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Old 27-10-2008, 08:55   #1
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Unhappy Gas tankers

I don't know whether this is right or BS, but....

This weekend I was coming into the harbor and there was what I later was told was an empty natural gas tanker coming out. The tanker was being escorted by the harbor police and the coast gaurd (I didn't really know this till I was pretty much to to the tanker). I was as far away as I could be while still being in the channel (was low tide) and was probably around 150-200 yards away. After I had passed by a State police boat came racing up to me (it had been waaay behind the tanker) and this guy with a machine gun started yelling at me that I was suppose to be 1000 yards away from the tanker (1000-yard would have put me on land on some runway at Logan airport). Of course none of the other escorts informed me of any of this, including the lead escort that I think would have been clearing the way, even though they passed me within probably 50 yards. Since I didn't know of any requirement for being 1000-yards I just said so, which the yeller replied that I should have known and they sped away. Later on the lanuch the guys on the boat that was behind be were on the lanuch with me me and they said they were wondering what was going on. They got just as close or closer to the tanker and no-one said anything to them at all. So is there really a 1000-yard requirement for a tanker? The next day there was an oil tanker anchored in almost the same spot without any escort etc.
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Old 27-10-2008, 09:16   #2
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Don,

The USCG security zones for Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) tankers are comparatively large--500 yards to each side, two miles ahead, and one mile behind. According to what I've read, violators could be fined up to $25K and put in jail for up to 10 years. They're concerned about the possibility of a terrorist attack on one of these ships. MIT professor, James Fay (who's anti-LNG, by the way), calculated that an attack on an LNG tanker would create a fire within a 2/3 mile radius of the ship, and that heat radiation from that fire could ignite buildings up to a mile away.
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Old 27-10-2008, 09:37   #3
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OK I stand informed. But, how is this workable? This would have required getting every boat out of Boston harbor and given the channels etc would mean everyone would have to turn around and head out into open water which would take at least an hour depending on tide and wind.
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Old 27-10-2008, 10:29   #4
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If the CG were going to move an LNG Carrier through a main channel I would expect a Securite announcement on Ch 16 regarding transit restrictions (which might or might not refer to an LNG Carrier). Normally this announcement would be repeated several times or more to ensure that everyone within range would be aware. (In Tampa we have heard such announcements when they are doing nothing more than moving a Cutter under the Skyway Bridge.) Did you have your VHF on?

As to distance from the ship, the 500 yards rule is likely based on either the range capability of an RPG7 (although that is reportedly 500 Meters--546 yards) and/or a stand-off distance sufficient to allow an escort to divert an attacker before it reached the ship, although that's questionable, given the attack on the USS Cole.

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Old 27-10-2008, 11:27   #5
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The question that has not been asked... Don, was your vhf on? I can think of numerous situations where this would be a big issue. San Pablo Bay Ca is one of them (AKA All Day Bay). 17 miles of narrow channel with lots of shipping traffic, and no possible way to stay 500 yards from that traffic without grounding. No way to stay ahead of the commercial boats, and due to the conditions there, rarely practical to wait to enter between ships. Anyone know where in the Col Regs this has been changed?
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Old 27-10-2008, 11:51   #6
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more then you wanted to know

I believe The security zones are location specific
Safety and Security Zone; Liquefied Natural Gas Carrier Transits and Anchorage Operations, Boston, Marine Inspection Zone and Captain of the Port Zone
[Federal Register: October 11, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 198)][Rules and Regulations][Page 63261-63264]From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov][DOCID:fr11oc02-8]-----------------------------------------------------------------------DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATIONCoast Guard33 CFR Part 165[CGD01-02-023]RIN 2115-AA97 Safety and Security Zone; Liquefied Natural Gas Carrier Transits and Anchorage Operations, Boston, Marine Inspection Zone and Captain of the Port ZoneAGENCY: Coast Guard, DOT.ACTION: Final rule.-----------------------------------------------------------------------SUMMARY: The Coast Guard is establishing safety and security zones for liquefied natural gas carrier (LNGC) vessels and a liquefied natural gas facility within the Boston Captain of the Port Zone. Entry into or movement within these zones is prohibited without prior authorization from the Captain of the Port (COTP), Boston, MA. These zones are needed to safeguard the LNGC vessels and Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) facility, the public and the surrounding area from sabotage or other subversive acts, accidents, or other events of a similar nature, and are needed to protect persons, vessels and others in the maritime community from the safety hazards associated with the transit and limited maneuverability of an LNGC vessel.DATES: This rule is effective November 12, 2002.ADDRESSES: Comments and material received from the public, as well as documents indicated in this preamble as being available in the docket, are part of docket [CGD01-02-023]and are available for inspection or copying at Marine Safety Office Boston, 455 Commercial Street, Boston, MA 02109 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Chief Daniel Dugery, Marine Safety Office Boston, Waterways Security and Response Division, at (617) 223-3000.SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:Regulatory Information On July 26, 2002, we published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) entitled Safety and Security Zone; Liquefied Natural Gas Carrier (LNGC) Transits and Anchorage Operations, Boston, Marine Inspection Zone and Captain of the Port Zone in Federal Register (67 FR 48834). We received 1 letter commenting on the proposed rule. No public hearing was requested, and none was held.Background and Purpose In light of the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, DC on September 11, 2001, safety and security zones are being established to safeguard the LNGC vessels and LNG facilities, the public, and the surrounding area from sabotage or other subversive acts, accidents, or other events of a similar nature, and to protect persons, vessels and others in the maritime community from the hazards associated with the transit and limited maneuverability of a LNGC vessel. These safety and security zones prohibit entry into or movement within the specified areas. This rule establishes safety and security zones around LNGC vessels while the vessels are anchored in the waters of Broad Sound or moored at the Distrigas facility in Everett, MA. This rule also creates a moving safety zone around any LNGC vessel within navigable waters of the United States in the COTP Boston zone, as defined in 33 CFR 3.05-10. Under the Ports and Waterways Safety Act, navigable waters of the United States include all waters of the territorial sea of the United States as described in Presidential Proclamation No. 5928 of December 27, 1988. This Presidential Proclamation declared that the territorial sea of the United States extends to 12 nautical miles from the baseline of the United States determined in accordance with international law. The Captain of the Port anticipates some impact on vessel traffic due to this regulation. However, the safety and security zones are deemed necessary for the protection of life and property within the COTP Boston zone.Discussion of Comments and Changes The only comment received on this rulemaking commended the Coast Guard on protecting the LNGCs entering the port. In light of this comment and the lack of additional comments, no changes have been made to this rule.Discussion of RuleSafety and Security Zones This rule establishes three safety and security zones with identical boundaries, within the COTP Boston zone. The first safety and security zones[[Page 63262]]are all waters of Broad sound within a 500 yard radius of any anchored LNGC vessel located within an area bounded by a line starting at position 42[deg]25[min]N, 070[deg]58[min]W; then running southeast to position 42[deg]22[min]N, 070[deg]56[min]W; then running east to position 42[deg]22[min]N, 070[deg]50[min]W; then running north to position 42[deg]25[min]N, 070[deg]50[min]W; then running west back to the starting point. The second safety and security zones are all waters of the Mystic River within a 400-yard radius of any LNGC vessel moored at the Distrigas LNG facility in Everett, MA. Finally, except as enumerated above, safety and security zones will be two miles ahead and one mile astern, and 500 yards on each side of any LNGC vessel underway within the COTP Boston zone. All coordinates are NAD 83. This rulemaking replaces the established safety zone listed at 33 CFR 165.110. That safety zone does not provide the current necessary level of protection. Section 165.110 recognizes the safety concerns with transits of LNGC vessels, but is inadequate to protect LNGC vessels from possible terrorist attack, sabotage or other subversive acts. National security and intelligence officials warn that future terrorist attacks against civilian targets may be anticipated. Due to the flammable nature of LNGC vessels and impact the ignition of this cargo could have on the port of Boston and surrounding areas, increased protection of these vessels and the Distrigas facility is necessary. This rulemaking provides increased protection for LNGC vessels moored at the Distrigas facility and establishes protection for the vessels in Broad Sound. It also provides continuous protection for LNGC vessels 2 miles ahead, 1 mile astern, and 500-yards on each side of an LNGC vessel anytime a vessel is underway within the COTP Boston zone, rather than limiting this protection to the limits of the Boston Main Ship Channel while a vessel is transiting Boston Harbor and Boston North Channel (as the previous zone in Sec. 165.110). The increased protection provided in this rule also recognizes the safety concerns associated with an unloaded LNGC vessel. 33 CFR 165.110 only establishes safety zones around loaded LNG tank vessels or while these vessels are transferring their cargo. This rule establishes safety and security zones around any LNGC vessel, loaded or unloaded, while anchored in Broad Sound, at the Distrigas facility pier, and any time a LNGC vessel is located in the Boston Marine Inspection Zone and Captain of the Port Zone, including the internal waters and out to 12 nautical miles from the baseline of the United States. These zones provide necessary protection to unloaded vessels, which continue to pose a safety and security risk if unprotected. This rulemaking also recognizes the continued need for safety zones around LNGC vessels, which are necessary to protect persons, facilities, vessels and others in the maritime community, from the hazards associated with the transit and limited maneuverability of a LNGC vessel laden with LNG or residual cargo. No person or vessel will be able to enter or remain in these safety and security zones at any time without the permission of the Captain of the Port. Each person or vessel in a safety and security zone will be required to obey any direction or order of the Captain of the Port. The Captain of the Port will be able to take possession and control of any vessel in a security zone and remove any person, vessel, article or thing from a security zone. No person will be able to board, take or place any article or thing on board any vessel or waterfront facility in a security zone without permission of the Captain of the Port. These regulations are issued under authority contained in 50 U.S.C. 191, 33 U.S.C. 1225, 1226, and 1231. Any violation of any safety or security zone described herein, is punishable by, among others, civil penalties (not to exceed $25,000 per violation, where each day of a continuing violation is a separate violation), criminal penalties (imprisonment for not more than 10 years and a fine of not more than $250,000), in rem liability against the offending vessel, and license sanctions.
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Old 27-10-2008, 12:12   #7
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No I wasn't monitoring the VHF. Since the only boat out of around 20+ in the channel that pulled up was a ferry I would guess it was the only boat monitoring the VHF (and where it pulled up I couldn't have even gone). Just think of the money that could have been made if they had feed all of us the $25,000. Even though it appears the Sate Police were wrong in telling me 1000-yards, the 500-yard radius is still outside the channel. I understand the threat and am not saying I was right in being within (I already admitted I didn't know). If the lead escort had signaled me I probably had time to change course becuase I wasn't fully in the harbor channel at the time (wouldn't have been anywhere I could have gone that would have kept me away 500-yards that wouldn't have taken 2-3 hours round sail time). Wonder what the zone is for an oil tanker as the next day one was in the general anchorage in the harbor (no way to get in or out without being within 500 yards). Besides the fee threat that wasn't yelled at me, it was unsetting to have a boat rush up on me with a man holding a machine gun yelling.
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Old 27-10-2008, 12:34   #8
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Keep in mind not all water police have extensive training in public relations. Sounds like this guy could use a little training. Such as it is, seem this is specific to Boston Harbor. Not being familiar with that area, I a not sure of the options, but I can tell you I make it a practice to monitor the vhf before I cut loose the lines, as well as when I am in any area with shipping traffic. Not saying you are wrong. Just saying, this has worked for me. I would imagine there was a securite' call that went out at some point.
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Old 27-10-2008, 13:13   #9
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The state police probably had been hailing you for awhile, that is why you were singled out and yelled at. Being approached by a convoy of boats I would have turned the radio on, but I thought the radio was a requirement anyway.
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Old 27-10-2008, 13:48   #10
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Here in Baltimore Harbor....it pays to monitor 13/16.
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Old 27-10-2008, 13:54   #11
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Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
As to distance from the ship, the 500 yards rule is likely based on either the range capability of an RPG7 (although that is reportedly 500 Meters--546 yards) and/or a stand-off distance sufficient to allow an escort to divert an attacker before it reached the ship, although that's questionable, given the attack on the USS Cole.

s/v HyLyte
The attack on the Cole was much closer anyway, and they approached and were not warned off by Naval personnel when they stuck.

RPG-7s have a 500 meter range against stationary targets and really only around 300 meters against moving objects (but for all intents and purposes a giant tanker isn't really moving and it's the broad side of a big barn).
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Old 27-10-2008, 14:58   #12
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I spent quite a few years running ferries/small tugs in and around Boston as well as living aboard my sailboat. The movement of the LNG tankers and the size of the security zone is repeatedly broadcast well before(hours) and during any movement of the ships(vhf 13/16) so that people can plan accordingly.There was always a coast guard escort vessel that monitored 13/16. We would call on the vhf and identify our boat and location as well as our destination.And they would tell us what they wanted us to do. Sometimes stay put or maybe change speed or direction whatever. We could always hear the radio traffic as they tried to contact a vessel that was not answering(mostly pleasure craft but not always). You would then see a fast(and armed)law enforcement boat speeding over to have a face to face "chat".Happens to the best of us lesson learned.

I would encourage everyone to please monitor their radios as so many things can be learned if you do.Some very funny (but that's another post)

But sometimes you can't win I had received permission one time to pass in front of the LNG and was almost rammed by a state police boat as he came(very fast) alongside screaming at the top of his lungs about my stupidity and telling me he was trying to call me on the radio. I told him that I had received permission to to what i was doing just a moment ago. He gave me a blank stare then looked at his radio, reached up turned it on and sped away(with a red face)
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Old 27-10-2008, 16:10   #13
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h

But sometimes you can't win I had received permission one time to pass in front of the LNG and was almost rammed by a state police boat as he came(very fast) alongside screaming at the top of his lungs about my stupidity and telling me he was trying to call me on the radio. I told him that I had received permission to to what i was doing just a moment ago. He gave me a blank stare then looked at his radio, reached up turned it on and sped away(with a red face)
Hah...great visual image on that one. Sounds like something right out of of the Dukes of Hazzard.
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Old 27-10-2008, 16:16   #14
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The question that has not been asked... Don, was your vhf on? I can think of numerous situations where this would be a big issue. San Pablo Bay Ca is one of them (AKA All Day Bay). 17 miles of narrow channel with lots of shipping traffic, and no possible way to stay 500 yards from that traffic without grounding. No way to stay ahead of the commercial boats, and due to the conditions there, rarely practical to wait to enter between ships. Anyone know where in the Col Regs this has been changed?
The only special laws I know of in that area are that if you draw less than 16 feet you cannot cross or be in that channel. I go through that area quite frequently and have never seen any special escorts except for ships carrying bombs to and from the Concord Naval Weapons Station...of course that station is been closed for a few years now.
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Old 27-10-2008, 16:32   #15
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The Cole was not expecting hostile activity in Port. The sailors on guard probably weren't authorized or ready to fire on an approaching boat without permission from higher authority. The boat that rammed them approached the Cole then suddenly tuned to ram them at full speed. There wasn't time to get permission. They may not even have had ammunition in their guns. That was the case with the Beirut Marine Barracks bombing, IIRC.

CNG ships are the closest thing to a floating nuclear device without being radioactive. If one of those ever torched off, there would be a lot of broken things laying around. The security around them is very tight because of the danger.

Surprized they didn't escort you out of the area rather than let you sail by in the restricted zone.

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