Special Load Line Exemption for the Gulf of Mexico: Petition for Rulemaking, 59881-59882 [2012-23883]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 190 / Monday, October 1, 2012 / Proposed Rules Dated: September 14, 2012. Sandra K. Knight, Deputy Associate Administrator for Mitigation, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency. If you have questions on this notice, contact Mr. Thomas Jordan, Naval Architecture Division (CG–ENG–2), U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters, at telephone 202–372–1370, or by email at thomas.d.jordan@uscg.mil. If you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Renee V. Wright, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 202–366–9826. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: [FR Doc. 2012–23951 Filed 9–28–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110–12–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Public Participation and Request for Comments We encourage you to submit comments and related material on the rulemaking petition for a special load line exemption on the Gulf of Mexico. All comments received will be posted, without change, to http:// www.regulations.gov and will include any personal information you have provided. Coast Guard 46 CFR Part 7 [Docket No. USCG–2011–0925] Special Load Line Exemption for the Gulf of Mexico: Petition for Rulemaking Coast Guard, DHS. ACTION: Notice of availability and request for comments. AGENCY: The Coast Guard announces the availability of a petition for rulemaking, and requests public comment accordingly. The petition was submitted by a river barge operator, who requests that the Coast Guard establish a special load line exemption on the Gulf of Mexico. The requested exemption would allow non-load line river barges to transit along the west coast of Florida, en route to/from Tampa Bay. DATES: Comments and related material must either be submitted to our online docket via http://www.regulations.gov on or before December 31, 2012, or reach the Docket Management Facility by that date. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG– 2011–0925 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. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:39 Sep 28, 2012 Jkt 226001 Submitting Comments If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this notice (USCG–2011–0925) 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 email address, or a telephone 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 enter ‘‘USCG–2011–0925’’ in the ‘‘Search’’ box and 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 them 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. Viewing the Rulemaking Petition and Comments To view the petition and comments that have been submitted to the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, enter ‘‘USCG–2011–0925’’ in the ‘‘Search’’ box 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 in person by visiting the Docket Management Facility in Room W12–140 PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 59881 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. 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, system of records notice regarding our public dockets in the January 17, 2008, issue of the Federal Register (73 FR 3316). Background and Purpose The rulemaking petition requests that the Coast Guard establish a special load line-exempted route along the west coast of Florida, which would allow non-load line river barges to transit to/ from Tampa Bay. The action requested by the petition pertains to current load line regulations, the extent of the Boundary Line in the Gulf of Mexico, and the use of non-load line river barges on a coastwise route. These are discussed further below. Load line assignment. Most commercial vessels that are 79 feet in length or longer, and that proceed on domestic or international voyages outside the U.S. Boundary Line, must be assigned a load line. The purpose of load line assignment is to ensure the overall seaworthiness of the vessel. This is accomplished through the application of several design and construction requirements, such as: Robust hull construction that can withstand severe sea conditions; protection of critical openings (such as hatchways, doors, ventilators, etc.) with weathertight or watertight closures; ensuring that the vessel has adequate stability and strength for all operating conditions; and limiting the loaded draft (by use of load line marks) to ensure that the vessel is not overloaded and has reserve buoyancy. Furthermore, the vessel must be surveyed annually (by a surveyor from the load line assigning authority) to verify that all of these features are maintained in operable condition, and that no damage or modification has been done to the vessel that compromises its seaworthiness. The benefit in meeting these requirements is that the vessel is considered safe and seaworthy enough for offshore voyages, even under severe weather conditions. This gives the E:\FR\FM\01OCP1.SGM 01OCP1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 59882 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 190 / Monday, October 1, 2012 / Proposed Rules operator maximum flexibility in the commercial employment of the vessel. There are costs associated with load line assignment, however: Higher construction cost for the vessel, and the cost of the annual surveys. Because river barges are not exposed to any sea conditions, they are not typically constructed to meet the load line standards for coastwise or offshore service. Although this makes them less expensive to build and operate, they do not qualify for load line assignment and therefore are not normally permitted to operate outside the Boundary Line. (More information on load lines and the Boundary Line can be found on the Coast Guard’s load line Web site at: http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/cg5212/ loadlines.asp) Boundary Line in the Gulf of Mexico. Most commercial vessels become subject to load line requirements when they cross outside the U.S. Boundary Line (which is delineated in 46 CFR Part 7). In the Gulf of Mexico between the Marquesas Keys, FL, and the mouth of the Rio Grande River, TX, the Boundary Line is located 12 nautical miles offshore. This effectively creates a nearshore marine corridor where nonload line vessels, including river barges, may proceed between ports along the Gulf coast. The premise behind this is that weather conditions in the Gulf are generally benign enough, and places of refuge are close enough at hand, that non-load line vessels can safely operate along the coast, and readily evade bad weather if necessary. However, there is a stretch of shallow water—as denoted by the 12-foot water depth contour—extending ten to twelve miles offshore along the western coast of Florida between Crystal River and Tarpon Springs. These water depths are relatively shallow for commercial shipping, and severely constrict the non-load line corridor. To stay within sufficient depth of water along this shallow stretch, a vessel may need to transit outside the Boundary Line, thereby necessitating a load line assignment. Petition for a special load line exemption. In order to extend the existing non-load line nearshore corridor all the way to Tampa Bay, Parker Towing Company, Inc. (Parker Towing), has submitted to the Coast Guard a rulemaking petition to create a load line-exempted route outside the Boundary Line along the western coast of Florida. The Parker Towing petition can be viewed in the docket, but to summarize: The proposed exempted route extends for approximately 32 nautical miles, between Crystal River and Tarpon Springs, FL. At its furthest VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:39 Sep 28, 2012 Jkt 226001 point, the exempted route would be three nautical miles outside the 12-mile Boundary Line. In addition to the route, the petition also proposes to limit the exemption to unmanned barges, carrying non-hazardous and non-liquid cargoes, under restricted weather conditions. The benefit of the exemption is that it would allow nonhazardous cargoes to be loaded onto ordinary, non-load line river barges at upriver terminals in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, for direct delivery to Tampa Bay, FL terminals. The petition also discusses the ‘‘M–10 Marine Highway Corridor.’’ This pertains to a transportation study by the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration (MarAd) of coastal shipping routes that could be utilized to alleviate trucking congestion on overland highways (in this case, the I–10 interstate corridor through the Gulf coast states). More information on America’s Marine Highway Program is posted on the MarAd AMH Web site at: http://www.marad.dot.gov/ ships_shipping_landing_page/ mhi_home/mhi_home.htm. Other Similar Load Line Exemption Regimes Although river barges are not normally permitted to operate outside the U.S. Boundary Line, there are a few limited routes where they are permitted to operate under restricted conditions. The exemption proposed in the Parker Towing petition is similar to a load line exemption regime established for river barges operating on Lake Michigan (per 46 CFR 45.171, et seq., a copy of which is included in the docket). Request for Comments In deciding whether or not to move forward with the requested rulemaking, the Coast Guard must consider several issues: the safety of the operation, protection of the marine environment, resource demands on the Coast Guard (particularly compliance verification and enforcement), and the potential economic costs and benefits. Public comments on these issues, as well as other points that are pertinent to this petition, are encouraged. Upon review, the Coast Guard will decide whether or not to proceed with a rulemaking to establish the proposed exempted route. This notice is issued under authority of 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 46 U.S.C. 5108. PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Dated: September 10, 2012. J.G. Lantz, Director of Commercial Regulations and Standards. [FR Doc. 2012–23883 Filed 9–28–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110–04–P FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Part 73 [MB Docket No. 12–237; RM–11672; DA 12– 1421] Radio Broadcasting Services; Tignall, GA Federal Communications Commission. ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: This document sets forth a proposal to amend the FM Table of Allotments, Section 73.202(b) of the Commission’s rules. The Commission requests comment on a petition filed by Georgia-Carolina Radiocasting Company, LLC, proposing to amend the Table of Allotments by substituting Channel 287A for vacant Channel 244A, at Tignall, Georgia. The proposal is part of a contingently filed ‘‘hybrid’’ application and rule making petition. Channel 287A can be allotted at Tignall, Georgia, in compliance with the Commission’s minimum distance separation requirements with a site restriction 12.6 km (7.8 miles) south of Tignall, at reference coordinates 33–45– 22 North Latitude and 82–42–56 West Longitude. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION infra. DATES: The deadline for filing comments is October 22, 2012. Reply comments must be filed on or before November 6, 2012. ADDRESSES: Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554. In addition to filing comments with the FCC, interested parties should serve counsel for petitioner as follows: Dan J. Alpert, Esq., Law Offices of Dan J. Alpert, 2120 21st Road N., Arlington, Virginia 22201. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Deborah A. Dupont, Media Bureau (202) 418–7072. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a synopsis of the Commission’s Notice of Proposed Rule Making, MB Docket No. 12–237, adopted August 29, 2012, and released August 31, 2012. The full text of this Commission decision is available for inspection and copying during normal business hours in the FCC Reference Information Center (Room CY–A257), 445 12th Street SW., SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\01OCP1.SGM 01OCP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 190 (Monday, October 1, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 59881-59882]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-23883]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Coast Guard

46 CFR Part 7

[Docket No. USCG-2011-0925]


Special Load Line Exemption for the Gulf of Mexico: Petition for 
Rulemaking

AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION: Notice of availability and request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: The Coast Guard announces the availability of a petition for 
rulemaking, and requests public comment accordingly. The petition was 
submitted by a river barge operator, who requests that the Coast Guard 
establish a special load line exemption on the Gulf of Mexico. The 
requested exemption would allow non-load line river barges to transit 
along the west coast of Florida, en route to/from Tampa Bay.

DATES: Comments and related material must either be submitted to our 
online docket via http://www.regulations.gov on or before December 31, 
2012, or reach the Docket Management Facility by that date.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-
2011-0925 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 notice, 
contact Mr. Thomas Jordan, Naval Architecture Division (CG-ENG-2), U.S. 
Coast Guard Headquarters, at telephone 202-372-1370, or by email at 
thomas.d.jordan@uscg.mil. If you have questions on viewing or 
submitting material to the docket, call Renee V. Wright, Program 
Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 202-366-9826.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Public Participation and Request for Comments

    We encourage you to submit comments and related material on the 
rulemaking petition for a special load line exemption on the Gulf of 
Mexico. All comments received will be posted, without change, to http://www.regulations.gov and will include any personal information you have 
provided.

Submitting Comments

    If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this 
notice (USCG-2011-0925) 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 email 
address, or a telephone 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 
enter ``USCG-2011-0925'' in the ``Search'' box and 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 them 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.

Viewing the Rulemaking Petition and Comments

    To view the petition and comments that have been submitted to the 
docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, enter ``USCG-2011-0925'' in 
the ``Search'' box 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 in person 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.

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, system of 
records notice regarding our public dockets in the January 17, 2008, 
issue of the Federal Register (73 FR 3316).

Background and Purpose

    The rulemaking petition requests that the Coast Guard establish a 
special load line-exempted route along the west coast of Florida, which 
would allow non-load line river barges to transit to/from Tampa Bay. 
The action requested by the petition pertains to current load line 
regulations, the extent of the Boundary Line in the Gulf of Mexico, and 
the use of non-load line river barges on a coastwise route. These are 
discussed further below.
    Load line assignment. Most commercial vessels that are 79 feet in 
length or longer, and that proceed on domestic or international voyages 
outside the U.S. Boundary Line, must be assigned a load line. The 
purpose of load line assignment is to ensure the overall seaworthiness 
of the vessel. This is accomplished through the application of several 
design and construction requirements, such as: Robust hull construction 
that can withstand severe sea conditions; protection of critical 
openings (such as hatchways, doors, ventilators, etc.) with 
weathertight or watertight closures; ensuring that the vessel has 
adequate stability and strength for all operating conditions; and 
limiting the loaded draft (by use of load line marks) to ensure that 
the vessel is not overloaded and has reserve buoyancy.
    Furthermore, the vessel must be surveyed annually (by a surveyor 
from the load line assigning authority) to verify that all of these 
features are maintained in operable condition, and that no damage or 
modification has been done to the vessel that compromises its 
seaworthiness. The benefit in meeting these requirements is that the 
vessel is considered safe and seaworthy enough for offshore voyages, 
even under severe weather conditions. This gives the

[[Page 59882]]

operator maximum flexibility in the commercial employment of the 
vessel. There are costs associated with load line assignment, however: 
Higher construction cost for the vessel, and the cost of the annual 
surveys.
    Because river barges are not exposed to any sea conditions, they 
are not typically constructed to meet the load line standards for 
coastwise or offshore service. Although this makes them less expensive 
to build and operate, they do not qualify for load line assignment and 
therefore are not normally permitted to operate outside the Boundary 
Line.
    (More information on load lines and the Boundary Line can be found 
on the Coast Guard's load line Web site at: http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/cg5212/loadlines.asp)
    Boundary Line in the Gulf of Mexico. Most commercial vessels become 
subject to load line requirements when they cross outside the U.S. 
Boundary Line (which is delineated in 46 CFR Part 7). In the Gulf of 
Mexico between the Marquesas Keys, FL, and the mouth of the Rio Grande 
River, TX, the Boundary Line is located 12 nautical miles offshore. 
This effectively creates a nearshore marine corridor where non-load 
line vessels, including river barges, may proceed between ports along 
the Gulf coast. The premise behind this is that weather conditions in 
the Gulf are generally benign enough, and places of refuge are close 
enough at hand, that non-load line vessels can safely operate along the 
coast, and readily evade bad weather if necessary.
    However, there is a stretch of shallow water--as denoted by the 12-
foot water depth contour--extending ten to twelve miles offshore along 
the western coast of Florida between Crystal River and Tarpon Springs. 
These water depths are relatively shallow for commercial shipping, and 
severely constrict the non-load line corridor. To stay within 
sufficient depth of water along this shallow stretch, a vessel may need 
to transit outside the Boundary Line, thereby necessitating a load line 
assignment.
    Petition for a special load line exemption. In order to extend the 
existing non-load line nearshore corridor all the way to Tampa Bay, 
Parker Towing Company, Inc. (Parker Towing), has submitted to the Coast 
Guard a rulemaking petition to create a load line-exempted route 
outside the Boundary Line along the western coast of Florida. The 
Parker Towing petition can be viewed in the docket, but to summarize: 
The proposed exempted route extends for approximately 32 nautical 
miles, between Crystal River and Tarpon Springs, FL. At its furthest 
point, the exempted route would be three nautical miles outside the 12-
mile Boundary Line. In addition to the route, the petition also 
proposes to limit the exemption to unmanned barges, carrying non-
hazardous and non-liquid cargoes, under restricted weather conditions. 
The benefit of the exemption is that it would allow non-hazardous 
cargoes to be loaded onto ordinary, non-load line river barges at 
upriver terminals in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, for 
direct delivery to Tampa Bay, FL terminals.
    The petition also discusses the ``M-10 Marine Highway Corridor.'' 
This pertains to a transportation study by the U.S. Department of 
Transportation Maritime Administration (MarAd) of coastal shipping 
routes that could be utilized to alleviate trucking congestion on 
overland highways (in this case, the I-10 interstate corridor through 
the Gulf coast states). More information on America's Marine Highway 
Program is posted on the MarAd AMH Web site at: http://www.marad.dot.gov/ships_shipping_landing_page/mhi_home/mhi_home.htm.

Other Similar Load Line Exemption Regimes

    Although river barges are not normally permitted to operate outside 
the U.S. Boundary Line, there are a few limited routes where they are 
permitted to operate under restricted conditions. The exemption 
proposed in the Parker Towing petition is similar to a load line 
exemption regime established for river barges operating on Lake 
Michigan (per 46 CFR 45.171, et seq., a copy of which is included in 
the docket).

Request for Comments

    In deciding whether or not to move forward with the requested 
rulemaking, the Coast Guard must consider several issues: the safety of 
the operation, protection of the marine environment, resource demands 
on the Coast Guard (particularly compliance verification and 
enforcement), and the potential economic costs and benefits.
    Public comments on these issues, as well as other points that are 
pertinent to this petition, are encouraged. Upon review, the Coast 
Guard will decide whether or not to proceed with a rulemaking to 
establish the proposed exempted route.
    This notice is issued under authority of 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 46 
U.S.C. 5108.

    Dated: September 10, 2012.
J.G. Lantz,
Director of Commercial Regulations and Standards.
[FR Doc. 2012-23883 Filed 9-28-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 9110-04-P