PDFRCW 88.46.130

Emergency response system.

(1) By July 1, 2010, the owner or operator of a covered vessel transiting to or from a Washington port through the Strait of Juan de Fuca, except for transits extending no further west than Race Rocks light, shall establish and fund an emergency response system that provides for an emergency response towing vessel to be stationed at Neah Bay.
(2) Any emergency response towing vessel provided under this section must:
(a) Be available to serve vessels in distress in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and off of the western coast of the state from Cape Flattery light in Clallam county south to Cape Disappointment light in Pacific county; and
(b) Meet the requirements specified in RCW 88.46.135.
(3) In addition to meeting requirements specified in RCW 88.46.060, contingency plans for covered vessels operating in the Strait of Juan de Fuca must provide for the emergency response system required by this section. Documents describing how compliance with this section will be achieved must be submitted to the department by December 1, 2009. An initial contingency plan submitted to the department after December 1, 2009, must be accompanied by documents demonstrating compliance with this section.
(4) The requirements of this section are met if:
(a) Owners or operators of covered vessels provide an emergency response towing vessel that complies with subsection (2) of this section; or
(b) The United States government implements a system of protective measures that the department determines to be substantially equivalent to the requirements of this section as long as the emergency response towing vessel required by this section is stationed at Neah Bay.
[ 2009 c 11 § 2; 1991 c 200 § 426.]


FindingsIntent2009 c 11: "(1) The legislature finds that the northern coast of the Olympic Peninsula and Washington's west coast from Cape Flattery south to Cape Disappointment:
(a) Possess uniquely rich and highly vulnerable biological, marine, and cultural resources supporting some of the nation's most valuable commercial, sport, and tribal fisheries;
(b) Sustain endangered species and numerous species of vulnerable marine mammals; and
(c) Are internationally recognized through extraordinary designations including a world heritage site, a national park, a national marine sanctuary, national wildlife refuges, a maritime area off-limits to shipping, and tribal lands and fishing areas of federally recognized coastal Indian tribes.
(2) The legislature further finds that these coasts are periodically beset by severe storms with dangerously high seas and by strong currents, obscuring fog, and other conditions that imperil vessels and crews. When vessels suffer damage or founder, the coasts are likewise imperiled, particularly if oil is spilled into coastal waters. Oil spills pose great potential risks to treasured resources.
(3) The legislature further finds that Washington has maintained an emergency response tug at Neah Bay since 1999 to protect state waters from maritime casualties and resulting oil spills. The tug is necessary because of the peculiarities of local waters that call for special precautionary measures. The tug has demonstrated its necessity and capability by responding to forty-two vessels in need of assistance. State funding for the tug is scheduled to end June 30, 2009.
(4) The legislature intends that the maritime industry should provide and fully fund at least one year-round emergency response tug at Neah Bay, with necessary logistical and operational support, and that any tug provided by the maritime industry pursuant to this act should meet or exceed technical performance requirements specified in the state's fiscal year 2009 contract for the Neah Bay emergency response tug." [ 2009 c 11 § 1.]