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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Pressure Cooker Bombs?

Pressure cooker bombs! Who knew?


You did hopefully. That is, if you are a “Company, Vessel or Facility Security Officer.” The tragic events of this week’s Boston Marathon should have come as no surprise to those charged by federal regulations with having, “…general knowledge through training or on the job experience in… recognition of dangerous substances and devices.”


Ten years ago, when the Maritime Transportation Security Act regulations were published by the Coast Guard, I was hired by a training company as a subject matter expert to develop a course. It was during my research for this project that I first heard of the pressure cooker bomb. The information that I gathered at the time was that this type of improvised explosive device (IED) was very popular in Malaysia. I incorporated many kinds of IEDs into the course, including pressure cooker bombs.

 

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No Deficiencies?

Many vessel operators claim that Coast Guard inspections are notoriously inconsistent. They claim such things as, “One Coast Guard guy came and told me it had to be this way, and next year another one came and told me to do something else, and the next year a third guy came back and told me to do it the way we had it in the first place.” This unfortunately is true altogether too often, especially when it comes to dealing with inexperienced inspectors or examiners.

 

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TWIC Readers

“I thought TWICs were going away?”  I have heard this many times over the past year. They are not. Many believe TWIC is a useless program. The truth is TWIC is a very important program, but few understand it.


Basically, the most important purpose of a TWIC is to not allow anyone, unescorted, into a secure area of a vessel or facility unless we know they are not a terrorist and they have a card to prove it. This may seem like nonsense to some, but if a major terrorist organization can send a terrorist spy to the U.S. and infiltrate the CIA, FBI and Army Special Warfare command, then they can surely send some to infiltrate the maritime industry. In fact, during one joint FBI/ USCG operation, a significant number of individuals “having a nexus to terrorism matters,” were found to have U.S. merchant mariner documents and they were subsequently placed on the terrorist watch list and the no-fly list. Furthermore, officials recently uncovered a major plot to attack the maritime industry because it is viewed as a soft target by terrorists.

 

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Subchapter M Alliances and Software

Check out this interesting article on Subchapter M alliances and software being developed:


http://www.marinelink.com/news/surfaces-chapter-finally351557.aspx
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Lessons Learned from a Cruise Ship Fire

According to news sources, Coast Guard investigators have explained that the cause of the engine room fire on the Carnival Triumph was a leaking fuel return line. There is a lesson to be learned for all vessel operators, especially towing vessel operators considering adopting a towing safety management system (TSMS) under Subchapter M.

 

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Critical Decisions for Vessel Operators and Third Parties

It seems that whenever a new rule making is in progress an entire new industry evolves. This was the case with Oil Pollution Act (OPA) of 90, as well as the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) of 2002. But both may pale in comparison to the economic opportunity provided by Subchapter M, which may be seen as a potential gold mine for some professional services companies and maritime entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, for towing vessel operators, the amount of information being levied upon them may add to their confusion and stress when trying to make the best decisions for their companies. 

 

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Written in Blood

It’s Mardi Gras time once again in New Orleans. If you have been to New Orleans’ Mardi Gras parades you know that the edges of the curbs along the parade route are lined with ladders. These ladders are no ordinary ladders. They have three foot long bench seats attached to the very top where we precariously place our precious babies. It’s enough to give an OSHA inspector a heart attack. How could this be legal?  On very rare occasion a cop will tell people they need to move their ladders back away from the curb. Of course, the parents respond that they do this every year and it has never been a problem before. They are reluctant to move because they will lose their spot and someone else will quickly place their ladder on the edge of the same curb. It is highly unlikely that another cop will come along and tell them to move. This causes a little deja vu for me. As a Coast Guard inspector, I was that cop. I always enforced the regulations accurately and consistently. I encountered much of the same arguments and resistance. One inspector training me had told me that the regulations were written in blood. That is, some catastrophe had happened that caused the regulations to be written.  I took that to heart. Even though I didn’t know what the catastrophe was for each regulation, I enforced them all. After all, that’s what the tax payers were paying me to do. Maybe those few New Orleans cops that occasionally tell confused parents to move their ladders back from the curb remember the story of Christian Lambert. According to a recent article in local Gambit newspaper, it turns out that putting our ladders on the curb is not legal. In 1985 the New Orleans City Council passed an ordinance which requires all ladders to be “placed as many feet back from the curb as the ladder is high.” That’s because of a tragedy that occurred in 1981 at the Krewe of Orleanians parade. Christian was an eight year old boy who was launched from his ladder and was crushed under float number 48 when the crowd surged forward. Accurate and consistent enforcement is a critical component to ensuring compliance. Understanding the origin and intent of regulations is an essential motivator.
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Striving for Excellence - A New Year’s Resolution

Compliance is something that many only think of when forced to. At the Workboat Show many representatives from good companies pass by our booth and say hello, but when asked if they have any compliance questions or issues we can help with, the response is usually, “No thanks we’ve got all that under control.” Perhaps they do, but chances are their issues just haven’t risen to the surface yet. Many good companies pass inspections and audits and assume that they are in full compliance. They may be, or they may find out at the next inspection, audit or accident that they were not as compliant as they had assumed. But an excellent company has a proactive compliance management program as part of their regular routine and does not rely upon inspectors’ and auditors’ interpretations and opinions to determine their level of compliance.

 

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Strategic Partnership with Boatracs

We are proud to announce a strategic partnership with Boatracs to provide an electronic Subchapter M compliance product. Please click here to read the full article: Maritime Executive.
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BP Indictments and Subchapter M

As I read the indictment of two BP officials, Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine, on 11 counts of seaman’s manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter, I couldn't help but think about Subchapter M and the future of the towing vessel industry. Mr. Vidrine and Kaluza were Well Sight Leaders on the Deepwater Horizon rig the day of the explosion which resulted in the deaths of 11 people. According to the indictment, these Well Sight Leaders were responsible for, among other things, “supervising the implementation of BP’s drilling plan.” To draw an analogy, under Subchapter M, should a company operate under a Towing Safety Management System (TSMS), the captain will be responsible for “supervising the implementation of the company TSMS.”

 

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