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Risk of Vessel Accidents and Spills in the Aleutian Islands: Designing a Comprehensive Risk Assessment APPENDIX A Potential Risk Reduction Options Central to the ultimate purpose of a risk assessment process is the identification and implementation of appropriate measures to reduce the risk of accidents to acceptable levels. The committee developed an initial list of potential risk reduction options by using several sources, beginning with preliminary work accomplished by stakeholder groups and government agencies in Alaska in analyzing the problem over the past few years. Box A-1 shows this initial list grouped within a number of general categories so they can be readily reviewed. The list includes all ideas presented to the committee and has not been vetted or prioritized by the committee. Each of these options can be analyzed to determine its potential benefits relative to its costs and its likelihood and difficulty of implementation. An early step in analyzing each option is to address the questions listed below. This step can be accomplished independently of other tasks involved in the risk assessment and may result in an understanding of which options can be implemented with minimal or reasonable time and effort. What is included in the option (i.e., descriptive details)? Who can implement the option (e.g., government agency, industry, signatories to an international agreement, multiple parties)? How feasible is it to implement? How likely is it to succeed? How much time is needed for its implementation? What is the cost of its implementation (i.e., cost to each involved party)?
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Risk of Vessel Accidents and Spills in the Aleutian Islands: Designing a Comprehensive Risk Assessment BOX A-1 Initial List of Risk Reduction Options Waterways Management and Traffic Control Enhance or expand vessel tracking and communication systems (a voluntary vessel traffic information system for Unimak Pass or a mandatory traffic management scheme). Expand the existing automatic identification system (AIS) network to encompass a larger region (especially the southern route). Build and operate more AIS receiver stations throughout the Aleutians and possibly along the southern route by using weather buoys for mounting. Enhance and optimize the aids to navigation currently in place throughout the Aleutians. Enhance requirements for voyage planning and safety features for vessels calling at U.S. and Canadian ports and transiting the Aleutians. Update charts and coast pilots, and improve weather and sea state forecasting systems for the region. Implement a traffic separation scheme in or near Unimak Pass. Implement speed restrictions in shipping lanes. Establish restrictions for certain sensitive areas of operation. Implement long-range vessel tracking, and use it to identify potential problems. Inspection and Enforcement Increase inspection and enforcement of safety requirements on vessels (especially older vessels) calling at U.S. and Canadian ports and transiting the Aleutians. Vessel Personnel and Pilotage Enhance requirements for vessel safety equipment and crew training, and enforce existing requirements. Expand pilotage areas and pilot services to Unimak Pass and other possible locations. Establish an incident and near-miss reporting system with safeguards for mariners.
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Risk of Vessel Accidents and Spills in the Aleutian Islands: Designing a Comprehensive Risk Assessment Enhance oil spill response capabilities and training. Conduct emergency training and salvage drills. Vessel Equipment and Design Require redundant steering and propulsion for tankers. Require redundant steering and propulsion for tugs towing tank barges. Require redundant steering and propulsion for all vessels. Require double-hull protection for fuel tanks. Require double-hull protection for cargo tanks on tank barges. Raise liability limits. Emergency Operations and Procedures Station adequate salvage and lightering equipment and capabilities at key locations. Finalize U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) salvage and firefighting requirements. Provide standby rescue tugs to respond to vessels in distress (large enough for prevailing conditions and ships in trade). Enhance the tug-of-opportunity network. Station a multipurpose vessel in Dutch Harbor with rescue tug capabilities but other uses as well (e.g., research) to help pay the cost. Provide escort tugs for certain vessels and conditions in Unimak Pass. Implement storm and severe weather rules for Unimak Pass and the greater Aleutians. Enhance and expand USCG response capabilities for vessels in distress (e.g., response teams, rescue vessels, and helicopters). Require pollution response plans for all large vessels transiting sensitive areas, similar to requirements for vessels calling at Alaska ports. Require all large vessels to have emergency tow packages. Expand on emergency towing equipment currently implemented in Dutch Harbor. Identify a network of places of refuge, and develop plans for their use.
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Risk of Vessel Accidents and Spills in the Aleutian Islands: Designing a Comprehensive Risk Assessment Some of the options listed in Box A-1 have already been investigated to a certain degree, and some have obvious benefits and implementation paths that have been described. For example, several Alaskan organizations have proposed approaches for improved vessel tracking and some forms of vessel traffic service (VTS) for Unimak Pass. The Marine Exchange of Alaska has put forth a proposal to build and operate additional automatic identification system (AIS) receiving sites and an operations center to track and communicate with vessels and identify potentially unsafe vessel transits. The Alaskan Marine Pilots have suggested the development of a formal VTS for Unimak Pass and vicinity and prepared a paper describing the elements of such a service and explaining how it would work. In addition, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has in the past implemented VTS in a number of ports and waterways in the United States on the basis of analyses of vessel accident risks in these locations. Various approaches are used for these existing USCG-authorized VTS, including USCG owned and operated, marine pilot operated, and marine exchange operated, all under USCG waterways management authority. Current vessel traffic in and around Unimak Pass is substantial compared with that in other regions with established VTS; thus a careful investigation by USCG of the advisability of establishing a VTS in the area appears warranted. Another risk reduction option for which there has been some investigation and evaluation is providing emergency towing equipment that can be delivered to vessels in distress if and when needed. The City of Unalaska, in cooperation with industry and government partners, recently developed a towing package that could be used in an emergency situation to aid vessels in distress in the region near Dutch Harbor and Unimak Pass. As more information on vessel traffic is developed, local authorities may further refine this option to make it more effective. The committee proposes the list in Box A-1 as a starting point for evaluating risk reduction options within the risk assessment process. This initial list should be reviewed, refined, and then expanded as appropriate by the Advisory Panel. A detailed analysis of the costs and benefits of selected options would be one of the desired results.