Via Workboat.com

Coast Guard raises marine casualty report threshold to $75,000

The Coast Guard has raised the limit on damages that trigger a marine casualty report to keep pace with inflation, and eliminate the burden of chronicling and investigating relatively minor mishaps.

The new property damage threshold is $75,000, up from $25,000 and $3,000 higher than originally proposed. The limit for a serious marine incident, which requires mandatory drug and alcohol testing, is $200,000, up from $100,000 but still lower than many industry advocates sought.

The final rule published Monday – the first change since the amounts were established in the 1980s – is effective April 18.

“This is a big step forward. We welcome these improved thresholds,” said John Groundwater, executive director of the Passenger Vessel Association (PVA). “We would have liked to see higher numbers, but we’re generally pleased. It will be helpful.”

The American Waterways Operators (AWO) also supported the increase.

Continue reading this article at Workboat.com >>>

Advertisements

From United States Coast Guard Headquarters
Inspections and Compliance Directorate

During a recent inspection, U.S. Coast Guard Port State Control examiners discovered a significant flaw involving almost all of a vessel’s immersion suits. The examiners noted that the glue used to attach the main zipper to the body of the suit had failed. Failure of the suit at this location will prevent the suit from achieving a watertight seal. Such conditions present serious risk to crewmembers in a survival situation.

Due to the high failure rate discovered during the Coast Guard exam (35 out of 40 suits were defective), the Coast Guard strongly recommends that vessel operators inspect their Immersion Suits for this potential unsafe condition. Do not wait to discover the problem during a real emergency. As a reminder, any replacement survival suits need to be approved by the vessel’s Flag State.

Distributed by the Office of Investigations and Casualty Analysis, Washington DC. Questions may be sent to HQS-PF-fldr-CG-INV@uscg.mil.

Click here for images of defective suits (PDF)

From the Coast Guard 3.14.2018

To continuously improve our services to mariners, the Coast Guard has established a new option for submission of medical certificate applications (CG-719K and CG-719K/E forms). Beginning February 1, 2018, mariners may submit medical certificate only applications directly to the National Maritime Center (NMC). Regional Examination Centers (RECs) will continue to accept medical certificate application submissions as well.

The requirements for submission have not changed with the exception that, beginning on February 1, 2018, submissions to the NMC can be made via e-mail at MEDAIP@uscg.mil. Electronic submission requirements can be found on the NMC website.

 Click here to continue reading the press release.

 

From Bryant’s Maritime Blog

The US Coast Guard issued a policy letter providing US merchant mariners with guidance for requesting harmonization of expiration dates of merchant mariner credentials and mariner medical certificates. CG-MMC Policy Letter 01-18 (2/28/18)

(Editor’s Note: The first page of the PDF is blank but the policy itself comes through. If you find a better version, please share in the comments below)

The National Maritime Center (NMC) has received questions from mariners regarding how to determine, from their Approved to Test letter, whether they will be testing under the previous or current regulations. In January 2014, the Coast Guard issued Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) 02-14 to provide guidance regarding the transition from previous to current mariner credentialing regulations, which went into effect on March 24, 2014. Enclosure (1) of the NVIC provides information regarding whether an applicant will examine under the previous or current regulation.

If the examination code on the Approved to Test Letter is preceded by a Q, the examination module is based on the current regulation. If the examination code is not preceded by a Q, the examination module is based on the previous regulation. All Rules of the Road examination modules will be preceded by a Q, regardless of which regulation the applicant was evaluated under. The module codes are found in the Deck and Engineering Guide for the Administration of Merchant Marine Examinations on the NMC website.

Current Regulation:
Module Module Name Passing Score
Q100 RULES OF THE ROAD: INLAND AND INTERNATIONAL 90
Q160 DECK GENERAL 70
Q161 DECK SAFETY 70
Previous Regulation:
Module Module Name Passing Score
072X1 RULES OF THE ROAD: INLAND AND INTERNATIONAL 70
073 CHART NAVIGATION 90
221 DECK GENERAL + DECK SAFETY & ENVIRONMENTAL 70
PROTECTION
Q100 RULES OF THE ROAD: INLAND AND INTERNATIONAL 90

The NMC is working to update various pages on our website to more clearly reflect this information. Questions should be addressed to the NMC Call center via e-mail at IASKNMC@uscg.mil, by Chat from the NMC Website, or by phone at 1-888-IASKNMC (427-5662).

Sincerely,
Kirsten R. Martin Captain, U.S. Coast Guard
Commanding Officer

Read the PDF

From Bluewater Maritime Consulting:

For Masters and Mates:

The National Maritime Center is now evaluating mariners under the full STCW code. This forces them to apply stricter accounting for sea service and assessment completion in regard to STCW (international) credentialing. To set your crew up for the most efficient path to STCW ratings, new crew should be trained and assessed in RFPNW (Rating Forming Part of a Navigational Watch) skills as soon as possible.

For a mariner to be approved for RFPNW, they need to have completed the assessment checklist, as well as earned 6 months of sea service (or 2 months from an accredited school) and taken Basic Training. Only after they complete their assessments and 180 days of sea service will their days at sea begin counting towards an AS-D (able-seafarer deck) rating.

I recommend all that masters/mates encourage and facilitate the completion of the RFPNW checklist by new crew as soon as possible if they are interested in a career as a merchant mariner.

By encouraging and facilitating early assessment completion, we as masters/mates are jump-starting a new mariner’s professional credentialing process. A crew member who waits several years to work on this checklist is substantially delaying their opportunity to earn an AS-D….<<more>>

Continue reading at Bluewater Maritime Consulting

Fixed CO2 Fire Extinguishing Systems – When your hoses aren’t right you might lose the firefight

 

Recently, Coast Guard marine inspectors discovered critical deficiencies onboard a containership with its fixed CO2 fire extinguishing system. The conditions associated with the CO2 system may have prevented the system from operating correctly or, if not discovered, the system may not have operated at all in an emergency situation.

During the inspection, it was noted that some of the hoses which connected the large CO2 cylinders to the manifolds were wrapped around the bottle valve handles as shown in photographs A and B.   The bottles could have been in place for a long period of time, in their original positions without regard to the stresses placed on the connecting hoses.  However, experts in Fixed CO2 System Servicing have indicated that service personnel routinely find loose bottles which have rotated over a period of time.  The experts expressed that photographs A and B represented extreme cases of rotation.  The service personnel also stated that “four bottle deep” manifold systems were atypical and may have contributed to an inability to maintain tightness.

These bottles should have been clamped tightly in place by the use of wooden brackets as displayed in photograph C.  Wooden spacers in between the rows of bottles can also be used to ensure proper securing of all the bottles.

Inspectors also found significant cracking of the CO2 discharge hoses which were under tension as shown in photograph D. This condition is known as ozone cracking and occurs when very small amounts of ozone in the atmosphere interact with the polymers that compose rubber products and certain other elastomers when those products are under tension.

As a result of the inspection the vessel was detained until these and other identified deficiencies identified were corrected.  During a reinspection of the vessel to clear the deficiencies, it was discovered that the servicing organization that replaced  the hoses, installed several new hoses in a similar orientation that maintained excessive stress on the hoses.  That issue was subsequently rectified by rotating the bottles.

In June of 2009 the IMO released MSC.1/Cir.1318, titled “GUIDELINES FOR THE MAINTENANCE AND INSPECTIONS OF FIXED CARBON DIOXIDE FIRE-EXTINGUISHING SYSTEMS.”  It provides the minimum recommended level of maintenance and inspections for fixed carbon dioxide fire-extinguishing systems on all ships in order to demonstrate that the system is kept in good working order as specified in SOLAS regulation II-2/14.2.1.2.  In addition to other important information, it provides useful maintenance and inspection guidance.

One related monthly inspection item suggests checking that all “high pressure cylinders are in place and properly secured.”

The Coast Guard strongly recommends that vessel owners and operators obtain MSC.1/Cir.1318 for distribution to their fleets.  In addition, each vessel’s Safety Management System should incorporate the Circular’s pertinent data.  Public users can establish a free account to access the Circular and other important information at https://docs.imo.org/.  The Coast Guard also urges owners and operators to ensure the following steps are taken for each fixed CO2 system:

* Bottle installation must be accomplished carefully considering hose and actuator positioning in addition to ensuring stress is minimized for each hose.  Securing devices must be inspected for effectiveness.

*  Vessel crewmembers should check for bottle rotation, loose bottles, and excessive stress on discharge hoses during periodic inspections of fixed CO2 systems.  All appropriate safety precautions should be completed prior to taking any actions to re-secure or reposition CO2 cylinders.

This information has been provided by the Marine Inspectors at USCG Marine Safety Detachment, Lake Worth.   This Safety Alert is provided for informational purposes only and does not relieve any domestic or international safety, operational or material requirement.  Developed with assistance of the Marine Safety Detachment, Lake Worth and distributed by the Office of Investigations and Casualty Analysis, Washington DC.  Questions may be sent to HQS-PF-fldr-CG-INV@uscg.mil.

 

View PDF (includes photos)