USCG Waives Maritime Security Regulations for Some Facilities

The US Coast has just issued MTSA Policy Advisory Council Decision 02-11 (PAC 02-11), “Waiving Facilities that Transfer Certain Low Risk Commodities.” Owners/operators of MTSA-regulated facilities that transfer or store bulk commodities that are listed in the Decision as being low risk can, as long as they meet certain other conditions, apply to have the maritime security regulations in 33 CFR Part 105 waived as to their facilities.
The listed bulk commodities are not deemed likely to contribute to a Transportation Security Incident. “If storage tanks or transshipment areas containing these commodities were to be attacked it is unlikely there would be significant loss of life, damage to the environment, significant disruption to the transportation system or to the area’s economy.” Accordingly, the Coast is amenable to waiving Part 105 requirements for them. Many of the commodities listed in PAC 02-11 were dealt with in previous PAC Decisions that somewhat relaxed the requirements of the maritime transportation security regulations for those commodities.
Under PAC 02-11, a facility that meets the following criteria may apply to the cognizant Captain of the Port (COTP) to have its Facility Security Plan withdrawn. The facility would still remain subject to the regulations in 33 CFR Parts 101 and 103, however. To qualify, the facility cannot:
Be regulated under any other applicability factor;
Have storage capacity of more than 42,000 gallons of any other regulated substance;
Receive any vessels subject to SOLAS;
Receive any foreign-flag vessels;
Receive any passenger vessels certificated to carry more than 150 passengers.
Facilities that meet some, but not all of the above criteria may, pursuant to 33 CFR 105.130, forward a request for a waiver of the requirements of 33 CFR 105 at their facility to Commandant (CG-54).
PAC 02-11 indicates that it only relieves facilities of the requirements of Part 105 “and does not relieve the vessel of any requirements.” It also states twice that the bulk commodities covered by several listed PAC Decisions, such as drilling mud and brine, caustic soda, and asphalt, are included in this Decision, which accordingly supersedes all the earlier ones. The supersession is curious because some of the earlier Decisions also exempted certain vessels from the requirements of 33 CFR Part 104 (generally as long as if they were not subject to regulation under another applicability factor, were under 100 GRT, and did not undertake international voyages, although sometimes the exemption was limited to barges). So have these vessels now lost their exemptions? Or did PAC 02-11 really mean to say that the earlier Decisions were superseded only as to facilities?
For the complete list of bulk commodities deemed to be low risk, check out PAC 02-11, which may be accessed on the Coast Guard’s informational website, Homeport. First click on “MTSA” under “Featured Homeport Links” in the gray area on the right of the page. When that opens, click on MTSA/USPS Policy Advisory Council” under “FAQs” in the middle of the page. Then scroll down the list of “Supporting Documents” on the right until you find the link for “PAC 02-11 Low Risk Commodities.” Slightly confusingly, this link is not at the bottom of an otherwise chronological list of PAC Decisions. Instead, it’s third from the bottom, followed by two decisions from 2009.
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By Professional Mariner Staff