Circular issued by IG P&I Clubs for Tank and Non-Tank VRPs
The US authorities published their Final Rule addressing Non-Tank Vessel Response Plans (NTVRPs) in the Federal Register, Vol. 78, No. 189, on 30th September 2013, and all non-tank spill response plans and submit their Vessel Response Plan, to the US Coast Guard by 30th January 2014. All P&I Clubs in The International Group of P&I Clubs have issued similar circulars regarding the United States Vessel Response Plans.
The NTVRP final rule has both an effective date and implementation (compliance) date. The effective date of October 30, 2013 is when the final rule enters into force. The final rule also establishes January 30, 2014 as the date of compliance by which a vessel owner or operator is required to submit and operate under a vessel response plan that meets the new regulatory requirement.
For the purpose of preparing a Vessel Response Plan (VRP), a non-tank vessel is defined as a self-propelled, non-tank vessel of 400 gross tons or greater that carries oil of any kind as fuel for main propulsion and that operates on the navigable waters of the United States.
Non-tank vessel owners will be required to enter into contracts with oil spill contractors with sufficient response resources and dispersant capability to deal with a worst case discharge and to enter into funding agreements with salvors and marine fire-fighting resources. The requirements relating to salvage and marine firefighting have been dealt with in the earlier Circular issued by the International Group of P&I Club US Vessel Response Plans - Salvage & Marine Firefighting Requirements Final Rule - 30 September 2013. Deadline for implementation - 30 January 2014' dated October 2013.
In order to satisfy the spill response requirements, non-tank vessel owners will need to contract with either one of the main oil spill response organisations, Marine Spill Response Corporation (MSRC) or National Response Corporation (NRC). In the past, most International Group (IG) Clubs entered into retainer agreements with both MSRC and NRC in order that non-tank vessel owners could cite either or both of them in their California State vessel response plans. However, it is impractical for the IG Clubs to extend these retainer agreements to deal with the federal vessel response plan requirements and, in future, therefore, non-tank vessel owners will need to contract with either MSRC or NRC directly. Shipowners are recommended to liaise with their QI/plan writers who should be able to assist them in this regard. Both oil spill response organisations have issued spill response contracts which conform with IG guidelines.
Both MSRC and NRC are also able to provide the necessary dispersant capability to enable non-tank vessel owners to comply with the new regulations. MSRC is willing to provide this facility at no extra charge on terms that comply with IG guidelines. NRC is also willing to provide this facility but, in order to do so on terms which comply with IG guidelines, it is expected that they will levy an additional annual charge.
For further details Shipowners/Operators may consult the following websites:
Marine Spill Response Corporation- MSRC
National Response Corporation - NRC
Contact at MSRC:
Judith Roos - Tel (703) 326 5617 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact at MPA:
Brett Drewry - Tel: (480) 991 5599 - email@example.com
Contact at NRC:
Tel: (631) 224-9141 - firstname.lastname@example.org (Client Service Group) or
Bryan Bell (Primary) (631) 259-6664 - email@example.com
Deborah Wick (Alternate) (631) 892-3392 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Shipowners may also wish to consult with their VRP plan writers regarding their choice of the OSRO.
Both MSRC and NRC have the dispersant capability. Both introduced addenda to their contracts to provide for this service, and some of the terms of both addenda result in the owners incurring liabilities which fall outside the scope of club cover.
On 25th November, MSRC informed MPA tank shipowners that their dispersant addendum had been withdrawn in so far as tank shipowners were concerned. Therefore it will no longer be necessary to purchase additional insurance in regard to this addendum. Those Shipowners who have purchased the additional cover on an annual basis should contact their club managers. With regard to NRC it is possible to opt out of signing the Addendum and thus avoid the exposure to liabilities falling outside the scope of club cover by payment of an additional fee.
Tank and Non tank vessels
All tank and non-tank vessel shipowners are reminded that, whether they have cited NRC or MSRC in their plans, if calling at Hawaiian ports it will be necessary to cite Clean Islands Council in the VRP as well. The Clean Islands Council contract does not conform with the IG VRP guidelines. Therefore, signing their contract could result in Shipowners incurring liabilities which fall outside the scope of club cover.
All Clubs in the International Group of P&I Clubs have issued similar circulars.
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