Commandant

  • Congressional and Agency Actions to Implement Changes to U.S.-Flag Vessel Safety Requirements Three Years after the M/V El Faro Incident

    October 1, 2018 marked three years since the tragic sinking of the M/V El Faro – ranking as one of the worst maritime disasters in U.S. history and resulting in the highest death toll for a U.S. commercial vessel sinking in almost 40 years.  Following this incident, both the  National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and U.S. Coast Guard spent considerable  effort to investigate this incident.  The NTSB released its final report on December 12, 2017 – with more than 70 safety recommendations – and the Commandant’s final agency action (“Commandant’s Action”) – published with 31 safety recommendations – was published shortly thereafter on December 19, 2017.  The Commandant’s Action can be found at:  https://media.defense.gov/2017/Dec/21/2001859858/-1/-1/0/EL%20FARO%20 FINAL%20ACTION%20MEMO.pdf. Shortly after the release of these reports, questions immediately arose as to what action the Coast Guard and Congress would take to implement changes and how long it would take.  To the Coast Guard’s credit they immediately took steps to implement many of the safety recommendations emanating from the Commandant’s Action.  Congress did not move quite as fast but recently enacted legislation in the form of the Hamm Alert Safety Alert of 2018 (the “Act”), named after the wife of a M/V El Faro crewmember who initiated a petition urging Congress to take immediate action to ensure safety changes are made to prevent such an occurrence from happening again.

    Coast Guard Action
    RADM John Nedeau, Assistant Command for Prevention Policy, released a statement on the Coast Guard Blog for Maritime Professional exactly three years after the incident noting that the Commandant urged industry to move with a sense of urgency as a result of lessons learned.  In this regard, RADM Nedeau outlined four lines of action taken by the Coast Guard, as follows.

    1. Examination of U.S.-flag Vessels in the Alternative Compliance Program (“ACP”) – In October 2017 the Coast initiated a review of U.S.-flag vessels enrolled in ACP and similar programs.  While finding that that there were some improvements in the fleet the Coast Guard found numerous fundamental safety deficiencies resulting in removing inspection certificates for five vessels.  The Coast Guard plans to continue to conduct risk-based, targeted oversight and increase its evaluation and scrutiny of the U.S.-flag fleet.

    2. Third Party Oversight Review Team (T-PORT) – The Coast Guard initiated its roll-out of this program in January 2018.  It is directed at improving its oversight system for classification societies that perform delegated work.  Among other things, this program has developed more rigorous procedures and detailed policy for both third parties and local Coast Guard marine inspectors, started work towards a single U.S. Supplement to the classification society rules and Safety of Life at Sea Convention (“SOLAS”), and created a new oversight of third parties office.  It expects to complete its policy changes by the end of 2018.

    3. Marine Inspector Improvements – In 2018 the Coast Guard initiated actions to substantially improve its marine inspector training program including to prioritize the filling of vacant marine inspector positions.

    4. Updated Safety Standards – In 2018 the Coast Guard initiated action to propose safety changes to International Maritime Organization (“IMO”) which will be followed by improvements to U.S. safety regulations.
    A full copy of RADM Nedeau’s statement can be found at http://mariners.coastguard.dodlive.mil/2018/10/01/10-1-2018-remembering-el-faro/

    Congressional Action
    On October 11, 2018 President Trump signed the Save our Seas Act of 2018 into law.  https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-115s3508enr/pdf/BILLS-115s3508enr.pdf.  Title II of this law contained the Act which focuses solely on marine safety and implementing changes in light of the M/V El Faro incident.  The Act adopts many of the recommendations contained in the Commandant’s final agency action.  However, while the Act codifies many of the corrective actions undertaken by the Coast Guard, it is more complementary in nature to the actions taken by the Coast Guard to date as discussed above, and does not impose many new major obligations on the Coast Guard or industry that were not already underway.  The following are the key provisions of the legislation.

    • No later than 60 days after enactment, publish flag-state detention rates of each type of inspected vessel and identify any recognized classification society that inspected or surveyed a vessel that was subject to a major control action attributable to a major nonconformity.

    • Direct the General Accounting Office to conduct an audit of the Coast Guard’s oversight and enforcement of safety management plans required under the International Safety Management Code, and report to Congress in 18 months on the program’s effectiveness and provide recommendations.

    • Require that all inspected freight vessels carry enhanced distress signals and location technology, and require companies to maintain records of all incremental weight changes made to inspected freight vessels.

    • Direct the Coast Guard to work with IMO to require a high-water alarm sensor in each cargo hold of a freight vessel, and amend SOLAS to require that all voyage data recorders be installed in a float-free arrangement and contain an integrated Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon.

    • Direct the Coast Guard, subject to the availability of appropriations, to identify and procure equipment to provide search-and-rescue units with the ability to attach a radio or Automatic Identification System strobe or beacon to an object that is not immediately retrievable.

    • Require the Commandant of the Coast Guard to establish enhanced training programs for Coast Guard marine inspectors, and take other actions to improve the marine inspection program of the Coast Guard.

    • Direct the Coast Guard to review its policies and procedures for making major conversion determinations, the effectiveness of certain international and domestic vessel safety requirements, and the reliability of self-locating datum marker buoys.

    • Direct the Commandant of the Coast Guard to (1) conduct an assessment of its oversight of recognized (third-party) organizations and the impact on compliance by and safety of vessels inspected by such organizations, (2) establish within the Coast Guard an office to conduct comprehensive and targeted oversight of all such recognized organizations, and (3) review its procedures for delegating to recognized organizations to ensure that these authorities are being conducted in a manner that ensures safe maritime transportation.

    • Create a single United States Supplement to rules of recognized classification societies for classification and inspection of vessels.

    •Task the Commandant with working with the IMO to ensure that vessels receive timely and graphical weather forecasts.

    •No later than December 19, 2018, and every two years thereafter, direct the Commandant to report to Congress on the Coast Guard’s implementation of each action outlined in the Commandant’s final action memo dated December 19, 2017.
    In conclusion, both the Coast Guard and Congress should be commended for taking action relatively quickly following release of the NTSB report and Commandant’s Action in order to enhance the safety of the U.S.-flag fleet and both the Coast Guard and third party oversight programs.  It is also clear that there will be increased scrutiny by both the Coast Guard and third party auditors during inspections and examinations of the U.S.-flag fleet.  Owners, operators, and third party auditors should take heed of these developments and take appropriate action to ensure compliance with applicable requirements.  It is important that all industry stakeholders learn from this tragic incident to do whatever we can to prevent a similar accident occurring in the future.

    About the Authors
    Jon Waldron is a partner in the Firm’s Washington, D.C., office who concentrates his practice in maritime, international and environmental law, including maritime security. He served in the U.S. Coast Guard for 20 years, attaining the rank of commander, and was senior counsel to the marine Spill Response Corporation.

    Stefanos Roulakis is an associate in the Firm’s Washington, D.C., office in the maritime group. He focuses his practice on regulatory matters, international maritime issues, environmental work, and has taken a proactive approach with his clients using maritime compliance through audits and trainings.




  • The editors of Marine Technology Reporter are pleased to share that Admiral Karl Schultz, Commandant, USCG is #2 in the 14th Annual "MTR100". The full print and electronic edition of Marine Technology Reporter will be available shortly. Until then, presented here is the full story on Admiral Karl Schultz.

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  • , a Medal of Honor recipient for his actions during the initial landings on Betio, Tarawa Atoll, in the Pacific in 1943, and who later became the 22nd commandant of the Marine Corps. Claudia Natter, wife of Adm. Robert J. Natter, USN commander in chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, and Zola Shoup, of Arlington,

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  • of these requirements and uniform policy regarding enforcement of these requirements. Free copies may be obtained by requesting NVC 1-81; write: Commandant (G-MP-4/14), USCG, Washington, D.C. 20593

  • MR Nov-19#47  the standards agreed upon  Commandant of the Coast Guard Adm)
    November 2019 - Maritime Reporter and Engineering News page: 47

    a “Polar Class 2” ves- operations to resolve. USCGC Healy (WAGB 20) haul, which will be spaced out over three sel, based on the standards agreed upon Commandant of the Coast Guard Adm. Commissioned 1999 years so she will still be able to support by the International Association of Clas- Karl Schultz said

  • MR Nov-19#46  does not have  Vice Commandant Adm. Robert Ray,  and)
    November 2019 - Maritime Reporter and Engineering News page: 46

    ,” said Coast Guard nation in key strategic areas, such as oil The Coast Guard’s icebreaking ? eet capable ? eet but currently does not have Vice Commandant Adm. Robert Ray, and gas development, ports, railways, is in a precarious predicament. To say the capability or capacity to assure ac- speaking

  • MN Sep-19#54  of Tech- Coast Guard Commandant Adm.  Orleans before)
    September 2019 - Marine News page: 54

    (Mechanical En- son presented the award on behalf of his career at Cooper T. Smith in New gineering), the Divers Institute of Tech- Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Orleans before joining Puerto Rico nology (Commercial Diver), and Lloyds Karl Schultz in conjunction with the Marine Management. He leaves

  • MN Mar-19#46  of all mariners tested, the Commandant of the Coast  watch)
    March 2019 - Marine News page: 46

    state that if industry’s positivity rate is less than 1 per- that fuel flter change one half hour before getting off cent of all mariners tested, the Commandant of the Coast watch and went into bed, and then that fuel flter, maybe Guard can reduce the random testing rate to 25%. “And, we he forgot to turn

  • MN Mar-19#45 , “I often say to mariners,  Commandant of the Coast Guard,)
    March 2019 - Marine News page: 45

    as it is in performing enforce- They can write to their congressman, their senator, or the ment duties. Mannion insists, “I often say to mariners, Commandant of the Coast Guard, requesting a change, ‘This is a protection for you. This is your opportunity; if outlining their position. And then make that

  • MN Mar-19#44  16.230(f)(2) requires the Commandant to set  leagues – that)
    March 2019 - Marine News page: 44

    truth, the Coast Guard had little to say about the matter. tigations, through research done by our other DOT col- 46 CFR part 16.230(f)(2) requires the Commandant to set leagues – that drugs and alcohol are a signifcant safety risk.” the minimum random drug testing rate at 50 percent when Mannion knows of

  • MN Mar-19#26  government, 
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    March 2019 - Marine News page: 26

    that rules governing interstate commerce look, released last fall by ADM Karl lie within the exclusive purview of the federal government, Schultz, Commandant. The owners precisely to avoid the imposition of overlapping or con- and mariners of the vessels that ply our ficting state regulations that could

  • MT Jul-19#12  30 million jobs and  The Commandant is clearly passionate)
    July 2019 - Marine Technology Reporter page: 12

    MTR 100 Greg Trauthwein support more than 30 million jobs and The Commandant is clearly passionate increased vulnerability. We’re building $5.4 trillion in economic activity. about all matters maritime, and he real- out our cyber capability at the Coast A key document for Admiral Schultz’s izes too

  • MT Jul-19#10 . Karl L. Schultz 
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    July 2019 - Marine Technology Reporter page: 10

    MTR 100 U.S. Coast GUard Adm. Karl L. Schultz Schultz Commandant, United States Coast Guard The career biography of Admiral his leadership team have been tireless that when you talk about investment in Schultz is predictably impressive for advocates to ensure that Coast Guard infrastructure, maritime

  • MR Aug-19#33  Geographic’s  build Le Commandant-Charcot, named  vessel)
    August 2019 - Maritime Reporter and Engineering News page: 33

    vessels (including the new- signed, built and tested on many offshore vide a great deal of maneuverability, For example National Geographic’s build Le Commandant-Charcot, named vessel operation in areas with extreme eliminating the need for stern thruster, Explorer (DNV Ice IA on the vessel’s for a French

  • MR Aug-19#32  EXPEDITION CRUISE 
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    August 2019 - Maritime Reporter and Engineering News page: 32

    SHIPBUILDING 2019: EXPEDITION CRUISE Above Le Commandant Charcot. Below Silver Origin under construction @ De Hoop Shipyard. Photo courtesy De Hoop Shipyard Photo: Ponant/ Stirling Design International 32 Maritime Reporter & Engineering News • AUGUST 2019 MR #8 (26-33).indd 32 7/29/2019

  • MR Aug-19#6  
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    August 2019 - Maritime Reporter and Engineering News page: 6

    . But the near-term future looks promising, for both the newbuild and terview with Admiral Karl Schultz, Vladimir Bibik repair sectors, driven by: Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, this month in our ‘Heavy Lift’ Subscription Kathleen Hickey k.hickey@marinelink.com • Environmental Regulation: It is

  • MN Aug-19#62  
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    August 2019 - Marine News page: 62

    MN100 ADMIRAL KARL SCHULTZ: Commandant, United States Coast Guard The career biography of Admiral Schultz is predictably said Admiral Schultz. “We’ve never been building ? ve impressive for an of? cer that has ascended to the top of classes of cutters (simultaneously) in my 36 years here; the

  • MN Aug-19#8  and Admiral Karl Schultz, Commandant of the United States)
    August 2019 - Marine News page: 8

    translates to staying power. Also in this edition, industry heavyweights such as Metal Shark Co-Owner and CEO Chris Allard and Admiral Karl Schultz, Commandant of the United States Coast Guard remind us that leadership is a key component of staying power on the water. As the most visible icons of the dynamic

  • MR Jul-19#39  to 
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    July 2019 - Maritime Reporter and Engineering News page: 39

    . While “(Today) I saw a unique, once in an al- the recent record high waters and rapid most 100 years circumstance in regards to Admiral Karl Schultz, Commandant, USCG From Brown to Blue currents have slowed operations by Asso- the water levels on the river,” said Admi- Anyone who has been to New Orleans

  • MR Jul-19#38  with Admiral Karl Schultz, Commandant, USCG, provides a ‘birds)
    July 2019 - Maritime Reporter and Engineering News page: 38

    Flying into New Orleans with Admiral Karl Schultz, Commandant, USCG, provides a ‘birds eye view’ on the robust and diverse business in and around the lower Mississippi River. Photo: Greg Trauthwein ADMIRAL SCHULTZ ON U.S. SHIPBUILDING ast month Maritime Reporter of shoreline, 25,000 miles of navigable

  • MR Jul-19#6  Karl Schultz, the Commandant of the United States)
    July 2019 - Maritime Reporter and Engineering News page: 6

    18th! (OK, full disclosure, the Admiral’s PAO actually ‘called’). the boom in business far exceeds any- Information Technology Admiral Karl Schultz, the Commandant of the United States Coast Guard, invited thing that I have seen in the last three Vladimir Bibik me to join him on his jet for a day trip to

  • MR Jul-19#3  Rivers
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    July 2019 - Maritime Reporter and Engineering News page: 3

    Photos: Greg Trauthwein 36 Roiling on the Rivers Admiral Karl Schultz, Commandant of the United States Coast Guard, invited Maritime Reporter & Engineer- ing News on a trek to New Orleans for an underway tour onboard a mid-stream transfer operation in the Mississippi River. As the U.S. inland waterway

  • MP Q1-19#50  U.S. Coast Guard Commandant ADM James  CommandBridge)
    Jan/Feb 2019 - Maritime Logistics Professional page: 50

    in real-time. In today’s dangerous and digital business environment, that also comes ‘just in time.’ By Joseph Keefe etired U.S. Coast Guard Commandant ADM James CommandBridge – the Mariner Group’s fagship technology, Loy is widely credited with coining the now familiar emerged to sort it all

  • MP Q1-19#26  capabilities) designated Le Commandant Charcot, to be  consumers)
    Jan/Feb 2019 - Maritime Logistics Professional page: 26

    vessels. Its Polar Code 2 (or “PC2” with ice break- mitment to eliminating single use plastics on the ships. Many ing capabilities) designated Le Commandant Charcot, to be consumers may only hear about these initiatives when stories delivered from Vard’s Tulcea yard in 2021, will feature LNG run on

  • MP Q1-19#25 Le Commandant Charcot 
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    Jan/Feb 2019 - Maritime Logistics Professional page: 25

    Le Commandant Charcot ruise shipping, at the intersection of maritime and hos- pitality industries, continues to be vibrant. The Cruise CLines International Association (CLIA), the industry’s major trade association, forecasts that the ocean cruise seg- ment will draw 30 million passengers in 2019

  • MN Feb-19#56  vessel 
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    February 2019 - Marine News page: 56

    , as these apply one percent. 46 CFR part 16.230(f) enhance the Port’s ability to expand to the U.S. domestic passenger vessel (2) requires the Commandant to set barge service along the Puget Sound industry. “We are proud of our sup- the minimum random drug testing marine corridor. The Port of Everett

  • MN Feb-19#22 , which provides that the Commandant “may”    maritime employees)
    February 2019 - Marine News page: 22

    duced to twenty-fve percent (25%) pursuant to 46 C.F.R. maritime industry. If confned to current and active § 16.230(f), which provides that the Commandant “may” maritime employees, the statistical data would refect a reduce the annual testing to this lower level if he determines positive rate

  • MN Jan-19#16  beyond the McMurdo 
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mission. Do we really)
    January 2019 - Marine News page: 16

    from perhaps the waterfront’s most important regulatory professional. Admiral Karl Schultz Let’s start with the Icebreaker: beyond the McMurdo Commandant, mission. Do we really need it if there’s going to be per- manent water in the Arctic, as the scientists tell us? U.S. Coast Guard We’ve talked