Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Requirements
What is considered the Outer Continental Shelf?
In accordance with 33 CFR 140.10, the Outer Continental Shelf is defined as:
"The Outer Continental Shelf or OCS means all submerged lands lying seaward and outside of the area of lands beneath navigable waters as defined in section 2(a) of the Submerged Lands Act (43 U.S.C. 1301 (a)) and of which the subsoil and seabed appertain to the United States and are subject to its jurisdiction and control."
What are the new Outer Continental Regulations?
On January 13, 2011 the U.S. Coast Guard issued a final rule (the "Final Rule") 33 CFR 146 to establish Notice of Arrival (NOA) requirements for "units" [i.e. U.S. and foreign flag vessels, floating facilities, and mobile offshore drilling units (MODUs)] engaging in OCS activities in order to enhance U.S. maritime domain safety and security awareness.
What are OCS activities?
OCS activity is defined as “any offshore activity associated with exploration for, or development or production of, the minerals of the Outer Continental Shelf.” 33 CFR 146
Do I need to submit an NOA if I'm just transiting on or through the OCS?
No, an NOA does not need to be submitted if a vessel is transiting on or through the OCS.
Does 33 CFR 146 apply to vessels engaged in lightering?
No, 33 CFR 146 only applies to vessels engaging in OCS activities. Lightering, bunkering and mooring are not considered OCS activities.
Who does 33 CFR 146 apply to?
There are separate requirements for: (1) U.S. flag floating facilities (33 CFR 146.103), (2) foreign flag floating facilities (33 CFR 146.104), (3) U.S. and foreign flag MODUs (33 CFR 146.215), and (4) U.S. and foreign flag vessels (33 CFR 146.405). Please refer to the regulations or contact the NVMC to speak with a Maritime Representative.
What is the definition of a MODU?
In accordance with 33 CFR 140.10 the definition is as follows:
"Mobile offshore drilling unit or MODU means a vessel, other than a public vessel of the United States, capable of engaging in drilling operations for exploration or exploitation of subsea resources."
What are examples of OCS vessels that are required to report an NOA?
Vessels subject to the NOA reporting requirements include but are not limited to standby vessels, attending vessels, offshore supply vessels, pipe laying vessels, derrick ships, dive support vessels, oceanographic research vessels, towing vessels, and accommodation vessels.
How do I report?
The notice must be submitted to the National Vessel Movement Center (NVMC) by electronic Notice of Arrival and Departure (eNOAD) format using methods specified in the NVMC's Web site http://www.nvmc.uscg.gov/
How should vessels engaged in towing in support of OCS activities report?
It is the responsibility of the owner/operator of the unit being towed to designate the “lead” towing vessel. The lead towing vessel is responsible for submitting the NOA for all floating facility/MODU/vessels under their control that are required to report. All floating facility/MODU/vessels under control of the lead towing vessel will be reported in the cargo detail section of the NOA.
When do I need to submit an initial NOA?
• If a vessel engaged in OCS activities voyage time is more than 96 hours, the NOA should be submitted at least 96 hours before the vessel's intended arrival on the OCS or from a different OCS block area.
• If a vessel engaged in OCS activities voyage time is less than 96 hours and more than 24 hours, the NOA must be submitted before departure.
• If a vessel engaged in OCS activities voyage time is less than 24 hours, the NOA must be submitted at least 24 hours in advance of the vessel's arrival on the OCS or from a different OCS block area.
When do I need to submit an update to my NOA?
Owners and operators of vessels engaged in OCS activities are required to revise and re-submit the NOA whenever the information in the most recently submitted NOA becomes inaccurate, as follows:
• If the vessel will not arrive in 24 hours or more of the time indicated in an NOA, an updated NOA must be submitted as soon as practicable, but at least 24 hours before the vessel arrives at the OCS location.
• If the new arrival time is less than 24 hours from the initially reported arrival time, or the remaining voyage time is less than 24 hours, then an updated NOA must be submitted as soon as practicable, but at least 12 hours before the vessel arrives at the OCS location.
• Updated NOA submissions are not required for arrival time changes of less than six hours, changes in the location of the vessel at the time of reporting or changes in personnel positions.
Do I need to submit an NOA if I'm moving between OCS block #'s within the same map area? For example, if I move from Green Canyon block #x to Green Canyon block #y, do I need to submit an NOA?
No, as long as the vessel is staying within the same mapping area.
Are we required to complete the NOA for returning from the OCS to a US Port?
If the exemption requirement is met under 33 CFR 160.203 (a) (1):
"Passenger and supply vessels when employed in the exploration for or in the removal of oil, gas, or mineral resources on the continental shelf", then the vessel will not be required to submit an NOA upon returning from the OCS. Please note, the NOA-OCS requirements are governed by 33 CFR 146.
Can multiple OCS map areas be reported on the same eNOAD?
Yes, both the NVMC eNOAD website and the NVMC OCS NOA Workbook 1.1 support multiple arrivals.
Are we required to list the Certain Dangerous Cargo on the NOAD form?
Vessels are required to submit a general description of the cargo unless it is a CDC in which case the name, UN Number (if applicable) and amount is required.
If I am a vessel traveling (departing) from a U.S. port to a foreign flagged vessel, foreign flagged floating facility or foreign flagged MODU on the OCS for the purpose of conducting OCS activity, does this qualify as a U.S. to Foreign notification?
No, in the Coast Guard regulations when it refers to US to Foreign, OCS to Foreign, or Foreign to OCS it is referring to traveling to or from a foreign port or place (i.e. not in U.S. waters); therefore the vessel should submit an arrival with a voyage type of US to OCS.
What is the definition of a Floating Facility?
In accordance with 33 CFR 140.10, the definition is as follows:
"Floating OCS facility means a buoyant OCS facility securely and substantially moored so that it cannot be moved without a special effort. This term includes tension leg platforms and permanently moored semi-submersibles or shipshape hulls but does not include mobile offshore drilling units and other vessels."