Summary: S.1004 — 104th Congress (1995-1996)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Conference report filed in House (09/27/1996)

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Title I: Authorization

Title II: Personnel Management Improvement

Title III: Marine Safety and Waterway Services Management

Title IV: Coast Guard Auxiliary

Title V: Deepwater Port Modernization

Title VI: Coast Guard Regulatory Reform

Title VII: Technical and Conforming Amendments

Title VIII: Pollution from Ships

Title IX: Towing Vessel Safety

Title X: Conveyances

Title XI: Miscellaneous

Coast Guard Authorization Act of 1996 - Title I: Authorization - 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 (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); (3) research, development, testing, and evaluation; (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. Authorizes funding of highway bridges determined to be unreasonable obstructions to navigation from amounts set aside from the discretionary bridge program. Mandates allocation of a specified amount for a certain bridge in Charleston, South Carolina.

(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 to submit to specified congressional committees a report on expenditures related to Coast Guard drug interdiction activities.

(Sec. 104) 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 it is required to undertake.

Title II: Personnel Management Improvement - Amends Federal law relating to the Coast Guard to authorize: (1) child development services for Coast Guard members and civilian employees and, as space is available, for members of the armed forces and Federal civilian employees; and (2) using Coast Guard funds for family home day care services for Coast Guard uniformed service members and civilian employees.

(Sec. 202) 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. 203) Removes provisions of Federal law relating to the Coast Guard requiring dissemination to the service at large of the names of officers selected for continuation on active duty.

(Sec. 204) Excludes certain reserve members in computing authorized strength of members on active duty or members in grade.

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

(Sec. 206) Amends the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1995 to prohibit any funds of the Departments of Defense or Transportation from being provided by grant or contract to any institution of higher education that prevents entry to campuses or access to student directory information for the purposes of military recruiting. Amends Federal law to authorize the Coast Guard to expend operating expense funds for recruiting, including for advertising and entertainment, to obtain recruits and to gain support of recruiting objectives from those who may assist in the recruiting effort. Mandates a report to specified congressional committees on the status of and problems in recruitment of women and minorities into the Coast Guard.

(Sec. 207) Amends Federal law relating to the Coast Guard to require 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. 208) Authorizes the Secretary of the Department in which the Coast Guard is operating, with regard to family and unaccompanied housing units on or near Coast Guard installations, to provide for the acquisition or construction by private persons, guarantee loans to private sector persons for acquisition or construction, contract for the lease of units to be constructed, enter into limited partnerships with nongovernmental entities for acquisition or construction, convey or lease property or facilities to private persons, and assign armed forces members to units so acquired or constructed. Mandates collateral incentive agreements with such nongovernmental entities to ensure a suitable preference for armed forces members and their dependents in related leases or purchases. Establishes the Coast Guard Housing Fund, consisting of any appropriated funds, amounts transferred from funds appropriated to the Department of Transportation or the Coast Guard, proceeds from the conveyance or lease of property under these provisions, and income under these provisions. Terminates authority under these provisions on October 1, 2001. Authorizes the use of funds under these provisions for the construction and improvement of military family and unaccompanied housing on or near Coast Guard Integrated Support Command, Ketchikan, Alaska.

(Sec. 209) Requires complete processing of an application for correction of military records within ten months after receipt by the Coast Guard's Board for Correction of Military Records. Deems administrative remedies exhausted after that time. Makes a Board decision, if rendered by that time, final and not subject to further review or approval by the Department in which the Coast Guard is operating. Deems agency action unreasonably delayed or withheld if the Board has not rendered a decision by that time.

(Sec. 210) Repeals provisions authorizing temporary promotions of warrant officers.

(Sec. 211) Modifies requirements regarding the: (1) appointment of temporary officers; and (2) information to be furnished to selection boards.

(Sec. 213) Mandates establishment of a helicopter rescue swimming program to train Coast Guard personnel in rescue swimming skills.

(Sec. 214) Provides, when the Coast Guard is not operating as a service in the Navy, for: (1) regulation of the rates for meals sold at Coast Guard dining facilities; and (2) contracts for procurement of severable services for a period that begins in one fiscal year and ends in the next fiscal year.

Title III: Marine Safety and Waterway Services Management - Amends provisions relating to the documentation of vessels to: (1) increase the limit on civil fines for violations; (2) modify the circumstances in which a vessel (including a recreational vessel) and its equipment are liable to seizure and forfeiture. Allows a recreational vessel in U.S. territorial waters to be commanded by a non-U.S. citizen. Makes a vessel purchased by the Secretary of Commerce through a fishing capacity reduction program not eligible for a fishery endorsement.

(Sec. 302) Amends the Ports and Waterways Safety Act to declare that, notwithstanding any other provision of law, security information for passenger vessels or passenger terminals is not required to be disclosed to the public.

(Sec. 303) Amends Federal shipping law to mandate a civil fine for failure to implement or conduct, as prescribed under provisions relating to vessels and seamen and related regulations, chemical testing for dangerous drugs or for evidence of alcohol use.

(Sec. 304) Extends the termination dates of the Navigation Safety Advisory Council, the Commercial Fishing Industry Vessel Advisory Committee, the Towing Safety Advisory Committee, and National Boating Safety Advisory Council. Amends the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 1991 to establish a termination date for the Houston-Galveston Navigation Safety Advisory Committee and the Lower Mississippi River Waterway Advisory Committee.

(Sec. 305) Amends Federal law to allow a bill of sale, conveyance, mortgage assignment, or related instrument to be filed electronically. Requires the original to be provided within 10 days.

(Sec. 306) Imposes a civil penalty of not more than $25,000 (currently, a civil penalty of $1,000) for failure to report a casualty or for violating provisions relating to small vessel manning.

(Sec. 307) Requires vessels operating beyond three nautical miles from the coastline of the Great Lakes to be equipped with alerting and locating equipment, including emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRBs).

(Sec. 308) Mandates submission to specified congressional committees of a plan defining the future use of and funding for operations, maintenance, and upgrades of the LORAN-C radionavigation system.

(Sec. 309) Requires that each Coast Guard small boat station maintain at least one vessel fully capable of performing offshore rescue operations. Prohibits closing such a station or subunit unless specified requirements are met.

(Sec. 310) Makes it a class D felony to alter or service lifesaving, fire safety, or other equipment and, by that action, intentionally render the equipment unsafe and unfit.

(Sec. 311) Prohibits overhauling, repairing, or maintaining a Coast Guard vessel (the home port of which is in the United States) in a non-U.S. shipyard, except for voyage repairs.

(Sec. 312) Amends federal transportation law relating to hazardous material, the Ports and Waterways Safety Act, the Inland Navigation Rules Act of 1980, and Federal shipping law relating to carriage of dangerous cargoes to provide for refusal or revocation of port customs clearance for any vessel if the owner, operator, or individual in charge of the vessel is or may be liable for a civil penalty or fine under specified provisions.

(Sec. 313) Amends Federal shipping law to make all parts of a marine casualty investigation conducted under specified provisions inadmissible as evidence and nondiscoverable in any civil or administrative proceedings other than an administrative proceeding initiated by the United States, subject to exception.

(Sec. 314) Mandates a report to specified congressional committees regarding a plan to increase reporting of vessel accidents to appropriate State law enforcement officials. Imposes a civil fine for failure to report a marine casualty under a State system.

Title IV: Coast Guard Auxiliary - Declares that the Coast Guard Auxiliary is a nonmilitary organization administered by the Commandant. Requires that, for command, control, and administrative purposes, the Auxiliary 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. 402) Revises or adds provisions regarding: (1) the purpose of the Auxiliary; (2) members of the Auxiliary and their status; (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.

Title V: Deepwater Port Modernization - Deepwater Port Modernization Act - Amends the Deepwater Port Act of 1974 to revise the term "deepwater port" to include a fixed or floating manmade structure (other than a vessel) that is located beyond the territorial sea and off the U.S. coast which is used as a port or terminal for the transportation of oil from the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.

(Sec. 504) Eliminates: (1) certain utilization and transfer restrictions on deepwater ports; and (2) a certain antitrust precondition with respect to the licensing of such ports. Provides for an exemption from certain informational filing requirements.

(Sec. 506) Repeals the restriction on the issuance of a deepwater port license requiring that the Secretary of Transportation first receive opinions from the Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission as to whether such action would adversely affect competition, restrain trade, promote monopolization, or otherwise contravene the antitrust laws.

(Sec. 507) Requires a deepwater port, among other things, to accept, transport, or convey without discrimination all oil delivered to it.

(Sec. 508) Directs the Secretary to prescribe by regulation or by the licensee's operations manual (currently, by regulation) and enforce port procedures.

Title VI: Coast Guard Regulatory Reform - Coast Guard Regulatory Reform Act of 1996 - 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.

Mandates 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. 603) Authorizes reliance, as evidence of compliance with this title, on reports, documents, and records of other persons and other methods.

(Sec. 604) Revises provisions regarding: (1) equipment approval; (2) frequency of inspection; (3) certificates of inspection; and (4) delegation of authority to classification societies.

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) 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.

(Sec. 746) Removes provisions relating to denial and revocation of endorsements. Applies the provisions of the Shipping Act of 1984 (currently, the provisions of the Shipping Act, 1916) to proceedings conducted by the Federal Maritime Commission regarding the financial responsibility: (1) of owners and charterers for death or injury; and (2) for indemnification of passengers for nonperformance of transportation.

Title VIII: Pollution from Ships - Amends the Act to Prevent Pollution From Ships to require an inspection before certifying the adequacy of reception facilities. Makes certificates valid for five years (currently, until suspended or revoked), subject to exception. Requires maintenance and making available to the public (currently, requires publication) of a list of ports or terminals having a certificate or having had a certificate revoked or suspended (currently, having a certificate). Mandates posting of a placard stating that port or terminal users should report inadequacy.

(Sec. 802) Amends the Marine Plastic Pollution Research and Control Act of 1987 to remove a six-year limit on a requirement for a biennial report to the Congress on compliance with Annex V to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973. Requires annual publication of enforcement actions against domestic or foreign ships.

Establishes the Marine Debris Coordinating Committee.

Removes the expiration date on a requirement to conduct a plastic pollution public education program. Modifies program requirements. Authorizes grants, cooperative agreements, and other financial assistance to carry out the program.

Title IX: Towing Vessel Safety - Amends Federal shipping law to mandate regulations requiring a single hull non-self-propelled tank vessel that operates in the open ocean or coastal waters, or the vessel towing it, to have a measure that will protect against grounding of the tank vessel.

(Sec. 902) Provides for the installation, maintenance, and use of a fire suppression system or other measures to provide adequate assurance that fires on board can be suppressed.

(Sec. 903) Mandates studies and reports to specified congressional committees on: (1) the relative environmental and public health risks posed by discharges of group-5 fuel oil (fuel oil with a specific gravity greater than 1.0); (2) the unintentional discharge of fuel oil during lightering or fuel loading or off-loading; and (3) the actual incidence and risk of oil spills from lightering off the U.S. coast.

Title X: Conveyances - Mandates the conveyance to specified recipients of seven named lighthouses in Massachusetts, New York, Maine, California, Michigan, and Maryland.

(Sec. 1002) Mandates the conveyance of 30 named lighthouses in Maine. Authorizes the conveyance of four named lighthouses to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and two named lighthouses to the Island Institute, Rockland, Maine. Establishes the Maine Lighthouse Selection Committee and requires the Institute to convey the lighthouses conveyed to it to an entity identified by the Institute and selected by the Committee.

(Sec. 1003) Authorizes conveyance of the property known as the U.S. Coast Guard Cuttyhunk Boathouse and Wharf to the town of Gosnold, Massachusetts.

(Sec. 1004) Mandates conveyance of the property known as the Former Marine Safety Detachment to the Ketchikan Indian Corporation in Ketchikan, Alaska.

(Sec. 1005) Mandates the conveyance of property identified by the Secretary of Transportation to the Traverse City Area Public School District in Traverse City, Michigan.

(Sec. 1006) Authorizes conveyance of the property known as the U.S. Coast Guard Station Block Island to the town of New Shoreham, Rhode Island.

(Sec. 1007) Authorizes conveyance of property identified by the Secretary of Transportation to the Santa Cruz Port District.

(Sec. 1008) Authorizes conveyance of a named U.S. Navy vessel to the City of Richmond Museum Association in Richmond, California.

(Sec. 1009) Authorizes conveyance of unneeded equipment from other vessels in the National Defense Reserve Fleet to qualified U.S. memorial ships to maintain their operating condition.

(Sec. 1010) Authorizes the acquisition (by exchange of Coast Guard property, acceptance as a gift, or other means not requiring appropriated funds) of real property and improvements in the City and Borough of Juneau, Alaska.

(Sec. 1011) Authorizes the conveyance of one of the three parcels of land on which the Coast Guard Whitefish Point Light Station is located to each of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society (Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Michigan Audubon Society.

(Sec. 1012) Mandates conveyance of the Parramore Beach Coast Guard Station, Parramore's Island, Virginia, to the Nature Conservancy.

(Sec. 1013) Authorizes conveyance of a named vessel to a nonprofit corporation for use as a merchant marine memorial museum.

Title XI: Miscellaneous - Requires, for the alteration of the Florida Avenue Bridge, Louisiana, that the drainage siphon adjacent to the bridge be treated as a bridge appurtenance.

(Sec. 1102) Amends the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to revise requirements regarding the Prince William Sound Oil Spill Recovery Institute.

(Sec. 1103) Declares that the double hull construction requirements of specified Federal shipping provisions do not apply to: (1) a vessel documented under specified provisions of Federal shipping law that was equipped with a double hull before August 12, 1992; (2) a barge under a specified tonnage carrying bulk cargo refined petroleum in certain areas; or (3) a vessel in the National Defense Reserve Fleet under specified provisions of the Merchant Ship Sales Act of 1946.

(Sec. 1104) Declares that provisions of Federal shipping law relating to the carriage of liquid bulk dangerous cargoes do not apply to oil spill response vessels in specified circumstances. Authorizes the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating to prescribe various requirements regarding the manning of oil spill response vessels. Declares that towing provisions do not apply to such vessels.

(Sec. 1105) Modifies admiralty libel suit procedures.

(Sec. 1106) Amends Federal law relating to the transporting of gambling devices (commonly known as the Johnson Act) to revise how the provisions are applied to specified types of vessel voyages. Exempts from the prohibition on repairing, transporting, etc., such devices on voyages entirely within the waters of Indiana. Exempts from those prohibitions, and restricts the right of a State to make such acts illegal, for voyages that begin, end, or include a stop in Canada, include at least two stops in Alaska, and meet other requirements.

(Sec. 1107) Authorizes spending a specified amount of Coast Guard funds for lower Columbia River marine, fire, oil, and toxic spill response communications, training, equipment, and program administration activities conducted by the Marine Fire and Safety Association.

(Sec. 1108) Amends the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to include in the activities of the oil pollution research and development program research and training to improve removal of an oil discharge, including the long-term use of the Center for Marine Training and Safety in Galveston, Texas.

(Sec. 1109) Prohibits the relocation of the Coast Guard Marine Safety Offices in Galveston and Houston, Texas.

(Sec. 1110) Sets forth circumstances in which a fish tender vessel is exempt from inspection.

(Sec. 1111) Repeals provisions requiring the collection of foreign passenger vessel user fees.

(Sec. 1112) Limits the dollar amounts of fees that may be established for the inspection or examination of small passenger vessels. Prohibits an inspection or examination fee for any publicly-owned ferry.

(Sec. 1113) Amends Federal shipping law to remove restrictions on: (1) who may be mortgagees of preferred mortgages; (2) who may serve as trustees of mortgaged vessel interests; and (3) mortgaging U.S.-documented vessels to non-U.S. citizens.

Modifies coastwise endorsement requirements for demise-chartered vessels. Mandates a study and report to the Congress on methods for leasing, demise chartering, and financing of vessels in the coastwise trades of other countries and whether other countries provide reciprocity for the rights granted in this paragraph.

(Sec. 1114) Modifies watch requirements regarding towing vessels on the Great Lakes.

(Sec. 1115) Repeals provisions relating to Great Lakes endorsements.

(Sec. 1116) Allows eight named vessels to be transferred to or placed under a foreign registry or sold to a non-U.S. citizen and transferred to or placed under a foreign registry.

(Sec. 1117) Declares that oil spill response vessels of foreign documentation may operate in waters of the United States on an emergency and temporary basis.

(Sec. 1118) Declares that provisions of Federal shipping law relating to court sales of documented vessels do not apply to a documented vessel operated solely for pleasure.

(Sec. 1119) Amends Federal Coast Guard law relating to the sale of certain material to allow recyclable materials to be sold under regulations prescribed by the Coast Guard's Commandant when the proceeds will not exceed $5,000. (Current law requires all Coast Guard recyclable materials to be sold in accordance with specified provisions of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949.)

(Sec. 1120) Authorizes issuance of coastwise documentation to 131 named vessels and certain numbered former U.S. military hovercraft.

Amends the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 1993 to extend deadlines and modify other conditions regarding the coastwise documentation for the vessel MV Twin Drill.

Authorizes issuance of limited coastwise documentation to four named vessels.

Amends the Merchant Marine Act, 1920 to prohibit vessels over 200 gross tons that at one time had a coastwise right and were later sold or registered foreign from regaining a coastwise right. (Current law makes no reference to the size of the vessel.)

Authorizes issuance of coastwise documentation to vessels to transport liquefied natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico from other U.S. ports, provided the vessel meets certain other requirements.

Deems three named vessels to have been constructed in the United States.

Allows a named vessel to be permanently operated in the U.S. domestic trade on the repayment of a specified amount to the Secretary of Transportation.

Authorizes issuance of coastwise documentation to a named vessel after the sale of the vessel to the operator of another vessel meeting certain requirements.

Requires the Administrator of General Services to waive all conditions and restrictions relating to the former military hovercraft authorized for coastwise documentation under this section and transfer unconditional and unrestricted title to the recipient eligible donee.

(Sec. 1121) Deems a described vessel to be a recreational vessel of less than 300 gross tons.

(Sec. 1122) Authorizes, until December 31, 1999, the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating to enter into an agreement with the State of Minnesota under which the State may inspect small passenger vessels.

(Sec. 1123) Amends Federal shipping law to allow an unlicensed seaman on a fishing, fish processing, or fish tender vessel to be an alien allowed to be employed under the immigration laws of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands if the vessel is permanently stationed at a port in the Commonwealth and other requirements are met.

(Sec. 1124) Amends Federal law relating to vessel mortgages to modify the actions a mortgagee may take on default of any term of a preferred mortgage. Mandates notice, before a person exercising an extrajudicial remedy transfers title, to specified parties.

(Sec. 1125) Amends the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to revise the financial responsibility requirements applicable to offshore facilities.

(Sec. 1126) Deauthorizes specified portions of the project for navigation, Cohasset Harbor, Massachusetts.

(Sec. 1127) Declares that it is the sense of the Congress that, to the extent practicable, all equipment and products purchased with funds under this Act should be American-made.

(Sec. 1128) Amends Federal law relating to the Coast Guard to prohibit 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. 1129) Amend Federal shipping law to entitle a shipowner, operator, or employer of a crew member, in a suit involving a claim of vicarious liability for medical malpractice 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 crew member, manager, agent, master, owner, or operator from liability for emotional distress, mental suffering, or psychological injury under specified conditions.

(Sec. 1130) Declares that it is the sense of the Congress that any regulations under the Edible Oil Regulatory Reform Act should recognize and provide, with respect to fats, oils, and greases, for differences in physical, chemical, biological, and other properties, and in environmental effects.

(Sec. 1131) Allows the Director of the Bureau of Transportation Statistics to continue to serve after the expiration of the term until a successor is confirmed.

(Sec. 1132) Deems the vessel MV Sequoia to be less than 100 gross tons and allows: (1) exemption of the vessel from inspection requirements; and (2) special operating restrictions necessary for safe operation.

(Sec. 1133) Delays, until November 1, 2008 (currently, until November 1, 1998), application of a requirement that certain vessels carrying passengers be constructed of fire-retardant materials.

(Sec. 1134) Provides for the allocation of funds to ensure that any Government-sponsored research on double hull alternatives or interim solutions to remediate potential oil spill environmental damage is fully funded for completion by the end of FY 1997. Allows the related use of Government-operated vessels.

(Sec. 1135) Mandates a plan and cost estimate for the engineering, design, and retrofitting of the icebreaker Mackinaw to allow operation by a significantly reduced crew.

(Sec. 1136) Allows a vessel that is owned by a trust of which some members are not U.S. citizens to be eligible for documentation with only a registry endorsement.

Amends the Shipping Act, 1916 to allow approval, before a vessel is documented, of a transfer to a non-U.S. citizen or foreign registry.

Deems certain vessels to be owned and operated by a U.S. citizen.

(Sec. 1137) Allows a vessel that is not documented to be eligible for a certificate of inspection if the vessel is classed by and designed in accordance with the rules of an accepted classification society and complies with international agreements and guidelines. Authorizes reliance on a certification from the American Bureau of Shipping or another accepted classification society.

(Sec. 1138) Amends the Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act to include in 'vessel without nationality' one aboard which the person in charge makes a claim of registry and the claimed nation does not affirmatively and unequivocally assert that the vessel is of its nationality. Declares that: (1) the consent of a foreign nation to the enforcement of U.S. law, and a claim of registry, is conclusively (currently, may be) proved by certification of the Secretary of State; (2) a person charged with a violation of provisions relating to the manufacture, distribution, or possession of a controlled substance on board vessels does not have standing to raise the claim of failure to comply with international law; and (3) U.S. jurisdiction under provisions relating to drug abuse prevention on board vessels is not an element of any offense and jurisdictional issues are preliminary questions of law.

(Sec. 1139) Authorizes a guarantee or a commitment to guarantee obligations under Federal ship mortgage provisions of the Merchant Marine Act, 1936 to assist in the reactivation and modernization of any shipyard in the United States that is closed if specified requirements are met.

(Sec. 1140) Requires that any action in admiralty brought against a private nonprofit organization for damages or injuries arising from the operation of an aid to navigation operated by the Coast Guard on or in property or a structure owned by the organization at Sakonnet Point, Little Compton, Rhode Island, be determined exclusively according to the law of the State in which the property or structure is located.

(Sec. 1141) Requires the Chief of Engineers of the Army Corps of Engineers to submit to specified congressional committees any recommendations the Chief has concerning the feasibility and environmental effects of dredging Rhode Island waterways.

(Sec. 1142) Amends the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to provide for the payment of interim, short-term damages.

(Sec. 1143) Amends the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to require that information on previous spills be included in the computer list maintained at the National Response Unit at Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Modifies Area Contingency Plan requirements.

(Sec. 1144) Allows an owner or operator participating in efforts to remove an oil or hazardous substance discharge, in certain circumstances, to deviate from the National Contingency Plan.

(Sec. 1145) Deems the Sooline and Milwaukee Road Swing Bridge, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, to unreasonably obstruct navigation.

(Sec. 1146) Amends Federal shipping law to declare that, notwithstanding any other provision of law, neither the International Convention of Standards for Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, nor any amendment to that convention, shall apply to a fishing vessel or to a fishing vessel used as a fish tender vessel.