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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No sVGP For Three More Years

The sVGP is once again on the back burner. The moratorium on vessels less than 79 feet has been extended. According to Sen Vitter’s officer, a compromise was reached while working on a larger bill regarding vessel discharge requirements. The language was inserted into the Howard Coble Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014 (S.2444), which extends the expiration date of the moratorium for vessels less than 79 feet from December 18, 2014 to December 18, 2017. That bill was signed into law by the President on December 18. Under the moratorium, NPDES permits are not required for discharges incidental to the normal operation of commercial fishing vessels and other non-recreational vessels less than 79 feet, except for ballast water. I have verified this with the folks at EPA Headquarters and they have asked that I spread the word. Merry Christmas.
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4225 Hits
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WorkBoat Show 2014

Don’t miss the panel discussion: Subchapter M - Top 10 Things You Need to Know. The panel will take place on Wednesday December 3, from 4:00pm until 5:00pm. Also, please visit our booth:

Booth 3561

Come by, say hello, and ask for the special gift. We look forward to seeing you.

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3509 Hits
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Small Vessel General Permit (sVGP)

There is currently a moratorium against permitting incidental discharges on vessels less than 79 feet. Translation – the current vessel general permit does not apply to vessels less than 79 feet. However, the current moratorium expires on December 18, 2014. According to the website govtrack.us, on November 19, 2014, Sen Marco Rubio introduced a bill to extend the moratorium, Public Law 110-299. The website gives the bill only a 7% chance of being enacted.

If the moratorium is not extended, on December 19, 2014 the Small Vessel General Permit (sVGP) will go into effect. Non-recreational vessels less than 79 feet will have to comply with the provisions of the sVGP beginning on that date. Here are some of the highlights. Vessel owner/operators will have to: read the permit, sign and carry a copy of the Permit Authorization and Record of Inspection (PARI) form on each vessel, comply with the best management practices for specific discharges, conduct inspections of certain items “frequently, daily, or quarterly,” as required by the permit. They will have to keep track of all instances of non-compliance and submit them in a noncompliance report to the EPA each year prior to February 28. All this, of course, under the penalty of severe fines and/or imprisonment. All sVGP records must be kept for three years. The Coast Guard is charged with evaluating VGP compliance during vessel inspections. With Subchapter M’s expected Final Rule date set for March of 2015, prudent vessel operators will recognize the potential threat and ensure full compliance beginning on December 19, 2014.

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Subchapter M Fatigue

Don’t let your guard down. I have noticed many in the towboat industry are suffering from Subchapter M fatigue. Understandably, many are sick of the constant hype and have become desensitized at best, and disgusted at worst, at the mention of Subchapter M. I have deliberately backed off from bring it up myself, but the truth is the industry should not totally let their guard down either. According to the regulatory agenda, as of this writing, the expected publish date for the Subchapter M Final Rule is still March 2015. In anticipation of the possibility that Subchapter M will become final in 2015, don’t miss out on this important presentation: Subchapter M - Top 10 Things You Need to Know. You can attend this presentation that I will be giving at the Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle on November 19; or the panel discussion at the International Workboat Show in New Orleans on December 3. If you haven’t had a chance to go through the Proposed Rule yet, this is your chance to get the highlights. If you’ve been well versed and are suffering from Subchapter M fatigue, this is your chance to get back in tune, just in case.

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TSMS Workshop August 8

Don't miss out on this important workshop.

TSMS Workshop

Some seats are still available. Register today.

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TSMS Workshop - Book a Room Today

For those of you travelling from out of town for the TSMS Workshop who want to stay at Hilton, now is the time to book a room. The Hilton is only holding the block of rooms until this Friday. Please forward this information to anyone you think would benefit from it. See you on August 8th.

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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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