<p class="MsoNormal]I am sure that most of you have heard the USCG intends to change the “Uninspected Vessel” classification that many tugs presently hold to some type of inspected vessel. I have searched the internet and have not been able to find any information. With the immeasurable wisdom and experience found on this site, I ask each of you… what have you heard? Rumors, conjecture, facts… anything? What is the proposed timeframe, licensing requirements, anything. I realize that I am opening a door that will mostly be nothing but speculation however, maybe someone knows something. Mr Cavo, anyone?
I’m digging for info. Will update when I can.
Still digging, Cheng. Go lube something in the meantime.
It’s being considered. It has been discussed at meetings of the Towing Safety Advisory Committee (TSAC) for a few years. I’m not involved with this, but what I’ve seen has safety management system being considered as the process of inspection. In a hearing befor a Comngressional committee inquiring of the Mel Oliver collision, the Assistant Commandant of the USCG was asked by Congressman Cummings when the Coast Guard would have an inspection program for towing vessels, he replied Spring 2009. Towing vessel licenses no longer specify they are for unispected towing vessels, so this should not have direct licensing implications.
I’m sure it won’t have any impact on manning, if the TSAC is involved…
The Coast Guard is under pressure from Rep.'s Oberstar and Cummings, as well as others in Congress, to get the ball rolling ASAP. You can expect to see a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) out this spring, then the games begin. How long it will take to get to a final rule is anyone’s guess. Previously, the Coast Guard has indicated that it does not intend to address licensing, manning, watches, work hours and the related fatigue issues with this rulemaking, just physical inspection of the vessels themselves. Whether this is still their position and, if so, whether it will satisfy the members of Congress that wrote the law ordering inspections back in 2004 is also an open question. Since it is a vessel’s Certificate of Inspection (COI) that determines and specifies manning and watches, not addressing those issues simultaneously casts doubt on the whole process. Especially regarding having licensed engineer’s as a requirement. I feel another big “grandfathering” coming on…
The National Mariners Association has a report on this, #R-276, that Richard Block put together primarily from mariner’s input. Check it out. Also check out #R-276-A and #R-276-B. Both NMA and the Master of Towing Vessels Association will be very engaged in this process.