Senate Approves The Coast Guard Hurricane Relief Act

December 17, 2005

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Senate last night unanimously approved H.R. 4508, the Coast Guard Hurricane Relief Act, which provides Congress’s commendation, recognition and gratitude to Coast Guard personnel for their efforts in response to Hurricane Katrina. In addition, the bill authorizes the preservation of leave for those Guardsmen detailed to operations in response to Hurricane Katrina. This is similar to legislation included in the Senate-passed Coast Guard Authorization bill, which is currently being considered in a House-Senate Conference Committee.  

The bill also authorizes the Coast Guard to temporarily extend the expiration of licenses and documents of mariners affected by Hurricane Katrina, and certificates of inspection and compliance for vessels inspected by marine safety officers located in the Gulf region. Many of these documents were lost when the Coast Guard’s Regional Examination Center in New Orleans was damaged during the hurricane. This extension allows mariners to work and vessels to operate without penalty while the Coast Guard continues to repair its facility.  

Being identical to the House-passed measure, H.R. 4508 is now ready for the President’s signature.