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Rule

Safety Zone; Underwater Object, Massachusetts Bay, MA

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.

Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION:

Temporary final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard is extending the duration of a temporary safety zone surrounding the location of the sunken fishing vessel PATRIOT located approximately 17 miles northeast of Scituate, Massachusetts in Massachusetts Bay. This action is necessary to ensure that vessels are not endangered by conducting dredging, diving, anchoring, fishing or other activities in this area. This temporary rulemaking is needed to protect the environment, the commercial fishing industry, and the general public from potential hazards associated with the underwater object and from the hazards associated with planned salvage of the vessel.

DATES:

This rule is effective from 11:59 p.m. March 14, 2009 through midnight May 20, 2009.

ADDRESSES:

Documents indicated in this preamble as being available in the docket are part of docket USCG-2008-1272 and are available online by going to http://www.regulations.gov, selecting the Advanced Docket Search option on the right side of the screen, inserting USCG-2008-1272 in the Docket ID box, pressing Enter, and then clicking on the item in the Docket ID column. They are also available for inspection or copying two locations: the Docket Management Facility (M-30), U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

If you have questions on this temporary rule, call or e-mail Chief Eldridge McFadden, United States Coast Guard, Sector Boston, Waterways Management Division; telephone 617-223-5160, e-mail Eldridge.C.McFadden@uscg.mil. If you have questions on viewing the docket, call Renee V. Wright, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 202-366-9826.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Regulatory Information

The Coast Guard is issuing this temporary final rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment pursuant to authority under section 4(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553(b)). This provision authorizes an agency to issue a rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment when the agency for good cause finds that those procedures are “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for not publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) with respect to this rule because initial immediate action was needed to protect the public from the hazards posed by an unknown underwater object located in Massachusetts Bay. This object was later identified as the F/V Patriot. The F/V PATRIOT is located in approximately 95 feet of water 17 miles northeast of Scituate, Massachusetts. This rule extends the duration of the existing safety zone, which would have expired on May 6, 2009, to ensure, to the extent practicable, the immediate, continued protections for the environment, the commercial fishing industry, and the general public from the hazards associated with the F/V PATRIOT, while investigative efforts continue, risk mitigation strategies are further explored and implemented, and salvage efforts are conducted. Specifically, this rule is being extended to facilitate and protect planned commercial salvage operations, which were unable to be completed during the prior extension. It would be contrary to the public interest for the existing safety zone to lapse on the eve of such operations.

For the same reasons, 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for making this rule effective less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Background and Purpose

On January 3, 2009, the F/V PATRIOT, a 54-foot steel-hull boat, sank with the loss of two crewmembers onboard. The vessel was reported to have an estimated 5000 gallons of fuel onboard. There were no survivors and the exact position of the vessel was not immediately known. On January 8, 2009, the Coast Guard established a temporary safety zone around a reported underwater object believed to be the F/V PATRIOT, located in Massachusetts Bay approximately 17 miles northeast of Scituate, Massachusetts, in position 42°24′27.34″ N, 70°27′17.23″ W. This underwater object created an immediate and significant danger to the environment, the commercial fishing industry, and the general maritime public, as mariners unaware of its presence could make contact with the object and cause damage to their vessel, equipment below the water or fishing gear. On January 14, 2009, the Coast Guard extended the temporary safety zone until March 14, 2009, while investigative efforts continued and risk mitigation strategies were further explored.

On January 23, 2009, underwater exploratory operations with photographic equipment confirmed that the object was the F/V PATRIOT. The owners of the vessel intend to conduct dive and salvage operations on the vessel. On April 14, 2009, the Coast Guard received a request to extend the safety zone until May 6, 2009 in order to conduct a salvage operation for the vessel. On May 6, 2009, the Coast Guard received an additional request to extend the safety zone as the operations had not yet been started. The Coast Guard has agreed to this extension of this zone, which will help ensure the planned dive and salvage operations can be conducted safely.Start Printed Page 22829

Discussion of Rule

This regulation extends the duration of the temporary safety zone on the navigable waters of Massachusetts Bay, Massachusetts, 17 miles northeast of Scituate, Massachusetts. This extension is necessary to allow the owners of the F/V PATRIOT to conduct salvage operations. The first safety zone, on this matter, was effective from January 8, through January 14, 2009. On January 14, 2009, the duration of the zone was extended until March 14, 2009 (74 FR 7817). A second extension was authorized on March 6, 2009 and published in the Federal Register (74 FR 14729) extending the duration of the safety zone from March 14, 2009 through April 28, 2009. A third extension was authorized on April 24, 2009 extending the duration of the safety zone through midnight, May 6, 2009. This regulation extends the duration of the safety zone until midnight May 20, 2009. This safety zone is in place to protect the public from the hazards associated with a salvage operation that was planned for, but unable to be completed in the last extension. The zone extends for 500 yards, in all directions, from the F/V PATRIOT in approximate position 42°24′27.34″ N, 70°27′17.23″ W. The position of the safety zone has been modified slightly from the prior safety zones so as to better identify its location.

This action is intended to prohibit vessels and persons from entering, transiting, anchoring, diving, dredging, dumping, fishing, trawling, laying cable, or conducting salvage operations in this zone except as authorized by the Coast Guard Captain of the Port Boston, Massachusetts. Public notifications about this safety zone have been and will continue to be made through broadcast and local notice to mariners. Marine traffic may transit safely in surrounding areas of Massachusetts Bay, but are restricted from entering the area delineated above.

The Captain of the Port anticipates minimal negative impact on vessel traffic due to the limited area and duration covered by this safety zone.

Regulatory Analyses

We developed this rule after considering numerous statutes and executive orders related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses based on 13 of these statutes or executive orders.

Regulatory Planning and Review

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.

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 transit, anchor, or fish in a portion of the Massachusetts Bay covered by the safety zone. This rule will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities for the following reasons: The area this rule is affecting is very small and there is plenty of water in the area for vessels to transit around.

Assistance for Small Entities

Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), we offer to assist small entities in understanding the rule so that they can better evaluate its effects on them and participate in the rulemaking process.

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). 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 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 Interference 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

This 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.Start Printed Page 22830

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

Environment

We have analyzed this rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 0023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have concluded this action is one of a category of actions which do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This rule is categorically excluded, under figure 2-1, paragraph (34)(g), of the Instruction. This rule involves pertains to a temporary safety zone established and extended to address an emergency situation lasting more than one week.

An environmental analysis checklist and a categorical exclusion determination are available in the docket 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. 1226, 1231; 46 U.S.C. Chapter 701; 3306, 3703; 50 U.S.C. 191, 195; 33 CFR 1.05-1, 6.04-1, 6.04-6, and 160.5; Public Law 107-295, 116 Stat. 2064; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

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2. Revise temporary § 165.T01-1272, to read as follows:

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Safety Zone: Underwater Object, Massachusetts Bay, MA.

(a) Location. The following area is a safety zone: All navigable waters, from surface to bottom, of Massachusetts Bay within a 500 yard radius of underwater object, in approximate position 42°24′27.34″ N, 70° 27′17.23″ W.

(b) Definitions. The following definition applies to this section: Designated representative means any commissioned, warrant, and petty officers of the Coast Guard on board Coast Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary, and local, state, and federal law enforcement vessels who have been authorized to act on the behalf of the Captain of the Port Boston.

(c) Regulations. (1) The general regulations contained in 33 CFR 165.23 apply.

(2) In accordance with the general regulations in § 165.23 of this part, all vessels and persons are prohibited from entering the safety zone without permission from the Captain of the Port Boston. In addition, all vessels and persons are prohibited from anchoring, diving, dredging, dumping, fishing, trawling, laying cable, or conducting salvage operations in this zone except as authorized by the Coast Guard Captain of the Port Boston.

(3) All persons and vessels shall comply with the Coast Guard Captain of the Port Boston or designated representative.

(4) Upon being hailed by a U.S. Coast Guard vessel by siren, radio, flashing light or other means, the operator of the vessel shall proceed as directed.

(5) Persons desiring to enter the safety zone may request permission from the Captain of the Port Boston via VHF Channel 16 or via telephone at (617) 223-3201.

(d) Enforcement Period. This rule will be enforced from 11 p.m. January 8, 2009, until midnight May 20, 2009.

Start Signature

Dated: May 6, 2009.

Gail P. Kulisch,

Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Boston.

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[FR Doc. E9-11325 Filed 5-14-09; 8:45 am]

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