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

Workboats

Louisiana International Marine Signs on with Helm CONNECT

Software developer Helm Operations has signed on offshore rig moving and ocean towing services company Louisiana International Marine (LIM) to its Helm CONNECT Preventive Maintenance software.

Willard Adds Sales Manager for Gulf Coast, Florida

Willard Marine, Inc. has hired Jimmy Sorenson as regional sales manager for the Gulf Coast and Florida.   Sorenson served 11 years with the U.S. Coast Guard in

Thoma-Sea Launches US-flagged OSV

Technology Associates, Inc. (TAI) of New Orleans, La., announced that another derivative of a vessel built from TAI’s EnviroMax designs was launched.   Thoma-Sea Marine Constructors,

Environmental

Shell's Arctic Return Faces Hurdle at Seattle Port

Royal Dutch Shell's quest to return to Arctic drilling for the first time in three years could face delays after Seattle ruled that the city's port must apply for

Jotun Reports Boosted Interest in Mesh-Free PFP Coating

Jotachar JF750, the mesh-free Passive Fire Protection (PFP) for all jet fire scenarios, an epoxy coating system for structural steel, has generated industry interest,

OTC 2015: ABS Addresses Improved Jackup Safety

Multi-pronged program promotes safe jackup operations.   ABS, a leading provider of maritime and offshore classification services, is investing in research and

Maritime Security

Ingalls-built National Security Cutter Completes Acceptance Trials

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) announced today that the company's fifth U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter (NSC), James (WMSL 754), has completed her acceptance trials.

Baltic Military Shadow-boxing Said to Reach Cold War Levels

A daily game of Cold War cat-and-mouse is ratcheting up tensions in the Baltic and drawing the biggest military presence into the region for over 20 years, Swedish military officials say.

Willard to Present at High Speed Boat Operations Forum

Willard Marine, a manufacturer of aluminum and fiberglass commercial and military boats, will present at the High Speed Boat Operations (HSBO) Forum in Lisbon, Portugal from May 4-6.

News

Ingalls-built National Security Cutter Completes Acceptance Trials

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) announced today that the company's fifth U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter (NSC), James (WMSL 754), has completed her acceptance trials.

Louisiana International Marine Signs on with Helm CONNECT

Software developer Helm Operations has signed on offshore rig moving and ocean towing services company Louisiana International Marine (LIM) to its Helm CONNECT Preventive Maintenance software.

Shell's Arctic Return Faces Hurdle at Seattle Port

Royal Dutch Shell's quest to return to Arctic drilling for the first time in three years could face delays after Seattle ruled that the city's port must apply for

Coast Guard

Ingalls-built National Security Cutter Completes Acceptance Trials

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) announced today that the company's fifth U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter (NSC), James (WMSL 754), has completed her acceptance trials.

USCG Monitors LNG Carrier Repair in Alaska

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) is monitoring repairs aboard the liquid natural gas (LNG) carrier Excel in Homer, Alaska.    The vessel was received an order from

6,800 Migrants Rescued as Med Seas Abate

One of busiest weekends for sea crossings this year. Around 6,800 migrants were rescued from overcrowded boats crossing to Europe over the weekend, including

Maritime Safety

USCG Monitors LNG Carrier Repair in Alaska

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) is monitoring repairs aboard the liquid natural gas (LNG) carrier Excel in Homer, Alaska.    The vessel was received an order from

IMCA Publishes Guidelines for DP OSV Safe Operations

Reliable and robust methods of positioning are required for safe vessel operations in close proximity to offshore installations. Dynamic positioning (DP) is well-established

6,800 Migrants Rescued as Med Seas Abate

One of busiest weekends for sea crossings this year. Around 6,800 migrants were rescued from overcrowded boats crossing to Europe over the weekend, including

Government Update

Baltic Military Shadow-boxing Said to Reach Cold War Levels

A daily game of Cold War cat-and-mouse is ratcheting up tensions in the Baltic and drawing the biggest military presence into the region for over 20 years, Swedish military officials say.

AAPA Supports 'Move America Act'

'Move America Act of 2015' would help fund landside improvements to U.S. ports -APPA   The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA)—the unified and recognized

US Warships Accompany British Commercial Ships in Strait

U.S. Navy warships have begun accompanying British-flagged commercial vessels through the Strait of Hormuz as a result of Iran's detention of a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship last week,

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction 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: 0.3028 sec (3 req/sec)