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American Shipper

Coast Guard posts interim security rules

Coast Guard posts interim security rules

   The U.S. Coast Guard Tuesday published six interim rules to implement maritime security requirements mandated by the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002.

   The interim rules detail how government agencies and industry should identify security vulnerabilities and to protect ports and vessels.

   The new interim rules are effective through Nov. 25. The Coast Guard did not publish a notice of proposed rulemaking, so they took effect upon publication in the Federal Register Tuesday.

   The six sections are implementation of national maritime security initiatives, area maritime security, vessel security, facility security, outer continental shelf facility security and automatic identification systems.

   The interim rules establish Coast Guard port captains as federal maritime security coordinators with responsibility for creating security committees comprising public officials and industry, plans and training exercises in each of 47 maritime areas.

   The rules require owners and operators of vessels and port facilities to designate security officers, develop and submit security plans by the end of the year, implement approved security measures for procedures such as access control and cargo handling within 12 months of the interim rule and comply with maritime security levels. The rules are based on international requirements and existing domestic policy.

   The Coast Guard also is requiring vessel operators to install and operate an Automatic Identification System to facilitate vessel-to-vessel communication and vessel-to-shore communication, which will help the agency monitor vessels and detect if they are in danger.

   “The regulations relating to vessel security matters, in particular, may not be the last word on this issue,” said Dennis Bryant, an attorney in Washington, D.C.

   The interim rules provide a 'framework of assessments and plans ' to provide consistency between ports,' the Coast Guard noted.

   'We recognize the need for industry to have requirements tailored to their specific and diverse operations, yet be afforded the consistency of the larger port-wide security measures. This said, no port has the same critical operations or geographic constraints, which makes mandating the same security measures ineffective,' the Coast Guard said.

      A public meeting on the interim rules will be held July 23, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, in Washington, D.C.

   The public may send in comments until July 31. The Coast Guard said it would issue final rules before Nov. 25 to replace the interim rules.

   For questions or more information, contact Suzanne Englebert, (202) 267-1103.

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