Proceedings Of The Marine

SPR 2014

Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.

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38 Proceedings Spring 2014 www.uscg.mil/proceedings The Plan A typical plan includes roles and responsibilities, exercise and training, notifcation procedures, funding, public infor- mation coordination, and post-incident reporting. If a plan covers an area that falls under the jurisdiction of more than one Coast Guard district, then we must implement regional annexes. For example, the Canada/United States Joint Marine Pollution Contingency Plan contains fve regional annexes that are managed by the 1 st District (North Atlan- tic), 9 th District (Great Lakes), 13 th District (Pacifc North- west), and the 17 th District (Alaska and Arctic Waters). On the other hand, District 17 manages the JCP with Russia, so no regional annex is required. The Coast Guard also maintains a bilateral agreement with Mexico, and District 8 and 11 commanders must devise, manage, and implement the annexes in conjunction with their counterparts. Additionally, these annexes must com- plement existing area contingency plans and provide spe- cifc, detailed information on bilateral or multilateral coordi- nation. For example, the national-level plan may simply state that clearance procedures for transboundary movement of response equipment or personnel should be coordinated locally. District commanders and designees will then work at the local level with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, other applicable U.S. agencies, and their counterparts in other countries to determine the appropriate pre-clearance or approval procedures that should take place for trans- boundary movement during a joint response. Who Does What Most plans refect the premise that each country will fund its own pollution response operations in waters under its jurisdiction. Therefore, although we may be coordinating our response efforts with another country, the U.S. will be responsible for clean up in its waters and the other country will do the same. And the Work Continues The Coast Guard has a host of joint response plans that focus on building international partnerships with neighboring countries. Generally, these agreements elaborate on Inter- national Maritime Organization guidelines or worldwide treaties such as the Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation Convention, which has been in force since 1995 and ratifed by 105 countries. The Coast Guard remains very active furthering interna- tional outreach, with much of the recent focus on the pos- sible impacts of offshore oil and gas exploration in the Arctic and Caribbean regions. As a member of the U.S. delegation to the Arctic Council, the Coast Guard helped draft the Agree- ment on Cooperation on Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness The Purpose A joint contingency plan promotes a coordinated system for preparing for and responding to a transboundary pollution incident. Each plan meets the specifc needs of the country and refects the unique way it responds to maritime pollu- tion. Most importantly, the plans provide procedures for a coun- try to request response assistance. This assistance comes on a cost-reimbursable basis and must be requested and approved through proper diplomatic channels. Addition- ally, all plans are intended to amplify and complement exist- ing international agreements and pollution preparedness and response frameworks and regulations already estab- lished in each country. Mutual Aid The Deepwater Horizon oil spill highlighted the importance of international stakeholder planning and coordination to ensure maximum resource availability and utilization during a catastrophic pollution event. Several nations stepped forward to assist the United States during the incident, ofering equipment, technical exper- tise, and general assistance. Our international partners' generosity cannot be overstated; however, the procedures for requesting and receiving emergency assistance during the incident were cumbersome and inefcient. Lessons Learned Given today's robust worldwide oil exploration initiatives and transportation patterns, the international community must be prepared to address responder challenges under myriad conditions and in locations around the world. An important lesson gained from this incident was the need for a common lexicon of equipment terminology and an international equipment inventory. So, at the IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee session in 2011, the U.S. proposed developing interna- tionally accepted guidelines for international offers of assistance in response to a marine oil pollution incident. Subsequently, the committee included these guidelines in the 2012–13 agenda for the Oil Pollution, Prepared- ness, Response and Cooperation-Hazardous and Noxious Substance Technical Group. Today, a U.S.-led workgroup is developing the guidelines, which will be designed so that any nation confronted with a large and/or complex oil spill incident can manage requests for spill response resources, including ofers of assistance from other countries and organizations. The initial guide- lines completion due date is summer 2014. Spring2014_FINAL.indd 38 3/21/14 11:14 AM

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