June 23, 2008
USCG to enforce non-tanker VRP requirement
The U.S. Coast Guard has published a notice in the Federal Register saying that from August 22, it will enforce the requirement for owners and operators of U.S or foreign flag nontank vessels operating in U.S. waters to prepare and submit a nontank vessel response plan (NTVRP).
"Considering that some nontank vessels still have not submitted a NTVRP to the Coast Guard and the risks associated with oil spills from large nontank vessels similar to the November 7, 2007, COSCO BUSAN oil spill in San Francisco Bay, the Coast Guard will, effective August 22, 2008, begin actively enforcing the 2004 Act by screening all nontank vessels prior to their port arrival for the submission of NTVRPs," says the notice.
"In an effort to devote our enforcement resources to those nontank vessels that pose the greatest risk in the event of a worst case discharge, this interim enforcement policy will focus on those nontank vessels of 1,600 gross tons or greater. For such vessels without a properly submitted plan, operational controls will be placed on the vessels by the Captains of the Port (COTP) under the authority of regulations in 33 CFR," the notice warns.
The NTVRP is broadly similar to the vessel response plan (VRP) required for a tank vessel.