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USCG Publishes Proposed Rulemaking For Towing Vessels

In the interest of improved safety, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) announced a proposal on July 12 focused on tightening licensing and manning on towing vessels. The proposal would create new licenses with additional levels of qualifications, calls for enhanced training and more operating experience and requires practical demonstrations of towing skills. The rulemaking stems from findings of the investigation into the AMTRAK rail disaster that claimed 47 lives near Mobile, Ala., in September 1993. The USCG concluded that improvements in licensing, training and qualifications of towing vessel officers could reduce the number of marine accidents associated with these vessels.

According to USCG officials, the proposal resulted from an extensive, cooperative effort with representatives of the towing industry.

The proposal was published in the Federal Register on June 19 as a notice of proposed rulemaking. Written comments must be received before Oct. 17 and should be addressed to the Executive Secretary, Marine Safety Council, (G-LRA/3406), Docket #94-055, USCG Headquarters, 2100 Second Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20001. Written comments may be delivered between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday to Room 3406 at the same address. For additional information or copies of the notice, interested persons should call Lt. Cmdr. Don Darcy, project manager, Office of Environmental Standards, at (202) 267-0221, or fax a message to him at (202) 267-4570.

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