Marine Link
Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Vessel Documentation News

Report on USCG Vessel Documentation User Fees

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Transportation released its Report on USCG Vessel Documentation User Fees. The OIG audit revealed that user fees collected by the Coast Guard exceeded the cost of providing the vessel documentation service. The Coast Guard streamlined its operations several years ago, but did not adjust its fees to account for its lower costs. The Coast Guard has agreed to adjust its user fees accordingly. Source: HK Law

USCG Vessel Documentation in Transition

The U.S. Coast Guard vessel documentation program is in transition from the old Marine Safety Information System (MSIS) to the new Vessel Documentation System (VDS). Until VDS is fully deployed at or about January 1, 2002, the Coast Guard will only be issuing Certificates of Documentation to U.S. commercial vessels engaged in the foreign trade. Other commercial vessels will be issued letters showing their name, official number, and the trade in which they are engaged. Regular Certificates of Documentation will be issued to these latter vessels after VDS becomes fully operational. Source: HK Law

Coast Guard Rule on Vessel Documentation Renewal Issued

The U.S. Coast Guard's final rule on vessel documentation renewal fees was published in the Federal Register Tuesday. The Coast Guard is amending its regulations to separately list an annual fee for renewals of endorsements upon the Certificate of Documentation. The Coast Guard is required to establish user fees for services related to the documentation of vessels. This final rule separately lists a fee of $26 to cover the current costs of the vessel documentation services provided by the Coast Guard.

Another Licensing

As discussed in a recent article, the USCG is now talking openly about centralizing the nationwide administration of the licensing and certification of seamen and officers into one location (the actual examinations will be "privatized"). They speak of the success they have had performing this feat for the vessel documentation offices and now want to repeat if for the licensing system. Obviously, they have forgotten the problems that occurred with the centralization of vessel documentation and for reasons of their own are reluctant to admit they will probably have serious problems with this new venture because of the different clientele. In 1995, the USCG centralized the vessel documentation process into one office located in Falling Waters, W.V.

USCG Information re Damaged Vessels

The U.S. Coast Guard issued a Notice advising owners of vessels destroyed or severely damaged in the recent spate of hurricanes how to obtain information regarding their vessels from the National Vessel Documentation Center (NVDC). (HK Law)

New Suite Simplifies Vessel Documentation

Photo: Ocean Time Marine

Ocean Time Marine informs it has added to its suite of safety management tools with a new vessel content management system, the Ocean Time Marine Dashboard and a suite of paperless safety document packs. These tools aim to provide simplified administration for vessel management delivering greater support and cost-savings for captains and crew on board and ashore, Ocean Time Marine said. In response to the marine industry’s need for an easier way to store and manage vessel documentation, Ocean Time Marine developed the Dashboard.

Continuous synopsis record – application form

The U.S. Coast Guard issued a Notice stating that it has developed an Application for Continuous Synopsis Record (CSR) for U.S vessels. The application must be completed and submitted to the CSR Desk at the USCG National Vessel Documentation Center (NVDC). This submittal should be done promptly because, under both the SOLAS Convention and USCG maritime security regulations, affected vessels must have a CSR on board by July 1, 2004. Affected vessels are cargo vessels of 500 gross tons and over and passenger vessels that carry more than 12 passengers when either type vessel is engaged on an international voyage. The Coast Guard has also developed a form for Amendments to the CSR. 69 Fed. Reg. 9206 (February 27, 2004).

USCG Grants Certificate Extension for Some Commercial Ships

Photo: USCG

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.

Whitley Joins Rigdon

Larry Rigdon, President and Chief Executive Officer of Rigdon Marine, announced the appointment of Jim Whitley as Director of Technical Services. Mr. Whitely will be responsible for vessel engineering, new construction, maintenance and repair, vessel documentation, and regulatory compliance. “With over twenty five years of offshore marine experience, Jim possesses a vast knowledge of shipyard management, engineering, and new construction,” Rigdon said. Whitley earned his Bachelor of Science in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering from Webb Institute of Naval Architecture. He previously worked for Rigdon Marine as an independent contractor…

NVDC Restricted Under Government Shutdown

Due to the government shutdown, the National Vessel Documentation Center (NVDC) will be operating under restricted conditions. All commercial vessel related business will be suspended until the government resumes operations. Recreational fee funding has not been affected; therefore, the limited number of onsite staff will be focused on processing recreational vessel applications. The NVDC recognizes the impact this government shutdown may have on our maritime industry and customers - particularly the commercial portion of the industry.

Coast Guard Publishes Supplemental NPRM

In the August 9, 2002, Federal Register, the Coast Guard publishes a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to solicit further comment on its previous NPRM entitled, "Vessel Documentation: Lease-Financing for Vessels Engaged in the Coastwise Trade." The regulations implement a 1996 federal law codified at 46 U.S.C. 12106(e), which was designed to enlarge vessel financing sources by allowing lease financing to be offered by companies which are less than 75% U.S.-owned. The notice explains the history of the 1996 law and the proposed regulations. Comments on these proposed regulations must reach the Department of Transportation's Docket Management Facility by October 8, 2002. Source: Marine Legal Update

Appropriations Lapse Halts USCG Certification Renewal

Due to the Federal Government’s lapse in appropriations for Fiscal Year 2014, the Coast Guard is unable to process commercial vessel Certificates of Documentation (COD) to ensure that all commercial vessels receive their renewed CODs before their current documentation expires. The vessels most likely impacted by this situation are those commercial vessels with CODs which expire between October 1, 2013 and November 30, 2013. For commercial vessels engaged in domestic voyages between ports in the United States or its possessions…

Secure VGP Compliance with New Verification Service

DNV GL carried out a pilot project for the VGP verification service with Wilh. Wilhelmsen on their ro-ro vessel, the MV Tarago.

Recent updates to the US Vessel General Permit (VGP) have brought new technical and reporting requirements for vessels operating in US waters, including the need for the preparation of a detailed annual report. DNV GL’s newly introduced VGP verification service helps to ensure compliance by providing a comprehensive review of both VGP procedures and documentation. The VGP verification service consists of a review of company-wide VGP procedures, if they exist, which are usually based on VGP or environmental best practice documentation.

Study: Title Issues Abound in Maritime Deals

ownership records contain potential title issues. the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Vessel Documentation Center (NVDC) registry. title ownership from the time it’s built, or first placed under U.S. documentation. transfers, some claims-of-lien notices and mortgages. registry and unsatisfied claims. at one time. Coast Guard’s ownership records. had liens filed that were unsatisfied. fire,” said Victor I. Title Insurance Company. said Paul B. Erickson of the law firm Alley, Maass, Rogers and Lindsay. vessel until after purchasing it. to delayed filings of documents. at least 30 days after the date of execution. mortgages. lenders involved in these transactions,” said John N. Company. vessel ownership and the seller’s ability to transfer the title.

Greek Coast Guard Seizes Weapons Ship Bound for Libya

Greek authorities have seized a freighter carrying an undeclared shipment of weapons en route from Turkey to Libya, coast guard officials said on Wednesday. A coast guard patrol boat raided the vessel on Tuesday, 20 nautical miles northeast of Crete. The freighter, with a crew of seven and which had sailed from the Turkish port of Iskenderun, was escorted to Heraklion port on the island. The United Nations has imposed an embargo on weapons shipments to Libya, which is plagued by factional conflict. "The ship's crew is being questioned and the content of its containers will be checked," a coast guard official said, declining to be named. The coast guard provided no further details of what kind of arms the freighter had on board, or its ownership.

Finding New Ways to Finance Jones Act Vessel Builds

James A. Kearns

Sustaining the ongoing boatbuilding boom can involve the lawful use of foreign finance streams. James Kearns takes a closer look at the practice. The citizenship requirements for vessels engaged in the U.S. coastwise trade are generally well-known. Such a vessel needs to be built in the United States; it must have a U.S. citizen crew or operator; and its ownership must meet specified U.S. citizenship requirements, depending on the form of legal entity owning the vessel (corporation, limited liability company, partnership, etc.).

NTSB Investigates 2003 Capsized Vessel

while transiting Tillamook Bar near Garibaldi, Oregon. there were 11 fatalities. is ongoing. completed and a detailed analysis of the events is underway. collected over 200 documents. U.S. documentation. were taken during the on-scene investigation. in the future.

U.S. Labor Seeks Ban on Some Foreign Ship Parts

The Metal Trades Department of the AFL-CIO has sued the U.S. Coast Guard over allowing domestic shipyards to use preassembled foreign ship parts and engines, Ron Ault, president of the MTD, said on Tuesday. Preassembled ship parts require little or no assembly at U.S. shipyards, and cut the need for U.S. labor at these yards, he told Reuters in an interview. MTD, a trade department of the American federation of labor unions, coordinates negotiating, organizing and legislative efforts of affiliated metal-working and related crafts and trade unions. Angela McArdle, a U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman, said it was the Coast Guard's policy not to comment on pending litigation. MTD's suit, filed late last week in the U.S.

AFL-CIO Sues Coast Guard to Block Kit Ships

The Metal Trades Department of the AFL-CIO has sued the U.S. Coast Guard to block controversial rulings that violate the 80-year-old Jones Act to allow U.S. The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, charges that a ruling issued on May 24, 2006 and affirmed on November 15, 2006 by the Coast Guard's National Vessel Documentation Center, ignores the requirements of the Jones Act that stipulate that ships moving between U.S. ports must be "built in" the U.S. Shipyards Philadelphia (APSI) and NASSCO, a division of General Dynamics, to produce a series of tankers that are assembled from thousands of parts and modules imported from Korea.

TORM Updates Fleet Status

Photo: A/S Dampskibsselskabet TORM

Denmark shipping company that owns and operates product tankers and bulk carriers TORM exercised two options for the construction of two LR1 newbuildings for a total commitment of USD 74m and with expected delivery in 2019 through the first quarter of 2020. In connection with the two newbuildings, TORM has secured commitment from ABN AMRO for attractive vessel financing of up to USD 50m, subject to documentation. As of 31 December 2017, TORM had available liquidity of USD 405m, consisting of USD 134m in cash and USD 271m in undrawn credit facilities excluding the ABN AMRO financing.

Horizon Lines Plan Diesel/LNG Engine Fuel Conversions

Horizon Lines Ship: Photo courtesy of Horizon Lines

Horizon Lines plans to convert the power plants on two of its steam turbine cargo vessels to modern diesel engines capable of burning conventional liquid fuels or liquefied natural gas (LNG). "We are viewing this as the first step in a repowering initiative for Horizon Lines vessels serving in the Hawaii and Puerto Rico trade lanes," said Sam Woodward, President and Chief Executive Officer. "The two initial steam vessels targeted for the planned repowering are structurally viable for the conversion from steam-powered to dual diesel/LNG engines.

Regional Examination Centers on Borrowed Time

The USCG currently admits its Regional Examination Centers (RECs) are broken and don't provide the service needed to the maritime public. The USCG believes drastic measures are needed to change the system enough so they can repair it and make it more workable. Unfortunately, the drastic modifications proposed do not seem to address what are perceived as problems by maritime users of the RECs. While many in the USCG indicate no final decisions have been made, it certainly appears the USCG fully intends to privatize the license/Merchant Mariner's Document (MMD) examinations as a first step toward closing all RECs and centralizing all administrative processing at one location nationwide.

Barge Numbering System Proposal Status

Outside of the requirements outlined in OPA 90, there typically aren't many regulations affecting the barge industry. One still-pending piece of legislation is the proposal of undocumented barge numbering. The Abandoned Barge Act of 1992 added a new chapter and amended another chapter, requiring the numbering of undocumented barges measuring more than 100 gt operating on the navigable waters of the U.S. In enacting the legislation, Congress noted an abandoned barge could become the site for the disposal of hazardous cargoes, wastes and petroleum products, which could lead to water pollution incidents. According to the USCG, numbering these undocumented barges will increase owner accountability…

Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover Dec 2017 - The Great Ships of 2017

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