Washington Waves
Washington Waves

Water Bill Victim Of House Leadership Crisis

Washington, D.C.—In addition to pushing the House into uncharted territory or, some say, even chaos, the unprecedented ouster of Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) also brought the chamber’s legislative activity to a screeching halt.

An early casualty turned out to be an appropriations bill important to the waterways industry. H.R. 4394, the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, was the only legislative item listed on the House schedule for Tuesday and Wednesday.

After the vote to end McCarthy’s speakership, the House adjourned with no more votes expected until the next week.

House Republicans have little time to get their conference back to regular order. Not only do they have to pick a new leader to get legislation back on track, but federal agencies face another shutdown deadline by mid-November. That deadline was included in the stopgap measure approved Saturday, September 30, to avert a shutdown with just hours to spare.

Passed with more votes from Democrats than Republicans, that measure helped fuel the effort to oust McCarthy. Eight Republicans joined united Democrats to remove him with a 216-210 vote.

On Wednesday, two Republicans—Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio—jumped into the race to succeed McCarthy.

Competence Assessments

Mariners now have until December 31, 2028 to use assessments of competence completed by a qualified mariner who is not a Coast Guard-approved Qualified Assessor (QA).

That extension of time was among the notable changes published by the Office of Merchant Mariner Credentialing to Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) 19-14, Policy on Qualified Assessors.

The Coast Guard stated it is aware of the limited number of approved QAs, resulting in hardship for mariners trying to complete STCW assessments before December 31, 2023, the previous deadline.

These assessments must be submitted to as part of a complete application no later than June 30, 2029, the Coast Guard stated, adding the revision is available on its NVIC website.

For additional information or feedback, contact the Mariner Credentialing Program Policy Division at MMCPolicy@uscg.mil or 202-372-2357.

Firefighting Training

The Coast Guard issued a final rule to revise the training requirements for national Merchant Mariner Credential endorsements as master of towing vessels (limited) or mate (pilot) of towing vessels on inland waters or Western Rivers routes.

Consistent with recommendations from two federal advisory committees, this rule gives mariners seeking these endorsements the option of taking a modified basic firefighting course, which excludes training on equipment that is not required to be carried on towing vessels operating on inland waters or the Western Rivers.

Applicants who take the modified basic firefighting course will reduce their costs because it is shorter and less expensive than the basic firefighting course.

The rule takes effect April 1 and can be viewed at www.regulations.gov under docket number USCG-2020-0492.

For additional information, contact James Cavo at 202-372-1205 or James.D.Cavo@uscg.mil.


The Maritime Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (MACOSH) is scheduled to meet November 14 in a hybrid format with members meeting in person and the public invited to participate either in person or virtually via WebEx.

The full committee meeting is to meet at 9 a.m. ET followed by its Shipyard and Longshoring Workgroups at 1 p.m.

Comments identified by docket number OSHA-2022-0011 and requests to speak must be submitted at www.regulations.gov by October 31.

Those wishing to attend in-person or virtually must register via the registration link on the MACOSH web page at www.osha.gov/advisorycommittee/macosh to receive further directions.

In-person attendance is expected to be limited to 25 members of the public, to be determined based in the order requests are made via the registration link.

For additional information and to request special accommodations, contact Carla Marcellus at 202-693-1865 or marcellus.carla@dol.gov by October 31.

Alternative Fuel Notification

The Coast Guard announced an update to the notice of arrival (NOA) form to include information on a vessel’s fuel type in response to the increase in the number of ships using low-flashpoint, novel or alternative fuels rather than traditional fuel oil when calling on ports in U.S. waters.

“Vessel owners, operators, and agents are requested to ensure that accurate and complete information is supplied with respect to the fuel type(s) being used onboard,” the Coast Guard stated in Marine Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB) No. 11-23.

“Alternative fuel type(s) and systems provide unique hazards and risks not always shared by traditional fuel oils.”

The MSIB added that if a vessel uses a fuel type other than traditional fuel oil, the Coast Guard works to ensure that specially qualified and trained marine inspectors and port state control officers are present if the vessel is selected for inspection.

“If the fuel type information on the NOA is found to be inaccurate, vessel owners, operators, and agents responsible for the ship should update their NOA with the appropriate information and are encouraged to relay information regarding fuel type(s) directly to the local unit to minimize confusion,” the MSIB stated.

For additional information, contact the Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance at cg-cvc@uscg.mil.