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A Partnership In Maritime Evolution

occurred in the past several years which have caused the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) to go to general quarters. • A Need For Improvement Of Maritime Safety The time has come to assign responsibilities to those who are charged with maritime safety and environmental protection; time for each of us to critically examine our roles, and if need be, to alter those roles and the way we do business.

The USCG is working with owners, classification societies, other governments, insurers and the entire maritime community as a team, in a partnership to continually strive for a safe and clean marine environment. The U.S. is now predominantly a port state (see Figure 1). Figure 1 Approximately 95 percent of our passenger cruise trade, 95 percent of our cargo imports and 75 percent of our crude oil pumped ashore involve foreign flag vessels. Thousands of vessels, flying the flags of over 55 other governments, regularly call at our ports every year. As a port state, we are obligated to protect our citizens and their environment. Picture the protection of life and property at sea, and the protection of the marine environment, as a layered series of safety nets stretched out below the entire maritime industry. These safety nets— which include owners/operators, classification societies, the flag state, and the port state—represent the segments of our community charged with carrying out specific responsibilities. These safety nets have been created to keep a ship, its passengers and crew, and its cargo out of harm's way.

• Owner/Operators The first and most important October, 1993 safety net is that of the vessel's owners and operators. Even the most technologically-advanced vessel will quickly deteriorate and become a maritime menace if it is not adequately maintained, crewed and managed. Thus, we have come to recognize that a company's management practices, its maintenance philosophy, and its institutional commitment to maritime safety and environmental protection are among the most significant parts of the equation.

The International Maritime Organization's (IMO) Marine Safety Committee (MSC) has taken note of the importance of the maritime community's infrastructure. The Committee's International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention (International Safety Management {ISM} Code) provides a series of recommendations for the "appropriate organization of management to enable it to respond to the need of those on board ship to achieve and maintain high standards of safety and environmental protection." The ISM Code identifies the functional requirements of a company's Safety Management System, which includes: procedures for maintaining the vessel in accordance with relevant international and flag state requirements; procedures for reporting non-conformities; and procedures to prepare for and respond to emergency situations. I expect the ISM Code to be adopted as a resolution by the IMO's Assembly in late October 1993.

I endorse the aims of the ISM Code, and have incorporated many of its objectives in our own Maritime Regulatory Reform agenda. In fact, much of the ISM Code merely codifies the operations and philosophies which have been practiced by responsible marine operators for years; the companies for whom safety has always been "smart business." In short, the ISM Code reaffirms that vessel owners/operators bear the ultimate responsibility to crew, maintain and safely operate seaworthy vessels. Thus, when owner/ operators meet their responsibilities, the remaining safety nets take on an enhancement role rather than an enforcement role.

• Classification Societies The second safety net is the classification societies. They work with underwriters, and act as the owner's backup for maintaining a seaworthy ship. They are also responsible to the owner for ensuring the ship complies with the requirements of their own classification rules. There are 42 classification societies around the world today, and of these, only 11 are recognized in the International Association of Classification Societies. Even within the 11 recognized classification societies, there are the big eight, and probably only five or so that most of us are comfortable with. Well, what of the other 31 so-called classification societies? The ones I refer to as the "tinker-toy" classification societies. The ones that consist of two men and a dog in a room with a telephone; classification societies that would "stamp a ham sandwich" if they could make a dollar doing so. The international community is so concerned about the proliferation of these "in name only" classification societies that a new subcommittee on Flag State Implementation has been formed by the IMO.

• Flag State The third safety net is the flag state's administration. Since shipping involves the public market place, government control is enacted through laws and regulations that promulgate a level of safety in accordance with public expectations.

Administrations are responsible for ensuring that the provisions of such laws and regulations are met. In this regard, the IMO embodies the international public's expectations and each flag administration is charged with enforcing the provisions of the IMO conventions. The USCG acts as the flag state administrator for vessels flying the U.S.

flag. I am pleased to see the new IMO Flag State Implementation Subcommittee establishing guidelines for delegation of authority by a Flag State to a body acting on its behalf, and guidelines to assist flag states in the implementation of IMO instruments relating to the reduction of substandard ships. I believe international cooperation like this is critical, as there are far too many flag state administrations shirking their responsibilities.

• Port States The fourth safety net is the port state. As protection to its own citizens and their environment, each port state is authorized to verify that the provisions of the conventions are met. The extent and depth of the examinations performed varies greatly with each country. The port state safety net should only have to review the condition of a ship. Its role is to verify, not certify.

However, I must tell you the RAdm. A. E. Henn U.S. control verification program continues to find too many deficient vessels that have passed through the first four safety nets undetected. The U.S. sees a large cross section of the shipping industry. For example, last year 7,500 foreign flag vessels made 60,000 port calls to U.S. ports. Under our control verification program, the USCG conducted 13,000 separate boardings and boarded 6,600 foreign flag vessels. The USCG found violations of U.S. laws or international regulations on 36 percent of the boardings. Cargo transfer or vessel movement controls were imposed during 12 percent of the boardings. And in 300 cases, about two percent of our boardings, the foreign vessel was detained pending correction of the violation.

Looking a bit closer at foreign flag tank ships, 1,600 foreign flag tank ships entered U.S. ports last year. These vessels accounted for more than 12,000 port calls. Our examination of these vessels found numerous violations of SOLAS and USCG regulations. What I am talking about here was not weather damage.

Tank ships were found with holes in the main deck plate due to wastage, weather deck vents and hatches missing or damaged, and cargo tanks, cargo piping and cargo venting systems in need of permanent repairs.

See Figure 2 (on page 37) to see how 12 flag states with large fleets have matched up in the past. Each of the bars represents a flag, and from now on the bad guys will be posted. The percentage of boardings at which violations were found does not account for the times a USCG inspector boarded the vessel and the violation, such as an inoperative fire pump or a leaking containment bin, was repaired during the inspection or before the vessel departed.

Even so, the average number of boardings during which a violation was found is more than 30 percent. These violations represent poor company management, and a disregard for the safety of the ship, its crew and the environment.

The USCG is tired of being one of the only policemen for worldwide maritime safety and environmental protection. We believe that there are others within the maritime community who should share these responsibilities. The accomplishments of the IMO Flag State Implementation Subcommittee is just one important piece of the "revolution" taking place in the international maritime community. Port states can no longer allow owners, operators, classification societies and flag states to ignore substandard ships. The USCG will continue our increased level of inspections on all foreign ships that call at U.S. ports. The time of the substandard operators, running substandard ships, classed by substandard classification societies, is coming to an end.

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