USCG Developing Rules Requiring Vessels To Respond To Oil Spills

Regulations mandated by Congress in the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to minimize the impact of oil spills include the requirements that all domestic and foreign tanker-type vessels operating in U.S. waters have onboard oil-spill-removal equipment as well as an oil-spill-response plan.

In an advanced notice of proposed rule-making, the U.S. Coast Guard is asking for public comment on the development of such regulations.

Each vessel's response plan would have to address a worst-case spill.

In addition, the vessel's owner and operator would be required to assure the availability of both personnel and equipment necessary to respond to the discharge of the vessel's entire cargo in adverse weather conditions.

After February 18,1993, a vessel would not be allowed to handle, store or transport oil unless the owner or operator had submitted a response plan to the Coast Guard for approval.

A vessel could continue to operate for two years pending approval of its plan if the owner or operator certifies that adequate private personnel are available to respond to a worst-case spill. The Coast Guard also invites comment on the type, quantity and capacity of on-board oil-spill cleanup equipment the vessels must carry. The regulations being developed would provide for the periodic inspection of the equipment and establishment of inspection standards.

Any comment on the proposed regulations should be mailed to the Executive Secretary, Marine Safety Council, G-LRA-2/3406, U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters, 2100 Second Street, SW, Washington, D.C., 20593-0001. For additional information, call (202) 267-1477.

Other stories from November 1991 issue


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