The Offshore Marine Service Association
(OMSA) applauds Congress
for its passage of the Security and Accountability for Every (SAFE) Port Act. The legislation contains a key provision that will help reduce the risk of terrorist activity in America’s offshore oil and gas sector.
Offshore drilling and production facilities have been vulnerable because there was not requirement for foreign vessels to report security information to the Coast guard when they go to work in offshore areas, according to OMSA. Currently, foreign vessels that call on U.S. ports are required to report information on crewmembers, vessel owners, cargo and the extent of their security plans. However, until now vessels that go directly to work on offshore lease sites were not required to submit any of that information, exposing offshore oil and gas sites to unacceptable security risks.
Under the specific measure passed by Congress as a part of the Port Bill, the Coast Guard must develop regulations within 180 days requiring foreign vessels that come to work in offshore oil and gas areas located in U.S. waters to file the same sort of information they file when they come to a U.S. port.
“This effectively closes a loophole that could have allowed a boat controlled by terrorists to slip into America
’s offshore energy facilities without anyone knowing it was there. Our offshore energy resources may represent haldf of our future domestic oil and gas supplies. That is too important to the nation to be put at risk,” said OMSA President Ken Wells.