Commercial Vessel Compliance

Policy Letter: Guidance for vessel requests to participate in hurricane relief operations

The Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance published Policy Letter 19-03, “Guidance for Vessel Requests to Participate in Hurricane Operations,” to provide guidelines to District Commanders, Sector Commanders, and Officers in Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI) when considering requests for vessels to participate in hurricane relief efforts.

This policy letter will expire Jan. 31, 2020.

The Coast Guard recognizes that sealift capacity is an efficient and effective means to provide relief supplies following hurricane damage. Vessels operating within the conditions outlined in their Certificate of Inspection (COI), generally, do not need additional permission from the Coast Guard to engage in relief operations. When the Coast Guard Sector Commander, U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), or other government agency identifies that a sufficient number or type of vessels are not available to provide the needed support, it may be appropriate for the Coast Guard to permit certain exemptions or equivalencies to facilitate relief efforts.

Vessels requiring exemptions or equivalency determinations to support hurricane relief efforts may require approval from the Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance (CG-CVC), the Office of Design and Engineering Standards (CG-ENG), or the Marine Safety Center (MSC). Vessel owners and operators should submit these requests in writing to the local OCMI. If necessary, the OCMI will forward the request via the District Commander to CG-CVC for action. Requests should be accompanied by documentation showing the need for the vessel’s services, a gap analysis of the regulations the vessel does not meet, and a description of the relief activities that the vessel will perform.

For full details, read or download Policy Letter 19-03.

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.