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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

USCG REAR ADMIRAL PLUTA VISITS INTERTANKO THIS WEEK

Rear Admiral Paul J. Pluta assumed the duties of Assistant Commandant for Marine Safety and Environmental Protection at the US Coast Guard in May. In that capacity he directs national and international regulatory programmes for commercial vessel safety, port safety and security, waterways management, and marine environmental protection. The Admiral is thus directing the USCG's involvement in most of the areas in which INTERTANKO has taken an interest on behalf of tanker owners.

The Admiral accompanied by Capt (ret.) Chris Desmond was welcomed by INTERTANKO representatives Peter Swift, Svein Ringbakken and Dragos Rauta.  He was in Norway to take a closer look at some of the shuttle tanker operations taking place in the North Sea, so this was naturally one of the issues discussed during his visit to INTERTANKO. The USCG is contemplating rulemaking for certain activities of FPSO, FSOs and Shuttle Tankers in the US.  Mr. Odd Veierød from shuttle tanker operators Ugland Nordic provided excellent information on the North Sea FSO and Shuttle Tanker fleet, trade as well as on crew activity and work programme. To date, there are some 65 Shuttle tankers world-wide, 59 of which operate in the North Sea (others: 1 in the W US Coast; 1 in Brazil, 1 in South Africa and 3 on the E Canadian Coast).  INTERTANKO also provided USCG with copies of our Risk Minimisation Guidelines for Shuttle Tanker Operations Worldwide at Offshore Locations. Admiral Pluta appreciated the opportunity to get first hand input on the  off-shore activity in the North Sea.

A number of other issues of concern to the USCG or INTERTANKO's members were touched upon at the meeting and without going too much into details we will mention a few.

The tanker owners’ concern with regard to Port and Terminal Safety has not diminished since the publication of the INTERTANKO Port and Terminal Safety report in 1997. The USCG at the time supported the findings in the report and launched several wide-reaching initiatives to address issues raised in it. INTERTANKO's continued focus on port and terminal safety issues was encouraged by the Admiral, who said the US Coast Guard would be interested to hear about any improvements that could be made to enhance safety. The Admiral also encouraged INTERTANKO to participate actively in harbour safety committees.

The Admiral informed about the USCG plans for a Spill of National Significance oil spill drill which would take place in the Gulf of Mexico 25-27 September and invited INTERTANKO to participate. Members interested in information about this drill should contact Svein Ringbakken.

The US has implemented the 1995 Amendments to the 1978 STCW Convention, and the USCG has elaborated further on the IMO with regulations aiming to "demonstrate" compliance. Adm. Pluta has, however, asked his staff to reconsider a few aspects of these NVICs to make the control and certification more user friendly. Members that have experience and advice on this particular issue are invited to comment to the INTERTANKO Secretariat.

Contact: Svein Ringbakken LegalandDocumentary@intertanko.com

Please click here to view  USCG rules published on the USCG/NMC (National Maritime Centre) web site