California Government Code

Sec. § 8670.21


(a)

As used in this section, the following terms have the following meanings:

(1)

“Vessels” means vessels as defined in Section 21 of the Harbors and Navigation Code.

(2)

“VTS system” means a vessel traffic service system.

(b)

The administrator shall negotiate an agreement with the Coast Guard, appropriate port agencies, or appropriate organizations, for a VTS system to protect the harbors of this state. The administrator may include in the agreement provisions for vessel traffic monitoring and communications systems for areas of the coast outside of harbors, or negotiate a separate agreement for that purpose. The purpose of a VTS system and a vessel traffic monitoring and communications system shall be to aid navigation by providing satellite tracking, radar, or other information regarding ship locations and traffic, to prevent collisions and groundings.

(c)

A plan developed by the administrator, in consultation with the Coast Guard, shall provide for implementing and maintaining VTS systems pursuant to subdivision (b) for the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the Harbors of San Francisco, the Santa Barbara Channel, and any other area where establishing a VTS system or a vessel monitoring and communications system is recommended by the Coast Guard. The plan shall provide for the areas described in this subdivision, and for any other system and areas that are recommended by the Coast Guard, or recommended by the administrator and approved by the Coast Guard. Only systems that will be operated by the Coast Guard, or that will have direct communication with a Coast Guard officer who has Captain of the Port enforcement authority, shall be included in the plan. The plan shall be amended periodically to reflect any changes in Coast Guard recommendations or operations, and any changes in the agreements entered into pursuant to subdivision (b). The plan shall, to the extent allowable given federal requirements, provide for the best achievable protection.

(d)

(1)The administrator shall attempt to provide funding for VTS systems and vessel monitoring and communications systems through voluntary funding, or services in kind, provided by the maritime industry. If agreement on voluntary funding or services in kind cannot be reached, the administrator may establish a fee system that reflects the commercial maritime activity of each of the respective harbors or areas for which a VTS system or a vessel monitoring and communications system is established. Using that fee system, the administrator shall fund VTS systems and vessel monitoring and communications systems.

(2)

The money collected pursuant to this subdivision shall be deposited in the Vessel Safety Account, which is hereby created in the Oil Spill Prevention and Administration Fund. The money in the Vessel Safety Account is hereby continuously appropriated for the sole purpose of funding VTS systems and vessel monitoring and communications systems. Other than the fees imposed pursuant to this subdivision that are deposited in the Vessel Safety Account, no funds from the Oil Spill Prevention and Administration Fund may be used to pay for VTS systems or vessel traffic monitoring and communications systems.

(3)

The administrator shall adopt regulations to implement this subdivision. The administrator may adopt regulations prohibiting tank barges and tank ships from accepting or unloading oil at marine terminals if a tank barge or tank ship is not in compliance with required VTS system or vessel traffic monitoring and communications system equipment.

(e)

If a VTS system covers waters outside the jurisdiction of a local port authority, the administrator may grant the money that is determined to be necessary for the purchase and installation of equipment required for the establishment or expansion of the VTS system. Those grants may be made from the Oil Spill Response Trust Fund in accordance with Section 8670.49, as individual and nonrecurring appropriations through the budget process, but shall not exceed the amount of interest earned from money in that fund.

(f)

(1)The Marine Exchange of Los Angeles-Long Beach Harbor, Inc., a corporation organized under the Nonprofit Mutual Benefit Corporation Law (Part 3 (commencing with Section 7110) of Division 2 of Title 1 of the Corporations Code), may operate a VTS system in the VTS area described in Section 445 of the Harbors and Navigation Code if the VTS system is approved by the Coast Guard and certified by the administrator as meeting the requirements of this chapter. The marine exchange shall cooperate fully with the administrator in the development, implementation, and operation of that VTS system. Upon certification by the administrator that the Coast Guard has commenced operation of a fully federally funded VTS system for the VTS area, the authorization for the marine exchange to operate a VTS system shall terminate.

(2)

The Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach may impose fees upon all covered vessels, as defined in Section 445.5 of the Harbors and Navigation Code, for the funding of the VTS system operated by the marine exchange.

(3)

No vessel that is required to comply with Article 4 (commencing with Section 445) of Chapter 1 of Division 3 of the Harbors and Navigation Code shall assert any claim against the marine exchange or any officer, director, employee, or representative of the marine exchange for any damage, loss, or expense, including any rights of indemnity or other rights of any kind, sustained by that vessel or its owners, agents, charterers, operators, crew, or third parties arising out of, or connected with, directly or indirectly, the marine exchange’s operation of the vessel traffic service, even though resulting in whole or in part from the negligent acts or omissions of the marine exchange or of an officer, director, employee, or representative of the marine exchange.

(4)

Each vessel required to comply with Article 4 (commencing with Section 445) of Chapter 1 of Division 3 of the Harbors and Navigation Code shall defend, indemnify, and hold harmless the marine exchange and its officers, directors, employees, and representatives from any and all claims, suits, or actions of any nature by whomsoever asserted, even though resulting or alleged to have resulted from negligent acts or omissions of the marine exchange or of an officer, director, employee, or representative of the marine exchange.

(5)

Nothing in this subdivision affects any liability or rights that may arise by reason of the gross negligence or intentional or willful misconduct of the marine exchange or of an officer, director, employee, or representative of the marine exchange in the operation of the VTS system, including any liability pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 449.5 of the Harbors and Navigation Code.

(6)

The marine exchange and its officers and directors are subject to Section 5047.5 of the Corporations Code to the extent that the marine exchange meets the criteria specified in that section.

(7)

Nothing in this section shall be deemed to include the marine exchange or its officers, directors, employees, or representatives within the definition of “responsible party” pursuant to Section 8670.3 for purposes of this chapter.

(8)

Upon request by the administrator, the marine exchange shall submit a report containing a complete description of the VTS system operated by the marine exchange. Upon receiving the report, the administrator shall determine, after a public hearing, whether the elements and operation of the VTS system are consistent with the Harbor Safety Plan for the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach developed pursuant to Section 8670.23.1 and the standards for the statewide vessel traffic service systems plan. If the administrator determines that the VTS system is inconsistent with the Harbor Safety Plan for the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach developed pursuant to Section 8670.23.1 or with the statewide vessel traffic service systems plan, the administrator shall issue an order to the marine exchange specifying modifications to the VTS system to eliminate the inconsistencies. If the marine exchange has not complied with that order within six months of issuance, the administrator may, in addition to, or in lieu of, any other enforcement action authorized by this chapter or Article 4 (commencing with Section 445) of Chapter 1 of Division 3 of the Harbors and Navigation Code, and after a public hearing, administratively revoke the authorization for the marine exchange to operate a VTS system. If authorization for the marine exchange to operate a VTS system is revoked, the administrator shall take any action necessary to expeditiously establish a VTS system for the VTS area described in Section 445 of the Harbors and Navigation Code. The action may include the assessment of fees on vessels, port users, and ports, and needed expenditures, as provided in subdivision (d).

(g)

It is the intent of the Legislature that VTS systems and vessel traffic monitoring and communications systems be completed and operated by the Coast Guard, except that, with respect to the VTS area described in Section 445 of the Harbors and Navigation Code, a VTS system may be operated by the Marine Exchange of Los Angeles-Long Beach, Inc., pursuant to subdivision (f).
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Last accessed
Jun. 6, 2016