25 Aug 2006
On August 15 the U.S. Coast Guard issued an overview of regulations regarding safety and security zones around liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers and indicated that harbor pilots aboard LNG vessels do not have any authority to make decisions regarding other vessels including fishing vessels, ferries and other boats within such zones. According to the Coast Guard, only the Coast Guard, and in Maine, the Maine Marine Patrol, legally has that authority.
Parties have questioned the nature of U.S. Coast Guard safety/security zones relative to the LNG facility siting proposals for Downeast Maine, the extent of restrictions which would be imposed for safety and who would enforce the imposed restrictions. The notice explains the Coast Guard's authority and provides an example of an existing U.S. Coast Guard safety/security zone already in place in northern New England.
A complicating factor regarding the safety and security zones surrounding the proposed LNG facilities for Downeast Maine is how the U.S. and Canada will work together to ensure consistency in any rulemaking for such an area, which is yet to be determined. The issue is being jointly addressed by the U.S. Coast Guard and Transport Canada. Additionally, the U.S. Coast Guard continues to study all other waterway issues associated with these projects as part of its ongoing review of the draft proposals.
Questions may be directed to Alan Moore of the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Northern New England staff at 207-767-0338 or asked directly of the Coast Guard Safety and Security personnel in Portland at 207-767-0338.
© 2006 The Quoddy Tides
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.