Committee to Consider Coast Guard Authorization Bill
The U.S. Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, chaired by U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), will mark up legislation this week that authorizes United States Coast Guard (USCG) and Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) funding levels for two years, and includes provisions to improve Coast Guard mission effectiveness, help modernize the service’s aging vessels and other assets, and reform U.S. maritime transportation laws. H.R. 1987 - The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015 | Additional information about H.R. H.R. 1642 - To designate the building utilized as a United States courthouse located at 150 Reade Circle in Greenville, North Carolina, as the "Randy D.
Grasso Elected President WISTA USA
At its annual general meeting in in May, Jeanne M. Grasso was elected President of the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) . As President of WISTA USA, Ms. Grasso will serve as a member of the six-person elected board, which includes: Vice President Linda Turnbow (Ocean Shipholdings, Inc.); Treasurer Kathleen Haines (formerly of OMI Corporation); Membership Secretary Parker Harrison (American Steamship Owners Mutual Protection and Indemnity Association, Inc.); Recording Secretary Julie D. Kuchta (Bowen, Miclette & Britt); and National WISTA Association liaison, Mary T. Reilly (Hill, Betts & Nash, LLP). Grasso, a respected and active member of the maritime community, has held leadership positions in various maritime organizations.
UK Chamber Stand on Seafarers Minimum Wage
The Government's newly issued 'Guide to the application of the Equality Act 2010 and National Minimum Wage for seafarers' does not make any change to legal entitlement for those working in UK waters, the UK Chamber of Shipping advises. "The guide does not amend the law and there has been no change in the entitlement of any seafarer in respect of the National Minimum Wage or the Equality Act. It is hoped that the clarification of the current position provided by the guide will be of use to companies and seafarers…
Finland Concerned over Rise in Russia's Cargo Ship Inspections
The Finnish government has voiced concern over surprise inspections on Finnish cargo ships visiting Russian ports in recent weeks, saying delays had been a problem for shipping companies. Neighboring Russia carried out seven thorough inspections in the past two weeks on Finnish ships at St Petersburg and other ports, without giving a specific reason, a government minister said on Friday. Such inspections usually take place for Finnish ships only a few times a year globally. “The inspections have been exceptional ...
Proposed & Interim Rules
This Customs Service document proposes to amend the Customs Regulations to provide for the temporary landing in the U.S. of vessel equipment in need of repair, without requiring entry of that equipment under a Temporary Importation Bond (TIB). It is proposed such equipment be permitted to be landed for repair and relading aboard the same vessel, subject to Customs issuance of a special permit or license for the landed equipment, under an International Carrier Bond. Uncertainty exists whether the relading of repaired equipment on vessels departing the U.S. would satisfy the TIB requirement that such merchandise be exported. The proposed amendments will eliminate this uncertainty while still allowing Customs adequate control over such unladings and ladings.
Exxon Valdez Put to Rest
The most anticipated maritime law decision in recent years has been the decision in June 2008 by the U.S. Supreme Court that reduced the award of punitive damages against Exxon from $2.5 billion to $500 million. After nearly 20 years of litigation against Exxon and the captain of its vessel, the case is finally at an end. For those who practice maritime law or are guided and affected by it, the most obvious ramifications of the Court’s decision are that punitive damages may be awarded against a shipowner…
K&L Gates Welcomes Martinko
The Washington D.C., office of global law firm K&L Gates LLP has welcomed Stephen Martinko as a government affairs counselor in the public policy and law practice. Martinko joins the firm from the Port of Pittsburgh Commission (PPC), where he served as executive director of one of the largest inland ports in the United States. Previously, Martinko spent 12 years as a congressional aide, including serving as deputy staff director for the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I Committee) of the U.S. House of Representatives, which has broad jurisdiction over all modes of transportation – aviation, maritime, highways, bridges…
Bill Introduced re: TWIC
Senator Coleman (R-MN) introduced the Small Marine Business and Fishing Guide Relief Act of 2008 (S. 3377) to amend title 46, United States Code, to waive the biometric transportation security card requirement for certain small business merchant mariners, and for other purposes. This bill, if enacted into law, would exempt from the requirement for a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) merchant mariners serving on vessels the owner or operator of which is not required to submit a vessel security plan. (HK Law).
Bill Introduced to Improve Maritime Security
Senator Stevens (R-AK) introduced the Public Transportation Terrorism Prevention Act of 2006 (S. 2791) to amend titles 46 and 49, United States Code, to provide improved maritime, rail, and public transportation security, and for other purposes. The bill, if enacted into law, would codify the Container Security Initiative and the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), expand the use of interagency operations centers, and require that DHS conduct a port security user fee feasibility study. Source: HK Law
Hearing on USCG Administrative Law System
On July 31, the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure conducted an oversight hearing on the Coast Guard’s Administrative Law System. Statements of most witnesses are not yet posted on the Internet. Rear Admiral Brian Salerno, USCG and Captain Thomas Sparks, USCG testified concerning the agency’s suspension and revocation (S&R) process. Source: HK Law
President Bush signs Marine Highway Legislation
On Dec. 19, 2007, President George W. Bush signed into law the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which contains provisions establishing a formal marine highway program within the federal government. Under the new law, marine highway or "short sea" transportation refers to the carriage by vessel of cargo in containers, loaded on the vessel by cranes or by means of wheeled technology. Specifically, the new law requires the establishment of a program and the designation of transportation projects to mitigate landside congestion. The program will encourage the development and expansion of vessels, shippers, port and landside infrastructure, and marine transportation strategies by state and local governments.
Foxx Sworn in as 17th U.S. Secretary of Transportation
Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx was sworn in as the nation’s 17th Secretary of Transportation by Judge Nathaniel Jones in a private ceremony at U.S. Department of Transportation headquarters at 11 a.m. yesterday (July 2). The ceremony was attended by Foxx’s wife, Samara, and their two children, Hillary and Zachary, and used a Bible belonging to Secretary Foxx’s great-grandparents, Peter and Ida Kelly. Secretary Foxx worked for Judge Jones as a law clerk for the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals after law school and invited Judge Jones to administer the oath of office today.
Bill Introduced to Improve Transport Security
Senator Stevens (R-AK) introduced the Transportation Security Improvement Act of 2005 (S. 1052). The bill, if enacted into law, would make changes to all transportation modes. In the maritime sector, it would require Area Maritime Transportation Security plans to include a salvage response plan. It would require importers shipping goods to the United States via cargo containers to supply entry data under advance notification requirements. It would also require the Secretary of Homeland Security to conduct a study of the feasibility and desirability of establishing a system of waterborne and port-related intermodal transportation user fees to provide funding for enhanced port security. (HK Law)
Maritime Transportation Act Signed into Law
The White House issued a Press Release stating, among other things, that President Bush signed into law the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2004 (H.R. 2443). In addition to serving as the annual authorization act for the Coast Guard and the Federal Maritime Commission, this law inserts an exemption for certain passive owners (primarily institutional lenders) into OPA 90, mandates oil spill response plans for non-tank vessels in excess of 400 gross tons, and makes numerous other changes to U.S. maritime law. It is worth your careful read. (HK Law)
Cummings: Administrative Law Functions Should be Separate from Coast Guard
Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), Chairman of Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, convened the Subcommittee to examine the Coast Guard's administrative law system. "Today, the Subcommittee received testimony regarding the Coast Guard's administrative law system from two former Administrative Law Judges (ALJ) suggesting that during their tenure, they worked in an atmosphere that did not support their exercise of judicial independence in the consideration of cases. "Additionally, serious allegations were raised that, if true, would imply that patently improper actions may have been committed to direct an ALJ to decide matters in the Coast Guard's favor. The Subcommittee received testimony from Mr. Peter A. Fitzpatrick, Ms. Rosemary Denson, and Ms.
AWO Applauds Passage of Coast Guard Bill
Maritime Workers Applaud Congressional Passage, Presidential Signature of Coast Guard Bill. On behalf of the American Waterways Operators (AWO) and its 350 member companies, AWO President & CEO Tom Allegretti thanked bipartisan leaders in Congress for passing and President Obama for signing the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act into law late last month. The bill contained several AWO-supported provisions, including legislation that simplifies the process for mariners…
John Garamendi Advocates 'Buy America' T-HUD Amendments
Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA) has offered amendments to the FY 2015 Transportation Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) Appropriations Act that would spur the growth of U.S. jobs by strengthening Buy America laws. The Congressman expressed the view that the requirement that federal taxpayer dollars are spent on U.S. manufacturing is currently too weak causing the outsourcing of thousands of jobs. Garamendi’s amendments would close loopholes in the law, so that money invested in public works would stay at home.
DHS: Limited Waiver of Coastwise Restrictions
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published the temporary waiver of compliance with coastwise trade restrictions to assist in the recovery from the effects of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina. The coastwise trade laws have been waived, until 12:01 a.m., October 24, 2005, for transportation of petroleum and refined petroleum products from one U.S. port to another U.S. port. The earlier waiver of coastwise trade laws for transportation of petroleum released from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve undertaken in response to Hurricane Katrina has been extended to include circumstances arising from Hurricane Rita. These actions were found to be necessary in the interest of national defense. 70 Fed. Reg. 57611 (HK Law)
Administrative Process For Jones Act Waivers
The U.S. coastwise laws (primarily the Jones Act and the Passenger Vessel Services Act) require to carry cargo or passengers between U.S. ports, a vessel must be U.S.-flagged, U.S.-crewed, U.S.-built, and U.S.-owned. Traditionally, the only way for a non-qualified vessel to obtain the right to engage in domestic service has been for Congress to enact special legislation granting the privilege to the vessel by name. Public Law 105-383, enacted in November 1998, establishes a new option for obtaining a waiver of the coastwise laws for certain small passenger vessels. Title V of P.L. 105-383 (the USCG Authorization Act of 1998) creates an administrative process through the Secretary of Transportation for a limited class of passenger vessels. This process will be subject to a four-year trial.
DHS: Limited Waiver of Coastwise Trade Restrictions
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published the temporary waiver of compliance with coastwise trade restrictions to assist in the recovery from the effects of Hurricane Katrina. The coastwise trade laws have been waived, until 12:01 a.m., September 19, 2005, for transportation of petroleum and refined petroleum products from one U.S. port to another U.S. port. The coastwise trade laws have also been waived for transportation of petroleum released from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve undertaken in response to the hurricane. These actions were found to be necessary in the interest of national defense. 70 Fed. Reg. 53236 (HK Law).
TWIC Hearing July 12
On July 12, the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure will conduct an oversight hearing on the Transportation Worker Identification Card System. (HK Law)
Report: Va. Shipbuilders Unhappy with New Port Security Rules
A federal plan to screen port workers could drive up the cost of building and repairing Navy ships while doing nothing to improve security, industry officials say. Under the new system, longshoremen, truckers and other transportation workers who need access to secure port areas will undergo FBI background checks and submit fingerprints that will be embedded on biometric cards. But the federal law mandating the system--officially known as the Transportation Worker Identification Credential--also extends to some shipyards, including Navy shipbuilder Northrop Grumman Newport News, the region's largest private employer with 19,000 workers. Ship repair yard officials are confused about the law: some say their companies fall under the law, others say they do not.
Sensitive Security Information Protection
The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued a technical amendment to the regulations regarding protection of sensitive security information (SSI). The change removes the limiting words “aviation or maritime” in certain places so as to permit sharing of vulnerability assessments and other documents with covered persons regardless of mode of transportation. The change comes into effect immediately. 70 Fed. Reg. 1379 (HK Law).