The Coast Guard Marine Safety Center (MSC) celebrates its 30th anniversary on Sept. 9, 2016. The MSC was established on July 1st, 1986, centralizing Coast Guard commercial vessel technical functions formerly distributed among several District Marine Safety Divisions.
The MSC is an independent headquarters command that supports the people and objectives of the marine safety, security and environmental protection programs. The unit’s primary mission is the review and approval of plans for the design, construction, alteration, and repair of U.S. and foreign flag commercial vessels subject to U.S. laws, regulations, and international standards. The MSC coordinates these actions with Coast Guard sector commands and marine safety units and works closely with the maritime community, including naval architects, marine engineers, vessel classification societies and the shipbuilding industry.
In addition, the MSC is responsible for conducting oversight of third parties that have been authorized to review and approve commercial vessel designs on behalf of the Coast Guard. The MSC is also the approval authority for all security plans for U.S. vessels under the Maritime Transportation Security Act.
In addition to its primary duties, the MSC supports Coast Guard field commanders by providing emergency salvage engineering assistance and post-casualty forensic engineering analysis. The MSC’s Salvage Engineering Response Team (SERT) is at the ready 24 hours a day to rapidly evaluate a vessel’s stability and structural integrity following a grounding, collision or similar casualty. The SERT works closely, remotely or on-scene, with Coast Guard strike teams, Navy salvage teams, classification societies’ rapid response teams, naval architects and engineers to protect life, property and the marine environment.
Throughout its 30-year history, the MSC has become an increasingly more vital Coast Guard resource, both in its primary prevention role, as well as its role in supporting emergency response operations. The MSC has maintained a very high level of engineering expertise and adapted to meet the changing needs of the marine industry, Coast Guard field commanders, and evolving marine safety, security and environmental protection programs. MSC has a current complement of 30 officers, 30 civilians, two reservists, and 6 Contract Employees.
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.