This final rule affects all U.S. and foreign tank vessels carrying oil on U.S. waters. Tank vessels operating on U.S. waters are required to have a vessel response plan. The changes included in the rule clarify the salvage and marine firefighting services that must be identified in a response plan; establish criteria for vetting salvage and marine firefighting service providers; and set new response-time planning standards for each of the required salvage and marine firefighting services.
The changes incorporate by reference National Fire Protection Association Standards or Guides; require information in the response plan be consistent with applicable Area Contingency Plans and the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan; and require the addition of a drills and exercises section to vessel response plans.
These changes ensure that appropriate salvage and marine firefighting resources are identified in response plans and are available for responding to incidents up to and including the plan’s worst-case discharge scenario. This final rule follows consideration of public comments on its potential impact.
The Coast Guard welcomes review of the final rule and its supporting documents, which may be found on the docket at http://www.regulations.gov, docket number: USCG-1998-3417.