- Fishing Vessels

4/7/2015: Distant water tuna fleet manning exemption

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The Coast Guard announces the availability of an updated policy letter entitled “Distant Water Tuna Fleet (DWTF) Vessels Manning Exemption Guidance.”

The letter provides revised guidance on procedures for requesting and issuing a Manning Exemption Letter as a result of recent statutory changes that affected the previous 2013 guidance.

The DWTF consists of U.S. commercial purse seine fishing vessels, under masters who are U.S. citizens that operate in the tuna fisheries of the Western Pacific Ocean far from U.S. territories other than Guam and American Samoa. Because of the difficulty of hiring U.S. merchant mariners, other than vessel masters, to serve in this fleet, the law authorizes foreign citizens to hold required navigation and engineering positions, if they are properly licensed by their countries, and subject to certain restrictions and limitations, and if qualified U.S. citizens are not readily available.

Vessels that comply with these conditions may apply for and receive a Coast Guard Manning Exemption Letter attesting to compliance. The letter may expedite a vessel boarding or examination process.

This revised policy guidance is effective May 1, 2015.

The revised policy letter is available at www.fishsafe.info. It updates guidance on the issuance of Distant Water Tuna Fleet Manning Exemption Letters.

View the Federal Register notice for full details.

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