|Alaska Maritime Newsletter|
The Marine Exchange of Alaska is a non-profit, maritime organization established to serve the Alaska Maritime Community by providing information, communications and services to ensure safe, secure, efficient and environmentally responsible maritime operations.
Greetings to all our members, associates, partners,
This year introduced some new regulations and maritime safety issues that we engaged to keep the information flowing and minimize the pain of complying. If history repeats itself, we can expect some new requirements coming out of the Cosco Busan incident in San Francisco this fall that will likely end up impacting Alaska maritime operations. Also, with the soon to be implemented TWIC, Long Range Identification & Tracking, and expanded Automatic Identification System (AIS) carriage requirements right around the corner, next year is shaping up to be interesting as well! We will keep on top of these issues and engage regulators to minimize the cost and impacts of any new requirements that may develop while endorsing sound rule making that seeks cost effective solutions providing meaningful returns.
I'm off to Africa for Christmas to visit my daughter for
Now that Alaska is in the "home stretch" for an anticipated TWIC rollout in Spring 2008, this will likely be a permanent fixture to our newsletter until the dust settles.
As of the date of this newsletter, the TSA has established 32 enrollment centers in and around various "Lower 48" ports. Alaska is scheduled to have enrollment centers between April and June 2008. As mentioned in the last newsletter, we feel it is critical that the TSA recognizes the importance of developing a mobile enrollment capability for Alaska's outlying communities. To this end, the Marine Exchange has contacted many Harbormasters in these outlying areas and we're happy to report that every community we contacted has offered to provide TSA's contractor with temporary office space, telephone and internet connectivity to facilitate mobile enrollment. We have drafted a letter to TSA's contractor (Lockheed Martin) stressing the importance of mobile centers and offering them the tools needed to "just do it." I'd encourage each company or organization who would be unnecessarily impacted by the requirement to send your employees to one of the "fixed" enrollment centers (twice) to send a letter to the TWIC Field Coordinator for Alaska and let him know your concerns. His contact info is below:
I provided the link below to the TSA's TWIC website in the last newsletter. It remains a good source of info for TWIC updates and now includes a sign-up form to receive TWIC updates automatically, directly from TSA. I encourage everyone to check this website periodically between now and Spring 2008.
The USCG has recently adopted a Voluntary Disclosure Policy intended to encourage voluntary reporting of environmental crimes.
If the crime reported is identified through a company's use of an internal "environmental audit," or use of a "compliance management system," and the rest of the criteria of the policy is met, the USCG will not normally recommend criminal charges be brought against the disclosing entity.
Outdoorsmen, boaters, kayakers, hikers, hunters, etc are about to run out of excuses for ever getting into trouble and not being able to contact someone for help.
The Marine Exchange has recently discovered a new product which hit the market last month, called "Spot." This small satellite transponder (about the size of a computer mouse) uses the Globalstar satellite network, which has very good coverage within Alaska. Unlike a personal EPIRB, this device allows the user to send check-in ("I'm OK") messages via email to 5 friends or family members with a link to Google Maps showing their exact location. It also allows the user to send "Help" messages to the same 5 email recipients for situations when they need assistance, but not necessarily a full search & rescue response. In dire emergencies, the device has a "911" button that sends an emergency request and exact position report to Spot's 24x7 watch center - who will notify the appropriate authorities in the area of distress.
For those kayakers, hikers, bikers, etc looking for "bragging rights," the unit can be activated for "tracking mode" which will send a position report every 10 minutes, which can be viewed on Google Maps once you get home (or viewed by your friends/family while you're out - the ultimate "float plan'!).
The MSRP of this device is about $150 and is available through the Marine Exchange or online via Spot's website (see below). There is an annual subscription fee of $99 for unlimited "I'm OK", "Help", and "911" messages. If you want the 10-minute tracking capability, that's an additional $49 a year.
The University of Alaska (Southeast) is offering the
following courses for mariners in the next few
For those in the towing industry: Don't be surprised if
the USCG visits you one of these days to examine your
The Department of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service published a Notice of Proposed Rule Making in the Federal Register which would require all fishing vessels having freeboards greater than 4 feet to provide a Coast Guard approved boarding ladder for the use of Coast Guard boarding officers and NMFS observers when boarding these vessels at sea. Comments on this proposed rule will be accepted until January 10, 2008.