Thursday, July 29, 2010

New NMSAC Officers selected

A new Chairman and Vice Chairman have been selected to lead the national committee that advises the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security on maritime security matters. Capt. Jeffrey Monroe, a transportation and maritime professional with HDR Engineering and Capt. Ron Branch of the Mississippi River Maritime Association were selected as the new Chairman and Vice Chairman of the National Maritime Security Advisory Committee (NMSAC) respectively. The committee is comprised of 22 members representing all segments of the industry.and provides advice to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security via the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard on matters such as national security strategy and policy, actions required to meet current and future security threats, international cooperation on security issues, and security concerns of the maritime transportation industry. The committee addresses such issues as the Transportation Worker Identification Credential, Port Security Grants, security regulations, and facility security planning and threat assessment policies. The committee also works with representatives of the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, FEMA and the Transportation Security Administration as well as other federal agencies.

The National Maritime Security Advisory Committee (NMSAC) was established under authority of the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-295), and operates in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) (5 U.S.C. App. 2). The committee met in Washington, D.C. on July 20th.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Review of 4 May meeting


I apologize for the long delay between posts. We've been fairly quiet since our last meeting.

Our May 4 meeting was held here in Washington DC. We had a public meeting in the morning and in the afternoon, we closed the meeting to the public in order to facilitate a classified briefing on the Maritime Security Risk Analysis Model (MSRAM) and a general maritime threat briefing from the Coast Guard's Intelligence Coordination Center.

During the public meeting, we discussed a few items, including the NPRM to revise the eNOA/D rules. NMSAC expressed the need for the data collected through the eNOA/D process align with the CBP data collection requirements to minimize duplication.

The biggest part of the meeting was taken up with a follow on discussion from our last meeting in September concerning the issue of seafarer access to shore leave. The Continued concern of the committee is that they do not agree with the Coast Guard's legal position that the Coast Guard does not have the authority to force facilities to allow seafarers access to their facilities for the purposes of going on shore leave. Ms. Kathy Sinniger explained that the CG determined under the tight time frame of releasing the MTSA regulations, that forcing a facility to allow access to a seafarers came dangerously close to a "taking" of private property which, under legal precedent,would open the government up for just compensation to the facility. However, due to theTWIC regulations, and a stronger understanding of the impact of the MTSA regulations and the IMO resolutions regarding seafarer access, the Coast Guard legal folks are taking a look at the specifics to see if, in fact, this is a takings situation.

The Committee also issued the following resolution:

The National Maritime Security Advisory Committee (NMSAC),

Having received, a Task Statement from the United States Coast Guard in June, 2008, requesting NMSAC to examine and quantify the problem of seafarers’ access to shore leave and to provide comments by September 18, 2008,

Convened a Seafarers’ Access working group consisting of representatives that consisted of representatives from Seafarer’s Unions, Seafarer’s Welfare Organizations, Facility owner/operators, Facility Security Officers, and Shipowners Associations,
Having met on September 18, 2008 to discuss, among other items, the findings of the working group,

Recognizing that, several international instruments, listed in the working group’s report, affirm seafarers’ rights to shore leave, visitors, and representatives of seafarers' welfare and labour organizations,

Noting that, seafarers work and live on ships involved in domestic and international trade and that access to shore facilities and shore leave are vital elements of seafarers' general well-being and, therefore, to the realization of safer seas and cleaner oceans and the free flow of commerce,

Considering that, due to the global nature of the shipping industry, seafarers need special protection, and security needs must be balanced with the rights of seafarers, and

Noting that, the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code), requires that port facility plans address procedures for:
“facilitating shore leave for ship's personnel or personnel changes, as well as access of visitors to the ship including representatives of seafarers' welfare and labour organizations.”

Resolves that, the Coast Guard,
  1. enforce the obligation of port facilities under the ISPS Code, the Maritime Transportation Security Act, and the relevant provisions of Title 33 of the Code of Federal Regulations regarding seafarers’ access to shore leave, and access for visitors, representatives of seafarers welfare and labor organization;
  2. require each port facility to facilitate access for seafarers by requiring that every port facility security plan facilitate shore leave, crew changes, and access for visitors, in accordance with the ISPS Code and international instruments. Any costs for facilitating such access is a matter for the port facility; and,
  3. convene a high-level group consisting of representatives of the Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, Seafarer’s Unions, Seafarer’s Welfare Organizations, Facility owner/operators, Facility Security Officers, and Ship-owners Associations to address all related seafarer access issues.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Updated Maritime Security Directive

The Coast Guard released a new Maritime Security Directive on Monday in response to the rise in piracy in the waters of the Gulf of Aden and the Horn of Africa and in light of recent pirate attacks on U.S. flagged vessels.

Maritime Security Directive 104-6 (rev. 2) issued by the Coast Guard under the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2004 provides the maritime industry with specific, risk-based measures to take to deter, detect or disrupt piracy.

If you have a chance, please check it out.

Also, You can read Rear Admiral Brian Salerno's recent testimony on Coast Guard anti-piracy efforts here (link to pdf).

Friday, May 8, 2009

Reporting H1N1 Cases

Due to alot of questions I've been fielding from the industry concerning the reporting requirements of vessels calling on US ports, I've put together some guidance:

Vessels, in accordance with 42 CFR 71.21 and 71.35, are required to comply with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reporting requirements. Vessel owners/ operators/ and agents can VOLUNTARILY supply this information (via eNOA/D or other means) to the Coast Guard if they choose, but this does not relieve them of their reporting requirement to CDC.

According to 33 CFR 160.215, vessels are required to notify the Coast Guard of an illness if it affects the safety or safe navigation of the vessel; as this would constitute a hazardous condition requiring immediate reporting. However, the hazardous condition is dependant on the safe operation of the vessel and the impact on the port (an example could be where half the crew was unable to conduct vessel work because they were too ill to stand their watches). Absent further guidance from CDC, a crew member suspected ofhaving H1N1 does not automatically make it a hazardous condition.

So, hopefully this clears up some of the confusion...hopefully

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

H1N1 Influenza

Unless your living under a rock, you're probably aware of the H1N1 Influenza virus (formerly called Swine Flu) that has been popping up around the US. While not a direct Maritime Security issue, we've been doing quite a bit of outreach here at the Coast Guard to inform and prepare the Maritime Industry. Here are some of the activities we've been up to:
  • We've been very involved with the the Area Maritime Security Committees in helping them develop Pandemic Flu plans for the past year. While there have been various levels of success, the fact that the discussion has been ongoing well before this incident is a strong indicator that 'Semper Paratus' isn't just a catch phrase
  • The CG has been working with DHS, CDC, and HHS since February to discuss aspects of the October 2005 DHS-HHS MOU and associated issues toward their further refinement and implementation.
  • Recently, we've been pushing out specific H1N1 information out to our partners through the National Industry Security Partners (NISP) Collaberation Community in Homeport and have updated the public side of Homeport to provide useful information and links on what's going on with this highly dynamic situation.

The bottom line is that we've been making every effort to get everyone informed and prepped. Feel free to head over to Homeport and see what's there.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Next NMSAC Meeting 4 May 2009

Our next public meeting will be May 4th at USCG Headquarters. We will have a public portion, from 9-12, and portion closed to the public in the afternoon. The purpose of the second half of the meeting is to discuss national security matters.

Because these matters are of a sensitive and lassified nature, it has been determined that this portion of the committee meeting will be closed to the public pursuant to subsection (c)(1)of section 552b of Title 5 U.S.C.

You can see the official Federal Register notice here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


It's certainly not a new problem for those of us who've worked in the industry, but it has been getting alot of attention as of late. NMSAC has not been tasked to discuss or provide guidance on the piracy issues, and quite frankly, it's not a domestic security issue. But for those of you who are interested, a reall great place to start is The International Maritme Bureau Piracy Reporting Centre.

Also of note, today the Department of State, on their DIPNOTE blog, opened up a discussion on piracy, you can check it out here.

And last, but certainly not least, I'd be remiss if I didn't point you to ADM Allen's blog, iCommandant to get the Coast Guard Leadership point of view.

So, what are your thoughts on dealing with the Piracy issue?