Page 16: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (July 2016)

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Subchapter M

Slow Walking the Inspection of Towing Vessels

DENNIS BRYANT n 20 June 2016, the US Coast The Coast Guard has deferred, for towing vessels taking into account their third party organizations at a designated

Guard promulgated its long now, establishment of new requirements trade, route, construction, and arrange- frequency. In addition, the Coast Guard awaited or dreaded (depend- for hours of service or crew endurance ment. Not later than 22 July 2019, each will conduct compliance examinations

Oing on your perspective) ? nal management for mariners aboard towing company must implement a health and at least once every ? ve (5) years, along rule regarding inspection of towing ves- vessels. Those issues will be the subject safety plan, documenting compliance with additional unannounced compli- sels. The new regulations, which will of a separate rulemaking. with Subchapter M, including its record- ance checks based on risk. The risk will enter into effect on 20 July, derive from One important impact of the new keeping provisions. The company must be determined through analysis of man- a 2004 legislative amendment which regulations is that, once they enter into also ensure that all persons on its tow- agement and vessel safety history. added towing vessels to the list of ‘ves- effect, the U.S. Coast Guard will be the ing vessels comply with the health and The Coast Guard will provide direct sels subject to inspection’. That statute principal federal agency overseeing tow- safety plan. oversight of the third-party organiza- also authorized regulations to establish ing vessels. The Occupational Safety Organizations operating towing ves- tions that conduct TSMS audits and a safety management system for towing and Health Administration (OSHA) sels subject to inspection under Sub- surveys through a process of observa- vessels and maximum hours of service will immediately lose its authority over chapter M will be required to elect in- tion and approval. This process, which and related provisions for individuals inspected towing vessels. The towing spection under one of two options. One could be viewed as a specialized alter- engaged on towing vessels. Many of industry has chaffed for years at be- option would involve the annual Coast nate compliance program (ACP), will in- the new regulatory provisions, including ing subject to the safety regulations of Guard inspection regime, similar to that volve review and approval of the organi- the requirement for each covered tow- two separate (and sometimes con? ict- applicable to most other inspected ves- zation’s application for approval, as well ing vessel to have a valid certi? cate of ing) federal agencies. In addition, state sels. The second option would involve as the individual auditors and surveyors inspection (COI) will be phased in over agencies will lose much of their author- development of an acceptable Towing employed. Random visits will be made the next six years. Consequently, this ity over covered towing vessels. The Safety Management System (TSMS). to their of? ces and of their actual audits project will be eighteen years between regulations establish a comprehensive The TSMS, tailored to take into consid- and surveys on site. The Coast Guard conception and full delivery. safety system that includes company eration the organization’s size, structure, will also consider the organization’s

The rulemaking, as promulgated, es- compliance, vessel compliance, vessel and service, is the one that the Coast history when evaluating requests for re- tablishes safety regulations governing standards, and oversight in a new Code Guard expects to be the favored option. newal of their approvals, to occur at least the inspection, standards, and safety of Federal Regulations (CFR) subchap- It would describe the organization’s pro- every ? ve (5) years. Approvals may also management systems of US towing ves- ter [Subchapter M] of Title 46 dedicated cedures for ensuring compliance with the be revoked for failure to comply with the sels of 26 feet or more in length and US solely to towing vessels. These regula- applicable vessel and personnel require- conditions of the approval.

towing vessels of any length that move tions are intended to reduce the risk of ments. TSMS compliance would be ver- Certi? cates of Inspection (COIs) will barges carrying hazardous material in such deaths, injuries, casualties, and ma- i? ed through third-party organizations be issued by the Coast Guard to vessels bulk. The regulations also authorize the rine environmental incidents. The Of? - and documented by issuance of TSMS based on successful compliance with the use of approved third-party auditors and cer in Charge Marine Inspection (OCMI) Certi? cates. Towing vessels operating inspection requirements, as evidenced surveyors for routine towing vessel in- is provided broad discretion to establish under the TSMS option would receive through either the traditional USCG spections. manning requirements for individual audits and surveys by USCG-approved inspection process or the new TSMS (Photo Credit: Pat Folan) 16 Maritime Reporter & Engineering News • JULY 2016

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