California Governor Schwarzenegger vetos Tug Escorts Rule

The California Governor has announced his veto of the new rule for escort tugs, known as the Senate Bill (SB) 1480, which action terminates this bill. A number of shipowners’ associations, including INTERTANKO, had sent letters to Governor Schwarzenegger urging him to veto the rule.

Schwarzenegger’s veto message is clear and uncompromising:

"To the Members of the California State Senate:
I am returning Senate Bill 1480 without my signature.  While I appreciate the author’s efforts to ensure the safety of California
’s ports by requiring tug boat escorts for vessels carrying specified hazardous materials, I am concerned that this bill would duplicate existing authorities and is inconsistent with advice from the experts on the State’s harbour safety committees.

Protecting public safety and the environment from a potential spill of hazardous material is of paramount importance. California must do all it can to minimize the possibility of  such a disaster. However, there are neither ship design issues nor a pattern of problems suggesting these vessels need tugboat escorts. In fact, since the creation of the Office of Spill Prevention and Response, there have been no reported harbour accidents involving ships carrying any of these materials.

The San Francisco Harbour Safety Committee considered the use of tugboat escorts for these types of vessels and concluded that escorts are not necessary, particularly since the US Coast Guard already exercises the authority to require tug escorts for any problem vessel. The Office of Spill Prevention and Response within the Resources Agency also has authority over this issue.
Sincerely,
Arnold Schwarzenegger"

Contact: Dragos Rauta