It's Time for a Towing Vessel Inspection Rule

By Tom Allegretti, President & CEO of the American Waterways Operators
Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Last month, I had the opportunity to testify before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation at a hearing that examined maritime regulations. In what must have been a change of pace for Subcommittee members, instead of detailing the regulatory burdens facing the tugboat, towboat and barge industry, I urged them to exercise their oversight responsibility to ensure expeditious publication of long-awaited U.S. Coast Guard regulations regarding towing vessel inspection.
Said very simply, we need to get the towing vessel inspection rule done, and done right, right away. These rules will advance our shared goals of improving safety, security and environmental stewardship and cap two decades of tremendous progress along the road to greater safety on our nation’s waterways.
We have waited much too long.  Congress directed the Coast Guard to undertake the towing vessel inspection rulemaking more than nine years ago, in the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2004. Three years ago, frustrated by the slow pace of the rulemaking process, Congress set a statutory deadline of October 15, 2011, for issuance of a final rule – a deadline that passed nearly two years ago. Those facts alone create a cause for immediate action.
Equally compelling, however, is the opportunity that this rulemaking provides – an opportunity that we fail to seize each day that the rules continue on their slow course through the federal bureaucracy.  The towing vessel inspection rulemaking offers a historic chance to take safety in the tugboat, towboat and barge industry to a new level, not unlike the transformation of the oil transportation industry after the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. This rulemaking will raise safety standards throughout the tugboat, towboat and barge industry, incorporating and building on the safeguards that quality companies have already put in place and ensuring that all vessels achieve a minimum threshold of safety that is necessary to protect lives, the environment and property.
Further, the towing vessel inspection rules are the missing link in a journey of a continuous improvement that began more than 20 years ago. The Coast Guard, Congress, and our customers have all been active partners in that journey, encouraging and demanding that the industry strive daily to achieve the goal of zero harm to human life, to the environment, and to property as we transport the nation’s waterborne commerce. The journey has been marked by private sector leadership, including the AWO Responsible Carrier Program, the Coast Guard-AWO Safety Partnership, and rigorous customer vetting of companies and vessels, to name just a few examples. It has also been characterized by responsible public policymaking, from OPA 90 to the 2004 law that gave rise to this rulemaking to the inclusive and thoughtful process by which the Coast Guard has engaged stakeholders throughout the development of the towing vessel inspection rules.
That journey has produced meaningful results. A 2012 Coast Guard Report to Congress credited the combination of private and public sector initiatives with producing a dramatic decline in oil spills from tank barges. However, we have not yet achieved our goal of zero harm. The most important step that we can take – the critical missing link in the safety chain – is publication of the towing vessel inspection rule.
There should be no tradeoff between getting the rule done promptly, and getting it done right. The Coast Guard has had nearly two years to review public comments on the October 2011 notice of proposed rulemaking, and many of those comments echo very similar themes. There is a nine-year history of work by the congressionally authorized Towing Safety Advisory Committee and a strong public docket filled with the technical information the Coast Guard needs to finalize this rulemaking.  The regulated community is asking for this rule and bipartisan Members of Congress are calling for its publication.
We cannot afford further delays. We cannot afford to let sound public policy remain the victim of bureaucratic red tape. Two decades of progress are waiting to come to fruition. Now is the time to act.



(As published in the October 2013 edition of Marine News - www.marinelink.com)

Maritime Reporter August 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Workboats

Comprehensive Winch Outfitting for New Trawlers

Fishing company HB Grandi of Iceland recently awarded Naust Marine a contract for complete winch outfitting of three new 180 ft. fishing trawlers.   The contract,

MN 100: Elliott Bay Design Group

The Company: Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG) is a Seattle-based, employee-owned enterprise with offices in New Orleans and Ketchikan that provides full-service naval architecture,

CTruk Delivers Wind Farm Support Vessel

Shipbuilder CTruk Boats, a manufacturer of composite wind farm support vessels (WFSV), has delivered the second workboat in a two-craft order from CWind.   The

Environmental

Fishing Vessel Sinks, Spills Oil in Alaska

A 58-foot fishing vessel ran aground, sunk and spilled oil in Sitka, Alaska, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. No injuries have been reported, and there have

New Energy-saving Windshield on MOL MARVEL

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. today announced that it has started demonstration tests of a new windshield for containerships, which has the potential to reduce wind resistance,

Climate Change Will Forever Alter Key Ocean Microbes

Global warming will irrevocably mutate a micro-organism that plays a crucial role in the ocean food chain, reports a study.   Trichodesmium (referred to as “Tricho”

Maritime Security

Hoover Container Solutions Unveils Asset Tracer

Hoover Container Solutions, a subsidiary of Hoover Group Inc., and a global provider of chemical tanks, cargo carrying units and related products and services, has unveiled its new Liquitrac Tracer,

Willard to Supply Patrol Boats for the Philippines

The U.S. Department of State awarded a contract to boatbuilder Willard Marine, Inc., to provide the Philippine National Police Maritime Group with patrol vessels

Libya Plans to Sell Ex-rebel Tanker

Libya plans to sell a tanker that a former rebel group used in an attempt to bypass the Libyan government and export oil on its own last year, the Tripoli-based state prosecutor said on Thursday.

News

USCG AIS Mandate Resource Center Launched

McMurdo informs it has launched an online resource center at to help impacted vessel operators comply with the requirements of the United States Coast Guard (USCG)

Libya Plans to Sell Ex-rebel Tanker

Libya plans to sell a tanker that a former rebel group used in an attempt to bypass the Libyan government and export oil on its own last year, the Tripoli-based state prosecutor said on Thursday.

RYDLYME Marine Selects GoM Distributor

RYDLYME Marine has named R Carter & Associates, Inc. of Mobile, Ala. a new stocking distributor for the Gulf of Mexico area, targeting shipyards, larger workboats,

Barges

MN 100: Elliott Bay Design Group

The Company: Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG) is a Seattle-based, employee-owned enterprise with offices in New Orleans and Ketchikan that provides full-service naval architecture,

Kirby Selects ABS as Subchapter M Solutions Provider

Proactive effort shows commitment to safety and environmental protection. ABS, a provider of maritime shipping and offshore classification services, has been

Runaway Crane Barge Sinks on the Mississippi

The U.S. Coast Guard is working with a team of responders to recover a runaway crane barge that sunk near Convent on the Mississippi River.   The crane barge

Coast Guard

USCG AIS Mandate Resource Center Launched

McMurdo informs it has launched an online resource center at to help impacted vessel operators comply with the requirements of the United States Coast Guard (USCG)

USCG Hoists Ailing Man from Tug

A man believed to be suffering symptoms from a heart attack was medevaced from a tugboat Thursday morning.   A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew from Air Station Traverse City, Mich.

Fishing Vessel Sinks, Spills Oil in Alaska

A 58-foot fishing vessel ran aground, sunk and spilled oil in Sitka, Alaska, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. No injuries have been reported, and there have

Maritime Safety

USCG AIS Mandate Resource Center Launched

McMurdo informs it has launched an online resource center at to help impacted vessel operators comply with the requirements of the United States Coast Guard (USCG)

USCG Hoists Ailing Man from Tug

A man believed to be suffering symptoms from a heart attack was medevaced from a tugboat Thursday morning.   A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew from Air Station Traverse City, Mich.

Greece Wants EU Funding to Tackle Migrant Influx

Greece will ask the European Union for about 700 million euros to build infrastructure to shelter the hundreds of refugees and migrants arriving on its shores daily, the government said on Thursday.

Government Update

Willard to Supply Patrol Boats for the Philippines

The U.S. Department of State awarded a contract to boatbuilder Willard Marine, Inc., to provide the Philippine National Police Maritime Group with patrol vessels

Libya Plans to Sell Ex-rebel Tanker

Libya plans to sell a tanker that a former rebel group used in an attempt to bypass the Libyan government and export oil on its own last year, the Tripoli-based state prosecutor said on Thursday.

Former CIA Spy Ship Becomes Victim of Oil Slump

A ship built by the CIA for a secret Cold War mission in 1974 to raise a sunken Soviet sub is heading to the scrap yard, a victim of the slide in oil prices.   Christened the Hughes Glomar Explorer,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Navigation Pipelines Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.2418 sec (4 req/sec)