Column: Maritime Security Regulations Published

Thursday, August 07, 2003

By Charley Havnen

On July 1, 2003 the Coast Guard published in the Federal Register the long anticipated regulations concerning maritime port and vessel security. This is a major rulemaking printed in seven separate individual rulemakings. These rulemakings concern compliance with provisions of the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (MTSA) and implementation of the International Maritime Organization's (IMO's) International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code. The regulations incorporate the ISPS Code into the domestic maritime trade.

The ISPS Code applies to all port facilities and vessels (MODUs, cargo & passenger vessels subject to SOLAS) in international trade. The regulations broaden vessel application significantly beyond the mandatory international requirements:

• All SOLAS vessels

• Foreign vessels >100 Gross Tons not subject to SOLAS

Commercial vessels >100 Gross Tons subject to 46 CFR Subchapter I including barges carrying Certain Dangerous Cargoes (CDCs) but excluding Fishing Vessels dispensing fuel under Part 105

• Offshore Supply Vessels inspected under 46 CFR Subchapter L

• Passenger vessels inspected under 46 CFR Subchapter H or K

• Tank barges inspected under 46 CFR Subchapters D & O

• Towing vessel >26 feet in length engaged in towing a barge subject to the rules

Any vessel not on the above list must still comply with the new security provisions of 33 CFR Parts 101 and 103.

Application to facilities includes those port facilities:

That receive any SOLAS vessels or vessels subject to 46 CFR Subchapter I over 100 Gross Tons on International Voyages Regulated under

• Oil & hazardous material pollution regulations 33 CFR Part 154

• Any Designated Waterfront Facility handling dangerous cargo under 33 CFR Part 126 or Liquified Natural Gas or Liquified Hazardous Gas under 33 CFR Part 127

• Receive vessels authorized to carry more than 150 passengers

• Barge fleeting facilities that receive tank barges carrying in bulk, cargoes regulated by 46 CFR Subchapters D & O (oil & chemicals)

One exceedingly confusing issue involves the definition of Certain Dangerous Cargoes (CDCs). CDCs are particularly dangerous substances that need higher levels of security. There are two separate and conflicting definitions of which of the commodities are considered to be CDCs within current USCG regulations. CDCs are important as higher security standards generally apply to them over other chemicals and oils being transported.

Shortly after 9/11 the Coast Guard modified the requirements for international vessels arriving at US ports with both permanent and temporary rule modifications. Permanent modifications included provisions of 33 CFR 160.203 involving CDCs which included among other nasty substances, a major portion of the cargoes listed in the chemical as well as the compressed gas tank ship rules which originate from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London. These rules contain much too long a list to include in this article.

The new movement reporting and tracking requirements for CDC movement within the river system were published in the Federal Register on May 2, 2003. These rules included only the more abbreviated list of commodities whose movement had to be reported (excluding the extended list of international chemical and gases) but did not change the definition of CDCs in the regulations.

On May 22, 2003 the Coast Guard published rule in the Federal Register placing a suspension on some of the 96 hour advance notice of arrival for international vessel chemical carriers, but again, did not cancel or delete the broad definition of CDC from the regulations but suspended that portion of the definition. This of course means that a CDC is still defined to include the long list of international chemicals.

One may well ask why the CDC definition is important at all, as CDCs do not appear prominently in the vessel regulations. There are some specific items for CDCs for facilities and CDCs have impact upon the overall risk assessment for facilities and require a more security for CDCs within the facility. This more stringent viewpoint would probably have carryover impact upon the unmanned barges and towboat risk assessment and security plan approvals as well. It is fairly clear that the USCG now intends that only the short list be used to define CDC, however they have not done the inland industry any favors. The long list still exists in regulation and may well come back to haunt the inland transportation industry in the not too distant future.

Stay tuned for the next chapter.

Outer Continental Shelf:

The Outer Continental Shelf Facility security rules apply only to the 30 to 40 facilities producing over 100,000 barrels of oil per day or 200,000,000 million cubic feet of natural gas or have over 150 persons on board for more than 12 in each 24 hours for 30 days or more. USCG District Commanders have authority to broaden application of the rule as they see fit. One might suspect that the districts in Florida and California are going to be under significant pressure to apply the rules on a much broader basis than originally intended.

It is curious that on-shore oil and chemical facilities serving only the offshore oil industry are exempt from most of the regulations. The regulations were published as 6 separate rulemakings and one proposal. The individual parts include:

• General Provisions

• Area Maritime Security (like area committees for OPA 90)

• Vessels

• Facilities

• Outer Continental Shelf Facilities

• Automatic Identification System (AIS)

• AIS expansion proposal (asking questions of industry)

What is it these domestic vessels and US port facilities must do and when is it that it must be done? Each domestic vessel, port facility and Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) facility subject to these rules must submit to the USCG for review and approval, a completed Vessel or Port Facility Risk Assessment and a Vessel or Port Facility Security Plan. These plans must be submitted by no later than December 29, 2003, with vessels and facilities operating in full compliance by July 1, 2004.

The regulations seem to be designed so that most companies can do all or a good bit of the work themselves with the possible exception of the Risk Assessments.

It will be difficult for top managers to get a grasp on the extent of physical plant, organizational changes necessary to bring facilities and vessels into compliance. What is the smallest amount of capital costs in plant modifications that will allow continued operations without extensive surveillance equipment installations or a dramatically increased security watch personnel system. This will involve a good deal of work to understand what will be needed and what is not necessary.

To give the reader a bit of an understanding of the problem the following example is provided. Restricted areas are the locations on the vessel or facility that contain propulsion and electrical machinery and controls, control stations such as the bridge or fire control station, water tanks, sea suctions , accommodations or other areas critical to the continuing operation of the vessel or facility.

When a vessel (or facility) is at MARSEC 2, the next to highest security level, the regulations mandate certain security measures to protect restricted areas may include (use of mandate and may in the same sentence is confusing - but nonetheless appropriate):

• Locking or securing access points,

• Monitoring and using surveillance equipment,

• Using guards or patrols, and

• Using automatic intrusion detection devices

A Company, Vessel, or Facility Security Officer (CSO, VSO or FSO), at the onset of his security design work must establish a means or methodology of how he or she intends to comply with the overall spirit of how to attain the proper level of security for these restricted areas.

How can the security officer establish a protective envelope (controlling access) around all restricted areas using tools readily available (albeit, maybe at significant personnel or financial cost).

Once the security officer has a clear vision of an achievable end point that is established (and budgeted) from a security prospective, the remainder of the design work becomes relatively mundane. In other words one must backwards engineer the security system and security plan from the worst case security situation that may be encountered.

It will take several months and a lot of diligent work for the decision makers within the maritime transportation industry to come to grips with the new regulations. Only then will we begin to understand how it will change the appearance and operations of vessels, facilities and OSC units.

Expect a long and difficult process.

Charley Havnen is a Commander USCG Ret. His organization can help you with your vessel or facility security assessment, security plans 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 He can also be reached by contacting the Havnen Group in New Orleans: (800) 493-3883 or (504) 394-8933, fax: (504) 394-8869, or email at

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