Tugs and ATBs signing articles

Do any of you guys or girls know if it’s required to have articles signed for coastal domestic runs between U.S. ports on tugs/ATBs? Anyone ever heard of this or know the ins and outs about it in the CFRs?

Interesting question? I don’t have any experience “signing on”, but on the 300 GT+ research vessel I sailed on (Chief mate, relief Captain), we received, (provided) old school discharge certificates. I’d never seen one before sailing on her.

Back when I sailed unlicensed on ATBs/tugs I never signed shit. Just got told where to be and when for crew change and away we went.

Company gave me sea service letters after the rotation upon request.

Good question, I have often wondered the same thing. I never signed articles working in the US. I did a contract job for a OSV company which entailed moved a vessel from Trinidad to New Orleans. Upon arrival I asked for shipping articles and they didn’t know what I was talking about. The USCG from what I have determined does not enforce articles. Regulatory capture.

When I started in the oilfield in '70, we only signed articles on foreign runs. We also had a separate contract for wages and transportation that was on file with the articles. These were signed before the port commish or his rep.


See 46 CFR 14.201 and 14.203.

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According to those links coastal tugs/ATBs are required to be on articles.

Required reshmired.

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I have asked similar here before. Early on, I remember having to have the Shipping Commissioner witness article being signed, and during payoff. . . That was gone by the early 80s. I don’t ever recall having to sign articles after 1981, even for foreign voyages on tugs or ATBs.


Not on any of the 3 Companies I worked for it was typical go to the boat like any tug boat job.
These boats work3d the GOM, East Coast, and GOM to Puerto Rico.