- Domestic Vessels

8/18/2014: Interim rule for Offshore Supply Vessels of at least 6,000 GT ITC

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The Coast Guard announces the new interim rule for large offshore supply vessels, or OSVs, greater than 6,000 GT ITC (500 GRT).

In accordance with the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010, the Coast Guard is issuing this interim rule to ensure the safe carriage of oil, hazardous substances and individuals other than crew by requiring U.S.-flagged OSVs of at least 6,000 GT ITC, as measured under the Convention Measurement System, to comply with existing regulatory requirements and international standards for design, engineering, construction, operations and manning, inspections and certification. This rule will not impact any existing OSV under 6,000 GT ITC (500 GRT).

The U.S. offshore industry has become more complex and is working further offshore, creating a demand for larger, more capable, multipurpose OSVs. In order to implement this new authority, the Coast Guard had to consider numerous new technological systems used in the industry today and the various extended operational modes onboard these larger OSVs.

This interim rule is effective today.

The Coast Guard intends to finalize this interim rule after considering, and incorporating to the extent appropriate, comments from the public. The public can view and comment on the interim rule via the online docket posted to regulations.gov.

Comments on this interim rule must be received on or before November 17, 2014.

Maritime Commons encourages you to review the full text of the interim rule posted to the docket. Below is a summary of some of the key points within the interim rule:

• Expands existing Title 46 Code of Federal Regulations, Subchapter L to cover large OSVs.

• Implements requirements in the Act pertaining to oil fuel tank protections, number and qualifications of crew and division of watches.

• Provides for the carriage of more than 36 offshore workers by setting new incremental safety standards based on the total number of personnel onboard.
 -This approach is similar to that found in international standards such as the Special Purpose Ships Code, which      includes more rigorous requirements for stability, marine engineering, fire protection and lifesaving.

• Establishes regulations for the carriage of noxious liquid cargoes in bulk based upon existing Coast Guard guidance on International Maritime Organization Resolution A.673 (16) that provides an alternative to the International Bulk Chemical Code, or IBC Code.

• Provides additional industry standards to apply on electrical installations placed in hazardous locations.
 -This rule contains the provisions necessary for shipbuilders to apply their choice of industry standards between the National Electric Code or International Electrotechnical Commission.

• Requires large OSVs to obtain classification and certain international convention certificates regardless of voyage.

• Establishes additional regulations to address carriage of oil and other flammable or combustible cargo, electrical equipment systems and installations, marine engineering equipment and systems, structural fire protection, construction arrangements, and lifesaving & fire protection equipment on board large OSVs.

For questions regarding mariner credentialing, please refer to the final rule implementing the 2010 amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) and making other changes to national endorsements. This rule included provisions for credentialing of mariners who will serve aboard OSVs of greater than 3,000 Gross Tons (ITC). The relevant regulations are 46 CFR 11.491 through 11.497, on pages 147-148 of the linked document. The Coast Guard expects to publish a Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular, or NVIC, providing guidance for credentialing of mariners for large OSVs in the future.

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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