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Cruise Vessel Design & Outfit

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Jonathan K. Waldron Jon Waldron is a partner in Blank Rome LLP’s Washington, D.C., of? ce who concentrates his practice in maritime, international and environmental law, including maritime security. He served in the U.S. Coast Guard for 20 years, attaining the rank of commander, and was senior counsel to the Marine Spill Response Corporation.

Regulatory Crewing Challenges for Offshore Wind Vessels very day we see more and more news about how the planning for new offshore wind projects

Econtinues to expand with the increasing investment from both domes- tic and foreign interests in these projects.

This is resulting in both developers and contractors making logistics plans to se- cure vessels and crew for the purposes of meeting the demands necessary to crew and operate vessels in support of future wind farm operations. Unfortunately, there are challenges associated with the evolving federal regulatory regime that are developing with this nascent industry facing both U.S.- and foreign-? ag ves- sel owners and operators related to the crewing of such vessels. Despite univer- sal federal agency support for offshore windfarms, due to the varying ways in which federal agencies are applying crewing laws and the Outer Continental

Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) to offshore wind farms, this is resulting in a different regime in many ways compared to how these laws have been applied over the © Zacharias/Adobe Stock years to oil and gas projects on the Outer

Continental Shelf (OCS). The following is required to obtain such an exemp- wind farm operations because it has de- authority reveals that the Coast Guard’s is a discussion of these challenges. tion. Upon approval of the exemption, termined that the crewing restrictions interpretation is incorrect. Neither the

With regard to foreign-? ag vessels, the foreign citizen crewmembers will be under OCSLA only apply to the employ- U.S. citizen manning requirement nor as a general rule, under OCSLA, ves- able to obtain a B-1 (OCS) visa from a ment of personnel on units engaged in an the exemption procedure for this re- sels engaged in “OCS activities” must U.S. embassy in order to allow them off “OCS activity” on the U.S. OCS. This quirement limits its mandate to mineral use U.S. citizens to crew such vessels. the vessel in the United States, or travel term is de? ned by the Coast Guard to activities. Indeed, the speci? c authori-

However, there is an exemption proce- to the United States, to meet a vessel. mean “any offshore activity associated zation that gives BOEM the authority dure available under OCSLA which al- Crewmembers are not able to obtain the with the exploration for, or development to approve the development and con- lows foreign-? ag vessels that are over B-1 (OCS) visa until the Coast Guard or production of, the minerals of the struction of a wind energy project on 50% foreign owned or controlled by exemption letter is issued. OCS.” The de? nition of “minerals” has the OCS, is authorized pursuant to a foreign citizens to engage in U.S. OCS Unfortunately, the Coast Guard will been interpreted by the U.S. Coast Guard 2005 amendment to OCSLA, to speci? - activities using foreign crewmembers. not grant an OCS crewing exemption to to not include wind. cally expand this authority beyond the

A formal application to the Coast Guard a foreign-? ag vessel engaged in offshore However, an analysis of the statutory production of oil and gas on the OCS. 14 Maritime Reporter & Engineering News • JULY 2019

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