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Rule

Security and Safety Zone: Protection of Large Passenger Vessels, Puget Sound, WA

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

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AGENCY:

Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION:

Temporary final rule; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

Increases in the Coast Guard's maritime security posture necessitate establishing temporary regulations for the safety and security of large passenger vessels in the navigable waters of Puget Sound and adjacent waters, Washington. This security and safety zone will provide for the regulation of vessel traffic in the vicinity of large passenger vessels in the navigable waters of the United States.

DATES:

This temporary rule is effective February 8, 2003, until August 8, 2003. Comments and related material must reach the Coast Guard on or before April 30, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

You may mail comments and related material to Marine Safety Office Puget Sound, 1519 Alaskan Way South, Seattle, Washington 98134. Marine Safety Office Puget Sound maintains the public docket [CGD13-03-003] for this rulemaking. Comments and material received from the public, as well as documents indicated in this preamble as being available in the docket, will become part of this docket and will be available for inspection or copying at Marine Safety Office Puget Sound between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

LTJG R. S. Teague, c/o Captain of the Port Puget Sound, 1519 Alaskan Way South, Seattle, WA 98134, (206) 217-6232.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Request for Comments

We encourage you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting comments and related material. If you do so, please include your name and address, identify the docket number for this rulemaking (CGD13-03-003), indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and give the reason for each comment. Please submit all comments and related material in an unbound format, no larger than 81/2 by 11 inches, suitable for copying. If you would like to know they reached us, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope. We will consider all comments and material received during the comment period. We may change this temporary final rule in view of them.

Regulatory Information

We did not publish a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for this regulation. Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) and 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for not publishing an NPRM and for making this rule effective less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Publishing a NPRM would be contrary to public interest since immediate action is necessary to safeguard large passenger vessels from sabotage, other subversive acts, or accidents. If normal notice and comment procedures were followed, this rule would not become effective soon enough to provide immediate protection to large passenger vessels from the threats posed by hostile entities and would compromise the vital national interest in protecting maritime transportation and commerce. The security and safety zone in this regulation has been carefully designed to minimally impact the public while providing a reasonable level of protection for large passenger vessels. For these reasons, following normal rulemaking procedures in this case would be impracticable, unnecessary, and contrary to the public interest.

Background and Purpose

Recent events highlight the fact that there are hostile entities operating with the intent to harm U.S. National Security. The President has continued the national emergencies he declared following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks (67 FR 58317 (Sept. 13, 2002) (continuing national emergency with respect to terrorist attacks)), 67 FR 59447 (Sept. 20, 2002) (continuing national emergency with respect to persons who commit, threaten to commit or support terrorism)). The President also has found pursuant to law, including the Act of June 15, 1917, as amended August 9, 1950, by the Magnuson Act (50 U.S.C. 191 et. seq.), that the security of the United States is and continues to be endangered following the attacks (E.O. 13,273, 67 FR 56215 (Sept. 3, 2002) (security endangered by disturbances in international relations of U.S. and such disturbances continue to endanger such relations)). Start Printed Page 15376

The Coast Guard, through this action, intends to assist large passenger vessels by establishing a security and safety zone to exclude persons and vessels from the immediate vicinity of all large passenger vessels. Entry into this zone will be prohibited unless authorized by the Captain of the Port or his designee. The Captain of the Port may be assisted by other federal, state, or local agencies.

Discussion of Rule

This rule, for safety and security concerns, controls vessel movement in a regulated area surrounding large passenger vessels. For the purpose of this regulation, a large passenger vessel means any vessel over 100 feet in length (33 meters) carrying passengers for hire including, but not limited to, cruise ships, auto ferries, passenger ferries, and excursion vessels. All vessels within 500 yards of large passenger vessels shall operate at the minimum speed necessary to maintain a safe course, and shall proceed as directed by the official patrol. No vessel, except a public vessel (defined below), is allowed within 100 yards of a large passenger vessel, unless authorized by the on-scene official patrol or large passenger vessel master. Vessels requesting to pass within 100 yards of a large passenger vessel shall contact the on-scene official patrol or large passenger vessel master on VHF-FM channel 16 or 13. The on-scene official patrol or large passenger vessel master may permit vessels that can only operate safely in a navigable channel to pass within 100 yards of a large passenger vessel in order to ensure a safe passage in accordance with the Navigation Rules. In addition, measures or directions issued by Vessel Traffic Service Puget Sound pursuant to 33 CFR part 161 shall take precedence over the regulations in this temporary final rule. Similarly, commercial vessels anchored in a designated anchorage area may be permitted to remain at anchor within 100 yards of passing large passenger vessels. Public vessels for the purpose of this Temporary Final Rule are vessels owned, chartered, or operated by the United States, or by a State or political subdivision thereof.

Regulatory Evaluation

This rule is not a “significant regulatory action” under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, and does not require an assessment of potential costs and benefits under section 6(a)(3) of that Order. The Office of Management and Budget has not reviewed it under that Order. It is not “significant” under the regulatory policies and procedures of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

We expect the economic impact of this proposed rule to be so minimal that a full Regulatory Evaluation under paragraph 10e of the regulatory policies and procedures of DOT is unnecessary.

Although this regulation restricts access to the regulated area, the effect of this regulation will not be significant because: (i) Individual large passenger vessel security and safety zones are limited in size; (ii) the on-scene official patrol or large passenger vessel master may authorize access to the large passenger vessel security and safety zone; (iii) the large passenger vessel security and safety zone for any given transiting large passenger vessel will effect a given geographical location for a limited time; and (iv) the Coast Guard will make notifications via maritime advisories so mariners can adjust their plans accordingly.

Small Entities

Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), we have considered whether this rule would have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The term “small entities” comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 50,000.

The Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

This rule may affect the following entities, some of which may be small entities: The owners or operators of vessels intending to operate near or anchor in the vicinity of large passenger vessels in the navigable waters of the United States to which this rule applies.

This temporary regulation will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities for the following reasons: (i) Individual large passenger vessel security and safety zones are limited in size; (ii) the on-scene official patrol or large passenger vessel master may authorize access to the large passenger vessel security and safety zone; (iii) the passenger vessel security and safety zone for any given transiting large passenger vessel will affect a given geographic location for a limited time; and (iv) the Coast Guard will make notifications via maritime advisories so mariners can adjust their plans accordingly.

Assistance for Small Entities

Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), we want to assist small entities in understanding this proposed rule so that they can better evaluate its effects on them and participate in the rulemaking. If the rule would affect your small business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please contact one of the points of contact listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

Small businesses may send comments on the actions of Federal employees who enforce, or otherwise determine compliance with, Federal regulations to the Small Business and Agriculture Regulatory Enforcement Ombudsman and the Regional Small Business Regulatory Fairness Boards. The Ombudsman evaluates these actions annually and rates each agency's responsiveness to small business. If you wish to comment on actions by employees of the Coast Guard, call 1-888-REG-FAIR (1-888-734-3247).

Collection of Information

This rule calls for no new collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520).

Federalism

A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on State or local governments and would either preempt State law or impose a substantial direct cost of compliance on them. We have analyzed this rule under that Order and have determined that it does not have implications for federalism.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538) requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of their discretionary regulatory actions. In particular, the Act addresses actions that may result in the expenditure by a State, local, or tribal government, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100,000,000 or more in any one year. Though this rule will not result in such an expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble.

Taking of Private Property

This rule will not effect a taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630, Governmental Actions and Start Printed Page 15377Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property Rights.

Civil Justice Reform

This rule meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden.

Protection of Children

We have analyzed this rule under Executive Order 13045, Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks. This rule is not an economically significant rule and does not create an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that may disproportionately affect children.

Indian Tribal Governments

The Coast Guard recognizes the rights of Native American Tribes under the Stevens Treaties. Moreover, the Coast Guard is committed to working with Tribal Governments to implement local policies to mitigate tribal concerns. Given the flexibility of the Temporary Final Rule to accommodate the special needs of mariners in the vicinity of large passenger vessels and the Coast Guard's commitment to working with the Tribes, we have determined that passenger vessel security and fishing rights protection need not be incompatible and therefore have determined that this Temporary Final Rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it does not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes. Nevertheless, Indian Tribes that have questions concerning the provisions of this Temporary Final Rule or options for compliance are encouraged to contact the point of contact listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

Energy Effects

We have analyzed this rule under Executive Order 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use. We have determined that it is not a “significant energy action” under that order because it is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866 and is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy. It has not been designated by the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs as a significant energy action. Therefore, it does not require a Statement of Energy Effects under Executive Order 13211.

Environment

The Coast Guard's preliminary review indicates this temporary rule is categorically excluded from further environmental documentation under figure 2-1, paragraph 34(g) of Commandant Instruction M16475.lD. As an emergency action, the Environmental Analysis, requisite regulatory consultations, and Categorical Exclusion Determination will be prepared and submitted after establishment of this temporary passenger vessel security zone, and will be available in the docket. This temporary rule ensures the safety and security of large passenger vessels. All standard environmental measures remain in effect. The Categorical Exclusion Determination will be made available in the docket for inspection or copying where indicated under ADDRESSES.

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List of Subjects in 33 CFR part 165

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For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends

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PART 165—REGULATED NAVIGATION AREAS AND LIMITED ACCESS AREAS

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1. The authority citation for Part 165 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 33 U.S.C. 1231; 50 U.S.C. 191; 33 CFR 1.05-1(g), 6.04-1, 6.04-6 and 160.5; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.

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2. From February 8, 2003, until August 8, 2003, temporary § 165.T13-002 is added to read as follows:

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Security and Safety Zone

Large Passenger Vessel Protection, Puget Sound and adjacent waters, Washington.

(a) The following definitions apply to this section:

(1) Federal Law Enforcement Officer means any employee or agent of the United States government who has the authority to carry firearms and make warrantless arrests and whose duties involve the enforcement of criminal laws of the United States.

(2) Large passenger vessel means any vessel over 100 feet in length (33 meters) carrying passengers for hire including, but not limited to, cruise ships, auto ferries, passenger ferries, and excursion vessels.

(3) Large passenger vessel security and safety zone is a regulated area of water, established by this section, surrounding large passenger vessels for a 500 yard radius, that is necessary to provide for the security and safety of these vessels.

(4) Navigable waters of the United States means those waters defined as such in 33 CFR part 2.

(5) Navigation Rules means the Navigation Rules, International-Inland.

(6) Official patrol means those persons designated by the Captain of the Port to monitor a large passenger vessel security and safety zone, permit entry into the zone, give legally enforceable orders to persons or vessels within the zone and take other actions authorized by the Captain of the Port. Persons authorized to enforce this section are designated as the official patrol.

(7) Public vessel means vessels owned, chartered, or operated by the United States, or by a State or political subdivision thereof.

(8) Washington Law Enforcement Officer means any General Authority Washington Peace Officer, Limited Authority Washington Peace Officer, or Specially Commissioned Washington Peace Officer as defined in Revised Code of Washington section 10.93.020.

(b) Security and safety zone. There is established a large passenger vessel security and safety zone extending for a 500 yard radius around all large passenger vessels located in the navigable waters of the United States in Puget Sound, WA, east of 123 degrees, 30 minutes West Longitude. [Datum: NAD 1983]

(c) The large passenger vessel security and safety zone established by this section remains in effect at all times, whether the large passenger vessel is underway, anchored, or moored.

(d) The Navigation Rules shall apply at all times within a large passenger vessel security and safety zone.

(e) All vessels within a large passenger vessel security and safety zone shall operate at the minimum speed necessary to maintain a safe course and shall proceed as directed by the on-scene official patrol or large passenger vessel master. No vessel or person is allowed within 100 yards of a large passenger vessel, unless authorized by the on-scene official patrol or large passenger vessel master.

(f) To request authorization to operate within 100 yards of a large passenger vessel, contact the on-scene official patrol or large passenger vessel master on VHF-FM channel 16 or 13.

(g) When conditions permit, the on-scene official patrol or large passenger vessel master should: Start Printed Page 15378

(1) Permit vessels constrained by their navigational draft or restricted in their ability to maneuver to pass within 100 yards of a large passenger vessel in order to ensure a safe passage in accordance with the Navigation Rules; and

(2) Permit commercial vessels anchored in a designated anchorage area to remain at anchor within 100 yards of a passing large passenger vessel; and

(3) Permit vessels that must transit via a navigable channel or waterway to pass within 100 yards of a moored or anchored large passenger vessel with minimal delay consistent with security.

(h) When a large passenger vessel approaches within 100 yards of a vessel that is moored, or anchored in a designated anchorage, the stationary vessel must stay moored or anchored while it remains with in the large passenger vessel's safety and security zone unless it is either ordered by, or given permission by the Captain of the Port Puget Sound, his designated representative or the on-scene official patrol to do otherwise.

(i) Exemption. Public vessels as defined in paragraph (a) of this section are exempt from complying with paragraphs (e), (f), (g), (h), (j), (k), and (L) of this section.

(j) Exception. 33 CFR Part 161 promulgates Vessel Traffic Service regulations. Measures or directions issued by Vessel Traffic Service Puget Sound pursuant to 33 CFR Part 161 shall take precedence over the regulations in this section.

(k) Enforcement. Any Coast Guard commissioned, warrant or petty officer may enforce the rules in this section. When immediate action is required and representatives of the Coast Guard are not present or not present in sufficient force to exercise effective control in the vicinity of a large passenger vessel, any Federal Law Enforcement Officer or Washington Law Enforcement Officer may enforce the rules contained in this section pursuant to 33 CFR 6.04-11. In addition, the Captain of the Port may be assisted by other federal, state or local agencies in enforcing this section.

(l) Waiver. The Captain of the Port Puget Sound may waive any of the requirements of this section for any vessel or class of vessels upon finding that a vessel or class of vessels, operational conditions or other circumstances are such that application of this section is unnecessary or impractical for the purpose of port security, safety or environmental safety.

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Dated: February 8, 2003.

Danny Ellis,

Captain, Coast Guard, Captain of the Port, Puget Sound.

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[FR Doc. 03-7546 Filed 3-28-03; 8:45 am]

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