Port in a Storm II

Hey Joe, in regard to your  "Port in a Storm" post this morning, do you know if there are any international treaties or conventions that the U.S. has signed that deal with places of safety or refuge for "distressed vessels"? I mean, beyond the U.S. Coast Guard's adoption of the IMO resolutions.

Have any bills been introduced in Congress that would establish "places of refuge" along the U.S. coast?

I can understand ports' concern about environmental liabilities — clean-up costs and liabilities from a leaking ship could be enormous.

As far as my limited knowledge here goes, it seems most laws or treaties deal with the safety of people in distress at sea, not the vessels themselves, unless we're talking about salvage conventions.

Notably, the Coast Guard — then the Revenue Cutter Service — established 10 "Houses of Refuge" for shipwrecked mariners along the Florida coast in 1876. Only one of those survives today — as a museum. It was decommissioned by the USCG in 1945.

Want to comment? Send an e-mail to William B. Cassidy at wcassidy@joc.com or Joseph Bonney at jbonney@joc.com.

For the full story: Log In, Register for Free or Subscribe