Rear Adm. John Nadeau, assistant commandant for prevention policy, recently joined Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement Director Scott Angelle for a panel session during this year’s Offshore Technology Conference in Houston. The session, moderated by Charlie Williams with Center for Offshore Safety (COS), was part of COS’s Senior Regulatory Leadership Perspective series on Safety, Safety Management, and Future Regulatory Activity.
During opening comments, Nadeau highlighted the work the Coast Guard and BSEE workforce accomplished together in 2017 to improve efficiencies in offshore regulatory compliance and facilitate safe commerce. Last year, the two agencies collaborated on 23 separate activities, including sharing of resources, cross-training, holding joint equipment inspections and oil spill exercises.
“Anyone using the waterway is impacted by every decision our two agencies make,” Nadeau said, stressing the importance of the partnership to meet common objectives.
Nadeau briefly discussed the El Faro and other marine casualty investigations and the importance of sharing those lessons with industry, particularly when it comes to safety management and third party oversight.
“We take pride in what came before us, but we only want to make it better going forward,” Nadeau said. “The Coast Guard must cultivate professionalism within. We hold ourselves to a higher standard, while holding others accountable for their actions – we must never accept complacency.”
In his opening remarks, BSEE Director Scott Angelle also focused on the joint activity and accomplishments of Coast Guard and BSEE professionals in supporting the offshore industry’s work – work that has put the U.S. firmly in place as the world’s 3rd offshore oil producer.
“We have shifted from a period of isolation to an era of collaboration and we must focus on being an industry with robust production and safety,” Angelle said, noting that royalties from offshore production bring more than $2 billion in revenue to the federal treasury. “Everyone in this room has the responsibility to make sure we do this the right way.”
During a question and answer session with conference attendees, Nadeau and Angelle each touched on various other subjects relevant to the offshore industry.
• Nadeau discussed briefly the Coast Guard’s work with Mexico to help them develop their maritime safety programs; the Coast Guard has sent several members to work with the Mexican Navy full time, and advocates for one standard for the offshore industry in the Gulf of Mexico. Angelle noted that BSEE is also helping their counterparts in Mexico and is seeking other ways to export similar BSEE requirements to other countries.
• Angelle stressed the importance of BSEE’s SafeOCS program, which collects near misses so they may be shared with industry in order to identify leading indicators. The law does not require reporting near misses for offshore incidents, and Angelle said ensuring a safe OCS necessitates the sharing of critical data by all operators.
• Nadeau addressed safety management systems and noted that some industry segments have not embraced the SMS concept as robustly as the Coast Guard would like to see. He acknowledged the economic pressures the industry faces and said the Coast Guard is focusing on encouraging people to use their SMS correctly. He said that the Coast Guard will not penalize companies which are properly documenting non-conformities under their SMS.
• Angelle discussed recent changes to BSEE’s model for scheduling and managing travel for offshore inspections. The effort, which started April 1, 2018, maximizes the use of technology and focuses the inspectors’ efforts and time offshore on those actions that can only be done offshore – the physical inspection of the facilities. BSEE estimates a $20 million costs savings over the next four years.
• To close the session, Nadeau acknowledged the work of the National Offshore Safety Advisory Committee, one of the federal advisory committees the Coast Guard chairs, and their valuable and important input on regulations to protect and support the offshore industry.
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.