Seminar Series Aims to Ensure Compliance

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

A new series of seminars, starting in July and ending in September, aims to educate the maritime community on fast developing new rules and regulations, and more importantly, on how these changes will affect individual companies.

Starting in July and ending in September, The Havnen Group — in conjunction with The Maritime Group, publishers of Maritime Reporter & Engineering News, MarineNews and the Marine Security Sourcebook — will host a nine-seminar series, starting in the Gulf of Mexico and ending in New York.

Since 9/11, the U.S. has been exerting increased security upon all means of transportation. The international maritime community perceives increased security as a necessity to continuing commerce. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adapted the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code applying to all passenger and cargo vessels in international trade and the port facilities that they call upon. Vessels and port facilities must be in full compliance with the Code by July 1 2004. Following is a recent conversation MR/EN had with The Havnen Group principle, Charley Havnen.

For a full roster of dates and locations, and prices, please turn to page 82 of this edition, or call The Havnen Group at (800) 493-3883, or e-mail chavnen@havnengroup.com.

MR/EN: Why are you putting on these seminars?

Havnen: The USCG is responding to the international community and the Marine Transportation Security Act (MTSA) of 2002. New regulations incorporating the ISPS Code and provisions of the Act will be published on about July 1, 2003. This is very important to the entire maritime community, as the regulations will have far reaching impact upon most of the maritime industry in the U.S. The entire maritime community needs to be educated on how to comply with the new security issues.

MR/EN: What do you expect that an attendee will gain from attending one of the seminars?

Havnen: In our seminars we are concentrating on providing the tools to comply with these new requirements. We are of the opinion that with a little bit of training and nurturing, company personnel alone can perform most of the tasks that will be required by the ISPS Code and the regulations to bring a company into full compliance. And we will do this all in one day.

In other words, we are going to teach them the nuts and bolts of how to comply with the regulations and satisfy the regulators that their company complies with the rules. We are not going to teach attendees about anti-terrorism. We will provide all of the resources for them to become reasonable expert in the subject with some outside study. We will provide the necessary guidance to access available study areas (web sites, etc.). We will provide attendees with adequate resources to survive in their job and keep their company out of trouble with the government.

MR/EN: What are the specific requirements that are causing so much concern within the maritime industry?

Havnen: There are several parts to this answer, but it all starts with the International Maritime Organization's ISPS Code. The Code must be complied with by basically all vessels and port facilities in international trade. In the past, port facilities have rarely been required to comply with international conventions. Port facilities that handle vessels on international voyages must comply if they handle foreign flag vessels, dangerous cargo or passengers. Port facilities are going to have to get up to speed on this very rapidly to comply with requirements in a timely manner. Remember, both vessels and port facilities must be in full compliance with the ISPS Code by July 1, 2004. U.S. flag vessels and port facilities must have risk assessments, planning, and plant modification must be completed by about February 1, 2004, and everything must be Coast Guard approved by July 1, 2004.

The ISPS Code includes Part A and Part B. Part A is mandatory for foreign and U.S. flag international vessels. Part B is intended to be optional on a country-by-country basis. The USCG has indicated that Part B is mandatory for all U.S. flag vessels in international trade and foreign vessels calling on U.S. ports. This is a really big deal for the foreign vessels, as they will necessarily have to comply with the USCG interpretation of Part B. This will be contained in the regulations being published about July 1, 2003.

MR/EN: Yes, but the requirements of the ISPS Code, even Part B are only for vessel in international trade and the port facilities that handle them. Is there a broader context here that I am missing?

Havnen: It is curious that you should mention that. The Coast Guard has affirmatively indicated that they will be applying the ISPS Code to domestic vessels and port facilities. This is authorized within the ISPS Code itself as well as the MTSA. There is no question that the USCG will apply the ISPS Code to elements of domestic shipping as they believe to be appropriate. We do not yet know all of the details, but much if not all of the ISPS Code with Parts A and B will be incorporated in some form directly into USCG regulations.

It must be remembered that we do not know how the U.S. will interpret the ISPS Code until these regulation are published. Their interpretations will affect all U.S. vessels and port facilities in international trade as well as domestic vessels and port facilities. Domestic vessels and port facilities must be in full compliance with the regulations by the July 1, 2004 date. Like the U.S. flag deep draft vessels and port facilities, they must have all assessments, plant modifications, planning completed and submitted to the Coast Guard by February 1, 2004. Remember, we do not yet know exactly what the requirements will be and will not know until the regulations are published.

MR/EN: What domestic vessels and port facilities will be significantly impacted by the new rules?

Havnen: Domestic towing vessels will require security plans, small passenger vessels that carry over 149 passengers and other inspected vessels that carry dangerous cargoes. Dangerous cargoes can be dry bulk, oils or chemicals. The port facilities that handle these vessels must also be fully compliant with provisions of the regulations.

The Coast Guard's primary focus seems to be on something they now call Certain Dangerous Cargoes (CDCs). Port facilities and vessels that handle explosives, poisonous gases, radioactive and poisonous materials or certain flammable/toxic compressed gases and liquids, ammonium nitrate and several particularly noxious liquids are included. These CDCs clearly generate the most concern by the USCG for having a potential to become a part of a national security incident.

MR/EN: How is your organization particularly well qualified to put on seminars on these subjects?

Havnen: Pat Touchard and I are the lead presenters.

Pat Touchard is extraordinarily qualified to speak on the subject. After service in the U.S. Marine Corps, he worked for over 20 years with the Louisiana State Police. Touchard is a former SWAT Team Leader and retired as the Commander of the HAZMAT Response Team. He now has his own company and is a recognized expert in HAZMAT incident response and security matters.

He is also a member of the Louisiana Chemical Incident Advisory Committee and is active in the chemical and maritime communities.

I spent 20 years in the Coast Guard after graduating from the federal maritime academy at Kings Point, New York, 18 years of which was in marine inspection with two years aboard a Coast Guard cutter as Engineering Officer. After the Coast Guard, I spent four years as a Vice President of the Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA), a trade association representing the interests of the offshore oil support vessel industry. Much of my time was spent dealing with the Coast Guard. This background gives me a good foundation to understand the Coast Guard mind set and understand the basis of Coast Guard concerns. Remember, our seminars are to help certain people deal with this new set of regulations. Those persons who find themselves involved with the ISPS, MTSA, (and the rest of the new alphabet soup) should be sure to attend.

About the Author

Charley Havnen is a Commander USCG Ret. His organization can help you with your vessel construction project, regulatory problems, vessel manning issues, procedure manuals, accident analysis or serve as an expert witness. His organization can do what you can't or don't want to do, and are online at http://www.havnengroup.com. He can also be reached by contacting the Havnen Group in New Orleans: (800) 493-3883 or (504) 394-8933, fax: (504) 394-8869.

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