Washington Waves
Washington Waves

Inland Waterways Users Board Charter Renewed

Washington, D.C.—The Department of Defense (DOD) announced it is renewing the charter of the Inland Waterways Users Board (IWUB), which provides the defense secretary and Congress with independent advice on U.S. inland waterways and harbors.

The IWUB’s 11 appointed members are selected to represent various regions of the country and a spectrum of the primary users and shippers utilizing the inland and intracoastal waterways for commercial purposes.

Its input ranges from development of the president’s budget proposal, priorities and spending levels set after Congress receives the budget proposal, development of a long-term capital investment program and a public review of the 20-year program.

For additional information, contact Jim Freeman at 703-692-5952.

First Aid/CPR Certificates

The National Maritime Center (NMC) launched an effort to address specific issues regarding submission of First Aid and CPR training certificates, reduce processing time for merchant mariner credential (MMC) applications and avoid receiving an awaiting information letter requesting further clarification.

In 2023, NMC sent 4,646 requests for additional information or clarification associated with First Aid or CPR certificates submitted, noting incomplete or expired First Aid/CPR certificates are the second-most common reason for additional information needed found in MMC applications.

Other key takeaways on the program can be found at www.dco.uscg.mil/national_maritime_center under announcements.

Ballast Water Record-Keeping

The Coast Guard is seeking public comments about record-keeping and reporting procedures required under its ballast water regulations issued in 2012 and 2015 and the monitoring, record-keeping and reporting required under the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2013 Vessel General Permit (VGP).

Due by July 22, the comments are to be used to evaluate new and updated solutions that inform data-driven policymaking, reduce the reporting and record-keeping burden on industry and confirm environmental compliance.

Comments may be submitted at www.regulations.gov by using Docket No. USCG-2024-0046.

For additional information, contact Joseph Adamson at 206-836-3831 or CG-OES@uscg.mil.

Marine Engineering Standards

The Coast Guard is updating its marine engineering standards that are incorporated by reference and eliminating outdated or unnecessarily prescriptive regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations.

Effective September 10, the final rule will be consistent with the standards currently used by industry and support the Coast Guard’s maritime safety mission.

Documents can be viewed at www.regulations.gov under Docket No. USCG–2020–0634.

This rule incorporates by reference updated marine engineering standards in Title 46 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) subchapter F, including standards for boilers, pressure vessels, auxiliary machinery, piping, valves and fittings for various types of vessels.

The rule also adds a limited number of alternative standards and eliminates outdated or unnecessarily prescriptive regulations.

For additional information, contact Thane Gilman at 202-372-1383 or thane.gilman@uscg.mil.

Autonomous Systems

The Coast Guard Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance (CG-CVC) published Change 1 of CG-CVC Policy Letter 22-01 Change 1 updating Guidelines for Human-Supervised Testing of Remote Controlled and Autonomous Systems on Vessels.

According to the Coast Guard, the policy letter provides direction and guidance to Officers in Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI) and Captains of the Port (COTP) in response to industry requests seeking to test remote control and autonomous systems on vessels.

The letter is also designed to streamline the process for OCMIs/COTPs to address requests to test remote control and autonomous systems on vessels and to promote consistency across the Coast Guard.

“The implementation of new technology on vessels has the potential to increase efficiencies and reduce accidents on vessels and the greater Marine Transportation System (MTS), but also introduces new safety risks and security challenges in the MTS,” the Coast Guard stated.

The policy letter is accessible on the Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance website.

Questions concerning this policy should be directed to CG-CVC@uscg.mil.

Cargo Bureau MOU

The Coast Guard has signed an updated Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National Cargo Bureau (NCB) that reaffirmed their longstanding relationship focused on the safety of hazardous material shipments through ports and at sea.

Rear Adm. Wayne Arguin, the assistant commandant for Prevention Policy, and NCB President Ian Lennard signed the MOU May 8 at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

According to the Coast Guard, the updated MOU continues to encourage port-level coordination between the Coast Guard and NCB while adding new responsibilities for sharing trend analysis and other information that can aid risk-based container targeting efforts and investigations.

The full MOU can be found at dco.uscg.mil/Portals/9/CG-FAC/Documents/MOU USCG-NCB.pdf?ver=Lny7XhQ7wdpXSNKGcAU_Yw%3d%3d.