USCG issues interim offshore supply vessel size limit rule

The US Coast Guard issued an interim offshore supply vessel (OSV) size limit rule after a 2010 law removed the previous statutory limit. The regulation became effective upon its publication in the Aug. 18 Federal Register. Comments on it will be accepted until Nov. 17.

The 2010 Coast Guard Authorization Act, which removed the limit, also require the US Department of Homeland Security Agency to issue new regulations “to ensure the safe carriage of oil, hazardous substances, and individuals in addition to the crew” on OSVs exceeding the previous size limit, USCG said.

It said it issued the interim rule to ensure that oil, hazardous substances, and individuals other than crew members are safely carried. The interim rule requires that US-flagged OSVs of at least 6,000 gross register tons comply with existing regulatory requirements and international standards for design, engineering, construction, operations and manning, inspections, and certification.

“This rule also will affect any vessel of at least 500 gross register tons as measured under the Regulatory Measurement System, if that vessel is not assigned a measurement under the Convention Measurement System and the owner desires to have the vessel certificated as an OSV,” USCG indicated.

The interim rule also allows a large OSV to carry more than 36 offshore workers if the vessel meets stability, marine engineering, fire protection, and lifesaving provisions the interim rule sets forth.

Large OSVs are capable of carrying more than the 36 offshore workers previously allowed and conducting operations requiring more personnel, and this interim rule implements safety provisions intended to address the risk associated with carrying more personnel, the interim rule noted.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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