The U.S. Coast Guard First District is wrapping up an extensive study on the approaches to Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts Port Access Routes, but there’s still time for the public to contribute written comments for the Coast Guard to consider before the February 2, 2023 deadline.
Before establishing or adjusting traffic separation schemes (TSS) and shipping safety fairways (fairways), by law the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) must conduct a Port Access Route Study (PARS), which involves an evaluation of potential traffic density and the need for safe access routes for vessels.
Through the study process, the USCG coordinates with federal, state, tribal, and foreign state agencies (where appropriate) and consider the views of maritime community representatives, environmental groups, and other stakeholders. The primary purpose of this coordination is to reconcile the need for safe access routes with other reasonable waterway uses such as anchorages, construction, operation of renewable energy facilities, marine sanctuary operations, commercial and recreational activities, and other uses, while recognizing the paramount right of navigation within the designated areas.
To view the Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts port access draft study issued December 21, 2022, click here (155 MB file downloads to your computer).
The Coast Guard is now seeking additional public comments on this latest draft, which also will guide any recommendations for future corresponding rulemakings or appropriate international agreements.
To date, 30 comments have been received throughout the past year over the course of six public meetings by maritime community representatives, federal and state governmental agencies, environmental groups, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders.
To access instructions to submit comments, click here.
Specifically, the Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts port access study evaluates the adequacy and efficacy of current vessel routing measures to determine the need and applicability for modifications, or the establishment of new routing measures for the study areas, as well as other international and domestic transit areas in the First Coast Guard District area of responsibility.
In addition to determining the need for adjusting or establishing new traffic separation schemes and shipping safety fairways, other measures including two-way routes, recommended routes, deep-water routes, precautionary areas, and areas to be avoided were also considered.
Several ports within the study area are considered economically significant and/or are critical to the nation’s military and national defense operations and serve as international entry and departure transit areas that are integral to the safe, efficient, and unimpeded flow of commerce to and from major international shipping lanes.
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From its Louisiana headquarters and Cape Canaveral offices, Guice Offshore operates from coast to coast in North America and select international locales, Guice Offshore operates a 15-vessel fleet of U.S. Flag offshore vessels that includes Jones Act-qualified mini supply, multi-purpose and platform vessels in the 150-ft, 170-ft and 205-ft class with DP1 and DP2 certifications.
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