Due to the lapse in government funding, the U.S. Coast Guard announced Tuesday that it will allow commercial vessels engaged in domestic voyages between ports in the United States or its possessions to operate with an expired certificate of documentation as long as they are in compliance with all other requirements for operation.
Vessel owners should submit their renewal application to the National Vessel Documentation Center as appropriate using normal submittal procedures. These applications will be processed as soon as the lapse in appropriations ends. For recreational vessels, since the vessel user fee funding has not been affected, these applications will continue to be processed.
Commercial vessel owners and operators who are travelling or operating their vessels outside the United States are strongly advised to verify that their vessel’s certificate of documentation will remain valid for the complete duration of the voyage. Commercial vessels that arrive in foreign ports with an expired or an invalid certificate of documentation may be subject to denial of entry or detention by local port state authorities.
If a commercial vessel is currently, or will be on an international voyage between now and Dec. 1, and has an expiring certificate of documentation, the owner or operator should contact the U.S. Coast Guard’s Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance, Domestic Vessel at 202-372-1224 during regular business hours or via email at CG-CVCfirstname.lastname@example.org.