The Oil Pollution Act of 1990, when first enacted, required that all single-hull oil-laden tankers departing Prince William Sound be escorted by two tugs. In addition, the act included requirements that the industry begin a transition to double-hull tankers. Over the years, the council became concerned that once this transition was complete, the existing requirements would not extend to these newer vessels and the system could legally be reduced or come to an end. In concert with its many industry, agency and legislative partners, the council worked to make the two tug escort requirement a permanent part of the oil transportation system in Prince William Sound. In 2010, an amendment to 1990’s Oil Pollution Act was included in the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010.
Excerpt of amendment: ”...The requirement ... relating to single hulled tankers in Prince William Sound, Alaska, ... being escorted by at least 2 towing vessels or other vessels considered to be appropriate ... shall apply to double hulled tankers over 5,000 gross tons transporting oil in bulk in Prince William Sound, Alaska.”Signed into law by President Barack Obama on October 15, 2010, the two tug escort system has now been preserved. The Imperative to Maintain the Currently Utilized Dual Escort Vessel Marine Safety System for Double-Hulled Oil Laden Tankers in Prince William Sound, Alaska: In 2009, the council produced this briefing booklet to support the legislative process to preserve tanker escorts: