Summary: H.R.13311 — 95th Congress (1977-1978)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to House amended, Part II (08/03/1978)

(Reported to House from the Committee on International Relations with amendment, H. Rept. 95-1384 (Part II))

Port Safety and Tank Vessel Safety Act - Amends the Ports and Waterways Safety Act of 1972 to remove specified limitations on the conditions under which vessel traffic may be controlled by the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating.

Authorizes the Secretary to order any vessel to operate or anchor in a specified manner if there is reasonable cause to believe the vessel does not comply with regulations or other applicable law or treaties, if the vessel does not satisfy conditions for port entry or if hazardous conditions warrant such an action.

Directs the Secretary to designate necessary fairways and traffic separation schemes for vessels operating in the territorial sea of the United States and in high seas approaches to United States' ports. Places limitations on the Secretary's power to make such designations.

Requires the Secretary to conduct a study of the needs for such a designation and to reconcile the needs for such a designation with all other reasonable uses of the area involved before taking such action.

Exempts from the provisions of this Act foreign vessels passing through United States territorial waters or through the navigable waters of the United States which form part of an international strait and which are not destined for, or departing from, a port under United States jurisdiction.

Specifies vessel safety and environmental considerations to be taken into account by the Secretary in making designations pursuant to this Act.

Authorizes the Secretary to take such action as may be necessary to protect structures on or in navigable waters or land structures or shore areas adjacent to such waters and to protect the navigable waters and the resources therein from vessel or structure damage. Specifies actions which the Secretary may take including: (1) establishing procedures for the handling of dangerous articles (including oil) on waterfront structures; (2) prescribing minimum safety equipment requirements for such structures; and (3) establishing water or waterfront safety zones.

Stipulates that the National Transportation Safety Board shall, upon its request, be made a party to investigations by the Secretary of incidents causing damage or loss to any structure subject to such Act.

Sets forth conditions for the entry of vessels into United States' navigable waters. Prohibits the entry of vessels which do not meet specified manning requirements, which have a history of accidents or pollution incidents which creates reason to believe the vessel is unsafe or may threaten the marine environment, which discharges oil or hazardous material illegally, or which fails to meet regulations or other applicable laws or treaties.

Directs the Secretary to transmit, via the Secretary of State, to appropriate international bodies or forums, any regulations issued under this Act, for consideration as international standards.

Authorizes and encourages the President to enter into negotiations and conclude and execute agreements with neighboring nations to establish compatible vessel standards and traffic services and to establish international vessel traffic services in areas of mutual concern and to enter into negotiations through international bodies to establish vessel traffic services in appropriate areas of the high seas.

Establishes civil and criminal penalties for violations of this Act or regulations issued pursuant to this Act.

Directs the Secretary to study possible shore-station systems for monitoring vessels within the Fishery Conservation Zone and to report the findings of such study to Congress. Authorizes appropriations for fiscal years 1979 and 1980 for such purpose.

Directs the Secretary to establish eligibility requirements for the issuance of a Federal license to pilot any steam vessel. Establishes minimum eligibility requirements to receive such a license. Stipulates that such licenses shall be renewable every five years.

Amends existing law relating to the regulation of steam vessels to include vessels carrying oil or hazardous material in residue. Exempts from such regulation cannery tenders, fishing tenders, and fishing vessels of not more than 500 tons used exclusively in the salmon or crab fisheries of the States of Oregon, Washington or Alaska.

Establishes minimum equipment requirements for new crude oil tankers, new product carriers, and old oil tankers and product carriers. Directs the Secretary in prescribing additional requirements to apply standards which are consistent with the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, and the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, as modified by the respective Protocols of 1978.

Prohibits foreign vessels subject to this Act from operating in the navigable waters of the United States unless such a vessel has been issued a Certificate of Compliance by the Secretary indicating that the vessel has been inspected and found to be in compliance with appropriate regulations. Authorizes the Secretary to accept certificates issued by foreign nations pursuant to any treaty or other international agreement to which the United States is a party as a basis for issuance of a Certificate of Compliance.

Directs the Secretary to prescribe standards for the manning of United States' vessels and the duties, qualifications, and training of the ships' crews and officers.

Requires that a specified number of tankermen be aboard United States' vessels carrying oil or hazardous material in bulk as cargo or in residue and requires that a specified number of tankermen be aboard foreign vessels when such vessel transfers oil or hazardous materials in any port or place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. Directs the Secretary to prescribe qualifications for the issuance of tankerman certificates.

Directs the Secretary to issue regulations for the control and verification of manning, training, qualification, and watchkeeping standards promulgated by the certificating state of foreign vessels operating in United States' navigable waters and which transfer oil or hazardous materials in United States' jurisdictions. Specifies regulations which the Secretary is to establish.

Sets forth a marine safety information system with regard to vessels subject to this Act which operate in the navigable waters of the United States or which transfer oil or hazardous materials in a United States' jurisdiction.

Prohibits the transfer of oil or hazardous materials from one vessel to another in the navigable waters or in the marine environment unless the transfer is in accordance with applicable regulations and both vessels have on board a Certificate of Inspection or a Certificate of Compliance.

Directs the Secretary to establish minimum requirements for the transfer of oil or hazardous materials in the navigable waters or marine environment when such cargo is destined for United States' ports.

Prohibits vessels from transferring cargo in United States' ports if the vessel has discharged tank washings containing oil or hazardous materials in violation of any law of the United States or in a manner or quantities inconsistent with the provisions of any treaty to which the United States is a party, in preparation for loading cargo in any port or place under United States' jurisdiction. Directs the Secretary to establish control and supervisory measures to implement such prohibition.