The USCG is looking for input on the current regulations associated with Tank vessel oil transfers. The request includes 12 topics for discussion. The topics include operations that have the highest risk of spilling oil. Night time and inclement weather are two specific areas of interest. The Coast Guard is also interested in information about additional equipment, manning standards, communications protocols and operations restrictions that could be required to help reduce the risk of oil spills. Additionally they are seeking comment on any regulations that conflict with existing state regulations on the topic. There is one question that stands out. “What international and industry consensus standards should the Coast Guard consider incorporating or conforming to, to further prevent oil spills from tank vessels engaged in oil transfer operations?”
It is a good sign when a regulatory body recognizes that an industry has standards already in place that may cover the regulatory concerns. Oil owners are not interested in spilling oil. There is a voluntary association of oil companies with a mutual interest in the safe shipment and terminalling of crude oil, products, petrochemicals and gas. The association is known as OCIMF or the Oil Companies International Marine Forum. OCIMF has launched a new system that focuses directly at setting high safety standards for Marine Terminals. Dubbed the Marine Terminal Information System (MTIS), it is meant to collect all information associated with terminals in a manner that is accessible by all valid stakeholders to aid in the safety management of the terminals and oil transfers that occur there. Embedded in the MTIS is the Marine Terminal Management and Self-Assessment (MTMSA) guide. This guide provides a template for terminal operators to benchmark and continuously improve safety in terminal operations. This guide is certainly industry consensus standard that could be considered by the Coast Guard in their assessment of the current regulations.
Have thoughts on input to the USCG? Then comment below or contact us, and we will make sure that we aggregate your comments in our ongoing activities with the USCG, trade associations, and regulatory agencies that we are in contact with.