With all these tugs towing container barges to PR are the wheelhouse guys required to have oceans or will near coastal work?

Depends on the route, but generally no they don’t need oceans because they can stay within 200 miles of shore.

I thought it had to be from the US not just any land. @jdcavo, I seem to remember you answering this some time back.

Years ago, I was CE on a Tug that ran to PR, the Plant Manager was questioning why they came down via the Old Bahama Channel. I will never forget the look on his face when he was told to look at most of the Licenses as the were almost all Near-Coastal. After talking to the tugs owned by this company, they said that they went were they were told as what was the chance of getting caught. Now, this was back in the Mid-90’s when things down there were a little looser.

46 CFR 10.107 - Definitions in subchapter B.

"Near-coastal means ocean waters not more than 200 miles offshore from the U.S. and its possessions, except for MMCs endorsed as Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessel for which near-coastal is limited to waters not more than 100 miles offshore from the U.S. and its possessions. This would also include those near-coastal waters identified by another Administration when the U.S. has entered into a treaty or an agreement with that country respecting the recognition of the U.S. near-coastal endorsement. "

Do your own homework with regard to "near-coastal waters identified by another Administration when … "

Is it fair to assume that Cuba is not among those “other Administrations” approving US certification??
But I also assume that Bahamas is? If so, if they pass closer to Bahamas than Cuba it is legal, closer to Cuba it is not??

I haven’t checked this on the charts, but if UK and Dominican Republic approve of US near-coastal endorsement, it may be possible to stay within 200 n.miles off “friendly shores” all the way from Florida to PR (??)

BTW; STCW certification for “near coastal” does not say anything about which coast, does it??

Since the USCG does not have jurisdiction outside the US, if they issue a Near Coastal license, it is valid in US Near Coastal waters only and not another country’s coastal waters unless they have an agreement.

OK I checked it. Here is the definition of “near Coastal” per STCW’10 (Manila Amendment):

The USCG is apparently generous with their definition:

Generous? . I don’t see it as anything other than a clear definition of what the CG considers near coastal measured from a well defined demarcation line.

PS The Bahamas are a sovereign country.

Other has a narrower definition of “near coastal”. Here is the UK version:

Other European countries have different definitions:

Yes I know that Bahamas is a sovereign country, probably with their own agreement with the US on approval of US CoCs. I assume.

But Turks and Caicos Islands are British Overseas Territory,. (As is BVI, just in case they should over shoot)

As I recall, STCW takes the position that Near Coastal CoCs are only valid within 200 miles of home country waters.

The US and Canada have had an MOU for as long as I can remember that gives each other’s vessels reciprocal access to both countries. I thought that there was something similar for some other nearby foreign countries, but people who should know, have recently said, it’s only Canada.

It has always been quite common for US owners and officers to exceed the scope of their licenses. I have seen people with Inland licenses sailing Coastwise, and Coastwise licenses sailing Oceans. In fact, I would say that it has always been very common for Coastwise licenses to sail Oceans. Most people do not understand the rules or if they do, they don’t care.

Lots of guys have made trips to Hawaii or through the Panama Canal on only a Coastwise certificate with no officials ever objecting. Its routinely happening today.

Companies have brought me in a number of times to sail as Master on an ocean voyage specifically because they needed a captain with an Oceans license. But 50% of the time I would then discover that the proposed Mate only had Coastwise.

Most tugboat owners do not know the rules, and they really don’t care. The USCG officers that might be encountered along the way don’t know the rules either. The owners routinely get away with violating some sort of rules every day. It saves them a lot of money and they can afford to pay the occasional fine in the unlikely event that they get caught. The tugs pushing oil are different, they are subject to audits, and are much better about following the USCG rules. If you want to work in the US tugboat business, you have to accept that most owners are going to play fast and loose with the rules. Actually, that’s true in the majority of US businesses.

A voyage from the US mainland to Puerto Rico requires an Oceans license under the rules, but I have no doubt that this rule is frequently overlooked.

The definition set by STCW’10 is as stated in Post#8. There is no other limitation.
Some countries allow operations in water much more than 200 n.m. from home countries, as this example shows:

While Sweden is much more restrictive:

What is the exactly limitation by the Dutch rules is more difficult to determine:

It does not state any geographical limitation, only distance; “30 miles from the coast”, but not which coast.
PS> The Dutch also have special rules for the Dredging industry. The large TSHDs have a “Dredge Master” in charge when in operation and a certified Master when sailing.

Have there been any cases where a case of inappropriate certification/trading area has been tested in a US Maritime Court?
Has there been any accidents where Insurers have refused to pay out because of breach of the “near coastal” definition?
Could a Mariner loose his licence if found to be in breach of the rules?

The master could be guilty of sailing without the proper crew onboard if he or any of his mates don’t have the correct license. They will most likely only be caught in this though if an investigation arises, most likely from an incident happening (also possible if someone turns in a sea time letter that has them sailing beyond the scope of their license).

This is the case in a lot of countries… at least for O&G support activities.

As Tugsailor mentioned, I too have been “drafted” for a transit a couple of times because of my Oceans ticket. It happens… Why in all the layoffs that occurred, nobody thought, “gee, maybe we should keep more of the Oceans guys, and let go of the ones that can’t move our boats around the world if we need to…” I have no clue. Above my pay grade.

Those are all good questions and plausible scenarios. I’ve mentioned those to owners.

I do not know of any court cases, and doubt there are any, Regarding licensing. Undoubtedly, there are USCG Administrative cases, but I am not personally aware of any. I do not know what penalties might be, but I would expect monetary fines in the $10,000 range. I doubt that a mariner would get a license suspension for a first offense, but it’s certainly possible.

What might happen with insurance underwriters refusing to pay a claim after an incident is a very good question. I think insurance might quite rightfully refuse to pay. As an owner, I would be very concerned about this, but many owners do not seem to be.

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Yes most countries (incl. Bahamas) approve Unlimited US licenses based on STCW II / III.
No other countries have special O&G licenses. Only GT/kW and Trade area are limiting factors for smaller licenses.
Special additional training certificates may be required, depending on type of vessels, trade and special tasks.

Yes I have also been engaged for transit of US flag OSVs. Not as Master, but as Navigator. (Popularly known as “Pilot”)

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Doh, sorry about that, yes, you’re correct. Most of my experience in the O&G industry overseas was working with “under 3000 ITC” boats which didn’t need to mess with that silly “OSV only” license crap. You’re absolutely right, and I should have clarified on that.

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Mea Culpa. I missread your post.

And I thought it was only in the charter world. My introduction to licensing came in my wild youth after I’d been running sail and power charters from LA to Catalina for close to a year.
In talking to a charter captain with another company, he told me that if the CG caught me taking passengers for hire without a license, I’d be barred from ever holding one.
The company I was working for didn’t care and me, being young and stupid had not been aware of it but I took him at his word and got a six-pack as quickly as I could. The CG didn’t question my sea time.
My boss was so pleased with me that he expanded the sail charters to Mexico and as far south as Costa Rica. The 200 mile limit is fuzzy when in search of good wind. Don’t ask don’t tell.
After moving east and increasing the tonnage on my license, I ran dive charters all over the Bahamas. The only time we set foot on American soil was for 24 hours once a week to offload exhausted divers, re-provision and load new busload of fresh divers. Never gave it any thought back then but the southern Bahamas is stretching the 200 mile limit. Don’t ask don’t tell.
The only thing CG boarding parties cared about was guns and drugs.

They generally don’t know what they’re looking for licensewise. The exceptions would be if you don’t have a license or maybe during a COI inspection. Otherwise your only going to be caught in an incident investigation.

I can think of one company that did not worry about the violations until it had been caught in several grounding incidents and an allusion with a docked and loaded oil barge.

The allusion did not do much damage to the barge, but it opened the tug up as if a monster had taken a giant can opener to it. Major damage. The captain who had a license but not Master of Towing, did not wait for the USCG to show up. He took the logbook and went straight to the airport. The USCG reamed the owner out pretty good. I don’t know if they ever caught up to the captain or what they did to him.