Coast Guard Suspends TSMS Inspection Fees
The Coast Guard will no longer charge inspection fees for towing vessels using the Towing Safety Management System (TSMS) option for documenting Subchapter M compliance.
The Coast Guard issued a marine safety information bulletin April 28 (MSIB 04-22) to inform the public of the change, which was effective as of March 15, 2022.
TSMS option vessel owners who have received an invoice for a period after March 15 should not remit payment to the Coast Guard Financial Center, according to the Coast Guard. Because the Coast Guard is currently updating its financial system to suspend the processing of user fees, TSMS option owners may receive a notification that the user fee payment is due, however. Further notice will be sent to correct any discrepancies, the Coast Guard said.
Any user fees that were due before March 15 remain the responsibility of the owner, the Coast Guard said.
The Coast Guard said the change in policy is directed by Section 231 of the Consolidated Appropriation Act of 2022 (fiscal year 22 Omnibus) signed into law on March 15. The omnibus prohibits the Coast Guard from charging the fees until the requirements of Section 815 of the Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018, Public Law 115–282 (CGAA 2018), are met, including the update of TSMS option inspection user fees.
The Coast Guard has initiated a rulemaking to revise its inspection user fees for towing vessels regulated under 46 CFR Subchapter M. Under the proposed rule, vessels using the TSMS option would pay a lower fee than vessels using the Coast Guard inspection option. The Coast Guard published the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on January 11, and the comment period closed April 11.
Any questions regarding vessel inspection fee payment, billing, appeals and refunds should be sent to the U.S. Coast Guard Finance Center (FINCEN) via FIN-SMB-CustomerService@uscg.mil, or for more information owners may visit the website https://www.uscg.mil/fincen/VIF/.