Offshore wind projectS may lead to navigation woes
In comments submitted to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the American Waterways Operators (AWO) said offshore wind projects off the New Jersey coast could cause navigation safety risks. AWO supports the development of offshore wind energy but has significant navigation concerns with the current placement of the New Jersey Wind Energy Area (WEA), an area that will cover nearly 344,000 acres split into two leasing areas. AWO is concerned that BOEM is proceeding with the leasing process before resolving the navigation safety concerns that may eventually impede bidders from developing portions of the WEA that they have leased. AWO urged BOEM not to award wind energy leases until after the U.S. Coast Guard’s Atlantic Coast Port Access Route Study is complete, the results are analyzed and discussed with the navigation industry, and fairways are established.
Corrections and clarifications
In the October issue page 43 (“Eastern to build hybrid power multipurpose OSV for Harvey Gulf”), the specifications we were provided said the main engines would connect to Twin Disc HLPS-95 marine gears. The gears will actually be Reintjes LAF 3414 P models
TSAC adopts Subchapter M manning recommendations
In Washington, D.C., in September, the Towing Safety Advisory Committee approved recommendations to the U.S. Coast Guard that included proposed minimum manning levels for towing vessels inspected under the soon-to-be-finalized Subchapter M regulations. The recommendations included sample manning scales for towing vessels on domestic and international voyages. The recommendations are consistent with current industry practices for towing vessel manning, according to the American Waterways Operators. TSAC’s manning subcommittee also recommended that the Coast Guard have TSAC develop a process to authorize reduced engineering complements for towing vessels with periodically unattended machinery spaces. At the September meeting, TSAC also approved recommendations on criteria for the Coast Guard to use in designating narrow channels and for evaluating the placement of structures adjacent to or within navigable channels.
Coast Guard corrects tug captain to docking pilot rule change
In September, the U.S. Coast Guard published a technical correction in the Federal Register concerning a provision of the December 2013 STCW final rule that would have closed off the career path for tug captains to become docking pilots. The STCW final rule included a regulatory change that would have required applicants for a first-class pilotage endorsement to have 18 months of sea service on vessels over 1,600 GRT. Before the change, Coast Guard OCMIs could permit applicants to qualify for a first-class pilotage endorsement by completing a specified number of round trips in lieu of 18 months sea service on larger vessels. The change had the effect of limiting first-class pilot endorsements to mariners engaged in deep-draft navigation. The correction restores the OCMI component. The American Waterways Operators provided the Coast Guard with information on how the industry uses first-class pilotage in shipdocking operations and that requiring prospective docking pilots to serve 18 months aboard a vessel greater than 1,600 GRT is not necessary for docking pilots to perform their duties of directing/providing pilot duties to tug operators.
Poor owner decisions behind 2013 sinking of research vessel in the gulf, NTSB report says
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued the report of its investigation of the sinking of the oceanographic research vessel Seaprobe in the Gulf of Mexico in January 2013. The probable cause of the flooding and subsequent sinking of the vessel was the decision of the owner to delay making permanent repairs to the starboard-side exhaust trunk and covering six of the vessel's freeing ports, leaving the vessel susceptible to downflooding from boarding seas. Contributing to the casualty was the owner's failure to comply with the vessel's safety management system and mandatory loadline regulations. The full report is available at http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/reports/2014/MAB1418.pdf.