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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Vessel Response Plans: Forging Better Plans Through Industry/Government Co-operation

Rapid and constructive response by USCG on VRP issue raised by INTERTANKO. INTERTANKO has pointed out that the vessel response plan, ("VRP") process of review and the substance of the existing requirements are in need of review and refinement. Both vessel operators and, we believe the Coast Guard, are overwhelmed with the burden of paperwork involved which should be reduced. Additionally, there are a number of issues that require attention to ensure that all interested parties are reacting to the provisions of the final rule on VRPs in a constructive manner.

An INTERTANKO paper on this by Charles Corbett, Corbett and Holt. L.L.C. and INTERTANKO’s Legal Counsel, Svein Ringbakken, was presented at the 1997 International Oil Spill Conference in Fort Lauderdale in April. It was suggested that better vessel oil spill contingency planning could be achieved through industry/ government co-operation.

Sources in the Coast Guard involved in the Coast Guard’s VRP review/approval matters has informed INTERTANKO that the Coast Guard plans to convene a "focus group" in Washington to review the effectiveness of the VRP program. We understand that the focus group will look at problems areas as well as on what is working well.

INTERTANKO’s Legal Counsel Svein Ringbakken said "INTERTANKO will be happy to represent the tanker industry in this group. We believe that the Coast Guard together with industry can assess the review process and improve this substantially by focusing on results not process. We would also like to commend the Coast Guard for taking this initiative."