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NAMSGlobal News
December, 2008

A version of this NAMS eNews was published in an electronic message sent on or about December 2008.

 

NAMSGlobal News
Greg Weeter, NAMS-CMS, Editor

editor@namsglobal.org

In This Issue

President’s Message

Association Director’s Message

Applicants, New Members & Changes In Member Status

Over The Bar

Upcoming Events

Help Wanted

Loading And Fumigating Grain Cargoes

Put Some Teeth Into The New Towboat Inspection Rule

USCG – Members Sought For TSAC

OSHA – Vertical Tandem Lifts Of Intermodal Containers

NTSB – Report On Bridge Allision

U.S. Third Circuit Court Of Appeals: Uberrimae Fidei Is Well-Entrenched Principle Of Admiralty Law

London Fine-Tunes Cargo Policies

USCG – Operation Big Tow

Lloyd’s Faces Claims Bill From Hurricanes

Judge Tosses Salvage Claim

Containerships Head For Lay-Up

USCG – Safety Alert Re Watertight Doors

U.S. National Cargo Bureau Advisory - Substandard Containers

DOD – Deterrence Of Pirates Is Team Effort

U.S. Container Volumes Slide

New Alert Over Enclosed Space Risk

Pirates Seize Supertanker

Pirate Attack Repelled By Ex-Special Forces Team

Useful Links

Web Site Provides Daily Updates

Mammoet Salvage

 

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE BY WILLIAM HANSEN, NAMS-CMS

Happy Holidays from NAMSGlobal. First, please welcome our new NAMS-CMS members, Harry Stark and Peter Kolp, both out of the West Gulf Region. Harry is a Hull and Machinery Surveyor and Peter is a Cargo Surveyor. Both were sponsored by Steve Hale, NAMS-CMS.

If you haven’t heard yet, Evie Hobbs returned to work as Association Director shortly after the conclusion of the West Coat meeting in September. She arrived with in excess of 30 applicants waiting for processing. This is great news that so many persons are trying to join. Please keep them coming. If you know of someone in you area, please have them contact our national office for an application. NAMS members are the best advertisement for this association. Also, if you should want to assist the leadership and better support the association; please consider volunteering for a committee. Being involved is the best method to grow the association. We have Chairman vacancies for the Finance and Yachts and Small Craft committees. If you would like to volunteer on one of these committees please call National Secretary Desmond Connolly, the National Office or me.

Our next major effort is to ensure the NAMSGlobal website is current and operated smoothly. Mike Beijar and Jay Stormer of the Website & Communications Committee (WebCom, email webcom@namsglobal.org) are currently working on this issue.

Our next event will be the Spring Conference in New Jersey. Shawn Barnett is the point man on this project and has made preliminary arrangements for a Northern New Jersey location on March 29 – 31, 2009. The contract is still being “inked” but room rates are projected at $119.00/ night. That is a GREAT deal! I hope that all can attend. Shawn would greatly appreciate any and all assistance.

I hope that everyone has a safe, happy holiday season and a prosperous 2009.

William C Hansen, NAMS-CMS, National President

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ASSOCIATION DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE BY EVIE HOBBS

Dues Statements - The 2009 membership dues remain the same as last year, statements have been mailed. Due to check clearing costs, all Canadian and Foreign checks must be drawn on a U.S. Bank or an International Money Order used. Dues can also be paid by MasterCard or Visa.

NAMS-CMS Members - The CGL insurance certificates are being reissued by Servco on Accord forms with each member listed as Certificate Holder.

Wishing you every happiness this holiday season and throughout the coming year.

Best regards, Evie at NAMSGlobal Office, office@namsglobal.org

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APPLICANTS, NEW MEMBERS & CHANGES IN MEMBER STATUS

Applicants as of November 9, 2008
Applicant   Region   Discipline   Sponsor
Scott Whittington   E. Gulf   H&M   Mark Shiffer
Hopolito Almoite   E. Gulf   Cargo   David J. Knowles
Conrad Breit   E. Gulf   H&M   David J. Knowles
Nicholas Paternostro   E. Gulf   H&M   Paul Deister
Arnold Lachmann   E. Gulf   H&M   Norman Dufour

 

New CMS Members elected November 24, 2008
Applicant   Region   Discipline   Sponsor
Harry Stark   W. Gulf   H&M   Steve Hale
Peter Kolp   W. Gulf   Cargo   Steve Hale

 

Member’s Changes in Status
Member   Region   Change in Status
Hans Ruhlandt, CMS   New York   Retired
Henry Olsen, CMS   N. Pacific   Retired
Ernest Glover, CMS   W. Gulf   Retired
Doug Shotton, CMS   C. Pacific   Retired
Hewitt Schlereth, CMS   S. Atlantic   Retired
Louis Wary, Affiliate   New York   Resigned
Mujahidul Islam, Apprentice   New York   No longer member
P. Richard Gomes, Apprentice   New York   No longer member

 

Over The Bar
Member   Region   Date Deceased
Robert D. Cartwright, CMS   N. England   December 2008

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UPCOMING EVENTS

29-30 January 2009
Tug & Salvage Technology Symposium, Crowne Plaza National Airport Hotel in Arlington, Virginia (Crystal City). The U.S. Department of the Navy has identified a need to recapitalize its fleet of tug and salvage ships. Various topics of interest include lessons learned, new and existing technologies, promising research, regulations compliance issues, safety factors, human system integration, fire fighting enhancements, salvage technologies, etc. One day will feature Industry Day to provide a forum for discussion of available technologies.

Their web page is http://www.navalengineers.org/Events/Tug-Salvage/TugSalvage.html Contact info: American Society of Naval Engineers 1452 DUKE STREET• ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA 22314-3458 Phone (703) 836-6727 • FAX (703) 836-7491 E-MAIL: ASNEHQ@NAVALENGINEERS.ORG.

29 - 31 March 2009
NAMSGlobal 47th Annual National Marine Conference East, Hilton Newark Penn Station Gateway Center/Raymond Blvd. Newark, NJ. 07102 Hotel Reservations: 973 622-5000 Room rate: $119.00 plus 14% tax.

More details as they become available.

2 - 3 April 2009
The 2009 Asian Marine Insurance and Surveying Forum Novotel Century Hong Kong Hotel. Theme 'The carriage and care of steel cargoes'. Early bird rates available. CPD Certificates, accepted by all Marine Surveying Professional Institutes, will be issued upon request. (Delegates earn 1 IIMS CPD point.)

Those interested in attending should contact Mrs. Lulu Zuniga-Carmine at Asia Conference Ltd: marine@asiaconference.biz.

Those interested in giving a paper at the conference should contact Mike Wall at mikewall@pacific.net.hk. (Speakers earn 3 IIMS CPD points.)

27 - 28 April 2009
SAFEDOR FINAL CONFERENCE, LONDON, UK. Organised by the Royal Institution of Naval Architects on behalf of the SAFEDOR Project: Standing for "Design, Operation and Regulation for Safety", SAFEDOR is an Integrated Project (IP) funded by the European Commission under the 6th RTD Framework Programme, in which a total of 53 project partners - coordinated by Germanischer Lloyd - from all sectors of the maritime industry in Europe are participating.

SAFEDOR is about to complete its four year R&D programme. To mark this event, partners of SAFEDOR will present the latest and overall results of their work at a public conference at the Headquarters of the International Maritime Organisation. The event will provide an excellent opportunity to familiarise engineers with the principles underlying risk-based ship design, regulation, operation and approval, and to discuss a variety of applications.

Info at: hq@rina.org.uk or go to www.rina.org.uk.

29 – 30 June 2009
AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF MARINE UNDERWRITERS (AIMU) CORRESPONDENTS CONFERENCE: ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY.
Details for the two-day Correspondents Conference, a joint venture with the Marine Insurance Claims Association (MICA), to include education and information programs, were finalized. AIMU will apply for Continuing Education credits for the event. The next step will be to seek potential presenters for the 30, 40, 60, and 75-minute education sessions.

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HELP WANTED

ACE USA is looking to recruit an additional team member to join their Marine Advisory Services Department in the New York City Region. The main purpose of the position involves marine cargo, commercial hull/P&I and Marine Liabilities technical support including a wide range of survey work and general reporting. To be eligible for this role, you will need to have 10-15 years marine surveying experience including broad industry knowledge in marine shipping and transportation risk management.

The successful candidate will have excellent computing skills using Word, PowerPoint and Excel, and possess excellent written and verbal communication skills. The candidate should be a self-directed individual - someone who can work on their own or as part of a team and be able to maintain and continue strong customer and business relationships. The salary and benefits package is attractive and will be based on your previous experience. ACE is an equal opportunity employer.

Regards, Sherman C. Drew, Jr., AVP
Marine Advisory Services
ACE USA Commercial Marine Department
436 Walnut Street - WA 11B
PO BOX 1000
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone: 215-640-2074
Mobile: 215-284-5791

 

HELP WANTED

Coast Guard To Increase Civilian Hiring: If you work in the maritime sector, whether inland, offshore or blue-water, you already had reason to be grateful for the employment climate in the industry, compared with many sectors that are rapidly shedding workers in the economic downturn.

Now hiring options have improved further for some maritime workers. The Coast Guard has announced a “nationwide civilian hiring drive” to support new programs in marine safety and inspection. The announcement was made November 18, 2008 in a memo called ALCOAST 568/08, issued by Rear Admiral James A. Watson, U. S. Coast Guard director of prevention policy. The memo detailed the Coast Guard’s personnel policy for the coming civilian hiring drive targeting a broad spectrum of commercial maritime enterprises to provide a wide range of expertise. They will recruit from industry and universities.

Courtesy The Waterways Journal http://www.waterwaysjournal.net.

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LOADING AND FUMIGATING GRAIN CARGOES IN THE UNITED STATES GULF PORTS

By Ian D. Cairns, NAMS-CMS, President of Sabine Surveyors Ltd, offices in Corpus Christi, Houston, Port Arthur, Lake Charles, New Orleans, Mobile and Port Canaveral.

What to Expect
Grain cargoes shipped from the United States are a heavily regulated commodity. By law, ships that are to carry a grain cargo for export must be inspected by two independent authorities prior to being allowed to load. The first is the United States Department of Agriculture Federal Grain Inspection Service, a mouthful of a name that is usually abbreviated to USDA - FGIS. Their inspection is for hold cleanliness and they are looking to see that the cargo holds and hatch covers are clean and dry with no residue of previous cargo and no rust scale or paint flaking. During their inspection they are tasked with also determining that that the ship is not infested with any type of insect or rodents. Upon completion of their inspection, that typically takes a team of two inspectors about two hours to complete on a Panamax size vessel, they will issue a Clean Hold Certificate and the ship is authorized to load. The certificate is valid only for a stated length of time and may be revoked if conditions change (such as leaving hatch covers open in a rain shower).

The second set of eyes mandated to inspect the vessel belongs to the National Cargo Bureau ship surveyor. He is required to inspect the cargo holds for cleanliness also but his focus is also directed to the construction of the vessel to determine that the ship construction is suitable for the carriage of grain in order to minimize the effect of grain shifts. He will also review the ships grain stability booklet, the ship’s stability calculations for the intended cargo and the loading plan in order to determine that the stability of the vessel is sufficient for the intended cargo.

Once these inspections are passed, the vessel is allowed to load the intended cargo. During the loading process, the grains are sampled frequently, usually about every twenty minutes, from the loading belt. The samples are continuously analyzed by the USDA inspectors to determine the quality of the cargo and amount of foreign materials contained within each sample. The results of this inspection will determine the grade of the cargo that will be noted on the Bill of Lading. Loading will be stopped if sour grain, infested grain or otherwise off-spec grain is noted using this process.

Despite all these procedures in place it is possible, indeed even probable, that insect eggs can be present within the grain. During a long voyage, with the right combination of temperature and humidity, eggs will hatch resulting in infestation of the cargo by a variety of unwanted insects.

The only way to deal with this is to fumigate the grain to kill both live infestation and the eggs themselves. Fumigation brings its own sets of challenges, that which kills insects will just as easily kill humans. The fumigation process therefore starts with (yet another) survey of the ship prior to loading, usually by an independent surveyor employed by the fumigator. The surveyor will inspect the cargo holds looking for conditions that will allow a fumigant to penetrate into spaces that will be inhabited by crew members. He will look for trunks, piping, alleyways or other communications methods where the fumigant can migrate to areas where it is unwanted. This especially important at the bulkheads between accommodation spaces or machinery spaces and cargo holds. If any are found the surveyor will recommend that it is properly and effectively sealed off. Also checked are the seals on the hatch covers and access trunkways will be marked with warning signs and sealed after the fumigant is applied. If the “J” system is to be used, all necessary tubing and blower motors must be installed in the cargo holds prior to loading of the cargo so that fumigant can be circulated throughout the stow of the cargo. This creates extra expense and this cost is passed along to the shipper.

Fumigation
There are many factors to be considered when fumigating a ship including hold configuration, cargo density, effectiveness of sealing arrangements and toxicity of the selected fumigant. For a charterer sometimes fumigation is an afterthought and an expense and is usually applied because it is required in the sales contract due to import requirements in the country of destination. There is a temptation for the shipper to ask a fumigator for a ‘certificate’ at a cheaper than market price and we are aware of some companies that perform only cursory fumigations in order to issue the required certificate. Sometimes, the shipper does not want to pay for the expense of applying the proper dose of phostoxin nor for purchasing and installing the ‘J’ system to make sure the cargo is 100% fumigated.

In the US Gulf area, the largest fumigation company is Degesch and they are considered a responsible contractor. The most common fumigant used is Phostoxin (aluminum phosphide) Phostoxin requires a reactant in order begin to work. There has to be sufficient moisture present to initiate a reaction of the product and the temperature of the grain must be greater than 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Degesch has a patent on the J-system. Other fumigators occasionally use something similar. Tablets of Phostoxin are often placed in sleeves that are laid across the surface of the cargo. The sleeves place all of the phostoxin in a sock-like tube so that the residual ash after the phosphine is produced can easily be removed at the dis-port. If these sleeves are not properly applied, the end result can be that all of the phostoxin does not react leaving toxins on the top of the stow at disport. If the phostoxin does not all react then sufficient amounts of phosphine gas are not produced thus a sufficient dose is not applied. The Degesch version of this is the pre-pack rope which spreads the tablets out in a rope like container across the top of the stow. The difference here is that the phostoxin tablets surface area has greater exposure to necessary moisture (reactant) in stow thus better reactivity. This is better than the sleeves but more expensive. The phosphine sinks slowly. If a hold is not sealed well, air flow within the hold can keep it from sinking and weaken the effectiveness of the dose.

The recommended minimum dosage of Phostoxin is 33 grams per 1.000 cubic feet of space. An effective dose is normally 45 g/1000. Some counties have import regulations that specify the dose and Chile, for instance, requires 75 g/1000.

Where the fumigant is proscribed by the import country, the USDA-FGIS inspector is supposed to witness the application of the fumigant but, in reality, we rarely find that to be the case.

The Master of the ship will be provided with documentation that indicates the correct dosage. It is entirely possible for his crew to count the cans on deck prior to application to verify that the sufficient dosage is applied. We very rarely see them do that.

In some instances, Owners and/or P&I Clubs have hired independent surveyors witness the fumigation process and our company is occasionally employed to do this.

Another type of fumigant is Methyl Bromide. As a fumigant this product is on the verge of being banned world wide because it is not friendly to the ozone. The real reason it should be banned is that, unlike phostoxin which is produced with a warning agent, Methyl Bromide is colorless and odorless and can easily kill humans if not applied properly on a well found ship. When used, the ship should really be evacuated for the duration, thus it is not a good choice for in transit fumigation. The thing some fumigators love about it is that it is a very quick kill – 48 hours. The J- system is not necessary with this fumigant because it is much heavier than air and about three times heavier than phosphine gas. It sinks through the stow very quickly.

Be Prepared For This

  • If your vessel is to be fumigated in transit be ready to seal off certain areas or be prepared to move crew members from areas that the surveyor considers may be subject to fumigant migration. Areas of rust scale on bulkheads or piping areas are treated as suspect so remove same before inspection.
  • Condition of seals of hatch covers is very important. Keep the Phostoxin INSIDE the cargo holds for highest effectiveness. If in doubt, apply Ram-Nek tape or other sealant around the perimeter and across pontoon cross joints. Remember the fumigant is a gas and treat it as such.
  • Make sure cargo hold ventilators can be completely closed.
  • Phostoxin is most effective if used in a combination with the “J” system. If this system is not employed be prepared to check dosage as it will be of even greater importance to make an effective ‘kill’.
  • Phostoxin required at least 10 days to be effective on a large cargo hold. Do not open vents or hatch covers or otherwise let the gas escape for at least this period of time.
  • Read the fumigator’s data sheets carefully and completely follow their instruction. Make sure the entire crew is aware of the dangers involved when fumigant is applied.

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PUT SOME TEETH INTO THE NEW TOWBOAT INSPECTION RULE
By David Krapf, Editor In Chief, Workboat E-newsletter

The hearing into the July Mississippi River oil spill came to a close last week November 7, 2008), and what did we learn? Not much, except “It’s not whether you win or lose, but where you place the blame.”

Basically, everyone who testified at the hearing piled on the apprentice mate pilot, John Paul Bavaret III, who had the misfortune of being in charge of the tow that collided with the tanker Tintomara on July 23, resulting in a 283,000-gal. spill. But placing all the blame on a licensed, yes licensed, apprentice mate, is a cop-out. An accident of this type was bound to happen since what Bavaret was doing, piloting a towboat without the proper license, is reportedly fairly common with little or no chance of getting caught. He was only doing what he was told to do. (Bavaret’s company, DRD Towing, chartered and operated the towboat and barge, owned by American Commercial Lines.)

In the hearing, an attorney for publicly traded ACL also piled it on Bavaret, instead of taking the high road and acknowledging that since they had hired Bavaret’s company to operate their equipment, perhaps they should have vetted DRD Towing better. Not only was this lame, but it’s a bad way to convince the public that you are doing all you can to make sure that nothing like this happens again.

Frankly, after all these years of dealing with spills and other disasters, it was a disappointing performance from the inland waterways industry. It seems like we have gone back in time. Covering your butt and playing the blame game is not the way to go.

So where does that leave us now? Well, there’s a renewed call to the Coast Guard to get those towboat inspection rules out on the street — and quick. The danger here is that the understaffed Coast Guard, in its haste, could let the industry have too much control over how the rules are written and implemented. To a certain extent, this is fine, since the industry has a keen knowledge of its own operations. However, the Coast Guard must make sure that the inspection auditors are truly independent, not the same ones used and approved for the American Waterways Operators Responsible Carrier Program. This is the only way that the new inspection regime will be taken seriously.

My hope is that an inspection rule will be written with enough teeth to include independent unannounced spot inspections of towboats and their personnel. It must be written in a way that improves the industry, makes it safer, and rewards the top-notch inland operators who appear to do it right, such as Blessey, AEP and many others.

Want to share feedback? Email the Workboat Magazine editor: dkrapf@divcom.com

Courtesy Workboat E-newsletter

Editor’s Note: A number of NAMS-CMS members have attended the numerous meetings between industry and the US Coast Guard regarding the formulation of the new Sub-Chapter M rules. In order to qualify to be a third party auditor/surveyor for the Coast Guard you must be a member of NAMS plus a graduate of a maritime school or have experience surveying tug boats.

Past President Lorne Gould, NAMS-CMS is organizing a list of potential third party auditors/surveyors. He asks that those NAMSGlobal members that are qualified and would like to do these third party surveys submitting an e-mail of school and experience. Lornes’ e-mail address is lgould@sanfranciscomarinesurveyors.com.

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USCG – MEMBERS SOUGHT FOR TSAC

http://www.hklaw.com/Publications/spotlight.asp?group=480&ref=email

The US Coast Guard seeks applications for membership on the Towing Safety Advisory Committee (TSAC). The committee advises the Coast Guard on matters relating to shallow-draft inland and coastal waterway navigation and towing safety. Applications should be submitted by February 16, 2009. 73 Fed. Reg. 76369 http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/pdf/E8-29735.pdf (December 16, 2008).

Courtesy Haight’s Maritime Newsletter from the law firm of HOLLAND & KNIGHT LLP http://www.hklaw.com.

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OSHA – VERTICAL TANDEM LIFTS OF INTERMODAL CONTAINERS

http://www.hklaw.com/Publications/spotlight.asp?group=480&ref=email

The U. S. Occupational Safety and health Administration (OSHA) issued a final rule adopting new requirements related to the practice of lifting two intermodal containers, one on top of the other, connected by semiautomatic twistlocks (SATLs). This practice is known as a vertical tandem lift (VTL). The final rule permits VTLs of no more than two empty containers provided certain safeguards are followed. Loaded containers (the weights of which are sometimes not accurately recorded) may not be moved via VTL. The rule comes into effect on April 9, 2009. 73 Fed. Reg. 75245 http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/pdf/E8-28644.pdf (December 10, 2008).

Courtesy Haight’s Maritime Newsletter from the law firm of HOLLAND & KNIGHT LLP http://www.hklaw.com.

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NTSB – REPORT ON BRIDGE ALLISION

http://www.hklaw.com/Publications/spotlight.asp?group=480&ref=email

The U. S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released the report of its investigation of an allision by a tanker with the abutment of a highway bridge over the Lower Mississippi River at Baton Rouge on February 10, 2007. The investigation determined that the primary cause of the casualty was the pilot's attempt to execute the high-risk maneuver of turning the ship at the dock just upstream of the bridge, rather than moving the vessel downstream through the bridge before commencing the turn or taking the ship well upstream before turning. MAR 08-03 http://www.ntsb.gov/publictn/2008/MAR0803.pdf (10/29/08).

Courtesy Haight’s Maritime Newsletter from the law firm of HOLLAND & KNIGHT LLP http://www.hklaw.com.

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U.S. THIRD CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS: UBERRIMAE FIDEI IS WELL-ENTRENCHED PRINCIPLE OF ADMIRALTY LAW; MISREPRESENTATION OF PURCHASE PRICE IS MATERIAL


In AGF Marine Aviation & Transport v. Cassin, 2008 WL 4379062 (3d Cir. Sept. 29, 2008), Richard Cassin’s 85-foot charter yacht sank off the coast of Grenada. Upon discovering that Cassin misrepresented the purchase price of the yacht—Cassin paid only $400,000 for the yacht in 1997, but represented that the purchase price was $600,000 in both his application for financing and his applications for insurance on the yacht—the insurer, AGF Marine Aviation & Transport, sought a declaration from the district court that the insurance policy was void from inception.

The policy provided that “any dispute shall be adjudicated according to well established, entrenched principles and precedents of substantive United States Federal Admiralty law.” The Third Circuit held that while the binder in effect at the time the yacht sank did not have the choice of law provision, it nevertheless incorporated the terms of policies in current use by AGF, which had the “well established, entrenched principles” choice of law provision. The Third Circuit recognized that there is a general agreement among the Circuits (with the notable exception of the Fifth Circuit) that uberrimae fidei is a well-entrenched doctrine in admiralty law. The Court further held that a misrepresentation of the purchase price is material, even where appraisals of the yacht at the time it was purchased matched the stated (higher) price.

Finally, CIT Group/Sales Financing, the lienholder on the yacht, was not entitled to recover under the policy independently of Cassin, as CIT was a mere loss payee. Thus, the Court held the insurance policy void from inception. Courtesy Admiralty Update, the copyrighted and trademarked e-newsletter on developments in U.S. Coast Guard regulations and state and federal court decisions of interest to the commercial and recreational marine communities, written, edited, and produced by Frederick B. Goldsmith, E. Richard Ogrodowski, and Russell D. Giancola, of the firm of Goldsmith & Ogrodowski, LLC, based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

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LONDON FINE-TUNES CARGO POLICIES

These are uncertain times for world trade, but cargo insurers can at least look forward to a fresh set of London market policies to cover the global movement of goods by sea. The World Trade Organization has estimated that the global movement of goods is worth more than $14trn, and cargo insurers play a central role in the seaborne aspect of these volumes. Mr. Gooding, who is also chairman of the Lloyd’s Market Association’s Joint Cargo Committee, said: “These revisions have addressed changing conditions, such as the threat of terrorism and ‘phantom ships.’” The Lloyd’s Market Association approached interested parties worldwide in 2006, with a JCC working group analyzing the feedback a year later. The JCC’s new clauses will be available from the beginning of 2009, with the amendment changes to ICC clauses (A) expected to be carried through to (B) and (C) clauses. One of the broad outcomes of the changes is that the clauses are more favorable to the assured than the current set of clauses. “Although there are still exclusions in respect of inadequate packing and insolvency, these are now more favorable to the assured,” Mr. Gooding said. The four major changes cover packing and preparation exclusions, the definition of terrorism, the alterations to the duration of transit and amendments to the change of voyage clauses. (Lloyd’s List, 11/27/2008.)

Courtesy AIMU Weekly Bulletin.

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USCG – OPERATION BIG TOW ON WESTERN RIVERS AND GULF COAST

The US Coast Guard issued a press release http://www.d8externalaffairs.com/go/doc/425/238022/ stating that it will be conducting Operation Big Tow on the Western Rivers and the Gulf Coast through January 2009. As part of that operation, it will be checking to ensure that mariners operating towboats have the proper licenses. (10/31/08).

Courtesy Haight’s Maritime Newsletter from the law firm of HOLLAND & KNIGHT LLP http://www.hklaw.com.

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LLOYD’S FACES CLAIMS BILL FROM HURRICANES

Hurricanes Gustav and Ike have ensured this year’s Atlantic storm season will be among the most costly in history, delivering Lloyd’s of London alone with an initial claims estimate of 1.3bn ($2.34bn). Gustav and Ike struck the Caribbean and the US Gulf of Mexico in rapid succession and are posing larger-than-expected claims to insurers. Lime Street has worked out its members’ exposure on the basis of an industry-wide loss of anything between $20bn- $25bn, compared with the $41bn cost of Hurricane Katrina that devastated New Orleans in 2005. The preliminary Lloyd’s assessment, which drew together the initial costing of its managing agents and their syndicates, includes both land-based claims and the damage inflicted to offshore energy and marine facilities. Lloyd’s is well positioned to respond to these claims, Mr. Ward said. He highlighted its risk management techniques in place across the market, such as its realistic disaster scenario models. However, with yesterday’s estimate based on information available to syndicate manager, Mr. Ward stressed that it would be sometime before the full extent of the damage in the region can be assessed. (Lloyd’s List, 10/22/2008.)

Courtesy AIMU Weekly Bulletin.

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JUDGE TOSSES SALVAGE CLAIM

A Miami federal court judge has rejected a salvor’s $1 million claim for pulling a 100-foot Azimut off a reef in Florida’s Biscayne National Park, agreeing with the yacht captain that the salvor took unfair advantage while the yacht was disabled. Blue Water Marine Services violated terms of its license to operate in the park when one if its captains misled the Azimut’s skipper to think he was paying an hourly rate for the job and a different captain threatened to cut the yacht loose unless the skipper signed a “no cure, no pay” salvage contract to pay the salvor a percentage of the yacht’s value, said Judge Paul Huck in his July 30 oral opinion.

The yacht captain says he thought he had agreed to pay the salvor something under $300 an hour – or about $3,600 – for the undergrounding and tow. He awarded the salvor nothing. The Court particularly notes that the yachting and boating community are to be protected from unfair business practices of salvors particularly the practices who are granted permits by the National Park Service and the United States Department of the Interior. This was a case about a bait-and-switch, where the salvor led the boat owner to believe he was going to be charged a fixed price of a couple thousand dollars and then charged over a million dollars, arresting the owner’s vessel as a sort of ransom. (Soundings, 11/2008.)

Courtesy AIMU Weekly Bulletin.

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CONTAINERSHIPS HEAD FOR LAY-UP

Containerships are to be laid up as a trio of the world’s leading carriers takes action to remove capacity from the Pacific ahead of the winter slowdown. The New World Alliance’s service suspension plan and the tonnage withdrawal move of Wan Hai Lines and Pacific International Lines have signaled the early arrival of the usual winter rationalizations on the transpacific trades. Some of the ships taken off the Pacific will be laid-up, lines involved in the service shake-up confirmed. This is the first time carriers have openly admitted to such steps since the downturn began, but will come as no surprise to those in the industry who have been saying for weeks that some form of lay-up is inevitable. New World Alliance members APL, Hyundai Merchant Marine and MOL have decided to axe two services on the Asia-North America west coast route by the end of October. The move will eliminate 18% of the alliance’s capacity on the transpacific trades. (Lloyd’s List, 10/9/2008.)

Courtesy AIMU Weekly Bulletin.

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USCG – SAFETY ALERT RE WATERTIGHT DOORS

The US Coast Guard issued an alert reminding owners, operators, and masters of the importance of properly maintaining and closing watertight doors. The condition of watertight doors should be checked on a regular basis to ensure that gaskets are fully serviceable and seal properly with the knife-edges when the doors are closed. Watertight doors should be closed while the vessel is underway, except when persons are actually transiting from one space to another. Alert 12-08 http://www.hklaw.com/content/maritime/mardocs/Alert_12-08.pdf (11/19/08).

Courtesy Haight’s Maritime Newsletter from the law firm of HOLLAND & KNIGHT LLP http://www.hklaw.com.

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U. S. NATIONAL CARGO BUREAU ADVISORY - SUBSTANDARD CONTAINERS

An increasing number of incidents of “dropped containers” have occurred due to worn or faulty top corner castings. Shippers and surveyors are advised prior to loading freight containers to check the condition of the top corner castings. This is most important when the container will be loaded with a heavy cargo. (National Cargo Bureau, 11/2008.)

Courtesy AIMU Weekly Bulletin.

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DOD – DETERRENCE OF PIRATES IS TEAM EFFORT

The US Department of Defense issued a news release http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=52012 stating that military units and commercial ships must work together to deter piracy in the Gulf of Aden. The United States and other nations are working with the commercial shipping industry and the IMO to ensure that crews on commercial vessels employ reasonable self-protection measures, such as proactive look-outs, evasive maneuvers, and embarked security teams. Note: They fail to explain how armed security teams are to embark and disembark when many nations restrict or prohibit possession of the weapons necessary to make these teams effective. It is also unclear what is meant by the term “proactive look-out”. Is that someone who shouts ‘PIRATES’ very loudly? A major question arises with regard to what legal regime would be applied if the private security guards were to kill a suspected pirate and then be arrested ashore. Military personnel are largely protected by the law of the sea and sovereign immunity, but these principles are inapplicable to civilians. If the solution were as easy as this release makes it sound, the problem would have been solved long ago. (11/19/08).

Courtesy Haight’s Maritime Newsletter from the law firm of HOLLAND & KNIGHT LLP http://www.hklaw.com.

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US CONTAINER VOLUMES SLIDE

Container shipping’s slump is gathering pace in the US trades, where import volumes continue to shrink, with no sign of an upturn before 2010. New forecasts from Piers Global Intelligence Solutions show a marked deterioration from just three months ago. Container imports are expected to drop to 17.6m teu compared with more than 19m teu in 2006 and 2007, with all the main trade routes into the US in retreat. (Lloyd’s List, 11/13/2008.)

Courtesy AIMU Weekly Bulletin.

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NEW ALERT OVER ENCLOSED SPACE RISK

Accident investigators have called for more to be done to improve seafarers' awareness of the risks of enclosed spaces. The call comes in a Marine Accident investigation Branch report on the deaths by asphyxiation of two crewmen on the Latvian-registered cargo vessel Sava Lake earlier this year.

The 2,030 gt ship - carrying parcels of steel had been loaded in Denmark - was sailing towards the Dover Strait bound for Portugal on 18 January when two AB’S were found dead in the front of the store.

The vessel diverted to Dover, where investigators discovered that the men had been killed because oxygen-depleted air - with a content of just 6% - had migrated into the store from the adjacent cargo hold.

Ferrous metal turnings are listed in the IMDG dangerous goods code, because of their liability to self-heat and reduce oxygen levels in the hold.

Onboard documentation prohibited Lake from carrying such materials, but the master had agreed to load the cargo - despite being unable to remotely monitor the hold temperature or oxygen level - after receiving assurances from terminal personnel and cargo agents.

Investigators also discovered that an earlier crew had cut the cargo trunk venting bellows either side of ventilation fan in the stare room. to enable the drainage of sea water and the removal of cargo residue. This created a direct air path from the cargo hold into the forward store, says the report.

Crew members did not consider the forward store to be an enclosed space, the investigators added, so they took no precautions before entering.

While the owners and managers have taken a series of safety measures in response to the accident, the MAIB has issued a safety flyer to the industry to reflect its concern at this and other recent incidents where seafarers have died confined spaces.

It says seafarers need to be made aware of the dangers of entering enclosed spaces, and fully familiarised with entry and emergency procedures. The flyer also urges masters, owners, managers, charterers, cargo brokers and terminal operators to follow the necessary precautions when dealing with cargoes of ferrous metal, borings, shavings, turning or cutting.

Courtesy FLASHLIGHT is a free monthly emailed newsletter circulated to more than 5,000 people involved in marine surveying around the world. It is circulated to anybody who wishes to receive a copy, e.g., Marine Surveyors, P&I Clubs, their correspondents, Underwriters, Professional Institutes, Admiralty Lawyers, etc.

Contact the editor by Email: mikewall@pacific.net.hk.

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PIRATES SEIZE SUPERTANKER

Somali pirates hijacked a supertanker hundreds of miles off the Horn of Africa, seizing the Saudi-owned ship loaded with crude and its 25-member crew. It appeared to be the largest ship ever seized by pirates. The hijacking was among the most brazen in a surge in attacks this year by ransom-hungry Somali pirates. Attacks off the Somali coast have increased more than 75 percent this year, and even the world’s largest vessels are vulnerable. The Sirius Star, commissioned in March and owned by the Saudi oil company Aramco, is 1,080 feet long – about the length of an aircraft carrier – making it one of the largest ships to sail the seas. It can carry about 2 million barrel of oil. By expanding their range, Somali pirates are certainly a threat to many more vessels. With most attacks ending with million-dollar payouts, piracy is considered the most lucrative work in Somalia. Pirates rarely hurt their hostages, instead holding out for a huge payday. The strategy works well: A report by a London-based think tank said pirates have raked in up to $30 million in ransoms this year alone. In Somalia, pirates are better-funded, better-organized and better-armed than one might imagine in a country that has been in tatters for nearly two decades. (MSNBC.COM, 11/17/2008.)

Courtesy AIMU Weekly Bulletin.

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PIRATE ATTACK REPELLED BY EX-SPECIAL FORCES TEAM

British private security guards have repulsed a Somali pirate attack on an unidentified chemical tanker, using equipment billed as the sonic equivalent of a laser, according to the principal of a company that specializes in such services. Nick Davis, a former army pilot who launched Anti-Piracy Maritime Security Solutions earlier this year, said his company had three-man teams of ex-special forces personnel working on six vessels in the Gulf of Aden. This engagement marked the first actual clash, he said. “There was a direct approach at high speed towards our ship. We then activated our procedures. The ship started evasive maneuvers, and all the hoses were on full power. Then we used the magnetic acoustic device,” said Mr. Davis. “They closed to within 500 m and then turned away to a ship that was due south of ours by approximately five miles. Based on intelligence from our team leader on board, there was intent to attack the vessel and clearly, if no one had been on board, we do not know what the outcome would have been today,” he added. (Lloyd’s List, 11/17/2008.)

Courtesy AIMU Weekly Bulletin.

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USEFUL LINKS

UK – Safety Digest - The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) issued its Safety Digest http://www.maib.gov.uk/cms_resources/Safety%20Digest%203_08%20.pdf for the third quarter of 2008. This edition points out that, in many instances, risk assessments are more a paperwork drill than a true life-saving measure. Companies and masters should re-examine these documents to see if they serving their intended purpose. (12/1/08).

One web page which is a must for all marine surveyors involved in merchant ship surveys is: http://www.maib.gov.uk/home/index.cfm. The site gives the investigations currently under way and reports on completed investigations.

Courtesy Haight’s Maritime Newsletter from the law firm of HOLLAND & KNIGHT LLP http://www.hklaw.com.

INTERNATIONAL MARITIME ORGANIZATION: http://www.imo.org.

ABYC ONLINE CALENDAR OF EVENTS: - http://www.abycinc.org/calendar/index.cfm for the latest course schedule. Courses scheduled through June 2009 are posted here.

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WEB SITE PROVIDES DAILY UPDATES

If you don't already have enough to worry about, the AlertMap Web site might be worth a visit. The Web site provides real-time information on disasters across the globe. The map pulsates with various icons that symbolize categories of disasters. These ranged from a volcanic eruption in Montserrat and a tornado in Western Australia to vehicle accidents in Illinois, Quebec, China and India. And judging from the available icons, few events are too small to note. In fact, the second icon listed shows the location of an "attack by bee." The map can be found at http://visz.rsoe.hu/alertmap/index.php. (Business Insurance, 12/8/2008.)

Courtesy AIMU Weekly Bulletin.

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MAMMOET SALVAGE

Mammoet Salvage is awarded a contract by the Norwegian Coastguard to attempt the salvage of the wreck of the German submarine U-864. This submarine was sunk in action in 1945, at the time of sinking it was fully armed and laden a cargo of 67 tons of highly toxic mercury. The salvage operation will likely take place in 2010. Details and an animation of the proposed salvage method can be found at http://www.mammoet.com.

Courtesy Bow Wave, the marine and transport e-zine. To subscribe, contact Sam Ignarski at sam@wavyline.com.

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