Passenger Vessel Association

 

Certain larger PVA vessels may be affected by a rule on vessel oil spill response plans proposed by the Coast Guard and published in the Federal Register of August 31, 2009.  Entitled “Non-Tank Vessel Response Plans and other Vessel Response Plan Requirements,” the proposal would implement a 2004 amendment to the Oil Pollution Act to require that some Non-Tank vessels obtain Coast Guard approval for and implement oil spill contingency plans. 

Most vessels operated by PVA members would not be affected, but any vessel of 400 gross tons (as measured by the standards of the international tonnage convention) would have to comply.  

The statutory duty for a covered operator to submit a spill response plan to the Coast Guard has been in effect for two years, but the Coast Guard has never promulgated a rule setting out exactly what should be contained in that plan.  This proposed rule is the Coast Guard’s belated proposal for such standards.  In the interim, PVA has provided its affected members with a response plan template that takes into account the recommendations found in the Coast Guard’s nonbinding Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC). 

PVA’s staff is currently evaluating the possible impact of the proposal for its members.  PVA will provide that analysis to members in the near future and will also prepare comments to submit to the regulatory docket. 

Comments are due by November 30, and there will be at least one public hearing, although the date and place have not yet been announced.

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