US Shutdown Impacts Shipping: North P&I Club

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

January 23, 2019

Image: North of England P&I Club

Image: North of England P&I Club

US Coast Guard and other federal agencies are operating at a reduced capacity following US government shutdown, said North of England Protecting and Indemnity Association (North P&I Club).

Since 21 December 2018, the US Government has been in shutdown following the failure of Congress to agree federal funding. With no end in sight, it is the longest shutdown in US history, it said.

"We have not received any indications as yet that the shutdown is causing significant disruption to shipping," said a statement from North P&I Club. However, it outlines how the federal agencies relevant to shipping are affected by the shutdown as follows:

The US Coast Guard (USCG) has stated that uniformed personnel will continue to perform their duties during the government shutdown and will provide essential services. This will include: Search-and-rescue and  Port and homeland safety and security. The USCG are currently carrying out Port State Control (PSC) inspections on foreign flagged vessels. This has reportedly caused delays in various ports as the USCG is operating at a reduced capacity. Law enforcement and environmental response also delayed.

The National Pollution Funds Centre (NPFC) which is operated by the US Coast Guard will not be processing Certificates of Financial Responsibility (COFR) during the shutdown. The online COFR (E-COFR) remains operational and applications can still be made online.

Another US federal agency affected by the shutdown is the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) which is an independent agency that regulates US imports and exports. While the FMC is currently closed it will handle any regulatory issues once re-opens.

The Customs and Boarder Protection (CBP) agency are continuing to carry out cargo clearance and security screening operations. As with the other agencies operating at a reduced capacity, there is potential for delays at certain ports due to the CBP carrying its duties.

Vessels proceeding to US ports should request an update from local agents to establish what the impacts of the shutdown are at that particular port.

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