2000-S 2994
Enacted 7/20/2000

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Introduced By:  Senators Enos, Paiva Weed, Coderre and Algiere Date Introduced:  June 1, 2000

It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:

SECTION 1. Chapter 46-12.6 of the General Laws entitled "Tank Vessel Safety Act" is hereby repealed in its entirety.

Tank Vessel Safety Act

46-12.6-1. Short title -- This chapter shall be known as the Tank Vessel Safety Act.

46-12.6-2. Purpose -- The general assembly finds that while the transport of oil on the waters of the state is vital to the citizens and the economy of Rhode Island, it poses a substantial threat to the environment, public health and economy should it be released into the environment. It is therefore in the best interest of Rhode Island to regulate the operation of the vessels that transport oil on the waters of the state.

46-12.6-3. Definitions -- When used in this chapter:

(1) "Allision" means the contact between a vessel and a stationary object such as a bridge, pier or other manmade object;

(2) "Collision" means the contact between two vessels;

(3) "Department" means the Department of Environmental Management;

(4) "Director" means the director of the Department of Environmental Management;

(5) "Event" shall mean an allision, collision, grounding, failure of the propulsion or steering system, damage to the towing gear when under tow, fire, flood or other incident or failure that affects the vessels seaworthiness or fitness for service;

(6) "Oil" means oil of any kind in any form whether crude, refined or a petroleum by product, including but not limited to petroleum, fuel oil, gasoline, lubricating oils, oily sludge, oils mixed with other waste, propane butane or other liquefied natural gas or other liquid hydrocarbons regardless of specific gravity;

(7) "Person" shall include an individual, trust, joint stock company, corporation (including a quasi government corporation) municipality, municipal or state agency, non profit agency or country;

(8) "Tank vessel" means a vessel whose primary purpose is to carry oil or hazardous material and in the instance of a tank vessel under tow includes the towing vessel;

(9) "Tank barge" means any tank vessel not equipped with the means of self propulsion;

(10) "Vessel" means every description of water craft used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water either self propelled or otherwise;

(11) "Waters" of the state includes all of the surface waters of the territorial seas, tidewaters, all inland waters of any stream, river, pond, lake, and all groundwater and wetlands of the state of Rhode Island;

(12) "Operator" means the person who, through contract, lease, sublease or otherwise, exerts general supervision and control of activities, including but not limited to, a prime or general contractor, the master of a vessel and the masters employer or any other person who personally or through an agent or contractor undertakes the general functioning of the tank vessel or its tug boat.

46-12.6-4. Event reporting -- (1) The master or owner or operator or agent of a tank vessel or a tug boat towing a tank vessel, shall notify the director of any event which has occurred in the waters of the state. This notification, when practicable, shall be in the form of a report containing the information detailed in subsection (2) below. The master, owner, or operator or agent shall submit the report immediately in the event of a spill or loss of cargo or the threat of such loss or upon the request of the director. If there was no spill or loss of cargo or if the director makes no request, the master, owner or operator or agent shall submit the report no later than 15 days after the date of the event.

(2) The report of an event, when possible, shall include the following information:

(a) The estimated amount of oil spilled;

(b) The date, time and location of the event;

(c) The weather conditions during the event;

(d) The vessel operations at the time of the event;

(e) The identity of any facilities and/or vessels involved in the event;

(f) A description of any measures taken to prevent a recurrence of the event.

46-12.6-5. Illicit drug and alcohol use -- (1) An owner or operator of a tank vessel shall have policies and procedures prohibiting drug and alcohol use during operations and for testing that complies with 33 CFR part 95 and 46 CFR 4.06.

(2) No crew member of a tank vessel shall consume alcohol or be under the influence of illegal drugs while on the waters of the state.

(3) A chemical test for drugs or alcohol shall be taken from all persons directly involved in a serious marine incident as defined in 46 CFR 4.03-4 as soon as practicable after such incident occurs. Such tests shall be performed under the direction of representatives of the United States Coast Guard or the department.

(4) The owner/operator's drug and alcohol policies shall insure that:

(a) A person on a tank vessel shall be tested for drugs and/or alcohol use when there is reasonable cause to believe the person is under the influence of illicit drugs or alcohol;

(b) All crew members shall be subject to random chemical testing, by representatives of the owner/operator, for the use of illegal drugs or being under the influence of alcohol.

(5) The owner or operator of all tank vessels operating in the waters of the state shall be responsible for compiling records of all drug and alcohol testing which has been conducted within the past year. The vessel owner or operator must include, in these records;

(a) The total number of personnel tested for illicit drugs in the past year;

(b) The total number of personnel tested for alcohol in the past year;

(c) A numerical summary of the testing performed and positive test results by assigned vessels.

(6) The owner or operator of any and all tank vessels operating in the waters of the state may be required to submit proof, to the director, in the form of the records required by subdivision (5) of this section, as requested by the director. The director may request submission of such records at any time, regardless of whether an event has occurred involving the vessel in question.

46-12.6-6. Penalties -- (1) Failure to perform any of the requirements of sections 46-12.6-4 and 46-12.6-5 above, or any rule or regulation of the director, shall subject the person to civil penalties not to exceed twenty five thousand dollars ($25,000). The attorney general may institute a civil action for enforcement in Providence county superior court.

(2) Criminal penalties for the willful violation of the sections above shall be punished by a fine of not more than twenty five thousand dollars ($25,000) or by imprisonment for not more than five (5) years.

46-12.6-7. Rhode Island Port and Waterways Safety Committee -- (1) On or before January 1, 1998 the director shall establish a Rhode Island port and waterway safety committee. The committee shall review all aspects of navigation and marine operation in Rhode Island waters and make recommendations for safety improvements, annually, to the director and the U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port, Providence. The committee shall consider all of the following elements in making its report:

(a) Placement and effectiveness of aids to navigation;

(b) Designation of anchorages and lightering areas;

(c) Small vessel congestion in shipping lanes;

(d) Need for commercial vessel restrictions in the channel;

(e) Vessel to vessel communications;

(f) Requirements for the use of pilots;

(g) Under keel clearances for tank vessels.

(2) The committee shall consist of the following:

(a) The director or his/her designee, ex-officio;

(b) The U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port, Providence or his/her designee as permitted by federal regulations, ex-officio;

(c) The executive director of the Rhode Island economic development corp. or his/her designee, ex-officio;

(d) The chairman of the coastal resources management council or his/her designee, ex-officio;

(e) The manager of the port of Providence or his/her designee, ex-officio;

(f) A representative of the towing vessel operators;

(g) A representative of the self-propelled tank vessel operations;

(h) A representative of the dry cargo vessel operations;

(i) A Narragansett Bay Pilot appointed by the director;

(j) A representative of a statewide environmental organization;

(k) A representative of the general public.

46-12.6-8. Tank barge towing vessel requirements -- (a) Towing vessels towing tank barges on the waters of the state shall be required to possess the following equipment:

(1) Navigation equipment that meets the requirements of 33 CFR 164 of the federal code of regulations;

(2) A Differential Global Positioning Satellite (DGPS) system;

(3) Towing vessels towing single hulled tank barges greater than 7,500 barrels of capacity shall be equipped with twin engines and twin screws. If the towing vessel is not so equipped the tow shall be accompanied by an escort towing vessel of sufficient capacity to assume the tow from the primary towing vessel if it loses the tow, power or steering. If the towing vessel is so equipped then an escort vessel of sufficient capacity to assume the tow shall be called immediately to escort the tank vessel if one system is incapacitated or the towing hawser is broken while it is in state waters.

(b) Towing vessels towing tank barges on the waters of the state shall initiate security calls on VHF Channels 13 and/or 16 with other vessels in the areas of the following points; Race Rock Light (LLNR 19815); Block Island/Point Judith approaching Point Judith to Block Island ferry route; Buzzards Bay entrance Light Ledge (LLNR 630).

(c) The masters of towing vessels towing tank barges on the waters of the state must prepare a voyage plan prior to commencing the voyage. At a minimum the voyage plan must contain:

(1) The type and volume of cargo transported;

(2) Current charts for the route, including publications for the area;

(3) Current and forecasted weather for the duration of the voyage including visibility, wind and sea state;

(4) Tide and current data;

(5) Forward and aft draft of the vessel and underkeel clearances for the port and/or berthing area;

(6) Pre-departure checklist to insure the vessel is ready for departure;

(7) Speed and estimated time of arrival;

(8) Masters standing orders for closest point of approach, special conditions and critical maneuvers.

46-12.6-9. Tank barge equipment -- (a) Tank vessels operating on the waters of the state shall be equipped with the following:

(1) An operable anchor which meets the requirements of 46 CFR32.15-15, has been deployed at least once quarterly and has been inspected prior to a voyage into Rhode Island waters;

(2) Either an emergency tow line with a pick up capability on the towing vessel; or

(3) A barge retrieval device with pick up capability on the towing vessel.

(b) Single hulled manned tank barges shall have the equipment described in subsection (1) and that listed either in subsection (a)(2) or (a)(3); unmanned barges shall have all three devices listed above. For the purposes of this section manned barges shall be considered to be tank barges either manned with a Person in Charge (PIC documented tankerman) on board or if the barge is towed alongside or pushed ahead with a PIC assigned to the tank barge, with no other duties, on the towing vessel.

46-12.6-10. Escort towing vessels -- (a) Effective January 1, 2001, no tank barge shall transport oil or hazardous materials on the waters of the state unless the tank barge:

(1) Has a double hull; or

(2) Is accompanied by an escort towing vessel of sufficient capacity to assume the tow if the primary towing vessel is disabled.

(b) The provisions of this section shall not apply to tank vessels with a capacity of less than seven thousand five hundred (7,500) barrels.

46-12.6-11. Exemptions -- (a) The equipment requirements of sections 46-12.6-8 and 46-12.6-9 above shall not take effect until 31 October 1997.

(b) The director, in consultation with the captain of the port, may grant limited exemptions for towing vessels or tank barges that do not meet the equipment requirements of sections 46-12.6-8 and 46-12.6-9 above if in their opinion it is necessary for safety or practicality reasons. In granting such exemptions the director shall be guided by the 1997 report of the Regional Risk Assessment of Petroleum Transportation on the Water of the Northeast United States.

(c) The provisions of sections 46-12.6-8 and 46-12.6-9 above shall not apply to dedicated oil spill response vessels or vessels temporarily engaged in such a response.

46-12.6-12. Coast Guard regulations supercede -- The provisions of sections 46-12.6-8 and 46-12.6-9 are hereby superceded and of no force and effect upon the adoption by the U.S. Coast Guard of rules and regulations which at a minimum meet the requirements of sections 46-12.6-8 and 46-12.6-9 and which regulations cover a region which is greater than and inclusive of Rhode Island waters.

46-12.6-13. Regulation -- The director may establish regulations to implement the provisions of this chapter.

46-12.6-14. Severability -- If any provision of this chapter or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction the remainder of this chapter and the application of the provisions to other persons. The invalidity of any section or sections or part thereof shall not affect the validity of the remainder of the chapter.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon its passage and shall apply to incidents occurring on or after the effective date.

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