29 March 2005


The Coast Guard is proposing to make permanent the 1994 suspension of their crash stop requirements in tanker escort rules. Comments and related material must reach the Docket Management Facility on or before June 27, 2005. You may submit comments identified by Coast Guard docket number USCG-2003-14734 to the Docket Management Facility at the U.S. Department of Transportation. To avoid duplication, please use only one of the following methods:
(1) Website: http://dms.dot.gov.
(2) Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001.
(3) Fax: (202) 493-2251.
(4) Delivery: Room PL-401 on the Plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is (202) 366-9329.
(5) Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
If you have questions on this proposed rule, call Lieutenant Sam Stevens, G-MSE-1, telephone (202) 267-0173, e-mail: SStevens@comdt.uscg.mil. If you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Ms. Andrea M. Jenkins, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone (202) 366-0271.
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://dms.dot.gov and will include any personal information you have provided. We have an agreement with the Department of Transportation (DOT) to use the Docket Management Facility. Please see DOT's ``Privacy Act'' paragraph below.
Submitting comments: If you submit a comment, please include your name and address, identify the docket number for this rulemaking (USCG-2003-14734), indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and give the reason for each comment. You may submit your comments and material by electronic means, mail, fax, or delivery to the Docket Management Facility at the address under ADDRESSES; but please submit your comments and material by only one means. If you submit them by mail or 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. We may change this proposed rule in view of them.
Viewing comments and documents: To view comments, as well as documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://dms.dot.gov at any time and conduct a simple search using the docket number. You may also visit the Docket Management Facility in room PL-401 on the Plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
This rulemaking addresses ``unfinished business'' from 1994. In 1994, we published the final rule entitled Escort Vessels for Certain Tankers under docket number CGD 91-202, which adopted 33 CFR part 168 (57 FR 30058, Aug. 19, 1994). The rule drew on a study to determine the capabilities of escort vessels to control disabled tankers. The study was published in two parts (59 FR 1411, Jan. 10, 1994; 60 FR 6345, Feb. 1, 1995). Preliminary data for the second study became available after publication of the final rule, but before the rule took effect. This preliminary data indicated that it might be dangerous to implement the final rule's crash stop provision, 33 CFR 168.50(b)(2). Therefore, on November 1, 1994 (59 FR 54519), we suspended the crash stop provision before it could take effect with the other provisions of part 168. No further action was taken with respect to the crash stop provision, and it remains suspended today.
As long as the crash stop provision's suspension remains in effect, we must continue to report the CGD 91-202 rulemaking on the Uniform Regulatory Agenda of the United States, the Federal Government's official list of ongoing regulatory projects. CGD 91-202 appears in the most recent edition of the Agenda at 69 FR 73240 (Dec. 13, 2004). Twice each year, the Coast Guard spends valuable administrative time maintaining its Uniform Regulatory Agenda reports, whether or not a reported project is active.
For the reasons given under “Removal of Crash Stop Provision,” the Coast Guard maintains the position it first adopted in 1994, that the crash stop provision should not be implemented. Therefore, it is the Coast Guard position that the crash stop provision's 1994 suspension should be made permanent, thereby allowing us to complete the CGD 91-202 rulemaking.
Since 1998, the Coast Guard has used the Department of Transportation's Docket Management System (DMS) to make its rulemaking documents widely available to the public. DMS assigns unique docket numbers to each rulemaking, and the format of those docket numbers is not compatible with the Coast Guard's pre-1998 conventions for numbering dockets. Therefore, if we are ever to complete CGD 91-202 in a way that makes our actions visible to the public through DMS, we must complete it under a new, DMS-compatible docket number. For that reason, we opened the current rulemaking under DMS docket number USCG-2003-14734. In essence, when we complete USCG-2003-14734, we will also complete CGD 91-202.

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