Antarctica Agenda outlined by Australian Government

Antarctica Agenda outlined by Australian Government
Antarctica Agenda outlined by Australian Government

The Australian Government has given outline plans and details of its 20 year Antarctica Agenda and Strategic Plan. The plan allows for Australia’s future engagement in the region and options to expand Tasmania’s role as the Antarctic science and logistics hub.

The report contains recommendations on a range of key issues, including:

• Protecting Australia’s national interests in Antarctica.
• Supporting and leading national and international Antarctic science.
• Building economic benefits for Tasmania as an Antarctic Gateway city.
• Australia’s future Antarctic station operations, transport and deep field traverse capabilities and support for large field-based research campaigns.
• Effective administration of the Australian Antarctic Territory.

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Maritime & Coastguard Agency to be overhauled

The UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency to be overhauled
The UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency to be overhauled

It is reported that the UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency is undergoing a massive upheaval to help it cope with the demands of the 21st Century.

Between September 2014 and December 2015, the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCC’s) at Solent, Portland, and Brixham are due to close. Additionally, the sites at Liverpool, Swansea and Thames will become Coastal Operations Bases, but will no longer have a search and rescue coordination function.

The remaining nine MRCC’s wills be upgraded to Coastguard Operations Centres (CGOC’s) and, together with a desk at the London Port Authority, will be networked through the new National Maritime Operations Centre at Fareham to create a fully resilient national command and control network.

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Suez Canal development plan to be presented

The Egyptian government will present its Suez Canal development plan in January 2015 to both local and international financial institutions and a number of companies, Mahmoud Rizq, director of the department of planning at the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), said.

The plan will be presented at an international conference organised to attract funding for the implementation of the project. The government will begin receiving and screening offers as early as February 2015, according to Rizq. Fourteen consortia competed to prepare the plan for the development of the Suez Canal and an independent local committee was formed comprising international expertise in order to evaluate the bids and choose the winning consortium.

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US water resources development legislation edges forward

The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) has welcomed news that the US House Senate conference committee has completed negotiations and has issued its report on the long awaited and much needed water resources development legislation.

The basis of the proposed legislation is that it:
• Establishes a pathway to full use of the Harbour Maintenance Tax (HMT)
• Addresses HMT donor equity
• Modernises the maintenance dredging cost share threshold
• Authorises new navigation channel improvements
• Expedites the US Army Corps of Engineers’ navigation channel study completion process
• Quickens the pace of project completions by enhancing partnerships

“Having waited seven long years since passage of the last water resources authorisation bill, our US member ports are extremely pleased to see a final reauthorisation bill,” said AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle. “Our nation desperately needs this water resources legislation to fortify our infrastructure, create and maintain good paying US jobs, grow our economy and enhance America’s international competitiveness.”

Summarising, Mr. Nagle said, “America’s public ports, which create jobs for more than 13 million people and handle 99.4% of the tonnage of our nation’s overseas trade, together with their private sector partners are investing over $9 billion annually in marine terminal infrastructure. We look forward to Congressional passage and President Obama signing this legislation, which will make important policy reforms and authorise badly needed maintenance and improvements to waterside connections with seaports.”

UK Government launches National Strategy for Maritime Security

The UK’s first ever National Strategy for Maritime Security has been published by the Shipping and Armed Forces Minister.

The maritime sector is vital to the UK and it is said that the publication is a “a major step forward for the shipping industry and demonstrates the UK’s commitment to seafarer safety and securing world trade.” Click to read the National Strategy for Maritime Security in full.

The UK maritime sector accounts for over 2% of the entire economy and supports one in every 50 jobs. It is a simple fact that as an island nation, most of the UK’s connections to the wider world are provided by sea with and over 90% of our trade is carried by ship.
“The safety of our seafarers is therefore a priority of international importance, and work is also needed in the promotion of regional growth and the stability of international trade.” the UK Chamber of Shipping press release states.

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