|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.
|Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) Update|
The Marine Exchange and a lot of other folks have been busy since the last newsletter working on TWIC - and I have good news to report:
As the implementation of Transportation Worker Identification Cards(TWIC) moves forward throughout the U.S., we have been concerned about the disproportionately high cost Alaskans will have to pay to comply with these regulations. Using the "Lower 48 Model," enrollment will require two trips to an enrollment center: one to enroll the other to obtain the TWIC. Over 5,000 Alaskans who are licensed mariners or who need unescorted access waterfront facilities subject to the Maritime Security Regulations will be required to have a TWIC be September 28th this year.
A "TWIC Workgroup" was established by the Marine Exchange in January with the goal of making the implementation of TWIC as painless as possible for Alaska's Maritime Community. This workgroup consists of representatives from Lockheed Martin (TSA's TWIC contractor), Alaska Association of Harbormasters and Port Administrators, Alaska Marine Highway System, Coast Guard, and the Marine Exchange.
The first meeting was focused on ensuring Lockheed Martin understood the unique challenges TWIC enrollment poses for Alaska as they began their roll-out plans, and to lay the goundwork for establishing mobile enrollment centers for communities remote from the four fixed enrollment centers in Anchorage, Juneau, Valdez & Nikiski. Follow-on meetings were used to develop accurate estimates of the numbers of TWIC enrollees in each community, and to identify potential sites for mobile enrollment based on these numbers.
I'm happy to report Lockheed Martin has been fully committed to making TWIC enrollment as efficient as possible throughout this entire process. While not finalized, a list of mobile sites has been drafted and includes virtually all of the sites orignially proposed by the workgroup's members. We are currently working on scheduling these sites (we anticipate enrollment will begin in April or May), and looking for alternatives which will allow us to add additional communities to the list of mobile sites. The efforts of this workgroup have been noted inside the Beltway, which resulted in the workgroup briefing staff members of Senator Stevens last week in Juneau.
Once we finalize the list of mobile sites, an extensive outreach program will be developed to ensure that TWIC information, including the location and dates of mobile enrollment sites, makes it to as many potential enrollees as possible. Many of you reading this newsletter will be key players in helping to spread the word....we'll be in touch with you!
Speaking of "outreach"...there will be more to come but here's a heads-up: Plan to PRE-ENROLL for your cards!! This will help ensure the enrollment sites are staffed appropriately and will make the entire process more efficient for you. I provided a TWIC weblink in the last newsletter, but now there's a new one to check out as well (see link below). Please check it out
and start spreading the word.
|2008 Security Plan Audits & Refresher Training |
It seems like we just completed 2007's audits of vessel and facilities subject to the Maritime Security Regulations, but it's already time to start thinking about this year's audits. In fact, we'll be starting the first round in Dutch Harbor next week. Starting early this year might not be a bad idea with TWIC on the horizon. The USCG has recently updated their security regulations to reflect new TWIC knowledge requirements and we can spend a little extra time providing TWIC training to Facility & Vessel Security Officers and your "persons with security duties."
The Marine Exchange will be contacting those of you we normally provide this service to, but if you would like to discuss specific dates for this year's audit please give us a call.
|Advance Notice of Arrival Information|
If you have all the Coast Guard's Advance Notice of Arrival (ANOA) requirements and procedures all figured out ...read no further.
Those of you out there who might still be confused by the requirements and/or available options for submitting ANOAs, the CG's National Vessel Movement Center (NVMC) has recently released it's first newsletter
which discusses these topics.
|Immersion Suit Inspection Guidance|
The Coast Guard has asked the Marine Exchange to help spread the word about the availability of Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) 01-08 regarding the inspection and testing of immersion suits. The NVIC explains how older immersion suits are subject to deterioration and must be thoroughly inspected in order to ensure that the suit will be able to save your life if you have to go into the water.
|Uninspected Passenger Vessel (UPV) Outreach|
The Marine Exchange, USCG Sector Juneau, and the 17th USCG District will be co-sponsoring several "industry days" this spring focused on SEAK's uninspected passenger vessel fleet (6-packs). Because this segment of Alaska's Maritime Community is "uninspected," by definition they rarely interact with the USCG.
We hope to provide the opportunity this year for these operators to meet with SEAK's Coast Guard leadership and refresh everyone on the regulations that still apply to this fleet, uninspected or not. Topics will likely include TWIC (reminder: this regulation applies to ALL licensed mariners), drug & alcohol testing requirements, licensing requirements, Alaska's 5-Star safety program
The Coast Guard is starting to take a closer look at this segment of the industry and we highly encourage all UPV operators to set aside a half day to attend. We are still working out the dates, but these sessions will likely occur in the mid-April timeframe.
Please help us get the word out to these folks by forwarding this newsletter to anyone you know in this industry. The next newsletter will have specific dates, locations, and sign-up information.
Incorrect 2008 Tide Books Published
If you've recently picked up your annual copy of the Tide Tables often found on the counter of your local hardware store, fuel supplier, etc - you may want to double check to ensure it's accurate.
The USCG recently released a safety alert
stating that the 2008 edition of the Tide Tables published by the Alaska Tide Book Company of Soldotna contains significant errors. These errors were apparently caused by a computer software glitch, and appear to primarily affect predictions for "three-tide" days.
The incorrect versions of the Tide Tables were pulled from shelves and counters in January, but not before an unknown number had been distributed to mariners. According to the Anchorage Daily News, new versions should be hitting the stores and businesses in early March.
|Congressional Staff Visits MXAK|
Members of Senator Stevens' staff paid the Marine Exchange a visit last week during a fact-finding trip to Juneau. Among the topics discussed were the Marine Exchange's vessel tracking capabilities, how they are currently being used to promote safe, secure, efficient, and environmentally responsible martime operations, and opportunities for extending the government's "maritime domain awareness" throughout Alaska (particulary with respect to the Arctic and Aleutians).
As mentioned in the TWIC article above, they were also very interested in this program, it's affect on Alaska's marine industry, and how the enrollment plans were proceeding. (Shown in picture: Capt. Ed Page & Todd Bertoson)
|Rules of the Road Quiz |
I recently sat through the 100ton Master Course offered by the University of Alaska, Southeast (which you've seen advertised in this newsletter in the past). This course was excellent and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in obtaining a captain's license.
Like most folks, I found the most challenging aspect of the course was learning (and memorizing) the USCG's Rules of the Road. Although I memorized them well enough to pass the test, it was apparent I would need to refresh my knowledge of these rules from time to time in order to stay "current" (and certainly if I ever have to take the test again!)
So in the interest of helping out anyone else out there who might be "Rules of the Road-challenged" like me, or if any of you "Old Salts" out there just want to test your knowledge, I'm offering a new service: If you are interested in receiving periodic Rules of the Road questions via email (I'll shoot for weekly), please sign up using the "Update Profile/Email Address" link at the very bottom of this newsletter and check the "Rules of the Road" box. I'll post the first question in this newsletter, but you'll have to sign-up for the answer, as well as future questions. I'll kick it off with an easy one:
BOTH INTERNATIONAL & INLAND Power-driven vessels must keep out of the way of sailing vessels except __________.
a. in a crossing situation
b. when they are making more speed than the power-
c. when the sailing vessel is overtaking
d. on the Inland Waters of the United States
Marine Exchange of Alaska