Washington Waves
Washington Waves

Carpenter To Be Next AWO President, CEO

Washington, D.C.—The American Waterways Operators (AWO) announced that Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Carpenter has been named AWO’s next president and CEO  effective January 1.

Carpenter will succeed Tom Allegretti, who announced her promotion and is expected to stay on to help with the transition.

“I am absolutely delighted to announce Jennifer’s promotion to president and CEO,” said Allegretti, who has held those positions for the last 26 years.

“She is an extraordinary leader and fully ready to take us forward to confront the challenges we face today and those on our horizon.”

Scott Merritt, AWO chairman of the board, praised Allegretti’s accomplishments, including the recruitment and development of Carpenter as his successor.

Merritt said her promotion was unanimously approved by AWO’s executive committee earlier last week.

“Jennifer enjoys broad and deep confidence by AWO members as the right person to ensure AWO’s future sustained success,” he said.

“AWO is today an effective advocacy organization and a recognized safety leader due in no small part to Jennifer’s leadership and contributions. The public policy challenges facing our industry and the need for safety leadership have never been greater and we are confident that Jennifer will lead us in confronting these challenges effectively.”

Trade Talks

President Donald Trump tossed out his usual script on U.S.-China trade negotiations by suggesting a deal between the two countries might not be done until late next year.

“In some ways, I like the idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal,” Trump told reporters after arriving at a NATO summit in London.

“But they want to make a deal now. And, we’ll see whether or not the deal is going to be right.”

That statement contrasted sharply with comments he shared only weeks earlier when he told the Economic Club of New York that Phase 1 of a trade deal with China was close and could happen soon.

When asked in Great Britain about the negative impact his statement had on Wall Street, he played down the losses in the markets.

“It’s peanuts,” Trump said, referring to the “record numbers” the stock markets have recorded during his time in office.

Still, he quickly returned to his usual script.

“We’re talking to China, as you know,” Trump said at a later press conference.

“Those discussions are going very well, and we’ll see what happens.”

Jones Act Dispute

The American Waterways Operators expressed opposition to a proposal by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to allow a non-Jones-Act-compliant vessel to transport merchandise “a short distance” during lifting operations.

Such a change could have serious implications for the role of the Jones Act in future offshore development projects, AWO warned in a letter to CBP’s Office of Trade, Regulations and Rulings.

Calling CBP’s proposal “indefensible,” AWO said the ruling letters the agency now wants to revoke provide “a well-reasoned analysis that explains why the confines of existing statute require any transportation—even for “a short distance”—to be conducted by a Jones Act-complaint vessel.

In the same letter, AWO expressed support for another CBP proposal to narrow the scope of items that qualify as vessel equipment, a designation that allows an item to be transported on non-Jones Act-qualified vessels.

Corps Transparency

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers should strengthen its feasibility study review process by ensuring consistent transparency, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommended in a recent report.

According to the GAO, the agency concurred with its recommendation.

GAO was asked to review the methodology used by the Corps in its feasibility studies to inform decision makers whether a proposed project warrants federal investment and whether its benefits outweigh its costs.

GAO stated it reviewed the agency activities in flood risk management feasibility studies completed from 2015 through 2017 in eight districts.

“The Corps’ economic analyses in the eight studies were generally consistent with best practices, but did not fully adhere to practices for transparency,” the GAO concluded.

“Corps officials acknowledged that transparency could be improved through their review process.”

ESG Extraordinary Relief

Top leaders of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure expressed bipartisan concerns over a proposal by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to give “extraordinary relief” to Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG) from its fixed price contract to construct the Coast Guard’s Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC).

In a letter to Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, the congressmen stated skepticism that such relief would be justified given the “crisis” was foreseeable and mostly avoidable.

 Members signing the letter:  Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-Mo.), Reps. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, and Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio), the subcommittee’s ranking member.

Their questions covered what they described as the shrouded manner in which DHS determined that such relief was warranted, why DHS allowed ESG to proceed with the contract when doing so would require up to $659 million in additional federal funding and how DHS determined the need to cap the ESG contract at the first four OPCs and to re-compete the contract to build the balance of the remaining OPCs under the existing contract.

AIS Private ATON

The Coast Guard has approved the first official use of Automatic Identification System Private Aids to Navigation (AIS PATON) for a dynamic restricted area as part of an effort to warn mariners of non-chartered restricted zones during sea-based space launches.

Space Exploration Technologies  Corporation, better known as Space X, was granted authority to establish the zones from Cape Canaveral, Fla., into the Atlantic Ocean in areas based on the flight path.

Those zones are designed to keep vessels from entering the launch area while an active rocket launch is taking place, the Coast Guard explained.

“Keeping our waterways safe is a team effort,” said Cmdr. Justin Kimura, the chief of the Navigation Technology and Risk Management Division.

“We are working with international, interagency and industry partners to make American waterways safer, more efficient and more resilient.”

IMO Category A

The U.S. was re-elected to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council’s Category A, which includes 10 members with the largest interest in providing international shipping services.

Coast Guard Commandant Karl Schultz led the U.S. delegation to the IMO’s 31st Assembly in London.

Comprised of 40 member states, the council is IMO’s executive organ whose members serve two-year terms; the IMO is the United Nations’ specialized agency that is responsible for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.