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 March 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Workboats

Offshore: Seacor Raises the Bar Again

Long acknowledged as a firm to watch in U.S. crewboat and fast supply boat innovation, Seacor Marine will be attracting industry attention once again when its latest

Miami Tugboat Oil Spill: Coast Guard Respond

The US Coast Guard says that its crewmembers are responding to a fuel spill in the vicinity of Government Cut in Miami, following a leak discovered aboard the 95-foot tugboat 'Neptune'.

Shipbuilding: Vigor Industrial Grows Stronger

Vigor Industrial has ballooned from a modest shipyard in Portland, Oregon, to the largest shipbuilder in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Vigor increasingly thinks big and builds big.

Environmental

France's Oldest Nuclear Plant Shut Down After Incident

France's oldest nuclear power plant, Fessenheim, was shut down on Saturday following an incident at the facility away from the reactor which did not pose any danger, operator EDF said.

RS at SEA JAPAN 2014

Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS) was the only Russian company to take part in SEA JAPAN 2014 exhibition and conference – one of the major exhibitions of the maritime industry.

Years After BP U.S.Oil Spill: Compensation Battle Rages

Four years after the Deepwater Horizon spill, oil is still washing up on the long sandy beaches of Grand Isle, Louisiana, and some islanders are fed up with hearing from BP that the crisis is over.

Maritime Security

DP World Inaugurates Jebel Ali Inspection Facility

DP World informs it has inaugurated the largest and latest container inspection facility at its flagship Jebel Ali Port in Dubai. The new facility is one of the

Libyan Oil Port Re-Opening Delayed

Technical problems have delayed the reopening of Libya's eastern Zueitina oil export terminal after the government reached a deal with rebels to end an eight-month blockade of the port,

Coast Guard tactical air squadron holds change of command ceremony

Capt. Kevin P. Gavin relieved Capt. Donna L. Cottrell as commanding officer of Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron Jacksonville during a change of command ceremony at HITRON Friday.

News

Captain of Korean Ferry Praised Safety in Promotional Video

The captain of a ferry that sank off South Korea's southwestern tip with hundreds feared dead said in a promotional video four years ago that the journey was

Terex Corporation Announces Q1 2014 Financial Results

Terex Corporation (NYSE:TEX) will release its first quarter 2014 financial results on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 after market close. The Company will host a one-hour

Deadly Attack In Ukraine Shakes Fragile Geneva Accord

At least three people were killed in a gunfight in the early hours of Sunday near a Ukrainian city controlled by pro-Russian separatists, shaking an already

Barges

When Will Deep Sea Mining Commence? The Robot is Ready

The world's first deep sea mining robot sits idle on a British factory floor, waiting to claw up high grade copper and gold from the seabed off Papua New Guinea

Shipbuilding: Vigor Industrial Grows Stronger

Vigor Industrial has ballooned from a modest shipyard in Portland, Oregon, to the largest shipbuilder in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Vigor increasingly thinks big and builds big.

Tug on the Rocks, Lake Pontchartrain, Three Rescued

US Coast Guard 8th District says that it has rescued 3 crewmembers aboard the (uninspected) tugboat 'UTV Todd Michael' after it grounded on the rocks near the Lakefront Airport on Lake Pontchartrain.

Coast Guard

Container Ship Delivers First Boxes to Great Lakes Port

The US Coast Guard say that the 'Fortunagracht', a 450-foot Dutch-flagged container ship, has delivered the first-ever load of containerized cargo to the Great Lakes.

Coast Guard tactical air squadron holds change of command ceremony

Capt. Kevin P. Gavin relieved Capt. Donna L. Cottrell as commanding officer of Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron Jacksonville during a change of command ceremony at HITRON Friday.

Homeland Security Secretary Visits Ingalls Shipbuilding

Huntington Ingalls Industries' Ingalls Shipbuilding division apprises it has hosted a visit by Secretary of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and U.S. Rep.

Maritime Safety

Eugen Maersk 2013 Fire: Summary Findings

The Danish Maritime Accident Investigation Board (DMAIB) has issued a summary report in the English language concerning a fire outbreak aboard the container ship in the Gulf of Aden.

Container Ship Delivers First Boxes to Great Lakes Port

The US Coast Guard say that the 'Fortunagracht', a 450-foot Dutch-flagged container ship, has delivered the first-ever load of containerized cargo to the Great Lakes.

Captain of Korean Ferry Praised Safety in Promotional Video

The captain of a ferry that sank off South Korea's southwestern tip with hundreds feared dead said in a promotional video four years ago that the journey was

Government Update

China's Japanese Ship Detention Linked to Shrine Spat

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has sent a ritual offering to the Yasukuni Shrine, seen by critics as a symbol of Japan's past militarism, media reported on Monday,

Eugen Maersk 2013 Fire: Summary Findings

The Danish Maritime Accident Investigation Board (DMAIB) has issued a summary report in the English language concerning a fire outbreak aboard the container ship in the Gulf of Aden.

Reports: Brazilian Tycoon Batista Investigated For Financial Crimes

Brazils federal police have opened an investigation into former billionaire Eike Batista for financial crimes, including insider trading, manipulation of markets and money laundering,

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
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: 0.1669 sec (6 req/sec)