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FMC Approves Issuance of First Final Rules Implementing OSRA

February 3, 1999

FEDERAL MARITIME COMMISSION

FMC APPROVES ISSUANCE
OF FIRST FINAL RULES
IMPLEMENTING OSRA

NR 99-03

Washington, D.C. 20573


CONTACT BRYANT L. VANBRAKLE, SECRETARY AT (202) 523-5725

FOR RELEASE: February 3, 1999

The Commission today considered comments received from the public in response to three proposed rules issued to implement the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 1998 ("OSRA"). After careful consideration of the comments, the Commission approved the publication of the first three final rules implementing OSRA.

The three final rules approved today are:

(1) Miscellaneous Amendments to Rules of Practice and Procedure. The final rule makes changes to the rules of practice necessitated by OSRA, such as special docket procedures, and petitions for exemptions; makes a number of routine administrative changes, such as deleting references to the Shipping Act, 1916 and the Intercoastal Shipping Act of 1933; and makes certain other revisions designed to clarify, improve and modernize the rules.

(2) Amendments to Regulations Governing Restrictive Foreign Shipping Practices, and New Regulations Governing Controlled Carriers. The final rule updates and clarifies rules implementing section 19 of the Merchant Marine Act, 1920, section 13(b)(5) of the Shipping Act of 1984, and the Foreign Shipping Practices Act of 1988 to reflect changes made by OSRA, and also implements changes made by OSRA to section 9 of the 1984 Act affecting controlled carriers. This rule also gathers previously scattered regulations affecting controlled carriers into a more readily accessible codification.

(3) Marine Terminal Operator ("MTO") Schedules. The final rule will implement OSRA's provision giving MTO's the option of making their terminal tariffs available to the public through publication in a terminal schedule, and to enforce them as implied contracts; will detail the form and manner of terminal schedules, the requirements for availability of such schedules to the public and the Commission and the recordkeeping requirements of MTO's; and will specify that OSRA's authorization of MTO's to include limits on liability in their schedules is not to be read as excusing such limitations from requirements that they be just and reasonable. The Commission will also publish a list of locations of any published terminal schedules on the Commission's website.

The Commission also announced that it will consider comments in the remaining rulemakings and approve remaining final rules to implement OSRA in a meeting to be held the week of February 15, 1999. That meeting tentatively has been scheduled for February 18. The final rules implementing the Commission's actions will be available on its web page in the near future.