General Laws of Massachusetts - Chapter 21M Vessel Traffic Service - Section 1 Definitions

Section 1. As used in this chapter, the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:—

“AIS”, automatic identification system.

“ARPA”, automatic radar plotting aid.

“Area of special interest”, any water of the commonwealth that is found by the secretary of environmental affairs to contain 1 or more immobile obstacles to navigation, abut or include areas of critical environmental concern, are designated as an estuary of national significance, abut or include habitat for endangered species, abut or include public recreation areas, support shell fishing, fin fishing or tourist industries or abut or include sensitive public safety areas. Such waters shall include, but not be limited to, Buzzards bay, Vineyard sound and Mount Hope bay.

“Buzzards bay”, the waterway bounded and described as follows: from Sakonnet point southward to the north end of the Buzzards bay traffic separation zone, to the southwestern tip of Cuttyhunk Island thence through Buzzards bay to the eastern entrance of the Cape Cod canal at the United States Coast Guard “CC” Buoy in Cape Cod Bay, including Woods Hole Passage and Quicks Hole.

“Chemical test”, an analysis of a person’s breath, blood, urine, hair, saliva, bodily fluids or tissues for evidence of illicit drug or alcohol use performed in a scientifically-recognized manner.

“Commissioner”, the commissioner of environmental protection.

“Covered vessel”, any of the following:

(1) a power-driven vessel of 20 meters, approximately 65 feet or more in length, while navigating;

(2) a towing vessel of 8 meters, approximately 26 feet or more in length, while navigating;

(3) a vessel issued a certificate to carry 50 or more passengers for hire, when engaged in trade.

“Department”, department of environmental protection.

“Double hull” as defined in 33 CFR 157.03.

“ECIDIS”, an electronic chart display and information system.

“Fund”, the Oil Spill Prevention and Response Trust Fund, established in section 8.

“Illicit drug”, any substance listed as a controlled substance under 21 U.S.C. section 802.

“State pilot”, a pilot commissioned under chapter 103 or a pilot having received a first class federal pilot’s endorsement for the waters of Buzzards Bay and Cape Cod Canal prior to the effective date of this act and having executed at least 15 round trips in such waters within the preceding 3 years.

“State-provided tugboat escort”, a tugboat escort, the primary purpose of which shall be to serve as an escort tug for unescorted tank vessels carrying 6,000 or more barrels of oil; provided, however, that state-provided tugboat escorts shall provide on-the-water-monitoring of these tank vessels, have the ability to warn vessels of actual or potential threats to navigation, be available to assist immediately to the threat of an accident and shall not be more than 1/4 of a nautical mile away from a tank vessel during such escort. State-provided tugboat escorts shall be equipped with: (i) twin radar displays equipped with ECDIS or ARPA capable of integrating AIS; (ii) a towing winch and associated wire and gear capable of towing, at minimum, a 470 foot fully loaded tank vessel; and (iii) firefighting equipment as determined adequate by the commissioner.

“Tank barge”, a tank vessel without a means of self-propulsion or a self-propelled tank vessel less than 40 meters, 130 feet, in overall length.

“Tank vessel”, a ship that is constructed or adapted to carry, or that carries, oil or other petroleum product in bulk as cargo and that operates on the waters of the commonwealth or transfers oil or other petroleum products in a port or place subject to the jurisdiction of the commonwealth.

“Towing vessel”, a commercial vessel engaged in towing another vessel astern or alongside or by pushing it ahead.

“Tugboat escort”, (i) a tug with twin screws and a separate system for power to each screw, with an aggregate shaft horsepower equivalent to 4,000 horsepower or greater and a minimum bollard pull of 50 tons; or (ii) a tractor tug, having an aggregate horsepower equivalent to 4,000 horsepower or greater and a minimum bollard pull of 50 tons, which is propelled by blades or screws which may be manipulated or rotated to provide propulsive thrust to any part of a 360 degree arc relative to the keel or longitudinal axis of the tug. As of January 1, 2006, a tugboat escort shall be equipped with fire fighting equipment and, at a minimum, shall meet the requirements of the following American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) classifications: Fire Fighting Vessel Class 1 and Maltese Cross A1 (Towing Vessel).

“VTS system”, a vessel traffic service system that provides real-time vessel tracking by satellite, radar or other means and supplies information regarding vessel locations and traffic to prevent collisions and groundings.

“VTS area”, an area of the commonwealth’s waters where a VTS system has been implemented and is in operation.

“VTS monitor”, a person working for the United States Coast Guard, United States Army Corps of Engineers or other entity designated by the commissioner and responsible for operating any VTS system to monitor vessel traffic in the commonwealth’s waters.

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Last modified: September 11, 2015