Commercial Vessel Compliance

5/19/2015: 2015 Offshore Technology Conference – Subsea containment issues

Maritime Commons attended the 2015 Offshore Technology Conference to provide you with a wrap-up of what was covered by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, or BSEE.

The assistant commandant for U.S. Coast Guard prevention policy, Rear Adm. Paul Thomas, and BSEE director, Brian Salerno,  shared the stage on a speaking panel to provide their regulatory stance and joint agency initiatives for offshore safety. The panel was moderated by Charlie Williams, executive director for the Center for Offshore Safety – an industry sponsored organization focused exclusively on offshore safety on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf

For those of you who were unable to attend, Maritime Commons is providing a condensed version of Thomas and Salerno’s remarks in a six-part series. These remarks are not ‘as delivered’ but provide a condensed version of the panel highlights in the ‘panel-conversational’ style.

Subsea containment issues

Brian Salerno:

We needed to establish requirements and ensure that capability was established for subsea containment and recovery. Industry responded to the requirement and created this capability, which now it acts very much like an oil spill response organization. I think this is a very tangible example of how quickly things have changed and how we’ve become much better prepared.

BSEE is responsible for verifying the preparedness of the operator including making a determination as to whether sufficient capability exists to respond to a worst-case discharge. In an actual emergency, BSEE would support the Coast Guard in their role the federal on-scene coordinator.

One of the lessons learned from Deepwater Horizon is that the work that we were doing in oil spill preparedness was not always well coordinated with the Coast Guard. That gap existed not only in the Gulf but everywhere. Over the past five years, we have worked very diligently to close that gap.

Rear Adm. Paul Thomas:

What we recently certified is not what we were talking about doing 5 years ago with subsea containment issues because things evolve so quickly; so the system that you’re looking at today is much more complex and the design continues to evolve. I think what’s important is that we remain progressive in our role as regulators.

Salerno and Thomas want to continue the question. You can send your questions to them on Twitter using the #BSEEUSCG or write them here, on Maritime Commons.

In addition to this post, be sure to read the other posts from the 2015 Offshore Technology Conference.

Part 1: Progress since Deepwater Horizon
Part 2: Subsea containment issues
Part 3: Future challenges and opportunities
Part 4: Complexity of operations and cyber
Part 5: Risk-based operations
Part 6: Continuing the offshore safety discussion

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.