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Public Papers - 1990 - March

Message to the Congress Transmitting an Amendment to the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea


To the Congress of the United States:

Consistent with the International Navigational Rules Act of 1977 (Public Law 95 - 75; 33 U.S.C. 1602), I transmit herewith an amendment to the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972, as amended, which was adopted at London, October 19, 1989. The Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (72 COLREGS) was adopted at London, October 20, 1972, to replace the 1960 Collision Regulations. The 72 COLREGS entered into force July 15, 1977, and there are currently over 100 countries party to the convention. The 72 COLREGS were previously amended in November 1981 and in November 1987 to clarify technical language in the existing regulations.

This amendment modifies the language of rule 10(d) that governs the conduct of vessels in an inshore traffic zone of a traffic separation scheme adopted by the International Maritime Organization. The amendment was designed to remove the ambiguity inherent in the words ``normal'' and ``through traffic'' as used in the existing text. This ambiguity lent itself to different interpretations by coastal states anxious to limit traffic in inshore traffic zones in order to reduce the risk of pollution from collision or stranding. The new language for rule 10(d) is phrased so that the mariner should have a better understanding of his duties and obligations with regard to the use of inshore traffic zones by ships.

Consistent with section 5 of the Inland Navigational Rules Act of 1980 (section 5 of Public Law 96 - 591; 33 U.S.C. 2073), this proposed amendment has been considered by the Rules of the Road Advisory Council, which has given its concurrence to the amendment.

In the absence of a duly enacted law to the contrary, I will proclaim that the amendment will enter into force for the United States of America on April 19, 1991, unless by April 19, 1990, more than one-third of the Contracting Parties have notified the International Maritime Organization of their objection to the amendment.

George Bush

The White House,

March 30, 1990.

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