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C-Enduro completes Scotland trials

ASV's C-Enduro demonstrates endurance and payload capability in Scotland trials.

The trials took place off the west coast of Scotland and marked the next stage in a project initiated by the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) in their search for long endurance USVs with greater payload capacity and speed than existing systems for environmental research.

Initial trials in December 2013 saw ASV's C-Enduro operate autonomously in a protected harbour. This second set of trials put the vehicle to the test in the challenging waters off west Scotland. The selected payload sensors fitted to C-Enduro were a winched Conductivity Temperature Depth (CTD) sensor, a Wetlab Triplet Puck and an Airmar Meteorological Sensor. ASV worked alongside Planet Ocean Ltd on the sensor and tracking package.

On these trials C-Enduro was fitted with its wind turbine, completing the three pillar power structure, also comprising solar panels and a lightweight diesel generator. Controlled via Iridium™ satellite link, C-Enduro was able to complete multiple remote CTD casts and gather data from the triplet puck and Met sensor during both day and night operations.

The C-Enduro concept was developed under a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) led by NOC and co-funded by National Environment Research Council (NERC), NOC's parent body, with the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and the Defence, Science and Technology Laboratories (DSTL).

The team behind the development led by ASV, includes Hyperdrive Ltd who investigated motor options and power management systems and Cranfield University who conducted research into collision avoidance technologies.

The vessel is now ready for order and ASV is currently working with several lead customers on a variety of exciting applications.

ASV will be at Oceanology International, 11-13 March at stand K301 and K251.

ABS to Class Two Newbuild Offshore Construction Vessels

New OCVs will be the first ULSTEIN design vessels built in a US yard (Houston) ABS, the leading offshore and maritime classification society, has been selected by Edison Chouest Offshore and Island Offshore through the company Island Ventures II LLC to class two next-generation offshore construction vessels (OCVs).

The ULSTEIN SX165 design vessels, ordered through Island Ventures II LLC, will be built at Ulstein Verft in Norway and Edison Chouest's LaShip yard in Houma, Louisiana, in the US.

The OCVs will be 28 m wide and 145.7 m long with accommodations for 200 people. They will be equipped with one 400-metric-ton crane and one 140-metric-ton crane, a large moonpool measuring 11.2 x 12 m, and two smaller moonpools with remotely operated vehicle installed in a centrally located hangar. The vessel has three separate engine rooms to provide extreme operational reliability.

Health, safety and the environment have been fully considered in the development of this design. The vessels design provides for crew comfort and safety in accordance with international regulation ILO Maritime Labour Convention and features four lifeboats, two on each side. In addition, the vessels are equipped with SCR catalyst systems for NOx emission reduction.

According to Ulstein Verft, this will be the largest vessel to date to be built at the yard and is the company's largest single shipbuilding contract. "Ulstein Verft is pleased to work with ABS for this exiting project, and we are looking forward to expanding our cooperation into new markets for these types of vessels," says Managing Director of Ulstein Verft, Kristian Sætre.

The vessel is scheduled for delivery in the third quarter of 2015.

"We look forward to adding these vessels to our fleet," says Edison Chouest Offshore CEO Gary Chouest. "The cooperation between our companies is excellent, and we look forward to working with Ulstein on the construction of these multifunctional vessels."

About ABS

Founded in 1862, ABS is a leading international classification society devoted to promoting the security of life, property and the marine environment through the development and verification of standards for the design, construction and operational maintenance of marine-related facilities.

EPA Moves To Protect Bristol Bay Fishery From Pebble Mine

Agency Action Begins Process To Prevent Damage To World’s Largest Sockeye Salmon Fishery

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is initiating a process under the Clean Water Act to identify appropriate options to protect the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery in Bristol Bay, Alaska from the potentially destructive impacts of the proposed Pebble Mine. The Pebble Mine has the potential to be one of the largest open pit copper mines ever developed and could threaten a salmon resource rare in its quality and productivity. During this process, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cannot approve a permit for the mine.

This action, requested by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, reflects the unique nature of the Bristol Bay watershed as one of the world’s last prolific wild salmon resources and the threat posed by the Pebble deposit, a mine unprecedented in scope and scale. It does not reflect an EPA policy change in mine permitting.

“Extensive scientific study has given us ample reason to believe that the Pebble Mine would likely have significant and irreversible negative impacts on the Bristol Bay watershed and its abundant salmon fisheries,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “It’s why EPA is taking this step forward in our effort to ensure protection for the world’s most productive salmon fishery from the risks it faces from what could be one of the largest open pit mines on earth. This process is not something the Agency does very often, but Bristol Bay is an extraordinary and unique resource.”

The EPA is basing its action on available information, including data collected as a part of the agency’s Bristol Bay ecological risk assessment and mine plans submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Today, Dennis McLerran, EPA Regional Administrator for EPA Region 10, sent letters to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the State of Alaska, and the Pebble Partnership initiating action under EPA’s Clean Water Act Section 404(c) authorities.

“Bristol Bay is an extraordinary natural resource, home to some of the most abundant salmon producing rivers in the world. The area provides millions of dollars in jobs and food resources for Alaska Native Villages and commercial fishermen,” McLerran said. “The science EPA reviewed paints a clear picture: Large-scale copper mining of the Pebble deposit would likely result in significant and irreversible harm to the salmon and the people and industries that rely on them.”

Today’s action follows the January 2014 release of EPA’s “Assessment of Potential Mining Impacts on Salmon Ecosystems of Bristol Bay, Alaska,” a study that documents the significant ecological resources of the region and the potentially destructive impacts to salmon and other fish from potential large-scale copper mining of the Pebble Deposit. The assessment indicates that the proposed Pebble Mine would likely cause irreversible destruction of streams that support salmon and other important fish species, as well as extensive areas of wetlands, ponds and lakes.

In 2010, several Bristol Bay Alaska Native tribes requested that EPA take action under Clean Water Act Section 404(c) to protect the Bristol Bay watershed and salmon resources from development of the proposed Pebble Mine, a venture backed by Northern Dynasty Minerals. The Bristol Bay watershed is home to 31 Alaska Native Villages. Residents of the area depend on salmon as a major food resource and for their economic livelihood, with nearly all residents participating in subsistence fishing.

Bristol Bay produces nearly 50 percent of the world’s wild sockeye salmon with runs averaging 37.5 million fish each year. The salmon runs are highly productive due in large part to the exceptional water quality in streams and wetlands, which provide valuable salmon habitat. 

The Bristol Bay ecosystem generates hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity and provides employment for over 14,000 full and part-time workers. The region supports all five species of Pacific salmon found in North America: sockeye, coho, Chinook, chum, and pink. In addition, it is home to more than 20 other fish species, 190 bird species, and more than 40 terrestrial mammal species, including bears, moose, and caribou.

Based on information provided by The Pebble Partnership and Northern Dynasty Minerals, mining the Pebble deposit may involve excavation of a pit up to one mile deep and over 2.5 miles wide -- the largest open pit ever constructed in North America.  Disposal of mining waste may require construction of three or more massive earthen tailings dams as high as 650 feet. The Pebble deposit is located at the headwaters of Nushagak and Kvichak rivers, which produce about half of the sockeye salmon in Bristol Bay.

The objective of the Clean Water Act is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation’s waters. The Act emphasizes protecting uses of the nation’s waterways, including fishing. 

The Clean Water Act generally requires a permit under Section 404 from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before any person places dredge or fill material into wetlands, lakes and streams. Mining operations typically involve such activities and must obtain Clean Water Act Section 404 permits. Section 404 directs EPA to develop the environmental criteria the Army Corps uses to make permit decisions. It also authorizes EPA to prohibit or restrict fill activities if EPA determines such actions would have unacceptable adverse effects on fishery areas.

Swathe Services Proud to Announce Agency Status for BioSonics Inc.

Swathe Services has recently been appointed as agents for Seattle based BioSonics Inc.

BioSonics offers the widest range of hydroacoustic solutions for monitoring and assessing aquatic biological and physical resources.Offering a range of solutions including fish, marine life and submerged aquatic vegetation assessment including bottom classification and bathymetry BioSonics’ products are field proven, versatile, reliable and user friendly.

BioSonics spokesman, Eric Munday of SUBSEA 20/20, stated, "We chose Swathe Services to represent BioSonics products in the UK based on their excellent marketing and sales platform and expertise in sonar and related hydrographic projects.  We are thrilled to add Swathe Services to our global sales network and see them as an ideal partner."

James Williams, Managing Director of the Swathe Services Group said: “We are very excited about diversifying into the biological side of hydroacoustic solutions and believe that many of our existing client base will be interested in the first rate products that BioSonics provide.”

NOAA Announces RFI to Unleash Power of 'Big Data'

NOAA, part of the Department of Commerce, has announced a new effort to unleash the power of its data to foster innovation, create new industries and job opportunities, and spur economic growth. NOAA, through a Request for Information, is looking to the private industry to help make NOAA's data available in a rapid, scalable manner to the public. 

Of the 20 terabytes of data NOAA gathers each day -- twice the data of the entire printed collection of the United States Library of Congress -- only a small percentage is easily accessible to the public. Through the RFI, American companies will be able to provide possible solutions for NOAA to be able to turn this untapped information into usable products or services. 

"From the surface of the sun to the depths of the ocean floor, NOAA works to keep citizens informed about the changing environment around them," said Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., acting NOAA administrator. "Our vast network of radars, satellites, buoys, ships, aircraft, tide gauges, and supercomputers keep tabs on the condition of our planet's health and provides critical information that's used to predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coastlines. As we continue to witness changes on this dynamic planet we call home, the demand for NOAA's data is only increasing." 

"Quite simply, NOAA is the quintessential big data agency," said Joe Klimavicz, NOAA's CIO. "However, due to limited resources, only a fraction of that data is effectively and efficiently made available to the public. Imagine the economic potential if more of these data could be released. Unleashing the power of NOAA's data will take creative and unconventional thinking, and it's a challenge we can't tackle alone." 

NOAA operates a number of operational platforms including: Doppler radar systems; weather satellites; buoy networks and stations; tide gauges; real-time weather stations; and ships and aircraft. This network provides valuable and critical data that are instrumental in protecting lives and property across the country. As demand increases for this data and information, NOAA must find ways to effectively and efficiently distribute it to decision makers and industries. 

More information about the RFI, including how to participate can be found here.

Unique Maritime Group Locks In Key Appointment for its Diving Division

Unique Maritime Group, one of the world’s leading integrated turnkey subsea and offshore solution providers, has announced the joining of Scott Jamieson as the Group Business Development Manager for its Diving Division.  He will be based at UMG’s head office in Sharjah, UAE.

His main responsibilities will focus on developing Unique’s relationships with key clients in the diving industry and seeking new business opportunities to support our diving division. The division currently has a wide range of commercial products either available for sale or rent. Some of these include the Air and Mixed Gas Diving Systems, SAT Systems, Hyperbaric Reception Facilities, Personal and Ancillary Diving Equipment, Scuba Replacement Packages, Underwater Tools, Diving Compressors, etc.

Scott started his early career by working as a Service Engineer and then rapidly progressed in his career path by handling various roles in the diving sphere. With over 30 years of substantial experience in the diving industry, Scott also carries with him a history of sales and marketing experience within this industry. Before taking up his role of a BDM at Unique, he served as Area Director at Divex, Dubai UAE for the last 10 years taking care of various geographical locations, providing valuable technical and engineering solutions to clients within the region.

On this occasion, Harry Gandhi, CEO @ Unique Maritime Group commented, “We are extremely delighted to welcome Scott Jamieson to Unique Maritime Group. In 2014, we have major growth plans for our Diving department which is called HYDRA and we hope that with Scott’s phenomenal history of tapping significant deals with industry stalwarts backed by firm sales, marketing and business development skills, will help us achieve the same.”

Scott Jamieson affirmed, “I am delighted to be offered this exciting new role to further enhance UMG’s business in the diving sector. UMG has a strong reputation in the market for the top-class products and services it offers to customers worldwide. I hope to use my expertise to target new clients in this important market sector and also add value to the diving services that UMG already has to offer. ”

CSA Ocean Sciences Inc. Project Wins Prestigious U.S. Department of Interior Award

The honor recognizes the firm's extensive contributions to research conducted among mid-Atlantic canyons.

CSA Ocean Sciences Inc.'s (CSA's) project Atlantic Canyons – Pathways to the Abyss won the Department of Interior's Partners in Conservation Award for work performed in conjunction with 16 other institutions to study mid-Atlantic deepwater canyons over the last 4 years. Presented to the firm by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, the award recognizes and celebrates collaborative research involving numerous partners whose work produces outstanding conservation results. These partnerships often consist of diverse entities such as Federal, state, and local governments combined with private for-profit and nonprofit institutions, other nongovernmental entities, and individuals.

In order to conduct this research, CSA and its partners utilized robotic underwater vehicles with high-definition video and still imagery cameras, benthic landers, and instrumented mooring, along with traditional sampling methods such as box corers, water samplers, and benthic trawls. Included among the major results was the discovery of an expansive deepwater coral habitat near the mid-Atlantic outer continental shelf. Also of considerable scientific value, the partnership located one of the largest deep-sea mussel communities known to feed on the methane gas seeps found among the canyons. In addition to this biological research, the partnership located and investigated numerous historic shipwrecks, including several of the "Billy Mitchell Fleet," a group of decommissioned German and American naval vessels that were used in 1921 to test the effectiveness of aircraft against naval vessels.

CSA helped to gather and assemble unprecedented data for the region with the knowledge that the research will guide the decisions made by offshore energy management teams. Alan Hart, Ph.D., CSA's Executive Vice-President, Science, (pictured on the left)  commented, "This is a tremendous honor for our project team and CSA. The information gained through this project will serve as an important part of the knowledge base that will be used in determining the way forward for energy development of the Atlantic coast. Results from deep-sea communities and historical shipwreck studies off the mid-Atlantic coast will strengthen the protection and conservation of these habitats from potential impacts related to energy development."

CSA is currently involved with several other studies that focus on the characterization and conservation of deepwater biological communities offshore Mozambique, New Zealand, and Cyprus for which several field sampling and analytical methods used during the Mid-Atlantic Canyons study are being used.

CSA Ocean Sciences Inc. specializes in consulting services for Federal, State, and private industry clients in multidisciplinary projects, integrating science and technology to evaluate environmental activities throughout the world. CSA offers a wide variety of services related to environmental management and community planning to support clients working in marine, estuarine, wetland, freshwater, and terrestrial habitats throughout the United States and overseas.

BOEM Completes Environmental Review for Geological and Geophysical Survey Activities Off the Atlantic Coast

Robust mitigation measures called for to reduce impacts to marine life

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has published a final environmental review of geological and geophysical (G&G) survey activities off the Mid- and South Atlantic coast that establishes multiple mitigation measures designed to minimize the impacts to marine life while setting a path forward for survey activities that will update nearly four-decade-old data on offshore energy resources in the region.

The agency's preferred alternative in the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) identifies the most protective mitigation measures and the strongest safeguards to reduce or eliminate impacts to marine life. Mitigation efforts include requirements to avoid vessel strikes, special closure areas to protect the main migratory route for the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale, geographic separation of simultaneous seismic airgun surveys, and Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) to supplement visual observers and improve detection of marine mammals prior to and during seismic airgun surveys.

The PEIS does not authorize any G&G activities, but rather it establishes a framework for additional mandatory environmental reviews for site-specific actions and identifies broadly-applicable measures governing any future G&G activities. As new scientific information becomes available, these additional findings can be incorporated into the survey-specific environmental reviews through an adaptive management approach.

"Analysis of this scale is a significant undertaking that has involved extensive public input and coordination among several federal agencies and state governments," said BOEM Director Tommy P. Beaudreau. "The Department and BOEM have been steadfast in our commitment to balancing the need for understanding offshore energy resources with the protection of the human and marine environment using the best available science as the basis of this environmental review."

The PEIS assesses G&G activities conducted under BOEM's oil and gas, renewable energy and marine minerals programs through 2020, including deep-penetration and high-resolution seismic surveys, electromagnetic surveys, magnetic surveys, gravity surveys, remote-sensing surveys and geological and geochemical sampling. The PEIS also evaluates reasonably foreseeable environmental effects in adjacent state waters.

Congress in 2010 directed BOEM to prepare the PEIS because there had been no comprehensive review of potential environmental impacts of G&G activities off the Atlantic coast. Given the potential broad scope of future surveys and their potential effects, BOEM determined that a PEIS under the National Environmental Policy Act was needed before the permitting of any new, large-scale G&G surveys could be considered. BOEM coordinated with the National Marine Fisheries Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies and organizations to develop a mitigation strategy focused on avoiding injury to marine animals and reducing the potential for behavioral disruption.

Since 1998, BOEM has partnered with academia and other experts to invest more than $50 million on protected species and noise-related research. The bureau has provided critical studies on marine mammals, such as the sperm whale and seismic impacts, and conducted numerous expert stakeholder workshops to discuss and identify further information needs on acoustic impacts.

"Our scientific knowledge of the Atlantic Ocean is constantly building, and new information and analyses will continue to be developed over time, which is why we are employing a comprehensive adaptive management strategy that takes this into account," said Beaudreau. "As the PEIS does not by itself authorize any G&G activities, the site-specific reviews will incorporate any significant new information available after the PEIS is published."

BOEM published the draft PEIS for public comment on March 30, 2012. During the 90-day comment period, BOEM received more than 55,000 comments from a variety of industry, government and non-government stakeholder groups and the general public. BOEM also held 15 public meetings throughout the Mid- and South Atlantic to discuss the process and receive attendees' comments.

State-of-the-practice G&G data and information are used to identify sand and gravel resources suitable for coastal protection and restoration, site renewable energy installations, and locate oil and gas resources. G&G activities also provide specific information about the location of shallow hazards, cultural resources, and benthic communities so that these areas can be avoided during any bottom-distrurbing activities.

The Final PEIS is available for public comment until April 7, 2014 at: After reviewing the comments, BOEM will issue of a Record of Decision (ROD). The ROD will state the decision of the agency; identify the alternatives considered, including the environmentally preferable alternative; identify and discuss the factors involved in the decision; and will state whether all practical means to avoid or minimize environmental harm have been adopted.

UTEC Expands Houma Team To Benefit Gulf Coast Clients

UTEC, one of the world’s largest independent survey companies, has announced significant expansion of the US team serving Gulf Coast clients.

The Houma-based Industrial Measurement/Dimensional Control (IMDC) group has benefited from the addition of 3 dimensional control surveyors, led by IMDC supervisor Greg Carlos.  The experienced team provides IMDC, metrology and 3D laser scanning to UTEC’s Gulf Coast clients.

Commenting on the news, Greg Carlos said: “Having local support for UTEC clients in the eastern Gulf of Mexico region is key to providing the high level of service required.  Being part of a well-established services group that focuses on construction support, QC and inspection services for the client is a great opportunity.

“The group in Houma has been working together for a number of years and having the ability to keep the team together by joining UTEC is a huge plus.  It gives us the ability to continue to provide services to existing clients on the Gulf Coast, and access to IMDC staff from other UTEC offices will be important in growing the service line within the region.”

UTEC VP of Measurement Technology, Mark Klusza, added: “With the addition of a full metrology and 3D scanning division in Houma, we now have one of the largest full service metrology services companies supplying services to the oil and gas industry in key locations around the world.”

Marlink Helps French Ocean Research Team Create ‘Night of the Abyss’

Marlink maritime VSAT supports Ifremer video conference event from the mid-Atlantic

A temporary 1.5 Mbps bandwidth increase of Ku-band VSAT for the research vessel Pourquoi pas? (Why not?) enabled the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea, known as Ifremer, to conduct a live video broadcast and conference from the mid-Atlantic during an educational event called 'Night of the Abyss'.

The broadcast event was part of the BICOSE (Biodiversity, Interactions, Connectivity and Symbiosis in Extreme Environments) scientific mission, which took place from 10th January to 11th February 2014. The mission focused on the study of hydrothermal vents in the mid-Atlantic. Also known as black smokers, these mini submarine volcanoes spit out hot water up to 400 degrees.

Night of the Abyss linked Pourquoi pas? (photo) with two sites in France (Paris and Brest). It began with a presentation of the BICOSE campaign and technical capabilities, and an introduction of the scientific team on-board. This was followed by a 20-minute commentary broadcast from the Victor 6000 Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV), where the audience discovered the TAG hydrothermal site at a depth of 3600m. The event concluded with a 40-minute interactive question and answer session.

"We needed sufficient bandwidth and reliability to ensure high-quality live video and audio for the duration of the event, so we asked Marlink if it was possible to temporarily upgrade our link just for this," comments Olivier Soubigou, Research Vessels and Embarked Equipment unit, Ifremer. "Sealink is a flexible service so Marlink was able to provide us with live streaming and two way conferencing capabilities so we could really engage with audiences in Paris and Brest."

"Though the broadcast went without a hitch, the Marlink Network Operations Centre team, including antenna experts and service managers, was on stand-by throughout. This was after being heavily involved in prior testing of the service to ensure its capacity to stream high-quality live video and audio without interruption," adds Antoine Lisse, Key Account Manager, Marlink.

Ifremer, through its research work and expert advice, contributes to knowledge of the oceans and their resources, to monitoring of marine and coastal environments and to the sustainable development of marine activities. The organisation is committed to engaging the wider public in scientific topics regarding the oceans with events like 'Night of the Abyss', and a blog and Facebook page for the BICOSE mission.
The Night of the Abyss video can be viewed on the BICOSE blog page (in French):

Fastwave to Offer Liquid Robotics Wave Gliders in Australia Region

Australian marine data acquisition specialist Fastwave has recently been appointed Channel Partner by Liquid Robotics International of Sunnyvale, California

The appointment reflects Fastwave's experience in providing integrated, real-time marine and subsea data acquisition systems for engineering, environmental, scientific and defense applications.

The Wave Glider is a low-profile, unmanned surface vehicle that is capable of long-range, extended deployments with minimal human intervention. It is propelled by wave generated energy, with solar panel arrays providing power for on-board communications, sensor payloads and computing.

Wave Gliders can be a valuable resource used to support and augment traditional vessel or airborne based maritime surveillance and survey missions. They can be deployed to hazardous areas or carry out long-term surveillance and marine data acquisition missions. With endurance of up to one year, and with no need for fuel, Wave Gliders can reduce costs compared to either surface or aerial assets — saving dollars, reducing risk, and increasing operational efficiency.

Fastwave Director Nick Daws commented " Wave Gliders provide complementary capabilities to our well established in-situ subsea and near-surface data acquisition systems. Fastwave's expertise with integrating sensor payloads and telemetry systems with mobile data platforms such as the Wave Glider enable us to offer specific mission configuration options for our clients, who have requirements such as marine mammal detection, maritime surveillance and dredge plume monitoring."

Liquid Robotics International Vice President Asia Pacific, Todd Kleperis added "Fastwave represents an innovative technology provider who has really pushed the bounds before in satellite telecommunications into Australia. We are very happy to welcome them on board as a channel partner in Australia. The need for Ocean Data services is enormous and Fastwave saw how Liquid Robotics, Wave Glider platform would benefit all of Australia."

Birns Inc. Celebrates 60th Anniversary with Kickoff Event at Underwater Intervention

BIRNS, Inc. celebrated a major milestone at the recent Underwater Intervention show in New Orleans. 2014 marks the company's 60th year in business, and BIRNS held a well attended event in its booth at the show to commemorate the anniversary.

The event included a slideshow of historical company photos honoring the founding CEO Jack Birns, a former LIFE Magazine photographer, and the company's achievements to present day in a presentation by current CEO Eric Birns. The festivities included cocktails and a large 60th birthday cake, as well as drawings for a new touchscreen laptop and a pair of Beats headphones.

"I am humbled and grateful that BIRNS has had the honor of serving the industry for the last six decades," says Eric Birns, President and CEO. "My father started this company as a small business in Hollywood selling photographic equipment to the Navy and other customers, and we have now become an ISO 9001:2008 and NAVSEA PRO-020 certified global leader in high performance connectors and lighting solutions. All of us at BIRNS would like to thank the industry for the honor of serving its needs for the last 60 years, and look forward to our next 60 years together."

BOEM Publishes Proposed Adjustment to Limit of Liability for Offshore Facilities that Cause Oil Spills

Increase needed to keep pace with inflation, preserve deterrent effect

As part of the Obama Administration's ongoing efforts to ensure the safe and responsible production of domestic offshore energy resources, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is proposing to administratively increase the limit of liability for oil-spill removal costs and related damages from $75 million to approximately $134 million. The increase would apply to offshore facilities in federal and state waters under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, and is consistent with recommendations from the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and other studies that called for a statutory increase in the limit of liability.

"This proposed change is the first administrative increase to the liability cap since the Oil Pollution Act came into effect twenty-four years ago and is necessary to keep pace with the 78 percent increase in inflation since 1990," said BOEM Director Tommy P. Beaudreau. "This adjustment helps to preserve the deterrent effect and the 'polluter pays' principle embodied in the law."

The rule would also establish the methodology BOEM would use for future inflation adjustments to the liability cap. The Department of the Interior has determined that these changes would further protect the environment by ensuring that any party that causes an oil spill would pay an increased amount of any potential damages. The adjustment is the maximum increase that may be implemented without legislation.
BOEM is publishing this proposed update to its regulations and is soliciting public comments on the adjustment methodology, the clarity of the rule and any other pertinent matters.

Comments may be submitted in one of four ways: In person, via mail, via email or via the internet. Regulation Identifier Number (RIN) 1010–AD87 should be included in any submission. Venues for submission are as follows:

Federal eRulemaking Portal: In the entry entitled, "Enter Keyword or ID," enter BOEM-2012-0076, then click search. Follow the instructions to submit public comments and view supporting and related materials available for this rulemaking. BOEM will post all comments received during the comment period.

Mail or hand-carry comments to the Department of the Interior; Bureau of Ocean Energy Management; Attention: Peter Meffert, Office of Policy, Regulations and Analysis (OPRA); 381 Elden Street, MS-4001, Herndon, Virginia 20170-4817. Please reference "Consumer Price Index Adjustments of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 Limit of Liability for Offshore Facilities" in your comments and include your name and return address so that we may contact you if we have questions regarding your submission.

E-mail comments to the Department of the Interior; Bureau of Ocean Energy Management; Attention: Peter Meffert, Office of Policy, Regulations and Analysis (OPRA) at

Comments will be made publicly available.


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