TOKYO -- The leader of a U.S.-based anti-whaling organization is now on an international wanted list for allegedly masterminding the group's disruption of Japanese whale hunts in the Antarctic Ocean, Japan's coast guard said Friday.
The move - done at Japan's request - signals Tokyo's escalating anger against the Sea Shepherd group, which it accuses of putting whalers' lives at risk during the annual Antarctic hunt.
The Canadian founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Paul Watson, 59, has been on the Interpol list since Wednesday, Coast Guard spokesman Shinichiro Tanaka said. He said Watson's whereabouts is unknown. - Washington Post
Friday, June 25
Wednesday, June 23
I am going to start with a disclaimer in that I am no Jones Act expert. That said…
Many of you have noticed that in the news coverage of the DEEPWATER HORIZON disaster are references to the Jones Act and allegations that Jones Act restrictions are hampering cleanup efforts. With this in mind, here is a simple summary of the points.
Jones Act Restrictions
The Jones Act was born as part of The Merchant Marine Act of 1920. From Wikipedia:
The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 (P.L. 66-261) is a United States Federal statute that regulates maritime commerce in U.S. waters and between U.S. ports.
Section 27, also known as the Jones Act, deals with cabotage (i.e., coastal shipping) and requires that all goods transported by water between U.S. ports be carried in U.S.-flag ships, constructed in the United States, owned by U.S. citizens, and crewed by U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents. The purpose of the law is to support the U.S. merchant marine industry, but agricultural interests generally oppose it because, they contend, it raises the cost of shipping their goods, making them less competitive with foreign sources. – Wikipedia
In short, US Maritime shipping has the following requirements:
- US Owned
- US Flagged
- US Built
- Crewed by Americans
So, unless your vessel meets all of the above requirements, you are not able to ship cargo between US Ports. Looking to ship US-made BMWs from Charleston to New York by sea, then you need to ship on a Jones Act complaint vessel. And given that building a ship in the US is extremely expensive, your choices are limited.
The Jones Act effects different parts of the US in different ways. I believe that those most effected are Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico and other remote US possessions like Guam. These places are almost entirely dependent on shipping.
One group that has traditionally had issues with the Jones Act has been farmers and politicians from farming states. This is because farmers are required to use US-Flag shipping to move their cargo. They claim that US-Flag ships are too expensive and make their goods uncompetitive when it comes to the export market. Then again, the farmers are forced to use US ships because they are receiving aid from the Government in the first place. So while they complain, don’t feel like you have to shed any tears for them.
Now the Jones Act is not all prohibitive. Ships of any flag can go from one US port to another and load and discharge cargo. They just cannot discharge cargo that they loaded in another US Port. For example a foreign-built, US-Flag containership coming from Bremerhaven can load and Discharge loaded containers in New york and then proceed to Baltimore and do the same thing, provided that containers just loaded in New York are not discharged. Since moving cargo by sea is very efficient, the Government has been thinking about encouraging more of this ‘Short Sea Shipping’. Also, US Regulations permit the movement of empty containers from one US-port to another on non Jones Act vessels. Think of containers as equipment, not cargo.
The ownership requirement is a little odd. My first ship was the car carrier NOSAC RANGER; NOSAC standing for Norwegian Specialized Auto Carriers. While the owners on paper were in New Jersey, the ‘real’ owners were in Norway. Then you have MAERSK Lines of New Jersey (Denmark), Lykes Lines (Now CP ships, Canada), American President Lines (Singapore) as a couple more examples.
The one qualification that cannot be changed on a ship is the US-build requirement. If a ship was not built in a US-yard, it will most likely never operate in a Jones Act route. That said, it is always possible that part of the requirements be waived to meet shipping needs in cases where a ship that meets the requirements is not available. One big example of this is the Hawaiian Islands cruise trade. Be willing to build a US-Flag cruise ship and the Government might be willing to let you start trading using a foreign built ship. (In actual practice such deals have not worked out very well.) President Bush temporarily waived the Jones Act for a couple of weeks in the wake of Katrina.
As for the crewing requirement, just think of these jobs as being no different than train, bus and truck jobs between the same cities. It makes sense to justify reserving work moving cargo from one US port to another. Letting foreign ships and crews move cargo within the US would be like letting foreign airlines and truckers move cargo within the US. (Do not confuse this comment with the movement of NAFTA cargo from Canada and Mexico)
As it so happens, the DEEPWATER HORIZON, despite drilling off of the US Coast, was not US-Flagged. It was foreign flagged. It was US crewed and the actual drilling operations, the cause of the current crisis, were under US Government regulations and inspections, not the Flag State. Having this rig US Flag would not have effected the outcome as the US was already responsible for overseeing that drilling regulations were being followed.
There is no doubt that this spill is massive. It is an ‘all-hands’ event. Allegations have been made that the spill cleanup has been hampered because vessels have been excluded from participating in the cleanup because they are not qualified for this work due to the Jones Act.
From what I can tell, there are two issues here. One being whether the Jones Act applies to cleanup vessels and the other being whether or not there is a shortage of vessels qualified to operate under the Jones Act.
So, does the Jones Act apply?
It certainly does. These vessels are going to have to operate in waters that are under US control. They will call US ports, go to sea and return to the US without making a foreign voyage/ calling a foreign port. I would call that domestic activity. (And do comment if you think my logic here is wrong)
Given the size of this spill, I suspect that there will be room for foreign vessels to operate in the Gulf from Mexico and from the Caribbean as part of the cleanup effort. However the impact these vessels will have on US beaches will be minimal given that they will not be able to operate close to US shores. Not that that matters though, right. They should be trying to pick up as much oil as possible no matter where it is.
So, is there a shortage of Jones Act qualified response vessels?
As mentioned earlier, it is very expensive to build a US-Flag ship. However, there are lots of smaller vessels like tugs, fishing and offshore supply vessels that can participate in the cleanup. Add to that the President’s knee-jerk reaction in killing much of the drilling in the Gulf and you now have many offshore support vessels not doing anything else who can also participate in the cleanup.
Let’s say that there is a shortage. All it takes is for the Government to lift the Jones Act for the purpose of assisting in the cleanup. Might there be some highly efficient and specialized foreign ships that would be useful in this cleanup. Sure. Do I think that the Government should assist our International friends in letting them offer up a ship or two (or ten) to the cleanup effort? Yes. I doubt that they would take any jobs away from Americans. After all, this spill is so large that there should be hundreds of vessels fighting it. (I have no idea how many are actually employed in the cleanup)
Just this morning I read this story from The Maritime Executive which denies that the Jones Act is negatively impacting the cleanup.
Some have criticized the Jones Act, which requires the use of American vessels for transportation in domestic commerce, for hindering the Gulf clean-up. Not true, said the NIC and the Coast Guard.
“In no case has the Federal On Scene Coordinator (FOSC) or Unified Area Command declined to request assistance or accept offers of assistance of foreign vessels that meet an operational need because the Jones Act was implicated,” said a June 17 NIC Fact Sheet [Note: See the pdf fact sheet here which notes that there are already 18 foreign vessels involved in the cleanup].
The NIC Fact Sheet noted that foreign vessels from many nations are already working in the Gulf. The Jones Act only applies within three miles of shore. [Note: they might want to clarify that comment] Therefore, foreign skimmers, along with American skimmers, are already at work beyond three miles. The Deepwater Horizon spill is occurring 50 miles from shore, and the vast majority of oil is beyond 3 miles. – The Maritime Executive (Click to read the entire article)
So there you have it. I am not so sure about that comment about the Jones act only applying within 3 miles of shore. While this article was meant to be a simple summary, I think that can be called an over simplification.
Feel free to comment, criticize and clarify in the comments section.
One final note. the DEEPWATER HORIZON Response site is located here.
Monday, June 21
June 13, 1985: Terrorists hijack TWA Flight 847, killing Navy Diver Robert Stethem and dumping his body onto the tarmac.
To bring these murderers to justice, the United States Government is offering a reward of up to $5 million. The money is available under a program to obtain information that helps punish those responsible for past international terrorist acts against U.S. persons or property and prevent future such acts. - RFJ
This is the terrorist that (our 'friends') the Germans had caught and refused to hand over to the US. Instead, when they decided to release him, they sent him back to a country that does not have an extradition treaty with the US.
Current and former American officials said they had pushed for two decades to gain custody of Hammadi and try him in a U.S. courtroom, but they ran into political and legal resistance from Germany. U.S. prosecutors originally sought Hammadi's extradition after he was arrested at the Frankfurt airport in 1987, but Germany denied the request and put him on trial locally instead.
Victoria Toensing, a former Justice Department official in the Reagan administration who oversaw efforts to extradite Hammadi in 1987, said German authorities threw obstacles in the way of U.S. prosecutors at that time and only reluctantly cooperated.
"They were not open at all," she recalled. "We knew he would be released early, way back then." - Washington Post
(Link to previous post)
First, there is TWA Flight 847 hijacker Hassan Izz-Al-Din.Finally, there is TWA Flight 847 hijacker Ali Atwa.He is currently wanted by the United States government for involvement in the June 14, 1985, skyjacking of TWA Flight 847. (He allegedly intended to help hijack the plane but was bumped from the flight. He was arrested but was then released by the Greek government as part of the deal to release the hostages. [Note: To get some Greek hostages released] He then re-joined the hijackers in Algiers onboard the hijacked airplane).This hijacking resulted in the death of United States Navy diver Robert Stethem. - WikipediaThe planet will be much better off without these terrorists occupying it.
Thursday, June 17
DHS Traveler Redress Inquiry ProgramThe DHS Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP) is a procedure for travelers who are delayed or denied boarding of an aircraft, consistently receive excess scrutiny at security checkpoints, or are denied entry to the U.S. because they are believed to be or are told that they are on a government watch list. The traveler must complete an online application at the Department of Homeland Security website, print and sign the application, and then submit it with copies of several identifying documents. After reviewing their records, DHS notifies the traveler that if any corrections of data about them were warranted, they will be made.Travelers who apply for redress through TRIP are assigned a record identifier called a "Redress Control Number". Airline reservations systems allow passengers who have a Redress Control Number to enter it when making their reservation.DHS TRIP may make it easier for an airline to confirm a traveler's identity. False-positive travelers, whose names match or are similar to the name of a person on the No Fly List, will continue to match that name even after using DHS TRIP, so it will not restore a traveler's ability to use Internet or curbside check-in or to use an automated kiosk. It does usually help the airline identify the traveler as not being the actual person on the No Fly List, after an airline agent has reviewed his identity documents at check-in.DHS TRIP is often accused of being defunct and existing only to appease civil rights organizations without having any actual effect. - Wikipedia
Wednesday, June 16
If you love digital music, but wish it could be as simple as just turning on the radio, Logitech Squeezebox Boom lets you listen to Internet radio, music services and even your own music files. Just turn it on, pick the station, the artist, the podcast or the playlist and go. It’s a player that’s easy to use, easy to play anywhere in your house. With Logitech Squeezebox you can listen to everything your computer can play – without the computer as a middleman.
Discover your infinite playlist with Squeezebox Boom:
Free Internet RadioIf your radio tastes have no geographic limitations, the Logitech Squeezebox Boom lets you listen to music, news and sports from every corner of the internet. Tune into a jazz station from Paris, sports coverage from Chicago, or NPR news. All without being stuck in front of your computer.Listen to thousands of local, international and commercial-free stations, all streamed to Squeezebox Boom from sites such as Last.fm and Live365. Or access music services like Pandora to create and discover playlists of songs and artists that sound similar to the ones you already love. And with Logitech's free online service, mysqueezebox.com, you can access all the Internet radio stations and online music services even when your computer is turned off.
Your Personal Music CollectionStream songs stored on your PC or Mac through the Squeezebox Boom in your kitchen, bedroom or any room in your house. You won't have to run wires or bring your computer to another room to listen to the songs you love. With the handheld remote and onboard display, your favorite tunes—and millions of new ones—are at your fingertips.
Some cool features:
- If you want to listen to a radio station from far away or overseas and it has a web feed, you probably can. My wife is from Finland and she can now listen to Finnish radio without having to turn on the computer.
- You can listen to your Pandora radio stations directly from the radio.
- You can control the radio via the radio's website. I can turn the radio on from work and see what is playing on it. (the wife does not think that is a cool feature given how I have scared her turning it on!)
- It takes advantage of that 'always on' internet connection you are paying for.
One station that I like is Radio Paradise. Check them out.
Saturday, June 12
After expressing relief that their daughter had been found safe, Sunderland's parents on Friday rejected criticism of their child's attempt to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world.
"The fact is whether a teenager, or a young adult or a middle-aged person, there have been many rescues that have taken place," father Laurence Sunderland told NBC television's Today program. - AFP
Their defense gets worse:
"Abigail's campaign unfortunately had a blow with the masting out there in the Indian Ocean and she's proven herself on more than one occasion before now to deal with the adversities of the ocean.
"She's proven herself capable of dealing with this. This is more of a testimony to her will to survive and deal with the situation than a travesty that she went out there at all."Mother Marianne Sunderland meanwhile said the family had sought to minimize the risks of the voyage by having a comprehensive support team in place. - AFP
Thursday, June 10
As I wrote in Maritime Monday 113:
The Hourse’s Mouth has a video report on 16 year old Zac Sunderland, who is getting ready to sail around the world, solo. The current departure date is 14 June. Yahoo has more details at “L.A. teen embarking on crazy around-the-world voyage“. As stated before, I think solo circumnavigation of the globe as a dangerous stunt, at any age, not at all in lines with professional seamanship, other than it takes professional seamanship to avoid certain doom. - gCaptain
Abby Sunderland, 16, is feared lost at sea today in her attempt to become the youngest sailor ever to circumnavigate the globe.Abby Sunderland's age sparks debate over how young is too young.
A support crew lost contact with Abby, who was in heavy seas in the Southern Indian Ocean, early this morning.
Sunderland's brother, Zac Sunderland, said his sister's boat was clearly in trouble.
"The boat is most likely not completely submerged because there's another alarm that sends off a signal if it goes 15 feet underwater," Zac Sunderland said in an interview with Ron Kilgore of KNX radio in Los Angeles. - ABC News
"We're still trying to figure out the rescue situation," he said. "There's two boats headed out to her position, one is an estimated 40 hours, the other is 48. Right now we're trying to figure out if there is any way faster. She's in the middle of nowhere pretty much in the southern Indian Ocean. There's nothing closer." - Yahoo News
So, long distance solo sailing, just don't do it!
UPDATE - 11 June:
As predicted, she has been found alive and well. Her boat was de-masted.
A 16-year-old US sailor who went missing while sailing solo around the world has been found safe and well.Abby Sunderland's yacht was spotted by an aerial search team in the southern Indian Ocean, midway between Australia and Africa. - BBC News
Really, how could this guy get his job back?:A Metrobus driver fired after a deadly crash into a taxi and another canned for slugging a cop dressed as McGruff the Crime Dog are back at Metro, The Washington Examiner has learned.Both men won their jobs back plus months of retroactive pay, the result of an arbitration decision between the bus drivers union and the transit agency. One driver is getting paid to sit at home while the agency determines where to place him. The other is expected to return to driving a Metrobus later this month."Neither of these incidents should have ever happened," Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said. The agency stands behind its decisions to fire the drivers, but Farbstein said Metro does not believe it has legal grounds to overturn the arbitrators' rulings. - Washington Examiner
Metro officials also objected to the reinstatement of Shawn Brim, who pulled his bus over near Spring Road and 14th Street NW on Feb. 28, 2009, disembarked and punched in the head an off-duty police officer dressed as McGruff the Crime Dog, who educates children about crime prevention.Metro fired Brim on March 6, 2009. "We . . . terminated him for violating workplace rules, as there shall be no workplace violence," Farbstein said. Brim was found guilty of simple assault in D.C. Superior Court and received a 15-day suspended sentence and six months of probation.But Vaughn, the arbitrator, decided that Brim's actions, although illegal and inappropriate, were not undertaken with malicious intent. Vaughn based his decision on witness statements, including those of the police officer, Tyrone Hardy, Metro officials said.Vaughn reduced Brim's penalty to a 30-day suspension and awarded him back pay for the rest of the time. Farbstein did not know the value of back pay awarded in either case."The fact that the arbitrator would put them back in the driver's seat is shocking to us," Farbstein said of the drivers. - Washington Post
And this might be one reason why you see a decline of union representation in the private workforce. By not having a union, you can come to an agreement with your employer about salary and benefits. Sure, these are often standardized. However, corporations have a freer hand to reward their best performers, and that does give employees an incentive to improve.
Monday, June 7
Wednesday, June 2
The two-hour-long meeting was organized by Fairfax County Supervisor Michael R. Frey (R-Sully) to gather community opinion about a planned day-labor center -- privately funded and staffed by church volunteers -- at the Centreville Square Shopping Center. Nonprofits and church groups have said a work center could address concerns from stores and neighbors, who say the bands of Guatemalan immigrants who look for work near shops and the nearby public library are intimidating and a nuisance.At least some of the men, church groups and Frey said, are undocumented immigrants. - Washington Post
A person (including a group of persons, business, organization or local government) commits a federal felony when he:
- assists an alien whom he should reasonably know is illegally in the U.S. or who lacks employment authorization, by transporting, sheltering, or assisting him to obtain employment,
- encourages that alien to remain in the U.S., by referring him to an employer, by acting as employer or agent for an employer in any way, or
- knowingly assists illegal aliens due to personal convictions.
Penalties upon conviction include criminal fines, imprisonment, and forfeiture of vehicles and real property used to commit the crime.
Anyone employing or contracting with an illegal alien without verifying his work authorization status is guilty of a misdemeanor. Aliens and employers violating immigration laws are subject to arrest, detention, and seizure of their vehicles or property. In addition, individuals or entities who engage in racketeering enterprises that commit (or conspire to commit) immigration-related felonies are subject to private civil suits for treble damages and injunctive relief. - Link
Given the above, I would think that if Fairfax Authorities approve such a facility, that they would be guilty of a Federal Crime. Of course, the Federal Government is ignoring these rules, but MAYBE one day, that will change.