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US House OKs creating new ballast water standard

The law would adopt the IMO's proposed rule- install technology to limit live organisms in ballast The U.S. House passed a bill that would create a national standard for cleaning ballast water in ships. Ballast water has been the main pathway for invasive species like zebra mussels into the Great Lakes.The law would adopt the International Maritime Organization's proposed rule, which would require ocean-going ships to install technology to limit the number of live organisms in their ballast water.Steve Fisher, executive director of the American Great Lakes Ports Association, said a national standard is needed to replace the current regulatory patchwork."We've got two federal agencies, more than 26 different state rules on governing the ballast water discharges from vessels, and two Indian tribes, all regulating the same thing," he said. "That was creating regulatory chaos."The new standard wouldn't go far enough if were to pass into law, said National Wildlife Federation senior policy manager Marc Smith."Most troubling is that it prevents states and the Environmental Protection Agency from setting protective and effective standards, basically it preempts the states from going more stringent than what this standard is," Smith said.New York has passed a law that sets live organism limits 100 ...

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US Paving Way for Offshore Surveys That Reveal Oil &Gas Potential

Surveys on the Atlantic Ocean The Obama administration is paving the way for seismic surveys of the Atlantic Ocean that will reveal the amount of oil and natural gas that exist off the East Coast, a top Interior Department official said Tuesday.Speaking at the Platts Energy Podium, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Tommy Beaudreau said the department is conducting an environmental review of the surveys and should release a draft of that review by next summer.The seismic surveys "will play a tremendous part in informing future decisions about whether or not the resource potential in that area is such that leasing activity should go forward," Beaudreau said.The existing data on oil and gas resources in the Atlantic is "decades old," he said.Earlier this month, the Interior Department released a five-year blueprint for oil-drilling leases and said it would not open up any federal waters in the Atlantic until at least 2017. The department cited the lack of information about oil and gas in the region, as well as concerns about oil-spill response capabilities.There are no active drilling leases in the Atlantic currently.The administration's decision to block access to the Atlantic drew criticism from the oil and gas industry, as ...

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Armed guards will protect US cargo vessels against pirates

Congress passes bill to safeguard ships in high-risk areas The US House of Representatives has passed the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act, which covers the safety and efficiency of maritime transport.The bill, also called the Coast Guard Reauthorisation Bill, includes a section called the Piracy Suppression Act, which aims to protect cargo vessels against pirates, especially in the coastal area near Somalia.Coast Guard Subcommittee Chairman Frank LoBiondo said: "Somali pirates have vastly expanded the range of their attacks on merchant vessels."But, even more alarmingly, the pirates have dramatically increased the number and viciousness of their attacks in recent months."The bill strengthens existing action against piracy, as well as improving training programmes to instruct seafarers on the acceptable use of force against pirates.They will also include information on high-risk waters, current threats and patterns of pirate attacks, defence tactics and procedures to improve crew survivability if taken hostage.The bill authorises armed security on vessels carrying cargo for US agencies through high-risk waters. This includes vessels carrying US aid.In addition, the bill authorises a General Accounting Office report on ways to track ransom payments paid to pirates and options to improve their prosecution.Source: ifw net

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Obama’s Oil Abdication

Cuba, Mexico, the Bahamas, Canada and Russia are all moving ahead on projects adjacent to our border Last week the Obama administration proposed a modest expansion of offshore oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico in its first concessions on offshore production since last year's Deepwater Horizon spill. The five-year plan would, however, keep Atlantic and Pacific sites off-limits in order to avoid a controversial decision before the 2012 election.As we continue our endless debate on whether we should have more Outer Continental Shelf development and where, all our neighbors have chosen to proceed. Cuba, Mexico, the Bahamas, Canada and Russia are all moving ahead on offshore development adjacent to our borders.Each of those nations has weighed the economic benefits of offshore production against the potential environmental risks. All five have decided it is in their best interest to proceed. This means two things for our nation.First, we fail to boost our offshore production at our own expense. America's neighbors are not drilling for fun or for sport; they've chosen to proceed to create new jobs, generate new revenues, and increase the energy supply and prosperity of their citizens.If America pursues greater offshore development-with appropriate safeguards-the ...

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U.S. Goes Public with Support for Hired Guns Against Piracy

Former Anti-Mercenary Sec. State Clinton is Now the Industrys Biggest Booster Somalia Report was the first to leak the internal memo from Hillary Clinton directing all regional embassies to pitch the use of armed contractors on board ships. This is in line with and expands upon the UK's approval of private security companies on just their ships. This is akin to legalizing band aids without actually curing the wounds that require them.What also makes the U.S. stance unusual is that Clinton has reversed her aggressive election-era stance against the use of private security and become a behind-the-scenes supporter.A November news conference in DC confirms that the United States is now officially supporting the use of private security companies aboard commercial vessels. Andrew J. Shapiro, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs was assigned the task of communicating this reversal while addressing the Defense Trade Advisory Group (DTAG).The simple approval of the use of deadly force and non-state actors has a number of implications. Foremost would be how do deal with the general agreement and public statements by large shipping companies that they view the responsibility of maritime security to be rooted in the flag carrier, navies and legitimate purveyors of deadly ...

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US east coast ports not ready for bigger ships

Congress must accelerate funding for improvements as Panama Canal expansion nears completion The expansion of the Panama Canal is expected to significantly increase vessel numbers and sizes calling at US east coast ports, but Paul Anderson, CEO of Florida's Jacksonville Port Authority (Jaxport), has warned that ports are not ready.US ports will not be able to accommodate all the ships wanting to call on the east coast - small, medium and post-panamax, Anderson told the US Maritime Administration.He believes the primary issue is gridlock in Congress, which is delaying investments to improve US seaport infrastructure.If the necessary port upgrades don't happen, Anderson said, transhipment from off-shore locations such as the Bahamas will threaten US port business, add costs to US imports and slow down transit times.Anderson told IFW that Jaxport was waiting on federal funding of up to $600 million to continue a dredging project, and the delay was limiting productivity of the port's new TraPac Container Terminal, its first to win a direct service to Asia.Nancy Rubin, Director of Communications for Jaxport, said: "TraPac is operating just under 100,000 containers a year. After the Panama Canal expansion, we should be seeing at least triple that by 2015.""And operating at ...

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US eyes India- China ties on anti-piracy

Anti-piracy efforts could spur three-way cooperation The United States said that anti-piracy efforts could spur three-way cooperation with India and China, insisting that it seeks stronger relations with both rising Asian powers. In a speech on US regional strategy, a senior official hailed democratic India as a positive force in Asia but insisted that Washington also sought to work with China, whose ties with the United States are often uneasy.Robert Blake, the assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, noted that naval power by Britain in the 19th century and the United States in the 20th century had helped ensure global commerce. "Perhaps it will be the cooperation of the American, Indian and Chinese navies that ensure global commercial routes are protected and enhanced in the 21st century," Blake said. "It is for this very reason that eliminating the scourge of piracy could be a natural way for the United States, India and China to begin to cooperate at sea," Blake said at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies.India and China -- along with developed nations such as Japan -- have been stepping up their response to piracy emanating from lawless Somalia which in recent years ...

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US legal cases against Aegean dropped

Global supplier says 'withdrawal of both suits speaks for itself' Global bunker supplier Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc says the law suits filed against the company and certain of its officers have been dropped. In a statement Aegean says that the "securities class action lawsuit previously filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against the company, its chairman and certain of its executives as well as the shareholder derivative action lawsuit previously filed in the same court against the company and its board of directors have both been voluntarily withdrawn by the respective plaintiffs".Aegean's president, Nikolas Tavlarios, said, "When these lawsuits were filed, we told our shareholders, customers, and suppliers that they were without merit. We believe the withdrawal of both suits speaks for itself."At least two claimants were believed to be making allegations centred on statements regarding the intrinsic value of the company's securities. From the start Aegean strongly rejected the claims, calling them "without merit" and complaining that they unfairly impugned the integrity both of the company and individual defendants.Source: World Bunkering

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US and EU economic sanctions in regard to Syria

Information by the American P&I Club The American P&I Club issues circular regarding US and EU economic sanctions in regard to Syria as follows:As Members may be aware, enhanced sanctions against Syria have recently been imposed by both the United States and the European Union.This Circular addresses developments in this area, both as they affect the interests of Members and as they affect the provision of service by the Club. Its contents are derived from advice very recently received from the Club's attorneys in Washington, DC who specialize in this importantarea of regulatory compliance.US SANCTIONS AGAINST SYRIAPresident Obama promulgated an Executive Order on August 17, 2011 which imposed new and additional US economic sanctions in regard to Syria with effect from August 18, 2011.The new sanctions block the property of the Government of Syria (and its agencies, instrumentalities, and controlled entities). They also prohibit certain trade transactions with or involving Syria. US sanctions against Syria in existence prior to August 18, prohibiting the exportation and re-exportation of US origin products to Syria and targeting certain Syrian entities and individuals, remain in force.United States persons, and the transactions of non-United States persons which have a nexus or connection to a United ...

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Kongsberg simulators in Kazakhstan and the US

To promote realistic training in normal working and emergency conditions Kongsberg Maritime has announced that the company's Maritime Polaris bridge simulators and Maritime Neptune engine room simulators have been selected to equip a new state-of-the-art facility in Kazakhstan.The Caspian Maritime Training Center (CMTC), which opened in July in Aktau, is the first maritime training facility in Kazakhstan, and is aimed at developing the maritime industry in the Caspian region. It was established by Wagenborg Shipping and the Maritime Institute Willem Barentsz, both of the Netherlands.The Kongsberg simulators are hoped to promote realistic training in normal working and emergency conditions, and encourage the optimum and efficient use of ships' equipment.The plan is to provide a mix of training scenarios across numerous disciplines, including bridge team management, ship-handling and manoeuvring, radar observation and plotting, automatic radar plotting aids and engine resource and team management."As the first maritime training facility in Kazakhstan, we will be offering advanced training for navigators, engineers, electrical engineers and seamen," says Igor Valerievich Tyazhkorob, general director at CMTC.In related news, in the US Kongsberg has announced that it will supply its dual-redundant Advanced K-Pos DP trainer to the Florida-based maritime training facility, STAR Center.Under the agreement Kongsberg will ...

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