Updated: USCG Maritime Security Regs

Wednesday, October 22, 2003
The U.S. Coast Guard promulgated its final regulations relating to maritime security. These regulations replace the interim rules issued on July 1, 2003 and take into account comments received thereon. Few substantive changes, though, have been made. The majority of the changes are in the nature of clarifications. The submission date for security plans was changed from December 29 to December 31, 2003. Vessel and facility security plans must be in full effect not later than July 1, 2004. Various alternative security programs submitted by specialized industry groups were approved. Overall, the Coast Guard is to be congratulated for its development of a program for enhancing U.S. maritime security while maintaining consistency with the international regime. The rulemaking fails, though, to acknowledge the ongoing dispute with Congress over whether this approach is consistent with that mandated by the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA). This leaves the owners and operators of foreign-flag SOLAS vessels stuck in the middle, with Congress having told them to submit security plans to the Coast Guard, while the Coast Guard says such submittals are unnecessary. The regulations are divided into General Provisions - 68 Fed. Reg. 60447; Area Maritime Security - 68 Fed. Reg. 60472; Vessel Security - 68 Fed. Reg. 60483; Facility Security - 68 Fed. Reg. 60515; Outer Continental Shelf Facility Security - 68 Fed. Reg. 60545; and AIS Carriage Requirements - 68 Fed. Reg. 60559. (Source: HK Law)

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