Retractable pilothouses offer towing vessel operators great flexibility in meeting the many operational demands of inland navigation. This post offers recommendations to ensure the safety of all crew members involved in their operation.
The Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance recently updated the work instruction “Towing Vessel COI Inspections under TSMS Option.” Updates include but are not limited to adding annual and renewal Certificate of Inspection guidance for Towing Safety Management System option vessels inspected under Subchapter M.
4/18/2019: Subchapter M – Only a few days left to schedule inspections to meet July 22, 2019 compliance requirements
In this post, Rear Adm. John Nadeau reminds towing vessel owners and operators of the responsibility to ensure 25 percent of their fleet has received a COI before July 22, 2019. In addition, at least 30 days before the inspection, the owner or operator must submit a completed “Application for Inspection of a U.S. Vessel” to the OCMI indicating if the Coast Guard or Towing Safety Management System option will be used to meet these requirements.
4/8/2019: Policy Letter 19-01 – Enforcement guidance for harbor assist vessels when operating beyond the boundary line
This policy letter provides guidance for the OCMI to exercise discretion with enforcing regulations, as appropriate, related to manning schemes, credentialing, and watchkeeping requirements so that the relatively few towing vessels that conduct harbor assist operations outside the Boundary Line have additional time to develop a workforce and business model to achieve compliance.
The Inspections and Compliance Directorate published Marine Safety Alert 03-19, “Have a regime when the current’s abeam: Ensure adequate maneuvering space,” to educate mariners following three recent marine casualties, one fatal, that resulted in the sinking of towing vessels on the Lower Mississippi River.
Maritime Commons is sharing American Waterways Operators’ new safety plan, “Developing a Fatigue Risk Management Plan: A Guide for Towing Vessel Operators,” which is designed to help the towing industry manage and mitigate risk factors associated with fatigue in the unique operational environment in which they work.
The Coast Guard is finalizing the interim final rule “Harmonization of Standards for Fire Protection, Detection, and Extinguishing Equipment” effective Nov. 26, 2018, to align fire protection and equipment regulations for inspected towing vessels with other commercial vessel regulations.
The Towing Vessel National Center of Expertise posted a notice on its website Sept. 12, 2018 to alert mariners that the manning section of TugSafe Central has been revised to clarify current guidance and policy regarding manning of inspected towing vessels.
2/26/2018: Interim rule – Harmonization of Standards for Fire Protection, Detection, and Extinguishing Equipment
This interim final rule applies changes made by the 2016 final rule to inspected towing vessels. Applying these updated fire protection requirements to inspected towing vessels will align regulations for inspected towing vessels with other commercial vessel regulations.