Coast Guard, BSEE sign agreement regulating mobile offshore drilling units

WASHINGTON — U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Joseph Servidio, assistant commandant for Prevention Policy and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director James Watson signed an agreement for regulating mobile offshore drilling units (MODU) on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).

“The Coast Guard and BSEE share the goal of keeping our oceans clean and offshore workers safe,” said Servidio.  “This agreement solidifies the commitment of each of our agencies to work across agency boundaries to promote safety and most effectively use government resources.”

Under the current regulatory system, both the Coast Guard and BSEE have shared responsibilities for the regulation of safety management systems on the OCS. This MOA ensures a comprehensive joint approach in the regulation of MODUs by clearly outlining the responsibilities of each agency for inspection and oversight of the systems and sub-systems associated with mobile offshore drilling units engaged in offshore drilling operations. The Coast Guard and BSEE will use this agreement to better align policies and procedures while also collaborating on future regulatory projects.

“MODUs are unique and dynamic vessels that are an important part of  the offshore oil and gas industry’s exploration efforts but as we learned from the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, these highly complex drilling units with their state-of-the-art equipment and ultradeepwater drilling capabilities must be closely monitored” said Watson. “This agreement between BSEE and the Coast Guard serves as a significant milestone in achieving coordinated oversight of MODUs while continuing our joint effort to improve offshore safety.”

The agreement is implemented in accordance with an overarching Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between BSEE and the Coast Guard signed in November 2012. The MOU outlined the efforts of the two agencies to closely coordinate responsibilities for regulation and enforcement on the OCS and for the establishment of future focused agreements such as the one signed today. It was the first MOU between the two agencies since the creation of BSEE following the reorganization of the Minerals Management Service in 2011.

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