New Requirement MSDS on Tankers

Friday, June 26, 2009

The U.S. Coast Guard announced that it has submitted a Federal Register notice to the marine community containing guidance on new International Maritime Organization measures. These new measures require that all tank ships subject to the Safety of Life at Sea Convention carrying Annex I cargoes and all ships using Annex I marine fuels have Material Safety Data Sheets aboard. This Safety of Life at Sea Convention requirement will become effective January 1, 2011. It does not apply to inland barges or any other ship not subject to the Safety of Life at Sea Convention.

After January 1, 2011, nations party to the Safety of Life at Sea Convention can be expected to verify that ships subject to the Safety of Life at Sea Convention have Material Safety Data Sheets as required. After that date, all U.S. flagged vessels under the Safety of Life at Sea Convention traveling overseas should expect foreign administrations to ask for Material Safety Data Sheets for each Annex I cargo and marine oil fuel on board.

Also after that date, all foreign flagged vessels under the Safety of Life at Sea Convention in U.S. ports should expect the Coast Guard to ask for Material Safety Data Sheets in fulfillment of the United States' duties as a party to the Safety of Life at Sea Convention. The Coast Guard expects that ship's personnel receive Material Safety Data Sheets in a working language or languages understood by them. The Coast Guard expects that occupational exposure limits referenced in a Material Safety Data Sheet be based on an internationally-recognized standard.

The International Maritime Organization has recommended a format for the Material Safety Data Sheet and the Coast Guard encourages the use of this recommended format and content, which is set out in the Federal Register notice. Some nations party to the Safety of Life at Sea Convention may require Material Safety Data Sheets to follow the International Maritime Organization recommendations for format and content.

In most cases, vessels will already have Material Safety Data sheets for all cargoes that usually will contain the recommended information. In some cases, certain recommended data may not apply to the bulk liquid in question (data not applicable should be so noted); however, some member nations may require all of the recommended information.

The notice is available at the Office of the Federal Register Public Inspection Desk at www.federalregister.gov. After publication, it will be available in the Federal Register and at www.regulations.gov, docket number: USCG-2009-0553.

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