[Federal Register Volume 64, Number 169 (Wednesday, September 1, 1999)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 47752-47754]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 99-22654]



Coast Guard

33 CFR Part 165

[COTP Tampa 99-042]
RIN 2115 AA97

Safety Zone; Tampa Bay, Tampa, FL

AGENCY: Coast Guard, DOT.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.


SUMMARY: The Coast Guard proposes to amend the permanent regulations 
for floating safety zones around Anhydrous Ammonia (NH3) vessels 
transiting the waters of Tampa Bay. These revisions will allow for 
nighttime vessel transits, and will replace the requirement for a 
safety zone at the berth with a requirement to provide 30 minute 
advanced notice to the NH3 vessel or facility. Safety improvements in 
Tampa Bay have alleviated the need for such restrictions.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before November 1, 1999.

ADDRESSES: You may mail comments and related material to Commanding 
Officer, Marine Safety Office Tampa, 155 Columbia Drive, Tampa, Florida 
33606. Marine Safety Office (MSO) Tampa maintains the public docket for

[[Page 47753]]

this rulemaking. Comments and material received from the public, as 
well as documents indicated in this preamble as being available in the 
docket, will become part of this docket and will be available for 
inspection or copying at MSO Tampa between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday 
through Friday, except Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lieutenant Warren Weedon, Chief, 
Waterways Management Branch at (813) 228-2189.


Request for Comments

    The Coast Guard encourages interested persons to participate in 
this rulemaking by submitting written data, views, or arguments. 
Persons submitting comments should include their names and addresses, 
identify this rulemaking [COTP Tampa 99-042] and the specific section 
of this proposal to which each comment applies and give the reason for 
each comment.
    The Coast Guard will consider all comments received during the 
comment period. It may change this rule in view of the comments. The 
Coast Guard plans no public hearing. Persons may request a public 
hearing by writing to LT Weedon at the address under ADDRESSES. The 
request should include why a hearing would be beneficial. If it 
determines that the opportunity for oral presentations will aid this 
rulemaking, the Coast Guard will hold a public hearing at a time and 
place announced by a notice in the Federal Register.

Background and Purpose

    After extensive discussions from the Tampa Bay Harbor Safety 
Committee and the formation of a Safety Zone Subcommittee consisting of 
Coast Guard representatives, vessel agents, pilots, tug operators and 
port authority representatives, recommendations were forwarded to the 
Coast Guard Captain of the Port to amend the regulations for NH3 
vessels transiting the Port of Tampa.
    In 1991, Coast Guard Marine Safety Office Tampa temporarily amended 
the transit requirements for Anhydrous Ammonia (NH3) vessels, through 
Port Community Information Bulletin (PCIB) 6-91 which allowed NH3 
vessels to enter and transit the Port of Tampa during the nighttime 
with a minimum of three mile visibility. It also replaced the safety 
zone extending 150 feet waterside while the vessel is moored, with a 
requirement calling for vessels over 5000 gross tons to provide a 30 
minute notification allowing the NH3 vessel time to take appropriate 
safety precautions. PCIB 6-91 has been replaced with a case by waiver 
from the current regulations, utilizing the operational restriction 
initially identified in the PCIB. The Captain of the Port is not 
seeking to incorporate these proven operational guidelines to 
    In the late 1980's and early 1990's, many safety changes were made 
to the port, including the widening and deepening of the shipping 
channels, installation of centerline range marks, inbound and outbound, 
an increased brightness in range lights and a new Vessel Traffic 
Advisory System (VTAS). These changes have enhanced the level of safety 
on the navigable waters of Tampa Bay.
    In addition to implementing the amendments to the operational 
requirements for NH3 vessels, the Coast Guard is also seeking comment 
on the NH3 safety zone as a whole. During the subcommittee meetings, 
discussion ranged from the total removal of the NH3 safety zone 
regulations to no changes at all. The Coast Guard welcomes any comments 
on the Safety Zone regulations as they stand in 33 CFR 165.703.

Regulatory Evaluation

    This proposed rule is not a significant regulatory action under 
section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866 and does not require an 
assessment of potential costs and benefits under section 6(a)(3) of the 
order. It has been exempted from review by the Office of Management and 
Budget under that order. It is not significant under the regulatory 
policies and procedures of the Department of Transportation (DOT) (44 
FR 11040; February 26, 1979). The Coast Guard expects the economic 
impact of this rule to be so minimal that a full Regulatory Evaluation 
under paragraph 10e of the regulatory policies and procedures of DOT is 
unnecessary. This regulation already exists. The rulemaking will have 
minimal affect on vessel traffic as it will only extend the hours of 
operation to include the nighttime.

Small Entities

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), the 
Coast Guard must consider whether this proposed rule will have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
``Small entities'' include small businesses, not-for-profit 
organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not 
dominant in their field and governmental jurisdictions with populations 
of less than 50,000.
    Therefore, the Coast Guard certifies under section 605(b) that this 
rule will not have a significant effect upon a substantial number of 
small entities, as this regulation will only be in effect approximately 
twice a week for two hours in a limited area of the Port of Tampa.
    If, however, you think that your business or organization qualifies 
as a small entity and that this proposed rule will have a significant 
economic impact on your business or organization, please submit a 
comment (see ADDRESSES) explaining why you think it qualifies and in 
what way and to what degree this proposed rule will economically affect 

Collection of Information

    This proposed rule contains no collection of information 
requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et 


    This proposed action has been analyzed in accordance with the 
principles and criteria contained in Executive Order 12612, and it has 
been determined that the rulemaking does not have sufficient Federalism 
implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism Assessment.

Environmental Assessment

    The Coast Guard has considered the environmental impact of this 
action and has determined under Figure 2-1, paragraph (34)(g) of 
Commandant Instruction M16475.1C, that this proposed rule is 
categorically excluded from further environmental documentation. A 
Categorical Exclusion Determination has been prepared and is available 
in the docket for inspection and copying.

List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165

    Harbors, Marine safety, Navigation (water), Reports and 
recordkeeping requirements, Security measures, Waterways.

Proposed Regulations

    In consideration of the foregoing, the Coast Guard proposes to 
amend part 165 of Title 33, Code of Federal Regulations as follows:


    1. The authority citation for part 165 continues to read as 

    Authority: 33 U.S.C. 1231; 50 U.S.C. 191; 33 CFR 1.05-1(g), 
6.04-1, 6.04-6, and 160.5; 49 CFR 1.46.

    2. Revise Sec. 165.703 (b) and (g) to read as follows:

[[Page 47754]]

Sec. 165.703  Tampa Bay, Florida--Safety Zone.

* * * * *
    (b) All vessels over 5000 gross tons intending to pass anhydrous 
ammonia vessels moored in Port Sutton, and all vessels intending to 
moor in the R. E. Knight facilities at Hookers Point while an anhydrous 
ammonia vessel is moored in this facility, must give 30 minutes notice 
to the anhydrous ammonia vessel so it may take appropriate safety 
* * * * *
    (g) Vessels carrying anhydrous ammonia are permitted to enter and 
transit Tampa and Hillsborough Bay and approaches only with a minimum 
of three miles visibility.
* * * * *
    Dated: August 5, 1999.
A.L. Thompson, Jr.,
Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port, Tampa.
[FR Doc. 99-22654 Filed 8-31-99; 8:45 am]