Commercial Vessel Compliance

9/25/2014: Coast Guard, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement sign memorandum, discuss 2015 strategic objectives

On Sept. 19, the Coast Guard and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, or BSEE, gathered top agency officials to outline joint goals in regulating offshore activities and signed a joint memorandum of agreement outlining their respective roles in regulating of fixed facilities on the Outer Continental Shelf. Rear Adm. Paul Thomas, assistant commandant for prevention policy, and Brian Salerno, director of BSEE, signed the agreement.

“We are sitting on the edge of an enormous opportunity for the U.S. with domestic energy production, but with that opportunity is risk. I see the Outer Continental Shelf as a high-risk area with cutting-edge operations. Our partnership on this is a priority,” said Thomas.

“The offshore oil and gas industry continues to redefine what is possible. With that progress there is risk. BSEE is partnering with the Coast Guard to reduce that risk and foster a culture of safety among all involved in offshore operations so that it becomes part of the way business is conducted,” said Salerno.

The intent of the meeting was to develop joint strategic efforts for the Coast Guard and BSEE along with specific goals for the year ahead to harmonize the efforts of the two principle agencies responsible for offshore drilling operations.

During the meeting, Thomas and Salerno signed a joint memorandum of agreement OCS-09 Fixed Outer Continental Shelf Facilities. The memorandum identifies responsibilities of BSEE and the Coast Guard for inspection and oversight of specified systems and sub-systems on fixed OCS facilities.

Both the Coast Guard and BSEE have dedicated representatives on two workgroups to develop and present new concepts, ideas and initiatives to leadership to address prevention and response aspects of offshore drilling.

Another key participant in the meeting, Mary Landry, director of incident management and preparedness policy for the Coast Guard, discussed the need to plan for worst case scenarios and to focus on the collaborative work already being shared between the two regulatory agencies.

These efforts include:

• Joint review of response plans.

• Joint work on addressing worst case discharge scenarios

• Developing digital systems for sharing of information and oil spill response plans

“We need to anticipate risk rather than to address failure,” said Landry.

Four additional initiatives for 2015 were also discussed:

• Coordinate regulatory development efforts and preparedness planning standards to better serve the Outer Continental Shelf industry

• Clarify inspection responsibilities to eliminate redundancies for floating Outer Continental Shelf facilities.

• Coordinate public engagement to maximize appropriate representation at industry and agency events.

• Develop systematic information sharing protocols regarding casualty analysis, inspection results and worst-case spill response preparedness.

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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