The USCG amended its Certification of Inspection (COI) rules for tank barges and other inspected vessels to harmonize them with international standards in accordance with the USCG Authorization Act of 1996.
The new rule establishes a five-year COI cycle to replace the existing two-year cycle for inspected tank and freight barges. However, like the present requirements, the new regulations continue to require annual inspections. The new five-year cycle will include:
· One inspection for certification;
· One periodic inspection, which is as rigorous as the inspection for certification, conducted on either the second or third anniversary of COI issuance; and,
· Three annual inspections, less detailed than the inspection for certification and periodic inspection, in the years when neither an inspection for certification or periodic inspection is performed.
Under the new rule, a vessel owner must apply for an inspection for certification at least 30 days before the expiration date of the current COI, but can schedule the inspection up to three months in advance. The COI always expires and is subject to renewal on the same date, even if the inspection takes place at an earlier date. No application is needed for annual or periodic inspections, which may take place up to three months before or three months after the vessel's COI anniversary.
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