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Proposed Rule

Seaway Regulations and Rules: Periodic Update, Various Categories

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking.

SUMMARY:

The Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) and the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) of Canada, under international agreement, jointly publish and presently administer the St. Lawrence Seaway Regulations and Rules (Practices and Procedures in Canada) in their respective jurisdictions. Under agreement with the SLSMC, the SLSDC is amending the joint regulations by updating the Seaway Regulations and Rules in various categories. The proposed changes will update the following sections of the Regulation and Rules: Condition of Vessels; Seaway Navigation; Radio Communications; and General. These proposed amendments are necessary to take account of updated procedures and will enhance the safety of transits through the Seaway. Several of the proposed amendments are merely editorial or for clarification of existing requirements.

DATES:

Any party wishing to present views on the proposed amendment may file comments with the Corporation on or before February 26, 2010.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments [identified by Docket Number SLSDC 2010-0001] by any of the following methods:

  • Web site: http://www.Regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments/submissions.
  • Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
  • Mail: Docket Management Facility; U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-001.
  • Hand Delivery: Documents may be submitted by hand delivery or courier to West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC, between 9 am and 5 pm, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

Instructions: All submissions must include the agency name and docket number or Regulatory Identification Number (RIN) for this rulemaking. Note that all comments received will be posted without change at http://www.Regulations.gov including any personal information provided. Please see the Privacy Act heading under Regulatory Notices.

Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to http://www.Regulations.gov; or in person at the Docket Management Facility; U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC, between 9 am and 5 pm, Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Carrie Mann Lavigne, Chief Counsel, Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, 180 Andrews Street, Massena, New York 13662; 315/764-3200.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) and the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) of Canada, under international agreement, jointly publish and presently administer the St. Lawrence Seaway Regulations and Rules (Practices and Procedures in Canada) in their respective jurisdictions. Under agreement with the SLSMC, the SLSDC is proposing to amend the joint regulations by updating the Regulations and Rules in various categories. The proposed changes would update the following sections of the Regulations and Rules: Condition of Vessels; Seaway Navigation; Radio Communications; and General. These updates are necessary to take account of updated procedures which will enhance the safety of transits through the Seaway. Many of these proposed changes are to clarify existing requirements in the regulations. Where new requirements or regulations are being proposed, an explanation for such a change is provided below.

Regulatory Notices: Privacy Act: Anyone is able to 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 Start Printed Page 4332behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 70; Pages 19477-78) or you may visit http://www.Regulations.gov.

The SLSDC is proposing to amend two sections of the Condition of Vessels portion of the joint Seaway regulations. Under section 401.10, “Mooring lines”, the SLSDC is proposing to permit vessels with synthetic lines to transit the Seaway with a spliced eye of 1.8 m instead of the current 2.4 m. The SLSMC has conducted tests regarding the effectiveness of the smaller spliced eye and has determined that a spliced eye of 1.8 m for synthetic lines is sufficient for safety purposes. In addition, two changes are proposed for section 401.12, “Minimum requirements—mooring lines and fairleads”. These proposed amendments would set specific requirements for each mooring line to ensure that safety is maintained through proper use of appropriate strength wire specific to vessel size. These changes are being proposed based on tests conducted by the SLSMC in conjunction with relevant stakeholders.

One change is proposed for the Seaway Navigation section. In section 401.52, “Limit of Approach to a Bridge”, vessels are required to proceed at a safe speed between whistle posts at bridges in order to come to a controlled stop before the limit of an approach sign. This proposed amendment is due to recent incidents involving vessels proceeding at a speed which did not permit a controlled stop, resulting in damage to the vessel.

In the Radio Communications section, two changes are proposed. The changes to section 401.61, “Assigned frequencies”, and section 401.63, “Radio procedure”, reflect the requirement that channel 12 is to be used in lieu of channel 13 in the Seaway Sodus sector. This change is based on two years of testing and troubeshooting radio problems on Lake Ontario that determined that channel 12 would provide a more effective communication medium than does channel 13. Corresponding edits have been proposed for Schedule III to reflect the channel change.

Two changes are proposed to the “General” section. In section 401.90, “Boarding for inspection”, vessels will be required to provide a safe and approved means of boarding for inspectors. Currently the pigeon holes used by inspectors to board vessels typically fill with ice and snow making access between the tug and barge a safety hazard. In section 401.94, “Keeping copies of documents”, a vessel will be required to keep, in either electronic or paper form: A copy of the vessel's valid inspection report; the rules and procedures; and, Seaway Notices for the current navigation year. The other changes to the joint regulations are merely editorial or to clarify existing requirements.

Regulatory Evaluation

This proposed regulation involves a foreign affairs function of the United States and therefore Executive Order 12866 does not apply and evaluation under the Department of Transportation's Regulatory Policies and Procedures is not required.

Regulatory Flexibility Act Determination

I certify this proposed regulation will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The St. Lawrence Seaway Regulations and Rules primarily relate to commercial users of the Seaway, the vast majority of whom are foreign vessel operators. Therefore, any resulting costs will be borne mostly by foreign vessels.

Environmental Impact

This proposed regulation does not require an environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act (49 U.S.C. 4321, et reg.) because it is not a major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.

Federalism

The Corporation has analyzed this proposed rule under the principles and criteria in Executive Order 13132, dated August 4, 1999, and has determined that this proposal does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant a Federalism Assessment.

Unfunded Mandates

The Corporation has analyzed this proposed rule under Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4, 109 Stat. 48) and determined that it does not impose unfunded mandates on State, local, and tribal governments and the private sector requiring a written statement of economic and regulatory alternatives.

Paperwork Reduction Act

This proposed regulation has been analyzed under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 and does not contain new or modified information collection requirements subject to the Office of Management and Budget review.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 401

End List of Subjects

Accordingly, the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation proposes to amend 33 CFR Part 401, Regulations and Rules, as follows:

Start Part

PART 401—SEAWAY REGULATIONS AND RULES

Subpart A—Regulations

1. The authority citation for subpart A of part 401 continues to read as follows:

Start Authority

Authority: 33 U.S.C. 983(a) and 984(a) (4), as amended; 49 CFR 1.52, unless otherwise noted.

End Authority

2. In § 401.10 revise paragraph (a)(3) and (b) to read as follows:

Mooring lines.

(a) * * *

(3) Be fitted with a hand spliced eye or Flemish type mechanical spliced eye of not less than 2.4 m long for wire lines and 1.8 m long spliced eye for approved synthetic lines;

* * * * *

(b) Unless otherwise permitted by an officer, vessels greater than 150 m shall only use wire mooring lines with a breaking strength that complies with the minimum specifications set out in the table to this section shall be used for securing a vessel in lock chambers.

* * * * *

3. In § 401.12 redesignate paragraph (a)(4) as (a)(3)(iii) and revise paragraphs (a)(1) introductory text, (a)(2), (a)(3) introductory text, and (b) introductory text to read as follows:

Minimum requirements—mooring lines and fairleads.

(a) * * *

(1) Vessels of 100 m or less in overall length shall have at least three mooring lines—wires or synthetic hawsers, two of which shall be independently power operated and one if synthetic may be hand held.

* * * * *

(2) Vessels of more than 100 m but not more than 150 m in overall length shall have three mooring lines—wires or synthetic hawsers, which shall be independently power operated by winches, capstans or windlasses. All lines shall be led through closed chocks or fairleads acceptable to the Manager and the Corporation.

(3) Vessels of more than 150 m in overall length shall have four mooring lines—wires, independently power Start Printed Page 4333operated by the main drums of adequate power operated winches as follows:

* * * * *

(b) Unless otherwise permitted by the officer, the following table sets out the requirements for the location of fairleads or closed chocks for vessels of 100 m or more in overall length.

* * * * *

4. In § 401.52, add a new paragraph (c) to read as follows:

Limit of approach to a bridge.
* * * * *

(c) All vessels are to proceed at a safe speed between the whistle signs at bridges so that a controlled stop, if necessary, can be achieved before the limit of approach sign at bridges.

5. Revise § 401.61 to read as follows:

Assigned frequencies.

The Seaway stations operate on the following assigned VHF frequencies:

156.8 MHz—(channel 16)—Distress and Calling.

156.7 MHz—(channel 14)—Working (Canadian Stations in Sector 1 and the Welland Canal).

156.6 MHz—(channel 12)—Working (U.S. Station in Lake Ontario)

156.6 MHz—(channel 12)—Working (U.S. Stations in Sector 2 of the River).

156.55 MHz—(channel 11)—Working (Canadian Stations in Sector 3, Lake Ontario and Lake Erie).

6. Revise § 401.63 to read as follows:

Radio procedure.

Every vessel shall use the channels of communication in each control sector as listed in the table to this section.

Channels of Communication

StationControl sector No.Sector limitsCall inWorkListening watch
Seaway Beauharnois1C.I.P No. 2 to C.I.P No. 6-7Ch. 14Ch. 14Ch. 14.
Seaway Eisenhower2C.I.P. No. 6-7 to C.I.P. No. 10-11Ch. 12Ch. 12Ch. 12.
Seaway Iroquois3C.I.P. No. 10-11 to Crossover IslandCh. 11Ch. 11Ch. 11.
Seaway Clayton4Crossover Island to Cape VincentCh. 13Ch. 13Ch. 13.
Seaway Sodus4Cape Vincent to Mid Lake OntarioCh. 12Ch. 12Ch. 16.
Seaway Newcastle5Mid Lake Ontario to C.I.P. No. 15Ch. 11Ch. 11Ch. 16.
Seaway Welland6C.I.P. No. 15 to C.I.P. No. 16Ch. 14Ch. 14Ch. 14.
Seaway Long Point7C.I.P. No. 16 to Long PointCh. 11Ch. 11Ch. 16.

7. In § 401.90, add a new paragraph (d) to read as follows:

Boarding for inspections.
* * * * *

(d) Vessels shall provide a safe and approved means of boarding. Pigeon holes are not accepted as a means of boarding and an alternate safe means of access between a tug and a barge shall be provided.

8. In § 401.94, revise paragraph (a) to read as follows:

Keeping copies of regulations.

(a) A copy of these Regulations (subpart A of part 401), a copy of the vessel's valid Vessel Inspection Report and Seaway Notices for the current navigation year shall be kept on board every vessel in transit. For the purposes of this section, a copy may be kept in either paper or electronic format.

* * * * *

9. In the appendix, Schedule III to Subpart A of Part 401—Calling-in Table, revise entries 18, 35, and 36 to read as follows:

Schedule III to Subpart A of Part 401—Callng-in Table

C.I.P. and checkpointStation to callMessage content
*         *         *         *         *         *         *
18. Sodus PointSeaway Sodus1. Name of Vessel.
Channel 122. Location.
3. ETA Mid-Lake Ontario.
*         *         *         *         *         *         *
35. Mid-Lake Ontario-Entering Sector 4Seaway Sodus1. Name of Vessel.
Channel 122. Location.
36. Sodus PointSeaway Sodus1. Name of Vessel.
Channel 122. Location.
3. Updated ETA Cape Vincent or Lake Ontario Port.
4. Confirm River Pilot Requirement.
5. Pilot requirement—Snell Lock and/or Upper Beauharnois Lock (inland vessels only).
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Start Signature

Issued at Washington, DC on January 21, 2010.

Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.

Collister Johnson, Jr.,

Administrator.

End Signature End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2010-1608 Filed 1-26-10; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-61-P