The Coast Guard published the long awaited regulations that were required by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. The Coast Guard is now in the process of developing its enforcement plans and review process for the updated Vessel Response Plans. Industry has long associated marine firefighting as a function of salvage operations, rather than a specific operations unto itself. This regulation was originally intended by Congress to enhance marine firefighting capabilities in U.S. ports. These new regulations have the potential to provide a much needed enhancement to many port resources. Since the original regulations were passed, many contractors have provided marine firefighting coverage that was in name only without the resources, training or expertise to effectively respond the a real marine fire. The new regulations, however, will substantially enhance the actual response capabilities to be provided.
The actual mechanism that many of the resource providers will utilize will very considerably. Some more aggressive companies are planning on stockpiling resources in key port areas while other are attempting to sign Memorandums of Understandings with local fire departments. Some of these plans have the potential to greatly enhance a port's capabilities while others may be designed to take advantage of local fire departments lack of understanding of the regulations. As with the oil spill response organizations (OSRO) that were created with the oil spill regulations from OPA, significant fees will be charged to the plan holder to provide these services. Each port area is unique and the solution to these regulations may vary greatly. We recommend fire departments evaluate closely any offer to establish MOU's that do not significantly enhance a local organizations training, resources, or capabilities.
ContactTMSA if we can provide assistance in understanding the impact of these regulations on your organization or port. More information will follow on this important topic!