USCG Tonnage Limits on MMC

US GRT and I.T.C GT equivalents in MMC

When the USCG issues an MMC with an endorsement of Second Mate, Oceans, Any Gross Tons (but subject to a tonnage limitation of 2000 GRT) are they also suppose to describe the limitation as 4000 GT I.T.C. ???

In the experience of forum posters, how has the USCG been handling this issue?

[QUOTE=tugsailor;188235]US GRT and I.T.C GT equivalents in MMC

When the USCG issues an MMC with an endorsement of Second Mate, Oceans, Any Gross Tons (but subject to a tonnage limitation of 2000 GRT) are they also suppose to describe the limitation as 4000 GT I.T.C. ???

In the experience of forum posters, how has the USCG been handling this issue?[/QUOTE]
Since the December 2013 rule change, only GRT is used on national endorsements (licenses) and only GT on STCW endorsements.

[QUOTE=jdcavo;188249]Since the December 2013 rule change, only GRT is used on national endorsements (licenses) and only GT on STCW endorsements.[/QUOTE]

If the minimum tonnage issued on a national endorsement is 2000 GRT, what would be the minimum tonnage limit on the corresponding STCW endorsement II/1 ? 4000 GT?

[QUOTE=tugsailor;188253]If the minimum tonnage issued on a national endorsement is 2000 GRT, what would be the minimum tonnage limit on the corresponding STCW endorsement II/1 ? 4000 GT?[/QUOTE]

Can anybody give a GOOD and LOGICAL explanation why the US (only?) need to have two sets of tonnage measurements and two sets of rules for how vessels are measured???

Nothing to do with Metrics/US Standard Units, as far as I can understand.

[QUOTE=ombugge;188254]Can anybody give a GOOD and LOGICAL explanation why the US (only?) need to have two sets of tonnage measurements and two sets of rules for how vessels are measured???[/QUOTE]

Because owners, trade associations, naval architects, shipyards, and others lobbied Congress (and the USCG) to give them all sorts of national tonnage exemptions where they are able to get a vessel measured at a much much lower tonnage than it really is — so that it does not have to comply with the rules for vessels of larger tonnage that it should. That means less equipment and lower manning.

The US system allows OSVs over 200’ long that are only 99 GRT , and 130’ 7200 hp tugboats that are only 99 GRT.

American mariners are innocent bystanders, but we are caught in the crossfire, and being screwed with tonnage limitations that no other country in the word would impose. Except that there are some special give-away advantages for Mariners that work on OSVs.

Yes I had an idea that Owners are interested in keeping the GRT/GT as low as possible, both to minimize the crew requirements (in numbers)and keep port dues etc. as low as possible.

In the 1960s/70s there were a lot of European vessels built to be just below certain GRT limits, (199, 299, 499, 1199 and 1599 GRT) by having a “tonnage hatch” that could not be permanently closed and various other means.(Popularly known as “Paragraph Ships”)

With ITC’69 being enforced internationally, the incentive to build such vessels mostly disappeared, (Older vessels were not re-measured for quite some time though)

This obviously does not apply to US registered vessels, where it appears to be still a “norm”?

I can see that there is a lot of money to be saved by separating the engine part from the cargo part and call the vessel an ATB, if you can get away with a smaller crew, thus much lower crew costs. Maybe even reduced qualification requirements for Masters, Officers and Engineers??
(Sorry, I still don’t understand anything of your licencing system)

But what about the safety? If an ATB like this is separated into Tug and Barge, will the tug still be stable and seaworthy?:


Just so I get an idea, what is the likely (actual?) GRT of the tug part here?

If you welded the two parts permanently together, could it be classed as a ship?

[QUOTE=ombugge;188254]Can anybody give a GOOD and LOGICAL explanation why the US (only?) need to have two sets of tonnage measurements and two sets of rules for how vessels are measured???[/QUOTE]

We don’t “need” to have two but when ITC tonnage came about the US domestic system has been in place for many years and the small vessel industry lobbied to keep from changing.

Other countries can have their own domestic system, and I thought a few do, but the US is so large that we have a good sized fleet of pure domestic vessels. Probably many times more than the second largest domestic fleet world wide.

Yes there were many different systems and methods in use in the world before the ITC’69 convention was adapted as the international standard.
As stated here earlier, GT is based on volume in metric units and a mathematical formula, while most earlier systems were in Imperial units and based on physical measurement of each vessel. What went into GRT varied from country to country, while NRT was more consistent.

A Wikipedia page re: Gross Tonnage for those who don’t know: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gross_tonnage

While studying for my Master exam in 1968/69 I remember visiting a Newsprint Carrier under construction at Ulstein Verft as part of the understanding of tonnage measurements. This was the ultimate of “Paragraph Vessel”, since it needed optimal deck space and volume, while DWT was of lesser importance. The vessel had three cargo decks, with full strength scantling to third deck and Side Ports for loading/discharging by special forklifts.

It was designed to be able to have dual tonnages and loadlines. 500 GRT as “open shelterdecker” and 1199 as closed, with the loadline moved accordingly. To optimize volume for cargo “deep frames” were spaced to fit the Newsprint reel size, while volume measurement was made from frame to frame across the beam.
The part of accommodations that was measurable in GRT had small cabins, but large storage lockers with wide doors and wide hallways(not measurable)

Just before the NMD inspector came to do the physical measuring they had found that their calculations were slightly off and would exceed the required 499.99/1199.99 GRT as contracted. What to do???
Solution; tack-weld some small strips of steel to each of the deep frames to reduce the width of cargo holds.
Oh yes, I almost forgot; to ensure that the second deck was the “uppermost continuous deck”, thus the “Main Deck”, a section of the 3rd deck was cut open and removed. (To be placed back as a non-watertight section later)

With ITC’69 most of these tricks were made obsolete, as dual tonnage was made legal without.

Other countries can have their own domestic system, and I thought a few do, but the US is so large that we have a good sized fleet of pure domestic vessels. Probably many times more than the second largest domestic fleet world wide.

I don’t know of any other country that does, but maybe someone can enlighten me.
BTW; China has a VERY large river and coastal fleet. Not sure if they use dual system.

Chinese coaster:

River boat:

Found this simple but informative article from Gard, one of the world’s leading P&I Club: http://www.gard.no/web/updates/content/20733031/tonnage-measurement-of-ships
They obviously don’t regard the USCG system of GRT as worthy of mentioning, since it only applies to inland waters, or does it??

[QUOTE=ombugge;188444]Found this simple but informative article from Gard, one of the world’s leading P&I Club: http://www.gard.no/web/updates/content/20733031/tonnage-measurement-of-ships
They obviously don’t regard the USCG system of GRT as worthy of mentioning, since it only applies to inland waters, or does it??[/QUOTE]

No, it’s just not worth mentioning to foreigners because it doesn’t concern them. Panama canal and Suez canal tonnages are mandatory in order to transit, US GRT isn’t mandatory for anyone.

Also, he basically did mention US GRT, 100 cubic feet is 1 GRT, he just didn’t go into the specifics of the US system of tonnage hatches and exemptions, just as he didn’t mention the specifics of any countries domestic tonnage system.

[QUOTE=tugsailor;188235]US GRT and I.T.C GT equivalents in MMC

When the USCG issues an MMC with an endorsement of Second Mate, Oceans, Any Gross Tons (but subject to a tonnage limitation of 2000 GRT) are they also suppose to describe the limitation as 4000 GT I.T.C. ???

In the experience of forum posters, how has the USCG been handling this issue?[/QUOTE]

To return to the original topic for a moment, does anyone know how the USCG is calculating ITC GT limits on “unlimited” licenses that have a tonnage restriction?

For example, if the national license has a limitation of 4000 GRT, would the corresponding STCW endorsement have a tonnage limitation of I.T.C. 8000 GT?

[QUOTE=Capt. Phoenix;188445]No, it’s just not worth mentioning to foreigners because it doesn’t concern them. Panama canal and Suez canal tonnages are mandatory in order to transit, US GRT isn’t mandatory for anyone.

Also, he basically did mention US GRT, 100 cubic feet is 1 GRT, he just didn’t go into the specifics of the US system of tonnage hatches and exemptions, just as he didn’t mention the specifics of any countries domestic tonnage system.[/QUOTE]

The Moorsom System of tonnage measurement was not a specific US system. It was introduced by George Moorsom in Britain in 1854 and used by most nation before ITC’69 was made compulsory for new vessels in 1982 and universal for all vessels in international trade in 1994.

It is apparently still the basis for the US GRT, with whatever modifications and special rules that has been added over the years. but only for vessels under 500 GT, or that operate within US inland waters as defined by USCG.
Any US flag vessel operating in International trade has to be measured and certified according to ITC’69, if for no other reason to avoid being detained in foreign ports for non-compliance. (Costly for the Owner/Operator, inconvenient for the Cargo Owners/Shippers (who are mostly the US Government)and embarrassing, if the US flag should fall off the MOU White List.

As far as I understand inland waters are limited to inside the base line along East and West coasts of continental US and 12 n.miles from the base line along the Gulf coast.

How GRT/GT and STCW apply to vessels under 500 GT, such as tugs pushing large barges in international waters, or to OSVs working outside US waters, is a bit unclear from what I have read and heard.

If a tug [U]under 500 GT [/U]is pushing a great big barge from Seattle to Vancouver it would be on an “International Voyage”, and thus presumably having to comply with all IMO and ILO rules and regulations applicable to such vessels, but if it was bound for Nome Ak, or somewhere in Hawaii, would it be on a domestic voyage and exempt??

Why am I as a foreigner interested in this subject? Because it is interesting to learn how things are done in other countries. In this case, especially since US appears to be the ONLY signatory to IMO that see a need for having their own domestic system for just about everything. It is allowed for member nations to apply rules over and above IMO minimum standards for ships under their flag, but I’m hard put to see that being the case here.

US tonnage regulations are a lot like the US tax code. There are so many exceptions to the rule that the exceptions have swallowed the rule. The only purpose is to people with lobbyists get away with something.

Did you know that Congress passed a special exception for three vessels “rebuilt” in Norway and owned by KIR to fish in the US? Fortunately, that eventually got changed.

Things are often not as the might logically seem. Voyages to Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas, etc. are not considered international voyages for many purposes. The waters of the Inside Passage from Seattle to Alaska are considered Inland Waters.

Tugs under 200 GRT (about 500 GT) are not subject to STCW — as far as the USCG is concerned — anywhere in the world. The US does not require any engineer on a tug, but if the tug goes to Canada they can ( but rarely do) detain it until a licensed engineer with STCW is provided.

Most US vessels are only measured in GRT. Some only in GT. A few in both GRT and GT. I have yet to meet anyone who can explain how all this is supposed to work.

Apparently, if an OSV is 2999 GT (and only measured in GT) someone with a 500 GRT master’s license, but STCW II/2 more than 500 GT but less than 3000 GT can run it. But if it’s not an OSV, he cannot run it in US waters, but can run it in international waters. This is one of the craziest things I’ve ever heard.

[QUOTE=tugsailor;188457]US tonnage regulations are a lot like the US tax code. There are so many exceptions to the rule that the exceptions have swallowed the rule. The only purpose is to people with lobbyists get away with something.

Did you know that Congress passed a special exception for three vessels “rebuilt” in Norway and owned by KIR to fish in the US? Fortunately, that eventually got changed.

Things are often not as the might logically seem. Voyages to Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas, etc. are not considered international voyages for many purposes. The waters of the Inside Passage from Seattle to Alaska are considered Inland Waters.

Tugs under 200 GRT (about 500 GT) are not subject to STCW — as far as the USCG is concerned — anywhere in the world. The US does not require any engineer on a tug, but if the tug goes to Canada they can ( but rarely do) detain it until a licensed engineer with STCW is provided.

Most US vessels are only measured in GRT. Some only in GT. A few in both GRT and GT. I have yet to meet anyone who can explain how all this is supposed to work.

Apparently, if an OSV is 2999 GT (and only measured in GT) someone with a 500 GRT master’s license, but STCW II/2 more than 500 GT but less than 3000 GT can run it. But if it’s not an OSV, he cannot run it in US waters, but can run it in international waters. This is one of the craziest things I’ve ever heard.[/QUOTE]

I’m sure it is all for the safety of seafarers, not just to ensure the profitability of the Owners/Operators.

As for the fishing vessels “converted” to modern Factory Trawlers in Norway for KIR and other Norwegian investors, I knew that the only thing left of some of them was a bit of the keel plate and the Builder’s Certificate.

I remember an old Railroad Barge had been purchased for the purpose of conversion, but broke the tow line and was wrecked on the coast of Norway. A replacement was purchased and became a top modern US fishing vessel. It may still be.

There was also a typical American President Line cargo vessel converted to a Fish Processing Vessel, but not for trawling. That one could still be recognized for it’s origin. (Still active, I believe?)

[QUOTE=ombugge;188459]I’m sure it is all for the safety of seafarers, not just to ensure the profitability of the Owners/Operators.

As for the fishing vessels “converted” to modern Factory Trawlers in Norway for KIR and other Norwegian investors, I knew that the only thing left of some of them was a bit of the keel plate and the Builder’s Certificate.

I remember an old Railroad Barge had been purchased for the purpose of conversion, but broke the tow line and was wrecked on the coast of Norway. A replacement was purchased and became a top modern US fishing vessel. It may still be.

There was also a typical American President Line cargo vessel converted to a Fish Processing Vessel, but not for trawling. That one could still be recognized for it’s origin. (Still active, I believe?)[/QUOTE]

I recognize Norwegian sarcasm when I see it.

As I recall, one of the “rebuilt” boats was a 60 foot shrimp boat from Oregon that was cut in half and shipped to Norway. It came back as a 250’ $50 million factory trawler. It’s still fishing for its Norwegian-American (naturalized citizen) owner. You know exactly who.

The ex-President Kennedy is now the Ocean Phoneix. A mothership processor, not a factory trawler. Steam powered and around 20,000 GRT.

[QUOTE=tugsailor;188471]I recognize Norwegian sarcasm when I see it.

As I recall, one of the “rebuilt” boats was a 60 foot shrimp boat from Oregon that was cut in half and shipped to Norway. It came back as a 250’ $50 million factory trawler. It’s still fishing for its Norwegian-American (naturalized citizen) owner. You know exactly who.

The ex-President Kennedy is now the Ocean Phoneix. A mothership processor, not a factory trawler. Steam powered and around 20,000 GRT.[/QUOTE]

Yes that’s the one: http://www.prempac.com/vessels/ocean_phoenix.html
Converted to a Factory Ship at Blaalid Slip, a tiny shipyard near Maaloy, Norway in 1989.

Designed to process fish caught by trawlers without own processing facilities who delivered full trawl bags to be pulled up on a “trawl slip” at the stern. This enabled safe transfer in much rougher weather than delivering the fish “piece meal” while moored alongside:

Anybody on the forum who worked on this one, or any of the Factory Trawlers converted in Norway in the 1980s?

I believe they originally had Norwegian Fish Masters, Factory Supervisors and Trawl Foreman + Japanese Surimi processing crew on board. Being US flag, there obviously had to be a US Master, but he didn’t necessarily have to know anything about fishing.

Any stories to tell from those boats, then or now??

The more I learn about fishing the more horrified I am. Norman Mclean this ain’t.

[QUOTE=ombugge;188479]Yes that’s the one: http://www.prempac.com/vessels/ocean_phoenix.html
Converted to a Factory Ship at Blaalid Slip, a tiny shipyard near Maaloy, Norway in 1989.

Designed to process fish caught by trawlers without own processing facilities who delivered full trawl bags to be pulled up on a “trawl slip” at the stern. This enabled safe transfer in much rougher weather than delivering the fish “piece meal” while moored alongside:

Anybody on the forum who worked on this one, or any of the Factory Trawlers converted in Norway in the 1980s?

I believe they originally had Norwegian Fish Masters, Factory Supervisors and Trawl Foreman + Japanese Surimi processing crew on board. Being US flag, there obviously had to be a US Master, but he didn’t necessarily have to know anything about fishing.

Any stories to tell from those boats, then or now??[/QUOTE]

That picture of Ocean Phoenix was taken at Pier 91 in Seattle.

I have to correct my statement that there are no more need for “Paragraph vessels”. Yes there are, but now on the length, not GT/GRT.
Fishing licenses in Norway are partly regulated based on LOA, thus there has been developed some VERY special looking boats.
Here is an example: http://maritimt.com/batomtaler/2014/ben-hur.html

It is designed and built for coastal fishery, packed with all the latest and best of equipment and comfortable amenities for the crew, but has to be below 15 m. LOA, thus this one is measured to exactly 14.99 m.

In case the rules should change the beam is wide enough to add in a mid section of abt. the same length, yet be stable and safe.

I noticed one of this type were they had missed out, so the bulwark at the tip of the bow had been flattened.
(Didn’t find the picture I took, but if I do I’ll post it in the jokes section)

What a unique looking vessel.
So these rigs are supposed to have nice accommodations on them? I guess looks can be deceiving…