Proceedings Of The Marine

FALL 2015

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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69 Fall 2015 Proceedings funding oil spill response research. A key component of the program is the Ohmsett National Oil Spill Response Research Facility in Leonardo, New Jersey, which contains the largest outdoor saltwater wave/tow tank in North America, used by a variety of govern- ment agencies to test new technologies in a realistic marine environment and to train emergency response personnel. 3 BSEE- funded studies include: ■ the effects of low temperatures on drilling equipment, ■ developing sea ice parameters for ofshore structure design, ■ testing various response equipment under Arctic conditions, and ■ oil recovery in icy waters. 4 Finally, the Bureau of Safety and Environ- mental Enforcement works to promote a holistic "culture of safety" in the ofshore exploration and production industry. 5 It formed the Ocean Energy Safety Institute in conjunction with three universities in Texas to facilitate research in the areas of ofshore drilling safety and environmental protec- tion. 6 BSEE also collaborated with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) to develop a confdential near-miss reporting system for use on the OCS. BTS will retain the individual confdential reports, but will provide trend analysis and statistical data to BSEE. 7 The U.S. Coast Guard As the Arctic Ocean has become more acces- sible, the Coast Guard has increased its longstanding operational presence in the region, and in May 2013, the USCG released its Arctic Strategy. The strategy's three stra- tegic objectives for the next decade: ■ improve awareness, ■ modernize governance, and ■ broaden partnerships to ensure safe, secure, and environmentally respon- sible maritime activity in the Arctic. The 17 th Coast Guard District, headquar- tered in Juneau, Alaska, oversees Coast Guard regional eforts in the Arctic. In 2012, the Coast Guard annual Arctic Shield opera- tion supported a sustained seasonal pres- ence in the region. Arctic Shield consists of a three-pronged interagency approach consisting of outreach, operations, and capabilities assessment, including research on the efectiveness of various spill detec- tion and skimming systems as well as exercising government skimming capa- bility that augments the primary response provided by the responsible party. While the USCG is the primary federal agency for maritime oil spill response in U.S. waters, Coast Guard operational assets are not the frst line of defense in spilled oil recovery. USCG preparedness is measured by its ability to manage the response to an oil spill with the cognizant state and the responsible party. The USCG works with the responsible parties, state representatives, and local stakeholders to ensure an efec- tive and timely oil spill response. As the federal on scene coordinator in the coastal zone, the Coast Guard provides oversight and direction over all the responsible party's response actions. Further, the Coast Guard has undertaken a port access route study to help reduce the risk of maritime casualties and increase commercial trafc movement efciency in anticipation of increased human activity in the region. The current proposal is for a voluntary, four-mile-wide, two-way route from the Bering Strait to Unimak Pass, all within U.S. territorial waters. The study recommendations may lead to future rulemaking action or appropriate interna- tional agreements. In addition, the USCG facilitated the Arctic Waterway Safety Committee (AWSC) development. Based on successful models used in other critical U.S. maritime regions, the AWSC is a focused nongovernmental committee dedicated to addressing safety, security, subsistence, and environmental issues facing the Arctic. Stakeholders work collaboratively to solve Arctic waterway-related issues without incorporating new regulations. Interagency Joint Arctic Activities BOEM, BSEE, and USCG are also active participants in domestic and international interagency working groups and other bilateral activities that focus on Arctic ofshore energy and maritime issues. One prime example is involvement in the various working groups and task forces of the Arctic Council. Formally established in 1996, the council serves as a high-level intergov- ernmental forum that promotes coopera- tion, coordination, and interaction among the Arctic states and indig- enous communities on common Arctic issues, including sustainable resource development and environmental protection. From 2015 to 2017, the U.S. will assume Arctic Council chairmanship. The three agencies have helped produce Arc tic Council repor ts, including the "Arctic Ofshore Oil and Gas Guidelines," the "Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment," "Recommended Practices for Pollution Prevention," and the "Guide to Oil Spill Response in Snow and Ice Conditions." The USCG was instrumental in developing the "Agreement on Cooperation on Aeronau- tical and Maritime Search and Rescue in the Arctic" and, with BSEE, helped develop the "Agreement on Cooperation on Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response in the Arctic." USCG and BSEE are also members of the current Arctic Council Task Force on Oil Pollution Prevention. In addition, these three agencies are leaders in implementing the National Strategy for the Arctic Region, including eforts to improve hazardous material spill preven- tion, containment, and response; promote arctic oil pollution preparedness, preven- tion, and response internationally; and work in the interagency Committee for the Marine Transportation System, promoting a safe and improved Arctic marine transpor- tation system. Endnotes: 1. Other federal entities not discussed here are the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Department of the Interior), and the National Marine Fisheries Service (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). 2. A body of evolving practical knowledge based on observations and personal experience of local resi- dents over an ex tensive, multi-generational time period. 3. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, U.S. Department of the Interior, "Ohmsett – National Oil Spill Response Research Facility." 4. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, U.S. Department of the Interior, "TAP Arctic Research." 5. It defnes safety culture as "the core values and behav- iors of all members of an organization that refect a commitment to conducting business in a safe and environmentally responsible manner." 6. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, U.S. Department of the Interior, "Fact Sheet: Ocean Energy Safety Institute." 7. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, U.S. Department of Transportation, "BTS and BSEE to Develop Confdential Near-Miss Reporting System." For more information: Visit;; www.; and

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