Summary: H.R.1361 — 104th Congress (1995-1996)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (05/09/1995)


Title I: Authorizations

Title II: Personnel Management Improvement

Title III: Navigation Safety and Waterway Services


Title IV: Miscellaneous

Title V: Coast Guard Regulatory Reform

Title VI: Documentation of Vessels

Title VII: Technical and Conforming Amendments

Title VIII: Coast Guard Auxiliary Amendments

Coast Guard Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996 - Title I: Authorizations - Authorizes appropriations for the Coast Guard for: (1) operation and maintenance; (2) acquisition, construction, rebuilding, and improvement of aids to navigation, shore and offshore facilities, vessels, and aircraft; (3) research, development, testing, and evaluation (of which a specified amount is to be derived from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to carry out the purposes of certain provisions of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990); (4) retired pay, payments under the Retired Serviceman's Family Protection and Survivor Benefit Plans, and payments for medical care of retired personnel and their dependents; (5) alteration or removal of bridges obstructing navigation, and personnel and administrative costs associated with the bridge alteration program; and (6) environmental compliance and restoration.

(Sec. 102) Authorizes the end-of-year strength for active duty personnel and specified military training student loads.

(Sec. 103) Directs the Secretary of Transportation (Secretary) to submit to specified congressional committees quarterly reports on drug interdiction activities.

(Sec. 104) Prohibits funds authorized to be appropriated under this Act from being used to: (1) close Coast Guard multimission small boat stations unless the Secretary determines that maritime safety will not be diminished by the closures; or (2) close or reduce to seasonal status a small boat station unless the Secretary has developed and implemented a transition plan to ensure that the affected community's maritime safety needs will continue to be met.

Title II: Personnel Management Improvement - Makes provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1993 (homeowners assistance for certain individuals affected by Hurricane Andrew) applicable to the military personnel of the Coast Guard who were assigned to, or employed at or in connection with, any Federal facility or installation in the vicinity of Homestead Air Force Base, Florida, subject to specified limitations.

(Sec. 202) Excludes certain reserve members in computing authorized strength of members on active duty or members in grade.

(Sec. 203) Authorizes the Commandant of the Coast Guard to make child development services available to members of the armed forces and Federal civilian employees.

(Sec. 204) Requires any officer, chief warrant officer, or enlisted member of the Coast Guard or Coast Guard Reserve to request that all information contained in the National Driver Register pertaining to the individual be made available to the Commandant. Authorizes such individual to request the chief driver licensing official of a State to provide information about the individual to the Commandant.

(Sec. 205) Revises provisions regarding officer retention to provide for retention until retirement-eligible under specified conditions.

Title III: Navigation Safety and Waterway Services Management - Repeals provisions requiring the Secretary of Commerce to collect and pay to the Treasury foreign passenger vessel user fees.

(Sec. 302) Sets forth provisions regarding: (1) the Florida Avenue Bridge in Orleans Parish, Louisiana; (2) renewal of the Houston-Galveston Navigation Safety Advisory Committee, the Lower Mississippi River Waterway Advisory Committee, the Navigation Safety Advisory Council, and the Commercial Fishing Industry Vessel Advisory Committee; (3) nondisclosure of port security plans; (4) establishment of a civil penalty to enforce maritime alcohol and dangerous drug testing; (5) withholding vessel clearance for specified violations; (6) increased civil penalties for failure to report a casualty and for operation of an uninspected vessel in violation of manning requirements; and (7) a requirement that vessels operating beyond three nautical miles from the coastline of the Great Lakes carry alerting and locating equipment, including emergency position indicating radio beacons.

(Sec. 311) Amends Federal law to extend the termination date of the Towing Safety Advisory Committee.

Title IV: Miscellaneous - Directs the Secretary of Transportation to transfer Coast Guard property in Traverse City, Michigan, and in Ketchikan, Alaska.

(Sec. 403) Authorizes electronic filing of commercial instruments.

(Sec. 404) Sets forth provisions regarding: (1) Board for Correction of Military Records deadlines; (2) the judicial sale of documented vessels to aliens; and (3) the authority of the Commandant to sell recyclable material.

(Sec. 407) Directs the Commandant to report on recruitment of women and minorities into the Coast Guard.

(Sec. 408) California Cruise Industry Revitalization Act - Amends the Johnson Act to exclude certain voyages from prohibitions against manufacturing, repairing, selling, possessing, or using gambling devices.

(Sec. 409) Revises requirements regarding: (1) vessel mortgages qualifying as preferred mortgages; (2) who may serve as trustees of mortgaged vessel interests; and (3) requirements for coastwise endorsements.

(Sec. 410) Expresses the sense of the Congress that, to the greatest extent practicable, all equipment and products purchased with funds made available under this Act should be American-made.

(Sec. 411) Mandates special selection boards in cases of officers not considered for promotion because of administrative error or considered but not selected because of board actions contrary to law, material error of fact, or the absence of material information.

(Sec. 412) Adds or revises provisions regarding: (1) the availability of extrajudicial remedies for default on preferred mortgage liens on vessels; and (2) the implementation of water pollution laws with respect to vegetable oil.

(Sec. 414) Prohibits the use of certain information from a marine casualty investigation from being used in any civil, administrative, or State criminal proceeding arising from a marine casualty, other than with the permission of the Secretary of Transportation.

(Sec. 415) Mandates a report to specified congressional committees regarding the LORAN-C radionavigation system.

(Sec. 416) Revises or adds provisions regarding: (1) limited double hull exemptions; (2) oil spill response vessels; (3) offshore facility financial responsibility requirements; and (4) manning and watch requirements on towing vessels on the Great Lakes.

(Sec. 420) Makes the laws administered by the Coast Guard relating to documentation or inspection of vessels or licensing or documentation of vessel operators inapplicable to any small passenger vessel operating on Lake Texoma (along the Oklahoma-Texas border).

(Sec. 421) Prohibits consolidation or relocation of the Coast Guard Marine Safety Offices in Galveston and Houston, Texas.

(Sec. 422) Declares that it is the sense of the Congress that the Congress should appropriate amounts adequate to enable the Coast Guard to carry out all extraordinary functions and duties the Coast Guard is required to undertake.

(Sec. 423) Mandates conveyance to: (1) the Montauk Historical Association in Montauk, New York, of the Light Station Montauk Point at Montauk, New York; and (2) the town of Rockport, Massachusetts, of the Cape Ann Lighthouse on Thachers Island, Massachusetts.

(Sec. 425) Declares that, for purposes of the Johnson Act, a vessel on a voyage entirely in the territorial jurisdiction of the State of Indiana shall be considered to be a vessel that is not in the boundaries of any U.S. State or possession.

(Sec. 426) Authorizes conveyance to the town of Gosnold, Massachusetts of the Cuttyhunk Boathouse and Wharf in Gosnold, Massachusetts.

(Sec. 427) Requires the transfer to the town of New Shoreham, Rhode Island, of the Coast Guard Station Block Island at Block Island, Rhode Island.

(Sec. 428) Deems a specified vessel to be a recreational vessel under provisions of Federal law relating to recreational vessels.

(Sec. 429) Prohibits the Coast Guard from procuring buoy chain unless the chain and substantially all of its components were produced or manufactured in the United States.

(Sec. 430) Entitles a shipowner, operator, or employer of a crew member, in a suit involving a claim of direct or vicarious liability for medical malpractice or other tortious conduct occurring at a shoreside facility or resulting from referral to or treatment by a shoreside health care provider, to all statutory limitations of liability applicable to the facility or provider in the State in which the care was provided. Allows provisions in contracts or ticket conditions that relieve a vessel manager, agent, master, owner, or operator from liability for emotional distress, mental suffering, or psychological injury under specified conditions.

Prohibits actions under any U.S. maritime law for maintenance and cure or for damages for the injury or death of a seaman who was not a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident alien if the incident occurred while the seaman was employed on a non-U.S. documented vessel owned by non-U.S. entity or person and if other conditions are met.

(Sec. 431) Prohibits the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating from assessing or collecting any fee or charge regarding a ferry. Authorizes the Secretary to reduce expenditures in an amount equal to the fees or charges not collected as a result of this provision.

Title V: Coast Guard Regulatory Reform - Coast Guard Regulatory Reform Act of 1995 - Directs the Secretary of Transportation to prescribe regulations which establish a safety management system for specified persons and vessels, including: (1) a safety and environmental protection policy; (2) instructions and procedures to ensure safe operation of those vessels and protection of the environment in compliance with international and U.S. law; (3) defined levels of authority and lines of communications between and among personnel on shore and on the vessel; and (4) procedures for reporting accidents and nonconformities with this title, preparing for and responding to emergency situations, and internal audits and management reviews of the system. Requires regulations prescribed to be consistent with the International Safety Management Code with respect to vessels engaged on a foreign voyage.

Sets forth provisions regarding: (1) implementation of the safety management system; and (2) certification and enforcement.

Directs the Secretary to conduct a study of the methods that may be used to implement and enforce the International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention under the Annex to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974.

(Sec. 503) Authorizes the Secretary to rely, as evidence of compliance with this title, on reports, documents, and records of other persons and on other methods determined by the Secretary to be reliable.

(Sec. 504) Revises provisions regarding: (1) equipment approval; (2) frequency of inspection; (3) certificates of inspection; and (4) delegation of authority of the Secretary to classification societies.

Title VI: Documentation of Vessels - Authorizes a coastwise endorsement to be issued for a vessel that: (1) is less than 200 gross tons; (2) is eligible for documentation; (3) was built in the United States; and (4) was sold foreign in whole or in part, or placed under foreign registry.

(Sec. 602) Authorizes the Secretary to issue a certificate of documentation with a coastwise endorsement for two vessels (both named Gallant Lady), subject to specified limitations on operation and conditions.

(Sec. 603) Extends the deadline for conversion of the vessel M-V Twin Drill.

(Sec. 604) Authorizes the Secretary to issue certificates of documentation, including various endorsements, for specified vessels and barges.

(Sec. 609) Authorizes selling a specified vessel to a non-U.S. citizen and transferring or placing it under a foreign registry.

Title VII: Technical and Conforming Amendments - Amends the Inland Navigational Rules to modify specified rules.

(Sec. 702) Amends Federal law relating to measurement of vessels to authorize the head of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating to prescribe, where a statute allows, an alternate tonnage.

(Sec. 703) Allows alternate tonnage measurement by amending the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, the Vessel Bridge-to-Bridge Radiotelephone Act, the Ports and Waterways Safety Act, the Merchant Marine Act, 1920, Federal law relating to U.S. vessels rebuilt abroad, the Merchant Marine Act, 1936, and numerous provisions of Federal law relating to vessels and seamen.

(Sec. 745) Removes provisions relating to denial and revocation of endorsements.

(Sec. 746) Repeals provisions mandating (subject to U.S. laws regulating trade with Canada) Great Lakes endorsements for vessels employed on the Great Lakes and their tributary and connecting waters in trade with Canada.

(Sec. 747) Authorizes the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating to issue a license, certificate of registry, or merchant mariner's document based on the individual applicant's service, using the tonnage as measured under specified provisions.

Title VIII: Coast Guard Auxiliary Amendments - Revises provisions regarding the Coast Guard Auxiliary to direct the Auxiliary, for command, control, and administrative purposes, to include such organizational elements and units as approved by the Commandant, including a national board and staff. Grants the Auxiliary organization and its officers such rights, privileges, powers, and duties as may be granted to them by the Commandant, consistent with this title and applicable law.

Deems each organizational element or unit as an instrumentality of the United States for purposes of various listed statutes, with exceptions. Permits the national board, and any Auxiliary district or region, to form a corporation under State law in accordance with policies established by the Commandant.

(Sec. 802) Revises or adds provisions regarding: (1) the purpose of the Auxiliary; (2) members and status of the Auxiliary; (3) assignment and performance of duties; (4) cooperation with other agencies, States, territories, and political subdivisions; (5) vessels deemed public vessels; (6) aircraft deemed public aircraft; and (7) disposal of certain material.