Some of the options listed in Box A-1 have already been investigated to a certain degree, and some have obvious benefits and implementation paths that have been described. For example, several Alaskan organizations have proposed approaches for improved vessel tracking and some forms of vessel traffic service (VTS) for Unimak Pass. The Marine Exchange of Alaska has put forth a proposal to build and operate additional automatic identification system (AIS) receiving sites and an operations center to track and communicate with vessels and identify potentially unsafe vessel transits. The Alaskan Marine Pilots have suggested the development of a formal VTS for Unimak Pass and vicinity and prepared a paper describing the elements of such a service and explaining how it would work.
In addition, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has in the past implemented VTS in a number of ports and waterways in the United States on the basis of analyses of vessel accident risks in these locations. Various approaches are used for these existing USCG-authorized VTS, including USCG owned and operated, marine pilot operated, and marine exchange operated, all under USCG waterways management authority. Current vessel traffic in and around Unimak Pass is substantial compared with that in other regions with established VTS; thus a careful investigation by USCG of the advisability of establishing a VTS in the area appears warranted.
Another risk reduction option for which there has been some investigation and evaluation is providing emergency towing equipment that can be delivered to vessels in distress if and when needed. The City of Unalaska, in cooperation with industry and government partners, recently developed a towing package that could be used in an emergency situation to aid vessels in distress in the region near Dutch Harbor and Unimak Pass. As more information on vessel traffic is developed, local authorities may further refine this option to make it more effective.
The committee proposes the list in Box A-1 as a starting point for evaluating risk reduction options within the risk assessment process. This initial list should be reviewed, refined, and then expanded as appropriate by the Advisory Panel. A detailed analysis of the costs and benefits of selected options would be one of the desired results.