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DHS/USCG RIN: 1625-AB27 Publication ID: Fall 2011 
Title: Nontank Vessel Response Plans and Other Vessel Response Plan Requirements 
Abstract: This rulemaking would establish regulations requiring owners or operators of nontank vessels to prepare and submit oil spill response plans. The Federal Water Pollution Control Act defines nontank vessels as self-propelled vessels of 400 gross tons or greater that operate on the navigable waters of the United States, carry oil of any kind as fuel for main propulsion, and are not tank vessels. The NPRM proposed to specify the content of a response plan, and among other issues, address the requirement to plan for responding to a worst case discharge and a substantial threat of such a discharge. Additionally, the NPRM proposed to update International Shipboard Oil Pollution Emergency Plan (SOPEP) requirements that apply to certain nontank vessels and tank vessels. Finally, the NPRM proposed to require vessel owners and operators to submit their vessel response plan control number as part of the notice of arrival information. This project supports the Coast Guard's broad roles and responsibilities of maritime stewardship. 
Agency: Department of Homeland Security(DHS)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: Undetermined 
CFR Citation: 33 CFR 151    33 CFR 155    33 CFR 160   
Legal Authority: 3 USC 301 to 303    33 USC 1223    33 USC 1231    33 USC 3121    33 USC 1903    33 USC 1908    46 USC 6101   
Legal Deadline:
Action Source Description Date
Final  Statutory  Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010  04/15/2012 

Statement of Need: This rule implements the statutory requirement for an owner or operator of a self-propelled, nontank vessel of 400 gross tons or greater, which operates on the navigable waters of the United States, to prepare and submit an oil spill response plan to the Coast Guard. This rule specifies the content of a vessel response plan (VRP), including the requirement to plan for responding to a worst-case discharge (WCD) and a substantial threat of such a discharge as mandated in statute. The rule also specifies the procedures for submitting a VRP to the Coast Guard. This rule will improve our Nation's pollution response planning and preparedness posture, and help limit the environmental damage resulting from nontank vessel marine casualties.

Summary of the Legal Basis: Section 311(j)(5) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) (33 U.S.C. 1321(j)(5)), as amended by section 4202 of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90) (Pub. L. 101-380, 104 Stat 484); the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2004 (Pub. L. 108-293, 118 Stat. 102); and the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2006 (Pub. L. 109-241, 120 Stat. 516) sets out the statutory mandate requiring tank and nontank vessel owners or operators to prepare and submit oil or hazardous substance discharge response plans for certain vessels operating on the navigable waters of the United States.

Alternatives: In the development of these regulations, the Coast Guard considered four alternatives: Three regulatory alternatives and one non-regulatory alternative. The alternatives areĀ—(1) Establish regulations for the submission of NTVRPs to the USCG; (2) amend the tank vessel response plan (TVRP) regulations to incorporate NTVRPs; (3) acceptance of flag-approved SOPEPs; and (4) provide interpretive guidance through a USCG's Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC).

Anticipated Costs and Benefits: We are developing the cost and benefit estimates associated with this step of the rulemaking. The cost elements associated with this rule include: (1) Nontank vessel plan development, maintenance, and submission; (2) the service of an Oil Spill Response Organization (OSRO); (3) the contract with a Qualified Individual (QI) along with a Spill Management Team; and (4) training and exercises. We expect this proposed rule to provide quantifiable benefits in the form of barrels of oil not spilled into the water in addition to qualitative benefits, which include improved preparedness and reaction to an incident, including a worst-case discharge and improved effectiveness of onboard and shore-side response activities. In the 2009 NPRM, we estimated that the rulemaking would affect about 2,951 U.S. flag vessels and 1,228 associated planholders. We estimated the total 10-year present value cost of the proposed rule to U.S. flag nontank vessel owners and operators to be about $111.4 million at a 7 percent discount rate and $134.8 million at a 3 percent discount rate. We found the training and exercise requirements to be the most costly element or over 90 percent of the total discounted cost of the proposed rule for vessel owners. We estimated the total U.S. annualized cost of the proposed rule over the 10-year period of analysis to be about $15.8 million at both 7 and 3 percent discount rates.

Risks: Response plans are required by statute. A response plan will not prevent a discharge of oil, but it may help minimize the discharge and resulting damage to the environment. We estimate the proposed rule would prevent between 2,014 and 2,446 barrels of oil from being spilled into the water during the 10-year period of analysis.

Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  08/31/2009  74 FR 44970   
Public Meeting  09/25/2009  74 FR 48891   
NPRM Comment Period End  11/30/2009    
Final Rule  04/00/2012    
Additional Information: The docket number for this rulemaking is USCG-2008-1070. The docket can be found at
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes  Government Levels Affected: None 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Information URL:   Public Comment URL:  
RIN Data Printed in the FR: Yes 
Related RINs: Related to 1625-AA19, Related to 1625-AA26 
Agency Contact:
LCDR Kevin B. Ferrie
Project Manager
Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Coast Guard
2100 2nd Street SW, Stop 7581,
Washington, DC 20593-7581
Phone:202 372-1000