On May 26, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers launched a new website to provide the public and industry interests with nationally-issued Notices To Navigation Interests (NTNI). The new website can be found here. The new site allows users to search NTNIs by keywords, providing a new-user friendly interface. The site will keep navigation interests up to date on events that affect waterway navigation, such as maintenance activities, hazards to navigation, dredging, and river bank protection projects.
But mariners and industry interests should be aware that the new Corps site does not contain notices from other federal agencies, such as the U.S. Coast Guard. U.S. Coast Guard Notices to Mariners may be found here. Users may also subscribe to the U.S. Coast Guard’s list serve for the districts of their choice and be notified by email when new Local Notices to Mariners are posted here. Also, NOAA Charts can be found here.
These available references are particularly relevant given the U.S. Fifth Circuit’s recent affirmation that marine operators working for the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers need to remain diligent in reviewing the most updated information disseminated by the various federal resources before beginning work that involves risks of striking underwater obstructions and pipelines. This opinion was released two days after the new Corp NTNI website was published, but the NTNI will likely be included in the available resources that the Fifth Circuit expects marine operators to review, calling the burden to remain up-to-date “minimal” given the potential risks. See Contango Operators, Inc. v. Weeks Marine, Inc., No. 14-20265, slip op. at 15 (5th Cir. 2015) (unpublished).