Page 22: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (March 2003)
Government Update intended. The MTSA Conference
Report, though, sheds some light on the issue. It appears that Congress was, in large measure, concerned with external impacts (particularly oil spills) that might result from a security incident.
The Conference Report cites the OPA 90 tank vessel oil spill response plans (VRP) and the non-tank vessel oil spill response plans required by several states as examples. It is recommended that the
Coast Guard include the Security
Incident Response Plan requirement in its interim regulations implementing the
U.S. VSP requirements.
Both the ISPS Code and the MTSA include provisions relating to training of personnel with maritime security responsibilities. It is recommended that the interim regulations (and even the final regulations planned for promulga- tion in November 2003) include no spe- cific training requirements. Rather, the
Coast Guard should seek public input on what training requirements should be established and should plan to include those requirements in a future version of the VSP regulations. The goal should be to develop a training standard consistent with the spirit of the International
Convention on Standards of Training,
Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW
Convention). Such a delay in the estab- lishment of specific training require- ments will provide training institutions time needed to develop curricula and companies time needed to send their personnel to the schools. It is important for the Coast Guard to signal its inten- tions early, in order for the regulated community to provide meaningful input and plan ahead. In similar fashion, the original OPA 90 regulations were inten- tionally vague regarding several issues that were fleshed out in the next iteration thereof, after vital experience was gained and public input was considered.
The amendments to SOLAS (with the exception of certain provisions related to
AIS) and the ISPS Code will come into effect on July 1, 2004. The Coast Guard
Notice states that the MTSA requires the oast Guard to issue a temporary interim rule as soon as practicable and goes on to say that the agency plans to promul- gate its temporary interim rule no later than June 2003 and its final rule by
November 2003. The MTSA, at § 102(c) (uncodified), requires the
Secretary to "establish the plans required under 70104(a)(1) of title 46,
United States Code, as enacted by this
Act, before April 1, 2003." This latter requirement relates to the Security
Incident Response Plans, which are dis- cussed above. It is recommended that the Coast Guard work diligently toward meeting the April 1 deadline, but accept the fact that not all deadlines can be met.
I seem to recall that not a single regula- tory deadline contained in the Oil
Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90) was met by the Coast Guard officer assigned to that project (myself). Deadlines such as this are excellent incentives, but not always within the realm of possibility.
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