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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Towing Vessel News

New Subchapter M Towing Vessel Regulations Take Effect

(File photo: Eastern Shipbuilding Group)

The U.S. Coast Guard announced Monday new towing vessel regulations establishing new requirements for the design, construction, onboard equipment and operation of towing vessels. These regulations, which were developed over time with input from the Towing Safety Advisory Committee (TSAC) and the towing vessel industry, will be incorporated into Title 46 of the Code of Federal Regulations as the new Subchapter M. The Maritime Transportation Act of 2004 reclassified towing vesselsā€¦

A Significant Date for Subchapter M

Ā© hildeanna / Adobe Stock

July 20 marks a milestone in Subchapter M implementation. Towing vessels with keels laid or major conversions on or after July 20, 2017 are required to meet 46 CFR Subchapter M and obtain a Certificate of Inspection (COI) prior to operating. Additionally, starting July 20, 2018, a portion of existing towing vessels will have one year to meet all of Subchapter M and obtain COIs. By July 19, 2022, 100 percent of the towing vessels must have valid COIs on board. Owners or managingā€¦

UTV Training Prepares Towing Industry

Quality Management International, Inc. has developed a two-day training program for professionals in the towing vessel industry. This course for Uninspected Towing Vessels (UTV) focuses on all the current regulations including clauses of the ISM Code relevant for tugs, towboats and barges. By attending this class, towing professionals can get ahead of the curve and be well-prepared for the impending inspections. The QMII UTV course is an intensive combination of lecture and hands-on workshops specifically designed to teach students both the new requirements and how to effectively audit their system to ensure that they will pass the Towing Vessels Bridging Program (TVBP) inspection. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has already started inspections under the TVBP.

US Coast Guard Hosts Subchapter M Forum

Steven Douglas from the Coast Guard Towing Vessel National Center of Expertise explains the inspections requirements for new and existing towing vessels outlined in Subchapter M, at Illinois Marine Towing Nov. 9, 2016. Douglas presented the information during a forum held to educate more than 80 industry representatives from across the Midwest. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Byron Rios)

Marine Safety Unit Chicago and the U.S. Coast Guard Towing Vessel National Center of Expertise hosted an informational outreach forum Wednesday with towing vessel operators to explain the implementation of the new regulations for the inspection of towing vessels, Subchapter M. The meeting was held at the offices of Illinois Marine Towing in Lemont Wednesday morning with more than 80 industry representatives from the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River Basin attending. This informationalā€¦

USCG Issues Fire Protection Equipment Requirements

All towing vessels except those in restricted services are required to comply with new requirements for fire protection equipment and procedures under an interim rule issued by the USCG. The rule is the first step in a two-pronged approach to implementing the requirements of the 1996 USCG Authorization Act, which directed the USCG to promulgate regulations requiring fire suppression systems or other measures to control fires on towing vessels. · An engine room fire detection system with visible and audible alarms. · A fixed or portable system allowing for two-way communication between the pilothouse and the engine room. · A remote fuel shutoff for the main engine and other fuel lines.

OMB - Subchapter M Cleared for Publication

File Image: an aerial view of a typical fleeting operation on America's inland rivers (WCI)

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) completed its review of the draft final rule entitled Inspection of Towing Vessels, also known as "Subchapter M." The document has been returned to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the US Coast Guard for final preparation prior to promulgation in the Federal Register. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, this rulemaking would implement a program of inspection for certification of towing vessels, which were previously uninspected.

USCG Proposes to Amend Training Requirements

The US Coast Guard proposes to amend certain regulations relating to the training and service requirements for merchant marine officers. These proposed changes would, if adopted, remove the expiration date of the radar-observer endorsement from the merchant marinerā€™s license, allow for an apprentice mate of towing vessels to reduce sea-service time form mate (pilot) of towing vessels by completing additional approved training, and provide an alternate path to mate (pilot) of towing vessels for master of steam or motor vessels of any tonnage that is 200 GRT or less. Comments should be submitted by October 14. Source: HK Law

USCG Aiding Preparation for Subchapter M

Marine Inspectors from MSU Portland conduct a field dry dock examination to educate and train the towing vessel community on new regulatory standards that will come into force in the summer of 2018. The information session held at MSU Portland was the second in a series of national outreach forums designed to educate towing vessel operators on the new Subchapter M regulations. (Photo: U.S. Coast Guard)

U.S. Marine Inspectors from Marine Safety Unit (MSU) Portland conducted a field dry dock examination, Wednesday, to educate and train the towing vessel community on new regulatory standards that will come into force in the summer of 2018. Shaver Transportation Company suggested the field outreach event during a U.S. Coast Guard initiated information session the previous week. The information session held at MSU Portland was the second in a series of national outreach forums designed to educate towing vessel operators on the new regulationsā€¦

CG Reopens Intracoastal Waterway

The Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Port Arthur reopened the Intracoastal Waterway after the towing vessel Caroline was refloated Monday. The waterway was closed following a collision between the towing vessel Caroline and the towing vessel Miss Stacie at mile marker 312 on the Intracoastal Waterway early this morning. No injuries were sustained during the collision. A Unified Command comprised of Canal Barge Company, Texas General Land Office, Oil Mop and the Coast Guard was established to respond to the incident. A minimal amount of oil was released from the Caroline and was cleaned up by Oil Mop. The Caroline was re-floated at 11:10 and was then towed to Bollinger Shipyard in Lake Charles, La., for repairs. The Carolineā€™s barges were transported to Houston by the towing vessel Coushatta.

Towing Vessel Runs Aground in Louisiana

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Marine Safety Unit Lake Charles

An uninspected towing vessel taking on water has run aground in Louisianaā€™s Calcasieu Ship Channel, early Monday morning. At 3:45 a.m., the three-man crew aboard the 60-foot towing vessel Mr. Landon intentionally ran the vessel aground near Monkey Island to avoid sinking when they realized they were taking on water in the stern. No injuries were reported. Approximately 10 gallons of oil was spilled as a result of the incident. Clean up efforts were coordinated by U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Marine Safety Unit (MSU) Lake Charles membersā€¦

Subchapter M: Slow Walking the Inspection of Towing Vessels

One important impact of the new regulations is that, once they enter into effect, the U.S. Coast Guard will be the principal federal agency overseeing towing vessels.  OSHA will immediately lose its authority over inspected towing vessels. (Photo: Pat Folan)

On June 20, 2016, the U.S. Coast Guard promulgated its long awaited or dreaded (depending on your perspective) final rule regarding inspection of towing vessels. The new regulations, which will enter into effect on July 20, derive from a 2004 legislative amendment which added towing vessels to the list of ā€˜vessels subject to inspectionā€™. That statute also authorized regulations to establish a safety management system for towing vessels and maximum hours of service and related provisions for individuals engaged on towing vessels.

How to Start A Towing Vessel NCOE

Commander Case, USCG, Supervisor of the Towing Vessel National Center of Expertise (NCOE)

Last summer, USCG Commander Gregory Case was charged with transforming the Coast Guardā€™s Towing Vessel National Center of Expertise (TVNCOE) from a plan on paper to a brick and mortar reality. The center is one of seven National Centers of Expertise, and is charged with training towing vessel examiners and inspectors, being a repository of towing vessel expertise and forming and strengthening partnerships with industry. In May 2010 the center was officially opened in Paducah, Kentucky.

NTSB Releases Finding of I-40 Accident Investigation

The nationā€™s tugboat, towboat, and barge industry is committed to improving public safety and preventing accidents involving vessels and bridges, the American Waterways Operators (AWO) pledged as the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released the results of its investigation of the May 2002 I-40 bridge accident at Webbers Falls, Oklahoma. AWO President Thomas A. Allegretti called the NTSB findings ā€œimportant information that will help our industry and make the traveling public safer. AWO is a partner with the NTSB and the Coast Guard in improving marine transportation safety. We are committed to studying, learning from and applying the lessons of this investigation for our industry.

Fire Protection Rules Require Further Changes

The USCG's interim rule on fire protection equipment for towing vessels requires modification to avoid unnecessary and costly burdens on owners of existing towing vessels, AWO told the USCG. Reiterating its support for the basic suite of equipment and procedural requirements contained in the interim rule ? a general alarm, fire detection system, internal communications system, remote fuel shutoff, and training and drill procedures for crewmembers ? AWO urged the USCG to modify the technical specifications for fire detection systems and fuel shutoff valves before the October 2001 deadline for installation of such equipment. The interim rule requires a fire detection system be used for no other purposeā€¦

New Rule Upgrade Shields Towing Vessels

The U.S. Coast Guard's final rule on "Fire Protection Measures for Towing Vessels" is posted on the Federal Register dated August 28. The ruling fine tunes the fire protection measures for towing vessels implemented by an interim rule published on October 19, 1999, which is the result of public comments received. The changes clarify the comments for fuel shut-off valves, fuel-tank vents, design of fire-detection systems for engine rooms and safety orientations. These adjustments should lower the number and severity of injuries to crews; prevent damage to vessels, structures and other property, as well as protecting the environment. While the rule comes into force on September 27, 2000, owners of towing vessels will have until October 8, 2001 to install the required equipment.

AWO Pledges Support in I-40 Investigation

The American Waterways Operators (AWO) pledged as the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released the results of its investigation of the May 2002 I-40 bridge accident at Webbers Falls, Oklahoma. AWO President Thomas A. Allegretti called the NTSB findings "important information that will help our industry and make the traveling public safer. AWO is a partner with the NTSB and the Coast Guard in improving marine transportation safety. In particular, AWO would be pleased to provide any assistance possible with regard to the NTSB recommendation that the Coast Guard evaluate the utility and effectiveness of wheelhouse alerter systems on inland towing vessels for preventing accidents." Since the I-40 accidentā€¦

Op Big Tow - No Discrepancies So Far

Personnel from Coast Guard Sector Upper Mississippi River have contacted and safety-checked more than 74 towing vessels and examined 310 mariner licenses and have found no discrepancies in the early phases of Operation Big Tow in the upper Mississippi River region. Operation Big Tow, a national initiative that began in the upper Mississippi River region Saturday, is using safety spot checks, vessel and operator credential examinations, and company audits to ensure towing vessels are being operated safely and are manned by properly licensed individuals. To minimize the impact to vessel movements or the flow of commerce, the Coast Guard is working with industry and towing vessel operators to conduct examinations at locks and damsā€¦

USCG Publishes NPRM for Inspection of Towing Vessels

WASHINGTON ā€” The U.S. Coast Guard announced Thursday publication in the Federal Register of a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) designed to improve safety on towing vessels. The NPRM provides a layered approach to towing vessel safety that includes the option of an audited safety management system or an annual Coast Guard inspection regime. The NPRM also includes procedures for obtaining Certificates of Inspection issued by the Coast Guard, and for Coast Guard oversight of any audit and survey processes involving third party organizations. Additionally, it would establish safety regulations governing the inspection, standards, and safety management systems for towing vessels.

Coast Guard Publishes NPRM

The U.S. Coast Guard announced Thursday publication in the Federal Register of a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) designed to improve safety on towing vessels. The NPRM provides a layered approach to towing vessel safety that includes the option of an audited safety management system or an annual Coast Guard inspection regime. The NPRM also includes procedures for obtaining Certificates of Inspection issued by the Coast Guard, and for Coast Guard oversight of any audit and survey processes involving third party organizations. Additionally, it would establish safety regulations governing the inspection, standards, and safety management systems for towing vessels.

OMB: Inspection of Towing Vessels

The proposed rule for Inspection of Towing Vessels has (finally) been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. This rulemaking would implement a program of inspection for certification of US towing vessels, which were previously uninspected. recordkeeping. (4/1/11). Note from Dennis Bryant: Once this rulemaking comes into effect, US towing vessels that become subject to inspection would no longer fall under the joint jurisdiction of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This joint jurisdiction has been a rubbing point within the towing industry for years. OMB review generally takes 2-3 months.

Towing Safety Committee to Meet

TSAC ā€“ meeting Two working groups of the Towing Safety Advisory Committee (TSAC), sponsored by the U.S. Coast Guard, will meet in Arlington, Virginia to discuss issues related to towing vessel safety. The Regulatory Review Working Group will meet on April 27 to discuss travel time for towing vessel officers. The Maritime Security Working Group will meet on April 28 to discuss implementation of security plan regulations and development of timely feedback to the Coast Guard. 69 Fed. Reg. 21148 (HK Law)

Tow Vessel Sinks on the Mississippi

The Coast Guard is assisting in the response of a capsized 65-foot tow vessel, Tuesday. Coast Guard Sector New Orleans watchstanders received a report around 9 a.m of a capsized vessel near mile marker 98 in the lower Mississippi River, adjacent to Louisiana Avenue Wharf. The tow vessel Kristin Alexis capsized with five crewmembers aboard. Good Samaritan vessels arrived on scene and rescued the five crewmembers from the capsized vessel. All five crewmembers reported no injuries. The sunken tow vessel is outside the navigable channel, and the waterway remains open to vessel traffic at this time. An oil spill removal organization deployed boom and sorbent materials to mitigate any environmental impacts. A salvage company is on scene to ensure the vessel remains secure overnight.

Towing Vessel Sinking on Ohio River

The U.S. Coast Guard is responding to the sinking of a towing vessel on the Ohio River near Golconda, Illinois, Wednesday. Coast Guard Sector Ohio River Valley watchstanders were notified the towing vessel David Dunnigan sank while working near mile marker 897.5, at approximately 8 p.m. The David Dunnigan reportedly capsized, sank and drifted down river. The exact location of the sunken vessel is unknown at this time. Coast Guard Sector Ohio Valley Captain of the Port, Capt. Richard Timme, has restricted vessel operations from mile marker 896.5 to mile marker 900 on the Ohio River as a precaution until the position of the vessel is determined. The towing vessel is reportedly carrying an estimated 3,000 gallons of fuel oil on board.

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