Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Collaborating to Mitigate Risk: The tools that guide the process.

Excerpt from U.S. Coast Guard Proceedings of the Marine Safety & Security Council magazine by LCDR Tony Maffia, visual navigation signals management policy manager, U.S. Coast Guard Visual Navigation Division; Mr. George H. Detweiler, Jr., marine transportation specialist, U.S. Coast Guard Marine Transportation Systems Management Directorate; and Mr. Burt Lahn, marine transportation specialist, U.S. Coast Guard Marine Transportation Systems Management Directorate.

The United States Coast Guard Office of Marine Transportation Systems Management develops and implements policies and procedures that facilitate commerce, improve safety and efficiency, and inspire dialogue within the maritime community to make our waterways safe, efficient, and commercially viable.

One way we do this is by establishing risk baselines that guide our decisions. Three tools that guide these efforts:
  • ports and waterways safety assessments,
  • waterways analysis and management system studies,
  • port access route studies.
Ports and Waterways Safety Assessments
The Coast Guard established the ports and waterways safety assessment process to address waterway user needs and place a greater emphasis on partnerships with industry. The process involves convening a group of waterway users and stakeholders and conducting a structured workshop to elicit their opinions.

Waterway Analysis and Management System Study
Our nation’s waterways contain more than 100,000 aids to navigation—the buoys and beacons that provide signals to maritime transportation system users. A waterway analysis and management system study helps Coast Guard waterway managers review and improve the system in a particular waterway. The study incorporates the perspectives of major and/or frequent waterway users to identify the most effective aid mix while anticipating needs for the future.

Port Access Route Studies
Permanent structures such as oil rigs and offshore renewable energy installations may affect port traffic, and areas like designated marine sanctuaries also must fit into this mix.
To manage this, the Coast Guard may create traffic separation schemes. Through the port access route study process, the Coast Guard consults with affected Native American tribes as well as federal, state, and foreign state agencies (as appropriate) and considers the views of maritime community representatives, environmental groups, and other interested stakeholders.
Port access route studies continue to identify critical changes in maritime traffic volumes or routes, and allow the Coast Guard to implement sound vessel routing measures to ensure safe passage in the off-shore approaches to our nation’s ports and harbors.

Full article is available at http://www.uscg.mil/proceedings/spring2011/.