Brownwater News, September 2017

US approves Jones Act waivers in wake of hurricanes

The​ ​Department​ ​of​ ​Homeland​ ​Security​ ​(DHS) approved​ ​waivers​ ​of​ ​the Jones​ ​Act​ ​for​ ​areas​ ​hit​ ​by​ ​Hurricanes​ ​Harvey​ ​and​ ​Irma.

DHS​ ​Acting​ ​Secretary​ ​Elaine​ ​Duke​ ​said​ ​the​ ​waivers,​ ​approved Sept.​ ​8,​ ​ensured​ ​that​ ​all​ ​options​ ​would​ ​be​ ​available​ ​to distribute​ ​fuel​ ​to​ ​states​ ​and​ ​territories​ ​impacted​ ​by​ ​the storms.​ ​Duke​ ​said​ ​the​ ​waivers,​ ​in​ ​effect​ ​for​ ​seven​ ​days, were​ ​tailored​ ​to​ ​transportation​ ​of​ ​refined​ ​products.

Duke​ ​said​ ​the​ ​hurricanes​ ​"significantly​ ​disrupted"​ ​the distribution​ ​of​ ​fuel​ ​across​ ​the​ ​Southeast​ and caused ​the "largest​ ​mass​ ​evacuations​ ​in​ ​American​ ​history"​ ​along with​ ​"historic movements"​ ​of​ ​restoration​ ​and​ ​response​ ​crews,​ ​goods​ ​and commodities​ ​in​ ​the​ ​devastated​ ​areas.

As​ ​the​ ​industry​ ​well​ ​knows,​ ​the​ ​Jones​ ​Act​ ​prohibits​ ​the transportation​ ​of​ ​cargo​ ​between​ ​points​ ​in​ ​the​ ​U.S.​ ​on​ ​any​ ​vessels other​ ​than​ those​ ​built, owned​ ​and​ ​crewed​ ​by​ ​U.S.​ ​citizens. The​ ​last​ ​Jones​ ​Act​ ​waiver​ ​was​ ​issued​ ​in​ ​December​ ​2012​ ​for petroleum​ ​products​ ​to​ ​be​ ​delivered​ ​for​ ​relief​ ​assistance​ ​in​ ​the aftermath​ ​of​ ​Hurricane​ ​Sandy.

Coast Guard revises Great​ ​Lakes​ ​pilotage​ ​rates

The​ ​Coast​ ​Guard​ ​has​ ​adopted​ ​a​ ​final​ ​rule​ ​setting​ ​new​ ​rates​ for​ ​pilotage​ ​services​ ​for the​ ​2017​ ​shipping​ ​season​ ​​on​ ​the​ ​Great Lakes.​ ​The​ ​final​ ​rule​ ​also​ ​updates​ ​the​ ​Coast​ ​Guard's methodology​ ​for​ ​setting​ ​those​ ​rates.

The new methodology adjusts target pilot compensation by inflation, incorporates revenue derived from weighting factor charges into the ratemaking model, and eliminates the provision that the hourly pilotage rate for designated waters could not rise above twice the rate for undesignated waters.

In its Maritime Commons blog, the Coast Guard said it "believes that the new methodology will continue to encourage pilot retention, ensure safe, efficient and reliable pilotage services on the Great Lakes, and provide adequate funds to upgrade and maintain infrastructure."

Based on the changes, the revised Great Lakes pilotage rates are being lowered in most areas, the Coast Guard said. The blog called it "a needed correction to better align projected revenues with the pilot associations’ actual collections, as evidence shows that pilotage revenue significantly exceeded what was projected in 2016, even factoring in above-average traffic."

The​ ​final​ ​rule​ ​will​ ​become​ ​​​effective​ ​on Oct. 2. For​ ​further​ ​information, contact​ ​Todd​ ​Haviland, director​ ​of​ ​Great​ ​Lakes​ ​pilotage for the U.S. government,​ ​at (202)​ ​372-2037.

SOCP​ ​releases​ ​guide​ ​on​ ​prevention of ​sex​ual ​assault,​ ​harassment

The​ ​Ship​ ​Operations Cooperative​ ​Program​ ​(SOCP)​ ​has​ ​released​ ​a​ ​best​-practices guide​ ​on​ ​the​ ​prevention​ ​of​ ​sexual​ ​assault,​ ​sexual​ ​harassment, bullying,​ ​hazing,​ ​stalking​ ​and​ ​other​ ​prohibited​ ​behaviors​ ​in​ ​the merchant​ ​marine.

The​ ​guide​ ​is​ ​for​ ​merchant​ ​mariners​ ​on​ ​vessels​ ​of​ ​all​ ​types, including​ ​Great​ ​Lakes​ ​ships,​ ​inland​ ​towboats,​ ​dredges​ ​and government-owned​ ​vessels.​ ​In​ ​addition,​ ​the​ ​industry​ ​best practices​ ​apply​ ​to​ ​maritime​ ​operating​ ​companies,​ ​shipowners​ ​and operators,​ ​and​ ​shore-based​ ​personnel​ ​managing​ ​or​ interacting​ ​with merchant​ ​mariners.

The SOCP​ ​is​ ​a​ ​nonprofit​ ​organization​ ​of​ ​maritime​ ​industry professionals​ ​working​ ​together​ ​to​ ​improve​ ​the​ ​safety,​ ​productivity, efficiency,​ ​security​ ​and​ ​environmental​ ​performance​ ​of​ ​U.S.​ ​vessel operations.​ ​The​ ​guide​ ​was​ ​developed​ ​under​ ​a​ ​cooperative agreement​ ​with​ ​the​ ​U.S. Maritime​ ​Administration (MarAd).

The​ ​guide​ ​explains​ ​that​ ​sexual​ ​harassment​ ​can​ ​involve​ ​more​ ​than the​ ​offender​ ​and​ ​the​ ​victim.​ ​The​ ​guide​ ​says​ ​it​ ​also can​ ​involve bystanders,​ ​​​those​ ​who​ ​witness​ ​sexual​ ​harassment​ ​taking​ ​place, or​ ​those who hear​ ​about​ ​it.

“The​ ​U.S.​ ​Merchant​ ​Marine​ ​aggressively​ ​​promotes​ ​a​ ​culture where​ ​sexual​ ​assault,​ ​​ ​sexual​ ​harassment​ ​and​ ​other​ ​prohibited behaviors​ ​cannot​ ​exist,”​ ​said​ ​Patricia​ ​Finsterbusch,​ ​president​ ​of the SOCP.​ ​“We​ ​strongly​ ​recommend​ ​that​ ​SOCP​ ​members​ ​and​ ​the maritime​ ​industry​ ​continue​ ​the​ ​dialogue​ ​and​ ​spread​ ​the​ ​word about​ ​the​ ​importance​ ​of​ ​these​ ​issues.”

AWO: Know minimum safe manning under Subchapter M

The​ ​American​ ​Waterways​ ​Operators (AWO),​ ​having announced​ ​that​ ​the​ ​U.S. Coast Guard​ ​has​ ​published​ ​final​ ​revisions​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Marine​ ​Safety​ ​Manual, encourages​ ​its​ ​members​ ​to​ ​familiarize​ ​themselves​ ​with​ ​the chapter​ ​that​ ​includes​ ​sample​ ​manning​ ​scales​ ​and​ ​variables​ ​for towing​ ​vessels​ ​inspected​ ​under​ ​Subchapter​ ​M.

The AWO​ ​said​ ​the​ ​officer​ ​in​ ​charge​ ​of​ ​marine​ ​inspection​ ​(OCMI)​ ​will use​ ​the​ ​scales​ ​and​ ​variables​ ​to​ evaluate manning​ ​proposal​s ​submitted​ ​by​ ​a​ny​towing​ ​vessel​ ​operator​ ​seeking a​ ​certificate​ ​of​ ​inspection.​ ​The​ ​COI​ ​will​ ​establish​ ​the​ ​minimum safe​ ​manning​ ​for​ ​each​ ​of​ ​the​ ​vessel's​ ​areas​ ​of​ ​operation​ ​or routes.​ ​The​ ​recommended​ ​chapter​ ​includes​ ​a​ ​suggested​ ​template that​ ​vessel​ ​operators​ ​may​ ​use​ ​to​ ​prepare​ ​a​ ​minimum​ ​safe manning​ ​proposal.

The AWO​ ​said​ ​it​ ​understands​ ​the​ ​importance​ ​of​ ​manning​ ​and​ ​has reiterated​ ​that ​to​ ​Rear​ ​Adm.​ ​John​ ​Nadeau,​ ​the​ ​new assistant​ ​commandant​ ​for​ ​prevention​ ​policy,​ ​who​ ​assured​ ​the group that​ ​the​ ​Coast​ ​Guard​ ​is​ ​committed​ ​to​ ​taking​ ​a​ ​consistent,​ ​fair​ ​and practical​ ​approach​ ​to​ ​manning​ ​under​ ​Subchapter​ ​M.

EPA considers new definition​ ​for​ ​‘waters​ ​of​ ​the​ ​United​ ​States’

The​ ​Environmental​ ​Protection​ ​Agency​ ​(EPA) and​ ​the​ ​Department​ ​of​ ​the Army​ ​have​ ​scheduled​ ​10​ ​teleconferences​ ​to​ ​hear recommendations​ ​to​ ​revise​ ​the​ ​definition​ ​of​ ​“waters​ ​of​ ​the​ ​United States”​ ​under​ ​the​ ​Clean​ ​Water​ ​Act.

Nine​ ​of​ ​the​ ​teleconferences​ ​will​ ​be​ ​tailored​ ​to​ ​a​ ​specific​ ​sector, such​ ​as​ ​agriculture,​ ​conservation,​ ​construction​ ​and​ ​transportation, and​ ​industry.​ ​One​ ​of​ ​the​ ​teleconferences​ ​will​ ​be​ ​open​ ​to​ ​the​ ​public at​ ​large.

The​ ​teleconferences​ ​will​ ​run​ ​throughout​ ​the​ ​fall​ ​on​ ​Tuesday afternoons beginning​ ​Sept.​ ​19.​ ​In​ ​addition,​ ​the​ ​agencies​ ​will hold​ ​an​ ​in-person​ ​meeting​ ​with​ ​small​ ​entities​ ​on​ ​Oct.​ ​23​ ​and will​ ​accept​ ​written​ ​recommendations​ ​from​ ​any​ ​member​ ​of​ ​the public.

For more information on the sessions, go to

New​ ​members​ ​sought​ ​for​ ​navigation​ ​safety​ ​council

The​ ​Coast​ ​Guard​ ​has​ ​invited​ ​interested​ ​parties​ ​to​ ​apply​ ​for membership​ ​on​ ​the​ ​Navigation​ ​Safety​ ​Advisory​ ​Council.​ ​The council​ ​provides​ ​advice​ ​and​ ​recommendations​ ​on​ ​various maritime​ ​matters,​ ​including​ ​Inland​ ​Rules​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Road,​ ​navigation regulations​ ​and​ ​equipment,​ ​and​ ​aids​ ​to​ ​navigation​ ​(ATON) systems.

The​ ​Coast Guard will​ ​be​ ​considering​ ​applications​ ​for​ ​seven positions​ ​that​ ​will​ ​be​ ​vacant​ ​on​ ​Nov.​ ​4​ ​in​ ​five​ ​categories: commercial​ ​vessel​ ​owners​ ​and​ ​operators;​ ​professional​ ​mariners; recreational​ ​boaters;​ ​the​ ​recreational​ ​boating​ ​industry;​ ​and​ ​the Maritime​ ​Law​ ​Association.

Applications​ ​should​ ​be​ ​submitted​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Coast​ ​Guard​ ​by mid-October. For​ ​more​ ​information,​ ​contact​ ​George​ ​Detweiler​ ​at​ ​(202) 372-1566.

By Professional Mariner Staff