2018-12910. Anchorage Ground; Sabine Pass, TX  

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    AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of inquiry; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    We are requesting your comments on a request we received from Sabine Pass LNG, L.P. for the disestablishment of the Sabine Pass Channel Anchorage Ground in Sabine, TX. The request indicates that deep draft ships do not use the anchorage and that disestablishment of the anchorage would not pose a concern for ship traffic. We seek your comments on whether we should consider a proposed rulemaking disestablishing the Sabine Pass Anchorage Ground based on this request or if other actions, such as reducing the size of the anchorage, should be considered.

    DATES:

    Your comments and related material must reach the Coast Guard on or before July 16, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2018-0388 using the Federal portal at http://www.regulations.gov. See the “Public Participation and Request for Comments” portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for further instructions on submitting comments.

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    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions about this notice of inquiry, call or email Mr. Scott K. Whalen, Marine Safety Unit Port Arthur, U.S. Coast Guard; telephone 409-719-5086, email: Scott.K.Whalen@uscg.mil.

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    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Table of Abbreviations

    CFR Code of Federal Regulations

    DHS Department of Homeland Security

    U.S.C. United States Code

    II. Background and Purpose

    In 1967, the Secretary of the Army transferred responsibility for certain functions, power, and duties to the Secretary of Transportation. Among the responsibilities transferred to the Secretary of Transportation was establishment and administration of water vessel anchorages. On December 12, 1967, the regulations for the Sabine Pass Anchorage Ground were republished in 33 CFR part 110, without change, under this new authority (32 FR 17726). The regulations for the Sabine Pass Channel Anchorage Ground in Sabine, TX are contained in 33 CFR 110.196.

    The legal basis and authorities for this notice of inquiry are found in 33 U.S.C. 471, 1221 through 1236; 33 CFR 1.05-1, and Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1, which collectively authorize the Coast Guard to propose, establish, and define regulatory anchorages. As reflected in title 33 CFR 109.05, the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard has delegated the authority to establish anchorage grounds to U.S. Coast Guard District Commanders. The Coast Guard is now requesting comments on considering a proposed rulemaking based on Sabine Pass LNG L.P.'s request for disestablishing the Sabine Pass Anchorage Ground, or if other actions, such as reducing the size of the anchorage, should also be considered.

    As discussed earlier, administration of the Sabine Pass Anchorage Ground was originally transferred to the Coast Guard in 1967. Under 33 CFR 110.196, the anchorage ground is “for the temporary use of vessels of all types, but especially for naval and merchant vessels awaiting weather and tidal conditions favorable to the resumption of their voyages.” In 2006, Cheniere Energy began construction of a liquefied natural gas terminal on the eastern waterfront of the Sabine Pass Channel, immediately north and adjacent to the Sabine Pass Channel Anchorage Ground. On October 3, 2006, the Coast Guard published a notice of proposed rulemaking proposing to reduce the area of the Sabine Pass Anchorage Ground by 800 feet on the north end of the anchorage in order to reduce the risk of collision between anchored vessels and berthing and unberthing vessels at Cheniere's terminal, as well as to reduce the risk of grounding by providing a larger maneuvering area for vessels calling Cheniere's terminal (71 FR 58330). Both comments we received during that rulemaking process supported the proposed reduction on the basis of enhancing navigation safety. One commenter noted that “the anchorage was infrequently used and would have minimal impact on the economy.” On January 5, 2007, the Coast Guard published the final rule reducing the overall size of the anchorage consistent with the proposal (72 FR 463).

    On November 8, 2017, we received a request from Sabine Pass LNG L.P. to disestablish the Sabine Pass Anchorage Ground in its entirety. The request states that the anchorage is rarely used and its disestablishment would not significantly impact vessels that use the area. A copy of this request is available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES.

    A review of Vessel Traffic Service transit reports shows that deep draft ships have not made use of this anchorage during the last decade. It is estimated that the anchorage area is utilized an average of 27 times each year by shallow draft vessels (for example, tows, dredges, and work boats) for shortening tow or for use as a staging area for local work projects such as dredging.

    III. Information Requested

    We seek your comments on whether we should consider a proposed rulemaking to disestablish or otherwise modify the Sabine Pass Anchorage Ground. In particular, the Coast Guard requests your input to determine if there remains a need for a regulated anchorage in this area, and if so, to what extent and for what purpose; if a reduction in size of the anchorage would meet current and anticipated industry needs; or if other options should be considered. Recent U.S. Army Corps of Engineers survey data of the anchorage is available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES.

    IV. Public Participation and Request for Comments

    We encourage you to submit comments through the Federal portal at http://www.regulations.gov. If your material cannot be submitted using http://www.regulations.gov, contact the person in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document for alternate instructions. In your submission, please include the docket number for this notice of inquiry and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation.

    We accept anonymous comments. All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov and will include any personal information you have provided. For more about privacy and the docket, visit http://www.regulations.gov/​privacyNotice.

    Documents mentioned in this notice of inquiry as being available in the docket, and all public comments, will be in our online docket at http://www.regulations.gov and can be viewed by following that website's instructions.

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    Dated: June 12, 2018.

    Paul F. Thomas,

    Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District.

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    [FR Doc. 2018-12910 Filed 6-14-18; 8:45 am]

    BILLING CODE 9110-04-P

Document Information

Published:
06/15/2018
Department:
Homeland Security Department
Agency:
Coast Guard
EntryType:
Proposed Rule
Action:
Notice of inquiry; request for comments.
Document Number:
2018-12910
Dates:
Your comments and related material must reach the Coast Guard on or before July 16, 2018.
Pages:
27932-27933 (2 pages)
Docket Numbers:
Docket Number USCG-2018-0388
SectionNoes:
PDF File:
2018-12910.pdf
CFR: (1)
33 CFR 110