Page 8: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (March 2019)

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Joseph Keefe

Joseph Keefe is a 1980 (Deck) graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, the editor of both Maritime Logistics Professional and MarineNews magazines. He can be reached at


What a Long, Strange Trip it’s Been range Beach, Alabama: I’ve as many as 5,300 previously uninspect- the AWO’s RCP program, the gulf wid- terminal – not unless the terminal itself never actually been here ed vessels (nationwide) begins right at ens. Manning and personnel manage- is so certi? ed to provide the level of re- before, and it is a (long) 40 here at USCG Sector Mobile, Alabama. ment is just one of many areas of (new) quired security. Coast Guard personnel

Ominute drive south, once you It turns out that subchapter M, even for concern. from Mobile reported this week that this exit I-10. It’s worth the visit. Who knew? the Coast Guard, can be a moving target, Towboat operators accustomed to car- was already becoming an issue.

Some of the most beautiful beaches I’ve and a regulatory mission that many of rying all sorts of miscellaneous extra There are myriad kinks to work out of ever seen. I’ll de? nitely be back. But, their inspectors are still sifting through, personnel to construction, dredging and the system. Reminiscent of the ‘venue enough about me. just like the rest of us. other such endeavors will now have to shopping’ that eventually led the Coast

At the TBS 2019 Conference, Pat Fo- Probably the most telling part of the account for who and how many are al- Guard to consolidate the 17 Regional lan and his TBS crew have organized a Coast Guard’s presentation involved the lowed on board, who is not, and provide Exam Centers (REC) into one central well attended event that centers on the disclosure that as many as many as 670 accommodations for those who are. The hub of authority in Martinsburg, WV, process of obtaining a COI under the vessels (as well as reoccurring deep draft days of hot bunking are over. Separately, towboat operators who operate between new subchapter M rules. A raft of tug and work) fall under the supervision of this the geographical coverage for a vessel and straddle multiple Coast Guard sec- towboat operators – most of them small- sector (Mobile), including 210 inspected accustomed to impromptu deviations tors can do a little venue shopping of er out? ts – who have embarked upon the towing vessels. In stark contrast, just from rivers over to lakes and then to their own. Don’t like the answer you get subM journey, traveled to Alabama from four quali? ed inspectors are available to near ocean service will forever be more in Mobile? Well, take it up river for an- all over the country. Also in attendance handle that workload. We asked if it was closely de? ned. If it isn’t allowed on the other opinion.

is the United States Coast Guard. In the realistic to expect that those four individ- COI, you shouldn’t be there and if you For its part, the Coast Guard says that middle of my one-week, four-state epic uals could possibly handle that volume, do go, and there is a casualty, it’ll impact they are aware of the situation and that, journey across the breadth of the U.S. especially with the introduction of the not only your punishment but your insur- “OCMI’s have telephones, and they fre-

Gulf Coast, I popped in to catch the best subM work to the mix. What followed ance coverage, as well. quently talk to one another.” Despite of this event, now in its second year. was a roundabout reply that concluded Oh, and depending on where you get obvious headcount restraints in terms of with advice that encouraged operators permission to roam, that might now re- available local subject matter experts, (especially those considering the Coast quire the installation of EPIRBs. And, Coast Guard personnel this week in-

The Coast Guard Option

The conference kicked off with a Guard option) to contact and coordinate like their blue water cousins, strict ad- sisted that they will do all in their power primer on the so-called ‘Coast Guard’ with their local OCMI’s as soon as was herence to the Coast Guard minimum to make the bridging process work for option. Presenting this information were possible. “July 20 is just around the cor- rest period rules will be enforced. For an those who choose the Coast Guard op- three Coast Guard representatives from ner,” said the Coast Guard presenter. It industry deeply invested in the “six on tion. To that end, they were reaching out the local sector, who also ? elded a ? urry certainly is, or operators previously op- / six off” culture, the balancing act will into the local towing community to ask, of questions from operators thirsty for a erating in an uninspected world, subM be an interesting one to watch develop. “Where are you in the SubM process,” better understanding of the process and brings many adjustments to day-to-day Likewise, security was discussed as an and, reminding them of impending dead- its many timelines. For its part, the Coast operations. For those smaller, one and increasingly important aspect of towboat lines, asking, “How are you going to get

Guard did not disappoint. And their view two-boat operations that didn’t have the operations. No longer can an unmanned there?” of the ongoing journey to compliance for ? nancial wherewithal to participate in barge necessarily be left unattended at a As of November 6, a rundown of Sub- 8 Maritime Reporter & Engineering News • MARCH 2019

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