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Maritime Compliance Report

Welcome. Staying in compliance takes dedication, diligence and strong leadership skills to stay on top of all the requirements which seem to keep coming at a rapid pace. With this blog I hope to provide visitors with content that will help them in their daily work of staying in compliance. I hope you find it a resource worthy of your time and I look forward to your feedback, questions, comments and concerns. Thanks for stopping by. To avoid missing critical updates, don’t forget to sign up for email alerts by using the Subscribe to blog link above.

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Current regulations have required all credentialed merchant mariners to hold a valid TWIC. But that is no longer the case due to a recent change in the law. Some credentialed mariners will no longer have to obtain a TWIC. For example: on a towboat which opts not to have a security plan, only the licensed captain has been required to have a TWIC due to the fact that he has a license. Now, due to the recent law change, the captain of the towboat with no security plan will no longer have to hold a valid TWIC. The same goes for most small passenger vessel captains who will no longer be required to maintain a valid TWIC. Some think it is a good thing that the Coast Guard has had to revise the requirement because they feel the TWIC is useless.

 

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Sorry, it’s not going away… The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the new Vessel General Permit (VGP) on November 30, 2011. This is a draft of the permit which will go into effect on December 19, 2013. This draft has been released for public comment, so don’t miss the opportunity to provide your input.

 

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As most of you know the proposed regulations to make towing vessels Coast Guard inspected vessels has been on the streets for about four months. The comment period is now over and so we will wait to see how the Coast Guard decides on the many issues raised when the final rule is published.

 

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Towing Vessel Inspections Regulations: Just a reminder that the comment period ends December 9th on the proposed towing vessel inspection regulations. Here's a link to the docket: Docket on NPRM for Towing Vessel Inspections

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The International WorkBoat Show is a great event every year, not only for generating business leads, but for what you can learn from the conversations you have. I had a very interesting conversation with one member of the Coast Guard which is definitely worth sharing and learning from. 
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For those of you attending the International WorkBoat Show in New Orleans this week, I would like to invite you to come by and visit with us at our booth:2255 
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The Coast Guard has offered the industry a compliance option in the proposed towing vessel regulation: traditional Coast Guard inspections, or the Towing Vessel Safety Management System (TSMS). The TSMS was introduced to address the human element in towing vessel incidents, justified in the proposed rule by statistics which showed that human factors accounted for 54 percent of the medium and high severity towing vessel incidents. While the members of the Towing Safety Advisory Committee (TSAC) recommended that the TSMS be the backbone of any inspection program, the Coast Guard has proposed to make the TSMS a choice and not mandatory.

 

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Hopefully all concerned parties have had a chance to study the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on towing vessel inspections, because the regulations will have a significant impact on the industry in the years to come. The Coast Guard public meetings scheduled over the next couple of months should spark some interesting commentary which will surely make the meetings worth the price of admission.

 

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From the EPA...


Dear NPDES vessel program stakeholders,


The one time report electronic system is now available at http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/vessels/vesselsreporting.cfm

 

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The public forum sponsored by Maritime Compliance International, LLC held in New Orleans on September 9 was intended to inform the industry, not just on the contents of the NPRM, but also to discuss the implications and the intent of it all. The forum provided industry stakeholders with an overview of the regulations along with some insights, based on my past experience as a Coast Guard marine inspector, as to what it all might look like when fully implemented. This spurred some interesting discussions and some great comments which will be posted to the docket.

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New Orleans Riverside Hilton – Friday September 9, 2011
Forum is free. Please let us know if you plan on attending by emailing us

I’m on my second reading of the 76 page Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM). As a retired Coast Guard marine inspector who has issued many COIs, much of it looks very familiar, but it also leaves many questions unanswered. I spoke with the program manager at Coast Guard headquarters about many of the issues and he stressed the importance of raising all of these questions by posting them to the docket so the Coast Guard has the opportunity to consider them and respond to them before the final rule is published.

 

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New Orleans Riverside Hilton
Friday September 9
8:45am – 1:00pm

 
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At our last professional development workshop on EPA VGP and MARPOL Annex VI there was lots of concern about the EPA VGP one-time report which is currently coming due. My excellent contact at the EPA has provided some very specific and detailed information about the 30-36 month window. Below are his comments on the matter: First, EPA HQ has updated the electronic reporting page FAQ with many answers that address when one time reports are due for different scenarios. The FAQ can be found at http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/vessels/vesselsreporting.cfm#submit

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The Coast Guard is proposing extensive new regulations for the towing industry requiring towing vessels to obtain a certificate of inspection within the next few years. According to the Coast Guard discussion of the proposed rule, on an annual basis, towing vessel accidents are associated with 23 fatalities, 146 reportable injuries, 26 oil spills and $63.5 million in property damage. 4% of major incidents were due to electrical failures, equipment failures in propulsion and steering accounted for another 30%, and human factors contributed to 54% of the major incidents. One of these major accidents happened in New Orleans in July of 2008 resulting in a $275 million a day economic impact, and was used in Coast Guard testimony to Congress to argue in favor of the new regulations.

Since the majority of accidents are related to human factors, the Coast Guard is proposing a towing safety management system with specific procedures for crewmembers and shore side personnel to follow that will most likely ensure safe operations. The safety management system will be required to be audited by third party auditors to ensure that all vessels and employees within the company follow written protocols.

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Apparently, based upon a recently published Coast Guard policy decision, lots of facilities will be able to throw their facility security plans (FSPs) in the trash. The policy document “Policy Advisory Council #02-11” lists 35 regulated cargos which are now exempt from maritime security regulations based upon their low risk. Most of the facilities which will be able to dispose of their FSPs are facilities that deal exclusively with barges. In general, if any of these facilities receive ships they will still be required to have an FSP due to the ships they receive, as always. However, the document is still useful for those ship-receiving facilities in deciding the appropriate level of security for the “cargo awaiting loading on ships” since the policy document clearly states these products, “have little threat of contributing to a TSI.” Some questions for those ship-receiving facilities to ask about their FSP might be, “Do the cargo areas then still need to be restricted areas, or part of the secure area?”

 

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