by Julia Franicevic | Senior Operator
What is an APC Certificate?
APC stands for Alternate Planning Criteria. It is a certificate of participation in the Marine Emergency Response Program and must be purchased through one of three different APC providers: the Alaska Maritime Prevention and Response Network (NETWORK), 1-Call Alaska, and The Alaska Response Company (ARC). It is valid for one year, during which the vessel may transit Alaskan waters multiple times. It is ONLY mandatory for vessels calling U.S. ports as per U.S. Coast Guard regulations. If proceeding to/from Vancouver, Canada for example, then it is not required and vessels are free to transit Bering Sea as part of innocent passage.
Purpose of the APC?
Aside from ensuring vessels transiting Alaskan waters have a proper Vessel Response Plan (VRP) in case of an oil spill, the administration of APC certificate allows the Alaska Maritime Prevention and Response Network (NETWORK), and other providers, to pool resources for the reduction measures, response capabilities, and oil spill removal equipment that may be required in the event of an accident.
If a vessel is calling a U.S. port and does not have a valid APC certificate, then routing via Bering Sea Great Circle is not permissible. Instead, vessel will be required to maintain minimum distance of 200 nm from Alaskan shores. Accordingly, the shortest route to recommend for Trans-Pacific voyages is via max latitude 47.8N between about 180 – 177W as per below depiction.
Operators should first determine whether a vessel will be calling a U.S. port, and if yes, then ask the Master whether the vessel carries a valid APC certificate for Alaskan water transit. Once this information is known the operator may recommend optimum route in accordance with routing restrictions.
Included below are relevant links for more details about the APC, as well as, the AMPRN website which provides an overview of their mission, operations, and price structure for APC Certificates.