The Coast Guard or another government agency should undertake a study on response to marine casualties involving hazardous cargo and the role of the salvor in the response.
The committee concludes that ambiguities in federal and state oil pollution laws have created uncertainty concerning liability for acts of jettison. The committee therefore recommends:
The National Contingency Plan should be modified to incorporate criteria that would authorize intentional jettison when necessary. Modifications should also clarify the Federal On-scene Coordinator's ability to authorize incidental discharges resulting from ongoing cleanup operations, such as decanting from skimmers and pumping of engine rooms, through the daily work plans approved by the Unified Command System where appropriate.1
The committee concludes that, in the absence of predesignated safe havens, the risk is increased of marine casualties having catastrophic outcomes with environmental consequences. The committee therefore recommends:
The Coast Guard should promulgate the process by which a "safe haven" is identified. To the extent possible, area plans should evaluate candidate sites for potential safe haven areas.
The jettison issue was addressed by the committee in a separate report (NRC, 1994), which appears, with more specific recommendations, in Appendix B.