Coast Guard tables Hudson River anchorage proposal

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(NEW YORK) — The U.S. Coast Guard has tabled a plan to allow new commercial shipping anchorages along the Hudson River, but environmental advocates say the fight is not over, reported.

The Coast Guard released a Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment (PAWSA) on Tuesday after public workshops last fall on a shipping industry plan to establish 10 new anchorages for commercial ships, mostly oil tankers, from Yonkers to Kingston. Shippers argued that the measure would help ensure safety for their vessels and crews.

Opponents, including environmental groups and elected officials from all levels of government, worried about the potential for oil spills — 11.5 million tons of petroleum product were moved on the Hudson in 2014 — along with quality-of-life and security concerns. More than 10,000 comments were made on the proposal.

In its assessment, the Coast Guard stated that it "has not yet made any decisions regarding establishing anchorages or using other waterways management tools to manage navigation risk on the Hudson River. The Coast Guard will use this PAWSA report, together with other information, to determine whether, and to what extent, regulatory actions are needed. During the PAWSA workshops we acknowledged that the existing anchorage regulations are unclear, and we are considering how those regulations could be made more readily understood. We have no outcome timelines at this time."

The Coast Guard did not, however, close the door on a similar proposal in the future.

"Any other substantive rule-making effort associated with the Hudson River will follow Coast Guard public notice and comment rule-making procedures to allow for public participation in the process," the PAWSA stated.

The assessment also recommended the creation of the Hudson River Safety Committee. The committee, the Coast Guard said, would bring together a number of representatives and open a dialogue on recreational boating and clarification of regulations.

Click here to read the story. Click here to read the PAWSA.

By Professional Mariner Staff