Maritime Environment: Federal and State Actions, Expenditures, and Challenges to Addressing Abandoned and Derelict Vessels

Abandoned and derelict vessels (ADVs) can block navigable U.S. waterways and pose threats to the environment, and public health and safety, as fuel and hazardous material can leak into the water as the vessels deteriorate. Multiple federal agencies have responsibility for responding to ADV-related incidents, while States may also address ADVs through their own laws and policies. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) was asked to review actions federal and state agencies have taken to address ADVs in U.S. waterways. This report examines (1) key factors that guide how federal agencies respond to ADVs; (2) the extent federal agencies track ADVs and their expenditures for responding to them; and (3) actions States have taken to address ADVs and the factors they cite as affecting their efforts. GAO reviewed federal laws and policies which guide ADV-related actions for the Coast Guard, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and analyzed these agencies’ ADV-related caseload and expenditure data for fiscal years 2005 through 2015, the most current available data. GAO interviewed agency headquarters and field-based officials in four States, selected for their geographic diversity and varying State laws and actions regarding ADVs. GAO also surveyed 30 coastal States regarding their ADV-related actions, expenditures and challenges. GAO is not making recommendations in this report. Agencies provided technical comments on a draft of this report, which GAO incorporated, as appropriate.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 59p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01633310
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: GAO-17-202
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 28 2017 10:42AM