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Coast Guard Proceedings. Volume 70, Number 4, Winter 2013-2014

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The many technological advances we have seen in the offshore industry are truly amazing, for example, remote operations, dynamic positioning, and system automation unimaginable just a few decades ago. These rapid technological advances have opened up the deepwater frontier and likewise potentially opened up new risks and new challenges. The mobile offshore drilling unit explosions at Mississippi Canyon, 2010, and Timbalier, 2013, and the production platform explosion at West Delta, 2012, highlight potential risks to people, property, the environment, and our need to keep pace with technological advancements and ensure we are adequately addressing deep water and shallow water risks on the U.S. outer continental shelf OCS. We must reassess and revise our OCS standards, because Coast Guard requirements are dated in several areas. We have begun this work in critical areas, proposing regulations for safety and environmental management systems and preventing explosions as well as issuing guidance for dynamic positioning, firefighting, and lifesaving systems. Our new regulations will incorporate international and industry consensus standards and establish a framework focused on performance and keeping pace with rapidly evolving OCS technology. The framework will require all mobile offshore drilling units, floating facilities, and vessels operating on the U.S. OCS to satisfy the same standards regardless of flag. Additionally, we recognize the expanding use of autonomous systems and other cuttingedge technology within the industry potentially creates greater cyber security vulnerabilities. We must address these risks before casualties occur that dictate we develop new regulations and associated requirements in a reactive manner. We wish to address these risks proactively in a deliberate, thoughtful manner that values the important role our stakeholders play in the development of effective standards and regulations.

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  • Physical and Dynamic Oceanography
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Civil Defense

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