Page 39: of Marine News Magazine (December 2019)

Innovative Products & Boats – 2019

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SPECIAL REPORT happening. Icebreaker Wind is a six turbine, 20.7-megawatt Association (OMSA), the mouthpiece of the domestic off- offshore demonstration project in Lake Erie. Once approved, shore marine transportation service industry, responded to it will be the ? rst freshwater project in North America. Con- proposed CBP Modi? cations to Jones Act rulings. This 10- struction is slated for 2022. The promise of offshore wind is year in the making process certainly is complicated – per- still a work in progress. A big part of the domestic offshore haps intentionally. And, as a result, as the New Year edges wind discussion involves the Jones Act. U.S. offshore opera- ever closer, OMSA is closely monitoring developments tors want to be a part of the promised coming boom and for there. According to OMSA, CBP “unconventional process”

U.S. boat builders, the coming boom can’t come a minute would negatively impact full enforcement of the Jones Act. too soon. But, when it comes to domestic offshore wind, In a nutshell, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) getting these renewable energy projects done is often more proposes to modify and revoke various prior ruling letters dif? cult than getting permission to build a re? nery. Opposi- relating to CBP’s application of the Jones Act to the trans- tion comes from many – sometimes surprising – quarters. portation of certain merchandise and equipment between

Nevertheless, wind is coming. The only question is: when? coastwise points. OMSA President Aaron Smith insists, “We appreciate CBP has again con? rmed that a number of previ- ously issued letter rulings are not consistent with the Jones

T e Advent of VIDA

Act and must be revoked or modi? ed. If CBP and DHS

US ballast water regulations made a sharp turn last De- cember. That’s when President Trump signed the Frank enforce the letter and spirit of this proposal, it will bene? t

LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018. That U.S. mariners and the workers in U.S. shipyards. The Jones

Act does not allow for the lateral movement of merchandise legislation contained Title IX – the “Vessel Incidental Dis- charge Act (VIDA),” a welcome legislative goal among by foreign ? agged ships and no amount of interpretive guid- ance changes that.” Stay tuned: this one is far from over.

many maritime business trade groups who had long com- plained that US ballast water regs were such a confusing mix of directions and requirements that compliance was

T e Tragic Conception Fire & Sinking almost impossible. Until now, ballast water has been con- On the morning of September 2, 2019, the 75-foot trolled on numerous regulatory fronts: through EPA’s ves- commercial diving vessel Conception, with 39 persons sel general permits (VGP) and the Nonindigenous Aquatic on board, caught ? re while anchored in Platts Harbor, off

Nuisance Prevention and Control Act and the National Santa Cruz Island in California. The vessel burned to the

Invasive Species Act as well as other U.S. Coast Guard waterline by morning and subsequently sank in about 60 and clean water legislation provisions. Beyond this, almost feet of water. Thirty-three passengers and one crewmem- twenty states further ‘Balkanized’ the critical issue by form- ber died, making this the largest loss of life in a US marine ing individual, sometimes obscure local statutes. Congress, casualty in decades. The tragic event reminds us that while with VIDA, ripped out this regulatory tangle. By 2022, most of the attention to passenger vessel safety is focused at the latest, the VGP will be gone, as will aquatic nui- on the chronic failures that regularly occur in developing sance and invasive species legislation. Instead of a permit, countries, these casualties can and do happen here, as well. discharges will be controlled via regulations. VIDA allows The NTSB is the lead federal agency for this investiga- states to participate in standards development, but keeps tion. Investigators are scrutinizing the wreckage, as well ? nal decisions within EPA and the Coast Guard. as reviewing current regulations regarding vessels of this type, year of build, and operation; early warning and ? re detection alarm systems; evacuation routes; training; and

CBP’s Proposed Rulings: current company policies and procedures. Those investiga-

Jones Act Implications

In late October, the U.S.-based Offshore Marine Services tions were still ongoing as this edition went to press. 39 MN

Marine News

Marine News is the premier magazine of the North American Inland, coastal and Offshore workboat markets.