Coast Guard, BSEE Sharing Mobile Drilling Unit Responsbilities

Leaders of the two federal agencies have signed a memorandum of agreement spelling out how they will inspect and oversee systems on mobile offshore drilling units.

Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement Director James Watson and U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Joseph Servidio have signed a memorandum of agreement for regulating mobile offshore drilling units (MODUs) on the Outer Continental Shelf. They two agencies are sharing and coordinating their inspection and oversight responsibilities.

"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 ultra-deepwater drilling capabilities must be closely monitored," Watson said. "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 makes the Coast Guard the lead agency for floating stability, mooring and anchoring equipment, fire protection, equipment, communications equipment, marine cranes and material handling equipment, lifesaving equipment, and some elements of pollution prevention. BSEE is lead for pollution prevention from exploration and production of oil, gas, and sulphur; pipeline operations and components; and blowout prevention equipment, in addition to other areas.

"The Coast Guard and BSEE share the goal of keeping our oceans clean and offshore workers safe," said Servidio, the current assistant commandant for Prevention Policy for the Coast Guard. "This agreement solidifies the commitment of each regulatory agency to work across agency boundaries to promote safety through the clear delineation of each agency's oversight and inspection responsibilities for MODU activities."

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