Commercial Vessel Compliance

4/9/2019: CMA Shipping 2019 – Flag state control, Maritime Commerce Strategic Outlook, and more from keynote remarks

In addition to remarks on IMO 2020 during his keynote speech at Connecticut Maritime Association’s 2019 Shipping Conference, Rear Adm. John Nadeau gave attendees a rundown of some of the other initiatives and issues the Coast Guard’s prevention program focused on in 2018. In this post, we are providing a condensed version of this portion of Nadeau’s remarks for the benefit of our readers unable to attend.

“Since we last met, Admiral Karl Shultz assumed the duties as the 26th Commandant of the Coast Guard and Admiral Charles Ray, who spoke here last March, was promoted to 4-star admiral and took over as vice commandant, and they have been very busy. Admiral Shultz released the Coast Guard’s first ever “Maritime Commerce Strategic Outlook,” which is an important document that describes the strategic value of the entire Marine Transportation System – the ports, waterways, facilities, ships, mariners and other people – and how this system is vital to U.S. national security and our nation’s economic prosperity. It also describes how the Coast Guard will serve as a key enabler for maritime commerce and contribute to the health of the entire system.

Last year, we started issuing detainable deficiencies to U.S. flagged vessels as a way to better track the health of the U.S. fleet, just as we do under Port State Control. We are finding that many of these detainable deficiencies are tied to the ship’s Safety Management System. We also released our first annual Flag State Control report, which complements the annual port state control report we release around this time each year. The 2018 Port State Control report and the 2018 domestic annual report will be out soon and made available online and announced on our Maritime Commons blog. I encourage you to take a look at them.

We also established the Flag State Control Division at Coast Guard Headquarters. This new division is focused on developing and implementing program policy and procedures related to oversight of recognized organizations and third parties we entrust to do work on our behalf. They have released new policy which provides our inspectors with guidance for initiating “quality cases” in situations where the third party or RO may not be adequately performing their delegated functions.

Last year we conducted a risk assessment of all deep draft vessels, and we had 53 U.S. flag ships that were deemed high risk and targeted for additional oversight. We sent some of our most experienced inspectors to examine these vessels and identified 661 deficiencies, including 86 detainable deficiencies, and required seven external safety management audits. In the end… six vessels had their Certificates of Inspection revoked, prohibiting the vessels from operating until the matters were addressed. We will continue these types of exams to improve vessel operator accountability, monitor performance of third parties working on our behalf, and ensure safety.

Finally, I should mention the shutdown that occurred due to a lapse in our appropriations that started in late December and lasted through most of January. With only a few exceptions, we were missing 20 percent of our workforce for that 35 day period. Within programs I manage, we were down almost 600 personnel, including key senior leaders at the various offices at Coast Guard Headquarters and at the Marine Safety Center, National Vessel Documentation Center, and National Maritime Center. The vast majority were people responsible for equipment type approvals, vessel plan approvals, merchant mariner credential issuance, ballast water extensions and other key functions. We appreciate your support and understanding as we work through a significant amount of work that accumulated during the furlough.”

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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