Design & Engineering Standards

11/3/2015: Relocation of the Marine Safety Center – Updated information on how to make plan submissions, new contact information

The Coast Guard Marine Safety Center, or MSC, is being relocated to Washington, D.C. on November 19, 2015. Due to the relocation, there will be changes to the procedures for submitting plans as well as contact information updates. This blog post should provide you with all that you need to know in regard to the move…

Key pieces of information regarding the relocation:

  • After November 19th, the new main number will be (202) 795-6729
  • The MSC expects their office to be offline November 19th-20th and have reduced office services for a few days prior to and after the move
  • Their 24/7 watch will be accessible throughout the move for salvage emergencies (202)327-3985
  • MSC no longer accepts information submitted on flash media devices such as USB thumb drives and memory cards
  • All electronic information must be submitted on CD, DVD or via e-mail

 

For a sample e-mail of how to forward a computer-aided design drawing to the MSC for review, go to Homeport and follow the links below:

Homeport – Marine Safety Center – Contact Us – ‘New’ Mail Address, Telephone Contacts and E-Commerce Info – Supporting Documents – Enclosure (1) Sample E-mail

Information for conventional mail

New address:
Commanding Officer
Attn: for when addressing specific member of MSC staff
Marine Safety Center
US Coast Guard Stop 7430
2703 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE
Washington DC 20593-7430

The Coast Guard, by direction of the Department of Homeland Security, no longer accepts deliveries from DHL. The only acceptable parcel carriers for submitting plans and supporting information to the MSC are now:

  • United States Postal Service (USPS)
  • United Parcel Service (UPS)
  • Federal Express (FEDEX)

DHS has instituted a mandatory screening program for all incoming mail. As a result, most mail that is submitted to MSC is subjected to this screening process. Several recent submissions that included CDs or DVDs have been damaged during the screening process. We recommend that submitters avoid sending CDs or DVDs in plastic “jewel” cases which seem to be particularly affected by the screening process. Paper CD sleeves or protective mailing envelopes are currently the best option for sending electronic information via conventional mail.

Information for electronic submissions:

E-mail submissions are welcome and must be sent to msc@uscg.mil.

The following listed information should be included in the body of the e-mail (if sent via e-mail), or on the cover letter (if sent via conventional mail). This will speed up the review by allowing us to process your submission without first opening the attachments. If submitting via e-mail, the MSC Project Number (P0#####) must be included in the subject block. If a Project Number has not yet been assigned, include the text “New Project” in the subject block.

  • Project number (if e-mail, include in subject block)
  • Vessel name(s), builder (shipyard) and hull number system
  • Subchapter and routes requested
  • Official number(s), Coast Guard number(s), and/or IMO number(s)
  • Detailed list of attachments, including drawing titles, revisions and file names
  • Contact information (name, phone, fax, address)
  • Program submitted under, if applicable (i.e. NVIC 10-82, 10-92, 3-97)

Also, be sure to provide a description of what it is you are requesting. For e-mail submissions this can be included in the body of the e-mail, or in an attached “cover letter”.

Acceptable formats

Acceptable formats for electronic submittals include Microsoft Office application files, Adobe Acrobat, GHS, HECSALV, AutoCad, Easy Power, NAPA, Maestro, SeaSafe and STA Liftboat. If you have a document in a different format, please contact the MSC to discuss alternatives.

Electronic commerce technical support

MSC accepts electronic submissions via e-mail up to 10 MB in file size. Occasionally, submissions that are less than 10 MB are rejected by MSC’s e-mail server. In addition, electronic submission e-mails with subject lines exceeding 250 characters will not be processed by our electronic submission and tracking system.

For files sizes above 10MB and less than 2GB you may submit correspondence via the ARMDEC Safe Access File Exchange at https://safe.armdec.army.mil/SAFE/

Please note that a warning will appear advising users to not use a group email accounts when you enter msc@uscg.mil, however, authorization for the Coast Guard to use this file exchange has been granted by the site administrators.

If your plan review submission is rejected by MSC’s e-mail multiple times or you do not receive a confirmation email indicating that your submission has been processed, please contact the Electronic Commerce Officer at (202) 795-6773 for assistance.

Return correspondence from MSC

  • Unless otherwise requested, the MSC will respond to submissions in the manner they are received (i.e. e-mail submissions responded to by   e-mail, letters with attached electronic media responded to by conventional mail).
  • When plans are received via e-mail, reply will be sent by e-mail to the submitter stating that the e-mail was received.
  • After the MSC completes their review, they will provide you with an official signed response letter. If they received your electronic submission by mail, you will be sent a hard-copy letter. If the MSC received your submission via e-mail, the response will be e-mailed to you as a PDF attachment.

Providing approved plans to the Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI)

As a condition of your participation in the MSC’s Electronic Commerce Program, you must print a paper copy of any drawings that have been “approved” or “examined” and mail them to the appropriate OCMI, along with a copy of the corresponding MSC approval letter. Since these drawings will not have an approval stamp, close attention must be paid to the revision number and date of the approved drawings or calculations.

A signed MSC approval letter bearing the approved plan’s title, vessel, revision and date will suffice as proof of an MSC approval. The MSC will retain an electronic copy of each approved drawing to help resolve any potential questions that arise concerning revision accuracy.

MSC Website

The MSC website on the Coast Guard’s Homeport Internet portal can now be reached directly at http://homeport.uscg.mil/msc.

The website includes a section called “Plan Review Guidelines” which provides useful information to submitters regarding MSC’s plan review procedures.

Support contractor processing submissions to MSC

The MSC uses support contractor personnel to assist with the processing and evaluation of plans, drawings and supporting calculations for certain electrical and vessel security plans submitted for approval. Only MSC government employees are authorized to approve the plans and drawings. The use of support contractor personnel is essential for MSC to expedite technical review and approval of the drawings and supporting calculations.

The MSC takes the security and protection of submitters’ information seriously. The Coast Guard has a non-disclosure agreement with the support contractor that requires them to take all reasonable steps to protect the information against any unauthorized release or disclosure and prohibits support contractor personnel from using or releasing any submitted information. The clause also advises the support contractor that a breach of its obligations or restrictions may subject the contractor to criminal, civil, administrative and contractual actions in law and equity for penalties, damages and other appropriate remedies by the United States and civil actions for damages and other appropriate remedies by the party submitting the data.

The support contractor also must ensure that its employees are subject to internal use and non-disclosure obligations prior to the employees being provided access to or use of any of the submitters’ data. The plans, drawings and information submitted will only be accessed and used for the sole purpose of furnishing independent and impartial technical evaluation directly to the government in support of the government’s management and oversight of the marine safety program. All submitted information is maintained and accessed through the Marine Safety Center’s information management system.

In spite of these significant protections, if a submitter has remaining concerns about the MSC’s use of support contractors for the review of electrical or vessel security plans, the submitter should communicate these concerns in writing either with their initial submission and request other alternatives available to process the submission (e.g. a specific non-disclosure agreement). Unless a submitter notifies the MSC of its concerns in writing within five days of the submission, the Coast Guard will consider this as consent to have support contractor personnel review the electrical and vessel security plans, drawings and calculations.

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.