President Clinton Energizes Oil Price Debate
It’s really quite amazing how one year and an additional $21 per barrel of crude can change people’s attitudes. It was less than 12 month ago that the price per barrel of oil hovered around the $9-10 mark, and international officials across the globe pleaded with leaders of OPEC to trim production in an effort to bolster pricing, which had lagged for two years running. Today, however, the tune is far different. A cold winter in the N.E. U.S., combined with per barrel pricing over $30 has consumers and local legislators screaming for action, with obvious good effect. The Clinton administration responded to growing worries that oil prices are out of control by announcing on Wednesday more supplies were headed to U.S. ports, but cautioned that gasoline prices may move higher.
President Bill Clinton recently granted a pardon clearing the name of Freddie Meeks, an 80-year-old black man convicted of mutiny in a 1944 wartime incident with racial overtones. Meeks' presidential pardon was among 37 granted in a traditional Christmas practice. Five of the pardons were for crimes involving the illegal importing or sale of marijuana. Meeks, as a navy seaman second class, was at the Port Chicago munitions base near San Francisco on July 17, 1944, when a huge explosion killed 320 men, most of them African- American sailors who were loading ammunition onto ships. It was the worst U.S. home-front disaster of the Second World War. Black sailors were ordered after the accident to pick up the pieces of dismembered bodies, then resume loading.
WSDOT: Three Mukilteo Terminal Closings in Spring
The Mukilteo ferry terminal will temporarily close for three extended weekends this spring for extensive preservation work. Riders of the Mukilteo/Clinton ferry route should begin making alternate travel plans now. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will close the Mukilteo Terminal Friday through Sunday on March 18-20, March 25-27 and April 1-3. During the closures crews will work on the transfer span and apron that link the vessel and the dock, replacing mechanical and electrical systems that operate these movable components. “This work is vitally important to the safety of the Mukilteo terminal,” said David Moseley, assistant secretary for WSF.
Crude Prices Down Six Percent
Oil prices fell more than $1 on Monday, knocked back by the United States' decision to tap into strategic reserves to bring a halt to this year's price rally and ensure sufficient supplies this winter. U.S. benchmark crude futures for November delivery fell $1.82 - or nearly six percent to an early intra-day low in Asia of $30.86 per barrel, before rebounding to $31.44 for a loss from Friday of $1.24. Prices were expected to retreat after President Bill Clinton gave the okay on Friday to release 30 million barrels of crude over 30 days from the 571 million-barrel Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), although some analysts said the impact would be limited.
Tax Bill Vetoed
President Clinton vetoed the $792 billion tax package approved by Congress prior to its August recess. The package included a variety of tax cuts, as well as a repeal of the 4.3-cent-per-gallon "deficit reduction" fuel tax paid by inland waterway operators and railroads. In the wake of the veto, it is unclear whether any additional tax reduction legislation will be considered this year, or whether any such bill would be a broad package or a smaller, more focused measure.
Panama, U.S. Try To Smooth Frictions
President Bill Clinton and Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso tried to smooth over frictions last week over the handing back of the Panama Canal and vowed a "new beginning" in U.S.-Panamanian relations. Discord in recent months has cast a shadow over the Dec. 31 transfer of the canal to Panama's control to end a 96-year military presence in the Central American country. "I emphasized that the military relationship ends on Dec. 31," Moscoso told reporters after a 45-minute meeting with Clinton. Moscoso met for 45 minutes with Clinton to stress that Panama will provide adequate security for the strategic canal after the U.S. gives up control of it on Dec. 31. "Our country is prepared to guarantee the efficient operation of the canal.
Expanded Area for USCG
The Clinton Administration extended the area patrolled by the USCG, widening it from 12 miles offshore to 24 miles. The extension doubles the area in which the USCG and other federal authorities may board foreign vessels. The White House noted under international law, a nation may claim a territorial sea up to 12 nautical miles from its coast, and a contiguous zone extending another 12 miles. Within the contiguous zone, a nation can act to prevent violations of its environmental, customs, fiscal, or immigration laws, or to apprehend vessels suspected of violating them.
Europe Gives U.S. The Raspberry
In an apparent flexing of newfound muscles, the European Union is picking another trade fight with the United States, threatening to file a World Trade Organization complaint against the U.S. over fees on cargo ships at U.S. ports, increasing tensions between the two trading giants. In a letter released last Tuesday, European Commission vice president Leon Brittan said harbor fees proposed by the Clinton administration, like those they would replace, constituted an unfair tax on European shipping lines, container vessels and their cargoes. "This discriminatory application of a fee that is not justified in the first place simply cannot continue," Brittan told U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky. If a settlement is not reached by Jan.
Clinton Administration Worried About High Oil Prices
The Clinton administration said that oil prices have soared to "dangerously high" levels, and crude oil could be sold from the nation's emergency stockpile if already-tight supplies are disrupted by Y2K computer problems at the end of the year. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson sent to the White House contingency plans for selling oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve if necessary. The reserve, created after the 1970s Arab oil embargo, holds about 572 million barrels of oil in underground caverns. While the millennium computer bug problem is a major concern, Richardson also made it clear that the administration was closely monitoring current oil prices with an eye toward possible action if necessary.
Bills Introduced re Dumping of Dredged Material
Senator Clinton (D-NY) and Rep. Bishop (D-NY) introduced companion bills, the Long Island Sound Protection Act (S. 2482 and H.R. 4482) to amend the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 to prohibit the dumping of dredged material in certain bodies of water. Source: HK Law
News: Mission Marine Makes a Delivery for the Port Clinton
Mission Marine, a Sandusky boat-builder, delivered its Mission 288 to the Port Clinton Police Department in Ohio. The 25-ft. boat with a wide 11.5-ft. beam was purchased with a Port Security Grant awarded by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The police department needed a multi-mission boat with the ideal platform, superb stability, large deck space, great maneuverability and ride to assist the critical missions of the police department. The department chose Mission Marine. "When I examined Mission Marine's boat, I was impressed," SGT Toney states, "It has an outstanding platform from which to work and incredible stability on the water. I knew our community would greatly benefit from her service.
Senator Clinton Opposes Seaway Expansion
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton called on President Bush to abandon a Corps of Engineers study that could lead to what is being called a costly and environmentally harmful expansion of the St. Lawrence Seaway. In a letter to the President, Senator Clinton urged him to not request funding for the Great Lakes Navigation System Review in his upcoming fiscal year 2005 budget. "The St Lawrence Seaway is home to a pristine environment, a thriving local community and a burgeoning tourism industry. Protecting the Seaway should be our highest priority and I believe that the Great Lakes Navigation System Review runs counter to this goal," Senator Clinton said. "I call on President Bush not to request funding for this study in his upcoming budget.
Domestic Defense Bill Introduced
Senator Clinton (D-NY) introduced the Domestic Defense Fund Act of 2004 (S. 2021) to provide for a domestic defense fund to improve the Nation's homeland defense, and for other purposes. If enacted, the bill would, among other things, authorize $4 billion annually for distribution to states for various homeland security projects, including port security. (Source: HK Law)
Coast Guard Port Security Members Return Home
Twenty-one members of Port Security Unit 309, out of Port Clinton, Ohio, are arriving at Cleveland Hopkins Airport Saturday. PSU 309 was deployed to the Persian Gulf in February in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Port security units are self-sustainable units capable of deploying within 96 hours of notification and are able to establish operations within 24 hours of arrival in theater. The mission of a port security unit is to provide waterborne and limited land-based protection for shipping and critical port facilities.
Mukilteo, Washington – Multimodal Ferry Terminal
The Federal Transit Administration issued a Notice stating that it intends to prepare an environmental impact statement for the proposed development of a multimodal ferry terminal in Mukilteo, Washington. This development would allow for expansion of the Mukilteo-Clinton ferry route on Puget Sound. Comments on this project should be submitted by April 5. Source: HK Law
Arctic Drilling 'Not Worth the Risk' -Hillary Clinton
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said in a Twitter post on Tuesday that drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic Ocean was "not worth the risk." "The Arctic is a unique treasure," Clinton said. The Obama administration on Monday gave Royal Dutch Shell final approval to resume drilling in the environmentally fragile ocean for the first time since 2012. (Reporting by Emily Stephenson and Amanda Becker)
U.S. Interest in Arctic Asserted by Clinton
In a visit to Northern Norway U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asserts her country’s interest in the Arctic Clinton’s aim was to emphasize that the U.S. is keeping its eye on the Arctic and remains very keen, according to a recent Reuters report. Testifying earlier in May before the U.S. Senate, Clinton said that as the Arctic warmed: “It is more important that we put our navigational rights on a treaty footing and have a larger voice in the interpretation and development of the rules. You will see China, India, Brazil, you-name-it, all vying for navigational rights and routes through the Arctic." The visit is part of an eight-day trip to Scandinavia, the Caucasus and Turkey.
Obama Nominates Mabus for SecNav
The Navy Times reported that former Mississippi governor Ray Mabus will be nominated as the next Secretary of the Navy, as the Obama administration announced on March 27. Mabus served as the U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 1994 to 1996 under President Bill Clinton and served in the U.S. Navy as a surface warfare officer aboard the missile cruiser Little Rock. (Source: Navy Times)
Washington State Christens New Ferry Suquamish
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) christened Suquamish, its fourth Olympic Class auto/passenger ferry, to serve passengers on the Mukilteo/Clinton route beginning in 2019. The christening ceremony was held at Vigor's Harbor Island Shipyard in Seattle, where the new 144-car ferry has entered the final stages of construction and preparation ahead of sea trials starting in mid-2018. In addition to summer operations on the Mukilteo/Clinton route, the new ferry will also serve as a maintenance relief vessel in the winter, filling in when other vessels are out of service.
Mukilteo Dock/Cathlamet Investigation Report Finalized
Washington State Ferries announced the results of the investigation into the Cathlamet incident at Mukilteo on June 1st. At approximately 5:44 a.m. that morning, the Washington State Ferry MV Cathlamet, sailing from Clinton (on Whidbey island) to Mukilteo hit the north wingwall at over seven knots, causing $139,000 damage to the ferry and over $1 million in needed terminal repairs. Port Captain Mark McElwaine, lead investigator into the incident, conducted extensive research interviews with crew members and reviewed GPS Tracking of the Cathlamet incident.
Captain Phillips to Publicly thank USS Bainbridge
For the first time since his dramatic rescue at sea, Captain Richard Phillips of the Maersk Alabama will publicly thank the commanding officer and crew of the USS Bainbridge during a ceremony in Norfolk, Virginia on November 19. The ceremony will take place on the fantail of guided missile cruiser at 2 p.m. The USS Bainbridge will be moored on the downtown Norfolk waterfront. The Maersk container ship was captured by rogue pirates off the coast of Somalia on April 8. Captain Phillips offered himself as a hostage in exchange for the safety of his crew. For four days, while the world watched, Phillips was held captive in a 25-foot lifeboat.
New Ribcrafts for Clinton First Aid & Rescue
Ribcraft recently delivered an AF 14 to Clinton First Aid and Rescue located in Clinton, N.J. The fully inflatable boat, which is part of Ribcraft’s AF line of inflatable boats, will be used by the department for shallow water rescues and applications requiring easy deployment. The 13.8-ft AF 14 features heavy duty 1880 dtx Hypalon tubes, removable rigid floor, and an innovative hull and tube design designed to carry large payloads on a plane while at the same time delivering unsurpassed performance and maneuverability.
The US Election: Ramifications for Maritime
Clinton vs. Trump. Perhaps one of the most important presidential elections in U.S. history, the 2016 Election Day results with have impacts felt far and wide – and all throughout maritime industry. A proverb common to both Greek and Turkish cultures states that a wolf may change its fur, but does not change its nature (Ο λύκος την τρίχα αλλάζει, το χούι δεν τ`αλλάζει /Kurt tüyünü değiştirir, huyunu değiştirmez). In English, we might render this “a leopard cannot change its spots.” If we are to believe the proverb…