Outer Continental Shelf National Center of Expertise (OCSNCOE)

Accordion Menu

Redirecting...

FOF Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Please find  answers to commonly asked questions related to Floating OCS Facilities below.

Answers in this FAQ section are not a substitute for applicable legal requirements, nor are they rules (however, some questions may have an answer that comes directly from existing regulation or policy). The answers are not intended to require or impose legally binding requirements on any party. Answers provided represent the OCSNCOE’s current thinking, after researching existing regulations and policy, as well as consultation with Coast Guard Subject Matter Experts. These answers are intended to assist industry, mariners, the public, the Coast Guard and other regulators in applying statutory and regulatory requirements. When available, the FAQ will direct the reader to the official documents, such as the Federal Register, the Code of Federal Regulations or NVICs and policies. The answers provided are subject to change with regulatory or policy updates.

Regulatory Requirements

Collapse All Expand All

Portions of 33 CFR Subchapter N, Parts 140 thru 147;

46 CFR Subchapter I-A, Parts 107 (Subpart C, Plan Approval, §107.301 thru §107.317 only) and 108 (Design and Equipment);
46 CFR Subchapter F;
46 CFR Subchapter J; and
46 CFR Subchapter S (Parts relating to 'general' stability requirements and MODUs)

Specific applicability statements within each Subchapter must be reviewed to ensure the regulations listed will apply.

Subchapter I-A: 33 CFR 143.120(c) > 46 CFR 107 Subpart C; 33 CFR 143.120(b) > 46 CFR 108
Subchapter F: 33 CFR 143.120(b) > 46 CFR Subchapter F
Subchapter J: 33 CFR 143.120(b) > 46 CFR Subchapter J
Subchapter S: 33 CFR 143.120(b) > 46 CFR 108.301 > 46 CFR Subchapter S

Yes. While the required contents of the MOM are detailed under 46 CFR 109.121, the manual is required under 46 CFR 107.305(ii). The 'path' to the MOM is 33 CFR 143.120(a) > 46 CFR 107.305(ii). §107.305(ii) refers out to §109.121 as a way not to print the same requirements in two Parts of the CFR.

The following comment summary from 47 FR 9373 (04Mar1982) attests to the intent of how 46 CFR 107 Subpart C applies to FOFs. While the context of the comments are related to stability, The Coast Guard explains that all plans applicable to the facility are listed in Subpart C. This includes the MOM with the path that is explained above.

4(b) "Two comments suggested that stability plans be submitted for Coast Guard approval, in addition to the arrangement and construction plans called for in §143.120(a). Because it is the intention of the Coast Guard that all plans applicable to the facility that are listed in Subpart C of Part 107 be submitted and because Subpart C already lists stability plans, it is not necessary to refer to stability plans in this paragraph. Paragraph (a) has been revised to make it clear that all plans listed in Subpart C that relate to the facility to be constructed are to be submitted for Coast Guard approval."

Short answer: Yes, ECA applies, however no certificate is needed (further discussion follows).

 

Why the ECA applies: Offshore platforms within the North American or U.S. Caribbean Sea ECAs must comply with MARPOL Annex VI but they are not required to have certificates because they do not engage "in voyages to waters under the sovereignty or jurisdiction of other Parties".

 

33 USC 1902(5) provides additional clarity on what ships(1) must comply with MARPOL Annex VI when in the waters of the USA, and specifically includes the ECAs.

 

While FOFs may not be flagged, neither MARPOL nor 33 USC limits the applicability to a vessel flying a specific flag.

 

Article 5(4) of MARPOL 73 states: "With respect to the ship of non-Parties to the Convention, Parties shall apply the requirements of the present Convention as may be necessary to ensure that no more favorable treatment is given to such ships." Similarly, 33 USC 1902(5)(D) states: "to any other ship, to the extent that, and in the same manner as, such ship may be boarded by the Secretary to implement or enforce any other law of the United States".

 

(1) 33 USC 1901 defines ships as: (12) ''ship'' means a vessel of any type whatsoever, including hydrofoils, air-cushion vehicles, submersibles, floating craft whether self propelled or not, and fixed or floating platforms.

 

How compliance is achieved: CG-543 Policy Letter 09-01 was written before the U.S. ECA was adopted and CVC Policy Ltr 12-04 recognized ECA, but did not directly address the OCS. With that said, an inspector should consider a certificate of inspection as proof of compliance until such time that the policy is updated or more specific guidance is provided. There is a checklist entitled "U.S. inspected ships that do not engage in voyages to ports or offshore terminals", in the back of Policy Letter 09-01. This checklist can be referenced for general guidance, but does not include the provisions of Reg 3.3.1 of Annex VI exempting emissions from sea bed mineral activities. CG-543 Policy Letter 09-01 paragraph 3.c also states: "U.S. inspected ships that do not engage in voyages to ports or offshore terminals under the jurisdiction of other Parties to Annex VI need not hold a valid IAPP Certificate and will not be issued an Annex VI endorsement on its COI. As Annex VI requirements under this guidance are incorporated into the certification process, issuance of a COI is evidence of Annex VI compliance".

 

Ultimately the operator is responsible for complying with ECA requirements.

 All of 33 CFR Part 153, and portions of Parts 151 and 155 are applicable, while 33 CFR Parts 154, 156, 157, 158 and 159 are NOT applicable to FOFs.

The following definitions and linked charts will further explain how the answers were reached. The linked charts for Parts 151 and 155 denote the applicability of sections within those parts.

33 CFR 151 – Vessels Carrying Oil, Noxious Liquid Substances, Garbage, Municipal or Commercial Waste, and Ballast Water (view the 33 CFR 151 Applicability Chart for FOFs by clicking here):

  • §151.03 (applicability) states that this subpart applies to each ship that must comply with MARPOL Annex I, II or V.
  • §151.05 defines a ship as “a vessel of any type whatsoever, operating in the marine environment. This includes hydrofoils, aircushion vehicles, submersibles, floating craft whether self-propelled or not, and fixed or floating drilling rigs and other platforms.”
  • §151.05 defines fixed or floating drilling rigs and other platforms as “a fixed or floating structure located at sea which is engaged in the exploration, exploitation, or associated offshore processing of sea-bed mineral resources.”
  • §151.05 further defines oceangoing ship as a ship that:
       (1) Is operated under the authority of the United States and engages in international voyages;
       (2) Is operated under the authority of the United States and is certificated for ocean service;
       (3) Is operated under the authority of the United States and is certificated for coastwise service beyond three miles from land;
       (4) Is operated under the authority of the United States and operates at any time seaward of the outermost boundary of the territorial sea of the United States as defined in §2.22 of this chapter; or
       (5) Is operated under the authority of a country other than the United States.

FOFs would fall under (4) of the definition for an oceangoing ship, in addition to the definitions of ship and fixed or floating drilling rigs and other platforms.


33 CFR 155 – Oil or Hazardous Material Pollution Prevention Regulations for Vessels (view the 33 CFR 155 Applicability Chart for FOFs by clicking here):

  • §155.100 (applicability) states that "subject to the exceptions provided for in paragraph (b) and (c) of this section, this part applies to each ship that:
       (1) is operated under the authority of the United States, wherever located; or
       (2) is operated under the authority of a country other than the United States while in the navigable waters of the United States, or while at a port or terminal under the jurisdiction of the United States.”
  • §155.110 discloses “except as specifically stated in a section, the definitions in part 151 of this chapter, except for the word “oil”, and in part 154 of this chapter, apply to this part.”

Also see the definitions previously discussed, and found under §151.05, for ship and fixed or floating drilling rigs and other platforms that apply to Part 155.

Manning/Licensing

Collapse All Expand All

Although not legally binding, CG Marine Safety Manual (MSM) Vol II/G.4.L.2.a (pg G4-20) refers lifeboatmen for FOFs back to 46/109.323. See the discussion for the same FAQ under MODUs (U.S. requirements near the bottom) for an explanation on the required number of lifeboatment, compared to the number and capacity of the lifeboats. MSM III/B.2.O.3 references back to MSM II/G.4.L for FOF manning.

 

The guidance for FOFs and intent of requirements related to MODUs (used to shape FOF guidance) are aimed at providing lifeboatmen for the boats needed to accommodate evacuation of the persons onboard (100% capacity), not providing lifeboatmen coverage for the redundant boats.