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DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY,
Washington, D.C., April 3, 1963. Hon. HERBERT C. BONNER, Chairman, Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, House of Representatives,
DEAB MR. CHAIRMAN : Reference is made to your request to the Secretary of Defense for the views of the Department of Defense with respect to H.R. 4300, 88th Congress, a bill to amend the inland and western rivers rules concerning anchor lights and fog signals required in special anchorage areas, and for other purposes. The Department of the Army has been assigned responsibility for expressing the views of the Department of Defense on this bill.
This bill would (1) change existing statutory requirements of the inland and western rivers rules for anchor lights and fog signals with respect to certain classes of vessels when anchored in "special anchorage areas" designated by the Secretary of the Army under authority of sections 180 and 322 of title 33 of the United States Code and (2) make the inland and western rivers rules regarding anchor lights uniform.
The bill would make no change in the responsibility of the Secretary of the Army for designation of special anchorage areas. The designation of such areas would have a different effect after enactment of the proposal to the extent that certain lighting and fog signals requirements will be reduced. It is considered that such changes can be made without reducing navigation safety.
The Department of the Army on behalf of the Department of Defense recommends favorable consideration of the proposed legislation.
The Bureau of the Budget advises that, from the standpoint of the administration's program, there is no objection to the presentation of this report for the consideration of the committee. Sincerely yours,
CYRUS R. VANCE, Secretary of the Army.
GENERAL COUNSEL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE,
Washington, D.C., April 24, 1963. Hon. HERBERT C. BONNER, Chairman, Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, House of Represent
atives, Washington, D.C. DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This is in further reply to your request for the views of this Department with respect to H.R. 4300, a bill to amend the inland and western rivers rules concerning anchor lights and fog signals required in special anchorage areas, and for other purposes.
This legislation was originally proposed by the Treasury Department (Coast Guard) for the purpose of simplifying and reducing the requirements of certain rules concerning anchor lights and fog signals required in special anchorage areas and making them uniform.
After a careful review of the proposals, we are of the opinion that if they are enacted into law they will reduce the burdens on the shipping industry without materially reducing the safety of navigation. It is also our opinion that uniformity in the rules under consideration is desirable.
We recommend favorable consideration of the proposed legislation.
The Bureau of the Budget advised there would be no objection to the submission of this report from the standpoint of the administration's program. Sincerely,
ROBERT E. GILES. Mr. GARMATZ. Admiral Rohnke, would you make a statement at this time on H.R. 4300 ?
STATEMENT OF REAR ADM. OSCAR C. ROHNKE, CHIEF, OFFICE OF
MERCHANT MARINE SAFETY, U.S. COAST GUARD; ACCOMPANIED BY COMDR. WILLIAM F. REA III, CHIEF, MERCHANT VESSEL INSPECTION DIVISION, U.S. COAST GUARD HEADQUARTERS, AND COMDR. R. A. RATTI, LEGAL DIVISION, U.S. COAST GUARD HEADQUARTERS
Admiral RoHNKE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Admiral RoHNKE. Mr. Chairman, I am Rear Adm. Oscar C. Rohnke, Chief of the Office of Merchant Marine Safety, U.S. Coast Guard. I appreciate the opportunity to be heard and speak to you about H.R. 4300.
H.R. 4300 would amend the western rivers rules and inland rules and in so doing accomplish two purposes without sacrificing safety:
(1) Simplify requirements for lights and fog signals for barges when anchored in specifically designated anchorages;
(2) Provide for uniformity in requirements for lights on vessels anchored under inland rules and western rivers rules.
The barge light question first arose in the western rivers area, and was the subject of a special study by a subcommittee of the Western Rivers Panel of the Merchant Marine Council during 1961.
This subcommittee recommended that the scope of special anchorage areas designated by the Secretary of the Army be increased to permit a relaxation of lights required on barges anchored in these special anchorage areas. The Western Rivers Panel approved this proposal during September 1961, and from there it was cleared by the Merchant Marine Council as a proposed change to the statutory rules of the road.
The Coast Guard is required to enforce all rules of the road on navigable waters of the United States. This has included the enforcement of statutory rules requiring lights at night on barges which are anchored and requiring sound signals to be made by barges anchored during periods of low visibility.
As barges and similar craft are often unmanned, it is extremely burdensome and impracticable for their owners to provide the required lights when anchored at night and to provide for the sounding of fog signals when anchored during periods of low visibility.
Therefore, a more practical solution to the problem was sought by relaxing those lights and fog signal requirements without sacrificing safety. Because the law's that must be enforced would thereby become more reasonable, this approach appeared to be beneficial to the Coast Guard, the barge owners, and the public.
The solution offered in H.R. 4300 is merely an extension of the concept of special anchorage areas so that barges and similar craft of 150 feet in length and over would be allowed to display just one light when anchored in those areas in lieu of the presently required two lights.
Also, barges and other such vessels when moored together and anchored as a unit in a special anchorage area would be required to show a single light from the vessel having its anchor down in lieu of two lights from each such barge.
As for sound signals during periods of reduced visibility, these signals would not be required of any barge or similar vessel anchored in a special anchorage area. This relaxation of the requirements for lights and sound signals for barges, scows, canal boats, and similar vessels in special anchorage areas is not considered to be unsafe in any respect.
The present statutes permit vessels not over 65 feet in length to anchor in these areas without displaying lights at night. These areas are marked on charts used for navigation and their establishment is made known to mariners. They are listed in title 33, part 202, of the Code of Federal Regulations.
Navigators generally keep clear of these areas just as they do of natural obstacles that could hazard their vessels. Because motorboats anchored in these areas without lights in the past have created no problems, there is no apparent reason why a special area having large barges with only one light could be troublesome.
As already mentioned, H.R. 4300 should lead to more reasonable enforcement of anchor lights outside of special anchorage areas.
H.R. 4300 was changed during its inception so that it will do more than relax the required signals of barges and other such craft in special anchorage areas. It also will make the requirements for anchor lights on inland waters and western rivers identical (these are found in Inland Article 11, 33 U.S.C. 180, and Western Rivers Rule 13, 33 U.S.C. 322).
The present rules require different minimum distances at which the lights can be seen. Inland requires 1 mile, while western rivers requires 2 miles; H.R. 4300 would make 2 miles applicable everywhere.
The present rules also have different height requirements, western rivers rules require the single anchor light on vessels under 150 feet to be high enough so that it is visible all around; while inland rules make this requirement and add that the maximum height is 20 feet above the hull.
The bill would eliminate the provision limiting the height to 20 feet, which would make western rivers and inland not only conform with each other, but conform to international rules. A vessel 150 feet and upward in length anchored in inland waters cannot have its forward anchor light higher than 40 feet above the hull under present law.
H.R. 4300 would remove this restriction. The present western rivers rule for vessels 150 feet or more in length that are anchored has no minimum height requirement for the forward anchor light to be at least 20 feet above the hull and at least 15 feet higher than the after anchor light.
The Coast Guard considers standardization or unification of the rules of the road an extremely important goal. Presently there are four sets of rules of the road which have been incorporated into U.S. law. In addition to the three sets previously mentioned, there is a separate set applicable to the Great Lakes.
Rules of the road are truly effective only when uniformly applied. The 1960 International Conference on Safety of Life at Sea recommended in its final act that all nations should strive to eliminate the differences between the requirements for lights and shapes in their
special local rules and those same requirements in international rules as far as practicable.
Our separate statutes for inland waters, Great Lakes and western rivers are special local rules within the purview of this recommendation. H.R. 4300 is a small step forward toward the objective of making rules of the road the same everywhere.
This bill is strongly recommended for its ultimate beneficial effects upon overall marine safety, both from an enforcement of the rules of the road standpoint and from a standpoint of unification of these rules.
Thank you very much.
Mr. GÁRMATZ. Admiral, there is one section that I am not quite clear in my mind about. It is on page 2. You say craft 150 feet in length and over would be allowed to display just one light.
Admiral ROHNKE. Yes, sir; in the special anchorage. If the barge is anchored outside of the special anchorage, she would be required to carry the lights that she is required to carry now.
Mr. GARMATZ. That would be two lights?
Admiral ROHNKE. Two lights, yes, sir. And in the special anchorage, the only barge carrying the single light would be the barge having the anchor down.
Mr. GARMATZ. Is that specified here? Admiral ROHNKE. Yes, sir. I believe there is a statement to that effect.
Mr. GARMATZ. On page 4 you went on to say that the forward anchor light would be at least 20 feet above the hull and at least 15 feet above the average anchor light. So there are two lights there, and in the mooring there would be only one light.
Admiral RoHNKE. In clarification, the one light would be required only when the barge is anchored in a special anchorage. If she were anchored outside of this anchorage and possibly close to a fairway or where other vessels were navigating, in an area which had not been declared a special anchorage area, she would be required to carry the two lights.
Mr. GARMATZ. Are there any questions?
STATEMENT OF BRAXTON B. CARR, PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAN
WATERWAYS OPERATORS, INC.
Mr. Carr. Mr. Chairman, I have a prepared statement. I don't think it is necessary that I read it. I would request of the chairman that it be inserted in the record, if that is permissible.
Mr. Garmatz. If there are no objections, it may be inserted into the record.
Mr. Carr. The American Waterways Operators, on behalf of its membership strongly endorses H.R. 4300. There is a need for this
legislation. Tows made up of several barges in the course of their voyages may have a need and oftentimes do have a need to set out one or more of these barges in order to go on and make delivery of others.
Special anchorage areas will afford an area where this can be accomplished without, as Admiral Rohnke has testified, undue hazard to navigation. This proposed legislation is a cooperative effort on the part of industry and the Coast Guard. It has been very carefully worked out. We very strongly endorse it and urge its passage.
I would like also to endorse the step that is being made in this legislation to unify the pilot rules. We have vessels that operate out of the Chicago area where they are under Great Lakes rules, and transit the Mississippi River under western rivers rules and then go into the inland rules.
Anything that can be done toward standardization is helpful, and this is a step in the right direction. Thank you, sir.
(The statement referred to follows:)
STATEMENT BY BRAXTON B. CARR, PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAN WATERWAYS
OPERATORS, INC., IN SUPPORT OF H.R. 1300 My name is Braxton B. Carr. I am president and chief executive officer of the American Waterways Operators, Inc., a nonprofit educational, membership trade association representing the operators of shallow-draft vessels of the inland waterways of the United States. The vessels primarily employed by our members to provide transportation are towboats, tugboats, and barges. We also have in the membership of the association certain interests allied with the operators of shallow-draft vessels. These include shipbuilders and ship repairers, operators of terminals serving the inland water carrier industry, and seryice supply organizations. Our executive offices are located at 1025 Connecticut Avenue, Washington, D.C. We have field offices in New York City and New Orleans.
My appearance before this committee is on specific authority of the board of directors of the American Waterways Operators, Inc. The board by resolution has directed that we inform the appropriate committees of the Congress on behalf of the association's membership of our support of H.R. 4300.
H.R. 4300 is designed to meet a specific need of the barge and towing vessel industry.
Tows made up of several barges in the course of their voyages will have individual barges containing cargo destined for various points. It is desirable and oftentimes necessary that one or more barges be set out of a tow and left while other barges are delivered to their destinations by the towing vessel.
The Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army, has authority to designate special anchorage areas where such vessels, including barges, scows, and other nondescript craft, can be moored.
In response to an expressed need of the industry in this respect, the American Waterways Operators, Inc., in 1959 requested the Corps of Engineers to designate two special anchorage areasone in Mobile Bay and the other in Mississippi Sound. The corps did so in September 1960.
Almost simultaneously with the association's request for designation of these special anchorage areas, work was started with the U.S. Coast Guard looking toward amending the inland and western rivers rules so as to provide relief from existing lightning requirements for vessels to be anchored in the special
The work with the Coast Guard was undertaken by a committee of the Western Rivers Panel of the Merchant Marine Council of the Coast Guard. This panel is an industry advisory group to the Commandant of the Coast Guard. It is established by the Commandant who appoints its members. I have had the privilege of serving as chairman of the Western Rivers Panel continuously since 1957.
The proposed legislation incorporated in H.R. 4300 is the result of very careful study by the committee of the Western Rivers Panel working in cooperation with the Merchant Marine Council of the U.S. Coast Guard.