Washington Court Will Not Hear Alaska Dispute
The Court of Appeals of the State of Washington affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit on the basis of comity. In the instant case, plaintiff seaman was allegedly injured while working as a crew member on an Alaska state ferry. When the state started handling the injury as a workmen’s compensation issue in accordance with state law, plaintiff filed a declaratory judgment action in Alaska state court. After losing at the trial level, plaintiff appealed in Alaska and brought this separate action in Washington State seeking recovery against the State of Alaska under the federal Jones Act. The Washington appellate court noted that the dispute arose in Alaska, is based on Alaska law, and is being separately litigated in Alaska.
State Maritime Employees Barred from Jones Act Suit
The Supreme Court of the State of Alaska ruled that a state-employed seaman injured on job may not recover against the state for alleged personal injuries in an action under the federal Jones Act. In the instant case, plaintiff was employed as a crew member on an Alaska state ferry. He was allegedly injured while working when the vessel was underway. When the state handled the injury under the state’s worker’s compensation system, plaintiff brought a declaratory judgment action in state court, asserting that the state law asserting sovereign immunity in these type cases violated the Alaska Constitution and the United States Constitution.
USCG, Alaska and Canada to Participate in CANUSDIX
Members of the U.S. Coast Guard, Canadian coast guard, State of Alaska and other state and provincial government agencies are scheduled to participate in a combined oil spill and wildlife protection training and exercise in Ketchikan from September 24-27. The training will focus on response efforts in the Dixon Entrance area. The weeklong event will combine oil spill response training and wildlife protection and cleaning as it relates to an international oil spill scenario. The event will involve on water training, completion of planning documents and a tabletop exercise. The State of Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Alaska Department of Fish and Game the U.S. Department of Interior, the U.S.
Ferry Funds Allocated
The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) provides discretionary funding for the construction of ferry boats and ferry terminal facilities. The TEA-21 includes a requirement that $20 million from FY 2000 be set aside for marine highway systems for use by the States of Alaska, New Jersey and Washington. The funds have been allocated as follows: $10 million for the state of Alaska, and $5 million each for New Jersey and Washington. These funds are available for the construction or refurbishing of ferry boats and ferry terminals, with certain restrictions. Additionally, Congress earmarked $11.2 million of funding for 12 specific constructions of ferry boats and ferry terminal facilities. There was considerable demand for the discretionary funds.
State of Alaska Awards Program to RTM
The State of Alaska Dept. of Commerce and Economic Development awarded RTM Star Center a four-year contract for a simulator based marine pilot performance evaluation system. The Star Center program will be simulator-based and include training in shiphandling skills, the American Pilot's Association-approved Bridge Resource Management and Automatic Radar Plotting Aids. Alaska state-licensed pilots will train at the Ft. Lauderdale facility on its full mission 360 degree bridge simulator. They will develop increased competence in the skills necessary to recognize and break potential error chains that can lead to groundings, collisions and environmental damage. All pilots will become familiar with the Star Center simulator through participation in practice simulations.
BP Amoco and ARCO Prepare for Litigation
Following the decision of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to oppose the proposed combination of BP Amoco and ARCO, the two companies reaffirmed their intention to pursue the issue in court. The companies said in a joint statement: "We are surprised and disappointed the FTC has rejected all efforts for a positive resolution. We have consistently been open to improvement of our original proposal. We have addressed the concerns of the State of Alaska. We have been, and remain, willing to discuss any reasonable options that might lead to a negotiated settlement. The statement added: "Any suggestion there is a special West Coast market for Alaskan crude oil that functions independently of world crude prices is without foundation.
Alaska Seeks Proposals for Ocean Ranger Program
The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Water, is soliciting detailed proposals for assistance with the implementation of the Ocean Ranger program established under Alaska Statute 46.03.476. The selected contractor will recruit, hire, train, and manage U.S Coast Guard licensed marine engineers or individuals with degrees in marine safety and environmental protection to serve as Ocean Rangers on large commercial passenger vessels (cruise ships). There is a preference for Alaska hire and the contractor must submit and implement an Alaska hire plan that will lead to the hiring of Alaskan Ocean Rangers. Based upon guidance provided by the Department, the contractor will refine the existing “Ocean Ranger Guidebook and Ocean Ranger Daily Report”.
National Response Corporation Acquires Emerald Alaska
National Response Corporation (NRC), a portfolio company of J.F. Lehman & Company, announced today the completion of the acquisition of Emerald Alaska, LLC from Emerald Services, Inc. NRC is a commercial provider of United States Oil Pollution Act of 1990 regulatory compliance services as well as a global provider of specialized environmental and emergency response solutions. Headquartered in Great River, N.Y., with regional offices throughout the U.S. and internationally, NRC has more than 1,000 employees globally. Emerald Alaska is a provider of environmental and emergency response solutions to the oil and gas industry in the state of Alaska.
BP Fixes ANS Lifting on Foreign Flagged Vessel
British oil company BP has chartered a foreign flagged vessel to transport Alaskan North Slope (ANS) crude, pending regulatory approvals, a spokeswoman for the company said by email on Monday. The company will receive required approvals from the State of Alaska and the United States Coast Guard (USCG) before the vessel sails, the spokeswoman added. The spokeswoman declined to comment on the destination of the cargo. Reporting by Liz Hampton
Alaska Selects Crowley to Monitor Cruise Ships
Crowley will implement and administer the State of Alaska's Ocean Ranger Program, beginning with the 2008 cruise ship season. The State of Alaska's Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) awarded the contract to Crowley Monday. The contract, valued at up to $4 million per fiscal year, directs Crowley to recruit, hire, train, and organize the logistics of placing up to 35 Ocean Rangers on board cruise ships this season to monitor their wastewater discharges and compliance with other pollution requirements for the state. Ocean Rangers are required as part of a new law adopted by the citizens of Alaska - the Alaska Cruise Ship Initiative- in 2006. Crowley is accepting resumes from qualified, licensed third assistant engineers or higher rating.
Federal Strategy for a Safer Arctic Released
The White House yesterday released the Implementation Plan for the National Strategy for the Arctic Region. The Administration solicited input from Alaska Natives, the State of Alaska, Congress, academia, industry and others to develop an Implementation Plan that sets forth the guidelines for Federal Departments and Agencies to execute the National Strategy for the Arctic Region. The Implementation Plan complements and builds upon existing initiatives by Federal, State, local, and tribal authorities, the private sector, and international partners, and also focuses efforts where opportunities exist and action is most needed. It is designed to meet the reality of a changing Arctic environment and uphold national interests in safety and security…
Alaska Makes Ruling on Ferry Case
The Supreme Court of the State of Alaska ruled that the state has jurisdiction over crimes committed on board an Alaska state ferry, even though the ferry was located in Canadian waters when the crime was committed. In the instant case, defendant was charged with having committed sexual assault while the ferry was en route from Bellingham, Washington to Southeast Alaska. At trial, defendant argued that the court had no jurisdiction over the offense, as it occurred in another country. On appeal, the court held that the state could exercise jurisdiction over this crime because, even though it occurred in another country, the crime had a significant effect in the state due to the importance of the state ferry system. source: HK Law
New & Notable:Alaska Awards Metlakatla Ferry Contract to Conrad
Conrad Industries emerged as the winner to build a new ferry for the high profile customers Alaska Marine Highway. AMH sees the signing as the ushering in of a new era in marine transportation for the community of Metlakatla with the signing of the contract. The new vessel will provide dedicated service between Metlakatla and Ketchikan, two of the Inside Passage's southernmost communities. Southeast Region Director, Bob Doll, represented the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities at the signing ceremony. "This ferry means better service to the communities of Metlakatla and Ketchikan and less cost to the State of Alaska." The detailed design for the Metlakatla ferry was performed by Pat Eberhardt, P.E. of Coastwise Engineering, Juneau under contract to the State of Alaska.
Alaska Awards Crowley Environmental Contract
Crowley's Ocean Rangers Have Protected Alaska's Environment Since 2008. The State of Alaska's Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) has announced that it has awarded a contract to Crowley Maritime Corporation to continue administering the State of Alaska's Ocean Ranger Program, effective November 2011. The contract directs Crowley to recruit, hire, train and organize the logistics of placing Ocean Rangers on board cruise ships each season to act as independent observers and to assure compliance with federal and state environmental health, sanitation and safety requirements.
Magnitude 8 earthquake Hits off Alaska's Aleutian Islands
A magnitude 8 earthquake Monday shook the Aleutian Islands of Alaska to the west, prompting authorities to issue a tsunami alert local, the United States Geological Survey and the Tsunami Warning Center said Pacific. The warning covering the coastal areas of the U.S. state of Alaska from Nikolski to Attu, the center said, adding that the authorities were assessing the level of risk to other coastal areas of the United States and Canada. The epicenter of the quake was about 23 kilometers of Little Sitkin Island, Alaska, at a depth of 114 kilometers, the USGS said (by its acronym in English).
USCG Evaluates Comms Equipment in Alaska
At nearly 663,000 square miles, Alaska is the biggest state in the United States and over twice the size of Texas. The state’s size and the remoteness of its northern communities make emergency response challenging. In response to growing economic and tourism interests in the Arctic, Coast Guard District 17, Alaska Command and the State of Alaska and other state and federal partners will conduct a mass rescue exercise called Operation Arctic Chinook in Tin City and Kotzebue August 23-24.
Derecktor Awarded High Speed Ferry Contracts
Derecktor Shipyards won the contract for the construction of the first two passenger /vehicle high-speed ferries for the State of Alaska's Marine Highway System. The NGA design presented by Derecktor competed in a bid race that lasted several months and ended with the notice of intent to award going to Derecktor Shipyards. This project, funded by the Federal Government, allows the State of Alaska to link Sitka to Juneau with fast modern boats, capable of a one-day round trip. The Alaska Marine Highway System has been operating year-round since 1963, with regularly scheduled passenger and vehicle service to 32 communities in Alaska. It carries more than 300,000 passengers every year. The new boats are designed by Nigel Gee and Associates (NGA) Ltd.
65-foot Vessel Grounds Near Shoup Bay, Alaska
Coast Guard and State of Alaska personnel are monitoring a 65-foot fishing tender grounded near Shoup Bay, four miles west of Valdez, Sunday. The owner of the 65–foot fishing tender, Fate Hunter, is working with Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Valdez and State of Alaska personnel to minimize environmental impact from the grounding and refloat the vessel. Coast Guard Sector Anchorage command center watchstanders received a call Sunday morning from the crew of the Fate Hunter, reporting the vessel had run aground near Shoup Bay with four persons on board.
Alaska Class Ferries to Be Built in Ketchikan
Announced by Governor Sean Parnell Saturday, September 20, the State of Alaska and Vigor Industrial have reached a final agreement to construct two Alaska Class Ferries at Vigor Alaska in Ketchikan. The vessels will be the first Alaska Marine Highway System ferries to be built in Alaska. “Here we are today to launch this shipyard to a new level, a new level of good jobs, a new level of growth for Ketchikan businesses that are going to supply the shipyard and its workers,” Governor…
U.S., Canadian Coast Guard Oil Spill Exercise
Representatives from the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards, Arctic region stakeholders and established responders are scheduled to hold a joint “Canada - United States North” (CANUSNORTH) tabletop exercise March 16 and 17 at the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage. This biennial exercise provides an opportunity for all responders to work together to consult on local issues and improve communications and coordination for potential responses to pollution incidents in the contiguous waters of the Arctic Ocean and Beaufort Sea. Over thirty response organizations and regional stakeholders have been invited to participate. These include the Canadian Coast Guard, Environment Canada, U.S. Seventeenth Coast Guard District, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Anchorage, the U.S.
Vigor to Acquire Alaska Ship & Drydock
Vigor today announced its plan to acquire Alaska Ship and Drydock Inc. (ASD), further consolidating the business of ship repair on the U.S. West Coast. ASD intends to transition its business and assets to Vigor pending approval of the transfer of ownership by the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA), the owner of the Ketchikan Shipyard where ASD is based. The private companies hope to finalize their agreement on or before March 1st. ASD would operate the Ketchikan Shipyard (KSY) as the Alaska Ship & Drydock LLC subsidiary…
USCG Releases Interim Report on Alaska Small Passenger Vessel Safety
The Alaska Small Passenger Vessel Task Force (ASPV) has issued an interim report concerning safety issues for small passenger vessels operating in remote Alaskan areas. Seventeenth USCG District Commander, Rear Adm. Thomas J. Barrett, chartered the ASPV in July as a result of recent accidents involving small cruise vessels. Adm. Barrett also asked the ASPV to find ways to minimize the risk of future incidents and improve response to accidents. Annually, more than 200,000 passengers travel aboard small passenger vessels in Alaska. This summer, four of these vessels grounded or struck objects in remote Alaskan waterways. Two of the incidents required significant response from the USCG and the State of Alaska.
Capilano Designs 23-Car Ro-Ro Ferry
Capilano Maritime Design Ltd. has been awarded the design contract for a 23-car, 149-passenger Ro-Ro Ferry to replace the Bob Ellis currently being utilized by the Ketchikan Gateway Borough in Ketchikan Alaska. The vessel will be built at Alaska Ship & Drydock, Inc., also located in Ketchikan. The new ferry will be delivered to the State of Alaska in 2011. Capilano Maritime is a naval architecture and marine engineering design firm based in North Vancouver, BC, Canada. The firm is co-owned by Chris Mulder, P.Eng, and Mark Mulligan, P.Eng.