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Operational Excellence through Leadership and Compliance

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.

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Subchapter M Update

The update to the DHS regulatory agenda now shows the expected publish date of the Final Rule for Subchapter M, towing vessel inspection regulations, to be March of 2015. While some find the moving goal post frustrating, it also buys time for preparation.

Anyone who may be impacted by this regulation should take the time to read over the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). Some things to consider are: what equipment and other changes may be required for each company vessel based on the 17 "sub-applicabilities;" and, is it best for the company to choose the Coast Guard compliance option or the third party TSMS option.

Towing vessel captains should not be forgotten when considering this important compliance option. It might be interesting if companies asked a sampling of captains how they feel about passing an audit where the auditor is required by regulation to determine, by gathering objective evidence, if the company has, "effectively implemented its TSMS throughout all levels of the organization, including onboard its vessels." Even if the answer is a resounding, "bring it on!" on board implementation of all company policies and procedures would be a good topic to focus on over the next six months.
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Towing Safety Management Systems Forum

The Final Rule for Subchapter M, the Coast Guard regulations to make towing vessels Coast Guard inspected, is scheduled to be published in September. If you are in the towing industry, you will have to make a decision under this new regulation’s compliance options: whether to use the traditional Coast Guard inspection process, or to use third party auditors and surveyors under a Towing Safety Management System (TSMS). To assist you in making this decision we have created a TSMS workshop to be held in New Orleans on August 8. This workshop is essential for those who want to make an educated decision on what is best for their company going forward. Please visit our Public Seminars page and follow the instructions to register for this important event. Thank you.

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Subchapter M Final Rule

At a recent conference some interesting information was passed regarding Subchapter M. The Coast Guard has posted on the regulatory agenda, a date of September 2014 for the release of the Final Rule for Subchapter M - Towing Vessel Inspection Regulations.

 

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Towing Safety Management System - Contents

The purpose of writing down the best procedure for a particular operation in a safety management system is to standardize operations in order to minimize human error. Safety management systems (SMS) vary greatly regarding their content, even within the same industry. That’s because it’s up to the company using it, or developing it, to determine which operations should be included. Some regulatory requirements, or industry programs, dictate what topics require policies and procedures, but most provide general headings. For example, the International Safety Management (ISM) Code provides a general outline such as Section 7 – Shipboard Operations. The company is expected to fill in the blanks.

 

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Nontank Vessel Response Plans

Hopefully you made the deadline of January 30th to submit your Nontank Vessel Response Plan (NTVRP) to the Coast Guard. According to Coast Guard Headquarters, on January 31, 2014, all old nontank vessel response plans were to be deactivated. That’s because the long awaited final rule for the nontank vessel response plan regulations was published a few months ago. The old nontank vessel response plans were drafted based upon Coast Guard guidance, which is now superseded by the regulation.


The regulation applies to any vessel operating in U.S. water that is measured 400 gross tons or more, regulatory or ITC. From there, the sub-applicabilities get a little complicated based upon capacities. Some of the additional service requirements include fire-fighting and salvage, dispersants, aerial surveillance, shoreline protection and shoreline clean-up. If applicable, evidence of signed contracts for these services must be submitted with the NTVRP.

 

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EPA Vessel General Permit 2013

The 2008 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Vessel General Permit (2013 VGP) expires on December 19, 2013. On the same day the new EPA VGP 2013 will go into effect. The following is a summary of most of the issues vessel operators might be concerned with. However, this summary will not be comprehensive, and vessel operators should refer to the permit itself to ensure compliance.


The new 2013 EPA VGP applies to non-recreational vessels 79 feet or greater, just as the previous 2008 permit did. In order to receive coverage under the new EPA VGP vessels 300 tons or greater, or with the capacity of 8 cubic meters of ballast water, must submit a Notice of Intent. This is the same requirement that was included in the 2008 permit, but now it must be done through the EPA’s eNOI system.  Many vessels which were not required to, submitted a Notice of Intent for the 2008 permit. According to the EPA website, “It is important to understand that operators must submit an NOI for coverage under the 2013 VGP even if they had submitted an NOI for coverage under the 2008 VGP.”

 

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Facility Security Officer (FSO) Training

Recently, a few clients have asked me about training and certification of facility security officers (FSOs). So, I will try to explain the current requirements and those expected in the future.


Ten years ago the MTSA regulations were published. The Coast Guard listed the requirements for FSO, stating the FSO must have “general knowledge, through training or on the job experience in the following:” and went on to list the topics.A subsection went on to say, that in addition the FSO must “have knowledge andreceive training in the following:” and went on to list further topics. Most designated FSOs realized they needed training, and a number of training providers developed courses, delivered training, and certified that individuals had been trained.

 

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Declaration of Security

The maritime security regulations call for the use of a Declaration of Security (DOS) during certain times and situations when there a heightened security threat. The International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) Code takes a more general approach to the DOS than do the very specific U.S. Coast Guard regulations on the topic, which spell out which types of interfaces require a DOS at which MARSEC levels.


However, the intent of the regulations is clear in both, which is for the two interfacing parties to get together and make a deal regarding who will take responsibility for what security measures during a particular interface. This contract, which is usually limited to a single page, is signed by both parties.

 

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Workboat Show 2013 Wrap up

The Workboat Show this year was a little warmer than most, as it is usually held in December, but the “Subchapter M” buzz has certainly cooled off since last year’s show. As the years go by, with no word of when the final rule may come, many have become desensitized.


Despite the uncertainty surrounding the topic, we did fill the room for our conference session on Subchapter M. The panelist, including myself, shared our ideas on the need and methodology for training, compliance management, and preparation for the impending regulations. The session was well received and ended with spirited round of questions and answers that could have gone on for at least another thirty minutes.

 

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Workboat Show 2013

Don’t miss the 2013 Workboat Show. It’s not in December this year. In fact, it’s only three weeks away. The International Workboat Show will take place at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans from October 9th through October 11th.


Once again, there is a big demand for information regarding Subchapter M, the proposed towing vessel inspection regulations. On Wednesday October 9th, from 1:00pm until 2:00pm, I will be participating in a panel discussion on Subchapter M. The Workboat Show website describes the session as follows:

 

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