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USCG Proposes Shipboard Oil Pollution Rules

The U.S. Coast Guard proposed rules that would require certain U.S.-flag ships to carry approved shipboard oil pollution emergency plans on-board to improve their response capabilities and minimize the environmental impact of oil spills. The notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) applies to U.S.- flag oil tankers weighing 150-gt or more, as well as all other U.S.-flag ships, not tankers, of400-gt or more. Foreign oil tankers of 150-gt or more and other foreign ships of400- gt or more will also be required to carry evidence of compliance with the regulation when in the navigable waters of the U.S.

The proposal would implement international requirements which became effective for new U.S. ships on April 4, 1993, and will become effective for existing U.S. ships on April 4,1995. The rules would have to cover contingencies from suspected spills to discharges of the complete cargo. The proposal requires owners or operators of all U.S. ships covered by the regulation to prepare and submit shipboard oil pollution emergency plans, prepared according to guidelines developed by the International Maritime Organization, to the USCG for review and approval. The NPRM provides a 60-day period for public comments, which must be received before April 18, 1994. Send comments to the Executive Secretary, Marine Safety Council (G-LRA-2/3406), U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters, 2100 Second St., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20593- 0001.

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