The U.S. Coast Guard's final rule
on "Fire Protection Measures
for Towing Vessels" is posted on the Federal Register dated August 28. The ruling fine tunes the fire protection measures for towing vessels implemented by an interim rule published on October 19, 1999, which is the result of public comments received. The changes clarify the comments for fuel shut-off valves, fuel-tank vents, design of fire-detection systems for engine rooms and safety orientations. These adjustments should lower the number and severity of injuries to crews; prevent damage to vessels, structures and other property, as well as protecting the environment. While the rule comes into force on September 27, 2000, owners of towing vessels will have until October 8, 2001 to install the required equipment.