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Hot Port news from GAC

12-Aug-2020

CLEARANCE OF VESSELS ARRIVING FROM ASIAN GYPSY MOTH (AGM) REGIONS
Texas, United States

UPDATED WATER BALLAST FORM
United States

UPDATED PROTOCOLS FOR OSV CREW CHANGES/PERSONNEL TRANSFERS
Ras Laffan, Qatar

LNG VESSEL COMPLETES 10,000TH NEOPANAMAX TRANSIT
Panama Canal, Panama

Clearance of vessels arriving from Asian Gypsy Moth (AGM) regions
Wednesday, August 12, 2020, Texas, United States

This notice is to inform concerned parties of updates to vessels arriving from East Asian ports in China, Japan, South Korea, and Eastern Russia between 24 and 60 degrees North Latitude where Asian Gypsy Moth is presently known and established. The procedures will apply to vessels arriving into the Houston/Galveston Seaport, Port of Freeport, Port Arthur, Port of Beaumont, and Port of Corpus Christi.

U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) and the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) have coordinated efforts to prevent the introduction of harmful pests into the United States. One such pest is the Asian Gypsy Moth (AGM), an extremely invasive species of moth that has not been introduced into the United States and is not presently in North America. Thus, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s primary objective of facilitating trade must be proportionally balanced with appropriately managing the agricultural risks associated with vessels and cargo arriving into the Houston/Galveston Seaport, Port of Freeport, Port Arthur, Port of Beaumont, and Port of Corpus Christi.

Beginning September 1, 2020, all vessels having called a port in Japan, South Korea, Eastern Russia, and China (north of Shanghai) within the last 12 months must provide a Port of Calls list and a copy of the AGM Certificate when filing the CBP Form 3171. If the vessel is lacking an AGM Certificate, the agent must notify CBP when filing the CBP Form 3171. Vessels arriving from Far East Russia lacking the certification and vessels that have been previously excluded due to an AGM infestation will be required to take a lay berth at a place and time designated by CBP.

DISCLAIMER: This information has been prepared for your convenience by the CBP officers at the Port of Houston/Galveston. This material is intended to provide guidance. Recognizing that many complicated factors are involved in Customs matters, an importer may wish to obtain a binding ruling under 19 CFR Part 177. Reliance solely on this information may not be considered reasonable care. Importers are referred to Treasury Decision 97-96, which was published in the Federal Register of December 4, 1997, and in the Customs Bulletin of December 17, 1997, for in-depth information on the concept of reasonable care.

Berthing Options for vessels from Far East Russia lacking certification and previously excluded vessels:

Houston:
-Vessels must berth at Galveston or Pelican Island Piers

Galveston/Texas City
– Vessels must berth at Galveston or Pelican Island Piers

Freeport
– All docks are available for berthing

Corpus Christi
– All docks are available for berthing

Port Arthur/Beaumont
– Berthing at Port Arthur City Docks only

This protocol does not apply to non-AGM vessels.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection will use available tools to ensure the efficiency of the inspectional process and facilitate the arrival and clearance of vessels and associated cargo at all ports of entry, which may include increasing the hours of operation for Agriculture Specialist via reimbursable overtime in accordance with Public Information Notice HOU-SEA 14-07: Guidance for Agricultural Reimbursable Overtime dated June 24, 2014.

(For information about operations in the United States, contact GAC North America at usa@gac.com)

Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security, Houston/Galveston Public Information Notice No.HOU-SEA-20-010 dated 10 August 2020

Updated Water Ballast Form
Wednesday, August 12, 2020, United States

The United States Coast Guard has received approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) adopting revisions to the Ballast Water Management Reporting Form. This Reporting Form replaces all previous and expired versions.

The new Ballast Water Management Reporting Form has two important changes from the most recently expired Reporting Form:

The yes/no question “Alternative BW management conducted, per instructions from COTP” has been removed.
All vessels are now required to report the date of their last dry dock so that the Coast Guard can determine a vessel’s compliance date as specified in Title 33 CFR 151.1512 & 151.2035.
The National Ballast Information Clearinghouse (NBIC) will no longer accept expired Reporting Form versions. To comply with all Coast Guard Ballast Water reporting requirements, all vessels must use the new Ballast Water Management Reporting Form, since expired versions lack required information.

The new Ballast Water Management Reporting Form can be accessed through the NBIC website at https://nbic.si.edu/.

For report-related questions, contact the National Ballast Information Clearinghouse (NBIC) at nbic@ballastreport.org. For Ballast Water Management program questions, contact the USCG Environmental Standards Division at environmental_standards@uscg.mil.

For information about operations in the United States, contact GAC North America at usa@gac.com

Updated protocols for OSV crew changes/personnel transfers
Wednesday, August 12, 2020, Ras Laffan, Qatar

Ras Laffan port authorities have issued updated COVID-19 protocols applicable to all offshore support vessels (OSV) crew changes and personnel transfers to/from offshore workplaces through Ras Laffan Port.

All personnel intending to board OSVs in Ras Laffan Port and/or those personnel working in the port shall be required to undergo Covid-19 screening in accordance with this protocol. This screening shall be in addition to existing procedures including but not limited to guidelines for personnel transfer by vessels.

Masters must ensure that new joiners and all other persons boarding to/from Ras Laffan Port have passed the health screening and hold an appropriate certificate (Negative swap test results within the past 72 hours). The Master must report any breach in the process to the Port Authority immediately and shall prohibit any person to be transferred to an offshore workplace if not holding appropriate health screening certificate.

The resumption of Seaman/Business visa processing is still under discussion.

Ras Laffan port authorities will consider sign-off from newly arrived vessels prior 90 days stay if the crew members have Swab test result from last port, subject to Immigration department approval.

No shore leave shall be granted to any of the vessel crew members upon arrival at Ras Laffan Port except for any emergency life threating case(s) onboard other than COVID-19 after approval from QP Medical. Shore leave security passes for medical cases (except emergency crew taken through ambulance) will be issued based on Immigration prior approval and validity of security pass will be same as Immigration shore leave pass validity.

For further details of the protocols, as well as information about operations in Qatar, contact GAC Qatar at qatar@gac.com

LNG vessel completes 10,000th Neopanamax transit
Wednesday, August 12, 2020, Panama Canal, Panama

The Panama Canal welcomed the 10,000th Neopanamax vessel through the Expanded Canal on Monday [10 August], marking a new milestone for the nearly 106-year waterway and its growing liquefied natural gas (LNG) segment.

The milestone transit was completed by LNG vessel SK Resolute travelling southbound from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. Constructed in 2018, the vessel has a cargo capacity of 180,000 m3 and measures 292 meters in length and 47.8 meters in beam. Monday marked the vessel’s thirteenth transit through the waterway. It often travels between the east coast of the United States and South Korea and Japan, as well as from Chile to the east coast of North America.

“The two historic milestones this week – our 10,000th Neopanamax transit and 106th anniversary – are symbolic. Together, they reiterate that the Panama Canal is not only a trusted and reliable service, but also one committed to continued competitiveness and growth,” said Panama Canal Administrator Ricaurte Vasquez. “We are proud of our team’s achievements and the exceptional service they maintain today.”

LNG began transiting the waterway for the first time following the inauguration of the Expanded Canal in 2016. With significant reductions in voyage time, it has since offered a highly competitive route for U.S. gas deliveries to major Asian importers.

As a result, the LNG segment now represents 12% of transits at the Expanded Canal, surpassed only by container ships with 46% and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) with 25%. This had led the Neopanamax Locks to see 27% of transits and half of total tonnage at the Canal today.

(For information about operations in Panama, contact GAC Panama at operations.panama@gac.com)

Source: Panama Canal Authority (www.pancanal.com) press release dated 11 August 2020

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