The Alternative Compliance Procedure schemes operated in Alaska by both Alaska Maritime Prevention & Response Network and 1-Call Alaska have been given approval by the USCG to continue their operations until 2021, although the Network’s tanker APC has only been extended until the end of this year.
Vessel Response Plans
Responding to the recent report by RORC on US marine firefighting, the president of the American Salvage Association, Jim Elliott, noted that the salvage industry is meeting US regulatory requirements and it can continuously improve the nation’s salvage and marine firefighting capabilities, but within a regulatory system that is working and evolving.
USCG informed of how Subchapter M may affect a towing vessel’s ability to be used as a resource provider in a Vessel Response Plan, from two perspectives: the towing vessel owner/operator and the VRP holder. USCG will begin enforcing Subchapter M towing vessel regulations, on 20 July 2018.
VRP activation is an area of confusion for masters and response plan holders over the threshold for activating a response plan and which of their actions actually constitute plan activation. Christopher Friese, Commercial Vessel Safety Specialist, attempts to clarify when plan activation occurs and which situations require plan activation.
USCG issued a bulletin providing clarifications on activation of a vessel response plan and when and how deviation from listed response resources may occur. Failure to activate a plan quickly or failure to use pre-contracted resources can result in delayed response and exacerbate potential environmental damages, USCG warned.
The US Marine Spill Response Corporation and the US National Response Center informed that, with effect from 1 January 2018, will provide directly all the required Oil Spill Removal Organization coverage in Hawaii.
The US Coast Guard issued a notice announcing the availability of the updated alternative planning criteria national guidelines for vessel response plans (VRPs). These national guidelines provide the maritime industry with updated information on developing and submitting alternative planning criteria alternatives). Furthermore, they facilitate consistency in the Coast Guard’s review of proposed alternatives.
USCG issued a bulletin to provide frequently asked questions regarding the new 2016 National Preparedness for Response Exercise Program guidelines as they pertain to Salvage and Marine Fire Fighting (SMFF) exercises and Government Initiated Unannounced Exercises.
The Britannia P&I Club has issued circular to provide latest updates regarding US Vessel Response Plans at Alaska and Oregon.
USCG’s article provides a brief background of the Coast Guard’s role in vessel planning for salvage and marine firefighting response and current activity related to implementation of recent salvage and marine firefighting regulations.
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