Jones Act Cabotage Enforcement, Safe Manning, DPV Classifications & More

Dear All -

On Thursday, June 17th at 2:00pm est the Subcommittee on Coast Guard & Maritime Transportation will begin meaningful discussions about many topics that are near and dear to this writer and, of course, to each of you. Please see attached.

It is very sad that such a horrific event had to occur, such as the explosion and sinking of the [I]Deepwater Horizon[/I], to get the serious attention to the multitude of issues involved; but it did and Congress is acting effectively at all levels.

The hearings tomorrow will hopefully address Jones Act Cabotage enforcement, Flagging for Convenience, Minimum Safe Manning of Foreign Flagged Vessels, proper MODU classifications by Flag States and Owners, U.S. Coast Guard clarifications for documentation, inspection and application of U.S. laws and even more. This is quite a lot to address but I must say that, from what I can observe, there are no stones not being overturned, no persons and no agencies being given a “pass”, and no laws or regulations not being addressed or willing to be updated. Kudos to the Subcommittee!

One can only hope that the Transocean witnesses will be earnest and forthright in there willingness to concede that “managerial decision” events took place that contributed to the loss of life, injury to persons and property and environmental damage of incredible magnitude. If they do so early, then a good bit of time can be spent on how to avoid these events in the future and still safely accomplish what they set-out to accomplish in and around 2004,[I] i.e.,[/I] by treating a vessel more like a drilling rig than a vessel. Transocean’s unilateral disregard for the dynamic positioning aspects of the DWH was the reason that a licensed captain was not in charge just prior to any emergency on the night of April 20th. When there was complete disorganization was at the very time when organization was needed the most.

I hope that one of the “things” that comes out of these hearings is that Transocean, and any other vessel owner, treats a Dynamically Positioned Vessel as just that: A Vessel. I do not know what the outcome will be specifically, but I do know there is an interest at many levels to determine the Whys & the Hows.

This Hearing and any subsequent hearings should be most interesting. Yes…even more interesting than Tony Hayward saying how sorry he is!

Wow, some good stuff is going to be covered in this committee. I just hope some real good comes of it.