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Hot Port News from GAC

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GAC 01072014Severe weather safety planning
May 15, 2015, United States, Houston, Texas

The 2015 Hurricane Season will officially start on June 1, 2015. All facilities and vessels in the Houston-Galveston Captain of the Port (COTP) zone are encouraged to review their severe weather plans and begin preparations for the hurricane season.

Please plan for:

1. The ports along the Gulf of Mexico provide inadequate safe mooring in hurricane conditions. I encourage all capable sea-going vessels to make timely departure for open sea on the approach of heavy weather. Commercial self-propelled vessels greater than 500 gross tone and oceangoing Integrated Tug Barge combinations intending to remain in port will be required to submit a Declaration of Intent to Remain in Port. This declaration is normally required within 12 hours after setting Port Condition Whiskey (72 hours prior to gale force winds).

2. Commercial vessels, including tug and barge tows that normally transit the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, should depart the area when threatened by a storm. If unable, they should seek alternative refuge by moving as far inland as possible and take shelter on the bayous and floating areas within the Houston Ship Channel. Special precautions should be taken and are expected for tows with CDC cargoes. The COTP recommends keeping a live watch onboard to tend lines and control power as the risk of groundings or allisions becomes an even greater concern.

3. Dependent on the severity of the storm, vessels that remain in port may be required to fill out the Vessel Post Storm Self-Assessment Checklist for Coast Guard review and potential on-site assessment.

4. Commercial fishing vessels should leave port or find shelter inland to avoid damage during a storm’s passage. It is recommended that commercial fishing vessels tie off adequately to fixed or moored structures and submit the Hurricane Evacuation Report Form.

5. In order to safeguard Coast Guard waterway reconstitution capabilities and maintain continuity of operations, Sector Houston-Galveston, Sector Field Office Galveston and MSU Texas City personnel and equipment may be relocated to an alternate site prior to the arrival of the storm. Depending on the severity of the storm, a remote command post may also be established at the alternate site. Should this be necessary, means to contact the remote command post will be disseminated via MSIB and Port Coordination Team teleconferences. VTS Houston-Galveston will remain active at a minimum until 12 hours before the arrival of hurricane force winds.

6. Facilities with storage tanks, missile hazards, dangerous cargoes and container or pallet stacks should secure or remove these entities to prevent further issues due to severe winds and storm surge. Pressed up tanks will sustain less wind damage than those left empty or partially full. All containers stores near flood-prone areas should be moved prior to Port Condition Yankee.

7. The responsibility to survey berths rests with each facility. Waterfront facilities are encouraged to conduct an annual pre-hurricane survey. Facilities should be prepared to conduct an emergency survey of their docks as soon as practical after a hurricane passes if there is reason to believe that bottom conditions have changed. The surveys can determine whether water depths have been reduced and whether ship traffic is able to safely proceed. All regulated waterfront facilities should fill out a Facility Pre-Storm Checklist up through General Pre-storm by June 1, 2015. Post hurricane, facilities may be required to fill out the Facility Post Storm Self-Assessment Checklist prior to Coast Guard inspectors verifying readiness to resume operations, dependent on the severity of the storm.

(For information about operations in the USA contact GAC USA at usa@gac.com)

Source: Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston Marine Safety Information Bulletin 07-15

New berth opened
May 15, 2015, Australia, Townsville

The new joint venture berth facility between Glencore, Incitec Pivot, and the Port of Townsville is now operational.

The $85 million Berth 8 facility allows for two and a half more times shiploading capacity at the port, increased berth efficiency, and improves the site’s sustainability, with around $5 million of the total project cost focused solely on improving environmental performance.

This includes better water management and treatment, enclosed conveyors, and dust collection systems along multiple points of the logistics network.

For information about operations in Australia contact GAC Australia at shipping.australia@gac.com

Reforms to coastal trading regime announced
May 15, 2015, Australia, all ports

In its budget this week, Australia’s Federal government announced reforms for foreign-flagged vessels operating in the country’s waters.

The new measures appear to revert to something similar to the earlier pre-2012 coastal trading system.

In the Budget Paper No 2, Part 2: Expense Measures under the sub-headings “Infrastructure and Regional Development” and “Coastal Shipping Reform”, the government announced:

– the introduction of a single Coastal Trading Permit for all ships to replace the current tiered system;

– amending legislation to allow the carriage of petroleum products;

– applying a minimum Australian senior crewing requirement for foreign ships remaining on the coast for more than 183 days in a permit period;

– reducing monthly trade reporting requirements to annual reporting;

– removing exemptions for large ships from the Coastal Trading Permit requirements;

– better aligning employment conditions for ships based in Australia with international standards;


– making amendments to the Australian International Shipping Register to improve competition among foreign-flagged ships.

For information about operations in Australia contact GAC Australia at shipping.australia@gac.com

Youth Day public holiday
May 15, 2015, Turkey, all ports

All official institutions and banks in Turkey will be closed on Tuesday (19 May) due to the Youth Day public holiday.

Vessels planning to call at Turkish ports are urged to make arrangements for their crew, spares, provisions, etc. in good time ahead of the holiday.

As some ports may be closed on Youth Day, or fees for official services (pilotage, towage, mooring, customs) be subject to a 50% surcharge, vessels should check with GAC Turkey in advance. GAC Istanbul will be on duty during the holiday.

For information about operations in Turkey contact GAC Turkey at turkey@gac.com

Bosphorus to close to traffic
May 15, 2015, Turkey, Turkish Straits

The Bosphorus will be closed to traffic from 05:00 to 16:00 hours local time on Sunday (17 May), due to works on the 3. bridge (Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge).

For information about operations in the Turkish Straits contact GAC Istanbul at turkey@gac.com

GAC is a global provider of integrated shipping, logistics and marine services dedicated to helping customers achieve their strategic goals at the highest levels of quality, safety and compliance.


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