MARITIME (SEAGOING BARGES) / The U.S. Coast Guard is exempting specified seagoing barges from its inspection.

“Seagoing Barges”

Final Rule. August 29, 2013. 

“The Coast Guard is revising several vessel inspection and certification regulations to align them with a statutory definition of ‘seagoing barge’ and with a statutory exemption from inspection and certification requirements for certain seagoing barges. The revisions are intended to eliminate ambiguity in existing regulations, to reduce the potential for confusion among the regulated public, and to help the Coast Guard perform its maritime safety and stewardship missions.” Continue reading

MARITIME (U.S. COAST GUARD GUIDANCE) – “The Coast Guard announces the availability of Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) 02-13, that sets forth the Coast Guard’s policies and procedures regarding the inspection of U.S. vessels for voluntary compliance with the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC or Convention). The Convention enters into force on August 20, 2013.”

“Final Guidance Regarding Voluntary Inspection of Vessels for Compliance With the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006”

August 6, 2013. Notice of Availability.

“…The Convention enters into force on August 20, 2013. The purpose of NVIC 02-13 is to provide guidance to the maritime industry, Coast Guard marine inspectors, and other affected parties on how the Coast Guard intends to implement the new voluntary inspection program. The Coast Guard finalized NVIC 02-13 after considering public comments received in response to our publication of a draft version of NVIC 02-13 in the Federal Register on February 11, 2013.”

MARITIME (UNINSPECTED COMMERCIAL BARGES & SAILING VESSELS) / Uninspected commercial barges and uninspected commercial sailing vessels no longer fall outside the scope of a statute requiring the regulation of lifesaving devices on uninspected vessels – i.e., even for those who DON’T carry passengers for hire. U.S. Coast Guard proposes change in its rules to conform to 2010 Coast Guard Reauthorization Act on this point.

“Lifesaving Devices-Uninspected Commercial Barges and Sailing Vessels.”

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. July 17, 2013.

“The Coast Guard proposes aligning its regulations with the 2010 Coast Guard Authorization Act. Before 2010, uninspected commercial barges and uninspected commercial sailing vessels fell outside the scope of a statute requiring the regulation of lifesaving devices on uninspected vessels. Lifesaving devices were required on uninspected commercial barges and sailing vessels only if they carried passengers for hire. The 2010 Act brought uninspected commercial barges and sailing vessels within the scope of the statutory requirement to carry lifesaving devices even if they carry no passengers. The Coast Guard proposes requiring use of wearable personal flotation devices for individuals on board uninspected commercial barges and sailing vessels, and amending several regulatory tables to reflect that requirement. This rulemaking promotes the Coast Guard’s marine safety mission.”

MARITIME (MARINE VAPOR CONTROL SYSTEMS) / For those maritime operators who either use vapor control systems (VCS’s) voluntarily or do so to comply with federal or state environmental requirements, the U.S. Coast Guard has extensively updated its rules for VCS’s in light of latest design and technology capabilities. But note: The U.S. Coast Guard by its own rules does not require VCS’s.

“Marine Vapor Control Systems.”

Final Rule. July 16, 2013.

Note well: “The Coast Guard regulations themselves do not require any facility or vessel to control vapor or be equipped with a VCS, nor do they require a vessel to take away vapor from facilities.”

“During marine tank vessel loading and other operations, the liquid loaded into a cargo tank displaces vapors within the tank. Vapors are also generated because of vapor growth from liquid evaporation. The emitted vapors of certain cargoes contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other air pollutants. CAA 90 requires that these vapors be controlled in air quality non-attainment areas. Under CAA 90, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues national standards for control of VOCs and other air pollutants emitted during marine tank vessel operations. 40 CFR 63.560- 63.568. CAA 90 also authorizes Federal and State regulations to set vapor emission standards and to require that marine terminals and tank vessels be equipped with VCSs. These systems are used to collect and process VOCs and other air pollutants emitted during loading and other operations of marine tank vessels.

“Today, VCS design and technology are more advanced than they were in 1990, and VCSs control more types of vapor than the crude oil, gasoline blend, or benzene vapors to which they were limited in 1990, and the EPA and States now permit or require the control of vapor emissions from many other cargoes. See current EPA regulations in 40 CFR subpart Y, 40 CFR 63.560-63.568. In addition, EPA regulations now require marine tank vessels operating at major terminals that control VOC vapors to be vapor-tight and equipped with vapor collection systems. 40 CFR 63.562.

Current Coast Guard practice is to accommodate these design and technology improvements by using the exemption and equivalency determination provisions of 33 CFR 154.108 and 46 CFR 30.15-1 to approve individual applications by VCS owners or designers who can show that their improvements provide a level of safety at least equivalent to that provided by our regulations. Reliance on individual exemptions or equivalency determinations involves extra risk for VCS owners and designers, and extra review time for the Coast Guard. This rulemaking will reduce the need for individual exemptions and equivalency determinations, and therefore reduce Coast Guard administrative work, by updating our regulations to reflect more recent VCS design and technology. This is consistent with the principles of retrospective review outlined in section 6 of Executive Order 13563, ‘Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,’ 76 FR 3821 (Jan. 18, 2011).

“For cargo types and tank barge cleaning facility VCS applications that have emerged since 1990, we have provided safety guidance in the form of Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular 1-96 (included in our docket), developed in close consultation with the Chemical Transportation Advisory Committee (CTAC), a Coast Guard advisory committee that operates under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C. Appendix 2. However, safety guidance is not legally binding on industry, and reliance on exemption and equivalency reviews involves extra risk for VCS owners and designers and extra review time for the Coast Guard.

“Therefore, our goal has been to update our regulations to apply in a wider range of circumstances, and at the same time to eliminate a risk for industry and an administrative burden for ourselves. Our new regulations:

  • Reflect the expanded number and scope of Federal and State regulations for VCSs since 1990;
  • Reflect advances in VCS technology and operational practices since 1990, particularly in vapor-balancing operations, cargo line clearing operations, and multi-breasted tandem barge-loading operations;
  • Incorporate safety guidance and reflect VCS regulatory exemptions and equivalency approvals;
  • Provide new regulations for cargoes and operations, such as TBCFs, that have become subject to Federal or State regulatory expansion since 1990;
  • Provide for periodic operational reviews to ensure that VCSs are properly maintained and operated after they are certified;
  • Provide an alternate test program for analyzers and pressure sensors, in addition to existing 24-hour pre-transfer/cleaning instrument testing requirements, to provide greater regulatory flexibility;
  • Require certifying entities (CEs) to be operated by currently licensed professional engineers to ensure that certification is conducted by properly qualified professionals, and clarify the role of the CE in VCS design, installation, and hazard reviews;
  • Remove 33 CFR Part 154, Appendix B, which provides specifications for flame arresters and requires flame arresters to meet third-party standards, because of apparent lack of public demand for these devices;
  • Attempt to achieve greater clarity through the use of tabular presentation;
  • Update industry standards that are incorporated by reference into our regulatory requirements;
  • Phase in requirements for existing VCSs to moderate the economic impact of new requirements for those VCSs;
  • Make conforming changes in regulations other than 33 CFR Part 154, Subpart E and 46 CFR Part 39; and
  • Make nonsubstantive changes in the wording or style of existing regulations, either to improve their clarity or to align them with current Federal regulatory style guidance.”

 

MARITIME (U.S. COAST GUARD CRANE REGULATION OFFSHORE SUPPLY VESSELS) / Revision of Crane Regulation Standards for Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (MODUs), Offshore Supply Vessels (OSVs), and Floating Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Facilities.

“Revision of Crane Regulation Standards for Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (MODUs), Offshore Supply Vessels (OSVs), and Floating Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Facilities.” 

May 13, 2013. Notice of Proposed Rule Making.

NAVIGATION IN SURFACE TRANSPORTATION / U.S. Coast Guard and Research and Innovative Technology Administration (Volpe Center and Transportation Safety Institute) are considering future users needs of the “Nationwide Differential Global Positioning System – “designed to broadcast signals to improve the accuracy and integrity of [the GPS function] derived positions for surface transportation, as well as other civil, commercial, scientific, and homeland security applications”. Relevance: U.S. Department of Transportation and U.S. Department of Homeland Security investments beyond FY 2016.

“This analysis will be used to support future NDGPS investment decisions by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Transportation beyond fiscal year 2016. This notice seeks comments from Federal, state, and local agencies, as well as other interested members of the public regarding current and future usage of the NDGPS, the need to retain the NDGPS, the impact if NDGPS signals were not available, alternatives to the NDGPS, and alternative uses for the existing NDGPS infrastructure.” 

April 16, 2013. Notice; Request for Public Comments.

U.S. Coast Guard (Post-9/11 Port Security – TWIC) / The U.S. Coast Guard announces a public meeting May 2 in Seattle to invite comment on TWIC readers – as U.S. Coast Guard moves to a new set of requirements based on three levels of security sensitivity at ports.

“On March 22, 2013, the Coast Guard published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register (78 FR 17781), in which we proposed to require owners and operators of certain vessels and facilities regulated by the Coast Guard to use electronic readers designed to work with the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) as an access control measure. The NPRM also proposed additional requirements associated with electronic TWIC readers, including recordkeeping requirements for those owners and operators required to use an electronic TWIC reader, and security plan amendments to incorporate TWIC reader requirements.” 

… 

“The NPRM proposes TWIC reader requirements for vessels and facilities in Risk Group A. Under the NPRM, vessels and facilities in Risk Groups B and C present progressively lower risks, and would continue to follow existing regulatory requirements for visual TWIC inspection….” 

“Reader Requirements; Public Hearing” 

April 5, 2013. Notice of public meeting on proposed rulemaking; request for comments

April 4, 2013. Notice of public meeting on proposed rulemaking; request for comments.

In Houston Texas

U.S. COAST GUARD (TWIC PROGRAM) / For vessels and port facilities governed by the post-9/11 Maritime Transportation Security Act he U.S. Coast Guard issues a rule that heightens the TWIC reader requirements for the highest risk vessels and facilities.

The U.S. Coast Guard conducted a risk-based analysis of Maritime Transportation Security Act-regulated vessels and facilities to categorize them into one of three risk groups. “Risk Group A is comprised of vessels and facilities that present the highest risk of being involved in a transportation security incident (TSI). Vessels and facilities in Risk Group A would have new TWIC reader requirements under this rule. Vessels and facilities in Risk Groups B and C present progressively lower risks, and would continue to follow existing regulatory requirements for visual TWIC inspection.”

“Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC)-Reader Requirements” 

March 22, 2013. Notice of proposed rulemaking.

MARITIME (ENVIRONMENTAL & U.S. COAST GUARD AUTHORITY / Where U.S. Coast Guard finds that a foreign ship has violated U.S. federal environmental laws and international environmental treaties, (1) the U.S. Coast Guard has the authority to ban such ship from U.S. waters pending reinstatement of certificate of compliance, and (2) it has authority to set forth conditions required for such reinstatement.

Two additional key holdings: 

1. The U.S. Coast Guard does not have authority “to exclude a ship from U.S. waters for a term of years as an alternative to specifying conditions for reinstatement of the certificate”.

2. The U.S. Coast Guard did not violate ship owner / ship operator’s due process rights “when it revoked the ship’s certificate without a pre-deprivation hearing”.

Wilmina Shipping AS v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2013 WL 1225382 (U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, March 27, 2013). Free copy available here.

MARITIME (VESSEL CERTIFICATION IN MARITIME SECURITY PROGRAM) / “Availability of Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) 01-13, ‘Inspection and Certification of Vessels Under the Maritime Security Program (MSP).’ The MSP serves as a means for establishing a fleet of commercially viable and militarily useful vessels to meet national defense as well as other security requirements.”

February 28, 2013, Notice of Availability.

“The Coast Guard announces the availability of Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) 01-13, “Inspection and Certification of Vessels Under the Maritime Security Program (MSP).” The MSP serves as a means for establishing a fleet of commercially viable and militarily useful vessels to meet national defense as well as other security requirements. NVIC 01-13 sets forth the Coast Guard’s policies and procedures regarding the inspection and certification of vessels under the MSP. NVIC 01-13 provides a comprehensive approach to the MSP inspection process through the establishment of two levels of MSP inspection and oversight.”