Coast Guard Proposes Change In Tankerman Rule

After an extensive consultative process with the inland waterways industry, the Coast Guard is proposing to amend the requirements regulating personnel permitted to serve as a person in charge (PIC) of fuel oil transfers on an inspected vessel by adding the option of using a letter of designation in lieu of a Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) with a Tankerman-PIC endorsement.

The change is supported by The American Waterways Operators (AWO) and its members.

The necessity for a rule amendment came about because of differences in the language regarding fuel transfer operations for “inspected” vs. “uninspected” vessels. When the Subchapter M regulations came into effect, inland vessels went from technically being “uninspected” to “inspected.”

That change meant that previously existing language requiring a person in charge of fuel transfers to have a special endorsement on his MMC came into play. The existing practice was for persons in charge of fuel transfers to have a letter of designation only.

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The towing industry had pointed out to the Coast Guard that the rule would impose costly burdens on tankermen without increasing safety. “At first, the Coast Guard thought it would only affect a small number of inland vessels. We were able to show them that the effect would be quite large,” said Caitlyn Stewart, director of regulatory affairs for AWO.

Comments and related material must be received by the Coast Guard on or before October 15. Comments sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on collection of information must reach OMB by the same date.

Interested parties may submit comments identified by docket number USCG–2018–0493 using the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov.

See the ‘‘Public Participation and Request for Comments’’ portion of the supplementary information section for further instructions on submitting comments.