The final report and all public comments are in our online docket at http://www.regulations.gov and can be viewed by following that Web site's instructions. The digital size of the final report is in excess of 100 MB which may prevent some people from being able to download and view it. For those unable to download the digital file at http://www.regulations.gov, please contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to request a digital file or a printed copy of the report.
The Coast Guard announced a port access route study of the Bering Strait in the Federal Register on November 8, 2010 (75 FR 68568). The purpose of the PARS was to solicit public comments on whether a vessel routing system was needed and if it could increase vessel safety in the area. At that time the Coast Guard did not propose a specific vessel routing system, but instead sought more general comments about whether a vessel routing system was needed or advisable in the study area. The Coast Guard received twenty five comments, and after reviewing them, determined that a specific vessel route needed to be proposed so more specific comments and concerns could be gathered and evaluated before determining if a routing system would be beneficial. The Coast Guard further determined that the study area should include a larger geographic area than was initially studied before finalizing the study and publishing the results.
On December 5, 2014 the Coast Guard announced via the Federal Register (79 FR 72157) its intent to continue the PARS started in 2010 by expanding the study area to include most of the Bering Sea, proposing a two-way route as a vessel routing system and requesting additional public comments. The Coast Guard's goal of the study remained the same in that the study was focused on gathering factual and relevant information to aid the Coast Guard in reducing the risk of marine casualties and increasing the efficiency of vessel traffic in the region. The Coast Guard received twenty nine comments in response to this request for comment and after reviewing them, developed the PARS report. The preliminary findings in this report include some changes to previous proposals on which the Coast Guard solicited comments. Additional waypoints have been added to the proposed route, and Areas to Be Avoided (ATBA's) have been proposed as additional routing measures. Upon review of any public comments received in response to this notice of study availability, the Coast Guard may adjust the proposed route and ATBAs accordingly before submitting a final proposal to the International Maritime Organization for formal adoption.
This notice is issued under authority of 33 U.S.C 1223(c) and 5 U.S.C. 552(a).
Dated: January 17, 2017.
M. F. McAllister,
Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, Seventeenth Coast Guard District.