Washington Waves
Washington Waves

Study Planned To Boost U.S. Maritime Industry

Washington, D.C.—The Maritime Administration (MarAd) announced its selection of the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA) to conduct a study to inform a new national strategy to position the U.S. maritime industry as a global leader for decades to come.

Sponsored by the Department of the Navy, CNA was described by MarAd as an independent, nonprofit Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) with expertise in researching sealift needs for national security.

As required by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2023, the study will identify key elements and objectives needed to develop a strategy to revitalize the U.S. merchant marine and the maritime industrial base to meet the nation’s economic and national security needs.

“Over the next year, CNA will engage with numerous public and private stakeholders in the maritime community to complete the study,” MarAd stated, adding it “will work closely with CNA on this historic effort that will set the foundation for future success of the U.S. maritime industry.”

NTSAC To Meet In New Orleans

The National Towing Safety Advisory Committee has scheduled meetings September 26-27 in New Orleans, La., on shallow-draft inland navigation, coastal waterway navigation and towing safety.

Open to the public, subcommittee working sessions are set to begin at 8 a.m. CDT September 26 with the full committee to meet at 8 a.m. September 27 at the Omni Riverfront Hotel, 701 Convention Center Blvd., New Orleans, LA 70130.

For additional information, contact Matthew Layman at 202-372-1421 or Matthew.D.Layman@uscg.mil.

FMC Meeting Set

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) is scheduled to meet September 21 to receive briefings on the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 and Consumer Affairs and Dispute Resolution Services.

Open for “public observation,” the meeting is set to begin at 1 p.m., in Hearing Room 1042 at the Surface Transportation Board, 395 E. St. SW, Washington, D.C. 20423. It also is expected to be streamed live on FMC’s YouTube channel.

A recording of the meeting will be posted at www.fmc.gov if technical issues prevent the live streaming.

For additional information, contact Amy Strauss at 202-523-5725.

WOTUS Docket

The Biden administration’s new rule conforming its definition of the Waters of the United States to a recent Supreme Court decision took effect September 8 when published in the Federal Register.

A docket for this action has been established at www.regulations.gov under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2023-0346.

For additional information, contact Whitney Beck of the Environmental Protection Agency at 202-564-2281 or CWAwotus@epa.gov and Stacey Jensen of the Department of the Army for Civil Works at 703-459-6026 or usarmy.pentagon.hqda-asa-cw.mbx.asacw-reporting@army.mil.

Marine Debris

The Interagency Marine Debris Coordinating Committee (IMDCC) is scheduled to meet virtually September 26 to discuss federal marine debris activities with an emphasis on topics identified in the section on Matters to Be Considered.

Using Google Meet, the public meeting is set to begin at 2 p.m. (ET).

The virtual meeting can be found by using the link at https://meet.google.com/paw-wtws-fip or by calling 1-470-285-4443; PIN: 752 261 320#.

Attendance will be limited to the first 500 individuals to join the virtual meeting room.

 Refer to the website at https://marinedebris.noaa.gov/our-work/IMDCC for the most up-to-date information on the agenda and how to participate.

For additional information, contact Ya’el Seid-Green at 240-622-5910 or yael.seid-green@noaa.gov.

CMTS Draft Guidance

The U.S. Committee on the Marine Transportation System is requesting comments on draft guidance responding to the increasing focus on offshore wind energy projects and munitions and explosives of concern (MEC) in U.S. waters.

Comments must be submitted by September 25.

Identified by docket number DOT-OST-2023-0117, they may be submitted via www.regulations.gov.

The draft guidance can be viewed through the committee’s website at www.cmts.gov/topic-offshore-energy/.

It is intended to help agencies coordinate statutory and regulatory authorities to approve, regulate or permit the detonation, removal or mitigation of MEC.

The guidance describes the process recommended to industry when responding to MEC discovered in federal waters during the development of offshore energy installations and procedures to inform the government of MEC discoveries and the process for the government to respond to such discoveries and work with industry.

For additional information, contact Michael Heard Snow at 202-805-0570 or m.heardsnow@cmts.gov.

Soo Locks Security

The House approved bills directing a study of potential security risks of the Soo Locks and the impact of operational failures and the ownership of terminals at the nation’s 15 largest container ports.

Both bills passed by voice votes and headed to the Senate.

“The Soo Locks are a point of pride for Michiganders, a pillar of our state economy and crucial to our national security,” said Rep. John James (R-Mich.), who introduced H.R. 3399.

James pointed out his bill follows a 2015 study by the Department of Homeland Security that found a six-month shutdown of the locks would result in millions of job losses nationwide.

Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-Mass.) introduced H.R. 3395, which directs the Federal Maritime Commission to work with an independent academic or federally funded research center to evaluate foreign ownership of the largest container ports.

“These ports are critical to our economic and national security, and it is imperative that we have a real-time understanding of who is in charge,” Auchincloss said.

NOAA Mariners

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced its final rule establishing shore leave regulations on professional mariners and authorizing payment of the difference between their temporary and permanent rates of pay for annual leave accrued while temporarily promoted.

Effective October 1, the rule also makes clerical amendments to create a new subchapter specific to NOAA’s Marine and Aviation Operations, which employs civilian professional mariners who serve on NOAA ships.

For additional information, contact Lt. Cmdr. Zachary Cress at 301-713-1045.

Human Trafficking Committee

Representatives of the maritime sector and ports were among 15 members appointed to the Department of Transportation (DOT) Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking.

“Transportation workers and the traveling public have a key role to play in the fight against human trafficking—which is why it’s so important for everyone to recognize the signs and be prepared to report it,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said.

DOT encouraged the use of the national hotline, 888-373-7888.

Buttigieg also announced Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking and the American Association of Port Authorities took first place in DOT’s 2023 Combating Human Trafficking in Transportation Impact Award for their “Awareness Campaign to Help Prevent Human Trafficking in the Maritime Industry” proposal.

That proposal includes conducting the first national, multilingual counter-trafficking public campaign to raise awareness among port authority employees and seafarers.

Maritime Transportation Data

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) is seeking public comments related to maritime data transmission, accessibility and accuracy to supplement information gathered during meetings of the Maritime Transportation Data Initiative and to better inform the FMC about commercial activities.

Comments should be submitted by October 16 through www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FMC–2023–0016.

For additional information, contact William Cody at 202-523-5725 or secretary@fmc.gov.

Port Access Route Studies

The Coast Guard announced it considers the Consolidated Port Approaches Port Access Route Studies (CPAPARS), which summarizes four regional port access route studies along the Atlantic Coast, complete as published March 10.

An ongoing dialogue with the maritime industry also is included in the CPAPARS.

The Coast Guard said it made the decision to consider the CPAPARS complete after determining the comments received on the version published in March did not require a revision.

The CPAPARS summarizes the findings of four regional port access route studies: the Northern New York Bight; Seacoast of New Jersey Including Offshore Approaches to the Delaware Bay, Delaware; approaches to the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia; and the Seacoast of North Carolina.

For additional information, contact Maureen Kallgren at 202-372-1561 or Maureen.r.kallgren2@uscg.mil.

Smith Point TSS

The Coast Guard is requesting comments on removing a vessel traffic routing measure known as the ‘‘Smith Point Traffic Separation Scheme’’ (TSS) from nautical charts.

Never established formally, the Smith Point TSS exists only on nautical charts of the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River, and the Coast Guard says it may be obsolete with the development and growth of the port community and the overall improved navigation technology.

“We are seeking comments on whether there is any continued need for this vessel traffic routing measure,” the Coast Guard stated in the August 21 Federal Register.

“If there is no longer a need for this measure, we would request that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which produces the nation’s nautical charts, remove the TSS from these charts and take out language regarding the TSS from the applicable Coast Pilot. We would then make conforming changes to the buoy that marks the turning point in the separation zone of the TSS.”

Comments and related material must reach the Coast Guard by November 20.

They may be submitted at www.regulations.gov and identified by docket number USCG-2023-0330.

For additional information, contact Lt.j.g Carmel McAndrews at 757-398-6298 or Carmel.M.McAndrews@uscg.mil.