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Proposed Rule

Escort Vessels for Certain Tankers-Crash Stop Criteria

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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Coast Guard, DHS.


Notice of proposed rulemaking.


The Coast Guard proposes to make permanent the 1994 suspension of the crash stop requirements in our tanker escort rules.


Comments and related material must reach the Docket Management Facility on or before June 27, 2005.


You may submit comments identified by Coast Guard docket number USCG-2003-14734 to the Docket Management Facility at the U.S. Department of Transportation. To avoid duplication, please use only one of the following methods:

(1) Web Site:

(2) Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001.

(3) Fax: (202) 493-2251.

(4) Delivery: Room PL-401 on the Plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is (202) 366-9329.

(5) Federal eRulemaking Portal:

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If you have questions on this proposed rule, call Lieutenant Sam Stevens, G-MSE-1, telephone (202) 267-0173, e-mail: If you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Ms. Andrea M. Jenkins, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone (202) 366-0271.

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Public Participation and Request for Comments

We encourage you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting comments and related materials. All comments received will be posted, without change, to and will include any personal information you have provided. We have an agreement with the Department of Transportation (DOT) to use the Docket Management Facility. Please see DOT's “Privacy Act” paragraph below.

Submitting comments: If you submit a comment, please include your name and address, identify the docket number for this rulemaking (USCG-2003-14734), indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and give the reason for each comment. You may submit your comments and material by electronic means, mail, fax, or delivery to the Docket Management Facility at the address under ADDRESSES; but please submit your comments and material by only one means. If you submit them by mail or delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no larger than 81/2 by 11 inches, suitable for copying and Start Printed Page 15610electronic filing. If you submit them by mail and would like to know that they reached the Facility, 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 proposed rule in view of them.

Viewing comments and documents: To view comments, as well as documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to at any time and conduct a simple search using the docket number. You may also visit the Docket Management Facility in room PL-401 on the Plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

Privacy Act: Anyone can search the electronic form of all comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review the Department of Transportation's Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477), or you may visit

Public Meeting

We do not now plan to hold a public meeting. But you may submit a request for one to the Docket Management Facility at the address under ADDRESSES explaining why one would be beneficial. If we determine that one would aid this rulemaking, we will hold one at a time and place announced by a later notice in the Federal Register.


This rulemaking addresses “unfinished business” from 1994. In 1994, we published the final rule entitled Escort Vessels for Certain Tankers under docket number CGD 91-202, which adopted 33 CFR part 168 (57 FR 30058, Aug. 19, 1994). The rule drew on a study to determine the capabilities of escort vessels to control disabled tankers. The study was published in two parts (59 FR 1411, Jan. 10, 1994; 60 FR 6345, Feb. 1, 1995). Preliminary data for the second study became available after publication of the final rule, but before the rule took effect. This preliminary data indicated that it might be dangerous to implement the final rule's crash stop provision, 33 CFR 168.50(b)(2). Therefore, on November 1, 1994 (59 FR 54519), we suspended the crash stop provision before it could take effect with the other provisions of part 168. No further action was taken with respect to the crash stop provision, and it remains suspended today.

As long as the crash stop provision's suspension remains in effect, we must continue to report the CGD 91-202 rulemaking on the Uniform Regulatory Agenda of the United States, the Federal Government's official list of ongoing regulatory projects. CGD 91-202 appears in the most recent edition of the Agenda at 69 FR 73240 (Dec. 13, 2004). Twice each year, the Coast Guard spends valuable administrative time maintaining its Uniform Regulatory Agenda reports, whether or not a reported project is active.

For the reasons given under “Removal of Crash Stop Provision,” the Coast Guard maintains the position it first adopted in 1994, that the crash stop provision should not be implemented. Therefore, it is the Coast Guard position that the crash stop provision's 1994 suspension should be made permanent, thereby allowing us to complete the CGD 91-202 rulemaking.

Since 1998, the Coast Guard has used the Department of Transportation's Docket Management System (DMS) to make its rulemaking documents widely available to the public. DMS assigns unique docket numbers to each rulemaking, and the format of those docket numbers is not compatible with the Coast Guard's pre-1998 conventions for numbering dockets. Therefore, if we are ever to complete CGD 91-202 in a way that makes our actions visible to the public through DMS, we must complete it under a new, DMS-compatible docket number. For that reason, we opened the current rulemaking under DMS docket number USCG-2003-14734. In essence, when we complete USCG-2003-14734, we will also complete CGD 91-202.

Removal of Crash Stop Provision

We received two public comments in response to our 1994 notice suspending 33 CFR 168.50(b)(2). We have placed both comments in the docket for USCG-2003-14734. One comment supported the suspension. The other forwarded a copy of a technical evaluation of 33 CFR 165.50(b), but did not address the crash stop criteria at all. In 1995, the final results of the study of escort vessel capabilities showed that the crash stop criteria were not an effective performance characteristic for disabled tankers. Subsequently, we noted a significant increase in tractor tug availability in the waters to which part 168 applies, which allows for more effective response and action when a tanker becomes disabled. Taken together, these factors persuade us that the crash stop provision of 33 CFR 168.50(b)(2) should be permanently removed from our regulations. The remainder of part 168 would not be affected by this removal.

Regulatory Evaluation

This proposed 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. The proposed rulemaking will allow us to finalize the status quo and close out CGD 91-202.

Small Entities

Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), we have considered whether this proposed 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 application and impact of this proposed rulemaking is limited. First, the escort vessel regulations only apply to laden single hull tankers of 5,000 gross tons or more operating on Prince William Sound or Puget Sound. We estimate the number of these tankers is 18. This figure will diminish over time as these single hull tankers are phased out of service, as required by OPA 90. Second, small entities typically do not own or operate vessels of this size. These vessels are normally owned and operated by larger corporations, including subsidiaries of major oil companies. As the proposed rulemaking would finalize the status quo, we do not believe that we would be imposing any new burden on small entities.

Therefore, the Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. If you think that your business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction qualifies as a small entity and that this rule would have a significant economic impact on it, please submit a comment to the Docket Management Facility at the address under ADDRESSES. In your comment, explain why you think it qualifies and how and to what degree this rule would economically affect it. Start Printed Page 15611

Assistance for Small Entities

Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Public Law 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 consult Lieutenant Sam Stevens, G-MSE-1, telephone (202) 267-0173, e-mail: The Coast Guard will not retaliate against small entities that question or complain about this rule or any policy or action of the Coast Guard.

Collection of Information

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


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 proposed 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. This proposed rule would not result in Unfunded Mandates because it does not require regulatory actions that result in such expenditures.

Taking of Private Property

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

Civil Justice Reform

This proposed 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 proposed rule under Executive Order 13045, Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks. This proposed rule is not an economically significant rule and would not create an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that might disproportionately affect children.

Indian Tribal Governments

This proposed rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it would 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.

Energy Effects

We have analyzed this proposed 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. The Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has not designated it as a significant energy action. Therefore, it does not require a Statement of Energy Effects under Executive Order 13211.

Technical Standards

The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) (15 U.S.C. 272 note) directs agencies to use voluntary consensus standards in their regulatory activities unless the agency provides Congress, through the Office of Management and Budget, with an explanation of why using these standards would be inconsistent with applicable law or otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical standards (e.g., specifications of materials, performance, design, or operation; test methods; sampling procedures; and related management systems practices) that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies.

This proposed rule does not use technical standards. Therefore, we did not consider the use of voluntary consensus standards.


We have analyzed this proposed rule under Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guides the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have made a preliminary determination that there are no factors in this case that would limit the use of a categorical exclusion under section 2.B.2 of the Instruction. This proposed rule concerns regulations in aid of navigation and therefore we believe it should be categorically excluded, under Figure 2-1, paragraph (34)(i) of the Instruction. A preliminary “Environmental Analysis Check List” is available in the docket where indicated under the “Public Participation and Request for Comments” section of this preamble. Comments on this section will be considered before we make the final decision on whether this rule should be categorically excluded from further environmental review.

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List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 168

  • Marine safety
  • Navigation (water)
  • Reporting and recordkeeping requirements
  • Waterways
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For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes to remove 33 CFR 168.50(b)(2).

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1. The authority citation for part 168 is revised to read as follows:

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Authority: Section 4116(c), Pub. L. 101-380, 104 Stat. 520 (46 U.S.C. 3703 note); Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 170.1, para. 2(82).

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2. In § 168.50, remove and reserve paragraph (b)(2).

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Dated: January 18, 2005.

T. H. Gilmour,

Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Assistant Commandant for Marine Safety, Security and Environmental Protection.

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[FR Doc. 05-5970 Filed 3-25-05; 8:45 am]