Segment 2 Of 2     Previous Hearing Segment(1)

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U.S. House of Representatives,

Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation,

Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure,

Washington, DC.

    The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:12 p.m., in Room 2167, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Wayne T. Gilchrest (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.

    Mr. GILCHREST. The Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Administration will come to order and I have a statement that I will submit to the record for the sake of time.

    [The prepared statements of Mr. Gilchrest and Mr. Shuster follow:]

    [Insert here.]

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    Mr. GILCHREST. We'll move to the witnesses, but I do want to thank Admiral North and Mr. Angelo for coming this afternoon. We apologize for the lengthy votes that we were just involved in.

    We do look forward to your testimony on the IMO. T a very great extent, the IMO and the maritime industry has a huge impact on planet Earth, on the international marketplace, and, when you consider how goods are moved from one place to another, shipping is by far the dominant form of transportation. So there is a myriad of issues that we're interested in, and we look forward to your testimony. We also look forward to bringing Congress to a position where we will stay more informed on these issues that so impact us as a Nation and certainly impact the rest of the world.

    The last comment I want to make, very quickly, is that my visit to the IMO with Admiral North and Joe Angelo just a few months ago showed me the level of sophistication at which the world gets together to discuss these very important issues and I was also very impressed with the U.S. delegation. When the U.S. delegation speaks, literally in the chamber of the IMO, everybody gets quiet and looks at the U.S. delegation. That means they are looking to the U.S. for leadership. So, I think the Congress needs to back up the U.S.'s presence in this most important arena.

    And with that, I yield to Mr. Johnson for an opening statement.

    Mr. JOHNSON of Wisconsin. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and I'll also yield my opportunity to read my entire opening statement, but, filling in for Mr. Clement who may get here a little late, I appreciate that the rest of the world does reach Green Bay, Wisconsin through the Port of Green Bay and the Great Lakes, and we're proud of that and the work the Coast Guard does working with the IMO.
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    I'm looking forward also to the testimony today and appreciate the chance. Sorry, again, that we had to make you wait an hour and a half. Looking forward to hearing your testimony.

    [The prepared statement of Mr. Johnson of Wisconsin follows:]

    [Insert here.]

    Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Mr. Johnson.

    Mr. LoBiondo doesn't have an opening statement.

    Admiral North, thank you. You may begin.


    Admiral NORTH. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, and members of the Subcommittee. I am Rear Admiral Bob North, Assistant Commandant for Marine Safety and Environmental Protection, and with me today is Mr. Joe Angelo, my Director of Standards who manages the Coast Guard's technical issues with the International Maritime Organization.

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    I am pleased to represent the Coast Guard before this committee's hearing today on the role of the United States Coast Guard in the International Maritime Organization. That organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations whose main focus is maritime affairs. Membership is open to all States that are members of the United Nations and to other States in accordance with procedures of the IMO convention. The Organization currently has 156 member States and two associate members. The structure of IMO consists of an assembly, a council, and five committees. The Maritime Safety and the Marine Environmental Protection Committees are also responsible for managing nine subcommittees.

    The IMO is headed by the Secretary-General, Mr. William O'Neil of Canada, who was appointed by the council and approved by the assembly. IMO employs approximately 300 international civil servants.

    The Coast Guard leads the U.S. delegations to the assembly, the Maritime Safety Committee, the Marine Environmental Protection Committee, the Legal Committee, the Facilitation Committee, and the nine subcommittees. In addition, U.S. delegations often contain representatives from other U.S. agencies, such as the Department of Defense, NOAA, and EPA, as well as the private sector. IMO's main objectives are to promote cooperation in the field of government regulations and practices relating to technical matters affecting maritime shipping engaged in international trade, and to encourage and facilitate the general adoption of the highest practicable standards in matters concerning maritime safety, the efficiency of navigation, and prevention of pollution from ships.

    The U.S. has been a member since IMO's inception in 1948, and has played a continuous leadership role. It is important for the United States to participate in and then influence IMO activities in view of the continuing globalization of the economy, to ensure that foreign flag vessels calling in the United States meet acceptable levels of safety while minimizing the need for unilateral regulations, and that U.S. vessels engaged in international trade are subject to reasonable requirements based on international agreements.
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    The organization, structure, and procedures of IMO have made it, we believe, the most efficient, effective, and responsive of the United Nations' specialized agencies. From the U.S. perspective, the efficiency of IMO is especially evident from their budget process. Unlike other bodies in the U.N. system, the IMO is funded by assessments based upon vessel tonnage of national fleets. Thus, Panama paid 15 percent of IMO's 1998 budget, while the United States was assessed only 4.03 percent. We believe the U.S. receives much more in return in terms of safety and marine environmental protection.

    In carrying out its responsibilities, the Coast Guard works very closely with other U.S. government departments and agencies, the U.S. maritime industry, the environmental community, and the general public. Draft U.S. proposals, and those made by other countries, are circulated by the Coast Guard to facilitate this responsibility. Shipping coordinating committee meetings are held before and after IMO meetings to inform the public of the government's activities and to provide a forum for receiving their views. The meetings are open to the public and are used to reach a consensus on the U.S. positions for the upcoming IMO meeting.

    Since the late 1970's, the United States has taken the initiative to improve the international standards for maritime safety and protection of the marine environment in order to provide a significant degree of protection for our waterways, marine environment, population, and property.

    Noteworthy examples include the convention and prevention of Pollution from Ships, double-hulls in tank vessels, damage stability standards for cargo ships, and fire safety standards for passenger vessels. As a result of these efforts, the international maritime community has become more uniformly regulated by increasingly comprehensive and stringent international standards. Over the past two decades, most of the vessel design, equipment, and operational standards adopted in IMO instruments have evolved to the point of substantial parity with U.S. requirements.
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    As we approach the 21st century, several trends underscore the need for the United States to continue its active participation in IMO. World trade is expected to double or triple by 2020. With the U.S. as the world's largest trading nation, and 95 percent of its foreign trade involving marine transportation, we expect a significant increase in vessel traffic in U.S. waters. A majority of that traffic will likely be aboard foreign vessels. Commercial vessels are becoming larger, faster, and are carrying more and more passengers. The continued increase in the level of vessel automation will lead, perhaps, to some additional reduction in crew size, while the human element is the most vital part of maritime safety.

    Looking toward the future, the U.S. plans to continue its active role in all IMO bodies to ensure that the initiatives begun are continued. In particular, I'd like to mention three high priorities. First, the development of criteria to address the human element in reducing maritime casualties in pollution incidents. Second, placing greater emphasis on the ship owners' classification societies' and flag states' responsibilities to ensure they are properly carrying out their duties. Third, concentrating on effective implementation of existing IMO instruments rather than a perpetuation of new instruments or requirements.

    The major strategy the U.S. has used, and will continue to use, to achieve these objectives at IMO is to take a strong leadership role in promoting maritime safety and protection of the environment. This, combined with sound, well-thought-out technical proposals, has been, and will continue to be, the key to our success.

    The Coast Guard appreciates the opportunity to testify about this important matter and stands ready to work with the Congress on these issues. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
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    Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Admiral North.

    Admiral North, on page 4 of your testimony, there is reference to 26 separate codes of safe practice, some of which are mandated through a specific convention, and so on. And you list some of the existing codes which deal with international safety management, seafarers training certification, high-speed craft, mobile offshore drilling, maritime dangerous goods. Could you tell us in what way do these codes impact high-speed craft, and I'm raising that because of the right whale situation and some of the faster boats the Canadians are putting in, taking passengers from Maine to Canada.

    Admiral NORTH. The high-speed craft code is principally a design and construction code. So, it really is a technical——

    Mr. GILCHREST. It's a technical-safety issue, as opposed to an issue dealing with the marine environment?

    Admiral NORTH. Yes, sir, that's correct. It's a maritime safety issue.

    Mr. GILCHREST. I think we all support the mandatory ship-reporting system to aid the right whale recovery effort. Could you tell us what the status of the U.S. proposal to establish a mandatory ship-reporting system is and what the latest, if anything, development is on the right whale situation?

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    Admiral NORTH. The proposal will be submitted at the Navigation Subcommittee which is due to meet from 20 to 24 July 1998. So the proposal has been drafted and we will take it to that subcommittee for submission and discussion.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Will be a consensus on that at the IMO? Is there building opposition to it that you know of?

    Admiral NORTH. I'm not aware of any building opposition to it.

    Mr. GILCHREST. So, you have Joe go in there and straighten it all out before we——


    Admiral NORTH. Joe won't be there, but we're still confident——

    Mr. GILCHREST. Joe won't be there?

    Admiral NORTH. ——but we're confident that it will work its way through in spite of that.

    Mr. GILCHREST. On page 5 of your testimony, you have examples of improved standards dealing with tanker safety and pollution prevention, upgrades and fire protection for lifesaving requirements, the 1990 International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, and so on. Can you tell us—we go from 1978 up to 1995. How many of those improved standards were issues that passed through Congress and then were voted on?
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    Mr. ANGELO. Just quickly, I can say that anything that involved a protocol or a convention, sir, would require the United States to make a definite decision relative to becoming party to it. They would have gone through Congress. That would include the 1978 protocol to SOLAS and MARPOL, which, in fact, Congress did give advice and consent to ratification of; the 1988 protocol to SOLAS for survey and certification, on which the Senate did give us advice and consent to; the 1990 Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation Convention, which, again, we were given advice and consent to. And that's the list of things on that page, sir. The rest were technical amendments to the conventions which did not require advice and consent by the Senate; they were done through the tacit amendment procedure.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Do you feel that there is adequate communication at this time between the IMO, through our delegation, to the U.S. Congress? Do you feel that you are backed enough by the U.S. Congress in the kinds of things that you do at the IMO, seeing that you are representing the United States?

    Admiral NORTH. I would say that we don't feel a lack of support. We might be able to communicate better, perhaps, and talk more about major issues when we are going to either the Environmental Protection Committee, the Maritime Safety Committee, or, perhaps, things that would come before the assembly every 2 years and at least make the Congress aware of those issues we feel from the agenda are the most important and what our goals would be. But we haven't lacked any support in the past that I'm aware of; but, again, we could, perhaps, give you a better sense of what things we think are best to pursue there.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Is there any way to improve the communication? Is there any need to improve the communication between the Congress and the delegation to the IMO?
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    Admiral NORTH. I believe that we can accomplish the things we accomplish perhaps without communicating more, but I think it will be wise and useful to come up and make you aware of—or the Congress aware of—those things that we feel are important. You may have some interests we are not aware of that we can find out about.

    Mr. GILCHREST. I see. I'll just take a little more time, if Mr. Johnson will abide with me here for a second. Could you tell us, Admiral, what happens to those countries who don't abide by the standards set by the IMO? For example—two questions, I guess. For someone that doesn't comply with IMO rules, what happens to those countries if they don't come up with the technical standards, the safety standards, the fire protection standards, the engineering structures, and does IMO deal at all with piracy on the high seas?

    Admiral NORTH. First, for those countries that are not signatory to an IMO convention or something of that sort——

    Mr. GILCHREST. What if they are a signatory to the IMO convention and then they don't live up to it.

    Admiral NORTH. Really, the penalty, if you want to call it that—it's really not a penalty, per se—is this: when their vessels call at a port state like the United States which is signatory, expects them to comply with the convention, and exercises parts State control, then their vessels are going to run into some difficulty in terms of being denied entry, not being allowed to conduct cargo operations, or have some restriction or control placed on them and perhaps not being allowed to return.
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    Mr. GILCHREST. So, it's up to each individual country—the IMO doesn't have any enforcement mechanism?

    Admiral NORTH. There's no enforcement in terms of a penalty-type process. The Flag States Implementation Subcommittee of IMO, tries to ensure that IMO instruments are, in fact, fully developed and implemented by flag states that are signatory. But there is no penalty process as such or no way to penalize those countries.

    Mr. GILCHREST. So each individual country takes that responsibility on their own.

    Admiral NORTH. Yes.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Is China a member of the IMO?

    Admiral NORTH. Yes.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Let's say somebody brings a cargo ship from China with the Chinese flag filled with illegal immigrants to the United States and the U.S. Coast Guard stops them. Is that—I understand that then that ship is under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Coast Guard and has to comply with U.S. laws. Is that incident reported to the IMO?

    Admiral NORTH. Not for that particular purpose. If the vessel were in violation of an IMO convention, or other IMO requirement, then that would be reported back to IMO. In other words, port state control actions that I mentioned earlier are reported back to IMO, and on an annual basis IMO develops a list of those vessels that were detained. It's really a detention list. A list of those vessels detained, listing the flag state, the port where the vessel was detained, and a brief description of the deficiency, and, of course, the name of the vessel. So there's record kept of detentions in that sense.
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    Mr. GILCHREST. So member states have access to that list?

    Admiral NORTH. Yes.

    Mr. GILCHREST. I don't know if this has anything to do with insurance of these vessels, but do international insurers have access to a list?

    Admiral NORTH. Yes, sir. That list is available to anyone who would want access to it. I would also add that we have a Coast Guard Internet process called Port State Information Exchange which provides data on our experience with port state control of foreign flag vessels to which anyone has access, and I understand that it's used quite readily by any number of groups for any number of purposes to look at vessels' histories, in terms of pollution violations histories, detention, and things of that sort.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Admiral. I'll yield to Mr. Johnson.

    Mr. JOHNSON OF WISCONSIN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Admiral, if I heard you right, no enforcement in terms of a penalty process under IMO? Is that a weakness of the IMO, do you consider that?

    Admiral NORTH. Well, one could perhaps look at it as a weakness. I think port state control is proving effective from our perspective in enforcing IMO instruments for vessels that come into the United States.

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    Mr. JOHNSON OF WISCONSIN. We're always concerned about the safety of the people in the ports and the people who sail, because it is individual humans we become concerned about——

    Admiral NORTH. Yes.

    Mr. JOHNSON OF WISCONSIN. ——after all, on board the ships and that's your number one concern of the Coast Guard. You said that IMO is undertaking a major effort to focus on the human element factor regarding ship safety, I wonder if you might have some specifics in terms of the ability of the IMO to look at decreasing human errors and dealing with issues such as fatigue.

    Admiral NORTH. There are a number of things ongoing. First, we have the International Safety Management Code that becomes effective the 1st of July this year which covers, in large measure, a lot of human element issues.

    Next, we have the Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping 1995 amendments which are being phased in over a 5-year period beginning in February 1997 on into the year 2002. STCW 1995 amendments include requirements for 10 hours of rest for watchkeepers, and as part of our port state control effort, we would look at that kind of thing when a vessel calls.

    Third, the human element is being addressed directly by a number of committees and subcommittees. There's a human element work group in the Maritime Safety Committee, and the Standards of Training and Watchkeeping Subcommittee is addressing human element issues in terms of fatigue, as well as incorporating what's called the human element assessment process into the normal IMO process. When issues are being vetted to IMO, we are sure to include some assessment of the impact on the human element in whatever issue it is that is being dealt with. There are some specific protocols and conventions that we're dealing with presently to implement and also some general consideration of the human element in things that are going on in IMO over the broad spectrum.
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    Mr. JOHNSON OF WISCONSIN. I wonder if you or Mr. Angelo have any assessment of how countries are doing in trying to meet these international standards. Does it vary or——

    Admiral NORTH. I would say, again, from our port state control experience, it varies from flag state to flag state, some being very good, some less good. That's why we conduct our port state control program and basically try to make some assessment of how well flag states are doing in terms of implementing IMO instruments and other international instruments. When a vessel calls in the United States, one of the criteria that we use to assess whether or not some degree of port state control is appropriate for that vessel is what flag it is and the record of that flag. And then, on an annual basis in the spring, we make an assessment of flag state performance and publish that assessment.

    Mr. JOHNSON OF WISCONSIN. You know, when I drive down near the port, just right in downtown Green Bay, I guess I recognize when the foreign flag ships are in town because you can't read the writing on the side, but I'm told that some of the foreign flag ships with as many as two people in the navigation crew are currently entering the U.S. Can this increase with fatigue? Also the chances of marine casualty? And is the U.S. now, or should they deny entry into the U.S. for vessels that have as small as eight people on board for navigational purposes?

    Admiral NORTH. Potentially, that could increase fatigue. Flag states set their own manning standards, basically, using some guidelines from IMO and provide each vessel with a safe manning document that in their view provides for what crew is necessary to operate the vessel. Again, the STCW and ISM conventions will go some distance to help us reduce the likelihood of fatigue by ensuring that seafarers get adequate rest. When we board a vessel we look into that type of issue to ensure that the 10 hours required by STCW is, in fact, occurring, and make some assessment of the safe manning.
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    Mr. JOHNSON OF WISCONSIN. Are you at all working on developing a list of vessels that have been detained by various member countries for any safety violations of IMO?

    Admiral NORTH. IMO has such a list, as I mentioned, and that's produced annually. It's based on port state reports to IMO from the U.S. and other port states.

    Mr. JOHNSON OF WISCONSIN. What about when you're boarding. What kinds of things are we doing to ensure that those on board in the bridge can speak English, communicate with the pilots coming into our ports. Are their standards or any changes coming about in that area?

    Admiral NORTH. There are standards. Again, under STCW, they should speak English. The Ports and Waterway Safety Act, a U.S. Federal law, requires watch officers aboard tankers to be conversant in English, as well. The IMO covers more than that, of course, and all vessels that call here that are subject to the Safety of Life at Sea Convention should have watch standers who can converse in English to conduct their business. There's a phraseology book, and as part of a boarding process we look to see, again, that the crew is conversant in English.

    Mr. JOHNSON OF WISCONSIN. And if they don't and if they aren't is there a penalty? What's the repercussions if they are not.

    Admiral NORTH. The vessels could be detained until such time as they obtain crew members that are conversant.
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    Mr. JOHNSON OF WISCONSIN. Is there any preventing of such detained vessels from reentering a port later on, or is it just, you know, go down as a check on a sheet and they can just come back in again?

    Admiral NORTH. We would make that detention or that violation available to other Coast Guard units through our Marine Safety Information System, so that when the vessel is due to call at another port and the local Coast Guard Marine Safety Office queries the Marine Safety Information System, it will hopefully come across the fact the vessel was previously detained and for what reason.

    Mr. JOHNSON OF WISCONSIN. But they probably could sail into another port?

    Admiral NORTH. If they corrected the detention or the reason for the detention, yes. The other Marine Safety Office may cause them to wait or make some extraordinary provision to check and ensure that the deficiency was corrected prior to entry.

    Mr. JOHNSON OF WISCONSIN. I wonder if the Coast Guard has detained any vessels that have already been issued ISM certificates by their flag states.

    Admiral NORTH. Yes, we have.

    Mr. JOHNSON OF WISCONSIN. What does this indicate about the flag state criteria for issuing the certificate then?
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    Admiral NORTH. I couldn't tell you whether the detentions were related to ISM or not. ISM is a developing process being implemented. It becomes effective on 1 July, and after 1 July any deficiency we find in a vessel will be cause to look underneath the ISM certificates.

    Mr. JOHNSON OF WISCONSIN. If we get to a case where we have a foreign flag ship detained by the Coast Guard and then if the owner doesn't make the changes or the repairs necessary or the changes in the English-speaking crew or any of the things that you determine are necessary to safely operate in our ports and in our waters, flies the crew home or something, what recourse do you have?

    Admiral NORTH. We have kept some ships here a very long time, to the point that they have had to correct the deficiency or they cannot operate. And some ships have been, for all practical purposes, abandoned and, ultimately, became the problem of the Coast Guard and so have gone to the scrap yard or offshore and sunk, because deficiencies which wre gross, in large number, and were ultimately found during a port state control boarding, were not corrected.

    Mr. JOHNSON OF WISCONSIN. So, there have been cases where there have been ships that bad sailing into port that they just give them up and abandon them?

    Admiral NORTH. We have cases where the owner left. Not recently, thankfully, but that has happened over the years.

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    Mr. JOHNSON OF WISCONSIN. All right. Thank you, Admiral. I appreciate it.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Mr. Johnson. I'm going to be yielded some time from my Republican colleagues who aren't here right now, just for a couple more questions. You can do the same, if you'd like.

    Admiral, how would you rate the IMO as far as creating a situation where the standards of the international shipping community closely match the standards of the United States maritime industry, as far as the structure of the ships, the safety, the human element, and things like that. How far away is the international community from U.S. standards? How much credit would you give the IMO?

    Admiral NORTH. I'd give IMO a lot of credit. I would say that there is basically a parity between U.S. and international standards, and we have recognized that in some of our recent programs that we've developed for U.S. vessels.

    Mr. GILCHREST. So you would say that those member states of the IMO sail the seven seas with basically the same standards that U.S. ships must comply with?

    Admiral NORTH. Very close.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Would you say that the IMO receives adequate funding on an annual basis to do the job it needs to do?

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    Admiral NORTH. Operational funding is adequate.

    Mr. GILCHREST. The performance-based design guidance that we support for fire protection for the IMO. Why do we support that concept, performance-based design guidance, for fire protection?

    Admiral NORTH. Why? To provide alternatives that can look at different means to attain an end that is basically performance-based, as opposed to specified in some detail.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Is there some specification now that could be used for fire protection?

    Admiral NORTH. There are general specifications in SOLAS as to what fire protection requirements must be adhered to.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Is there a reason—now, this is a controversial question, I'll preface that, and it has to do with double hulls. And I know—it's my understanding that IMO is using the performance-based design guidance for oil pollution standards. Now is it the U.S.'s position not to use performance-based design guidance for oil pollution protection, but rather to hold to the standard of double hulls and is that an interpretation based on the intent of Congress, or why is that the interpretation?

    Admiral NORTH. We hold to a performance-based standard as well, but the performance is different, if you want to compare performance. Our performance standard is—the probability is zero outflow. The IMO performance standard gives nearly as much credit as the probability of median outflow as zero outflow; in other words, some outflow of oil, some mean between zero and maximum. We hold to a zero outflow performance standard and the basis of that is an interpretation; I would say in a sense that if you go back to the preamble the Clean Water Act, it says something to the effect that like Congress hereby declares that it is the policy of the United States that there shall be no discharge of oil or hazardous substances into or upon navigable waters of the United States. We use that basically as a declaration that zero discharge is the standard, or the performance standard, and the double-hull, at this point, has the highest likelihood of a zero discharge.
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    Mr. GILCHREST. In all circumstances?

    Admiral NORTH. In the circumstances that we have experienced most here in the United States in terms of large vessel spills over the years.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Is there any other alternative technologies out there that IMO has looked into?

    Admiral NORTH. IMO currently accepts double hull, mid-deck, and so-called Coulombi Egg designs, but again, they give more credit, so to speak, to median outflow and don't hold their performance standard to a pure zero outflow criteria like we do.

    Mr. GILCHREST. How do they know that those are possible alternatives? Have some other countries looked into the engineering designs of those things?

    Admiral NORTH. Yes, and there were studies from IMO to look at alternative designs.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Do you think that there will ever come a time when we might find some alternative technology that will prove at least as good or safer than double hulls?

    Admiral NORTH. The Coast Guard would be happy to look at any design that claims to provide the same kind of zero outflow performance that we see double-hulls providing.
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    Mr. GILCHREST. Is the Coast Guard looking at any of those now?

    Admiral NORTH. There is nothing presently that we have found that matches the double-hull for the probability of zero outflow. We have looked at a number of designs; we did a report to Congress, currently in clearance that talks about some of those. There have been other designs brought up that were not considered in that report and we have yet to find one that matches the double-hull from that perspective in terms of probability of zero outflow. But we're open to any designs that might be submitted for that purpose.

    Mr. GILCHREST. So it would be a positive thing to pursue—so, basically, zero discharge is a U.S. position, but not an IMO position?

    Admiral NORTH. That's correct.

    Mr. GILCHREST. And it's your strong belief or beliefs that a zero discharge under the myriad of circumstances that oil can, oil tankers can be confronted with problems, that particular concept is the best that we can do right now.

    Admiral NORTH. For zero outflow, the double-hull is the best we have seen, to date.

    Mr. GILCHREST. You can't do much better than zero outflow, but if you stick to a zero outflow concept and then everything is designed to that extent, there are certain circumstances, would you agree, that even with double-hulls, you could have a ship bump into an iceberg or something and you'd have a huge outflow of oil, whether or not you had double-hulls?
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    Admiral NORTH. Sure.

    Mr. GILCHREST. And I guess if you had double-hulls with another technology—but——

    Admiral NORTH. Well, to answer what you are driving at: nothing. There's no design that will prevent or create zero outflow under all circumstances. The double-hull has the highest probability of zero outflow given the kinds of accidents we've experienced here in the United States. That doesn't mean that you can never have a spill from a double-hull, but I would add that since OPA 90, double-hulls in the United States that have gone aground, have had a collision, or have otherwise been damaged, have not spilled any oil.

    Mr. GILCHREST. So, Admiral, you recommendation to Congress today would be to continue the concept of double hulls——

    Admiral NORTH. Based on the other designs that have been submitted, yes.

    Mr. GILCHREST. I see. Thank you. Mr. Johnson? It's a big subject.

    Mr. JOHNSON OF WISCONSIN. I have no more questions.

    Mr. GILCHREST. All right, Admiral and Mr. Angelo, we appreciate your coming here this afternoon. I have a number of other questions, but I think we can walk them over to Coast Guard Headquarters and discuss them over lunch sometime in the near future.
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    Admiral NORTH. We could always stop at Holly's in the morning.

    Mr. GILCHREST. We could stop at Holly's on the Eastern Shore? When we have that meeting, we'll broadcast out an invitation to everybody in the room. I'm sure Holly's would appreciate that. Thank you, Admiral.

    Admiral NORTH. Thank you, sir.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Joe, thank you very much.

    Mr. ANGELO. Thank you.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Panel No. 2: Joe Cox, president, Chamber of Shipping of America; Sidney Wallace, Dyer Ellis and Joseph; Robert Somerville, president, American Bureau of Shipping; Capt. Kincaid, assistant director, MEBA Engineering School; Terry Turner, national director of political action and governmental relations, Seafarers International Union.

    Gentlemen, welcome to Washington and the subcommittee. We apologize to you, as well, for the delay earlier on with the votes. Thank you for your patience, and we look forward to your testimony.

    Mr. Cox.

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    Mr. COX. Yes, sir.

    Mr. GILCHREST. You may go first.

    Mr. COX. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Mr. Johnson; it's a pleasure to be here. If I may, I would like to submit my written testimony for the record and I'll just cover a few points here——

    Mr. GILCHREST. Without objection, so ordered.

    Mr. COX. ——extemporaneously.

    Sir, the Chamber of Shipping of America is an organization which represents American ship owners. They operate American flag and foreign flag ships and therefore we're very interested in the IMO. Sir, my testimony is split actually into three sections and I'd like to mention some points about each one of those sections. I started off with history, and I think the history is important because pending the outcome of the Titanic disaster, the Congress of the United States thought that there should be some international requirements for vessels plying the high seas. In fact, as a result of Congressional initiative a conference was held in 1914 which resulted in the first SOLAS convention. It was never ratified because of intervention of World War I.

    After that war, the nations decided to look at the SOLAS convention and update it. That resulted in the 1929 convention which the U.S. ratified in 1936 and was adhering to as we entered into World War II. During World War II, the Secretary of State called a conference of shipping interests because of the great strides that had taken place in ship design and manufacture and by this I would mean welding being an important development at that time. They decided to hold another conference at the close of hostilities. The Secretary of State accepted that, and, in 1944, transmitted to the British who called for a convention which resulted in the 1948 SOLAS convention. At the same time, the nations of the world also were getting together to form what was then called the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization which changed its name in the early 1980s, I forget the actual year, to the IMO.
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    I think the message I would get from that history, Mr. Chairman, is that the U.S. at the time was the leading nation calling for international standards and today I think we sit in the same preeminent position with regard to international requirements.

    My second area of testimony concerns U.S. involvement. Others would probably be much better than I in describing the involvement of the U.S. in that body. However the IMO does operate through a committee and subcommittee structure. It holds a number of meetings throughout the year, there are 48–50 weeks of meetings that take place at the IMO through the 5 main committees and the 10 subcommittees reporting to them. We heard from Admiral North about the premeetings, and I can attest that they are held. They are held with a great deal of interest shown by our industry. My organization, I think I can safely say, attends probably 95 percent of those premeetings. When we attend on the U.S. delegation I think it's important to know that the U.S. delegate holds a daily meeting of the delegation to review everything that's taking place at the session. They ask for our input as industry when we are participating on the delegation. We very gladly give that input. I'm the first one to report to you that it is not always accepted, but that's the way our system operates and we think that at least our delegate goes in there with a full knowledge about what the issue is and what the potential outcomes of the U.S. decision on a particular issue may be.

    My particular involvement with the IMO started in 1981 when I went over to my first subcommittee meeting, the STCW Subcommittee. I've been to over 50 meetings throughout these years. I very much enjoy being the U.S. shipowner representative. I think we have a key point of view to take with respect to our government and I think we also serve a purpose in terms of talking to our fellow shipowner colleagues from other nations, if not other national delegates themselves. The air pollution debate was of particular interest to us because I found at the first meeting there being a discussion about a new annex to the MARPOL convention. I found myself in the room alone as the U.S. representative on the first day. I was joined shortly thereafter by a Coast Guard officer who had finished his perspective duties. At that time we were able to steer the IMO consideration of an air pollution annex into the right avenue and, I think, I'm very proud of the fact, that my colleague now working for me, Kathy Metcalf, was able to go to the conference that was held last fall which actually drafted and accepted the air pollution annex to MARPOL.
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    I think that we have gone quite a ways in bringing the world's standards up to meet U.S. standards. There may be some differences but I think we're certainly addressing it in a proactive way. I think the message that I would bring from U.S. involvement is that the IMO is a good regulatory body, it forms regulations which are not only good for us but good for the world, i.e., the vessels calling on our ports.

    My third area is change—and I realize that my time has gone out, but if I could just get a couple more sentences in, Mr. Chairman, I'd appreciate it. That is the IMO dues structure. The IMO dues this year are approximately $28 million. The U.S. portion of that is $1.1 million and I would suggest that we are getting one heck of a payback on that investment in the IMO. A few years ago, I happened to be in a Department of State-chaired meeting where they were complaining about an increase in the IMO budget and it was certainly—I remember $12,000, it could have been $20,000, because I remember sitting in the room saying, I could go out and take a collection up among my members if the U.S. contribution to the IMO cannot be met through our government resources. I hesitate to say that because it would be sort of a user fee.

    Mr. GILCHREST. It's probably a good thing you didn't say it because we would have taken you up on it.

    Mr. COX. Yes. They would have called it a user fee and we would be up here complaining about it. I think the other thing to keep an eye on is the voting weights at the IMO. Certainly the nations that have substantial portions of the world's fleet are not the same nations that formed the IMO in 1948 and I think our government is very well respected and is watching that issue with interest and we'll certainly develop a response to it.
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    I'm not going to turn the microphone over to the next person without expressing to you, Mr. Chairman, my extreme satisfaction with the quality of people that our government puts on delegations over at the IMO. I think the reason why we get the good work and the good product out of the IMO is because of the good people that we put into the process.

    Sir, that concludes my testimony and I'll be glad to respond to questions.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you very much, Mr. Cox.

    Mr. Wallace.

    Mr. WALLACE. Don't start my time yet, please.

    Mr. GILCHREST. I'm going to take some of the time away from you that Mr. Cox used.

    Mr. WALLACE. All right. I hope not, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Johnson, I'm Sid Wallace from the law firm of Dyer Ellis and Joseph, but I'm not appearing here today for my law firm. I do have a prepared statement that offers my perspective of the organization we're discussing today, plus its value to the United States. I include a few comments regarding instances where the United States, otherwise found in line with treaties from IMO, deviates from that line. My statement's a little long, but there's no witness from IMO itself today because of a schedule conflict and I'd like to mention to you, Mr. Chairman, that I hope the subcommittee will consider another hearing when IMO officials can appear.
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    What I've tried to present to you in my paper is a picture of the organization that can't be found in IMO publications and I believe it differs a little in perspective from what Admiral North said and what Joe Cox has presented to you.

    My perspective is grounded on 26 years of IMO experience as an active duty Coast Guard officer, as a counsel to the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, as a representative of the Maritime Law Association of the United States, and the capstone of my IMO career was 4 years as chairman of the Marine Environment Protection Committee when I was a U.S. delegate. Committee means many things in IMO parlance, but I—you've been there, Mr. Chairman, but for those who haven't, one can think of 300 to 400 people in a room, 70 delegations from member states, 40-some delegations from organizations having consultative status, scores of staff from the Secretariat, and, I would remark, no press. A lot of work is done in these circumstances. I did use a paragraph of my prepared statement to give you a kind of snapshot of an IMO technical committee and I happened to select the Maritime Safety Committee.

    It's true that IMO is a specialized agency of the United Nations, but it is separate from the United Nations in most respects, in membership, in assessment schedule, in governance. And the focus is on safe ships, and clean seas, and a host of related issues. It does not dwell on the political interest of countries or blocs of countries. In fact, that's distinctly discouraged by the force of the society there.

    The Secretariat's culture deserves a comment. The delegates decide at IMO and the Secretariat says, essentially, we support, we don't play favorites, including our own country's delegation. And, as you know, Mr. Chairman, there are quite a number of countries represented in the Secretariat. I don't know the number, but a vast number.
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    I would characterize the business of IMO as treaty making. And that's in the broadest sense; that includes the treaties, the codes, the recommendations, the guidelines, all that are needed to make the treaties work. The technical bodies that do this work want sound standards and solutions to problems adopted by consensus, the result of a true debate in and out of the committee room. And seeking consensus, I would remark, does not lead to the lowest common denominator answers, contrary to what some outside of IMO have claimed. Customs and norms are part of the practice and culture at IMO that help avoid that happening. Americans tend to be suspicious of international answers. I don't believe that's a valid suspicion when applied to IMO.

    A lot has been said, sir, that I can duplicate—I would just suggest that my statement be read in light of what has been said by others. I certainly can say that the U.S. position at IMO is very strong. The Coast Guard, with help from other agencies such as NOAA and EPA and Department of State, produce a high quality of technical work, excellent representation across the board and they're always ready to work at all hours, and this pays off over time. Unfortunately, when the U.S. can't go along with IMO standards or other treaty provisions, the U.S. can lose some of its credibility and there's an example in the commentary section of my paper that deals with that.

    I would like to remark on one thing that is not in my statement and that's the Law of the Sea convention. We all hope—well, I hope, and I would think a vast number of people in our business hope, for advice and consent by the Senate. Law of the Sea is an important, centrally-important treaty and it impacts, Mr. Chairman, and members of the subcommittee, on IMO treaties and their implementation by countries, including the United States of America.

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    The U.S. position presently is that the Law of the Sea Convention represents customary international law and the U.S. is bound by it. The only trouble is that's got to be explained all the time and it's a somewhat difficult and subtle legal explanation to get there. So, it's hard to sell in some quarters, including in Federal court. The fact that the U.S. hasn't ratified comes up.

    And to illustrate, and I'll close with this, Mr. Chairman, MARPOL Article 9 essentially defers to the Law of the Sea treaty for jurisdictional purposes, that means the rights and duties of flag states, coastal states, and port states. This is a hole in MARPOL for the United States now filled with what I would call soft law of the sea. I think there's a need to fill that hole with the Law of the Sea Convention in full force and while I know that this committee doesn't have anything to do with advice and consent of the Senate, I believe it is an important enough issue that you know about it.

    Mr. Chairman, I certainly appreciated your opening remarks about IMO. I consider it an admirable institution valuable to the U.S. and I hope your support and that of your subcommittee will continue. Thank you, sir.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you very much, Mr. Wallace. We feel that the Senate would be better off if they took our advice and consent.

    Mr. Somerville.

    Mr. SOMERVILLE. Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to present our statement on the International Maritime Organization. We commend the committee for its initiative in holding this oversight hearing on the vitally important activities of the IMO and we especially commend you, Mr. Chairman, for taking the initiative to learn about the operation of IMO first hand by participating with the U.S. delegation in May.
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    My name is Bob Somerville and I'm the president of ABS, the American Bureau of Shipping. ABS fully supports the IMO and Secretary-General William O'Neil. We also support full funding of the IMO by the member governments. ABS was founded in 1862 to promote the security of life and property at sea. In 1920, ABS was appointed by Congress as the agency to be recognized by the Federal Government for classification of government-owned ships. ABS's mission is to serve the public interest as well as the needs of our clients by promoting the security of life, property, and the natural environment, primarily through the development and verification of standards for the design, construction, and operational maintenance of marine-related facilities.

    International shipping was one of the first truly global businesses. Clear, effective, and enforceable international treaties and technical regulations for marine safety, navigation, and prevention of pollution from ships are essential to the free and efficient flow of world trade by sea, and the protection of the ocean environment. For 50 years, IMO has provided the forum for the development of these treaties and technical regulations by governments with the express purpose of striving for the highest practicable standards.

    ABS is involved in the work of IMO in a number of ways which are essential to pursuit of our mission. First, classification rules, addressing ship strength and essential engineering systems underpin the Load Line and SOLAS Conventions. The International Load Line convention of 1966 established the principle that ships built and maintained in conformity with these requirements of a classification society may be accepted as possessing adequate strength for the purpose of application of the Convention.

    The adoption of this principle led directly to the establishment in 1968 of the International Association of Classification Societies, known as IACS. IACS is a nongovernmental observer organization that IMO recognizes both as a standard-setting organization in its own right and as an expert technical adviser. ABS is a founding and leading member of IACS.
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    The SOLAS Convention also now explicitly reflects that compliance with the requirements of the Convention is contingent upon a ship being designed, constructed, and maintained in compliance with the requirements of the classification society, which is recognized by the administration, or with applicable national standards. This development goes hand in glove with the development of the Coast Guard's ABS-based alternative compliance program under which compliance with ABS classification requirements, the international conventions, and certain additional U.S. regulatory requirements are accepted as fulfilling U.S. regulatory requirements for internationally-trading U.S.-flag ships.

    Second, ABS also contributes actively to IMO's development work, particularly with respect to the SOLAS, load line, and MARPOL conventions and the ISM code by providing technical experts to participate with and support the U.S. delegation at IMO.

    Third, it is in our best interest to make this contribution since ABS and other recognized organizations are authorized by the United States and other governments around the world, which are signatory to the convention, to act on their behalf in certifying that ships of their flag comply with the convention requirements.

    And, finally, maritime education is another important part of IMO's work. The World Maritime University in Malmo, Sweden, was established under the auspices of IMO and educates over 200 students annually from around the world. Many of these students are destined to be the high-level managers and administrators in their country's flag administration. In commemoration of IMO's 50th anniversary, ABS established an annual fellowship at the World Maritime University in March of this year.
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    In closing, I thank the committee for the opportunity to present ABS's statement on the IMO and the vital role it plays in promoting safety at sea and protection of the marine environment. A progressive and effective IMO serves the interests of the United States and IMO both needs and deserves the full support of the United States. I urge the Congress to continue its support for the IMO and its secretary-general, William O'Neil. I also urge you to strongly support the Coast Guard in order that it can maintain the leadership role it plays at IMO and its excellence in representing the United States in that forum.

    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you very much, Mr. Somerville.

    We have another vote again. It looks like there are two votes. Mr. Kincaid, Mr. Turner, can you stay until we come back?

    Mr. TURNER. As you wish, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. GILCHREST. First of all, it's a 15-minute vote; the second vote is a 5-minute vote for in all likelihood we'll be gone for close to half an hour. We'll recess and can the other gentlemen stay for questions?

    Mr. COX. Yes, sir.

    Mr. GILCHREST. I guess I should ask the staff if they can stay. They say they can stay, so I guess we're all right.
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    Thank you again for your patience. The subcommittee will come to order again.

    And our next speaker will be Captain Kincaid. Welcome, sir.

    Captain KINCAID. Mr. Chairman, let me first thank you for the invitation to appear before the subcommittee today. It is truly an honor and a privilege for me to share with the members my views on our Nation's role in the affairs of the International Maritime Organization. It was also nice seeing you while you were attending the IMO Marine Safety Committee meeting in May.

    I submitted a written comment. At the pleasure of the chairman I would request that it be entered into the record. I'm the assistant director of the Calhoun MEBA Engineering School in Easton, Maryland. The school is a continuing education training facility for the deck and engineering officers of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association. The IMO is currently observing its 50th anniversary and for 25 of those 50 years, I've been an active participant of the maritime community. During my sailing career, there was never a day that went by, nor an onboard operation that took place, that was not in some fashion affected or influenced by an IMO initiative. The sea lanes, the ship transits, the rules of the road, and the life-saving equipment carried are only a few examples of the outreach of the IMO. The same stands true today as I'm involved in maritime training.

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    The IMO convention on the standards of training, certification, and watch keeping for seafarers or STCW, has a direct impact on every deep sea professional mariner. In the maritime field, the IMO is everywhere and for that reason alone the U.S. must retain strong influence and presence at the IMO. The U.S. is one of the leading trade nations of the world with hundreds of ships of all types, sizes, and nationalities calling at our ports.

    IMO provisions dealing with port state control allows the U.S. Coast Guard the ability to inspect and monitor these vessels. At the same time, the U.S. has thousands of miles of environmentally-sensitive coast line and coastal waters which, although protected under our own U.S. laws, are also impacted by IMO pollution standards. Cruise ships flying the flags of many nations set sail every day with thousands of American citizens on board. IMO standards govern the construction, operation, and conduct of these vessels. The IMO STCW convention requirements give some assurance that crews on these vessels do in fact meet a uniform minimum standard of competence and can conduct themselves properly in an emergency situation.

    The United States, through our Coast Guard, plays an influential and leadership role at the IMO. At the recent Maritime Safety Committee meeting in May, the U.S. was instrumental in guiding the decision by the IMO to call for a halt to nighttime solo watch keeping. I applaud the valiant effort by Admiral North and the U.S. delegation in bringing closure to this controversial issue which may have led to disastrous consequences if allowed to continue.

    The use of industry advisers is also a great asset to supplement the effectiveness of the U.S. at the IMO. At the same time industry advisers supply the time and resources to the U.S. at minimal costs and often at no cost to the government. The Coast Guard has, and continues to use, this advantage as a valuable resource. Safety of life at sea, the protection of property, and the preservation of the marine environment are paramount to all who have an interest in the sea. The IMO is committed to these goals. The U.S. has the responsibility to also target these ideals, not only for our U.S. ships upon the high seas, but also for all vessels visiting or transiting our ports and waterways. I urge the committee to fully support the Coast Guard's initiatives at the IMO and I offer any support that I, or my organization, can offer. Thank you again, Mr. Chairman, I've enjoyed the opportunity afforded me to appear here today.
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    Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Captain Kincaid. See you sometime in the future in either Easton or London.

    Captain KINCAID. I look forward to it, sir.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Mr. Turner.

    Mr. TURNER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I have a full statement, written statement, if I may enter into the record?

    Mr. GILCHREST. Without objection, so ordered.

    Mr. TURNER. I am Terry Turner, national director of political action and government relations for the Seafarers International Union of North America. Thank you for the opportunity to testify today regarding the activities of the International Maritime Organization, a body which offers representatives of the 156 nations an opportunity to meet, discuss, and develop a comprehensive body of international regulations dealing with maritime safety and the prevention of maritime pollution.

    Shipping is still the most international industry in the world, which means that it has to be regulated at an international level and as far as safety and pollution prevention are concerned, that, in our opinion, means the IMO. The SIU has been an active participant in a number of IMO activities over the years as a member of the U.S. delegation to IMO and will continue such involvement in the future. Our participation commenced in the 1970s when representatives of the IMO first attempted to introduce a global standard for training and certification of merchant mariners. The debate was intense and contentious but it was successful, as evidenced by the adoption of the International Conventions of Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers. It was a beginning, a long-awaited recognition that the human element, the men and women that crew merchant vessels, are an integral component in the realization of maritime safety. However, that recognition appeared to be short-lived as the organization maintained its focus and reacted to major maritime casualties and problems with engineering and mechanical fixes. Throughout these years the SIU remained actively involved in the organization as a delegate to the Subcommittee on Training and Watchkeeping, believing that we and the other involved labor organizations would eventually make a difference in this international forum.
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    In the early 1990s, there appeared to be a change in the IMO's philosophy as it became pro-active rather than reactive and shifted its focus from equipment and ship-design solutions to people, the human element. Currently, IMO, IMO emphasis underscores the fact that no single unit in the safety chain can act alone. But, instead, all must work in concert to achieve a common objective, a philosophy which the SIU wholeheartedly supports.

    The shift in recognition of the importance of the human element by the IMO is further demonstrated in the recent adoption of the assembly resolution A850. One of the principles on which the resolution is based calls for IMO committees and subcommittees, when developing regulations, to ''honor the seafarer by seeking and respecting the opinions of those that do the work at sea.'' In addition the resolution requires the groups ''to have in place a structural approach for the proper consideration of human element issues for use in the development of regulations and guidelines by all committees and subcommittees.''

    The SIU applauds the adoption of this resolution, recognizing the importance of the seafarer in the daily operation of a vessel and further commends the Coast Guard for including this principle—honor the seafarer—as an integral part of the agency's PTP program. The need to enhance safety and environmental protection by improving the shipboard human element is the basic objective of the revised STCW convention, which is the only treaty that establishes minimum individual performance standards for the world's seafarers. The revised convention was adopted at a diplomatic conference in June/July 1995. The SIU fully participated in the intense 2-year revision of the STCW as a member of the U.S. delegation which is led by the Coast Guard. We would like to acknowledge the leadership role undertaken by the Coast Guard in this effort and commend them on a job well done.
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    Generally, the revised convention, which came into force on February 1, 1997, considers developments which have occurred in shipping since 1978 and includes provisions for demonstrating seafarer competence through examinations and practical tests; familiarization training in basic survival skills for all persons employed on a seagoing vessel; a quality assurance system; medical fitness standards; a training record book; and rest periods for watch-keeping personnel so that the efficiency of watch-keeping personnel are not impaired by fatigue.

    One of the most important features of the STCW revision is that, for the first time, IMO has been given oversight authority for the implementation of standards of parties to this convention. The implications of noncompliance are clear as expressed by the IMO Secretary-General William O'Neil: ''The consequence of this will be that ships on which such seafarers are sailing may suffer costly delays in ports while inspectors verify that they are competent to safely man the ships and may, in turn, lead to unwillingness of foreign ships to employ such seafarers. Incidents of this kind will eventually reflect badly on countries concerned.''

    The SIU supports the revised convention and its implementation worldwide. In fact, the Seafarers' Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship, a joint labor-management training facility located in Piney Point, Maryland, is proceeding full steam ahead in implementing the convention as required by the Coast Guard. For example, the SIU has created a training record book, TRB, as required by the convention which is currently being used by our members. In fact, we're the first organization to have a TRB approved by the Coast Guard.

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    But we all know that the adoption of a convention does not always mean that it will be properly implemented. And, this is one of the serious drawbacks of the IMO, its general inability to enforce existing conventions. However, to its credit, the IMO is trying to deal with the problem and its recent efforts appear to be working. The responsibility for implementing IMO conventions rests with the flag state, the government of the country whose flag the ship flies. In response to incidents of lax enforcement and noncompliance of existing conventions, IMO has established the Subcommittee on Flag State Implementation, which is currently developing measures intended to help governments carry out their obligations. The IMO has also encouraged the development of the Port State Control Program. Most IMO conventions contain provisions which permit inspectors to board foreign-flag vessels calling at their ports to ensure that they carry the required documentation and meet the standards required by IMO regulations. If they do not, the ships may be detained until the deficiencies are corrected. The SIU strongly supports these measures. We believe that vessels which are structurally unsound or unfit and indiscriminately manned with unskilled, unqualified crewmen have no business plying the oceans of the world. The SIU believes that substantial progress can be made in reducing accidents and preventing marine pollution by concentrating closely on convention implementation and the human element. Certainly measures adopted and under development by the IMO are needed.

    The growth of the multinational crews, the steady decrease in the size of crews, the proliferation of flags of convenience, and the steady aging of the world's fleet will continue into the next millennium. Therefore, the SIU believes that on the domestic level, governments must make certain that vessels registered under their flags are in complete compliance with adopted international conventions. And on the international level, the SIU urges that the IMO continue to assist and encourage all parties to bring about safer shipping and provide a leadership role in the endless quest for improved safety of life at sea.
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    Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Mr. Turner. Mr. Turner, do you want to comment on this issue of flags of convenience? You made reference to it a couple of times.

    Mr. TURNER. Right.

    Mr. GILCHREST. I guess in the framework of complying with the standards set up by IMO are there nations that comply very well with the consensus of IMO standards and are their nations that have a bad record with compliance?

    Mr. TURNER. Yes, by and large, I think there are certain First World nations, if you will, Germany, Great Britain, Norway, and Japan, which comply stringently with the IMO conventions. The problem is with some of the Third World nations—most all unlicensed crew, are selected from these Third World nations. That's where the problem lies because they're not documented, they're not trained. Basically, they're just brought aboard at the lowest common wage with the lowest common standards and that is a major problem that we face in international trade.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Do you think this subcommittee, it's called the Flag State Compliance Subcommittee?

    Mr. TURNER. Yes.

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    Mr. GILCHREST. Will that—your general disagreement with IMO is that their inability to enforce existing conventions.

    Mr. TURNER. Yes.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Now, do you think the Flag State Compliance Subcommittee will come up with a way to do that? I guess Port State Control by each member of the IMO has the ability to decide who is in compliance and who isn't in compliance and so you would like to see that go a step further?

    Mr. TURNER. Well, we would like to see it enforced, essentially. Port state control is the teeth by which the IMO can control the situation and we think the IMO is on the right step in using port state control. If a noncompliant ship comes into our ports, we have the ability to basically seize the ship until the situation is corrected. Given the present structure of the IMO and the way it operates, that is the teeth by which we have to govern ourselves. I think that f we can adhere to that compliance, that's the best we can do.

    Mr. GILCHREST. So you wouldn't recommend anything else?

    Mr. TURNER. Well, I would recommend, I mean, given the fact that 80 percent of these accidents are human error, human-control accidents, the SIU would recommend, I think, further study into human error. There's a lot of information that we really don't have at our hand. It needs to be further studied and critically analyzed so we can make some decisions on how best to address this problem.

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    Mr. GILCHREST. Do you see the IMO pursuing that?

    Mr. TURNER. To some degree, yes. I think it's moving in the right direction.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Just one other quick comment. How's Piney Point doing down there in southern Maryland?

    Mr. TURNER. It's fantastic. Fantastic. We're putting in a new firefighting school, state of the art. As you know, it's a beautiful facility. We think it is going to be the pearl of the training facilities of the world.

    Mr. GILCHREST. It'll begin to rival the one just south of Easton?

    Mr. TURNER. Yes. Well, they handle the officers. We handle the unlicensed crew. I think we make a good team.

    Mr. GILCHREST. That's great. Mr. Cox, has the Chamber of Shipping identified any specific U.S. laws or regulations which your members believe would be more logically and efficiently addressed at the international level?

    Mr. COX. Mr. Chairman, there's two answers to this question. The general answer is that there's no real satisfactory answer so we probably are going to have to kick it up to Congress for resolution. And there's probably a more simplified version which is also going to be worked through Congress. But I think we've largely accomplished an equalization through the alternative compliance program. Now we have some places to go yet with that, but at least we're moving and I feel confident we're going to be able to address that.
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    But there is something that I think is going to have a larger impact on the U.S. and that's the actions of our various States in placing standards on vessels that the international trading vessels are going to have to meet. Let's say, a particular coastal State says we want to have additional training requirements for personnel on ships calling in our ports. Right now we're in a debate in the judicial side of our Nation at to whether or not that's permissible and so far it seems to be that it is going to be permissible. I think that's a negative with respect to the United States because we have to go to the international community at the IMO and try and arrive at international solutions. And when we go there as the Federal Government to arrive at those international solutions, it's certainly a valid criticism to say well now you can go home with this, but what assurance does the world have that when we call in particular ports in the United States that this, indeed, will be the solution. That's truly a difficult issue because we're talking about State's rights here and we're talking about the Federal preemption of those rights and I think that's an issue that simply doesn't have a solid easy answer.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Are there other countries that have this problem or is that a unique problem to the United States?

    Mr. COX. In my knowledge, yes. It's unique to us. Most other nations—and, let's face it, we have a representative government that I wouldn't trade for any. Some other nations have a parliamentary system where the chief executive does go to the IMO and he goes home to a body of the legislature that's of his same party and so it's rather simple for him to get those international agreements because he's talking to his own party. I don't know of any state setup in any other nation that's similar to our State setup.
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    Mr. GILCHREST. Is this something that would be either a process of education to those states as to—do you think all the coastal legislatures understand, or have even heard of the IMO, or have some sense of the international standards and how close they are to U.S. standards and with that information that would have a positive impact. Or, is this situation where you might have local maritime associations, or unions, that want a certain thing?

    Mr. COX. I think that you've hit on the actual solution. I was at a public forum recently, by recently I mean the last 6 months or a year, and I was dealing with a particular State official that had this responsibility to the people in his State. I mean, we have to recognize that the State government has a responsibility to the people of that State. And if the people of that State want something, it's pretty hard put for us as people coming from without that State to say don't do that. But I told that official, I think you have the right to do what you're doing, but I'm not sure it's a good idea for you to do that. And is it truly going to be a—is it going to be more safe to require something different than what the international trading ship meets in the rest of the world and in the rest of the ports in the United States? And I truly don't think it is.

    If the mariner on board the ship has to shift his actions, or her actions, predicated on which particular State they're in, then I'm not sure you get the replication of actions that is a hallmark of a safe operation. And I think we have to have an educative process. I think that perhaps the Congress of the United States is a good place to have that education take place and then we as the industry will certainly try to educate the various State authorities that have this type of a control.

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    I think it's actually—the only viable answer is education.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Just one other follow-up question. We've all heard a great deal of discussion today, Mr. Cox, about the U.S. delegation, the IMO, and the nature of that relationship, which is pretty positive and many of us here have observed that very positive relationship. Can the U.S. sustain that positive relationship, which I think equates to leadership in the international community, with the shrinking tonnage of U.S. ships on the international high seas. Can we sustain that leadership without reversing our loss of tonnage?

    Mr. COX. I think we can sustain our leadership because of our existence as the major trading nation in the world and there's no shipowner out there anywhere who is going to build a ship without knowing that he is going to call into the United States. The United States, therefore, is still going to have the leadership and set the pattern for the world's standards. I think the second part of that, though, is aren't we best served by having as large an international-going fleet as we possibly can? And my answer to that would be undeniably, yes. And the method to get there though is not to expect our competing partners at the IMO to hand to us the opportunity to trade internationally merely because we want to. On the U.S. delegation at the IMO I very much experience commercial pressures and to be realistic, there are certainly some people at the IMO who will come there with the expectation that a particular rule, a particular regulation, a particular way of configuring a requirement will be of commercial benefit to the vessels under their flag. I saw it with the double hull requirement that the IMO came out with. When they talked about phasing out tankers, the years that they used in order to phase out, they knew that the United States fleet had an older profile than their fleets and it's not surprising that the number that came out as an IMO requirement sort of acted against the United States fleet.
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    Now what they didn't understand was we were going to have to take a reservation on that particular aspect and we did and I think we appropriately did because the rationale for that was not safety, it was not environmental protection, it was, I'm going to poke the United States with a sharp stick. I think the answer to our international fleet is something that we control here in this country and there are several reasons why a particular owner will build a ship. One of them is certainly the return on investment. One of the major components of a government action that has an impact on that is the taxing structure and we changed our tax structure for American owners whether they are operating American and foreign flag or just foreign flag ships. It doesn't matter, they get the tax treatment as if all income were made in the United States. That's not an unfortunate aspect itself except for the fact that all of the rest of the world has a taxing structure which does not tax the income of their ship owners and so our ship owners are put at a disadvantage.

    Mr. Chairman, I know I'm sitting between two union representatives here, and so my next comment is to say some people suggest that our union costs are the driving factor. I will say that I'll be glad to sit down at the bargaining table with any American union and discuss the process because I think they are excellent at representing their people and we can certainly come to some resolutions that can make our U.S. flag viable, but I really think it's the tax structure where we have to come to this, to the Congress, and discuss that.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you very much, Mr. Cox. That's fodder for another hearing.

    Mr. COX. Yes, sir.
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    Mr. GILCHREST. I'll yield at this point to Mr. Johnson.

    Mr. JOHNSON OF WISCONSIN. I was wondering if Chairman Archer may be coming in, so we could have him——

    Mr. GILCHREST. He'll be here in about 10 minutes.

    Mr. JOHNSON OF WISCONSIN. He'll be here in about 10 minutes, so he can give you the answer to that because I guess that's a little out of our jurisdiction.

    I was just looking at the picture of the Coast Guard ship over there and we had the admiral here talking earlier. And I was thinking about, because we've built some great Coast Guard ships in my district, they've downsized in terms of men and manpower, more efficient ships, and here we have the U.S. Coast Guard, I think with some of the newest, most modern, best operated, best trained seaman in the world operating on those ships looking after and trying to protect us as Americans in our ports and our citizenry, looking at some ships that we have said and acknowledged here today that are maybe not that well operated, sailing into our ports, taking advantage of the fact that we do have a well-regulated Coast Guard to help them, advise them, guide them, and, yet, we keep losing more and more share of not only American jobs but American shipping tonnage. And we do all we can to protect the ports and the ships.

    Are there ways in which any of you may see that we may have a turnaround so that, whether you sit down and talk with union officials, and maybe talk with folks in our tax structure, but there are other answers too. If we are going to provide protection for our ports and if we are going to provide protection for our American citizens and we're looking for a strong U.S. shipping and sailing industry. What are ways in which this Congress and this committee can do to strengthen that so that we don't continue to see reduced tonnage on U.S. ships? Because, as you pointed out, people want to come to this country. We are the preeminent ports for the world. Shouldn't we have some say in terms of what these ships are coming in?
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    You know, I go down to our little, teeny port in Green Bay, not a big one, but I see what friends have said, you know what's that rust bucket over there. I don't recognize that flag from Liberia or Panamanian registry and people ask about that. And I guess I don't have any answers in terms of why they're there. They're guided carefully in and out by the pilots in this country and, boy, the Coast Guard had better be there if there's an accident and we know there are good sailors being trained.

    I'm sorry I haven't been to Piney Point and I haven't been to London either for the IMO. There's a few trips I've yet to go, but if I stay around here a little longer maybe I'll go, but what——

    Mr. GILCHREST. There's one in December, the first week—I mean in November, the first week in November. You and I can go on the——

    Mr. JOHNSON OF WISCONSIN. To London or Piney Point?

    Mr. GILCHREST. To London.

    Mr. JOHNSON OF WISCONSIN. We'll find out in November if I'm eligible to go with you. But I wondered if you had any answers, because obviously we've pointed out a problem here. We don't have the enforcement power. Are there any other things that the U.S. might do, other than adjust our tax laws, that might help secure more of a station for this country in terms of U.S. manpower and U.S. shipping?

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    I know it's a long question, I've come around to. Hopefully, you understand what I'm at.

    Mr. COX. You were looking at me——

    Mr. JOHNSON OF WISCONSIN. Well, I'm looking around, shifting around, I know.

    Mr. COX. Well, I'd love to hand this one off to someone else, but I don't think there's anyone else here to necessarily hand it off to, but I think that the—as I pointed out that—and I understand the tax, the tax issue is a major one and it's not in this committee's jurisdiction, but at the same time it is a critical element and I think of that in terms of talking to our seafarers. They understand the competitive nature of international shipping, perhaps, better than I do. So, I think we can handle that.

    I think with respect to the foreign ships coming in, I think that we, as a nation, have to take proactive action—a little bit of a redundancy there. We have to be proactive to protect our waterways and our ports. And if there's a suggestion that an international ship coming in or a ship with a particular foreign flag is below standards, then we're going to have to take our own action to make sure that that doesn't happen again. And I think that that means an inspection, but maybe more than inspections of the past. The inspections of the past have been limited to the documentation, the proper documentation on a ship, and we can go to another country and say, is the proper document being given to the ship after a proper inspection? The answer may be yes, but that doesn't mean that the ship calling at our port is in safe condition.
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    It means that in the past, at some point, it has been but maybe not now. And that's why the SOLAS convention, and I must confess, I forget whether it's chapter 9 or chapter 11, but closely coincident with the international safe management code, port states were given the authority to go aboard a ship or a vessel calling at their ports and check for operational status.

    And what that means is you can go beyond the certificate. Previously a certificate was prima facie evidence that there was nothing wrong with the ship; unless you could see something obvious you couldn't go beyond it. I think now we have the power to go aboard a ship and say we are going to look beyond the certificate, we're going to check out what that second mate really knows. We actually, in my opinion, have the authority now to call a second mate up to the bridge of a ship and say let's turn on the ARPA and let's see you operate it. Because this certificate says you can do it, and now we have the authority to make sure you can do it, and we're going to assure ourselves that you can. I think that will be very protective of our waterways and a step beyond where we are now.

    Mr. JOHNSON OF WISCONSIN. Mr. Wallace? Admiral, you've been with the Coast Guard a long time. You've sailed and seen the shipping lanes and wondered if you had any reaction at all to this.

    Mr. WALLACE. To your question, sir?


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    Mr. WALLACE. It's a profound question and I don't have a profound answer for it.

    Mr. JOHNSON OF WISCONSIN. I just asked you because of your long history.

    Mr. WALLACE. It's the sort of thing that policy people and shipping people have been struggling with as the U.S. flag has disappeared from the sea, and nobody has come up with a good answer. There are lots of incremental answers that we could probably suggest, but I don't know that there's any answer that's adequate.

    Mr. JOHNSON OF WISCONSIN. Well, it might be incremental answers. I don't know, Mr. Turner, maybe anybody else; Captain Kincaid? Captain Kincaid.

    Captain KINCAID. I'd just like to add a brief comment. Maybe I don't have the complete answer, but I think the rules, regulations, and guidelines are in place. Now I think it's important that we follow through with enforcement and I think the key to port state control will be adequate enforcement to level the playing field once and for all, level the field behind the standards that a foreign ship is operated by, compared to an American ship—the same as the standards of foreign seafarer is trained to, compared to what the American seafarer is trained to.

    The Coast Guard has a dilemma right now in their budget constraints that they literally don't have, in my opinion, enough people to adequately do the proper port state control operation. Recently there's been a movement to privatize much of the Coast Guard's duties. Again, I've got a concern, the same way with a lot of my fellow seafarers have a concern, that this may not, in fact, be the best answer in the long run. I think the Coast Guard has to stay more involved, has to enforce these guidelines. And again, the key is enforcement; level the playing field and we can compete.
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    Mr. JOHNSON OF WISCONSIN. You'd like to see teeth in those guidelines.

    Captain KINCAID. I think the teeth are there. Again, it's the Coast Guard having the ability to actually walk aboard and do their job which they are committed to do, but they need bodies to physically walk aboard the ships.

     Mr. TURNER. Mr. Johnson, to answer your question with a little bit of perspective here. Years ago, when this question that you propose was debated in Congress and within the industry, there were several proposals if you will to try to fix the problem—cargo reservations proposals which would reserve a certain amount of commercial commerce for U.S. flag ships. That proposal was put before Congress, oh, a decade ago or so and never saw the light of day. All kinds of problems with that proposal. I'll be the first to say that, there is a free trade problem plus problems with GATT and treaty problems. So it is not a realistic fix to the problem. I think Captain Kincaid pretty well hit the nail on the head. I think this union, our union, seafarers, figured out here 10 years ago it's going to be training and raising the standards—that's how we're going to compete in the world market. We're not going to compete on wages; we're not going to compete on money; but we're going to provide the best qualified seafarers that can carry cargo from point A to point B without accidents. That's how we market ourselves and that's what we produce. Anything to raise the standards internationally, as we've been talking about here, with teeth, will do more to increase U.S. flag jobs and jobs for seafarers and captains and engineers than anything else you can do, at this point.

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    Mr. JOHNSON OF WISCONSIN. Mr. Somerville, you wanted to react?

    Mr. SOMERVILLE. I'd like to just comment on the teeth element here. I think with the port state control initiatives that are going on by the U.S. coast Guard that we are already seeing some real improvements. The Coast Guard has a targeting scheme and that—there are many factors that go into that, but now they are starting to list what we call substandard ships and substandard flags and substandard classification societies. That's something that was never done before and if owners are not careful, if they get their—have deficiencies, they can wind up on a list and that's not the right thing to do.

    The charterers may not charter them from the flag list; that's another problem because then they have problems with their flag; and then with their classification societies. If they wind up on the list, they may not be able to get insurance for these ships.

    So I think the Coast Guard has the teeth now. I would say that I agree that they probably need more resources on this port state control than what they have now. Thank you.

    Mr. JOHNSON OF WISCONSIN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, that's all the question I have. I was going to ask that my full statement and that of my colleague, Mr. Clement, who couldn't make it, be included in the record for today.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Without objection, so ordered.

    A couple of very quick questions and we can all leave before the traffic hits; it might have hit already.
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    Captain Kincaid, in your view what is the state of maritime education in the United States versus, let's say, overseas?

    Captain KINCAID We've often thought in the United States that we've set the standards as far as maritime education. In my personal observations, in my attendance at the IMO meetings, and I usually try to visit various maritime training institutions in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe when I am traveling aboard, I find it very—for the most part, though, I think we do take the lead in the world. There are some northern European countries that in some aspects may be slightly ahead in certain areas, but, again, from my attendance at the meetings, I think a lot of my previous fears concerning the fact we were playing a catch-up game have gone away since I've been involved in looking at other schools. We're doing a pretty good job here at home. Again, I think the rest of the world has a catch-up game to play.

    Mr. GILCHREST. With us?

    Captain KINCAID. With us.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Do you think the interest of the seafarers' unions are adequately represented at the IMO?

    Captain KINCAID. The Coast Guard, through not only an outreach of the IMO but through their Federal advisory committees, through various maritime initiatives, have always included seafarers organizations. And I think they realize it is to their best interest and if they continue the level they are offering at now, I think will be adequately represented, yes.
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     Mr. GILCHREST. One last question: Do any of the graduates of your schools ever go on to be employed by foreign flag vessels?

    Captain KINCAID. In the circumstance with my organization, we run a continuing education program for our union members. In that sense, no; our members mainly stay on U.S. flag carriers that are contracted to the MEBA union.

    Mr. GILCHREST. I see. Thank you. Mr. Wallace.

    Mr. WALLACE. Yes, sir, I have no comments on the question about seafarers. I just wanted to add a little bit to the answer in respect of your question regarding the authority of the United States, if you will, at IMO. And this, in a way, dovetails with Mr. Johnson's question. This concerns the coastal States of our country exercising authority over foreign flag ships, and that is authority in the form of rules that differ from those agreed internationally and, in fact, negotiated by our Federal Government. This can be a real problem to U.S. delegations as they deal internationally because other delegates can say, if your individual States can impose higher standards than you're negotiating, why are we talking to you?

    Last week there was a development when the Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit handed down a decision in the Intertanko versus Washington State case. And the Court of Appeals did indeed hold preempted two design and equipment standards that appeared in the Washington regulatory scheme but it held not preempted all the operational requirements that Washington imposes, and some of those reach beyond the borders of the State.

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    So, I invite your attention to that decision; I can provide it for the record, if it's of any use, but this is a harbinger of more State activity in this field, rather than the opposite. The 9th Circuit includes the State of California and it would surprise me and my colleagues if we didn't see action from California reflecting the decision that was made by the Courtof Appeals.

    [The information follows:]

    [Insert here.]

    Mr. WALLACE. The other aspect of strength of the U.S. when negotiating is the Federal Government's noncompliance from time to time with treaties that have been negotiated. Noncompliance isn't a good word, nonacceptance is better, and we've already talked today about double hulls being an example of that. There are a number of others. My point is that our delegates should not be expected to go to IMO and negotiate in good faith in areas where the United States as a Federal Government is not going to go along with the result. And, in this connection, I can only say that the interest of this subcommittee, and I hope it's sustained, is a very, very positive move in the right direction to assist in solving that problem.

    Thank you, sir.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Mr. Wallace. And I do think it's important to maintain an open line of informed communication between ourselves and our delegation that serves us so well at the IMO.

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    Speaking of double hulls, we'll close on a relatively positive note. Mr. Somerville, I guess I'm just going to ask your opinion on IMO's position, their international oil spill protocols, which is performance-based designs, to the U.S. position right now. Could you, you know, comment on is this stalemate? The U.S. position, I suppose, is prevailing because we're the biggest importer of goods and most of the ships comes here; is it a good position, from your perspective, to be in? I know there's a myriad of ramifications to changing that.

    Mr. SOMERVILLE. Mr. Chairman, you've put me in a very delicate position. You have to realize that ABS represents some 90 governments around the world and we're accepted——

    Mr. GILCHREST. Let's just say, Mr. Somerville, we are in a college classroom and we want to know the purest academic response that you could muster.

    Mr. SOMERVILLE. The purest academic response would be to be pure. And the only way I can do that is as I'm walking down a beach I would want to have zero spillage from a tanker. So, from that point of view, I would have to support what the United States has done. From the other point, from the other 89 governments, we have looked at the design, we've looked at the IMO design, and, from a technical, from a purely technical aspect, those designs are satisfactory, based on the probablistic requirements that they have. But if you allow zero tolerance, the only way you can go is a double hull.

    Mr. GILCHREST. So based on the model that IMO uses, these alternative designs are acceptable. But based on the model of zero outflow——

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    Mr. SOMERVILLE. They would not be acceptable.

    Mr. GILCHREST. Is there some middle road here where double hulls would absolutely be the best? When I say middle road, certain places on the planet where double hulls would absolutely be the best and other places on the planet where maybe a combination or some alternative design might be more suitable. I'm making reference to certain areas of the planet where you might have a catastrophic oil spill where the double hulls are not going to protect you where another design might lessen the outflow.

    Mr. SOMERVILLE. I don't think so. Again, you heard reference earlier to the 80 percent rule that 80 percent of the casualties that happen today are human error.

    Mr. GILCHREST. I see.

    Mr. SOMERVILLE. And human error—actually, I think it's higher; I think it's closer to 90 percent.

    Mr. GILCHREST. But if you injected a geographic location with the potential for human error, that doesn't change the scenario?

    Mr. SOMERVILLE. No. No, it doesn't.

    Mr. GILCHREST. I see. Mr. Cox.

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    Mr. COX. Thank you, I'm not encumbered by representing 90 different governments, so I think I can give an answer and I'll base my answer——

    Mr. GILCHREST. I think Mr. Somerville's answer was pretty pure as far as an academic perspective was concerned.

    Mr. COX. Yes, it was. Yes, I think he gets an ''A'' for that.

    Mr. SOMERVILLE. That was with your help, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. COX. Okay. It must be some teaching history up here at the podium. But, Mr. Chairman, I think that if I were standing on the beach and the probability was that there was going to be an incident out there of low energy, a double hull is going to protect you against that. But if you are a little bit further out and it's going to be a high-energy issue, a double hull is not going to protect you against a spill. And, in fact, in that scenario you might have another design that somebody could come up with. It's simply a matter of looking at the geography of this Nation and the preponderance of what types of incidents take place and are we going to protect against that predominant incident with the expectation that there can be a catastrophic incident which does have oil ending up on our shores.

    And I think that the unfortunate thing is that we've educated the public to think that a double hull is going to protect them against that high-energy collision out there, or high-energy collision which results in oil on the beach. And I think right now if that should happen, and hopefully it won't, we're going to have to answer to the education that we've provided to the American public which seemed to say now you are going to be free of oil spills. That's simply not the case. We're going to prevent the majority of them that may have taken place; we are not going to prevent them in total.
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    Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you very much, Mr. Cox.

    Gentlemen, we applaud your patience as well as your character. And the information you've provided us with today has been extremely helpful and we look forward to seeing you again. Thank you all very much. The hearing is adjourned.

    [Whereupon at 4:30 p.m., the subcommittee adjourned subject to the call of the Chair.]

    [Insert here.]