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of the way of approaching vessels because of the nature of their work were extended to ships replenishing at sea and ships engaged in the launching or recovery of aircraft; a new provision was added concerning lights and shapes for minesweeping vessels; rule 17, the sailing rule, was rewritten so as to cover two instead of three situations, as follows: (a) when each vessel has the wind on a different side, the one which has the wind on the port side shall keep out of the way of the other, and (b) when both vessels have the wind on the same side, the one which is to windward shall keep out of the way of the one which is to leeward; rule 22 was strengthened to require that a vessel which is directed by these rules to keep out of the way of another vessel shall, so far as possible, take positive early action to comply with this obligation; a new rule was added requiring that in a narrow channel a power-driven vessel of less than 65 feet in length shall not hamper the safe passage of a vessel which can navigate only inside such channel; a requirement that a tug and tow carry a prescribed shape in daylight was adopted; specific authorization was provided for the permissive use of navigation lights in daylight in restricted visibility; a definition of “engaged in fishing” was added to include fishing with nets, lines, or trawls but not fishing with trolling lines; and the permissive use of colored masthead identity lights by sailing vessels was authorized.
A rule-by-rule analysis of those rules in which the 1960 Conference made changes and a parallel-column print of the present rules and the revised international rules are attached.
It would be appreciated if you would lay the proposed bill before the House of Representatives. A similar proposed bill has been transmitted to the President of the Senate. Sincerely yours,
GENERAL COUNSEL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE,
Washington, D.C., May 8, 1963. Hon. HERBERT C. BONNER, Chairman, Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This letter is in reply to your request for the views of this Department with respect to H.R. 6012, a bill to authorize the President to proclaim regulations for preventing collisions at sea.
The purpose of the bill is to authorize the President to proclaim the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1960, on or after a date established by the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization.
The proposed regulations were formulated at the Fourth International Conference on Safety of Life at Sea, 1960, which met under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization at London, England, from May 17 to June 17, 1960. This Conference was held with the objective of drafting a convention which would reflect the technical progress in navigation and shipbuilding since 1948, particularly as regards radar and nuclear vessels, and to consider needed changes to existing rules. The Conference decided not to annex to the convention the revised International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea. Instead, the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO) was invited to forward the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1960, to the governments which have accepted the present regulations. The Conference also invited IMCO, when substantial unanimity has been reached as to the acceptance of the revised regulations, to fix a date on and after which they shall be applied by the governments which have agreed to accept them. IMCO was requested to give not less than 1 year's notice of this date to the governments of all states. (Final act of the International Conference on Safety of Life at Sea, 1960: S. Doc. Executive K, 87th Cong., 1st sess., pp. 9–11.)
The bill would authorize the President to accept, on behalf of the United States, the revised international regulations and to proclaim an effective date, so far as the United States is concerned, consistent with that established by the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization. Existing regulations for preventing collisions involving watercraft upon the high seas, and in all waters connected therewith would be repealed upon the coming into effect of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1960, when proclaimed by the President. However, the bill would not repeal or otherwise change existing navigation rules applicable to harbors, rivers, inland waters of the United States, the Great Lakes of North America, or the Red River of the North and the rivers emptying into the Gulf of Mexico.
Section 2 of the bill would reenact the provisions of section 2 of the act of October 11, 1951, 65 Stat. 406, in order to retain the authority of the Secretary of the Navy and the Secretary of the Treasury to exempt vessels of the Navy and Coast Guard, respectively, from application of regulations pertaining to the number, position, range of visibility, or arc of visibility of navigational lights, whenever the special construction of such vessels makes it impossible to comply with such regulations.
Section 3 of the bill provides for the repeal of the act of October 11, 1951, on the date the regulations autohrized to be proclaimed by the present bill become effective. In effect this would repeal the existing International Rules for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1960, as of that date. References in other laws to the act of October 11, 1951, would be deemed to be references to the new legislation.
Section 4 of the bill sets forth verbatim the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1960 (annex B to the International Convention of Safety of Life at Sea, 1960).
In summary, the bill proposes approval by the Congress of International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea which were considered and endorsed by the U.S. Delegation to the Fourth International Conference on Safety of Life at Sea, 1960.
The Department believes that the proposed revisions would benefit transportation at sea and accordingly recommend enactment of H.R. 6012.
The Bureau of the Budget advised there would be on objection to the submission of this report from the standpoint of the administration's program. Sincerely,
ROBERT E. GILES.
DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY,
Washington, D.C., June 10, 1963.
MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: Your request for comment on H.R. 6012, a bill to authorize the President to proclaim regulations for preventing collisions at sea, has been assigned to this Department by the Secretary of Defense for the preparation of a report thereon expessing the views of the Department of Defense.
The purpose of H.R. 6012 is to authorize the President to proclaim the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1960, on or after a date established by the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization.
The 1960 regulations do not constitute a radical departure from existing regulations. Rather, they restate existing regulations in modernized, strengthened, and simplified form. Perhaps the most significant change is the annex to the rules. Even this is not a radical change, since it merely describes what may be called a code of conduct for the proper use of radar under conditions of restricted visibility. Prudent mariners have been following these pactices for years. The annex will, however, serve a useful purpose by describing clearly and concisely what these practices are and giving them recognition in the rules.
The Department of the Navy, on behalf of the Department of Defense, strongly supports the enactment of H.R. 6012.
This report has been coordinated within the Department of Defense in accordance with procedures prescribed by the Secretary of Defense.
The Bureau of the Budget advises that, from the standpoint of the administration's program, there is no objection to the presentation of this report on H.R. 6012 for the consideration of the committee. For the Secretary of the Navy. Sincerely yours,
C. R. KEAR, Jr., Captain, U.8. Navy, Deputy Chief.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, D.C., May 8, 1964. Hon. HERBERT C. BONNER, Chairman, Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, House of Representatives.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you for your letter of May 3, 1963, requesting the comments of the Department of State on H.R. 6012, a bill to authorize the President to proclaim regulations for preventing collisions at sea.
The Department of State wishes to express its support of the bill. The revision of the regulations for prevention of collisions was formulated by the Conference on Safety of Life at Sea, 1960. Representatives of the United States participated in the work of revision and the decision of the conference to submit the revised rules for consideration by the governments which have accepted the present rules. The Conference also invited the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization, when substantial unanimity has been reached as to acceptance of the revised rules, to fix a date on and after which they shall be applied by the governments which have accepted them. Enactment of H.R. 6012 will permit submission of notice of acceptance by the United States. The procedure of formulation and submission to the Congress for authorization of the President to proclaim the regulations is the same as used for the adoption of the currently effective regulations which were prepared at the Conference on Safety of Life at Sea, 1948.
The Bureau of the Budget advises that from the standpoint of the administration's program there is no objection to the submission of this report. Sincerely yours,
FREDERICK G. DUTTON, Assistant Secretary. Mr. CLARK. We have here today from the Coast Guard, Captain McComb.
Captain, it is nice to have you with us.
STATEMENT OF CAPT. ARCHIBALD H. MCCOMB, JR., CHIEF, INTER
NATIONAL MARITIME SAFETY COORDINATING STAFF, OFFICE OF MERCHANT MARINE SAFETY, U.S. COAST GUARD; ACCOMPANIED BY CAPT. EDWARD G. MAGENNIS, DIRECTOR, ADMIRALTY DIVISION, OFFICE OF THE JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL, DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY; AND COMDR. WILLIAM F. REA III, ACTING CHIEF, MERCHANT VESSEL INSPECTION DIVISION, OFFICE OF MERCHANT MARINE SAFETY, U.S. COAST GUARD
Captain McComb. Mr. Chairman I am Capt. Archibald H. McComb, Chief of the International Maritime Safety Coordinating Staff, Office of Merchant Marine Safety, U.S. Coast Guard.
Before I continue, I would like to introduce, on my right, Capt. Edward G. Magennis, Director of the Admiralty Division, Office of the Judge Advocate General, Department of the Navy. Captain Magennis had an active part in the drafting of the positions to take in the 1960 Conference, was a member of our Delegation, and the spokesman for the U.S. group at the Conference which dealt with the collision rules.
On my left, Comdr. William F. Rea III, the Acting Chief, Merchant Vessel Inspection Division, Oflice of Merchant Marine Safety, U.S. Coast Guard.
I appreciate this opportunity to be here and to speak to you about H.R. 6012. This bill would authorize the President to proclaim the international regulations for preventing collisions at sea which were approved by the International Conference on Safety of Life at Sea, 1960. For brevity, I will refer to these henceforth as the 1960 international rules. If adopted, these rules will replace the 1948 international rules.
The primary objective of the international rules is the prevention of collisions. To enable them to be effective, it is essential that they be:
(1) Uniform throughout the world;
(3) Strictly adhered to. The 1960 International Conference on Safety of Life at Sea was the third such conference which drafted effective international rules in which the United States participated. The first of these, the 1889 Washington conference, produced international rules of the road that remained in effect for about 60 years. The 1948 international rules were adopted by the previous London conference. They were incorporated into statutory law by this country by the act of October 11, 1951, and have been in effect internationally since January 1954. The 1948 international rules have been accepted by 54 nations, including all of the major maritime countries.
H.R. 6012 contains the 1960 international rules which were approved by the nations attending the Conference. In the past, it has been the custom to enact the international rules as statutory law. Each time these rules have been enacted without change in wording; since it is essential that they be uniform throughout the world, if they are to accomplish their objective—the prevention of collisions.
The 1960 international rules made no changes which would impair navigational safety standards. We believe that these rules will be an improvement over those now in force. The 1960 international rules, which are set forth in H.R. 6012, are substantially in accordance with the U.S. proposals or in line with the U.S. positions on proposals made by other nations. There were no changes made which could be considered as detrimental to the interests of the United States.
I would like to briefly review the more significant changes which would be made by these rules:
1. A new rule 16(c) was adopted to provide for safer navigation by a vessel which detects another vessel outside of visual or audible range. Though not mentioning radar specifically, this rule—when considered together with the preliminary paragraphs to part C of the rules and the annex to the rules—would encourage a good practice presently followed by many mariners.
2. New rules were adopted whereby vessels under 65 feet in length and sailing craft would not be permitted to hamper the safe passage of larger vessels in narrow channels. These are a recognition of prudent seamanship and should encourage small boats to keep to the side of channels and out of the way of larger vessels that cannot maneuver easily.
3. The new rules would permit a white light to be displayed in synchronization with whistle signals. In the case of steam vessels, the steam from the whistle can often be seen to indicate which vessel has signalled when more than one vessel is in view. A modern motor vessel generally uses an air whistle. In this case, the visual indication is missing. The whistle light should resolve doubts of mariners in crowded harbors when used at night by steam vessels and at any time by motor vessels.
4. The 1960 Conference adopted a separate annex setting forth recommendations on the use of radar information as an aid to avoiding collisions at sea during restricted visibility. Most nations, including the United States, have already disseminated this information to their mariners.
The 1960 international rules also contain numerous other changes which update the rules and should lead to a better understanding by mariners and greater safety in the navigation of vessels. Many of them are described in the Secretary of the Treasury's letter transmitting this proposed legislation to the Congress.
To date, 15 nations have agreed to accept the 1960 international rules, and many other nations have taken preliminary steps to obtain the necessary legislation in this regard. When substantial unanimity has been reached, the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO) will announce an effective date for the 1960 international rules. At that time, the President would be authorized under this bill to proclaim that these rules have been accepted by the United States and announce their effective date.
The Coast Guard strongly recommends that favorable action be taken with regard to H.R. 6012.
Mr. Chairman, that concludes my formal statement. I would like to add that we have detected several typographical errors in the bill and we will furnish the committee a copy of the bill showing the changes which have been made so that it will agree with the official 1960 international rules.
In the past, it has been the custom to enact the international rules as statutory law.
This bill that you mentioned, H.R. 6012, carries out that custom, does it not?
Captain McCOMB. Yes, sir.
Mr. LENNON. It has always been the custom in the past that once we accept the international rules there is a proclamation of the President setting the date when they are effective. This is customary.
Captain McCOMB. Yes, sir.
Mr. GOODLING. How many nations were involved in this 1960 Conference?
Captain McCOMB. Forty-some-odd. I am not sure of the exact number but I can get that if you care to have it.
Mr. GOODLING. Were these rules and regulations adopted unanimously?
Captain McComb. It is difficult to say, at a Conference of this type, that anything would be adopted unanimously. This, I think, is the result of more than a mere majority of the feeling.
Captain MAGENNIS. I was there, Mr. Goodling, and I would say that in debating any of the rules there were at times differences of opinion