After the horse has bolted, Brazil’s Navy locks the stable door

. Feb 15, 2020
oil spill brazil navy Photo: marchello74/Shutterstock

More than six months after the gigantic oil spill on the Brazilian coast—the causes of which are still unclear—the country’s Navy has introduced a requirement for vessels sailing in the open sea to transmit LRIT (Long Range Identification and Monitoring System) data. 

From now on, passenger and cargo ships are included in this rule, including those classified as high-speed vessels.

Multi-use maritime platforms must also carry this type of equipment. Among the objectives of the system is to serve &#8220;as an auxiliary tool&#8221; in the investigation of accidents. Another Navy requirement in relation to LRIT data is that foreign ships, while they are within the Navy&#8217;s search and rescue operation zone, must have their identification and monitoring equipment &#8220;permanently switched on.&#8221; </p> <p>In practice, the measure attempts to increase the power of the Brazilian Navy to identify cases similar to those that cause the <a href="">oil spills off the Northeast coast</a>. </p> <p>Another ordinance published by the Navy concerns the rules on the passage and permanence of ships—especially oil tankers—in open waters controlled by Brazil. The text includes the so-called SAR zone in the area of inspection, which covers the entire Brazilian coast and extends eastward all the way to the 10ºW meridian. According to the Navy, this entire area is about 1.6 times the size of mainland Brazil.&nbsp;</p> <p>These rule changes foresee that ships moving within this area will be subject to document checks and equipment tests, especially those related to location systems, while docked at Brazilian ports. Vessels that do not have properly certified localization equipment must make the necessary repairs before returning to sea.</p> <h2>Further changes</h2> <p>In another important change to Navy rules, the piloting services supervised by the military at Brazil&#8217;s ports will also be subject to new rules. Pilot jobs are highly sought after, as it is these professionals who maneuver ships into terminals in special operations. Something of a maritime valet, they earn high wages and raise the logistics costs of operating Brazilian ports—among the highest in the world.&nbsp;</p> <p>The new ordinance opens the possibility for the Navy&#8217;s Ports and Coasts Department to allow captains of Brazilian ships to act as pilots in specific and temporary operations, dispensing with the hiring of specialized professionals.&nbsp;</p> <p>The authorization will only be given for the navigation of certain types of vessels. But passenger ships (cruise ships), tankers (oil, gas and chemical tankers) or ships with packaged cargo that carry a risk of explosion may not be piloted by the vessel&#8217;s captain.&nbsp;</p> <p>The services are now mandatory in all port terminals in the state of Bahia. Those included by the Navy in the rule are the ports of Salvador, Tecon, BNA, TPC, TRBA, Ford and Ilhéus. In practice, the new rule should increase the costs of maritime loading and unloading operations in the northeastern state.

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