Thursday, December 8, 2022

MARAD Publishes Tanker Security Fleet IFR

Yesterday the DOT’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) published an interim final rule (IFR) in the Federal Register (87 FR 74977-74987) for “Tanker Security Program”. The IFR would implement the requirements of §3511 of the FY 2021 NDAA (PL 116-283, 134 STAT 4408). The new 46 USC Chapter 534 established in that legislation requires DOT, in coordination with DOD, to establish a ‘Tanker Security Fleet’ somewhat akin to the air reserve fleet that DOD can call upon in the event of a national emergency for airlift support. The new TSF would provide DOD with emergency fuel and oil tanker support in national security situations.

The effective date for this rule is December 7th, 2022. MARAD is accepting public comments on the interim final rule until February 6th, 2023. Comments may be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal (; Docket # MARAD-2022-0247).


In an earlier post I noted that: “It will be interesting to see if MARAD includes any vessel cybersecurity requirements in the regulations.” In fact, the only reason I was following the development of this rulemaking was the hope that it would include some sort of cybersecurity requirements for the owners of the various vessels registered in the program to protect the support fleet from cyberattacks. Unfortunately, I cannot find any such requirements.

A quick search of the text of the rulemaking finds no instances where the word ‘cyber’ is used. There are frequent mentions of the word ‘security’, but they are mostly in relation to the ‘Tanker Security Program’ of the title. The other ‘security’ mentions relate to ‘national security’ and ‘security interests’. In short, MARAD has no apparent interest in anyone maintaining the security of the operational technology on the vessels involved in the program. This lack of cybersecurity concern is extremely disheartening in this cyber age and reflects a failure of vision at MARAD.

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