USCG Considers 2-Level Approach To Ship Inspections

The U.S. Coast Guard has issued a draft of a document which it calls a “Navigation and Inspection Circular,” or NVIC, under which it spells out the procedures it proposes to follow when inspecting a vessel that seeks entry into the Maritime Security Program. The Maritime Security Program establishes a fleet of commercially viable and militarily useful vessels that could help meet national defense and other security requirements. That program was authorized by the [I]Maritime Security Act of 1996[/I].
In its draft NVIC, the Coast Guard outlines an inspection process for examining two different types of vessels: (1) foreign flag vessels that are transitioning to be U.S.-flag vessels and are trying to obtain their initial certification under the Maritime Security Program, (2) U.S.-flag vessels that have already obtained their MSP certification. The draft NVIC envisions a two-level approach to these inspections.
“This two-level approach would enable the Coast Guard to apply traditional inspection methods to newly reflagged vessels, while at the same time a less stringent level of oversight to vessels that have consistently demonstrated satisfactory performance and substantial compliance with applicable rules,” explains a notice posted by the Coast Guard in the [I]Federal Register[/I] on Jan. 19.
Members of the public are invited to review the draft NVIC and make comments about it by March 19 by visiting and citing docket number USCG-2011-1156.
Further information is available from John Hannon, of the Coast Guard’s domestic vessels division, at 202-372-1222 or