U.S.A. – Nontank Vessel Response Plans – Update

8 July 2008 No.554

Members will recall the Japan P&I News No.520 of 18 March 2005 on the captioned.

As advised in the above Japan P&I News, the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2004 (the 2004 Act), which was enacted on 9 August 2004, required owners and operators of self-propelled nontank vessels of 400 gross tons or greater operating in U.S. waters to prepare and submit nontank vessel response plans (NTVRP) to the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) by 8 August 2005.

Because of the length of time needed to provide the necessary opportunity for, and consideration of, public comments on enforcement of the above requirement, the USCG announced that they would not enforce the 2004 Act until regulations are issued and in effect. In the meantime, owners and operators were encouraged to submit NTVRPs using the voluntary process under the Guidance to obtain interim authorization letters from the USCG, as the USCG may authorize a nontank vessel to operate without an approved response plan until two years after the date of submission of a NTVRP. For details, please see Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) 01-05 CH-1 issued in January 2006 which includes the Guidance for preparation of NTVRP on the following website:,%20CH-1.PDF

Considering that some nontank vessels still have not submitted a NTVRP to the USCG and that the risk associated with oil spills from large nontank vessels similar to the 7 November 2007 "Cosco Busan" oil spill in San Francisco Bay,the USCG will, effective 22 August 2008, begin actively enforcing the 2004 Act by screening all nontank vessels prior to their port arrival for the submission of NTVRPs. According to the USCG's notice, for such vessels without a properly submitted plan, operational controls will be placed on the vessels by the Captains of the Port (COTP) under the authority of regulations in 33 CFR160.111 issued under the Ports and Waterways Safety Act.For details, please see Federal Register of 23 June 2008 which is available on:

It is recommended that Members remind their nontank vessels have the NTVRP and the interim authorization letter or the acknowledgement of receipt of the plan from the USCG on board, in order to avoid enforcement actions.