b'thesafetyandsecurityofeveryindividualEach required vesselyear, the Coast Guard is to initiate a rulemak-on such vessels. However, a savings clauseing to set new safety standards for DUKW am-makes clear that the commandants rule can- safety managementphibious passenger vessels, and the deadline for not prohibit possession of alcohol associatedfinalizing the proposed rule is a year thereafter.with the commercial sale to individuals aboardsystem (SMS) must be the vessel who are not crew members. This ac- Thepotentiallytoughestrequirementisthat knowledges that the sale of alcohol beverages isamended to includeacoveredvesselmusthavereservebuoyancy a legitimate aspect of the business of a diningprovisions relatedthrough passive means to ensure that it remains cruise vessel or overnight cruise vessel. afloat and upright in the event of flooding, to on-board sexualincluding when carrying a full complement of LIMITATION OF LIABILITY ACTpassengers and crew. This is to be accomplished CERTAIN SMALL PASSENGER VESSELS harassment and sexualby means of watertight compartmentalization, The fatal destruction by fire of the overnightbuilt-in flotation, or other means as determined dive boat Conception in southern California onassault (section 11610).appropriate by the Commandant of the Coast Sept. 2, 2019, continues to engender statutoryGuard. However, the new law lets the comman-changes. Two years ago, Congress enacted newdant waive the passive buoyancy requirement if fire safety requirements for a covered smallshe finds that it is not practicable or technically passenger vessel. Now, Congress has removedor practically achievable for such vessel.the same class of vessels from being covered byWhile the direct impact of this change in law the federal Limitation of Liability Act. willdirectlyaffecttheownerofacoveredThe Coast Guard is to identify weather con-small passenger vessel only if there is a casu- ditionsonotherenvironmentalconditions There has always been a school of thought thatalty, there could be an indirect impact if vesselin which a covered vessel can safely operate, the Limitation of Liability Act (which beginsinsurers adjust premiums charged. and these limiting conditions are to be made at section 30501 of title 46 United States Code)a part of the vessels certificate of inspection. is outdated. The law holds out the prospectDUKWS Otherrequiredsafetymeasuresinclude:ac-that the owner of a vessel destroyed or severelySection 11502 calls for new safety measures ontivemonitoringofaweatherradiowarning damaged in a casualty can limit financial re- certain amphibious vehicles. By June 23 of thissystem;instructionstopassengersthatseat sponsibility for damages to the residual value of the vessel (or to a fund calculated at $420 times the vessel tonnage). The law is also use-ful to the vessel owner because it enables the consolidation of all legal claims in a single legal proceeding in a particular court.Intherealworld,itisexceedinglydifficult forashipownertosuccessfullypetitionforUSCG-Certied Light-Weight limitationofliabilitywhenthereislossof life, because judges are loath to impose suchAluminum Honeycomb Panels a draconian result on claimants (in the case of the Conception, the 97-ton vessel had no re- for Passenger Ferriessidual value and the liability fund would have amounted to only $40,740). Nonetheless, evendecorative | durable | functionalthe possibility of limitation of liability in the Conception casualty (in which 34 persons died)rigidized.com/markets/marinegenerated outrage and prompted Congress to amend the law.For purposes of the amended statute, a cov-ered small passenger vessel is (a) a small pas-senger vessel carrying not more than 49 pas-sengers on a domestic overnight voyage; (b) a small passenger vessel carrying not more than 150 passengers that is not on a domestic over-night voyage; or (c) a wooden vessel built prior to March 11, 1996, carrying at least one pas-senger for hire. The owner of a vessel in this category that is involved in a casualty will no longer be able to petition a court for limitation of liability. Instead, general tort law will apply in determining responsibility for personal in-jury or death.658 Ohio Street | Buffalo, NY 14203 | marine@rigidized.com19 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2023'