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Coast Guard envisions two-level approach to its vessel inspections

Vessel inspection by
U.S. Coast Guard

The U.S. Coast Guard has issued a draft of a document which it calls a “Navigation and Inspection Circular,” or NVIC, under which it spells out the procedures it proposes to follow when inspecting a vessel that seeks entry into the Maritime Security Program. The Maritime Security Program establishes a fleet of commercially viable and militarily useful vessels that could help meet national defense and other security requirements. That program was authorized by the Maritime Security Act of 1996.

In its draft NVIC, the Coast Guard outlines an inspection process for examining two different types of vessels: (1) foreign flag vessels that are transitioning to be U.S.-flag vessels and are trying to obtain their initial certification under the Maritime Security Program, (2) U.S.-flag vessels that have already obtained their MSP certification. The draft NVIC envisions a two-level approach to these inspections.

“This two-level approach would enable the Coast Guard to apply traditional inspection methods to newly reflagged vessels, while at the same time a less stringent level of oversight to vessels that have consistently demonstrated satisfactory performance and substantial compliance with applicable rules,” explains a notice posted by the Coast Guard in the Federal Register on Jan. 19.

Members of the public are invited to review the draft NVIC and make comments about it by March 19 by visiting www.regulations.gov and citing docket number USCG-2011-1156.

Further information is available from John Hannon, of the Coast Guard’s domestic vessels division, at 202-372-1222 or John.J.Hannon@uscg.mil.