Bill would free coastwise shipping of non-bulk cargo from HMT

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) has introduced a bill that would exempt coastwise shipping of non-bulk cargo between U.S. ports from the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT).
    Specifically, the bill (S. 3199) provides that no HMT would be imposed on non-bulk commercial cargo “that is loaded at a port in the U.S. mainland and unloaded at another port in the U.S. mainland after transport solely by coastal route or river, or unloaded at a port in Canada located in the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System.” Furthermore, the bill provides that no HMT would be imposed on non-bulk commercial cargo that is loaded at a port in Canada located in the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System and unloaded at a port in the U.S. mainland.
    Strong support for the legislation was voiced by Charles G. Raymond, chairman, president and CEO of Horizon Lines, who said the bill would “eliminate both the tax and associated paperwork burdens that discourage shippers from routing U.S. cargo by sea. By removing these barriers, the legislation would encourage use of the fuel-efficient marine mode to move cargo along our nation’s coast, helping ease highway and rail congestion and the demand for imported oil.”

USCG to scrap tank level/pressure monitoring devices on barges, single-hulls
The U.S. Coast Guard proposes to scrap its regulations for tank level or pressure monitoring (TLPM) devices on single-hull tank ships and barges carrying oil or oil residue as cargo, because the necessary devices remain unavailable.
    Three years ago, the Coast Guard published a final rule suspending regulations for TLPM devices with a request for comments on the status of TLPM technology development. In May, the Coast Guard suspended the effectiveness of the regulations for three more years, to June 6, 2011, to give itself more time to seek public comments on a proposal to permanently remove the regulations on TLPM devices. The service received no new information on TLPM devices for detecting leaks into the water. The Coast Guard said that, based on the public response to the suspension, the absence of new information on TLPM devices, and the results of a congressionally mandated study, it was concluded that it is appropriate to remove the regulations.
    More information on the proposal may be obtained from Vincent Berg at (202) 372-1381.

USCG Auxiliary urges boaters to be alert for anything ‘out of place’
The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is urging the public, particularly “people who spend much of their time on or near the water,” to be alert as to what is normal and what is not. Promoting America’s Waterway Watch program, the Auxiliary asked the public to be alert to anything that might be “out of place” or “just not right” and report it to the National Response Center at (877)-24-WATCH.
    Coast Guard Lt. John Taylor, assistant manager of the program, cautioned that small vessels could be used by terrorists to smuggle weapons or other terrorists into the United States. America’s Waterway Watch, Taylor said, “is just one example of how the average person can lend a hand just by keeping their eyes and ears open to any suspicious activities.”

Foss Maritime honored by USCG and EPA
Foss Maritime has won the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Technology Award for developing its low-emission Green Dolphin hybrid tug. It’s the first time a maritime operating company has ever received the award.
    t the same time, the U.S. Coast Guard awarded Foss the 2008 William M. Benkert gold award for marine environmental protection.
    “The Benkert award recognizes outstanding achievements in maritime environmental protection that go beyond mere compliance with industrial and regulatory standards,” said Susan Hayman, vice president of health, quality, safety and environment for Foss. “At Foss, we innovate. We have set a higher standard for ourselves.”
    Gary Faber, president and chief executive of Foss Maritime, and other top company officials accepted the Green Dolphin award in a ceremony, June 2, at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.
    The Green Dolphin, said to be the world’s first true hybrid tug, reduces nitrogen oxide, particulate emissions, sulfur dioxide and cargo emissions, and will exceed the EPA’s Tier 2 emissions requirement for marine engines. The hybrid tug is being built in collaboration with the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles and is scheduled to begin operation in southern California in the fall.
    Faber said that, unlike other tugs, the new hybrid will rely on batteries and an active power management system to minimize engine use. When the engines are used, he said, they will run at power levels that maximize efficiency, reversing the trend of harbor tugs to spend approximately 60 percent of their time at less efficient, low power levels.

Inland Waterways Users Board seeks new members
The Secretary of the Army is soliciting nominations for six appointments or reappointments to two-year terms on the 11-member Inland Waterways Users Board, beginning after March 1, 2009.
    Nominations should be sent by Sept. 15 to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works), Attention: Inland Waterways Users Board Nominations Committee, 108 Army Pentagon, Washington, D.C. 20310-0108.
    For more information, contact the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) at (703) 697-8986.

Martin to succeed Palmer as Waterways Council president, CEO
Waterways Council Inc. (WCI) has hired Cornel J. Martin as its new president and chief executive, effective Aug. 1. Martin, who most recently served as CEO and chairman of         Direct Workforce Inc., will be working alongside outgoing president R. Barry Palmer until he retires at the end of December.
Direct Workforce is a contract labor company serving the shipbuilding, ship repair and oil and gas industries, based in Houma, La. Palmer, who served as president and chief executive of WCI for five years, announced last April that he intended to retire at the end of the year.
    Before joining Direct Workforce, Martin served as president and CEO of the Canadian American Transportation System. He also served as vice president-corporate affairs of American Classic Voyages Co., parent of the Delta Queen Steamboat Co.

Senate panel approves $5.3 billion for Army Engineers in FY 2009
The U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations has approved a spending bill totaling about $5.3 billion for the civil works program of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. The bill, similar to a measure approved by the House Appropriations Committee, would include $166 million for general investigations, $2 billion for construction, $2.2 billion for operation and maintenance, $183 million for the regulatory program and $177 million for general expenses.
    Despite the committees’ approval of the spending bills, there was no indication that the measures would reach final passage before adjournment.

TWIC compliance date set for four port zones
The U.S. Coast Guard and the Transportation Security Administration have set Oct. 31 as the Transportation Worker Identification Credential program compliance date for owners and operators of facilities located within the captain-of-the-port zones of Buffalo, N.Y.; Duluth, Minn.; Detroit; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.; Milwaukee, and Lake Michigan.
    That compliance date is in addition to the Oct. 15 compliance date previously set for the captain-of-the-port zones of Boston, Northern New England and Southeastern New England.

Carlo Salzano has been in journalism since graduating from La Salle University in 1948 as a chemistry major. That’s right, chemistry. He began his career as a copy boy at the Philadelphia Inquirer, before moving on to United Press  International in Philadelphia, Charleston, West Virgina, Baltimore and Washington. After 14 years, Carlo joined Traffic World magazine and stayed on for 23 years, before retiring as editor in 1990. A majority of Carlo’s time at Traffic World  was spent covering the maritime community and he continued on in the maritime field while freelancing throughout his “retirement.” He is married and has three children and eight grandchildren.

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By Professional Mariner Staff