The Pacific States/British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force (Oil Spill Task Force) and the Alaska Regional Response Team (RRT) are collaborating to develop decision-making and planning guidelines which “operationalize” the International Maritime Organization's Places of Refuge guidelines. These guidelines will incorporate the authorities of the US and Canadian Coast Guards, state, provincial, local, and tribal governments, and resource agencies. The decision-making section of the guidelines provides step-by-step procedures and checklists to analyze the risks of allowing a ship in need of assistance to proceed to a place of refuge. The planning section of the guidelines provides a process to pre-identify information necessary for responding to requests for places of refuge and identifying potential places of refuge prior to an incident.

The Oil Spill Task Force effort involves a workgroup of regional stakeholders co-chaired by the Task Force agencies and the US Coast Guard, Pacific Area. The separate Alaska initiative is being accomplished by a workgroup of the Alaska RRT co-chaired by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) and US Coast Guard, District 17. Both projects are developing concurrently and include persons serving as liaisons between the two efforts in order to promote consistency and share information.

The Oil Spill Task Force Guidelines provide a template for member states and the province to use in developing decisionmaking and pre-incident plans tailored to their area. The Alaska guidelines were drafted concurrently with the Oil Spill Task Force process, and sections of their guidelines were modified to reflect area-wide conditions.

The Oil Spill Task Force's final guidelines are to be used as a planning annex to US Area Contingency Plans on the West Coast. Alaska will include their guidelines in the Federal/State Unified Plan and subarea plans. Transport Canada and Canadian Coast Guard authorities will adapt the guidelines as appropriate for Canada.

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