History - American Underpressure System
The American Underpressure System
(AUPS) is a dynamic system which creates a slight vacuum (two
to four pounds per square inch) in each cargo tank. This vacuum,
assisted by the outside hydrostatic pressure of the surrounding
water, prevents or minimizes cargo loss in the event of hull
rupture. In case of a bottom rupture caused by grounding, nearly
all of the cargo can be protected. In the case of side hull
damage, cargo below the level of damage will be lost, while
the cargo about the side hull rupture will be protected.
Chronology of AUPS
The developmental effort of AUPS was started by MH Systems,
Inc. in 1989. Since then, an impressive array of technical
papers has been presented to technical societies and organizations
here in the United States and abroad. Included are, the American
Petroleum Institute (API), the International Maritime Organization
(IMO), and the Society of Naval Architects.
In recognition of AUPS, MH Systems,
Inc. has received numerous awards over the years.
Mo Husain, President, MH Systems, Inc. received an
award from HRH Princess Anne of the United Kingdom
for the AUPS system.
Furthermore, MH Systems, Inc. has received
five U.S. patents for the Underpressure system.
AUPS originated as an indirect result of the Oil Pollution
Act of 1990 (OPA90). The OPA 90 was initiated due to the EXXON
VALDEZ accident and requires that all tankers trading in U.S.
waters must be double hulled after 2015, unless an equivalent
to the double hull is found.
The U.S. Congress introduced several Public
Laws in support of the AUPS system but DOT was not proactive
in implementing the AUPS system. Therefore, in 1999, Congress
redirected the funding to the Department of Navys Office
on Naval Research (ONR). ONR is now responsible for finalizing
the test of the AUPS.
Act of 1990 (OPA 90)
Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90) identifies
the double hull as the primary remedial measure for all the
tankers trading in US waters, and phase out of all single
hull tankers is scheduled by 2015. The double hull construction
is the choice in the long term. However, the double hull cannot
be retrofitted on existing tankers. To reflect this concern
and other concerns including mandated rulemaking for interim
measures, the Secretarial Studies on alternatives to double
hulls required in Section 4115, Section 7001 (c) (2) specifically
"...research, development, and demonstration
of new or improved technologies which are effective in preventing
or mitigating oil discharges and which protect the environment,
(A) development of improved designs for
vessels and facilities and improved operational practices:
(B) research, development, and demonstration
of improved technologies to prevent discharges through the
use of vacuums in tanks.
102-388 - (1992)
- (1992) is a provision in the Transportation Appropriation
Bill (Introduced by Rep. Tom DeLay) states that "......
The Committee recommends $200,000 for a full scale test, to
be carried out by the Coast Guard, of a containment system
commonly known as the "American Underpressure System".
These funds are not be obligated until local, state, private
and other entities contribute at least $500,000 for the same
104-324 - (1996)
PL 104-324 .-
(1996) Section 1134(a) of that act directs that introduced by
Senator John Chafee): (a) Funding - The Secretary of Transportation
shall take steps to allocate funds appropriated for research,
development, testing and evaluation , including the combination
of funds from any source available and authorized for the purpose,
to ensure that any Government- sponsored project intended to
evaluate double hull alternatives that provide equal or greater
protection to the marine environment, or interim solutions to
remediate potential environmental damage, resulting from oil
spills from existing tanks vessels, commenced prior to the date
of enactment of this section, is fully funded for completion
by the end of fiscal year.
Section 1134 (b) Use of Public Vessels.
The Secretary may provide vessels owned by, or demise chartered
to, and operated by the Government and not engaged in commercial
service, without reimbursement, for use in and the support
of projects sponsored by the Government for research, development
and testing, evaluation, and demonstration of new or improved
technologies that are effective in preventing or mitigating
oil discharges and protecting the environment.
Hearing: October 30, 1997
Hearing on Oil Spill Prevention Measures Subcommittee on Coast
Guard and Maritime Transportation - Chairman - Rep. Wayne
T. Gilchrest. The hearing focused on two spill prevention
designs: The American Underpressure System (AUPS) and the
Central Ballast Tanker Design (CBT)
Excerpts from the concluding remarks of
Chairman Gilchrest: "...So, we will--this committee
will--starting today, pursue this issue aggressively. We'll
probably talk to you further; we'll talk to the Coast Guard
further. My sense is that innovative technology must relentlessly
be pursued in order for us to continue to be the cutting edge
to provide the best for the public. And the only way to do
that is to give incentives so that the brightest will have
the initiative to continue to pursue those technologies...
Admiral Robert E. Krameks (Commandant,
U.S. Coast Guard) Testimony:
In a hearing before a subcommittee of
the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives,
then Commandant Admiral Kramek, in reference to MH Systems
"If the test
was effective, I think then we would take it to the International
Maritime Safety Committee --- and then, if this looks
like an acceptable system worldwide and for the United
States, why, I think then we would need to take the next
The conferees directed the Secretary of the Navy to provide
$2,400,000 to the Maritime Administration to complete testing
of the potential interim solution to remediate potential damage
resulting from oil spills from existing tank vessels such
as the "American Underpressure System." The conferees
believe that this system may have significant defense applications
and may also provide environmental safeguards for tank vessels.
In the fiscal year 1999 DoD Appropriations Conference Report,
"the conferees directed the Secretary of the Navy to
provide funds to the Maritime Administration to complete testing
of the potential interim solution to remediate potential damage
resulting form oil spills from existing tank vessels. Based
on additional information, the conferees have determined that
the Maritime Administration is not the appropriate organization
to execute this effort. Therefore, the conferees direct that
the fiscal year 1999 RDT&E funds be redirected to the
Office of Naval Research for program execution."