, a 270-foot medium-endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth, Va., was diverted to assist and arrived on scene at around 8:30 a.m. The crew was able to safely put Buzzards Bay in tow at around 9:30 a.m.
Buzzard’s Bay: One Year Later
April 27, 2004, marks one year since the Bouchard tank barge B. No. 120 ran aground and spilled approximately 55,000 gallons of Number 6 fuel oil in Buzzards Bay. Coast Guard Marine Safety Office (MSO) Providence has been working with several of its partners the past year to clean up the spill and to implement changes that can help prevent a similar disaster in the future. To date, more than $40 million has been spent on cleanup efforts. 99.8 percent of the shoreline areas that were oiled as a result of the spill have been cleaned, inspected by a combined team representing federal, state, local, and responsible party representatives, and found to meet the cleanup criteria under Massachusetts state law.
Buzzards Bay – Anchorage Grounds
The U.S. Coast Guard is relocating anchorage ground “L” in Buzzards Bay to an area near Naushon Island. This action will provide improved clearance for the recently established Recommended Traffic Route for Deep Draft Vessels. The relocation comes into effect on February 14. 70 Fed. Reg. 2353 (HK Law)
Buzzards Bay Case Remanded for Further Proceedings
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit remanded the Buzzards Bay case for further proceedings. Following an oil spill in Buzzards Bay in 2003, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts enacted a law imposing various operational and financial responsibility requirements on tank vessels operating in state waters. The federal government and various maritime industry representatives sought to overturn the state law, arguing that it was (in large part) preempted by federal law. The federal district court, based on the pleadings, permanently enjoined enforcement of the state law. In a 54-page decision, the appellate court determined that the permanent injunction is premature since the state may be able to fashion a regime that does not conflict with the federal regime.
Coast Guard Issues New Oil Barge Regulations
According to reports, the Coast Guard has issued new rules governing the transportation of oil through Buzzards Bay that require single-hulled tankers and oil barges to be escorted by a second tugboat. The rules are designed to reduce the likelihood of a spill and apply to vessels carrying 5,000 or more barrels of oil. They also require the primary tugboat to have a federally licensed pilot on board, independent of the master and crew. The Coast Guard also is instituting a system to monitor the movement of all larger commercial vessels in the bay. Buzzards Bay has been the site of several oil spills, including one in which nearly 100,000 gallons of fuel leaked from a barge that struck a shoal in 2003. The new rules take effect on Nov. 28. Source: AP
Towing Company to Pay $10M for Spill
The U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts issued a Press Release stating the Bouchard Transportation Co. was sentenced to pay a $10 million fine in connection with the oil spill in Buzzards Bay on April 27, 2003. A loaded tank barge being towed by a company tug grounded while outside the channel. The tug and barge were outside the channel because the mate on duty had left the pilothouse unmanned. The company was aware of repeated concerns raised about the mate’s competency. Charges were brought under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. Of the total fine, $7 million will be used to fund eligible wetlands conservation projects in the Buzzards Bay vicinity and $2 million will be directed to the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.
USCG Confirm Jelly Fish Concentration in Buzzard's Bay, Massachusetts
Coast Guard pollution responders, and the Fairhaven Harbormaster responded to a report of a large oil sheen in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts Friday morning. At 2:00 p.m. Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England was notified by a local, experienced mariner of a possible pollution sheen in Buzzard's Bay. Response crews with a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Cape Cod, a 29-foot response boat from Station Woods Hole, and a 45-foot response boat medium from Station Menemsha…
Sea Tow Awards New U.S. Franchises
Sea Tow Services International Inc., announced the opening of four new franchises: Sea Tow Buzzards Bay (Mass.), Sea Tow Montauk (N.Y.), Sea Tow Lake Eufaula (Ala.) and Sea Tow Lake Lewisville (Tx.). The company also announced the sale and transfer of ownership of three existing franchise areas. Captain Walter Garschagen is the new owner of Sea Tow Central Hudson (N.Y.), Jim and Jan Pulley are the new owners of Sea Tow Table Rock Lake (Mo.), and Capt. Frank Howell is the new owner of Sea Tow Orlando Lakes (Fla.). The new franchise owners for all of these locations were awarded certificates for their successful completion of the extensive Sea Tow training program, which includes both on-water and classroom instruction at the company’s corporate headquarters in Southold, N.Y.
Bouchard Barge Spills in Buzzard Bay
On Sunday, April 27, 2003 a barge carrying oil sustained a 12-foot gash, releasing approximately 15,000 gallons of #6 fuel oil to Buzzards Bay. Personnel from the Bureau of Waste Site Cleanup, the Massachusetts Environmental Management Agency, the Division of Marine Fisheries, NOAA, the Coast Guard, and EPA responded to this spill. Absorbent booms were placed around the barge to contain the oil after the initial release. On Monday, April 28, the oil had reached the western shoreline; crews were dispatched to begin the shoreline assessment and cleanup.
Judge Nullifies State Oil Spill Law
A federal judge has nullified Massachusetts’ landmark Oil Spill Prevention Act, striking down regulations on oil shipping in Buzzards Bay that included mandatory tug escorts and navigational routes as well as minimum staffing. U.S. District Judge Joseph L. Tauro ruled the state violated federal law because those areas fall under Coast Guard jurisdiction. He said the state regulations ''are pre-empted, invalid and unconstitutional under the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution.'' The Massachusetts Legislature passed the Oil Spill Act in 2004, amid warnings from the oil industry that it was stepping on federal jurisdiction. Lawmakers moved quickly to respond to a 98,000-gallon oil spill in Buzzards Bay on April 27, 2003, when a Bouchard Transportation Co.
Summary Judgment Against Mass. Law
The American Waterways Operators (AWO) hailed a decision by the U.S. District Court, Massachusetts District, to recommend summary judgment against a 2004 Massachusetts oil spill statute. The decision was issued on July 29 by U.S. Magistrate Judge Leo Sorokin. A lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice challenged the constitutionality of the law, which was enacted in response to a 2003 accidental tank barge oil spill in Buzzards Bay. The Department of Justice lawsuit asserted that the Massachusetts oil spill law tried to make law in areas that are reserved exclusively to the Federal Government, specifically the U.S. Coast Guard. In 2006, the District Court affirmed the position of the U.S.
Tugboat Mate Convicted
A Jacksonville, Florida man pleaded guilty in federal court to violating the Clean Water Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan; Thomas V. Skinner, Acting Assistant Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Enforcement and Compliance Assurance; William Schenkelberg, Special Agent in Charge of the Northeast Region of the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service; and Thomas J. Healy, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Office of Law Enforcement, announced today that FRANKLIN ROBERT HILL, age 53, of Jacksonville, Florida, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert B.
Mate Charged in Buzzards Bay Oil Spill
A Jacksonville, Florida man was charged today in federal court with one count of violating the Clean Water Act and one count of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan; Thomas V. Skinner, Acting Assistant Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Enforcement and Compliance Assurance; William Schenkelberg, Special Agent in Charge of the Northeast Region of the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service; and Thomas J. Healy, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Office of Law Enforcement, announced today that FRANKLIN ROBERT HILL, age 53, of Jacksonville, Florida…
Lawmakers Aim to Strengthen Oil Barge Rules
According to a March 11 report from the Cape Cod Times, a new bill designed to strengthen rules for tugboats escorting double-hulled oil barges through Buzzards Bay is the subject of a legislative hearing at the Statehouse. The bill was recently introduced by Rep. John Quinn, D-Dartmouth. (Source: Cape Cod Times)
Registration Opens for the 2011 Women on the Water (WOW) Conference
The U.S. Maritime Administration and Massachusetts Maritime Academy will host the 5th Annual Women on the Water Conference at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay, MA, on October 27th - 29th, 2011. The conference will focus on career opportunities and issues impacting women in the maritime industry. Rear Admiral Sandra L. Stosz will be the Keynote Speaker. Registration information is available at http://www.marad.dot.gov/mariners_landing_page/women_on_the_water/WOW2011home.htm.
Buzzards Bay Spill Much Larger Than Originally Reported
had originally reported. scene coordinator for the spill response. For most oil spills in U.S. waters, the responsible party – in this case, Bouchard Transportation – reports to the Coast Guard how much product they think spilled from their vessel. hours of the spill by the tankerman aboard the barge. contributed to the inaccurate reading. terminal in Sandwich, Mass., later that week. The Coast Guard determines the official amount of oil spilled during its comprehensive investigation of the incident, which is still ongoing. Coast Guard’s first priority is to minimize damage to the environment by focusing its efforts and oversight on clean up operations. approximately 4.1 million gallons, were at risk and acted accordingly.
Summary Judgment Sought Against Mass. 2009 Oil Spill Law
The American Waterways Operators (AWO), the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO), the Chamber of Shipping of America, the International Chamber of Shipping, and the International Group of Protection & Indemnity Clubs filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on Friday, January 28 in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts against a 2009 Massachusetts oil spill law. The plaintiffs also requested that the judge issue a Permanent Injunction to enjoin its enforcement. The Motion charges that the spill law is unconstitutional and undermines marine safety and environmental protection. The state law being challenged compels vessel operators to comply with state – not Federal – requirements for transit through Buzzards Bay.
Repair Plan OKd for Bouchard Barge
At press time, the Coast Guard approved a repair and transport plan for the Bouchard Transportation B-120 barge responsible for the Buzzard's Bay oil spill. The swift current in the Cape Cod Canal prevents divers from installing a patch at the current location. The barge will be moved from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Bourne, Mass., to the Esco fuel terminal in Sandwich, Mass., for temporary repairs before continuing to New York. The Coast Guard and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts continue to direct the clean up operations in the Buzzard's Bay oil spill. -- More than 750 people are involved in shoreline clean up and spill management operations. -- An estimated 175 volunteers are involved in wildlife rehabilitation and related activities.
AWO Applauds Judgment Against Oil Spill Law
The American Waterways Operators (AWO), the national trade association for the tugboat, towboat and barge industry, hails the decision yesterday by the U.S. District Court, Massachusetts District, to grant Summary Judgment against a 2004 Massachusetts oil spill law, declaring it null and void. The U.S. Department of Justice sued the Commonwealth over the constitutionality of the law enacted in response to a 2003 accidental tank barge oil spill in Buzzards Bay. The decision affirms the 2008 recommendation of the Magistrate Judge that Massachusetts acted unconstitutionally in enacting the 2004 law that regulated the crewing and operation of towing and tank vessels, areas reserved to the Federal government, specifically the U.S. Coast Guard.
USCG Responded To Disabled Tug 18 Mi East Of Block Island
The U.S. Coast Guard responded to reports of a disabled tug 18 miles east of Block Island, Rhode Island, Sunday. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, were notified at approximately 3:30 p.m., Sunday, of an engine fire aboard the 126-foot tug Viking. The vessel’s on board fixed fire-fighting system was able to extinguish the fire, leaving the vessel disabled with 10 people aboard. The owner of the tug dispatched two relief tugs to the scene. The Viking was able to restore their engines and are transiting to Buzzards Bay under escort by the tug Sebine. None of the ten people aboard the tug were injured, and no pollution was released as a result of the fire.
Northeastern Small Vessel Security Summit
The Coast Guard will host the Northeastern Small Vessel Security Summit June 7, from 9 a.m., until 4 p.m., at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay, Mass. The conference is free and open to all small vessel stakeholders. The goal of the forum is to allow attendees to discuss how to reduce risks and threats to smaller vessels on the water and to communicate security concerns in ports and along waterways of the northeast. Representatives from the Coast Guard and the Homeland Security Institute are scheduled to give presentations. "This forum is a great opportunity for mariners to speak directly with the Coast Guard and Homeland Security to share ideas and concerns," said Lt. Trevor Cowan with waterways management at the First Coast Guard District in Boston.
Oil Tanker Escorts as Short-Term Fix
According to a March 13 report from South Coast Today, the Mass. state Department of Environmental Protection has stopped awarding contracts for its controversial rescue tug program designed to assist distressed, double-hulled oil tankers transiting Buzzards Bay. DEP Commissioner Laurie Burt announced Thursday at a Statehouse hearing that the agency will back a House bill proposed by SouthCoast legislators. The bill, which amends an oil spill law enacted in August 2008, would require escort tugs to shadow double-hulled tankers throughout their transit rather than wait at the dock to respond to an emergency call from a tanker. (Source: South Coast Today)
MARAD: $2.3m for State Maritime Academies
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration announced that America's six state maritime academies will receive an additional $2.3 million total from a government program that recycles obsolete vessels. "With the majority of our goods moved over water, well-trained merchant mariners are critical in supporting our nation's security and economy," said Secretary LaHood. Funding is being made available from the sale of obsolete vessels from the Maritime Administration's National Defense Reserve Fleet and budget savings generated by the Maritime Administration. The Maritime Administration awarded $392,913 each to the California Maritime Academy in Vallejo…