Vessel Traffic Service Lower Mississippi River, 58223-58231 [E9-26572]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 217 / Thursday, November 12, 2009 / Proposed Rules 58223 any other alternate member from the same district to serve in such member’s place and stead if necessary to secure a quorum. In the event of the death, removal, resignation, or disqualification of a member, the alternate of such member shall act for him or her until a successor for such member is selected and has qualified. 8. Revise § 920.32 to read as follows: Dated: November 5, 2009. Rayne Pegg, Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. E9–27135 Filed 11–10–09; 8:45 am] ‘‘Public Participation and Request for Comments’’ portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below for instructions on submitting comments. BILLING CODE 3410–02–P § 920.32 Coast Guard FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions on this proposed rule, call or e-mail Lieutenant Commander Jim Larson, Office of Shore Forces (CG–7413), Coast Guard; telephone 202–372–1554, e-mail James.W.Larson@uscg.mil. If you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Ms. Renee V. Wright, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 202–366–9826. Procedure. (a) Eight members of the committee, or alternates acting for members, shall constitute a quorum, and any action of the committee shall require the concurring vote of the majority of those present: Provided, That actions of the committee with respect to expenses and assessments, research and promotion activities, or recommendations for regulations pursuant to §§ 920.50 through 920.55 of this part shall require at least eight concurring votes. (b) Committee meetings may be assembled or held by telephone, video conference, or other means of communication. The committee may vote by telephone, facsimile, or other means of communication. Votes by members or alternates present at assembled meetings shall be cast in person. Votes by members or alternates participating by telephone or other means of communication shall be by roll call; Provided, That a video conference shall be considered an assembled meeting, and votes by those participating through video conference shall be considered as cast in person. 9. Add a new § 920.45 to read as follows: § 920.45 Contributions. The committee may accept voluntary contributions, but these shall only be used to pay expenses incurred pursuant to § 920.47. Furthermore, such contributions shall be free from any encumbrances by the donor, and the committee shall retain complete control of their use. 10. Add a new § 920.47 to read as follows: WReier-Aviles on DSKGBLS3C1PROD with PROPOSALS § 920.47 Production research, marketing research and development. The committee, with the approval of the Secretary, may establish or provide for the establishment of production and post-harvest research, and marketing research and development projects designed to assist, improve, or promote the marketing, distribution, and consumption or efficient production of kiwifruit. The expense of such projects shall be paid from funds collected pursuant to §§ 920.41 and 920.45. VerDate Nov<24>2008 12:33 Nov 10, 2009 Jkt 220001 DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY 33 CFR Parts 161 and 165 [Docket No. USCG–1998–4399] RIN 1625–AA58 (Formerly RIN 2115–AF75) SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Vessel Traffic Service Lower Mississippi River Table of Contents for Preamble Coast Guard, DHS. Supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking. AGENCY: ACTION: SUMMARY: The Coast Guard proposes to establish a Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) on the Lower Mississippi River and transfer certain vessel traffic management (VTM) provisions of the Mississippi River, Louisiana—Regulated Navigation Area to the VTS. The proposed rule would implement current practices and operating procedures appropriate to an Automatic Identification System (AIS)-based VTS and facilitate vessel transits, enhance good order, promote safe navigation, and improve existing waterway operating measures. The rule also proposes minor conforming revisions to the existing VTM provisions and related regulations. DATES: Comments and related material must either be submitted to our online docket via http://www.regulations.gov on or before January 11, 2010 or reach the Docket Management Facility by that date. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG– 1998–4399 using any one of the following methods: (1) Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. (2) Fax: 202–493–2251. (3) Mail: Docket Management Facility (M–30), U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590– 0001. (4) Hand delivery: Same as mail address above, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is 202–366–9329. To avoid duplication, please use only one of these four methods. See the PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 I. Public Participation and Request for Comments A. Submitting Comments B. Viewing Comments and Documents C. Privacy Act D. Public Meeting II. Abbreviations III. Background A. Regulatory History B. Vessel Traffic Services C. Stakeholder Involvement D. Automatic Identification System Concept IV. Summary of Changes Between NPRM and SNPRM V. Discussion of Comments VI. Discussion of Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking A. Section 161.2 Definitions B. Section 161.6 Preemption C. Section 161.12 Vessel Operating Requirements D. Section 161.65 Vessel Traffic Service Lower Mississippi River E. Section 165.810 Mississippi River, LA—Regulated Navigation Area VII. Regulatory Analyses A. Regulatory Planning and Review B. Small Entities C. Assistance for Small Entities D. Collection of Information E. Federalism F. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act G. Taking of Private Property H. Civil Justice Reform I. Protection of Children J. Indian Tribal Governments K. Energy Effects L. Technical Standards M. Environment I. Public Participation and Request for Comments We encourage you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting comments and related materials. All comments received will be posted without change to http:// www.regulations.gov and will include any personal information you have provided. E:\FR\FM\12NOP1.SGM 12NOP1 58224 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 217 / Thursday, November 12, 2009 / Proposed Rules A. Submitting Comments If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this rulemaking (USCG–1998–4399), indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation. You may submit your comments and material online or by fax, mail, or hand delivery, but please use only one of these means. We recommend that you include your name and a mailing address, an e-mail address, or a phone number in the body of your document so that we can contact you if we have questions regarding your submission. To submit your comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov, click on the ‘‘submit a comment’’ box, which will then become highlighted in blue. In the ‘‘Document Type’’ drop down menu select ‘‘Proposed Rules’’ and insert ‘‘USCG–1998–4399’’ in the ‘‘Keyword’’ box. Click ‘‘Search’’ then click on the balloon shape in the ‘‘Actions’’ column. If you submit your comments by mail or hand delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no larger than 81⁄2 by 11 inches, suitable for copying and electronic filing. If you submit comments by mail and would like to know that they reached the Facility, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope. We will consider all comments and material received during the comment period and may change this proposed rule based on your comments. WReier-Aviles on DSKGBLS3C1PROD with PROPOSALS B. Viewing Comments and Documents To view comments, as well as documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, click on the ‘‘read comments’’ box, which will then become highlighted in blue. In the ‘‘Keyword’’ box insert ‘‘USCG–1998– 4399’’ and click ‘‘Search.’’ Click the ‘‘Open Docket Folder’’ in the ‘‘Actions’’ column. If you do not have access to the Internet, you may view the docket online by visiting the Docket Management Facility in Room W12–140 on the ground floor of the Department of Transportation West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. We have an agreement with the Department of Transportation to use the Docket Management Facility. C. Privacy Act Anyone can search the electronic form of comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or VerDate Nov<24>2008 12:33 Nov 10, 2009 Jkt 220001 signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review a Privacy Act notice regarding our public dockets in the January 17, 2008, issue of the Federal Register (73 FR 3316). D. Public Meeting The Coast Guard held a public meeting on October 24, 1998, in New Orleans, Louisiana. We announced this meeting in a notice published in the Federal Register on September 18, 1998 (63 FR 49939). This meeting provided the Coast Guard with the opportunity to discuss the Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) concept and the envisioned impact of the Automatic Identification System (AIS) technology to the VTS program. This meeting also afforded us an opportunity to report the preliminary results of AIS tests conducted on the Lower Mississippi River (LMR). Advances in the use of AIS technology and its impact on the established VTS are not discussed in depth in this rulemaking; however, AIS requirements were the subject of a separate rulemaking published on October 22, 2003 (68 FR 60559). In addition, the Coast Guard discussed the VTS concept at various Lower Mississippi River Waterways Safety Advisory Committee (LMRWSAC) meetings. LMRWSAC is a federally-chartered advisory committee, chaired by the Eighth Coast Guard District Commander, and is charged with making recommendations to the Coast Guard on matters relating to the transit of vessels and products on the LMR. These open forums have allowed the public the opportunity to comment on both VTS and AIS issues. The public’s input has been, and will be, taken into account prior to the final rulemaking. We are still considering whether to have another public meeting on this issue. The Coast Guard would like your comments on the reasons why another meeting would be beneficial. Send your comments requesting a public meeting to the Docket Management Facility at the address under ADDRESSES. If we determine that another public meeting would aid this rulemaking, we will hold one at a time and place announced by a later notice in the Federal Register. II. Abbreviations Abbreviation/Explanation AHP Above Head of Passes AIS Automatic Identification System CH Channel COTP Captain of the Port GPS Global Positioning System IEC International Electrotechnical Commission PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 ITU International Telecommunications Union LMRWSAC Lower Mississippi River Waterways Safety Advisory Committee MHz Megahertz NDG National Dialogue Group NEPA National Environmental Policy Act NPRM Notice of Proposed Rulemaking PAWSS Port and Waterways Safety Systems PWSA Ports and Waterways Safety Act PWSSC Ports and Waterways Safety Systems Committee VMRS Vessel Movement Reporting System VTC Vessel Traffic Center VTM Vessel Traffic Management VTS Vessel Traffic Service VTS LMR Vessel Traffic Service Lower Mississippi River III. Background A. Regulatory History On April 26, 2000, the Coast Guard published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) entitled ‘‘Vessel Traffic Service Lower Mississippi River’’ in the Federal Register (65 FR 24616) and requested comments during a 90-day comment period. Due to several requests for additional time to comment, on August 18, 2000, the Coast Guard published a notice in the Federal Register (65 FR 50479) reopening the comment period until December 1, 2000, and announcing that the Coast Guard would hold a public meeting. On September 20, 2000, the Coast Guard published a notice of meeting in the Federal Register (65 FR 56843) announcing that the Coast Guard would hold a public meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, on October 24, 2000, to receive public comments on the NPRM. On October 24, 2000, the Coast Guard held a public meeting in New Orleans on Vessel Traffic Service Lower Mississippi River (VTS LMR). Twentyfour people attended the meeting, and two individuals provided comments. This proposed rule would amend vessel traffic measures within the Mississippi River Regulated Navigation Area and require vessels as defined in 33 CFR 161.2 to participate in a vessel traffic service (VTS) that will serve the Lower Mississippi River (LMR). Additionally, this proposed rule would update certain operating practices, adopt standard traffic management procedures, and inform mariners of certain services provided by a Coast Guard VTS. B. Vessel Traffic Services The Coast Guard operates 12 VTSs in the United States. A VTS provides navigation and safety information so mariners can make informed decisions during their voyage. In the past, the Coast Guard operated variations of a VTS in the New Orleans area. E:\FR\FM\12NOP1.SGM 12NOP1 WReier-Aviles on DSKGBLS3C1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 217 / Thursday, November 12, 2009 / Proposed Rules Unfortunately, these efforts were plagued by budgetary constraints, the limitations of voluntary participation, and the temporary or part-time nature of the VTS operation. Since disestablishment of the VTS in New Orleans in the 1980s, the Coast Guard, as directed by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90, Pub. L. 101–380), has: (1) Validated the need for a VTS in certain ports; (2) Made participation mandatory in all VTS ports; and (3) Invested in infrastructure improvement to VTS equipment and standardized operating procedures across all United States VTSs. The Coast Guard has long recognized the potential benefits of properly established VTSs in U.S. ports and waterways. As a result, the Coast Guard established the Ports and Waterways Safety System (PAWSS) acquisition project to address waterway users’ needs and place a greater emphasis on partnerships with industry to reduce risk in the marine environment. As part of PAWSS, the Coast Guard immediately convened a national dialogue group (NDG) comprised of maritime and waterway community stakeholders to identify the needs of waterway users with respect to Vessel Traffic Management (VTM) and VTS systems. The Coast Guard sponsored these discussions, which were hosted by the Committee on Maritime Advanced Information Systems (MAIS) under the auspices of The Marine Board of the National Research Council. Those stakeholders, representing all major sectors of the U.S. and foreign-flagged maritime industry, port authorities, pilots, the environmental community, and the Coast Guard, were tasked to: (1) Identify the information needs of waterway users to ensure safe passage; (2) assist in establishing a process to identify candidate waterways for VTM improvements and VTS installations; and (3) identify the basic elements of a VTS. The goal of the NDG was to provide a foundation for the development of an approach to VTM that would meet the shared government, industry, and public objective of ensuring the safety of vessel traffic in U.S. ports and waterways in a technologically sound and cost effective way. A federally-operated and locallyadopted VTM facility has been in place in New Orleans Harbor since the 1930s. In an effort to assist the mariner, safeguard the port, ensure good order, and improve safety, the local maritime community implemented the Algiers Point Control Lights. This system evolved from local river pilots standing VerDate Nov<24>2008 12:33 Nov 10, 2009 Jkt 220001 watch using lanterns and whistle signals to a 24-hour, federally-staffed communication station with twin control light towers at Governor Nicholls Street Wharf and Gretna Lights. Although not formally recognized as a VTS, the communication station has provided longstanding traffic management services from its inception. The Algiers Point/Crescent area is currently subject to regulatory provisions established in 33 CFR 165.810(c). The procedures and practices proposed in this rule are essentially the same as those currently used in the Algiers Point/Crescent area, but are being moved to 33 CFR 161.65(c) to consolidate all VTS regulations under one section. The primary objective of the existing regulatory system is providing an orderly traffic flow around Algiers Point. Algiers Point is one of the most challenging bends to safely navigate on the Mississippi River, particularly in high water conditions. In one of the busiest industrial harbors in the world, vessels must negotiate a 120-degree bend in the river amidst constantly changing hydrographic conditions, congested waters, and various bridges and piers. Mandatory vessel traffic measures, represented by the light signals, are utilized to lessen the potential for mishap during periods of high water. The consequences of improper navigation in this segment of the river are both significant and welldocumented. Since 1991, there have been multiple reportable marine casualties within the area covered by this rulemaking. The failure to safely transit this area can quickly lead to a mishap that causes substantial property damage, serious environmental and economic consequences, or loss of life. The Coast Guard and local mariners recognize that this segment of the waterway warrants great vigilance. The nature of vessel traffic within this area and the anticipated increase in traffic requires that certain vessel traffic measures are active at all times or at least available at a moment’s notice. These measures can best be assured by operating a Vessel Traffic Center (VTC) within the framework of a VTS. A VTC is a shoreside facility from which the VTS operates and has the communications capability to interact with marine traffic and respond to developing situations. The existing Control Light operation in the LMR and around Algiers Point has proven valuable in some measures of VTM; however, these measures are narrow in scope, limited to a small area, and only operated during periods of high water. Historically, limitations of equipment, PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 58225 staffing, and site location hampered the light operator’s ability to provide overall safety and efficiency of anticipated vessel traffic beyond the immediate vicinity of Algiers Point. Through implementation of a continuouslyoperating VTS, the Coast Guard has enhanced system capabilities and improved navigation on the entire LMR. C. Stakeholder Involvement The Coast Guard has long recognized that a VTS on the LMR is a valuable asset to all entities, the ‘‘stakeholders’’, that may be impacted by the waterway either directly or indirectly. In addition, many of the stakeholders who regularly utilize the waterway have advised us that to achieve success, the VTS must meet the needs of the waterway users while imposing the least burden. In 1997, the Coast Guard formed the Ports and Waterways Safety Systems Committee (PWSSC). The Coast Guard created this ad-hoc committee, a subcommittee under LMRWSAC, of maritime, port community, government, and public stakeholders to define user requirements for a VTS that would accomplish the overall goals of safety and efficiency. Since its formation, PWSSC has met several times, and the product of these meetings was a conceptual baseline VTS plan (see document USCG–1998–4399–0003 at http://www.regulations.gov) endorsed by LMRWSAC. Key recommendations of this plan involved the need to implement AIS technology and to incorporate AIS as a key component of any VTS implementation. D. Automatic Identification System Concept AIS technology relies on Global Positioning System (GPS), navigation sensors, and digital communication equipment operating according to standardized protocols (i.e., AIS transponders) that permit the voiceless exchange of navigation information between vessels and shoreside VTCs. The AIS transponders on vessels can broadcast information about the vessel, such as its name or call sign, dimensions, type, position (derived from a GPS input), course, speed, and navigation status. This information is continually updated and received by all AIS-equipped vessels in its vicinity. An AIS-based VTS is able to augment this broadcast with additional safety and navigation information such as weather, tides, currents, and status of navigational aids. This additional information can be relayed to all VTS users for consideration in voyage planning and execution. The advantage of this automatic exchange of E:\FR\FM\12NOP1.SGM 12NOP1 WReier-Aviles on DSKGBLS3C1PROD with PROPOSALS 58226 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 217 / Thursday, November 12, 2009 / Proposed Rules information is that it can be accessed by all mariners, tailored to the mariners’ needs and desires, and greatly reduce voice radio exchanges. The ease of operation of the VTS and the reduction of voice interactions should greatly enhance mariners’ ability to navigate, improve their situational awareness, and assist them in the performance of their duties, thus reducing the risk of collisions. The Coast Guard recognizes the importance of AIS and has led the way on various international fronts for acceptance and adoption of this technology. Through its national representation role in the International Maritime Organization (IMO), International Telecommunications Union (ITU), and participation in various other international working groups, including groups within the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the Coast Guard has been a leader in the drafting and/or adoption of various technical standards (e.g., ITU–R M.1371–3, IEC 61993–2, IEC 62320–1). Through comprehensive field testing and based on feedback received from test participants and other interested parties in the area, the Coast Guard established a voluntaryparticipation VTS on the LMR that incorporated full use of AIS technology in 2004. In 2003, the USCG published a final rule that harmonized the AIS carriage and standardization requirements contained in the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002, Section 102, Public Law 107–295, 116 Stat. 2064, 46 U.S.C. 70114 (November 25, 2002) (MTSA) with the requirements of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) that established AIS carriage requirements for commercial vessels (33 CFR 164). Because of this prior regulation, all U.S.flagged commercial vessels required to carry AIS equipment for operation in the VTS under this proposed rule have been in compliance since 2004. Similarly, foreign-flagged vessels have been required to carry AIS equipment under the SOLAS Convention since 2004. This rulemaking proposes establishing mandatory-participation in the current voluntary VTS on the LMR. This effort is part of a comprehensive safety improvement initiative being implemented by the Coast Guard in consultation with various maritime entities in the area, including LMRWSAC. The Coast Guard completed a capitalization program in 2004 that provided Coast Guard Sector New Orleans with additional Coast Guard VerDate Nov<24>2008 12:33 Nov 10, 2009 Jkt 220001 personnel and a modernized VTC. From this VTC, we have the capability to monitor the movement of VTS users and provide navigation services that will help all requesting mariners plan their transits of the LMR. Because the bend at Algiers Point remains an area of great concern and warrants extra precaution, we also designated the segment of the river between 93.5 and 95 miles Above Head of Passes (AHP) as a VTS Special Area, and provisions formerly set forth in 33 CFR 165.810(c) continue to apply in periods of high water. Due to added concerns with a high number of vessel casualties in the vicinity of Eighty-one Mile Point as a result of unique river conditions, an additional VTS Special Area is being designated on the river between 167.5 and 187.9 miles AHP. Provisions formerly set forth in 33 CFR 165.810(g) continue to apply. This rule also proposes extending the area of operation of VTS LMR to the area between 20 miles above Baton Rouge to the outer limit of the 12-mile territorial sea boundary. IV. Summary of Changes Between NPRM and SNPRM The Coast Guard made the following changes to the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) and incorporated them in this supplemental NPRM (SNPRM): • In the NPRM, we proposed to revise § 26.03 by deleting Table 26.03(f) and revising paragraph (f). We did not make those changes in this proposed rule because the changes were completed in a different rulemaking (68 FR 60559). • In the NPRM, we discussed the federalism implications of this rule and determined that the proposed rule would have preemptive effect over any State laws or regulations on the same subject matter. We have restated that determination elsewhere in this rule. In addition, we have created a new § 161.6 to explicitly state that this rule has preemptive effect over state law on this subject. • In the NPRM, we proposed to revise Table 161.12(b) by adding a new entry that describes the LMR VTS area. We did not make those changes in this proposed rule because they were completed in a different rulemaking (68 FR 60559). That rulemaking also redesignated Table 161.12(b) as Table 161.12(c). However, in the table currently designated Table 161.12(c), we propose to revise footnote 6 to indicate the operation of the VTS LMR. In addition, two VTS monitoring areas were proposed for VTS LMR in the NPRM, utilizing VHF channels 12 and 14. Based on the operational experience of VTS LMR, we now propose three VTS PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 monitoring areas, utilizing VHF channels 11, 12, and 05A. VHF channel 14 is being utilized by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for lock operations in the VTS LMR area, and the use of CH 14 by VTS LMR would interfere with lock operations. In lieu of CH 14, the Coast Guard is proposing to utilize VHF CH 11 (156.550 MHz) in the southern section of the VTS LMR area, which is currently designated as a VTS protected frequency for the VTS LMR area in 47 CFR 80.383. The Coast Guard is also proposing to establish an additional northern monitoring area, within the VTS area originally proposed in the NPRM, utilizing VHF Channel 05A. This channel is not currently designated as a VTS protected frequency, but the Coast Guard will be petitioning the FCC for protection status for this channel and has already made frequency use applications through appropriate Federal agencies. Field tests have been conducted on CH 05A during which little other marine traffic was identified, indicating that little impact will result from the Coast Guard’s use of this channel. • Since publishing the NPRM, Coast Guard District Eight established operating requirements in § 165.810 to cover the vicinity of Eighty-one Mile Point (72 FR 41624). The operating requirements for this area are now included in this proposed rule as a new VTS Special Area in § 161.65(e). • In the NPRM, we proposed to remove § 165.810(c) and redesignate the remaining paragraphs. However, we instead propose to remove and reserve paragraph (c) to preserve the original designations for the remaining paragraphs. V. Discussion of Comments The Coast Guard received 21 letters commenting on the original proposed rule (65 FR 24616). We held one public meeting where we received two public comments. Many of the public’s comments in response to the April 2000 notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) have been overtaken by subsequent events. As a result, we summarize below those actions that have taken place since the original round of public comments and this supplemental NPRM (SNPRM). The public will have an opportunity to comment on the current state of VTS LMR operations as addressed in this proposed rulemaking. Since April 26, 2000, the Coast Guard has installed and operationally tested a Vessel Traffic Management (VTM) system to monitor the Lower Mississippi River (LMR) area addressed in this rulemaking. The system is a computer-based VTM system that E:\FR\FM\12NOP1.SGM 12NOP1 WReier-Aviles on DSKGBLS3C1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 217 / Thursday, November 12, 2009 / Proposed Rules utilizes Automatic Identification System (AIS), closed circuit television cameras (CCTV), radar, and VHF radio communications to monitor and advise vessel traffic on the Mississippi River. Computer-based VTM systems have been operationally proven as a reliable VTM system in seven U.S. ports and are maintained and supported through Coast Guard efforts. The VTS is now fully staffed by Coast Guard civilian employees, who have undergone a rigorous selection, training, and qualification process. As part of this training and qualification process, we have developed a National VTS Certification Course, based upon the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) VTS Training Curriculum, that each VTS watch stander must complete. In addition to Coast Guard employees, the VTS watch is augmented by two onsite Pilot Advisors, who bring additional knowledge and experience to the VTS operation. The Coast Guard has two Memorandums of Understanding with (1) the Crescent River Port Pilots Association and the Independent River Pilots and (2) the New Orleans and Baton Rouge Steamship Pilots and the Independent New Orleans and Baton Rouge Steamship Pilots, which address the staffing of the VTS with pilot advisors. In addition to the installation of the VTM system, remote traffic control light tower operations from Governor Nichols Street Wharf and Gretna Light have been safely transitioned to the Coast Guard VTS center. Many of the original public comments expressed concern with the ability of the Coast Guard to safely transition to and monitor the traffic control towers from a consolidated VTS center utilizing an AIS based VTS system. Remote tower operation is further enhanced through the use of CCTV coverage of the river in critical areas. These remote operations have been in place since 2004. Many of the original public comments addressed concerns with AIS equipment carriage requirements associated with the proposed rule. Since we published the NPRM in the Federal Register in 2000, the Coast Guard separated the VTS LMR and AIS rulemaking projects into two separate rulemaking projects (see USCG–2005–21869 for the AIS rulemaking). AIS is now fully integrated with the Coast Guard traffic management systems and has proven to be an effective traffic management tool in LMR, as well as the other U.S. VTS ports. We feel that the current state of VTS operations on the LMR increases the VerDate Nov<24>2008 12:33 Nov 10, 2009 Jkt 220001 safety and efficiency of traffic in the VTS area as proposed in this rulemaking and look forward to addressing new public comments received regarding the proposed rulemaking. VI. Discussion of Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking This proposed rule would revise regulations in 33 CFR parts 161 and 165 as follows: A. Section 161.2 Definitions We propose to clarify the term ‘‘Hazardous Vessel Operating Condition’’ to make it clear that, in addition to equipment and manning shortcomings, any vessel condition that ‘‘may affect the positive control or safe handling’’ of a vessel, towing vessels in particular, is deemed a ‘‘Hazardous Vessel Operating Condition.’’ B. Section 161.6 Preemption We propose to add this section to explicitly state that this rule has preemptive effect over state law on this subject. C. Section 161.12 Vessel Operating Requirements The Coast Guard proposes to revise Table 161.12(c). Specifically, we modify the VTS LMR entry in the table by changing from two to three monitoring areas and updating the designated frequencies. Additionally, we revise the text in footnote 6 by deleting the reference to VTS LMR. D. Section 161.65 Vessel Traffic Service, Lower Mississippi River The Coast Guard proposes to add a new entry that describes the Lower Mississippi River Vessel Traffic Service area. The VTS area extends from 20 miles north of Baton Rouge to the outer limit of the territorial sea, seaward of Southwest Pass. Within this VTS, there will be two VTS Special Areas. The Algiers Point VTS Special Area will consist of those waters of the LMR between 93.5 and 95.0 miles Above Head of Passes (AHP). Special operating requirements are proposed to mirror the existing Control Light operations and would be in effect during periods of high water. The Eighty-one Mile Point VTS Special Area will consist of those waters of the LMR between 167.5 and 187.9 miles AHP. Special operating requirements are proposed to mirror the existing operating requirements and would be in effect at all times. E. Section 165.810 Mississippi River, LA—Regulated Navigation Area The Coast Guard proposes to remove and reserve paragraph (c), the existing PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 58227 Mississippi River, LA–RNA provisions on Control Lights. The core of these provisions would be added to the special operating requirements of the Algiers Point VTS Special Area in § 161.65(c). Additionally, we propose to remove and reserve paragraph (g), the existing Mississippi River, LA–RNA provisions around Eighty-one Mile Point. The core of these requirements would be added to the special operating requirements of the Eighty-one Mile Point VTS Special Area in § 161.65(e). Finally, we propose adding a note at the end of this section alerting the reader that we would move the information previously located in paragraphs (c) and (g) of this section to § 161.65. VII. Regulatory Analyses We developed this proposed rule after considering numerous statutes and executive orders related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses based on 13 of these statutes or executive orders. A. Regulatory Planning and Review This proposed rule is not a significant regulatory action under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, and does not require an assessment of potential costs and benefits under section 6(a)(3) of that Order. The Office of Management and Budget has not reviewed it under that Order. This proposed rule would establish a VTS on the Lower Mississippi River and transfer certain VTM provisions of the Mississippi River, Louisiana—Regulated Navigation Area to the VTS. The proposed rule would implement current practices and procedures appropriate to an AIS-based VTS. Based on data from the Coast Guard Marine Information for Safety and Law Enforcement (MISLE) database, we estimate the proposed rule would affect 1,796 U.S.-flagged vessels with hailing ports from mile 242.4 Above Head of Passes (AHP) (near Baton Rouge) to the territorial sea boundary and an estimated 2,294 foreign-flagged vessels. The requirements for compliance with this proposed rule include: • Certain classes of commercial vessels would be required to carry functioning AIS equipment and to employ the AIS equipment while operating within the VTS. • Commercial vessels not required to carry AIS equipment would be required to follow established reporting procedures via radiotelephone when operating within the VTS area. E:\FR\FM\12NOP1.SGM 12NOP1 58228 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 217 / Thursday, November 12, 2009 / Proposed Rules • Coast Guard would maintain an operational Vessel Traffic Center (VTC) to monitor and direct traffic within the VTS. While this proposed rule would establish a mandatory participation Vessel Traffic Service (VTS), its principal effect will be to codify current practices. The requirements of this proposed rule have been implemented through prior regulations and we expect that there would not be additional costs to either industry or government resulting from this proposed rule. In 2003, the USCG published a final rule that harmonized the AIS carriage and standardization requirements contained in the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (MTSA) with the requirements of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) that established AIS carriage requirements for commercial vessels (33 CFR part 164). Because of this prior regulation, all U.S.-flagged commercial vessels required to carry AIS equipment for operation in the VTS under this proposed rule have been in compliance since 2004. Similarly, foreign-flagged vessels have been required to carry AIS equipment under the SOLAS Convention since 2004. A list of the categories of commercial vessels and the dates of compliance for AIS carriage are shown in Table 1. TABLE 1—COMMERCIAL VESSELS: AIS CARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS Class of vessel AIS currently required Compliance date Self propelled vessels 65 feet or more in length in commercial service and on an international voyage (excludes passenger and fishing vessels). Passenger Vessels of 150 gross tons or more on an international voyage ......... Tankers on international voyages, regardless of tonnage .................................... Vessels of 50,000 gross tons or more, other than tankers or passenger ships, on international voyages. Vessels of 300 gross tons or more but less than 50,000 gross tons, other than tankers or passenger ships. Self propelled vessels of 65 feet or more in length in commercial service (excludes fishing vessels and passenger vessels certificated to carry less than 151 passengers for hire). Towing Vessels 26 feet or more in length and more than 600 horsepower in commercial service. Passenger Vessels certificated to carry more than 150 passengers for hire ....... Yes ........................................................ December 31, 2004. Yes ........................................................ Yes ........................................................ Yes ........................................................ July 1, 2003. July 1, 2003. July 1, 2004. Yes ........................................................ December 31, 2004. Yes, when operating in a VTS or VMRS. December 31, 2004. Yes, when operating in a VTS or VMRS. Yes, when operating in a VTS or VMRS. No. December 31, 2004. WReier-Aviles on DSKGBLS3C1PROD with PROPOSALS Fishing Vessels ...................................................................................................... Commercial vessels that are not required to carry AIS equipment must maintain radiotelephone communication with the VTC while traversing the VTS. These requirements have been in place since July of 1982, when the Coast Guard established specific radiotelephone frequencies and reporting procedures for vessels operating in the Mississippi River, LARegulated Navigation Area. The Coast Guard has operated a VTC from a shoreside facility in downtown New Orleans since late 1999. This VTC provides the core communications and monitoring functions for the VTS. The procedures and practices proposed in this proposed rule are the same as those currently in use at the Algiers Point/Crescent area of the VTS. Currently, commercial vessel movements in the VTS traverse the Algiers Point/Crescent area and current compliance with the rules of this area fulfills the requirements of the larger VTS. As with the costs of the proposed rule, the benefits were also realized through vessel compliance with the prior regulations that established AIS and radiotelephone carriage requirements and the VTC operations center. The principal benefit of changing VTS participation from voluntary to mandatory is to codify VerDate Nov<24>2008 12:33 Nov 10, 2009 Jkt 220001 current practices which increase the efficiency of vessel operations on the Lower Mississippi River by consolidating and standardizing vessel operating procedures. B. Small Entities Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601–612), we have considered whether this proposed rule would have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The term ‘‘small entities’’ comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 50,000. As previously discussed, the requirements for vessel operation in the Algiers Point and Eighty-one Mile Point special areas were implemented in prior regulations, and most vessels which will be required to participate in the VTS are currently equipped to follow regulations already established in those two areas. As a result, we expect that this rule would not impose additional costs on any of the vessels operating in the VTS LMR. Therefore, the Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 December 31, 2004. number of small entities. If you think that your business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction qualifies as a small entity and that this rule would have a significant economic impact on it, please submit a comment to the Docket Management Facility at the address under ADDRESSES. In your comment, explain why you think it qualifies and how and to what degree this rule would economically affect it. C. Assistance for Small Entities Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104–121), we want to assist small entities in understanding this proposed rule so that they can better evaluate its effects on them and participate in the rulemaking. If the proposed rule would affect your small business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please consult with the Coast Guard personnel listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of the rule. The Coast Guard will not retaliate against small entities that question or complain about this rule or any policy or action of the Coast Guard. Small businesses may send comments on the actions of Federal employees who enforce, or otherwise determine compliance with, Federal regulations to E:\FR\FM\12NOP1.SGM 12NOP1 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 217 / Thursday, November 12, 2009 / Proposed Rules the Small Business and Agriculture Regulatory Enforcement Ombudsman and the Regional Small Business Regulatory Fairness Boards. The Ombudsman evaluates these actions annually and rates each agency’s responsiveness to small business. If you wish to comment on actions by employees of the Coast Guard, call 1– 888–REG–FAIR (1–888–734–3247). WReier-Aviles on DSKGBLS3C1PROD with PROPOSALS D. Collection of Information This proposed rule would call for no new collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501–3520). E. Federalism A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on State or local governments, and would either preempt State law or impose a substantial direct cost of compliance on them. We have analyzed this proposed rule under that Order and have determined that it has implications for federalism. A summary of the impact of federalism in this rule follows. Title I of the Ports and Waterways Safety Act (PWSA) (33 U.S.C. 1221 et. seq.) authorizes the Secretary to issue regulations to establish and maintain vessel traffic services consisting of measures for controlling or supervising vessel traffic to protect the marine environment. In enacting PWSA in 1972, Congress learned that advance planning and consultation with the affected States and other stakeholders was necessary to develop and implement a VTS. The Coast Guard, throughout the development of the VTS on the Lower Mississippi River, has consulted with the State of Louisiana, the affected state and Federal pilot’s associations, vessel operators, users, and all affected stakeholders. The Coast Guard has determined, after considering the factors developed by the Supreme Court in the consolidated cases of United States v. Locke and Intertanko v. Locke, 529 U.S. 89, 120 S.Ct. 1135 (March 6, 2000), that by enacting Chapter 25 of the Ports and Waterways Safety Act, Congress intended to preempt the field of vessel traffic services in United States ports and waterways. Therefore, the regulations proposed in this rulemaking for operation and equipment required on vessels have preemptive impact over any State laws or regulations that may be enacted on the same subject matter. While it is well settled that States may not regulate in categories in which Congress intended the Coast Guard to be the sole source of a vessel’s obligations, VerDate Nov<24>2008 12:33 Nov 10, 2009 Jkt 220001 as these categories are within a field foreclosed from regulation by the States (see U.S. v. Locke, above), the Coast Guard recognizes the key role state and local governments may have in making regulatory determinations. The State of Louisiana and the Coast Guard have worked closely throughout the development of these regulations. Additionally, Sections 4 and 6 of Executive Order 13132 require that for any rules with preemptive effect, the Coast Guard shall provide elected officials of affected state and local governments and their representative national organizations the notice and opportunity for appropriate participation in any rulemaking proceedings, and to consult with such officials early in the rulemaking process. Therefore, we invite affected state and local governments and their representative national organizations to indicate their desire for participation and consultation in this rulemaking process by submitting comments to this notice. In accordance with Executive Order 13132, the Coast Guard will provide a federalism impact statement to document (1) the extent of the Coast Guard’s consultation with State and local officials that submit comments to this proposed rule, (2) a summary of the nature of any concerns raised by state or local governments and the Coast Guard’s position thereon, and (3) a statement of the extent to which the concerns of State and local officials have been met. We will also report to the Office of Management and Budget any written communications with the states. F. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531–1538) requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of their discretionary regulatory actions. In particular, the Act addresses actions that may result in the expenditure by a State, local, or tribal government, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100,000,000 or more in any one year. Though this proposed rule would not result in such an expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble. G. Taking of Private Property This proposed rule would not effect a taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630, Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property Rights. PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 58229 H. Civil Justice Reform This proposed rule meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden. I. Protection of Children We have analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 13045, Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks. This rule is not an economically significant rule and would not create an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that might disproportionately affect children. J. Indian Tribal Governments This proposed rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it would not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes. K. Energy Effects We have analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use. We have determined that it is not a ‘‘significant energy action’’ under that order because it is not a ‘‘significant regulatory action’’ under Executive Order 12866 and is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy. L. Technical Standards The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) (15 U.S.C. 272 note) directs agencies to use voluntary consensus standards in their regulatory activities unless the agency provides Congress, through the Office of Management and Budget, with an explanation of why using these standards would be inconsistent with applicable law or otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical standards (e.g., specifications of materials, performance, design, or operation; test methods; sampling procedures; and related management systems practices) that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies. This proposed rule does not use technical standards. Therefore, we did not consider the use of voluntary consensus standards. E:\FR\FM\12NOP1.SGM 12NOP1 58230 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 217 / Thursday, November 12, 2009 / Proposed Rules M. Environment 33 CFR Part 165 We have analyzed this proposed rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023–01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA)(42 U.S.C. 4321–4370f), and have made a preliminary determination that this action is one of a category of actions which do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. A preliminary environmental analysis checklist supporting this determination is available in the docket where indicated under the ‘‘Public Participation and Request for Comments’’ section of this preamble. This rule involves regulations changing Regulated Navigation Areas and regulations in aid of navigation. We seek any comments or information that may lead to the discovery of a significant environmental impact from this proposed rule. Harbors, Navigation (water), Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Vessels, Waterways. For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes to amend 33 CFR parts 161 and 165 as follows: PART 161—VESSEL TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT 1. The authority citation for part 161 continues to read as follows: Authority: 33 U.S.C. 1223, 1231; 46 U.S.C. 70114, 70119; Pub. L. 107–295, 116 Stat. 2064; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1. § 161.2 [Amended] 2. In § 161.2, revise paragraph (3) of the definition of Hazardous Vessel Operating Condition to read as follows: § 161.2 * * Definitions. * * * Hazardous Vessel Operating Condition List of Subjects * 33 CFR Part 161 Harbors, Navigation (water), Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Vessels, Waterways. * * * * (3) Vessel characteristics that affect or restrict maneuverability, such as cargo or tow arrangement, trim, loaded condition, underkeel or overhead clearance, speed capabilities, power availability, or similar characteristics, which may affect the positive control or safe handling of the vessel or the tow. * * * * * 3. Add a new § 161.6 to read as follows: § 161.6 Preemption. The regulations in part 161 of this subchapter as to vessels have preemptive impact over State law on the same subject. The Coast Guard has determined after considering the factors developed by the Supreme Court in U.S. v Locke, 529 U.S. 89 (2000), that by enacting Chapter 25 of the Ports and Waterways Safety Act (33 U.S.C. 1221 et. seq.), Congress intended to preempt the field of vessel traffic services in United States ports and waterways. § 161.12 [Amended] 4. In § 161.12, in Table 161.12(c)— a. In footnote 6, remove the words ‘‘VTS Lower Mississippi River and’’; and b. Amend Table 161.12(c) by revising the entries for New Orleans Traffic, to read as follows: § 161.12 * * Vessel operating requirements. * * * TABLE 161.12(C)—VTS AND VMRS CENTERS, CALL SIGNS/MMSI, DESIGNATED FREQUENCIES, AND MONITORING AREAS Center MMSI 1 Call Sign * Designated frequency (Channel designation)-purpose 2 * * Monitoring Area 3,4 * * * * Lower Mississippi River—0036699952 New Orleans Traffic ....................... 156.550 MHz (Ch. 11) ................... New Orleans Traffic ....................... 156.600 MHz (Ch. 12) ................... New Orleans Traffic ....................... 156.250 MHz ................................. (Ch. 05A) ....................................... WReier-Aviles on DSKGBLS3C1PROD with PROPOSALS * * * The navigable waters of the Lower Mississippi River below 29°55.3′ N 089°55.6′ W (Saxonholm Light at 86.0 miles Above Head of Passes (AHP)), extending down river to Southwest Pass, and, within a 12 nautical mile radius around 28°54.3′ N 089°25.7′ N (Southwest Pass Entrance Light at 19.9 miles Below Head of Passes. The navigable waters of the Lower Mississippi River bounded on the north by a line drawn perpendicular on the river at 29°55′ 30″ N and 090°12′46″ W (Upper Twelve Mile Point at 109.0 miles AHP) and on the south by a line drawn perpendicularly at 29°55.3′ N 089°55.6′ W (Saxonholm Light at 86.0 miles AHP). The navigable waters of the Lower Mississippi River below 30°38.7′ N 091°17.5′ W (Port Hudson Light at 255.0 miles AHP) bounded on the south by a line drawn perpendicular on the river at 29°55′30″ N and 090°12′46″ W (Upper Twelve Mile Point at 109.0 miles AHP). * * * * Notes to Table161.12(c): 1Maritime Mobile Service Identifier (MMSI) is a unique nine-digit number assigned that identifies ship stations, ship earth stations, coast stations, coast earth stations, and group calls for use by a digital selective calling (DSC) radio, an INMARSAT ship earth station or AIS. AIS requirements are set forth in §§ 161.21 and 164.46 of this subchapter. The requirements set forth in §§ 161.21 and 164.46 of this subchapter apply in those areas denoted with a MMSI number. 2In the event of a communication failure, difficulties or other safety factors, the Center may direct or permit a user to monitor and report on any other designated monitoring frequency or the bridge-to-bridge navigational frequency, 156.650 MHz (Channel 13) or 156.375 MHz (Channel 67), to the extent that doing so provides a level of safety beyond that provided by other means. The bridge-to-bridge navigational frequency, 156.650 MHZ (Ch. 13) is used in certain monitoring areas where the level of reporting does not warrant a designated frequency. 3All geographic coordinates (latitude and longitude) are expressed in North American Datum of 1983 (NAD 83). 4Some monitoring areas extend beyond navigable waters. Although not required, users are strongly encouraged to maintain a listening watch on the designated monitoring frequency in these areas. Otherwise, they are required to maintain watch as stated in 47 CFR 80.148. VerDate Nov<24>2008 12:33 Nov 10, 2009 Jkt 220001 PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\12NOP1.SGM 12NOP1 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 217 / Thursday, November 12, 2009 / Proposed Rules * * * * * 5. Add a new § 161.65 to read as follows: § 161.65 Vessel Traffic Service Lower Mississippi River. (a) The Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) area consists of navigable waters of the Lower Mississippi River (LMR) below 30°38.7′ N, 91°17.5′ W (Port Hudson Light at 255.0 miles Above Head of Passes (AHP)), the Southwest Pass, and those within a 12 nautical mile radius around 28°54.3′ N, 89°25.7′ W (Southwest Pass Entrance Light at 19.9 miles Below Head of Passes (BHP)). (b) The Algiers Point VTS Special Area consists of the navigable waters of the LMR bounded on the north by a line drawn from 29°57.62′ N, 90°02.61′ W to 29°57.34′ N, 90°02.60′ W and on the south by a line drawn from 29°56.89′ N, 90°03.72′ W to 29°56.93′ N, 90°03.34′ W (95.0 and 93.5 miles AHP) during periods of high water—that is, when the Carrolton Gage reads 8.0 feet or above on a rising stage or 9.0 feet or above on a falling stage, or under any other water conditions the Captain of the Port (COTP) deems necessary. (c) Additional Algiers Point VTS Special Area Operating Requirements. The following additional requirements are applicable in the Algiers Point VTS Special Area: (1) A vessel movement reporting system (VMRS) user must abide by the signals of the Governor Nicholls Street Wharf, 29°57.6′ N, 90°03.4′ W, and Gretna, 29°55.5′ N, 90°03.7′ W, Control Lights (94.3 and 96.6 miles AHP, respectively) in the following manner: (i) Green Light—May proceed as intended. (ii) Red Light—Do not proceed, unless otherwise directed by the VTS. (iii) No Light—Do not proceed, immediately notify VTS and await further directions. Note to § 161.65(c)(1): To provide advance notification to downbound vessels, a traffic repeater signal of Gretna Light is located at Westwego, LA, 29°54.8′ N 90°08.3′ W (101.4 miles AHP). (2) A vessel awaiting a signal change or VTS directions must keep clear of other vessels transiting the area. (d) The Eighty-one Mile Point VTS Special Area consists of navigable waters of the LMR between 167.5 miles AHP and 187.9 miles AHP. (e) Additional Eighty-one Mile Point VTS Special Area Operating Requirements. The following additional requirements are applicable in the Eighty-one Mile Point VTS Special Area: (1) Prior to proceeding upriver past 167.5 miles AHP, Sunshine Bridge, vessels must contact VTS New Orleans on VHF Channel 5A to check-in. Vessels must provide name and destination, confirm proper operation of their automated identification system (AIS) if required under 33 CFR 164.46, and, if applicable, size of tow and number of loaded and empty barges. At 173.7 miles AHP, Bringier Point Light, ascending vessels must contact VTS New Orleans and provide a follow-on position check. 58231 At both check-in and follow-on position check, VTS New Orleans will advise the vessel on traffic approaching Eighty-one Mile Point. (2) Prior to proceeding downriver past 187.9 miles AHP COS–MAR Lights, vessels must contact VTS New Orleans on VHF Channel 5A to check-in. Vessels must provide name and destination, confirm proper operation of their automated identification system (AIS) if required under 33 CFR 164.46, and, if applicable, size of tow and number of loaded and empty barges. At 183.9 miles AHP, Wyandotte Chemical Dock Lights, descending vessels must contact VTS New Orleans and provide a follow-on position check. At both check-in and follow-on position check, VTS New Orleans will advise the vessel on traffic approaching Eighty-one Mile Point. (3) All vessels getting underway between miles 167.5 and 187.9 AHP must check-in with VTS New Orleans on VHF Channel 5A immediately prior to getting underway and must comply with the respective ascending and descending check-in and follow-on points listed in paragraphs (e)(1) and (2) of this section. (4) Fleet vessels must check-in with VTS New Orleans if they leave their respective fleet or if they move into the main channel. Fleet vessels are not required to check-in if they are operating exclusively within their fleet. (f) Reporting Points. Table 161.65(f) lists the VTS Lower Mississippi River Reporting Points. TABLE 161.65(f)—VTS LOWER MISSISSIPPI RIVER REPORTING POINTS Designator Geographic name Geographic description Latitude/longitude/mile marker Notes A .............. B .............. C .............. Algiers Canal Forebay ... Industrial Canal ............. Crescent Towing Smith Fleet. Marlex Terminal (Naval Ships). Huey P. Long Bridge ..... 88.0° AHP ..................... 92.7° AHP ..................... 93.5° AHP ..................... 29°56.6′ N; 90°10.1′ W 29°57.2′ N; 90°01.68′ W 29°57.50′ N; 90°02.62′ W 29°54.65′ N; 90°05.87′ W 29°55.40′ N; 89°57.7′ W Upbound transiting Algiers Point Special Area. Upbound transiting Algiers Point Special Area. Upbound Towing vessels transiting Algiers Point Special Area. Downbound transiting Algiers Point Special Area. D .............. E .............. 99.0° AHP ..................... 106.1° AHP ................... WReier-Aviles on DSKGBLS3C1PROD with PROPOSALS PART 165—REGULATED NAVIGATION AREAS AND LIMITED ACCESS AREAS 6. The authority citation for part 165 continues to read as follows: Authority: 33 U.S.C. 1226, 1231; 46 U.S.C. Chapter 701; 50 U.S.C. 191, 195; 33 CFR 1.05–1, 6.04–1, 6.04–6, and 160.5; Pub. L. 107–295, 116 Stat. 2064; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1. § 165.810 [Amended] 7. In § 165.810— a. Remove and reserve paragraph (c); VerDate Nov<24>2008 12:33 Nov 10, 2009 Jkt 220001 Downbound transiting Algiers Point Special Area. b. Remove and reserve paragraph (g); and c. Add a note at the end of the section to read as follows: § 165.810 Mississippi River, LA-regulated navigation area. * * * * * Note to § 165.810: Control Light provisions (previously referenced in paragraph (c) of this section) used to manage vessel traffic during periods of high waters in the vicinity of Algiers Point are located in 33 CFR 161.65(c). The special operating requirements (previously referenced in paragraph (g) of PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 this section) used to manage vessel traffic in the vicinity of Eighty-one Mile Point are located in 33 CFR 161.65(e). Dated: October 27, 2009. Brian M. Salerno, Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Assistant Commandant for Marine Safety, Security and Stewardship. [FR Doc. E9–26572 Filed 11–10–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–15–P E:\FR\FM\12NOP1.SGM 12NOP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 217 (Thursday, November 12, 2009)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 58223-58231]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-26572]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Coast Guard

33 CFR Parts 161 and 165

[Docket No. USCG-1998-4399]
RIN 1625-AA58 (Formerly RIN 2115-AF75)


Vessel Traffic Service Lower Mississippi River

AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION: Supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Coast Guard proposes to establish a Vessel Traffic Service 
(VTS) on the Lower Mississippi River and transfer certain vessel 
traffic management (VTM) provisions of the Mississippi River, 
Louisiana--Regulated Navigation Area to the VTS. The proposed rule 
would implement current practices and operating procedures appropriate 
to an Automatic Identification System (AIS)-based VTS and facilitate 
vessel transits, enhance good order, promote safe navigation, and 
improve existing waterway operating measures. The rule also proposes 
minor conforming revisions to the existing VTM provisions and related 
regulations.

DATES: Comments and related material must either be submitted to our 
online docket via http://www.regulations.gov on or before January 11, 
2010 or reach the Docket Management Facility by that date.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-
1998-4399 using any one of the following methods:
    (1) Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
    (2) Fax: 202-493-2251.
    (3) Mail: Docket Management Facility (M-30), U.S. Department of 
Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.
    (4) Hand delivery: Same as mail address above, between 9 a.m. and 5 
p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone 
number is 202-366-9329.
    To avoid duplication, please use only one of these four methods. 
See the ``Public Participation and Request for Comments'' portion of 
the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below for instructions on 
submitting comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions on this proposed 
rule, call or e-mail Lieutenant Commander Jim Larson, Office of Shore 
Forces (CG-7413), Coast Guard; telephone 202-372-1554, e-mail 
James.W.Larson@uscg.mil. If you have questions on viewing or submitting 
material to the docket, call Ms. Renee V. Wright, Program Manager, 
Docket Operations, telephone 202-366-9826.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Table of Contents for Preamble

I. Public Participation and Request for Comments
    A. Submitting Comments
    B. Viewing Comments and Documents
    C. Privacy Act
    D. Public Meeting
II. Abbreviations
III. Background
    A. Regulatory History
    B. Vessel Traffic Services
    C. Stakeholder Involvement
    D. Automatic Identification System Concept
IV. Summary of Changes Between NPRM and SNPRM
V. Discussion of Comments
VI. Discussion of Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
    A. Section 161.2 Definitions
    B. Section 161.6 Preemption
    C. Section 161.12 Vessel Operating Requirements
    D. Section 161.65 Vessel Traffic Service Lower Mississippi River
    E. Section 165.810 Mississippi River, LA--Regulated Navigation 
Area
VII. Regulatory Analyses
    A. Regulatory Planning and Review
    B. Small Entities
    C. Assistance for Small Entities
    D. Collection of Information
    E. Federalism
    F. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act
    G. Taking of Private Property
    H. Civil Justice Reform
    I. Protection of Children
    J. Indian Tribal Governments
    K. Energy Effects
    L. Technical Standards
    M. Environment

I. Public Participation and Request for Comments

    We encourage you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting 
comments and related materials. All comments received will be posted 
without change to http://www.regulations.gov and will include any 
personal information you have provided.

[[Page 58224]]

A. Submitting Comments

    If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this 
rulemaking (USCG-1998-4399), indicate the specific section of this 
document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each 
suggestion or recommendation. You may submit your comments and material 
online or by fax, mail, or hand delivery, but please use only one of 
these means. We recommend that you include your name and a mailing 
address, an e-mail address, or a phone number in the body of your 
document so that we can contact you if we have questions regarding your 
submission.
    To submit your comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov, 
click on the ``submit a comment'' box, which will then become 
highlighted in blue. In the ``Document Type'' drop down menu select 
``Proposed Rules'' and insert ``USCG-1998-4399'' in the ``Keyword'' 
box. Click ``Search'' then click on the balloon shape in the 
``Actions'' column. If you submit your comments by mail or hand 
delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no larger than 8\1/2\ by 11 
inches, suitable for copying and electronic filing. If you submit 
comments by mail and would like to know that they reached the Facility, 
please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope.
    We will consider all comments and material received during the 
comment period and may change this proposed rule based on your 
comments.

B. Viewing Comments and Documents

    To view comments, as well as documents mentioned in this preamble 
as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, 
click on the ``read comments'' box, which will then become highlighted 
in blue. In the ``Keyword'' box insert ``USCG-1998-4399'' and click 
``Search.'' Click the ``Open Docket Folder'' in the ``Actions'' column. 
If you do not have access to the Internet, you may view the docket 
online by visiting the Docket Management Facility in Room W12-140 on 
the ground floor of the Department of Transportation West Building, 
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 
p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. We have an 
agreement with the Department of Transportation to use the Docket 
Management Facility.

C. Privacy Act

    Anyone can search the electronic form of comments received into any 
of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or 
signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, 
business, labor union, etc.). You may review a Privacy Act notice 
regarding our public dockets in the January 17, 2008, issue of the 
Federal Register (73 FR 3316).

D. Public Meeting

    The Coast Guard held a public meeting on October 24, 1998, in New 
Orleans, Louisiana. We announced this meeting in a notice published in 
the Federal Register on September 18, 1998 (63 FR 49939). This meeting 
provided the Coast Guard with the opportunity to discuss the Vessel 
Traffic Service (VTS) concept and the envisioned impact of the 
Automatic Identification System (AIS) technology to the VTS program.
    This meeting also afforded us an opportunity to report the 
preliminary results of AIS tests conducted on the Lower Mississippi 
River (LMR). Advances in the use of AIS technology and its impact on 
the established VTS are not discussed in depth in this rulemaking; 
however, AIS requirements were the subject of a separate rulemaking 
published on October 22, 2003 (68 FR 60559).
    In addition, the Coast Guard discussed the VTS concept at various 
Lower Mississippi River Waterways Safety Advisory Committee (LMRWSAC) 
meetings. LMRWSAC is a federally-chartered advisory committee, chaired 
by the Eighth Coast Guard District Commander, and is charged with 
making recommendations to the Coast Guard on matters relating to the 
transit of vessels and products on the LMR. These open forums have 
allowed the public the opportunity to comment on both VTS and AIS 
issues. The public's input has been, and will be, taken into account 
prior to the final rulemaking.
    We are still considering whether to have another public meeting on 
this issue. The Coast Guard would like your comments on the reasons why 
another meeting would be beneficial. Send your comments requesting a 
public meeting to the Docket Management Facility at the address under 
ADDRESSES. If we determine that another public meeting would aid this 
rulemaking, we will hold one at a time and place announced by a later 
notice in the Federal Register.

II. Abbreviations

Abbreviation/Explanation

AHP Above Head of Passes
AIS Automatic Identification System
CH Channel
COTP Captain of the Port
GPS Global Positioning System
IEC International Electrotechnical Commission
ITU International Telecommunications Union
LMRWSAC Lower Mississippi River Waterways Safety Advisory Committee
MHz Megahertz
NDG National Dialogue Group
NEPA National Environmental Policy Act
NPRM Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
PAWSS Port and Waterways Safety Systems
PWSA Ports and Waterways Safety Act
PWSSC Ports and Waterways Safety Systems Committee
VMRS Vessel Movement Reporting System
VTC Vessel Traffic Center
VTM Vessel Traffic Management
VTS Vessel Traffic Service
VTS LMR Vessel Traffic Service Lower Mississippi River

III. Background

A. Regulatory History

    On April 26, 2000, the Coast Guard published a notice of proposed 
rulemaking (NPRM) entitled ``Vessel Traffic Service Lower Mississippi 
River'' in the Federal Register (65 FR 24616) and requested comments 
during a 90-day comment period. Due to several requests for additional 
time to comment, on August 18, 2000, the Coast Guard published a notice 
in the Federal Register (65 FR 50479) reopening the comment period 
until December 1, 2000, and announcing that the Coast Guard would hold 
a public meeting. On September 20, 2000, the Coast Guard published a 
notice of meeting in the Federal Register (65 FR 56843) announcing that 
the Coast Guard would hold a public meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, 
on October 24, 2000, to receive public comments on the NPRM.
    On October 24, 2000, the Coast Guard held a public meeting in New 
Orleans on Vessel Traffic Service Lower Mississippi River (VTS LMR). 
Twenty-four people attended the meeting, and two individuals provided 
comments.
    This proposed rule would amend vessel traffic measures within the 
Mississippi River Regulated Navigation Area and require vessels as 
defined in 33 CFR 161.2 to participate in a vessel traffic service 
(VTS) that will serve the Lower Mississippi River (LMR). Additionally, 
this proposed rule would update certain operating practices, adopt 
standard traffic management procedures, and inform mariners of certain 
services provided by a Coast Guard VTS.

B. Vessel Traffic Services

    The Coast Guard operates 12 VTSs in the United States. A VTS 
provides navigation and safety information so mariners can make 
informed decisions during their voyage. In the past, the Coast Guard 
operated variations of a VTS in the New Orleans area.

[[Page 58225]]

Unfortunately, these efforts were plagued by budgetary constraints, the 
limitations of voluntary participation, and the temporary or part-time 
nature of the VTS operation. Since disestablishment of the VTS in New 
Orleans in the 1980s, the Coast Guard, as directed by the Oil Pollution 
Act of 1990 (OPA 90, Pub. L. 101-380), has:
    (1) Validated the need for a VTS in certain ports;
    (2) Made participation mandatory in all VTS ports; and
    (3) Invested in infrastructure improvement to VTS equipment and 
standardized operating procedures across all United States VTSs.
    The Coast Guard has long recognized the potential benefits of 
properly established VTSs in U.S. ports and waterways. As a result, the 
Coast Guard established the Ports and Waterways Safety System (PAWSS) 
acquisition project to address waterway users' needs and place a 
greater emphasis on partnerships with industry to reduce risk in the 
marine environment. As part of PAWSS, the Coast Guard immediately 
convened a national dialogue group (NDG) comprised of maritime and 
waterway community stakeholders to identify the needs of waterway users 
with respect to Vessel Traffic Management (VTM) and VTS systems. The 
Coast Guard sponsored these discussions, which were hosted by the 
Committee on Maritime Advanced Information Systems (MAIS) under the 
auspices of The Marine Board of the National Research Council. Those 
stakeholders, representing all major sectors of the U.S. and foreign-
flagged maritime industry, port authorities, pilots, the environmental 
community, and the Coast Guard, were tasked to: (1) Identify the 
information needs of waterway users to ensure safe passage; (2) assist 
in establishing a process to identify candidate waterways for VTM 
improvements and VTS installations; and (3) identify the basic elements 
of a VTS. The goal of the NDG was to provide a foundation for the 
development of an approach to VTM that would meet the shared 
government, industry, and public objective of ensuring the safety of 
vessel traffic in U.S. ports and waterways in a technologically sound 
and cost effective way.
    A federally-operated and locally-adopted VTM facility has been in 
place in New Orleans Harbor since the 1930s. In an effort to assist the 
mariner, safeguard the port, ensure good order, and improve safety, the 
local maritime community implemented the Algiers Point Control Lights. 
This system evolved from local river pilots standing watch using 
lanterns and whistle signals to a 24-hour, federally-staffed 
communication station with twin control light towers at Governor 
Nicholls Street Wharf and Gretna Lights. Although not formally 
recognized as a VTS, the communication station has provided 
longstanding traffic management services from its inception.
    The Algiers Point/Crescent area is currently subject to regulatory 
provisions established in 33 CFR 165.810(c). The procedures and 
practices proposed in this rule are essentially the same as those 
currently used in the Algiers Point/Crescent area, but are being moved 
to 33 CFR 161.65(c) to consolidate all VTS regulations under one 
section.
    The primary objective of the existing regulatory system is 
providing an orderly traffic flow around Algiers Point. Algiers Point 
is one of the most challenging bends to safely navigate on the 
Mississippi River, particularly in high water conditions. In one of the 
busiest industrial harbors in the world, vessels must negotiate a 120-
degree bend in the river amidst constantly changing hydrographic 
conditions, congested waters, and various bridges and piers. Mandatory 
vessel traffic measures, represented by the light signals, are utilized 
to lessen the potential for mishap during periods of high water. The 
consequences of improper navigation in this segment of the river are 
both significant and well-documented. Since 1991, there have been 
multiple reportable marine casualties within the area covered by this 
rulemaking. The failure to safely transit this area can quickly lead to 
a mishap that causes substantial property damage, serious environmental 
and economic consequences, or loss of life.
    The Coast Guard and local mariners recognize that this segment of 
the waterway warrants great vigilance. The nature of vessel traffic 
within this area and the anticipated increase in traffic requires that 
certain vessel traffic measures are active at all times or at least 
available at a moment's notice. These measures can best be assured by 
operating a Vessel Traffic Center (VTC) within the framework of a VTS. 
A VTC is a shoreside facility from which the VTS operates and has the 
communications capability to interact with marine traffic and respond 
to developing situations. The existing Control Light operation in the 
LMR and around Algiers Point has proven valuable in some measures of 
VTM; however, these measures are narrow in scope, limited to a small 
area, and only operated during periods of high water. Historically, 
limitations of equipment, staffing, and site location hampered the 
light operator's ability to provide overall safety and efficiency of 
anticipated vessel traffic beyond the immediate vicinity of Algiers 
Point. Through implementation of a continuously-operating VTS, the 
Coast Guard has enhanced system capabilities and improved navigation on 
the entire LMR.

C. Stakeholder Involvement

    The Coast Guard has long recognized that a VTS on the LMR is a 
valuable asset to all entities, the ``stakeholders'', that may be 
impacted by the waterway either directly or indirectly. In addition, 
many of the stakeholders who regularly utilize the waterway have 
advised us that to achieve success, the VTS must meet the needs of the 
waterway users while imposing the least burden.
    In 1997, the Coast Guard formed the Ports and Waterways Safety 
Systems Committee (PWSSC). The Coast Guard created this ad-hoc 
committee, a subcommittee under LMRWSAC, of maritime, port community, 
government, and public stakeholders to define user requirements for a 
VTS that would accomplish the overall goals of safety and efficiency. 
Since its formation, PWSSC has met several times, and the product of 
these meetings was a conceptual baseline VTS plan (see document USCG-
1998-4399-0003 at http://www.regulations.gov) endorsed by LMRWSAC. Key 
recommendations of this plan involved the need to implement AIS 
technology and to incorporate AIS as a key component of any VTS 
implementation.

D. Automatic Identification System Concept

    AIS technology relies on Global Positioning System (GPS), 
navigation sensors, and digital communication equipment operating 
according to standardized protocols (i.e., AIS transponders) that 
permit the voiceless exchange of navigation information between vessels 
and shoreside VTCs. The AIS transponders on vessels can broadcast 
information about the vessel, such as its name or call sign, 
dimensions, type, position (derived from a GPS input), course, speed, 
and navigation status. This information is continually updated and 
received by all AIS-equipped vessels in its vicinity. An AIS-based VTS 
is able to augment this broadcast with additional safety and navigation 
information such as weather, tides, currents, and status of 
navigational aids. This additional information can be relayed to all 
VTS users for consideration in voyage planning and execution. The 
advantage of this automatic exchange of

[[Page 58226]]

information is that it can be accessed by all mariners, tailored to the 
mariners' needs and desires, and greatly reduce voice radio exchanges. 
The ease of operation of the VTS and the reduction of voice 
interactions should greatly enhance mariners' ability to navigate, 
improve their situational awareness, and assist them in the performance 
of their duties, thus reducing the risk of collisions.
    The Coast Guard recognizes the importance of AIS and has led the 
way on various international fronts for acceptance and adoption of this 
technology. Through its national representation role in the 
International Maritime Organization (IMO), International 
Telecommunications Union (ITU), and participation in various other 
international working groups, including groups within the International 
Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the Coast Guard has been a leader in 
the drafting and/or adoption of various technical standards (e.g., ITU-
R M.1371-3, IEC 61993-2, IEC 62320-1). Through comprehensive field 
testing and based on feedback received from test participants and other 
interested parties in the area, the Coast Guard established a 
voluntary-participation VTS on the LMR that incorporated full use of 
AIS technology in 2004.
    In 2003, the USCG published a final rule that harmonized the AIS 
carriage and standardization requirements contained in the Maritime 
Transportation Security Act of 2002, Section 102, Public Law 107-295, 
116 Stat. 2064, 46 U.S.C. 70114 (November 25, 2002) (MTSA) with the 
requirements of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at 
Sea (SOLAS) that established AIS carriage requirements for commercial 
vessels (33 CFR 164). Because of this prior regulation, all U.S.-
flagged commercial vessels required to carry AIS equipment for 
operation in the VTS under this proposed rule have been in compliance 
since 2004. Similarly, foreign-flagged vessels have been required to 
carry AIS equipment under the SOLAS Convention since 2004.
    This rulemaking proposes establishing mandatory-participation in 
the current voluntary VTS on the LMR. This effort is part of a 
comprehensive safety improvement initiative being implemented by the 
Coast Guard in consultation with various maritime entities in the area, 
including LMRWSAC.
    The Coast Guard completed a capitalization program in 2004 that 
provided Coast Guard Sector New Orleans with additional Coast Guard 
personnel and a modernized VTC. From this VTC, we have the capability 
to monitor the movement of VTS users and provide navigation services 
that will help all requesting mariners plan their transits of the LMR. 
Because the bend at Algiers Point remains an area of great concern and 
warrants extra precaution, we also designated the segment of the river 
between 93.5 and 95 miles Above Head of Passes (AHP) as a VTS Special 
Area, and provisions formerly set forth in 33 CFR 165.810(c) continue 
to apply in periods of high water. Due to added concerns with a high 
number of vessel casualties in the vicinity of Eighty-one Mile Point as 
a result of unique river conditions, an additional VTS Special Area is 
being designated on the river between 167.5 and 187.9 miles AHP. 
Provisions formerly set forth in 33 CFR 165.810(g) continue to apply.
    This rule also proposes extending the area of operation of VTS LMR 
to the area between 20 miles above Baton Rouge to the outer limit of 
the 12-mile territorial sea boundary.

IV. Summary of Changes Between NPRM and SNPRM

    The Coast Guard made the following changes to the notice of 
proposed rulemaking (NPRM) and incorporated them in this supplemental 
NPRM (SNPRM):
     In the NPRM, we proposed to revise Sec.  26.03 by deleting 
Table 26.03(f) and revising paragraph (f). We did not make those 
changes in this proposed rule because the changes were completed in a 
different rulemaking (68 FR 60559).
     In the NPRM, we discussed the federalism implications of 
this rule and determined that the proposed rule would have preemptive 
effect over any State laws or regulations on the same subject matter. 
We have restated that determination elsewhere in this rule. In 
addition, we have created a new Sec.  161.6 to explicitly state that 
this rule has preemptive effect over state law on this subject.
     In the NPRM, we proposed to revise Table 161.12(b) by 
adding a new entry that describes the LMR VTS area. We did not make 
those changes in this proposed rule because they were completed in a 
different rulemaking (68 FR 60559). That rulemaking also redesignated 
Table 161.12(b) as Table 161.12(c). However, in the table currently 
designated Table 161.12(c), we propose to revise footnote 6 to indicate 
the operation of the VTS LMR. In addition, two VTS monitoring areas 
were proposed for VTS LMR in the NPRM, utilizing VHF channels 12 and 
14. Based on the operational experience of VTS LMR, we now propose 
three VTS monitoring areas, utilizing VHF channels 11, 12, and 05A. VHF 
channel 14 is being utilized by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for 
lock operations in the VTS LMR area, and the use of CH 14 by VTS LMR 
would interfere with lock operations. In lieu of CH 14, the Coast Guard 
is proposing to utilize VHF CH 11 (156.550 MHz) in the southern section 
of the VTS LMR area, which is currently designated as a VTS protected 
frequency for the VTS LMR area in 47 CFR 80.383. The Coast Guard is 
also proposing to establish an additional northern monitoring area, 
within the VTS area originally proposed in the NPRM, utilizing VHF 
Channel 05A. This channel is not currently designated as a VTS 
protected frequency, but the Coast Guard will be petitioning the FCC 
for protection status for this channel and has already made frequency 
use applications through appropriate Federal agencies. Field tests have 
been conducted on CH 05A during which little other marine traffic was 
identified, indicating that little impact will result from the Coast 
Guard's use of this channel.
     Since publishing the NPRM, Coast Guard District Eight 
established operating requirements in Sec.  165.810 to cover the 
vicinity of Eighty-one Mile Point (72 FR 41624). The operating 
requirements for this area are now included in this proposed rule as a 
new VTS Special Area in Sec.  161.65(e).
     In the NPRM, we proposed to remove Sec.  165.810(c) and 
redesignate the remaining paragraphs. However, we instead propose to 
remove and reserve paragraph (c) to preserve the original designations 
for the remaining paragraphs.

V. Discussion of Comments

    The Coast Guard received 21 letters commenting on the original 
proposed rule (65 FR 24616). We held one public meeting where we 
received two public comments. Many of the public's comments in response 
to the April 2000 notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) have been 
overtaken by subsequent events. As a result, we summarize below those 
actions that have taken place since the original round of public 
comments and this supplemental NPRM (SNPRM). The public will have an 
opportunity to comment on the current state of VTS LMR operations as 
addressed in this proposed rulemaking.
    Since April 26, 2000, the Coast Guard has installed and 
operationally tested a Vessel Traffic Management (VTM) system to 
monitor the Lower Mississippi River (LMR) area addressed in this 
rulemaking. The system is a computer-based VTM system that

[[Page 58227]]

utilizes Automatic Identification System (AIS), closed circuit 
television cameras (CCTV), radar, and VHF radio communications to 
monitor and advise vessel traffic on the Mississippi River. Computer-
based VTM systems have been operationally proven as a reliable VTM 
system in seven U.S. ports and are maintained and supported through 
Coast Guard efforts.
    The VTS is now fully staffed by Coast Guard civilian employees, who 
have undergone a rigorous selection, training, and qualification 
process. As part of this training and qualification process, we have 
developed a National VTS Certification Course, based upon the 
International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse 
Authorities (IALA) VTS Training Curriculum, that each VTS watch stander 
must complete. In addition to Coast Guard employees, the VTS watch is 
augmented by two onsite Pilot Advisors, who bring additional knowledge 
and experience to the VTS operation. The Coast Guard has two 
Memorandums of Understanding with (1) the Crescent River Port Pilots 
Association and the Independent River Pilots and (2) the New Orleans 
and Baton Rouge Steamship Pilots and the Independent New Orleans and 
Baton Rouge Steamship Pilots, which address the staffing of the VTS 
with pilot advisors.
    In addition to the installation of the VTM system, remote traffic 
control light tower operations from Governor Nichols Street Wharf and 
Gretna Light have been safely transitioned to the Coast Guard VTS 
center. Many of the original public comments expressed concern with the 
ability of the Coast Guard to safely transition to and monitor the 
traffic control towers from a consolidated VTS center utilizing an AIS 
based VTS system. Remote tower operation is further enhanced through 
the use of CCTV coverage of the river in critical areas. These remote 
operations have been in place since 2004.
    Many of the original public comments addressed concerns with AIS 
equipment carriage requirements associated with the proposed rule. 
Since we published the NPRM in the Federal Register in 2000, the Coast 
Guard separated the VTS LMR and AIS rulemaking projects into two 
separate rulemaking projects (see USCG-2005-21869 for the AIS 
rulemaking). AIS is now fully integrated with the Coast Guard traffic 
management systems and has proven to be an effective traffic management 
tool in LMR, as well as the other U.S. VTS ports.
    We feel that the current state of VTS operations on the LMR 
increases the safety and efficiency of traffic in the VTS area as 
proposed in this rulemaking and look forward to addressing new public 
comments received regarding the proposed rulemaking.

VI. Discussion of Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

    This proposed rule would revise regulations in 33 CFR parts 161 and 
165 as follows:

A. Section 161.2 Definitions

    We propose to clarify the term ``Hazardous Vessel Operating 
Condition'' to make it clear that, in addition to equipment and manning 
shortcomings, any vessel condition that ``may affect the positive 
control or safe handling'' of a vessel, towing vessels in particular, 
is deemed a ``Hazardous Vessel Operating Condition.''

B. Section 161.6 Preemption

    We propose to add this section to explicitly state that this rule 
has preemptive effect over state law on this subject.

C. Section 161.12 Vessel Operating Requirements

    The Coast Guard proposes to revise Table 161.12(c). Specifically, 
we modify the VTS LMR entry in the table by changing from two to three 
monitoring areas and updating the designated frequencies. Additionally, 
we revise the text in footnote 6 by deleting the reference to VTS LMR.

D. Section 161.65 Vessel Traffic Service, Lower Mississippi River

    The Coast Guard proposes to add a new entry that describes the 
Lower Mississippi River Vessel Traffic Service area. The VTS area 
extends from 20 miles north of Baton Rouge to the outer limit of the 
territorial sea, seaward of Southwest Pass. Within this VTS, there will 
be two VTS Special Areas.
    The Algiers Point VTS Special Area will consist of those waters of 
the LMR between 93.5 and 95.0 miles Above Head of Passes (AHP). Special 
operating requirements are proposed to mirror the existing Control 
Light operations and would be in effect during periods of high water.
    The Eighty-one Mile Point VTS Special Area will consist of those 
waters of the LMR between 167.5 and 187.9 miles AHP. Special operating 
requirements are proposed to mirror the existing operating requirements 
and would be in effect at all times.

E. Section 165.810 Mississippi River, LA--Regulated Navigation Area

    The Coast Guard proposes to remove and reserve paragraph (c), the 
existing Mississippi River, LA-RNA provisions on Control Lights. The 
core of these provisions would be added to the special operating 
requirements of the Algiers Point VTS Special Area in Sec.  161.65(c).
    Additionally, we propose to remove and reserve paragraph (g), the 
existing Mississippi River, LA-RNA provisions around Eighty-one Mile 
Point. The core of these requirements would be added to the special 
operating requirements of the Eighty-one Mile Point VTS Special Area in 
Sec.  161.65(e).
    Finally, we propose adding a note at the end of this section 
alerting the reader that we would move the information previously 
located in paragraphs (c) and (g) of this section to Sec.  161.65.

VII. Regulatory Analyses

    We developed this proposed rule after considering numerous statutes 
and executive orders related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our 
analyses based on 13 of these statutes or executive orders.

A. Regulatory Planning and Review

    This proposed rule is not a significant regulatory action under 
section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, 
and does not require an assessment of potential costs and benefits 
under section 6(a)(3) of that Order. The Office of Management and 
Budget has not reviewed it under that Order.
    This proposed rule would establish a VTS on the Lower Mississippi 
River and transfer certain VTM provisions of the Mississippi River, 
Louisiana--Regulated Navigation Area to the VTS. The proposed rule 
would implement current practices and procedures appropriate to an AIS-
based VTS.
    Based on data from the Coast Guard Marine Information for Safety 
and Law Enforcement (MISLE) database, we estimate the proposed rule 
would affect 1,796 U.S.-flagged vessels with hailing ports from mile 
242.4 Above Head of Passes (AHP) (near Baton Rouge) to the territorial 
sea boundary and an estimated 2,294 foreign-flagged vessels.
    The requirements for compliance with this proposed rule include:
     Certain classes of commercial vessels would be required to 
carry functioning AIS equipment and to employ the AIS equipment while 
operating within the VTS.
     Commercial vessels not required to carry AIS equipment 
would be required to follow established reporting procedures via 
radiotelephone when operating within the VTS area.

[[Page 58228]]

     Coast Guard would maintain an operational Vessel Traffic 
Center (VTC) to monitor and direct traffic within the VTS.
    While this proposed rule would establish a mandatory participation 
Vessel Traffic Service (VTS), its principal effect will be to codify 
current practices. The requirements of this proposed rule have been 
implemented through prior regulations and we expect that there would 
not be additional costs to either industry or government resulting from 
this proposed rule.
    In 2003, the USCG published a final rule that harmonized the AIS 
carriage and standardization requirements contained in the Maritime 
Transportation Security Act of 2002 (MTSA) with the requirements of the 
International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) that 
established AIS carriage requirements for commercial vessels (33 CFR 
part 164). Because of this prior regulation, all U.S.-flagged 
commercial vessels required to carry AIS equipment for operation in the 
VTS under this proposed rule have been in compliance since 2004. 
Similarly, foreign-flagged vessels have been required to carry AIS 
equipment under the SOLAS Convention since 2004. A list of the 
categories of commercial vessels and the dates of compliance for AIS 
carriage are shown in Table 1.

         Table 1--Commercial Vessels: AIS Carriage Requirements
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                               AIS currently
       Class of vessel            required          Compliance date
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Self propelled vessels 65     Yes............  December 31, 2004.
 feet or more in length in
 commercial service and on
 an international voyage
 (excludes passenger and
 fishing vessels).
Passenger Vessels of 150      Yes............  July 1, 2003.
 gross tons or more on an
 international voyage.
Tankers on international      Yes............  July 1, 2003.
 voyages, regardless of
 tonnage.
Vessels of 50,000 gross tons  Yes............  July 1, 2004.
 or more, other than tankers
 or passenger ships, on
 international voyages.
Vessels of 300 gross tons or  Yes............  December 31, 2004.
 more but less than 50,000
 gross tons, other than
 tankers or passenger ships.
Self propelled vessels of 65  Yes, when        December 31, 2004.
 feet or more in length in     operating in a
 commercial service            VTS or VMRS.
 (excludes fishing vessels
 and passenger vessels
 certificated to carry less
 than 151 passengers for
 hire).
Towing Vessels 26 feet or     Yes, when        December 31, 2004.
 more in length and more       operating in a
 than 600 horsepower in        VTS or VMRS.
 commercial service.
Passenger Vessels             Yes, when        December 31, 2004.
 certificated to carry more    operating in a
 than 150 passengers for       VTS or VMRS.
 hire.
Fishing Vessels.............  No.............
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Commercial vessels that are not required to carry AIS equipment 
must maintain radiotelephone communication with the VTC while 
traversing the VTS. These requirements have been in place since July of 
1982, when the Coast Guard established specific radiotelephone 
frequencies and reporting procedures for vessels operating in the 
Mississippi River, LA-Regulated Navigation Area.
    The Coast Guard has operated a VTC from a shoreside facility in 
downtown New Orleans since late 1999. This VTC provides the core 
communications and monitoring functions for the VTS.
    The procedures and practices proposed in this proposed rule are the 
same as those currently in use at the Algiers Point/Crescent area of 
the VTS. Currently, commercial vessel movements in the VTS traverse the 
Algiers Point/Crescent area and current compliance with the rules of 
this area fulfills the requirements of the larger VTS.
    As with the costs of the proposed rule, the benefits were also 
realized through vessel compliance with the prior regulations that 
established AIS and radiotelephone carriage requirements and the VTC 
operations center. The principal benefit of changing VTS participation 
from voluntary to mandatory is to codify current practices which 
increase the efficiency of vessel operations on the Lower Mississippi 
River by consolidating and standardizing vessel operating procedures.

B. Small Entities

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), we have 
considered whether this proposed rule would have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities. The term ``small 
entities'' comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations 
that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their 
fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 
50,000.
    As previously discussed, the requirements for vessel operation in 
the Algiers Point and Eighty-one Mile Point special areas were 
implemented in prior regulations, and most vessels which will be 
required to participate in the VTS are currently equipped to follow 
regulations already established in those two areas. As a result, we 
expect that this rule would not impose additional costs on any of the 
vessels operating in the VTS LMR.
    Therefore, the Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that 
this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities. If you think that your business, 
organization, or governmental jurisdiction qualifies as a small entity 
and that this rule would have a significant economic impact on it, 
please submit a comment to the Docket Management Facility at the 
address under ADDRESSES. In your comment, explain why you think it 
qualifies and how and to what degree this rule would economically 
affect it.

C. Assistance for Small Entities

    Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement 
Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), we want to assist small 
entities in understanding this proposed rule so that they can better 
evaluate its effects on them and participate in the rulemaking. If the 
proposed rule would affect your small business, organization, or 
governmental jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its 
provisions or options for compliance, please consult with the Coast 
Guard personnel listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section 
of the rule. The Coast Guard will not retaliate against small entities 
that question or complain about this rule or any policy or action of 
the Coast Guard.
    Small businesses may send comments on the actions of Federal 
employees who enforce, or otherwise determine compliance with, Federal 
regulations to

[[Page 58229]]

the Small Business and Agriculture Regulatory Enforcement Ombudsman and 
the Regional Small Business Regulatory Fairness Boards. The Ombudsman 
evaluates these actions annually and rates each agency's responsiveness 
to small business. If you wish to comment on actions by employees of 
the Coast Guard, call 1-888-REG-FAIR (1-888-734-3247).

D. Collection of Information

    This proposed rule would call for no new collection of information 
under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520).

E. Federalism

    A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, 
Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on State or local 
governments, and would either preempt State law or impose a substantial 
direct cost of compliance on them.
    We have analyzed this proposed rule under that Order and have 
determined that it has implications for federalism. A summary of the 
impact of federalism in this rule follows.
    Title I of the Ports and Waterways Safety Act (PWSA) (33 U.S.C. 
1221 et. seq.) authorizes the Secretary to issue regulations to 
establish and maintain vessel traffic services consisting of measures 
for controlling or supervising vessel traffic to protect the marine 
environment. In enacting PWSA in 1972, Congress learned that advance 
planning and consultation with the affected States and other 
stakeholders was necessary to develop and implement a VTS. The Coast 
Guard, throughout the development of the VTS on the Lower Mississippi 
River, has consulted with the State of Louisiana, the affected state 
and Federal pilot's associations, vessel operators, users, and all 
affected stakeholders.
    The Coast Guard has determined, after considering the factors 
developed by the Supreme Court in the consolidated cases of United 
States v. Locke and Intertanko v. Locke, 529 U.S. 89, 120 S.Ct. 1135 
(March 6, 2000), that by enacting Chapter 25 of the Ports and Waterways 
Safety Act, Congress intended to preempt the field of vessel traffic 
services in United States ports and waterways. Therefore, the 
regulations proposed in this rulemaking for operation and equipment 
required on vessels have preemptive impact over any State laws or 
regulations that may be enacted on the same subject matter.
    While it is well settled that States may not regulate in categories 
in which Congress intended the Coast Guard to be the sole source of a 
vessel's obligations, as these categories are within a field foreclosed 
from regulation by the States (see U.S. v. Locke, above), the Coast 
Guard recognizes the key role state and local governments may have in 
making regulatory determinations. The State of Louisiana and the Coast 
Guard have worked closely throughout the development of these 
regulations. Additionally, Sections 4 and 6 of Executive Order 13132 
require that for any rules with preemptive effect, the Coast Guard 
shall provide elected officials of affected state and local governments 
and their representative national organizations the notice and 
opportunity for appropriate participation in any rulemaking 
proceedings, and to consult with such officials early in the rulemaking 
process. Therefore, we invite affected state and local governments and 
their representative national organizations to indicate their desire 
for participation and consultation in this rulemaking process by 
submitting comments to this notice. In accordance with Executive Order 
13132, the Coast Guard will provide a federalism impact statement to 
document (1) the extent of the Coast Guard's consultation with State 
and local officials that submit comments to this proposed rule, (2) a 
summary of the nature of any concerns raised by state or local 
governments and the Coast Guard's position thereon, and (3) a statement 
of the extent to which the concerns of State and local officials have 
been met. We will also report to the Office of Management and Budget 
any written communications with the states.

F. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538) 
requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of their discretionary 
regulatory actions. In particular, the Act addresses actions that may 
result in the expenditure by a State, local, or tribal government, in 
the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100,000,000 or more in any 
one year. Though this proposed rule would not result in such an 
expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this 
preamble.

G. Taking of Private Property

    This proposed rule would not effect a taking of private property or 
otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630, 
Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected 
Property Rights.

H. Civil Justice Reform

    This proposed rule meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 
3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize 
litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden.

I. Protection of Children

    We have analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 13045, 
Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety 
Risks. This rule is not an economically significant rule and would not 
create an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that might 
disproportionately affect children.

J. Indian Tribal Governments

    This proposed rule does not have tribal implications under 
Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal 
Governments, because it would not have a substantial direct effect on 
one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal 
Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and 
responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.

K. Energy Effects

    We have analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 13211, 
Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, 
Distribution, or Use. We have determined that it is not a ``significant 
energy action'' under that order because it is not a ``significant 
regulatory action'' under Executive Order 12866 and is not likely to 
have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use 
of energy.

L. Technical Standards

    The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) (15 
U.S.C. 272 note) directs agencies to use voluntary consensus standards 
in their regulatory activities unless the agency provides Congress, 
through the Office of Management and Budget, with an explanation of why 
using these standards would be inconsistent with applicable law or 
otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical 
standards (e.g., specifications of materials, performance, design, or 
operation; test methods; sampling procedures; and related management 
systems practices) that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus 
standards bodies.
    This proposed rule does not use technical standards. Therefore, we 
did not consider the use of voluntary consensus standards.

[[Page 58230]]

M. Environment

    We have analyzed this proposed rule under Department of Homeland 
Security Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction 
M16475.lD, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA)(42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have 
made a preliminary determination that this action is one of a category 
of actions which do not individually or cumulatively have a significant 
effect on the human environment. A preliminary environmental analysis 
checklist supporting this determination is available in the docket 
where indicated under the ``Public Participation and Request for 
Comments'' section of this preamble. This rule involves regulations 
changing Regulated Navigation Areas and regulations in aid of 
navigation. We seek any comments or information that may lead to the 
discovery of a significant environmental impact from this proposed 
rule.

List of Subjects

33 CFR Part 161

    Harbors, Navigation (water), Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements, Vessels, Waterways.

33 CFR Part 165

    Harbors, Navigation (water), Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements, Vessels, Waterways.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes 
to amend 33 CFR parts 161 and 165 as follows:

PART 161--VESSEL TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT

    1. The authority citation for part 161 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 33 U.S.C. 1223, 1231; 46 U.S.C. 70114, 70119; Pub. L. 
107-295, 116 Stat. 2064; Department of Homeland Security Delegation 
No. 0170.1.

Sec.  161.2  [Amended]

    2. In Sec.  161.2, revise paragraph (3) of the definition of 
Hazardous Vessel Operating Condition to read as follows:


Sec.  161.2  Definitions.

* * * * *

Hazardous Vessel Operating Condition

* * * * *
    (3) Vessel characteristics that affect or restrict maneuverability, 
such as cargo or tow arrangement, trim, loaded condition, underkeel or 
overhead clearance, speed capabilities, power availability, or similar 
characteristics, which may affect the positive control or safe handling 
of the vessel or the tow.
* * * * *
    3. Add a new Sec.  161.6 to read as follows:


Sec.  161.6  Preemption.

    The regulations in part 161 of this subchapter as to vessels have 
preemptive impact over State law on the same subject. The Coast Guard 
has determined after considering the factors developed by the Supreme 
Court in U.S. v Locke, 529 U.S. 89 (2000), that by enacting Chapter 25 
of the Ports and Waterways Safety Act (33 U.S.C. 1221 et. seq.), 
Congress intended to preempt the field of vessel traffic services in 
United States ports and waterways.


Sec.  161.12  [Amended]

    4. In Sec.  161.12, in Table 161.12(c)--
    a. In footnote 6, remove the words ``VTS Lower Mississippi River 
and''; and
    b. Amend Table 161.12(c) by revising the entries for New Orleans 
Traffic, to read as follows:


Sec.  161.12  Vessel operating requirements.

* * * * *

   Table 161.12(c)--VTS and VMRS centers, Call Signs/MMSI, Designated
                    Frequencies, and Monitoring Areas
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    Designated
                                    frequency
  Center MMSI \1\  Call Sign         (Channel      Monitoring Area \3,4\
                                  designation)-
                                   purpose \2\
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                              * * * * * * *
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                   Lower Mississippi River--0036699952
------------------------------------------------------------------------
New Orleans Traffic...........  156.550 MHz (Ch.   The navigable waters
                                 11).               of the Lower
                                                    Mississippi River
                                                    below 29[deg]55.3' N
                                                    089[deg]55.6' W
                                                    (Saxonholm Light at
                                                    86.0 miles Above
                                                    Head of Passes
                                                    (AHP)), extending
                                                    down river to
                                                    Southwest Pass, and,
                                                    within a 12 nautical
                                                    mile radius around
                                                    28[deg]54.3' N
                                                    089[deg]25.7' N
                                                    (Southwest Pass
                                                    Entrance Light at
                                                    19.9 miles Below
                                                    Head of Passes.
New Orleans Traffic...........  156.600 MHz (Ch.   The navigable waters
                                 12).               of the Lower
                                                    Mississippi River
                                                    bounded on the north
                                                    by a line drawn
                                                    perpendicular on the
                                                    river at 29[deg]55'
                                                    30'' N and
                                                    090[deg]12'46'' W
                                                    (Upper Twelve Mile
                                                    Point at 109.0 miles
                                                    AHP) and on the
                                                    south by a line
                                                    drawn
                                                    perpendicularly at
                                                    29[deg]55.3' N
                                                    089[deg]55.6' W
                                                    (Saxonholm Light at
                                                    86.0 miles AHP).
New Orleans Traffic...........  156.250 MHz......  The navigable waters
                                (Ch. 05A)........   of the Lower
                                                    Mississippi River
                                                    below 30[deg]38.7' N
                                                    091[deg]17.5' W
                                                    (Port Hudson Light
                                                    at 255.0 miles AHP)
                                                    bounded on the south
                                                    by a line drawn
                                                    perpendicular on the
                                                    river at
                                                    29[deg]55'30'' N and
                                                    090[deg]12'46'' W
                                                    (Upper Twelve Mile
                                                    Point at 109.0 miles
                                                    AHP).
 
                              * * * * * * *
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Notes to Table161.12(c):
\1\Maritime Mobile Service Identifier (MMSI) is a unique nine-digit
  number assigned that identifies ship stations, ship earth stations,
  coast stations, coast earth stations, and group calls for use by a
  digital selective calling (DSC) radio, an INMARSAT ship earth station
  or AIS. AIS requirements are set forth in Sec.  Sec.   161.21 and
  164.46 of this subchapter. The requirements set forth in Sec.  Sec.
  161.21 and 164.46 of this subchapter apply in those areas denoted with
  a MMSI number.
\2\In the event of a communication failure, difficulties or other safety
  factors, the Center may direct or permit a user to monitor and report
  on any other designated monitoring frequency or the bridge-to-bridge
  navigational frequency, 156.650 MHz (Channel 13) or 156.375 MHz
  (Channel 67), to the extent that doing so provides a level of safety
  beyond that provided by other means. The bridge-to-bridge navigational
  frequency, 156.650 MHZ (Ch. 13) is used in certain monitoring areas
  where the level of reporting does not warrant a designated frequency.
\3\All geographic coordinates (latitude and longitude) are expressed in
  North American Datum of 1983 (NAD 83).
\4\Some monitoring areas extend beyond navigable waters. Although not
  required, users are strongly encouraged to maintain a listening watch
  on the designated monitoring frequency in these areas. Otherwise, they
  are required to maintain watch as stated in 47 CFR 80.148.


[[Page 58231]]

* * * * *
    5. Add a new Sec.  161.65 to read as follows:


Sec.  161.65  Vessel Traffic Service Lower Mississippi River.

    (a) The Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) area consists of navigable 
waters of the Lower Mississippi River (LMR) below 30[deg]38.7' N, 
91[deg]17.5' W (Port Hudson Light at 255.0 miles Above Head of Passes 
(AHP)), the Southwest Pass, and those within a 12 nautical mile radius 
around 28[deg]54.3' N, 89[deg]25.7' W (Southwest Pass Entrance Light at 
19.9 miles Below Head of Passes (BHP)).
    (b) The Algiers Point VTS Special Area consists of the navigable 
waters of the LMR bounded on the north by a line drawn from 
29[deg]57.62' N, 90[deg]02.61' W to 29[deg]57.34' N, 90[deg]02.60' W 
and on the south by a line drawn from 29[deg]56.89' N, 90[deg]03.72' W 
to 29[deg]56.93' N, 90[deg]03.34' W (95.0 and 93.5 miles AHP) during 
periods of high water--that is, when the Carrolton Gage reads 8.0 feet 
or above on a rising stage or 9.0 feet or above on a falling stage, or 
under any other water conditions the Captain of the Port (COTP) deems 
necessary.
    (c) Additional Algiers Point VTS Special Area Operating 
Requirements. The following additional requirements are applicable in 
the Algiers Point VTS Special Area:
    (1) A vessel movement reporting system (VMRS) user must abide by 
the signals of the Governor Nicholls Street Wharf, 29[deg]57.6' N, 
90[deg]03.4' W, and Gretna, 29[deg]55.5' N, 90[deg]03.7' W, Control 
Lights (94.3 and 96.6 miles AHP, respectively) in the following manner:
    (i) Green Light--May proceed as intended.
    (ii) Red Light--Do not proceed, unless otherwise directed by the 
VTS.
    (iii) No Light--Do not proceed, immediately notify VTS and await 
further directions.

    Note to Sec.  161.65(c)(1): To provide advance notification to 
downbound vessels, a traffic repeater signal of Gretna Light is 
located at Westwego, LA, 29[deg]54.8' N 90[deg]08.3' W (101.4 miles 
AHP).

    (2) A vessel awaiting a signal change or VTS directions must keep 
clear of other vessels transiting the area.
    (d) The Eighty-one Mile Point VTS Special Area consists of 
navigable waters of the LMR between 167.5 miles AHP and 187.9 miles 
AHP.
    (e) Additional Eighty-one Mile Point VTS Special Area Operating 
Requirements. The following additional requirements are applicable in 
the Eighty-one Mile Point VTS Special Area:
    (1) Prior to proceeding upriver past 167.5 miles AHP, Sunshine 
Bridge, vessels must contact VTS New Orleans on VHF Channel 5A to 
check-in. Vessels must provide name and destination, confirm proper 
operation of their automated identification system (AIS) if required 
under 33 CFR 164.46, and, if applicable, size of tow and number of 
loaded and empty barges. At 173.7 miles AHP, Bringier Point Light, 
ascending vessels must contact VTS New Orleans and provide a follow-on 
position check. At both check-in and follow-on position check, VTS New 
Orleans will advise the vessel on traffic approaching Eighty-one Mile 
Point.
    (2) Prior to proceeding downriver past 187.9 miles AHP COS-MAR 
Lights, vessels must contact VTS New Orleans on VHF Channel 5A to 
check-in. Vessels must provide name and destination, confirm proper 
operation of their automated identification system (AIS) if required 
under 33 CFR 164.46, and, if applicable, size of tow and number of 
loaded and empty barges. At 183.9 miles AHP, Wyandotte Chemical Dock 
Lights, descending vessels must contact VTS New Orleans and provide a 
follow-on position check. At both check-in and follow-on position 
check, VTS New Orleans will advise the vessel on traffic approaching 
Eighty-one Mile Point.
    (3) All vessels getting underway between miles 167.5 and 187.9 AHP 
must check-in with VTS New Orleans on VHF Channel 5A immediately prior 
to getting underway and must comply with the respective ascending and 
descending check-in and follow-on points listed in paragraphs (e)(1) 
and (2) of this section.
    (4) Fleet vessels must check-in with VTS New Orleans if they leave 
their respective fleet or if they move into the main channel. Fleet 
vessels are not required to check-in if they are operating exclusively 
within their fleet.
    (f) Reporting Points. Table 161.65(f) lists the VTS Lower 
Mississippi River Reporting Points.

                          Table 161.65(f)--VTS Lower Mississippi River Reporting Points
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                         Geographic
   Designator      Geographic name      description      Latitude/longitude/mile marker            Notes
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A...............  Algiers Canal      88.0[deg] AHP....  29[deg]56.6' N; 90[deg]10.1' W    Upbound transiting
                   Forebay.                                                                Algiers Point Special
                                                                                           Area.
B...............  Industrial Canal.  92.7[deg] AHP....  29[deg]57.2' N; 90[deg]01.68' W   Upbound transiting
                                                                                           Algiers Point Special
                                                                                           Area.
C...............  Crescent Towing    93.5[deg] AHP....  29[deg]57.50' N; 90[deg]02.62' W  Upbound Towing vessels
                   Smith Fleet.                                                            transiting Algiers
                                                                                           Point Special Area.
D...............  Marlex Terminal    99.0[deg] AHP....  29[deg]54.65' N; 90[deg]05.87' W  Downbound transiting
                   (Naval Ships).                                                          Algiers Point Special
                                                                                           Area.
E...............  Huey P. Long       106.1[deg] AHP...  29[deg]55.40' N; 89[deg]57.7' W   Downbound transiting
                   Bridge.                                                                 Algiers Point Special
                                                                                           Area.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PART 165--REGULATED NAVIGATION AREAS AND LIMITED ACCESS AREAS

    6. The authority citation for part 165 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 33 U.S.C. 1226, 1231; 46 U.S.C. Chapter 701; 50 
U.S.C. 191, 195; 33 CFR 1.05-1, 6.04-1, 6.04-6, and 160.5; Pub. L. 
107-295, 116 Stat. 2064; Department of Homeland Security Delegation 
No. 0170.1.


Sec.  165.810  [Amended]

    7. In Sec.  165.810--
    a. Remove and reserve paragraph (c);
    b. Remove and reserve paragraph (g); and
    c. Add a note at the end of the section to read as follows:


Sec.  165.810  Mississippi River, LA-regulated navigation area.

* * * * *

    Note to Sec.  165.810: Control Light provisions (previously 
referenced in paragraph (c) of this section) used to manage vessel 
traffic during periods of high waters in the vicinity of Algiers 
Point are located in 33 CFR 161.65(c). The special operating 
requirements (previously referenced in paragraph (g) of this 
section) used to manage vessel traffic in the vicinity of Eighty-one 
Mile Point are located in 33 CFR 161.65(e).


    Dated: October 27, 2009.
Brian M. Salerno,
Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Assistant Commandant for Marine Safety, 
Security and Stewardship.
[FR Doc. E9-26572 Filed 11-10-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-15-P