July 24, 2005
The interim security zone, which went into effect Thursday and will remain until Sept. 28, mandates a 100-yard security zone only around an HCPV only when they are being escorted by a Coast Guard boat or ship. For the purposes of the interim rule, HCPV is defined as a vessel 100-feet or more in length carrying 500 or more passengers. The zone does not apply to state ferries.
The interim security zones are less restrictive than those initially proposed in the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) released in March. The original proposal would have required a 100-yard security zone around underway HCPV, and a 25-yard security zone around an anchored or moored HCPV. Additionally, vessels operating within 250 yards of a HCPV would have been required to operate at the minimum speed necessary to maintain a safe course.
Nearly 150 parties offered input during the NPRM comment period. To allow time to fully address these comments and thoroughly evaluate the impacts of the NPRM to all marine traffic, the Coast Guard decided to implement a less restrictive interim rule, while continuing to work on a comprehensive permanent solution. The new interim security zones are necessary to provide prudent maritime safety and security in Alaska's waters, while allowing the Coast Guard to scale security measures to match the threat.
Broadcast Notice to Mariners will be issued regularly to remind and inform the boating public of the new security zone parameters. Any vessel operator caught in violation of the new security zones could face civil and/or criminal penalties.
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