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Seafarer's Access to Maritime Facilities

On May 1, 2019, the Final Rule on Seafarer's Access to Maritime Facilities went into effect. All FSPs must be amended to include a "system" for how the facility will ensure the seafarers, pilots, representatives of seafarer's welfare organizations and labor unions get to and from a vessel, in a timely manner, at no cost to those individuals. All facilities must submit their amendments by February 3, 2020, and have the system fully implemented by June 1, 2020.

Escorting is the main area of concern. All docks are "secure areas," by definition. Docks are also designated as "restricted areas," as typically required by the Coast Guard. "Monitoring" is not an authorized method of escorting in a secure area which is also designated as a restricted area. Only side by side escorting is authorized in such areas. Do not be fooled by 33CFR 105.237(d)(5) regarding "monitoring pedestrian routes" as an access method. The Final Rule states the system must comply with the TWIC provisions… Therefore, "monitoring pedestrian routes," as a sole means of escorting, is only allowable in secure areas which are not also "restricted areas." That excludes every dock I have ever been on.

It occurred to me that some facilities, such as free floating barge fleeting facilities, might not have an application for such an amendment. However, I could find no exception in the Final Rule for any particular type of facility. Since it is a regulation, the proper procedure would be to get a waiver from Commandant, if a facility felt this regulation was not applicable. So, unless a facility applies for a waiver, or just hopes the Coast Guard won't enforce it on their facility, the FSP must be amended.

I have confirmed all this in writing with the Coast Guard Headquarters point of contact. We have already submitted our first "system for seafarer's access" in an FSP renewal.

Let us know if you need help with figuring out the optimum level of compliance and getting your FSP amendment approved. These topics will be covered in detail in our up-coming one-day FSO Advanced Course. Stand by for dates and details… 

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Friday, 21 June 2024

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