USCG Finalizes Changes to NOV Procedures

Friday, June 14, 2002
The Coast Guard has published a final rule changing the procedures for handling Notice of Violation (NOV) cases in which the recipient fails to respond to the notice within 45 days. The rule, which takes effect July 5, adopts the changes proposed in the Coast Guard's December 10, 2001 notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). Under the new procedures, the Coast Guard will treat a failure to respond to a Notice of Violation as a default and proceed to assess the civil penalty listed on the NOV. Prior to this change, when a recipient failed to respond to an NOV within 45 days, the case was automatically converted into a Marine Violation case, a lengthier and more complicated procedure in which a Coast Guard hearing officer processes the case and assesses a penalty. Under the new rule, the recipient of a NOV would retain the right to request Marine Violation processing at any point during the 45-day response period. The Notice of Violation procedure was instituted by the Coast Guard in 1994 in an attempt to streamline the civil penalty process for first and second minor violations of laws, regulations, and Coast Guard orders. The process offers both the Coast Guard and the receiving party the opportunity for faster processing and a scheduled penalty that is lower than the maximum penalty that can be assessed for a given offense. A recent Coast Guard review of the program indicates that approximately 95 percent of receiving parties accept the NOV and pay the listed penalty, four percent decline and choose Marine Violation processing before a Coast Guard hearing officer, and one percent fail to respond within the 45- day response period. The proposed new procedure is meant to reduce Coast Guard processing time in noresponse cases. Maritime S Source: AWO Letter
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