The US Coast Guard (USCG) has published a Final Rule which took effect on 30 October, 2013, requiring owners or operators of non-tank vessels to submit oil spill response plans (known as Non-Tank Vessel Response Plans (NTVRPs)) by 30 January, 2014.
Non-tank vessels are vessels other than tank vessels. Tank vessels are generally defined as those constructed or adapted to carry oil in bulk as cargo or as oil cargo residue.
The NTVRP Rule updates, and aligns with, the existing IMO and US MARPOL Annex I requirements for a Shipboard Oil Pollution and Emergency Plan (SOPEP), eliminating the need to prepare two separate oil spill response plans.
Among other requirements, the NTVRP must identify the qualified individual who will implement removal actions, the contracted personnel and equipment necessary to respond to a worst case discharge, and any necessary personnel training, equipment testing and drill requirements. There are scaled response requirements related to the amount of fuel oil carried.
Requirements for vessels over 2.500 barrels capacity
For vessels over 2,500 barrels (approximately 340 m3) fuel oil capacity, a contract must be in place with a provider of damage stability and strength assessment services, as one of nineteen salvage and fire-fighting services requirements. The vessel owner or operator is responsible for deciding whether or not to arrange pre-loading of a computer model with relevant vessel-specific data prior to an incident for “assessment of structural stability”. However, it is clear that the timeframes of 12 and 18 hours for nearshore and offshore areas, respectively, for completion of the assessments are fixed. Pre-entering data into a computer model will assist completion of these calculations within the timeframes. Lloyd’s Register’s Ship Emergency Response Service (SERS)* can support owners and operators of LR and non-LR classed vessels in this regard.
Further information and submission of plans
The USCG Rule can be found here and any questions can be emailed to the USCG at firstname.lastname@example.org
Individual vessel and fleet NTVRPs can be submitted electronically to the USCG here
Salvage and marine firefighting response timeframes – including structural stability assessment – are listed in 33 CFR 155.4030 Table 155.4030 (b) (1) (i), which can be found here
* Established more than 30 years ago, SERS is the largest and most experienced emergency response service, covering more than 3,100 vessels, including 1,400 oil tankers.