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e-CFR data is current as of January 15, 2021

Title 15Subtitle BChapter IXSubchapter DPart 971Subpart J → §971.1005

Title 15: Commerce and Foreign Trade
Subpart J—Enforcement

§971.1005   Observers.

(a) Purpose of observers. Each licensee and permittee shall allow, at such times and to such extent as the Administrator deems reasonable and necessary, an observer (as used in this section, the term “observer” means “one or more observers”) duly authorized by the Administrator to board and accompany any vessel used by the licensee or permittee in exploration or commercial recovery activities (hereafter referred to in this section as a “vessel”), for the purpose of observing, evaluating and reporting on:

(1) The effectiveness of the terms, conditions, and restrictions of the license or permit;

(2) Compliance with the Act, regulations and orders issued under the Act, and the license or permit terms, conditions, and restrictions; and

(3) The environmental and other effects of the licensee's or permittee's activities under the license or permit.

(b) Notice to licensee or permittee. (1) If the Administrator plans to place an observer aboard a vessel, the Administrator will so notify the affected licensee or permittee.

(2) The Administrator normally will issue any such notice as far in advance of placement of the observer as is practicable.

(3) Contents of notice. The notice given by the Administrator will include, among other things:

(i) The name of the observer, if known at the time notice is issued;

(ii) The length of time which the observer likely will be aboard the vessel;

(iii) Information concerning activities the observer is likely to conduct, such as:

(A) Identification of special activities that the observer will monitor;

(B) Planned tests of equipment used for monitoring;

(C) Activities of the observer that are likely to require assistance from the vessel's personnel or crew or use of the vessel's equipment; and

(D) Planned tests of alternative operating procedures or technologies for mitigation of environmental effects.

(iv) Information concerning the equipment that will be brought aboard the vessel, such as a description of the monitoring equipment, and any special requirements concerning the handling, storage, location or operation of, or the power supply for, the equipment.

(c) Initial monitoring period. The Administrator shall require the placement of an observer on each permittee's mining vessel(s) at least once during the initial year of the permittee's commercial recovery activities.

(d) Licensee's and permittee's responsibilities for observer placement. (1) Upon request by the Administrator, a licensee or permittee shall facilitate observer placement by promptly notifying the Administrator regarding the timing of planned system tests and the departure date of the next voyage, or, if the vessel is at sea, suggesting a time and method for transporting the observer to the vessel.

(2) In addition, the licensee or permittee shall notify NOAA of the date of departure of planned cruises 60 days in advance of ship departure from port for purposes of NOAA's determination of whether to place Federal observers onboard. If cruise plans are changed by more than 30 days from the date stated by the exploration or commercial recovery plan, the licensee or permittee shall notify NOAA as soon as such changes are made, or 90 days prior to the previously scheduled departure.

(e) Duties of licensee, permittee, owner or operator. Each licensee, permittee, owner or operator of a vessel aboard which an observer is assigned shall:

(1) Allow the observer access to and use of the vessel's communications equipment and personnel when the observer deems such access necessary for the transmission and receipt of messages;

(2) Allow the observer access to and use of the vessel's navigation equipment and personnel when the observer deems such access necessary to determine the vessel's location;

(3) Provide all other reasonable cooperation and assistance to enable the observer to carry out the observer's duties; and

(4) Provide temporary accommodations and food to the observer aboard the vessel which are equivalent to those provided to officers of the vessel.

(f) Reasonableness of observer activities. (1) To the maximum extent practicable, observation duties will be planned and carried out in a manner that minimizes interference with the licensee's or permittee's activities under the license or permit.

(2) The Administrator will assure that equipment brought aboard a vessel by the observer is reasonable as to size, weight, and electric power and storage requirements, taking into consideration the necessity of the equipment for carrying out the observer's functions.

(3) The observer will have no authority over the operation of the vessel or its activities, or the officers, crew, or personnel of the vessel. The observer will comply with all rules and regulations issued by the licensee or permittee, and all orders of the Master or senior operations official, with respect to ensuring safe operation of the vessel and the safety of its personnel.

(g) Non-interference with observer. Licensees, permittees and other persons are reminded that the Act (see, for example, sections 301(3) and 301(4)) makes it unlawful for any person subject to section 301 of the Act to interfere with any observer in the performance of the observer's duties.

(h) Confidentiality of information. NOAA recognizes the possibility that an observer, in performing observer functions, will record information which the licensee or permittee considers to be proprietary. NOAA intends to protect such information consistent with applicable law. The Administrator may in appropriate cases provide the licensee or permittee an opportunity:

(1) To review those parts of the observer's report which may contain proprietary information; and

(2) To request confidential treatment of such information under §971.802.

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