News Archives from 5-23-05 to 6-30-06

Coast Guard traffic restrictions for PWS - 06/30/2005

On June 30, 2005, the U.S. Coast Guard proposed Regulated Navigation Areas and Limited Access Areas for traffic operating in the vicinity of tankers transiting Prince William Sound. The proposed rules are temporarily in effect until October 11, 2005, but the Coast Guard is seeking comment on these rules. The comment period ends August 29, 2005. Complete information is in the Federal Register Notice posted below.

Proposed Regulated Navigation Area

Proposed Regulated Navigation Area

Coast Guard Nontank Vessel Response Plans reminder - 06/03/2005

Nontank vessel oil spill response plans - reminder On August 9, 2004, the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2004 (Pub.L. 108-293) was enacted into law. Section 701 of that Act amended the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) to require nontank vessels of 400 gross tons (ITC) and greater operating on waters of the United States to have oil spill response plans. The Act requires the owner or operator of such a nontank vessel to prepare and submit the oil spill response plan "No later than one year after the date of enactment of this Act" - which means not later than August 9, 2005. The Coast Guard has yet to promulgate regulations addressing this new provision [rulemaking projects generally take at least three years]. In view of the fact that the requirement is self-executing, the Coast Guard has issued guidance in the form of a Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular Persons submitting oil spill response plans consistent with the NVIC will be issued authorization letters, allowing continued operation of the nontank vessel for up to two years until the response plan is fully reviewed and approved by the agency. The Coast Guard requests that such response plans be submitted not later than July 9, so that it may examine the plans for basic consistency with the NVIC in time to issue the authorization letter by August 9. In summary, the response plan, at a minimum, must: (a) be consistent with the National Contingency Plan and applicable area contingency plans; (b) identify the qualified individual (QI) having authority to implement removal actions; (c) identify and ensure by contract or other approved means the availability of private personnel and equipment necessary to respond to a worst case discharge; and (d) describe the training, equipment testing, periodic unannounced drills, and response actions of persons on the vessel to be carried out in the event of an oil spill or substantial threat of an oil spill. Detailed requirements are addressed in the NVIC. The owner of a nontank vessel for which an oil spill response plan has not been submitted may find it difficult to limit liability in the event of a major oil spill. (6/3/05).

On February 4, 2005, the U.S. Coast Guard published Interim Guidance for the Development and Review of Response Plans for Nontank Vessels. A nontank vessel is defined as a self propelled vessel of 400 gross tons or greater that carries oil of any kind as fuel for main propulsion and that is a vessel of the United States or that operates on the navigable waters of the United States. The deadline for submittal of these vessel response plans is August 9, 2005. Complete details are in the Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular No. 01-05 below.

Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular 01-05

NVIC 01-05

Enforcement Policy

ADA COMPLIANCE GUIDELINES FOR PASSENGER VESSELS - 05/26/2005

On May 26, 2005, the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board published information in the Federal Register concerning Draft Accessibility Guidelines for Large and Small passenger vessels to be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The U. S. Coast Guard will be proposing regulations at a later date. This information asks for comments on the proposed guidelines and is a good opportunity for vessel owners to provide input on the proposed guidelines early on in the process. Complete information is in the Federal Register Notice posted below.

Proposed Guidelines for Accessibility Compliance with the ADA

ADA Compliance Guidelines

U.S. Coast Guard issues Safety Alert for PFD's - 05/24/2005

Recently during several annual inspections of small passenger vessels, Coast Guard Marine Inspectors discovered a number of problems with Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) manufactured by Atlantic-Pacific Manufacturing Co. (APCO). APCO formerly produced various types of PFDs including several sizes of unicellular plastic foam life preservers and is currently out of business. PFDs from other manufacturers could have similar problems. Complete information on the problem is included in the Safety Alert below.

USCG SAFETY ALERT Non-Serviceable and Substandard Type I Unicellular Plastic Foam Life Preservers

USCG SAFETY ALERT NOTICE

GCI PLans Submarine Cable - 05/23/2005

In May 2005, GCI Announced plans to install a new fiber optic submarine cable in the Juneau area. The cable will run between Lena Point and North Douglas Island. For more details see the attached notice from GCI below.

GCI NOTICE RE SUBMARINE CABLE

GCI CABLE NOTICE