Page 10: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (February 2019)

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Dennis L. Bryant

Dennis Bryant is with Bryant’s Maritime Consulting, and a regular contributor to Maritime Reporter &

Engineering News as well as online at

U.S. Legislative Update

The recently-enacted Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018 included a number of provisions impacting the maritime community. The most comprehensive impact involved major changes to the ballast water management system (BWMS) requirements, which I addressed in a previous article. This article will address other provisions of interest in the Act.

provision (46 USC § The period of validity of certifcates of It also requires to Comptroller General entering the water from vessels, but 3305(d)) was enacted to documentation for recreational vessels to conduct an audit to the USCG process there is always room for improvement, improve the consistency in and for renewal thereof has been extend- for issuance of letter of determination particularly after 25 years.

A marine inspections between ed to fve years (46 USC § 12105(e)). and the coordination with the US Cus- The Coast Guard is directed to pre-

Ofcers in Charge, Marine Inspections The Secretary of Transportation has toms and Border Protection (CBP) and scribe regulations that treat marine (OCMIs) and deduce disparities between been charged with responsibility to pro- the Maritime Administration (MARAD). throw bags as a type of lifesaving equip-

USCG Sectors. It would also require the vide for the establishment, sustainment, Section 824 of the Act directs the ment and allow carriage of such throw

Coast Guard to provide persons afected and operation of a land-based, resilient, Comptroller General to conduct a com- bag as an alternative for one additional by a decision or action by an OCMI or and reliable alternative timing system prehensive review of the processes and throwable personal fotation devise on the Marine Safety Center all information to that currently provided by GPS (49 resources used by the Coast Guard to rafts that are 16 feet or more overall in necessary for such person to exercise USC 312). The system must provide implement vessel response plan (VRP) length (Section 827).

any right to appeal such decision or ac- wide-area coverage and be synchro- requirements of OPA 90. The review The Coast Guard is directed to develop tion. It is unclear how this provision in- nized with coordinated universal time must include those processes used by a performance standard for the alterna- teracts with the Freedom of Information (UTC), be extremely difcult to disrupt the Coast Guard to approve VRPs; to ap- tive use and possession of visual distress

Act (FOIA). or degrade, and work in concert with and prove alternate planning criteria used in alerting and locating signals for recre-

A manufacturer, distribution, or dealer complement any other similar position- approving such plans; to verify compli- ational vessels (Section 828). It should that installs propulsion machinery and ing, navigation, and timing systems, in- ance with such plans; and to act in the be noted that a recent USCG policy let- associated starting controls on a covered cluding enhanced long-range navigation event of a failure to comply with the ter provides guidance for acceptance of recreational vessel is required to equip systems. This long-overdue provision requirements of such plans. The review electronic visual distress signal devices such vessel with an engine cut-of switch efectively requires the restarting of the must also include an examination of all (eVDSDs) that are evaluated as meet- and engine cut-of switch link that meet eLORAN system, but will require time federal and state agency resources used ing the design and performance require-

American Boat and Yacht Council Stan- to fully implement. by the Coast Guard in carrying out those ments of RTCM Standard 13200.0 as dard A-33 as in efect on the date of en- Section 515 of the Act amends 46 processes; an analysis of how those equivalent to electric distress lights cer- actment of this Act (4 December 2018). USC § 2102(41), but it clearly meant processes ensure compliance with ap- tifed to 46 CFR § 161.013.

The requirement enters into efect on 4 to amend 46 USC § 2102(31) relating plicable law and are implemented in the The Coast Guard is directed to amend

December 2019. Unfortunately, the pro- to scientifc personnel on board oceano- feld; a determination regarding whether its regulations to eliminate the require- vision (46 USC § 4312) does not provide graphic research vessels so as to include asset and equipment mobilization time ment that a mariner actively using the for later amendments to the engine cut- individuals receiving instruction in requirements under approved VRPs can mariner’s credential complete an ap- of switch standard. oceanography or limnology. This error be met by the vessels to which they ap- proved refresher or recertifcation course

The statute relating to logbook entries should be addressed in a later technical ply; and recommendations for improv- to maintain a radar observer endorse- (46 USC §11304) was amended to clari- amendment. ing those processes. ment. fy that logbooks may be kept in electron- Section 516 of the Act is intended to This provision could constitute the This rulemaking is exempted from ic form and to clarify the requirement for enhance the transparency of the ves- frst in-depth third-party analysis of the the requirements of the Administra- entries regarding illness of or injury to a sel documentation process by requiring VRP program since its implementation tive Procedure Act, thus requiring no seaman, including the nature of the ill- prompt publication of any letter of deter- in 1993. That program has greatly en- advance notice and comment (Section ness or injury and the medical treatment mination issued by the USCG National hanced the response to oil spills from 829). There are a number of provisions provided. Vessel Documentation Center (NVDC). vessels and reduced the volume of oil relating to commercial fshing and re- 10 Maritime Reporter & Engineering News • FEBRUARY 2019

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