Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
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We encourage you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting comments and related materials. All comments received will be posted without change to
If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this rulemaking (USCG-2011-1024), indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation. You may submit your comments and material online or by fax, mail, or hand delivery, but please use only one of these means. We recommend that you include your name and a mailing address, an email address, or a phone number in the body of your document so that we can contact you if we have questions regarding your submission.
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In the late 1990s, the Coast Guard convened a national dialogue group (NDG) comprised of maritime and waterway community stakeholders to identify the needs of waterway users with respect to Vessel Traffic Management (VTM) and Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) systems. Those stakeholders, representing port authorities, pilots, environmental conservationists, the Coast Guard, and all major sectors of the U.S. and foreign-flag shipping industry were tasked to identify the information needs of waterway users to help ensure safe passage, assist in establishing a process to identify candidate waterways for VTM improvements and VTS installations, and identify the basic elements of a VTS. The intent of the NDG was to provide the foundation for an approach to VTM that would meet the stakeholders' shared objective of improving vessel traffic safety in U.S. ports and waterways in a technologically sound and cost-effective way.
The major outcome of the NDG was the development of the Port and Waterways Safety Assessment (PAWSA) process, which the Coast Guard established to open a dialogue with waterway users and port stakeholders to help identify needed VTM improvements and to determine candidate VTS waterways. PAWSA provides a formal structure for identifying risk factors and evaluating potential mitigation measures. The process requires the participation of experienced waterway users having local expertise in navigation, waterway conditions, and port safety. In addition, the Coast Guard includes non-maritime industry stakeholders in the process to ensure that important environmental, public safety, and economic considerations are given appropriate attention as risk-mitigation measures are selected.
The Coast Guard has conducted 47 PAWSA workshops in U.S. ports since the PAWSA process was developed in 1999, including one in Port Arthur, Texas, on September 21-23, 1999 and one in Lake Charles, Louisiana, on April 25-26, 2000. The Port Arthur, TX and Lake Charles, Louisiana PAWSA reports are publicly available on the NAVCEN Web site at
As a result of the Port Arthur PAWSA workshop, which determined that a VTS would provide the greatest potential to mitigate risk in the port, the Coast Guard added Port Arthur to the Port and Waterways Safety System (PAWSS) acquisition project. The PAWSS project's goal was to install a computer-based VTM system in VTS ports. The installation of the VTS system in Port Arthur began in 2004 with voluntary operations slated to begin in September 2005. Due to disruptions from Hurricane Rita, VTS Port Arthur provided limited services from September 2005 until February 2006 when the VTS attained full operational capability.
Although this proposed rule would change VTS Port Arthur from a voluntary system to a system of mandatory compliance for vessels transiting VTS Port Arthur, the Coast Guard does not believe it would alter vessel operations or impose new costs on industry or the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard makes this determination because, under 33 CFR 164.46(3), all vessels which would be affected by changing VTS Port Arthur to a mandatory VTS system are already equipped with Automatic Identification Systems (AIS). Because AIS carriage requirements are the sole cost item for vessels to comply with VTS requirements, have been in force since December 31, 2004, and currently include the VTS Port Arthur area under 33 CFR Table 161.12(c), we have determined that changing VTS Port Arthur to a mandatory VTS should not alter current vessel operations or impose new costs on either the industry or the Coast Guard.
This proposed rule would also expand the currently voluntary Port Arthur VTS area to include Lake Charles, Louisiana. The 2000 Lake Charles PAWSA study supported the establishment of a VTS in Lake Charles. Coast Guard data pertaining to commercial vessel activities indicate that commercial vessels that transit the proposed expansion area of Lake Charles satisfy the AIS carriage requirements established under 33 CFR 164.46(3). Therefore, the Coast Guard does not believe that expanding Port Arthur VTS to include Lake Charles, LA, would alter current vessel operations or impose new costs on industry or the Coast Guard.
In addition to making participation in the Port Arthur VTS mandatory, this proposed rule would consolidate and expand the two VTS Special Areas in Puget Sound. A VTS Special Area is defined in 33 CFR 161.2 as “a waterway within a VTS area in which special operating requirements apply.” The Coast Guard institutes a VTS Special Area when geographic or other conditions, such as concentration of vessels or vessels carrying particular hazards, make a portion of the waterway an inherently dangerous navigational area.
When the federal regulations for vessel traffic systems were first implemented in 1994 (59 FR 36316, July 15, 1994), the Coast Guard instituted two VTS Special Areas within the VTS Puget Sound. These VTS Special Areas serve to avoid having large vessels impeding, meeting, overtaking or crossing with each other's intended track in the constricted waters between the San Juan Islands in Puget Sound.
In addition to the two existing VTS Special Areas in Puget Sound, special operating requirements have traditionally been issued in the proposed expansion area by VTS Puget Sound due to the relatively restricted nature of these waters. The proposed rule would incorporate into a single consolidated VTS Special Area the waters of the two existing VTS Special Areas and the waters currently covered by these special operating requirements. Because this rule would simply consolidate existing vessel operating procedures within VTS Puget Sound, the Coast Guard does not anticipate that the expansion of this VTS Special Area would alter current vessel operations or impose new regulatory costs on industry. This codification simplifies
Finally, this proposed rule would make two minor updates to the VTS regulations. The first change adds Maritime Mobile Service Identifier (MMSI) numbers, which are required for any AIS equipment installation, to the table in 33 CFR 161.12 as a result of the installment of Automatic Identification System (AIS) base stations in the Louisville, KY, VTS Area and Los Angeles/Long Beach Vessel Movement Reporting System area. The second change removes an outdated reference to Dangerous Cargo, and adds an updated reference to Certain Dangerous Cargo in 33 CFR 160.204.
This proposed rule would revise regulations in 33 CFR part 161 as follows:
We propose to revise Table 161.12(c) in order to include the MMSI information for two ports and to include updated information pertaining to VTS Port Arthur. First, this rulemaking would update the entry for Louisville and Los Angeles/Long Beach by adding each VTS's MMSI to the table. Second, this rulemaking would update the entry for Port Arthur by adding the designated frequencies and updating its monitoring areas. Finally, this rulemaking would change the entry for Port Arthur from “Sabine Traffic” to “Port Arthur Traffic” to more accurately reflect the nature of the VTS and add a note to the table that the third monitoring sector for Port Arthur will have limited services until the Coast Guard has the capability to provide full services. This rulemaking would not make any other changes to table 161.12(c).
This rulemaking would amend 33 CFR 161.19(f) by changing the reference from “Dangerous Cargo as defined in 33 CFR 160.203” to “Certain Dangerous Cargo (CDC) as defined in 33 CFR 160.204.” In 2003, 33 CFR Subpart C was revised and the definitions were moved from 33 CFR 160.203 to 33 CFR 160.204 (68 FR 9544, February 28, 2003). This rulemaking would also remove the references to § 160.211 and § 160.213 because these sections no longer exist in the CFR. These are administrative changes with no cost impact.
This rulemaking would modify 33 CFR 161.55 by consolidating the two existing VTS Special Areas that are located within the Vessel Traffic Service Puget Sound Area. In addition to consolidating two VTS Special Areas into one, this rulemaking would expand the consolidated VTS Special Area to encompass an additional area of navigational concern that has traditionally been subject to special operating requirements. The existing VTS Special Areas include the waters of Rosario Strait and Guemes Channel. The consolidated VTS Special Area would be slightly expanded to add the nearby waters of Bellingham Bay, western Padilla Bay and the Saddlebag route that is located east of Guemes Island, in the vicinity of Vendovi Island. This single consolidated VTS Special Area would promote maritime safety by applying the VTS Special Operating requirements of 33 CFR 161.13 to certain classes of vessels, defined in 33 CFR 161.16 and 161.55, while transiting the VTS Special Area and by prohibiting those classes of vessels from impeding, meeting, overtaking, crossing, or operating within 2,000 yards of each other (except when crossing astern) while transiting within this VTS Special Area. This proposed rulemaking is in line with current practice and should not result in changes to scheduling, queueing or transit times. Additionally, this proposed rulemaking would make permanent the special operating requirements that VTS Puget Sound has imposed within these areas since the original rules in 33 CFR 161.55 were established in 1994.
We propose to add a new section that describes the Port Arthur Vessel Traffic Service area. The VTS area consists of the navigable waters south of 30°10′ N, east of 94°20′ W, west of 93°22′ W, and, north of 29°10′ N. This proposed change would establish mandatory participation in the VTS for all applicable vessels.
We developed this proposed rule after considering numerous statutes and executive orders related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses based on several of these statutes or executive orders.
Executive Orders 12866 (“Regulatory Planning and Review”) and 13563 (“Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review”) direct agencies to assess the costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. This notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) has not been designated a “significant regulatory action” under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866. Accordingly, the NPRM has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget.
A draft Regulatory Assessment follows:
This proposed rule would establish mandatory participation for the VTS area in Port Arthur, Texas and would consolidate and expand the VTS Special Areas in the Puget Sound Area to include Bellingham Channel, western Padilla Bay and the Saddlebag route east of Guemes Island.
The VTS system in Port Arthur was installed in 2004 and became fully operational in February 2006. Currently Port Arthur operates as a voluntary system. The proposed rule would make participation in the VTS mandatory for all vessels that are required to carry AIS equipment.
In 2003, the Coast Guard published a final rule (68 FR 60569, October 22, 2003) that harmonized the AIS carriage and standardization requirements contained in MTSA with the requirements of SOLAS. That prior rule established AIS carriage requirements for commercial vessels (33 CFR 164.46). As a result of this prior regulation, all U.S.-flagged commercial vessels that are required to carry AIS equipment for operation in the VTS under this rule have been in compliance since 2004. Similarly, foreign-flagged vessels have been required to carry AIS equipment under the SOLAS Convention since 2004. Because AIS carriage is required by regulation under 33 CFR 164.46 for commercial vessels, including those vessels that would be affected by this rule, we expect that there would not be additional costs to either industry or government resulting from this rule. A list of the categories of commercial vessels and the dates of compliance for AIS carriage are shown in Table 1.
The principal benefits of changing VTS participation from voluntary to mandatory would be to codify current practices and to provide VTS Port Arthur with full VTS authorities to direct and manage traffic in order to better prevent maritime accidents.
The proposed rule would also consolidate and slightly expand the current VTS Special Area in the VTS Puget Sound area. This requirement expands the zone in which entry into and movement within the special area is controlled by the VTS. These controls, designed principally for collision avoidance, are expected to expedite traffic movement within the special area. The VTS has put operating conditions in place in the proposed consolidated VTS Special Area since the VTS national regulations were established in 1994. The proposed rule would align the regulations with current practices already in place in the consolidated VTS Special Area and would not result in additional requirements placed upon vessels.
Due to the constricted waters within the San Juan Islands, special operating requirements have been instituted since the National VTS Regulations were first implemented in 1994 to avoid the risk of large vessels meeting, overtaking or crossing in this inherently dangerous navigational area. Vessel Traffic Service Puget Sound has consistently issued measures or directions to enhance navigation and vessel safety by imposing special operating requirements for vessels operating in Bellingham Channel, western Padilla Bay, and the Saddlebag route east of Guemes Island and in the vicinity of Vendovi Island due to the comparable restricted nature of these waters. Therefore, it is not anticipated that the expansion of this VTS Special Area would alter vessel operations.
Other minor administrative changes include updating the MMSI for Louisville and Los Angeles/Long Beach in Table 33 CFR 161.12(c). The proposed rule would amend 33 CFR 161.19(f) by changing the reference from “Dangerous Cargo as defined in 33 CFR 160.203” to “Certain Dangerous Cargo (CDC) as defined in 33 CFR 160.204.” This rulemaking would also remove the references to § 160.211 and § 160.213 because these sections no longer exist in the CFR. We expect these administrative changes to result in no additional costs to the public or industry.
Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), we have considered whether this proposed rule would have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The term “small entities” comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 50,000.
As previously discussed, the AIS carriage requirements were implemented by a prior regulation in 33 CFR 164.46, and all vessels which would be required to participate in the VTS are currently equipped to follow the regulations of their individual VTS areas. In addition, the consolidation and slight expansion of the VTS Special Area in Puget Sound merely codifies current operational practices, and would result in no additional equipment requirements. As a result, we expect that this proposed rule would not impose additional costs on vessel owners and operators transiting within either the Port Arthur or Puget Sound VTS areas.
Therefore, the Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this proposed rule, if promulgated, will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. If you think that your business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction qualifies as a small entity and that this rule would have a significant economic impact on it, please submit a comment to the Docket Management Facility at the address under
Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), we want to assist small entities in understanding this proposed rule so that they can better evaluate its effects on them and participate in the rulemaking. If the proposed rule would affect your small business, organization, or gov-ern-men-tal jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please consult LCDR Patricia Springer at 202-372-2576, email
Small businesses may send comments on the actions of Federal employees who enforce, or otherwise determine compliance with, Federal regulations to the Small Business and Agriculture Regulatory Enforcement Ombudsman and the Regional Small Business Regulatory Fairness Boards. The Ombudsman evaluates these actions annually and rates each agency's responsiveness to small business. If you
This proposed rule would call for no new collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520). Vessels affected by this rule would already be covered under OMB collection of information 1625-0112.
A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.
We have analyzed this proposed rule under that Order and have determined that it has implications for federalism. A summary of the impact of federalism in this rule follows.
Title I of the Ports and Waterways Safety Act (PWSA) (33 U.S.C. 1221
The Coast Guard has determined, after considering the factors developed by the Supreme Court in the consolidated cases of
While it is well settled that States may not regulate in categories in which Congress intended the Coast Guard to be the sole source of a vessel's obligations, the Coast Guard recognizes the key role that State and local governments may have in making regulatory determinations. Additionally, Sections 4 and 6 of Executive Order 13132 require that for any rules with preemptive effect, the Coast Guard will provide elected officials of affected State and local governments and their representative national organizations, notice and opportunity for appropriate participation in any rulemaking proceedings, and to consult with such officials early in the rulemaking process.
Therefore, the Coast Guard invites affected State and local governments and their representative national organizations to indicate their desire for participation and consultation in this rulemaking process by submitting comments to this NPRM. In accordance with Executive Order 13132, the Coast Guard will provide a federalism impact statement to document: (1) The extent of the Coast Guard's consultation with State and local officials who submit comments to this proposed rule; (2) a summary of the nature of any concerns raised by State or local governments and the Coast Guard's position thereon; and (3) a statement of the extent to which the concerns of State and local officials have been met. We will also report to the Office of Management and Budget any written communications with the States.
The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538) requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of their discretionary regulatory actions. In particular, the Act addresses actions that may result in the expenditure by a State, local, or tribal government, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100,000,000 (adjusted for inflation) or more in any one year. Though this proposed rule would not result in such an expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble.
This proposed rule would not cause a taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630, Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property Rights.
This proposed rule meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden.
We have analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 13045, Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks. This rule is not an economically significant rule and would not create an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that might disproportionately affect children.
This proposed rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it would not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.
We have analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use. We have determined that it is not a “significant energy action” under that order because it is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866 and is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy.
The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) (15 U.S.C. 272 note) directs agencies to use voluntary consensus standards in their regulatory activities unless the agency provides Congress, through the Office of Management and Budget, with an explanation of why using these standards would be inconsistent with applicable law or otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical standards (e.g., specifications of materials, performance, design, or operation; test methods; sampling procedures; and related management systems practices) that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies.
This proposed rule does not use technical standards. Therefore, we did not consider the use of voluntary consensus standards.
We have analyzed this proposed rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023-01
Harbors, Navigation (water), Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Vessels, Waterways.
For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes to amend 33 CFR part 161 as follows:
1. The authority citation for part 161 continues to read as follows:
33 U.S.C. 1223, 1231; 46 U.S.C. 70114, 70119; Pub. L. 107-295, 116 Stat. 2064; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.
2. In § 161.12, revise Table 161.12(c) to read as follows:
3. In § 161.19, revise paragraph (f) to read as follows:
(f) Certain dangerous cargo on board or in its tow, as defined in § 160.204 of this chapter.
4. In § 161.55, revise paragraph (b) and paragraph (c) introductory text to read as follows:
(b) VTS Special Area: The Eastern San Juan Island Archipelago VTS Special Area consists of all waters of the eastern San Juan Island Archipelago including: Rosario Strait bounded to the south by latitude 48°26′24″ N. (the center of the Precautionary Area “RB”) extending from Lopez Island to Fidalgo Island, and to the north by latitude 48°40′34″ N. (the center of the Precautionary Area “C”) extending from Orcas Island to Lummi Island; Guemes Channel; Bellingham Channel; Padilla Bay and southern Bellingham Bay (Samish Bay) south of latitude 48°38′25″ N.
The center of precautionary area “R.B.” is not marked by a buoy. All precautionary areas are depicted on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) nautical charts.
(c) Additional VTS Special Area Operating Requirements. The following additional requirements are applicable in the Eastern San Juan Island Archipelago VTS Special Area:
5. Add § 161.70 to read as follows:
(a) The VTS area consists of the navigable waters of the U.S. to the limits of the territorial seas bound by the following points: 30°10′ N. 92°37′ W., then south to 29°10′ N. 92°37′ W., then west to 29°10 N. 93°52′15″ W., then northwest to 29°33′42″ N. 94°21′15″ W., then north to 30°10′ N. 94°21′15″ W. then east along the 30°10′ E. latitude to the origination point.
Although mandatory participation in VTS Port Arthur is limited to the area within the navigable waters of the United States, prospective users are encouraged to report at the safe water marks in order to facilitate vessel traffic management in the VTS Area and to receive advisories or navigational assistance.
(b) Precautionary areas.
(c) Reporting points (Inbound).
(d) Reporting points (Outbound).
(e) Reporting points (Eastbound).