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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Washington News

ABS Chairman, President and CEO Christopher J. Wiernicki (Photo: ABS)

ABS' Wiernicki Says Talent is Key in 'New Normal'

ABS chairman, president and CEO Christopher J. Wiernicki outlined the absolute value of talent in the new normal in a cross-industry lecture on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and digitalization.Wiernicki addressed fellow global business executives spanning multiple industries and top-ranked academia as part of George Washington University’s Frank Howard Distinguished Lecture Series.Wiernicki, who holds a Master of Science in Structural Engineering from George Washington University and was elected to the school’s Engineering Hall of Fame…

Rear Admiral John Okon, Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command

INTERVIEW: RDML John Okon, Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command

Recently  the United States Navy  and NOAA signed an agreement to jointly expand the development and operations of unmanned maritime systems in the nation’s coastal and world’s ocean waters. RDML John Okon, Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, shares his insights on the direction and pace of the use of unmanned maritime systems for the Navy’s future.How and when you realized that yours would be a career dedicated to Oceanography?Interesting, I never started out to have a career in Oceanography, but rather in Broadcast Meteorology.

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US Imposes New Iran Sanctions

The United States on Thursday slapped fresh sanctions on Iran’s financial sector, targeting 18 banks in an effort to further choke off Iranian revenues as Washington ramps up pressure on Tehran weeks ahead of the U.S. election.The move freezes any U.S. assets of those blacklisted and generally bars Americans from dealing with them, while extending secondary sanctions to those who do business with them. This means foreign banks risk losing access to the U.S. market and financial…

© Nord Stream 2 / Axel Schmidt

Germany Offered to Build LNG Terminals to Avert US Pipeline Sanctions

Berlin offered to spend 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) to build two liquid natural gas terminals in a bid to dissuade the United States from imposing sanctions over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, due to bring gas directly from Russia to Germany, Die Zeit reported on Wednesday.The weekly paper said Finance Minister Olaf Scholz made the proposal in an Aug. 7 letter before Washington imposed sanctions on companies involved in building the Baltic Sea pipeline, effectively freezing its…

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MARAD Accepting Applications for Domestic Maritime Workforce Training and Education

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) said Tuesday it is accepting applications from eligible and qualified institutions to apply for a Centers of Excellence (CoE) designation, which will recognize and support community or technical colleges and maritime training centers that prepare Americans for careers in the maritime industry.“These educational institutions benefit America’s national security and economy by growing and strengthening our maritime workforce,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L.

Oil tanker Elisabeth Knutsen, later relabeled as Knut and one of several misidentified tankers hired by phantom companies to export oil from Venezuela, is seen anchored off Las Palmas, near the Canary Islands, before departing to Venezuela's Jose terminal, operated by state-run PDVSA, Spain September 27, 2020. (© Vin Moore / MarineTraffic.com)

Phantom Buyers in Russia, Advice from Iran Help Venezuela Skirt Sanctions

On Aug. 21, a tanker called the Otoman docked at the Jose oil terminal on Venezuela’s coast in the Caribbean to load 1.82 million barrels of heavy crude, according to the state oil company’s internal documents.Yet no tanker with that name is registered in major global shipping databases.Muddying the situation further, the unique identifier for the Otoman listed in the documents - a number used by the International Maritime Organization to identify ships - was assigned to another tanker called the Rubyni, according to the databases.The Rubyni was broken up two years ago, they record.

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Coronavirus Rekindles Global Trade Disputes

At the start of the year, U.S.-China tensions were easing after their Phase I trade deal, while Washington, Brussels and Tokyo agreed on new global trading rules to curb subsidies. A relative calm had set in.Then the new coronavirus struck.Countries across the world imposed 222 exports curbs on medical supplies and medicines and in some cases food, according to Global Trade Alert, a Swiss monitoring group. For medical products, it was more than 20 times the usual level.Those curbs are now being lifted…

Henry Martyn Robert created Robert’s Rules of Order. Photo courtesy Port of Green Bay

The Connection Between Robert’s Rules of Order and the Port of Green Bay

Mention the name Henry Martyn Robert and you will probably get a blank stare from whoever you are talking to. Mention Robert’s Rules of Order and that’s completely different. Anyone who has spent any amount of time in meetings – whether business, governmental or community organizations – is probably well aware of Robert’s Rules.Now you can put the two together. Henry Martyn Robert created Robert’s Rules of Order. But that’s not all Robert was involved in back in the days of the Civil War and after. And there’s even a Port of Green Bay connection.

Tracy Zea is the Waterways Council Inc.’s new President & CEO.

Interview: Tracy Zea, President & CEO, Waterways Council Inc.

We recently checked in with Tracy Zea, Waterways Council Inc.’s new President & CEO, on what’s in store for the U.S. inland waterways for the remainder of 2020.To start, give us some insight on your background and how you came to lead WCI.I was born and raised in Chandler, Ariz., and attended South Dakota State University, receiving a degree in Political Science. After college, I found my way to Washington, D.C. via an internship with Senator Thune (R-S.D.). After the internship, I was hired by the House of Representatives, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

(Photo: Bureau Veritas)

Bureau Veritas Expands Marine and Offshore Services in N. America

Testing, inspection and verification services firm Bureau Veritas (BV) said it has taken a number of steps to broaden and deepen its marine and offshore services in North America.The opening of a new remote survey center in Miami is the latest step in the delivery of digital services across the Bureau Veritas network, providing yet further global coverage for remote surveys.Florida-based Tropical Shipping’s fleet has now benefited from remote survey services on three of its vessels sailing in the Caribbean trades.

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US Preparing Tighter Oil Sanctions on Venezuela

The Trump administration is looking to tighten oil sanctions on Venezuela in the near future, top U.S. envoy for the country told Reuters on Monday, by potentially removing exemptions that allow some oil companies to exchange Venezuelan crude for fuel from the OPEC member.U.S. President Donald Trump has ramped up sanctions on Venezuela's state-run PDVSA, its key foreign partners and customers since it first imposed measures against the company in early 2019, seeking to oust the…

Illustration courtesy of Glosten

Kitsap Transit Gets Fed Funds for High-Speed, Low-Emission Ferry Project

As the global maritime community collectively is slowly pushed toward decarbonization, it is generally agreed that there is no ‘silver bullet’ technical solution and that progress will come in steps, led by public/private collaboration and funding.A recent development following that script is the awarding this week of federal funds to a Washington State team working to accelerate ferry technology, with the joint innovation project selected for funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration.

Rear Admiral Peter Sparkes (Photo: UKHO)

UKHO Taps Sparkes as Acting Chief Executive

The U.K. Hydrographic Office has announced the appointment of Rear Admiral Peter Sparkes, the current U.K. National Hydrographer and Deputy Chief Executive, to the position of acting chief executive and accounting officer.Sparkes will hold the position while a permanent replacement is sought for Tim Lowe CBE, the previous UKHO chief executive and accounting officer, who announced his retirement Friday.Commenting on Lowe’s retirement, Sparkes said, “On behalf of the senior leadership team and all at the U.K.

© Eddy Ulin / MarineTraffic.com

PDVSA Changes Oil Deals to Include Shipping as Sanctions Bite

Venezuelan state-run oil firm PDVSA has begun offering to ship its own oil, figuring in the costs in crude supply deals to help customers who have struggled to hire vessels to carry the country’s oil due to U.S. sanctions, according to company documents seen by Reuters.The United States has blacklisted vessel owners, shipping operators and threatened to sanction any tanker facilitating the country’s oil exports as it tightens restrictions on trade with the South American country.Washington has been trying to weaken socialist President Nicolas Maduro by choking the OPEC member’s oil exports…

© Eddy Ulin / MarineTraffic.com

Tankers Carrying Venezuelan Oil Stuck at Sea

Tankers carrying nearly two months worth of Venezuelan oil output are stuck at sea as global refiners shun the nation’s crude to avoid falling foul of U.S. sanctions, according to industry sources, PDVSA documents and shipping data.Washington is tightening sanctions to cut Venezuela’s oil exports and deprive the government of socialist President Nicolas Maduro of its main source of revenue.The OPEC member’s exports are hovering near their lowest levels in more than 70 years and the economy has collapsed, but Maduro has held on - to the frustration of the administration of U.S.

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MARAD Awards $9.5 Mln for Marine Highways Projects

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) awarded $9.5 million in grants to eight marine highways projects across the Nation under the America’s Marine Highway Program. The funding supports the enhancement of navigable waterways and expands existing waterborne freight services in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, New York, New Jersey, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington and American Samoa.“This Federal assistance will provide additional options to reduce congestion on the roads and help the surrounding local communities’ and the regions’ economic recovery…

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US Trade Chief Vows to Push for 'Broad Reset' at WTO

The Trump administration will push for a broad reset of “outdated tariff determinations” at the World Trade Organization to fix what it sees as years of unfair treatment of the United States, a top trade official told U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday.U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the Geneva-based body was “a mess” and changes in the tariffs set by the Geneva-based WTO were urgently needed to better reflect current economic realities.“Many countries with large and developed economies maintain very high bound tariff rates…

Arthur Mead (Photo: AWO)

AWO Elects Crowley's Mead as Chairman

Arthur F. Mead, Vice President and Chief Counsel at Crowley Maritime Corporation, has been elected Chairman of the American Waterways Operators (AWO), succeeding outgoing Chairman Scott Merritt, former Chief Operating Officer with Foss Maritime Company, LLC.Members of the national tugboat, towboat and barge industry association elected a new slate of leaders this week during the association's Spring Board of Directors / Annual Membership Meeting, which was held virtually due to COVID-19 precautionary measures that resulted in the meeting not taking place in Washington…

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China Bought 10+ Cargoes of Brazilian Soy This Week

China has bought over 10 cargoes of Brazilian soy this week, as its trade tensions with the United States continue to rise causing Beijing to look towards securing supplies, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.Brazil is the top supplier of soybeans to China, the world's biggest buyer of the beans.The development comes amid increasing tensions between the United States and China over the handling of the coronavirus outbreak and the more recent Chinese proposal of imposing national security laws in Hong Kong, to add to the long-standing trade war between

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Israel Linked to Cyberattack on Iranian Port

Israel appears to be behind a cyberattack earlier this month on computers at Iran’s Shahid Rajaee port that caused massive backups on waterways and roads leading to the facility, the Washington Post reported on Monday.Citing unnamed U.S. and foreign government officials, the Post said the May 9 disruption of Iranian computers was presumably in retaliation for an earlier attempted cyberattack on rural water distribution systems in Israel.The Israeli Embassy in Washington did not…

Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) vessels in April approached U.S. Military ships in international waters of the North Arabian Gulf. (U.S. Navy photo)

US Tells Gulf Mariners to Stay Clear of Its Warships

In an alert that appeared aimed squarely at Iran, the U.S. Navy issued a warning on Tuesday to mariners in the Gulf to stay 100 meters away from U.S. warships or risk being “interpreted as a threat and subject to lawful defensive measures.”The notice to mariners, which was first reported by Reuters, follows U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat last month to fire on any Iranian ships that harass Navy vessels."Armed vessels approaching within 100 meters of a U.S. naval vessel may be interpreted as a threat," according to the text of the notice.A U.S.

“I think we need to be bold in our thinking, but cautious in our applications. It doesn’t cost that much money to play around with ideas; and that small investment could turn up some great benefits. But if you’re afraid to make that initial investigation, things will pass you by.”
John Waterhouse, Elliott Bay Design Group

Interview: John Waterhouse, EBDG - “Be Bold in Thinking but Cautious in Application”

John Waterhouse is a ubiquitous character in the U.S. maritime industry, a deep-thinker, a signature bow tie and more than three decades of naval architecture and marine engineering experience and success as co-owner of the Seattle-based Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG).While growing up, John Waterhouse spent some time in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and it was as a young boy standing on the shores of English Bay, watching ships come in from around the world to load and unload their cargos, when he realized that a maritime career could be his future.

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Trump Administration Issues Maritime Advisory on Sanctions

The Trump administration on Thursday issued guidelines to help ship owners and insurers avoid the risks of sanctions penalties, standards that maritime players and a senior State Department official said were modified following months of discussions with industry.The guidelines, known as a Global Maritime Advisory, concern sanctions on Iran, North Korea and Syria. The State Department said it is committed to disrupting sanctions evasion and smuggling of goods, including oil exports from Iran…

Rear Adm. Melissa Bert (Photo: USCG)

Rear Adm. Bert Makes History with New USCG Role

The U.S. Coast Guard announced Friday Rear Adm. Melissa Bert has been invested as judge advocate general and chief counsel of the Coast Guard. Bert is the service’s first woman to hold that office.Bert was most recently the director of Governmental and Public Affairs for the Coast Guard, where she was responsible for external engagement with Congress, the media and other inter-governmental entities.As judge advocate general and chief counsel, Bert will lead a group of legal professionals who are responsible for the delivery of all legal services in support of the Coast Guard's missions…

MarAD Extends Comment Period for SPOT Terminal Services LLC

The Maritime Administration (MARAD) announced the extension of the period for the public to comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the proposed SPOT Terminal Services, LLC deepwater port facility. The comment period was initially scheduled to end on March 23, 2020, but is now extended 30-days from the publication date of this Federal Register notice published on Friday, May 1, 2020.Due to the nationwide impacts of COVID-19 and the associated social distancing protocols, MARAD and the U.S.

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Will FMC's New Demurrage & Detention Rules Aid NVOCCs?

On April 28, 2020, the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) released the long-awaited interpretive rules in Docket No. 19-05 relating to how ocean common carriers may lawfully apply demurrage and detention charges to exporters, importers and ocean transportation intermediaries, including Customs brokers in certain circumstances and still be compliant with the “reasonableness” requirement of 46 U.S.C § 41102(c). The analyses and guidance in the interpretive rules have been in high…