1625-0101 Stat/Authority

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Periodic Gauging and Engineering Analyses for Certain Tank Vessels Over 30 Years Old

1625-0101 Stat/Authority

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§ 3703

TITLE 46—SHIPPING

pulsion; whether it is self-propelled or not; whether it
is carrying freight or passengers for hire or not; and
whether it is a vessel of the United States or a foreign
vessel.
It exempts certain small vessels documented in the
service of oil exploitation, certain small tender and
fishing vessels used in the Northwest salmon or crab
fisheries, certain vessels used in the processing and assembling of fishery products used in the Northwest
fisheries, public vessels, and foreign vessels engaged on
innocent passage on the navigable waters of the United
States. However, processing vessels, while not treated
as tank vessels, are still subject to regulation when
carrying flammable or combustible liquid cargo in
bulk.
AMENDMENTS
2010—Subsec. (b)(1) to (3). Pub. L. 111–281 redesignated
pars. (2) and (3) as (1) and (2), respectively, and struck
out former par. (1), which read as follows: ‘‘not more
than 500 gross tons as measured under section 14502 of
this title, or an alternate tonnage measured under section 14302 of this title as prescribed by the Secretary
under section 14104 of this title;’’.
1996—Subsec. (b)(1). Pub. L. 104–324, § 714(1), inserted
‘‘as measured under section 14502 of this title, or an alternate tonnage measured under section 14302 of this
title as prescribed by the Secretary under section 14104
of this title’’ after ‘‘500 gross tons’’.
Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 104–324, § 714(2), inserted ‘‘as measured under section 14502 of this title, or an alternate
tonnage measured under section 14302 of this title as
prescribed by the Secretary under section 14104 of this
title’’ after ‘‘500 gross tons’’.
Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 104–324, § 714(3), inserted ‘‘as
measured under section 14502 of this title, or an alternate tonnage measured under section 14302 of this title
as prescribed by the Secretary under section 14104 of
this title’’ after ‘‘5,000 gross tons’’.
Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 104–324, § 1104(b), added subsec. (f).
1984—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 98–364, § 402(6)(A), substituted ‘‘This chapter does not apply to a fishing or
fish tender vessel of not more than 500 gross tons when
engaged only in the fishing industry’’ for ‘‘This chapter
does not apply to a cannery tender, fishing tender, or
fishing vessel of not more than 500 gross tons, used in
the salmon or crab fisheries of Alaska, Oregon, or
Washington, when engaged only in the fishing industry’’.
Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 98–364, § 402(6)(B), substituted
‘‘This chapter does not apply to a fish processing vessel
of not more than 5,000 gross tons’’ for ‘‘This chapter
does not apply to a vessel of not more than 5,000 gross
tons used in processing and assembling fishery products
of the fisheries of Alaska, Oregon, and Washington’’.

§ 3703. Regulations
(a) The Secretary shall prescribe regulations
for the design, construction, alteration, repair,
maintenance, operation, equipping, personnel
qualification, and manning of vessels to which
this chapter applies, that may be necessary for
increased protection against hazards to life and
property, for navigation and vessel safety, and
for enhanced protection of the marine environment. The Secretary may prescribe different
regulations applicable to vessels engaged in the
domestic trade, and also may prescribe regulations that exceed standards set internationally.
Regulations prescribed by the Secretary under
this subsection are in addition to regulations
prescribed under other laws that may apply to
any of those vessels. Regulations prescribed
under this subsection shall include requirements
about—
(1) superstructures, hulls, cargo holds or
tanks, fittings, equipment, appliances, propul-

Page 72

sion machinery, auxiliary machinery, and
boilers;
(2) the handling or stowage of cargo, the
manner of handling or stowage of cargo, and
the machinery and appliances used in the handling or stowage;
(3) equipment and appliances for lifesaving,
fire protection, and prevention and mitigation
of damage to the marine environment;
(4) the manning of vessels and the duties,
qualifications, and training of the officers and
crew;
(5) improvements in vessel maneuvering and
stopping ability and other features that reduce the possibility of marine casualties;
(6) the reduction of cargo loss if a marine
casualty occurs; and
(7) the reduction or elimination of discharges during ballasting, deballasting, tank
cleaning, cargo handling, or other such activity.
(b) In prescribing regulations under subsection
(a) of this section, the Secretary shall consider
the types and grades of cargo permitted to be on
board a tank vessel.
(c) In prescribing regulations under subsection
(a) of this section, the Secretary shall establish
procedures for consulting with, and receiving
and considering the views of—
(1) interested departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the United States Government;
(2) officials of State and local governments;
(3) representatives of port and harbor authorities and associations;
(4) representatives of environmental groups;
and
(5) other interested parties knowledgeable or
experienced in dealing with problems involving vessel safety, port and waterways safety,
and protection of the marine environment.
(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 522.)
HISTORICAL AND REVISION NOTES
Revised section
3703 ..............................................

Source section (U.S. Code)
46:391a(6)
46:391a(12)

Section 3703 requires the Secretary to issue regulations to implement this section. Specific items are listed to be included within the regulations issued. The
regulatory authority must be exercised under the Administrative Procedure Act and, in prescribing these
regulations, the Secretary must consider the kinds and
grades of cargo carried on board. Furthermore, in addition to any requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act, the Secretary must establish specific consultation procedures for considering the views of various specified interested officials, groups, and individuals. The procedures are intended to provide for consultation as early as possible in the regulatory process.
OIL FUEL TANK PROTECTION
Pub. L. 111–281, title VI, § 617(e), Oct. 15, 2010, 124 Stat.
2973, provided that:
‘‘(1) APPLICATION.—An offshore supply vessel of at
least 6,000 gross tons as measured under section 14302 of
title 46, United States Code, that is constructed under
a contract entered into after the date of enactment of
this Act [Oct. 15, 2010], or that is delivered after August
1, 2010, with an aggregate capacity of 600 cubic meters
or more of oil fuel, shall comply with the requirements
of Regulation 12A under Annex I to the Protocol of 1978

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§ 3703

TITLE 46—SHIPPING

relating to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, entitled Oil Fuel
Tank Protection, regardless of whether such vessel is
engaged in the coastwise trade or on an international
voyage.
‘‘(2) DEFINITION.—In this subsection the term ‘oil fuel’
means any oil used as fuel in connection with the propulsion and auxiliary machinery of the vessel in which
such oil is carried.’’
REGULATIONS FOR OFFSHORE SUPPLY VESSELS OF AT
LEAST 6,000 GROSS TONS
Pub. L. 111–281, title VI, § 617(f), Oct. 15, 2010, 124 Stat.
2974, as amended by Pub. L. 111–330, § 1(8), Dec. 22, 2010,
124 Stat. 3569, provided that:
‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than January 1, 2012, the
Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard
is operating shall promulgate regulations to implement
the amendments and authorities enacted by this section [amending sections 2101, 3702, 7312, and 8104 of this
title, enacting provisions set out as a note under this
section, and amending provisions set out as a note
under section 2101 of this title] for offshore supply vessels of at least 6,000 gross tons as measured under section 14302 of title 46, United States Code, and to ensure
the safe carriage of oil, hazardous substances, and individuals in addition to the crew on such vessels. The
final rule issued pursuant to such rulemaking may supersede the interim final rule promulgated under paragraph (2) of this subsection. In promulgating regulations under this subsection, the Secretary shall take
into consideration the characteristics of offshore supply vessels, their methods of operation, and their service in support of exploration, exploitation, or production of offshore mineral or energy resources.
‘‘(2) INTERIM FINAL RULE AUTHORITY.—As soon as is
practicable and without regard to the provisions of
chapters 5 and 6 of title 5, United States Code, the Secretary shall issue an interim final rule as a temporary
regulation implementing this section (including the
amendments made by this section) for offshore supply
vessels of at least 6,000 gross tons as measured under
section 14302 of title 46, United States Code, and to ensure the safe carriage of oil, hazardous substances, and
individuals in addition to the crew on such vessels.
‘‘(3) INTERIM PERIOD.—After the effective date of this
Act [Oct. 15, 2010], prior to the effective date of the regulations prescribed by paragraph (2) of this subsection,
and without regard to the provisions of chapters 5 and
6 of title 5, United States Code, and the offshore supply
vessel tonnage limits of applicable regulations and policy guidance promulgated prior to the date of enactment of this Act [Oct. 15, 2010], the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating may—
‘‘(A) issue a certificate of inspection under section
3309 of title 46, United States Code, to an offshore
supply vessel of at least 6,000 gross tons as measured
under section 14302 of that title if the Secretary determines that such vessel’s arrangements and equipment meet the current Coast Guard requirements for
certification as a cargo and miscellaneous vessel;
‘‘(B) authorize a master, mate, or engineer who possesses an ocean or near coastal license and endorsement under part 11 of subchapter B of title 46, Code
of Federal Regulations, (or any successor regulation)
that qualifies the licensed officer for service on offshore supply vessels of at least 3,000 gross tons but
less than 6,000 gross tons, as measured under section
14302 of title 46, United States Code, to operate offshore supply vessels of at least 6,000 gross tons, as
measured under such section; and
‘‘(C) authorize any such master, mate, or engineer
who also possesses an ocean or near coastal license
and endorsement under such part that qualifies the
licensed officer for service on non trade-restricted
vessels of at least 1,600 gross tons but less than 3,000
gross tons, as measured under such section, to increase the tonnage limitation of such license and endorsement under section 11.402(c) of such part, using
service on vessels certificated under both subchapters

I and L of such title and measured only under such
section, except that such tonnage limitation shall
not exceed 10,000 gross tons as measured under such
section.’’
OIL TRANSFERS FROM VESSELS
Pub. L. 111–281, title VII, § 702, Oct. 15, 2010, 124 Stat.
2980, as amended by Pub. L. 111–330, § 1(10), Dec. 22, 2010,
124 Stat. 3570, provided that:
‘‘(a) REGULATIONS.—Within 1 year after the date of
enactment of this Act [Oct. 15, 2010], the Secretary of
the department in which the Coast Guard is operating
shall promulgate regulations to reduce the risks of oil
spills in operations involving the transfer of oil from or
to a tank vessel. The regulations—
‘‘(1) shall focus on operations that have the highest
risks of discharge, including operations at night and
in inclement weather;
‘‘(2) shall consider—
‘‘(A) requirements for the use of equipment, such
as putting booms in place for transfers, safety, and
environmental impacts;
‘‘(B) operational procedures such as manning
standards, communications protocols, and restrictions on operations in high-risk areas; or
‘‘(C) both such requirements and operational procedures; and
‘‘(3) shall take into account the safety of personnel
and effectiveness of available procedures and equipment for preventing or mitigating transfer spills.
‘‘(b) APPLICATION WITH STATE LAWS.—The regulations
promulgated under subsection (a) do not preclude the
enforcement of any State law or regulation the requirements of which are at least as stringent as requirements under the regulations (as determined by the Secretary) that—
‘‘(1) applies in State waters; and
‘‘(2) does not conflict with, or interfere with the enforcement of, requirements and operational procedures under the regulations.’’
IMPROVEMENTS TO REDUCE HUMAN ERROR AND NEAR
MISS INCIDENTS
Pub. L. 111–281, title VII, § 703, Oct. 15, 2010, 124 Stat.
2981, as amended by Pub. L. 111–330, § 1(11), Dec. 22, 2010,
124 Stat. 3570, provided that:
‘‘(a) REPORT.—Within 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act [Oct. 15, 2010], the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating shall
transmit a report to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the House
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure that,
using available data—
‘‘(1) identifies the types of human errors that, combined, could cause oil spills, with particular attention
to human error caused by fatigue, in the past 10
years;
‘‘(2) in consultation with representatives of industry and labor and experts in the fields of marine casualties and human factors, identifies the most frequent types of near-miss oil spill incidents involving
vessels such as collisions, allisions, groundings, and
loss of propulsion in the past 10 years;
‘‘(3) describes the extent to which there are gaps in
the data required under paragraphs (1) and (2), including gaps in the ability to define and identify fatigue,
and explains the reason for those gaps; and
‘‘(4) includes recommendations by the Secretary
and representatives of industry and labor and experts
in the fields of marine casualties and human factors
to address the identified types of errors and any such
gaps in the data.
‘‘(b) MEASURES.—Based on the findings contained in
the report required by subsection (a), the Secretary
shall take appropriate action to reduce the risk of oil
spills caused by human error.
‘‘(c) CONFIDENTIALITY OF VOLUNTARILY SUBMITTED INFORMATION.—The identity of a person making a voluntary disclosure under this section, and any informa-

§ 3703

TITLE 46—SHIPPING

tion obtained from any such voluntary disclosure, shall
be treated as confidential.
‘‘(d) DISCOVERY OF VOLUNTARILY SUBMITTED INFORMATION.—
‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in this subsection, a party in a judicial proceeding may not use
discovery to obtain information or data collected or
received by the Secretary for use in the report required in subsection (a).
‘‘(2) EXCEPTION.—
‘‘(A) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), a court may
allow discovery by a party in a judicial proceeding
of data described in paragraph (1) if, after an in
camera review of the information or data, the court
decides that there is a compelling reason to allow
the discovery.
‘‘(B) When a court allows discovery in a judicial
proceeding as permitted under this paragraph, the
court shall issue a protective order—
‘‘(i) to limit the use of the data to the judicial
proceeding; and
‘‘(ii) to prohibit dissemination of the data to
any person who does not need access to the data
for the proceeding.
‘‘(C) A court may allow data it has decided is discoverable under this paragraph to be admitted into
evidence in a judicial proceeding only if the court
places the data under seal to prevent the use of the
data for a purpose other than for the proceeding.
‘‘(3) APPLICATION.—Paragraph (1) shall not apply
to—
‘‘(A) any disclosure made with actual knowledge
that the disclosure was false, inaccurate, or misleading; or
‘‘(B) any disclosure made with reckless disregard
as to the truth or falsity of that disclosure.
‘‘(e) RESTRICTION ON USE OF DATA.—Data that is voluntarily submitted for the purpose of the study required under subsection (a) shall not be used in an administrative action under chapter 77 of title 46, United
States Code.’’
[Pub. L. 111–330, § 1(11), Dec. 22, 2010, 124 Stat. 3570,
which directed amendment of section 703(a) of Pub. L.
111–281, set out above, by inserting ‘‘of the department
in which the Coast Guard is operating’’ after ‘‘Secretary’’, was executed by making the insertion after
‘‘Secretary’’ the first place appearing, to reflect the
probable intent of Congress.]
PRESERVATION OF STATE AUTHORITY
Pub. L. 111–281, title VII, § 711(c), Oct. 15, 2010, 124
Stat. 2987, provided that: ‘‘Nothing in this Act [see
Tables for classification] or in any other provision of
Federal law related to the regulation of maritime
transportation of oil shall affect, or be construed or interpreted as preempting, the authority of any State or
political subdivision thereof which require the escort
by one or more tugs of laden oil tankers in the areas
which are specified in section 4116(c) of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 [Pub. L. 101–380] (46 U.S.C. 3703 note).’’
STUDIES ADDRESSING VARIOUS SOURCES OF OIL SPILL
RISK
Pub. L. 104–324, title IX, § 903, Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat.
3947, provided that:
‘‘(a) STUDY OF GROUP-5 FUEL OIL SPILLS.—
‘‘(1) DEFINITION.—In this subsection, the term
‘group-5 fuel oil’ means a petroleum-based oil that
has a specific gravity of greater than 1.0.
‘‘(2) COORDINATION OF STUDY.—The Secretary of
Transportation shall coordinate with the Marine
Board of the National Research Council to conduct a
study of the relative environmental and public health
risks posed by discharges of group-5 fuel oil.
‘‘(3) MATTERS TO BE INCLUDED.—The study under
this subsection shall include a review and analysis
of—
‘‘(A) the specific risks posed to the public health
or welfare of the United States, including fish,

Page 74

shellfish and wildlife, public and private property,
shorelines, beaches, habitat, and other natural resources under the jurisdiction or control of the
United States, as a result of an actual or threatened discharge of group-5 fuel oil from a vessel or
facility;
‘‘(B) cleanup technologies currently available to
address actual or threatened discharge of group-5
fuel oil; and
‘‘(C) any technological and financial barriers that
prevent the prompt remediation of discharges of
group-5 fuel oil.
‘‘(4) REPORT.—Not later than 18 months after the
date of enactment of this Act [Oct. 19, 1996], the Secretary of Transportation shall submit to the Committee on Environment and Public Works and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of
the Senate, and the Committee on Transportation
and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives a
report on the results of the study under this subsection.
‘‘(5) RULEMAKING.—If the Secretary of Transportation determines, based on the results of the study
under this subsection, that there are significant risks
to public health or the environment resulting from
the actual or threatened discharge of group-5 fuel oil
from a vessel or facility that cannot be technologically or economically addressed by existing or anticipated cleanup efforts, the Secretary may initiate
a rulemaking to take such action as is necessary to
abate the threat.
‘‘(b) STUDY OF AUTOMATIC FUELING SHUTOFF EQUIPMENT.—
‘‘(1) COORDINATION OF STUDY.—The Secretary of
Transportation shall coordinate with the Marine
Board of the National Research Council to conduct a
study of the unintentional or accidental discharge of
fuel oil during lightering or fuel loading or off-loading activity.
‘‘(2) MATTERS TO BE INCLUDED.—The study under
this subsection shall include a review and analysis of
current monitoring and fueling practices to determine the need for automatic fuel shutoff equipment
to prevent the accidental discharge of fuel oil, and
whether such equipment is needed as a supplement to
or replacement of existing preventive equipment or
procedures.
‘‘(3) REPORT.—Not later than 18 months after the
date of enactment of this Act [Oct. 19, 1996], the Secretary of Transportation shall submit to the Committee on Environment and Public Works and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of
the Senate and the Committee on Transportation and
Infrastructure of the House of Representatives a report on the results of the study under this subsection.
‘‘(4) RULEMAKING.—If the Secretary of Transportation determines, based on the results of the study
conducted under this subsection, that the use of automatic oil shutoff equipment is necessary to prevent
the actual or threatened discharge of oil during
lightering or fuel loading or off[-]loading activity,
the Secretary may initiate a rulemaking to take such
action as is necessary to abate a threat to public
health or the environment.
‘‘(c) LIGHTERING STUDY.—The Secretary of Transportation shall coordinate with the Marine Board of the
National Research Council on a study into the actual
incidence and risk of oil spills from lightering operations off the coast of the United States. Among other
things, the study shall address the manner in which existing regulations are serving to reduce oil spill risks.
The study shall take into account current or proposed
international rules and standards and also include recommendations on measures that would be likely to further reduce the risks of oil spills from lightering operations. Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this Act [Oct. 19, 1996], the Secretary shall
submit a report on the study to the Committee on
Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate
and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives.’’

Page 75

TITLE 46—SHIPPING
EXISTING TANK VESSEL RESEARCH

Pub. L. 104–324, title XI, § 1134, Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat.
3985, provided that:
‘‘(a) FUNDING.—The Secretary of Transportation shall
take steps to allocate funds appropriated for research,
development, testing, and evaluation, including the
combination of funds from any source available and authorized for this purpose, to ensure that any Government-sponsored project intended to evaluate double
hull alternatives that provide equal or greater protection to the marine environment, or interim solutions
to remediate potential environmental damage resulting
from oil spills from existing tank vessels, commenced
prior to the date of enactment of this section [Oct. 19,
1996], is fully funded for completion by the end of fiscal
year 1997. Any vessel construction or repair necessary
to carry out the purpose of this section must be performed in a shipyard located in the United States.
‘‘(b) USE OF PUBLIC VESSELS.—The Secretary may
provide vessels owned by, or demise chartered to, and
operated by the Government and not engaged in commercial service, without reimbursement, for use in and
the support of projects sponsored by the Government
for research, development, testing, evaluation, and
demonstration of new or improved technologies that
are effective in preventing or mitigating oil discharges
and protecting the environment.’’
OIL SPILL PREVENTION AND RESPONSE TECHNOLOGY
TEST AND EVALUATION PROGRAM
Pub. L. 103–206, title III, § 310, Dec. 20, 1993, 107 Stat.
2425, provided that:
‘‘(a) Not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act [Dec. 20, 1993], the Secretary of Transportation shall establish a program to evaluate the
technological feasibility and environmental benefits of
having tank vessels carry oil spill prevention and response technology. To implement the program the Secretary shall—
‘‘(1) publish in the Federal Register an invitation
for submission of proposals including plans and procedures for testing; and
‘‘(2) review and evaluate technology using, to the
maximum extent possible, existing evaluation and
performance standards.
‘‘(b) The Secretary shall, to the maximum extent possible, incorporate in the program established in subsection (a), the results of existing studies and evaluations of oil spill prevention and response technology
carried on tank vessels.
‘‘(c) Not later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of this Act [Dec. 20, 1993], the Secretary shall
evaluate the results of the program established in subsection (a) and submit a report to Congress with recommendations on the feasibility and environmental benefits of, and appropriate equipment and utilization
standards for, requiring tank vessels to carry oil spill
prevention and response equipment.
‘‘(d) Not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act [Dec. 20, 1993], the Secretary shall
evaluate and report to the Congress on the feasibility
of using segregated ballast tanks for emergency transfer of cargo and storage of recovered oil.’’
REGULATIONS REQUIRING PERIODIC GAUGING OF PLATING THICKNESS FOR OIL CARRYING COMMERCIAL VESSELS

Pub. L. 101–380, title IV, § 4109, Aug. 18, 1990, 104 Stat.
515, provided that: ‘‘Not later than 1 year after the date
of the enactment of this Act [Aug. 18, 1990], the Secretary shall issue regulations for vessels constructed or
adapted to carry, or that carry, oil in bulk as cargo or
cargo residue—
‘‘(1) establishing minimum standards for plating
thickness; and
‘‘(2) requiring, consistent with generally recognized
principles of international law, periodic gauging of
the plating thickness of all such vessels over 30 years

§ 3703

old operating on the navigable waters or the waters
of the exclusive economic zone.’’
REGULATIONS REQUIRING USE OF OVERFILL AND TANK
LEVEL OR MONITORING DEVICES ON OIL CARRYING
COMMERCIAL VESSELS
Pub. L. 101–380, title IV, § 4110, Aug. 18, 1990, 104 Stat.
515, as amended by Pub. L. 108–293, title VII, § 702(a),
Aug. 9, 2004, 118 Stat. 1068, provided that:
‘‘(a) STANDARDS.—The Secretary may establish, by
regulation, minimum standards for devices for warning
persons of overfills and tank levels of oil in cargo tanks
and devices for monitoring the pressure of oil cargo
tanks.
‘‘(b) USE.—No sooner than 1 year after the Secretary
prescribes regulations under subsection (a), the Secretary may issue regulations establishing, consistent
with generally recognized principles of international
law, requirements concerning the use of—
‘‘(1) overfill devices, and
‘‘(2) tank level or pressure monitoring devices,
which are referred to in subsection (a) and which meet
any standards established by the Secretary under subsection (a), on vessels constructed or adapted to carry,
or that carry, oil in bulk as cargo or cargo residue on
the navigable waters and the waters of the exclusive
economic zone.’’
TANKER NAVIGATION SAFETY STANDARDS STUDY
Pub. L. 101–380, title IV, § 4111, Aug. 18, 1990, 104 Stat.
515, directed Secretary, not later than 2 years after
Aug. 18, 1990, to conduct a study and report to Congress
on whether existing laws and regulations are adequate
to ensure safe navigation of vessels transporting oil or
hazardous substances in bulk on navigable waters and
waters of the exclusive economic zone.
RULES GOVERNING OPERATION OF VESSELS ON AUTOPILOT OR WITH UNATTENDED ENGINE ROOM
Pub. L. 101–380, title IV, § 4114(a), Aug. 18, 1990, 104
Stat. 517, provided that: ‘‘In order to protect life, property, and the environment, the Secretary shall initiate
a rulemaking proceeding within 180 days after the date
of the enactment of this Act [Aug. 18, 1990] to define
the conditions under, and designate the waters upon,
which tank vessels subject to section 3703 of title 46,
United States Code, may operate in the navigable waters with the auto-pilot engaged or with an unattended
engine room.’’
REGULATIONS REQUIRING ESCORTS FOR CERTAIN
TANKERS; ‘‘TANKER’’ DEFINED
Pub. L. 101–380, title IV, § 4116(c), (d), Aug. 18, 1990, 104
Stat. 523, as amended by Pub. L. 111–281, title VII,
§ 711(b)(1), Oct. 15, 2010, 124 Stat. 2987, provided that:
‘‘(c) ESCORTS FOR CERTAIN TANKERS.—
‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall initiate issuance of regulations under section 3703(a)(3) of title 46,
United States Code, to define those areas, including
Prince William Sound, Alaska, and Rosario Strait
and Puget Sound, Washington (including those portions of the Strait of Juan de Fuca east of Port Angeles, Haro Strait, and the Strait of Georgia subject to
United States jurisdiction), on which single hulled
tankers over 5,000 gross tons transporting oil in bulk
shall be escorted by at least two towing vessels (as
defined under section 2101 of title 46, United States
Code) or other vessels considered appropriate by the
Secretary.
‘‘(2) PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND, ALASKA.—
‘‘(A) IN GENERAL.—The requirement in paragraph
(1) relating to single hulled tankers in Prince William Sound, Alaska, described in that paragraph
being escorted by at least 2 towing vessels or other
vessels considered to be appropriate by the Secretary (including regulations promulgated in accordance with section 3703(a)(3) of title 46, United
States Code, as set forth in part 168 of title 33, Code
of Federal Regulations (as in effect on March 1,

§ 3703a

TITLE 46—SHIPPING

2009) implementing this subsection with respect to
those tankers) shall apply to double hulled tankers
over 5,000 gross tons transporting oil in bulk in
Prince William Sound, Alaska.
‘‘(B) IMPLEMENTATION OF REQUIREMENTS.—The
Secretary of the department in which the Coast
Guard is operating shall prescribe interim final regulations to carry out subparagraph (A) as soon as
practicable without notice and hearing pursuant to
section 553 of title 5 of the United States Code.’’
‘‘(d) TANKER DEFINED.—In this section [amending section 8502 of this title] the term ‘tanker’ has the same
meaning the term has in section 2101 of title 46, United
States Code.’’
[Pub. L. 111–281, title VII, § 711(b)(2), Oct. 15, 2010, 124
Stat. 2987, provided that: ‘‘The amendments made by
subsection (b) [amending section 4116(c) of Pub. L.
101–380, set out above] take effect on the date that is 90
days after the date of enactment of this Act [Oct. 15,
2010].’’]

§ 3703a. Tank vessel construction standards
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a vessel to which this chapter applies shall
be equipped with a double hull—
(1) if it is constructed or adapted to carry, or
carries, oil in bulk as cargo or cargo residue;
and
(2) when operating on the waters subject to
the jurisdiction of the United States, including the Exclusive Economic Zone.
(b) This section does not apply to—
(1) a vessel used only to respond to a discharge of oil or a hazardous substance;
(2) a vessel of less than 5,000 gross tons as
measured under section 14502 of this title, or
an alternate tonnage measured under section
14302 of this title as prescribed by the Secretary under section 14104 of this title
equipped with a double containment system
determined by the Secretary to be as effective
as a double hull for the prevention of a discharge of oil;
(3) a vessel documented under chapter 121 of
this title that was equipped with a double hull
before August 12, 1992;
(4) a barge of less than 1,500 gross tons (as
measured under chapter 145 of this title) carrying refined petroleum product in bulk as
cargo in or adjacent to waters of the Bering
Sea, Chukchi Sea, and Arctic Ocean and waters tributary thereto and in the waters of the
Aleutian Islands and the Alaskan Peninsula
west of 155 degrees west longitude; or
(5) a vessel in the National Defense Reserve
Fleet pursuant to section 57100.
(c)(1) In this subsection, the age of a vessel is
determined from the later of the date on which
the vessel—
(A) is delivered after original construction;
(B) is delivered after completion of a major
conversion; or
(C) had its appraised salvage value determined by the Coast Guard and is qualified for
documentation as a wrecked vessel under section 12112 of this title.
(2) A vessel of less than 5,000 gross tons as
measured under section 14502 of this title, or an
alternate tonnage measured under section 14302
of this title as prescribed by the Secretary under
section 14104 of this title for which a building
contract or contract for major conversion was

Page 76

placed before June 30, 1990, and that was delivered under that contract before January 1, 1994,
and a vessel of less than 5,000 gross tons as
measured under section 14502 of this title, or an
alternate tonnage measured under section 14302
of this title as prescribed by the Secretary under
section 14104 of this title that had its appraised
salvage value determined by the Coast Guard before June 30, 1990, and that qualified for documentation as a wrecked vessel under section
12112 of this title before January 1, 1994, may not
operate in the navigable waters or the Exclusive
Economic Zone of the United States unless the
vessel is equipped with a double hull or with a
double containment system determined by the
Secretary to be as effective as a double hull for
the prevention of a discharge of oil.
(3) A vessel for which a building contract or
contract for major conversion was placed before
June 30, 1990, and that was delivered under that
contract before January 1, 1994, and a vessel
that had its appraised salvage value determined
by the Coast Guard before June 30, 1990, and that
qualified for documentation as a wrecked vessel
under section 12112 of this title before January 1,
1994, may not operate in the navigable waters or
Exclusive Economic Zone of the United States
unless equipped with a double hull—
(A) in the case of a vessel of at least 5,000
gross tons but less than 15,000 gross tons as
measured under section 14502, or an alternate
tonnage measured under section 14302 as prescribed by the Secretary under section 14104, if
the vessel is 25 years old or older and has a
single hull, or is 30 years old or older and has
a double bottom or double sides;
(B) in the case of a vessel of at least 15,000
gross tons but less than 30,000 gross tons as
measured under section 14502, or an alternate
tonnage measured under section 14302 as prescribed by the Secretary under section 14104, if
the vessel is 25 years old or older and has a
single hull, or is 30 years old or older and has
a double bottom or double sides; and
(C) in the case of a vessel of at least 30,000
gross tons as measured under section 14502, or
an alternate tonnage measured under section
14302 as prescribed by the Secretary under section 14104, if the vessel is 23 years old or older
and has a single hull, or is 28 years old or older
and has a double bottom or double sides.
(4) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this
section—
(A) a vessel that has a single hull may not
operate after January 1, 2010; and
(B) a vessel that has a double bottom or double sides may not operate after January 1,
2015.
(d) The operation of barges described in subsection (b)(5) outside waters described in that
subsection shall be on any conditions as the Secretary may require.
(e)(1) For the purposes of this section, the
gross tonnage of a vessel shall be the gross tonnage that would have been recognized by the
Secretary on July 1, 1997, as the tonnage measured under section 14502 of this title, or as an alternate tonnage measured under section 14302 of
this title as prescribed by the Secretary under
section 14104 of this title.


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