Posted by LT Amy Midgett, Thursday, May 23, 2019

We’ve upgraded Maritime Commons and moved to a new domain, so please take a few moments to update your bookmarks, shortcuts, and RSS feeds to the following url address:

https://mariners.coastguard.blog/

If you have an email subscription with us, there’s no need for you to do anything. Your subscription was migrated over to the new domain and you’ll continue to receive blog post notifications when there is new content for you to view. We’ll also continue to share content through Twitter and LinkedIn.

The previous site will be maintained for a short period of time to ensure a smooth transition. After that, you will automatically be redirected to the new site.

We’ve worked hard to make sure the new Maritime Commons is as good as the old one – or better – but if you notice something that isn’t quite right, please email us right away at [email protected] and we’ll get it fixed as soon as possible. Further, if you have a suggestion for new features or resources, please let us know. Maritime Commons is YOUR blog and we want it to continue to meet the needs of the professional maritime community.

As always, we are extremely grateful for the support you’ve shown over the years, and we look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,
Lt. Amy Midgett, Editor

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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Posted by LT Amy Midgett, Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Editor’s note: This post was updated May 23, 2019 to correct the year in which Congress declared National Maritime Day.

From the desk of Rear Adm. John Nadeau, assistant commandant for prevention policy

Today is ‘National Maritime Day’ as declared by Congress in 1933 to commemorate the first transoceanic voyage by a steamship in 1819 by the S.S. Savannah.

More than 85 years after the declaration, National Maritime Day has evolved into an opportunity to honor the mariner and reflect on the impact you, our merchant mariners and entire maritime workforce, have on our great country. It is an honor that Coast Guard members strive to observe each day in all that we do – with every search and rescue case, every vessel inspection and facility exam, every ATON survey and casualty investigation, and every other operation and service we deliver.

The Coast Guard is responsible for the safety and resiliency of our ports and waterways, but we cannot be successful without the cooperation and support of professional mariners in the U.S. and around the world. From deck hands, pilots, and masters, to engineers, port workers, and maritime executives at all levels, you are an essential part of the sophisticated and intricate network that powers the U.S. Marine Transportation System.

The last 12 months brought significant milestones that honor mariners and are worth noting today. In October, we published the first ever Maritime Commerce Strategic Outlook, which outlines the Commandant’s long term vision to safeguard the MTS and support maritime commerce in the United States. We are committed to implementing this strategic outlook and providing for the safety, security, and stewardship of our MTS, and the $5.4 trillion of annual economic activity and 30.8 million jobs the MTS brings to the United States.

Second, the Final Rule for Seafarer’s Access to Maritime Facilities was published in April to ensure mariners, pilots, and representatives of seamen’s welfare and labor organizations have access between vessels moored at a facility and the facility gate, in a timely manner and at no cost to the mariner. This important regulation will allow mariners to pass through terminals for some much-needed shore leave, improve mariners’ overall quality of life, and help them get the support they deserve.

Whether a state-licensed pilot, commercial fishing vessel crewman or a cruise ship captain, a water taxi skipper or offshore supply worker, a towboat mate, engineer or a container ship crane operator, the U.S. mariner is entrusted with the safety of passengers and crew and keeps our economy flowing every day.

Today, we salute and thank you for your dedicated service and commitment to keep our vessels, ports and waterways safe, secure, prosperous, and resilient.

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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Posted by LT Amy Midgett, Friday, April 26, 2019

The Coast Guard 8th District in New Orleans announced in a news release that it will convene a public hearing beginning May 6, 2019, to consider evidence related to the Kristin Alexis formal marine casualty investigation. The hearing will focus on the overhead strike of the Highway 70 Sunshine Bridge in Donaldsonville, Louisiana, which severely impacted the local community for several weeks while the bridge was impassible and out of service.

Time/Dates:  8 a.m., May 6-11, 2019
Location: Lamar Dixon Expo Center, 9039 S St Landry Ave., Gonzales, Louisiana, 70737

The hearing will be streamed live each day at: https://livestream.com/USCGinvestigations/events/8638209.

The Coast Guard established an email address for the public and interested parties to provide information, ask questions and make comments related to the ongoing investigation during the hearing. This e-mail will be checked regularly and all correspondence will be acknowledged. The email address is [email protected]. The Coast Guard will also continue to monitor and respond to any email sent to [email protected].

Additional information about the hearing, to include the schedule of witnesses, fact sheets and biographies, as well as any future news releases and documentation, will be shared prior to the start of the public hearing.

Members of the public who wish to attend the hearing must present valid government-issued photo identification. There will be a one-hour break for lunch each day of the hearing. Lunch will not be provided.

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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Posted by LT Amy Midgett, Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Inspections and Compliance Directorate issued Marine Safety Alert 05-19, “Man Overboard! An unusual fatality calls for reassessment of hazards and risks,” to educate owners and operators of deep draft vessels on the circumstances surrounding a tragic incident that left one mariner dead.

Last fall, an 1,100-foot container ship was arriving in the Port of New York/New Jersey in 40-knot winds, 13-foot swells and 60 degree seawater temperatures. As the vessel maneuvered at about 10 knots to make a lee in preparation to embark a ship’s pilot via a side shell access port, it was hit by heavy seas that forced the side shell hatch door open, resulting in flooding of the embarkation space. At the time of the casualty, the vessel was on a west-northwesterly course and the seas were on the vessel’s starboard quarter.

The ship’s Boatswain and Ordinary Seaman (OS) were manning the port side shell access port and pilot embarkation space behind a hydraulically operated bi-fold hatch door and were preparing for the pilot’s arrival. The port was located forward of the house and approximately 13-feet above the waterline. The Boatswain and OS were unable to monitor the seas from their position behind the hatch door. As the two crew members were in the process of opening the door, seas unexpectedly struck and violently forced it open, flooding the space. The OS was not wearing a harness or safety line nor a personal flotation device; he was subsequently swept out to sea. The Boatswain was forced onto the deck whereby the pilot ladder fell on him, fracturing his leg. The side shell door also sustained structural damage during the incident. Coast Guard Sector New York launched an extensive search and rescue mission that was terminated with no success after 28 hours. The OS was lost and presumed dead.

This casualty reiterates the dangers of personnel exchanges at sea, especially in heavy weather conditions. Even though the side shell hatch door was located on the port side and was being brought onto the vessel’s lee, the crew’s inability to observe and assess the sea conditions, combined with the ship’s roll and sea state, presented significant risks.

The Coast Guard strongly recommends owners and operators of deep draft vessels:

• Review vessel Safety Management Systems, procedural manuals and guidance that relate to pilot transfers and update as appropriate, considering risks revealed by this casualty;
• Reinforce the importance for crew members to wear personal protection devices and safety lines when working over the side of a vessel, when exposed to the elements or when there is an absence of a barrier that prevents an accidental water entry;
• Ensure officers and crew identify potential hazards and conduct a risk assessment, to include consideration of weather conditions, prior to opening the side shell port hatches;
• Ensure crew communications between Navigation Watch Officers and crew are clear and provide suitable supervision of activities, considering sea state and other changing conditions.

This safety alert is provided for information purposes only and does not relieve any domestic or international safety, operational, or material requirement. This was developed and distributed by the Investigations Division at Sector New York and the Office of Investigations and Analysis. Questions may be sent to [email protected].

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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Posted by LT Amy Midgett, Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Coast Guard on Monday announced its newest strategy to address its expanding role in the Polar Regions.

As the Arctic region continues to open, and strategic competition drives more actors to look to the Arctic for economic and geopolitical advantages, the demand for Coast Guard leadership and presence will continue to grow.

As the nation’s primary maritime presence in the Polar Regions, the Coast Guard advances national interests through a unique blend of polar operational capability, regulatory authority, and international leadership across the full spectrum of maritime governance. The Coast Guard will continue to work with its allies and partners on the mutual goal of ensuring a safe, secure, and cooperative Arctic, even as aspiring near-peer competitors maneuver for strategic advantage in the area.

“The Arctic Strategic Outlook reaffirms the Coast Guard’s commitment to American leadership in the region through partnership, unity of effort, and continuous innovation. We understand the significant investment required to secure the Arctic, and we appreciate and embrace the trust the American people have placed in the U.S. Coast Guard. We will remain vigilant in protecting our national interests in the Polar Regions,” said Admiral Karl L. Schultz, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Since the release of the Coast Guard Arctic Strategy in 2013, the resurgence of nation-state competition has coincided with dramatic changes in the physical environment of the Arctic, which has elevated the region’s prominence as a strategically competitive space. The United States is an Arctic Nation, and the U.S. Coast Guard has served as the lead federal agency for homeland security, safety, and environmental stewardship in the Arctic region for more than 150 years.

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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Posted by LT Amy Midgett, Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Coast Guard’s Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance is pleased to announce the release of the U.S. Port State Control Annual Report for 2018.

This marks another year of PSC activities with the annual report aimed at providing the global maritime industry key statistics and compliance trends in relation to compliance with U.S. and international regulations, such as the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), and the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS).

A few key findings discussed in the report are:

• In 2018, the Coast Guard conducted 9,025 SOLAS safety exams with a total of 105 detentions and eight ISPS control actions.
• The annual detention rate of 1.16 percent is a slight increase over last year.
• The three-year rolling average detention ratio dropped slightly for the second year in a row from 1.39 percent to 1.06 percent.
• Data this year shows the number of detentions related to firefighting systems and safety management systems remained similar to the past few years.
• MARPOL Annex I deficiencies decreased to their lowest levels.
• The number of recognized organizations that were associated with detentions increased from three in 2017 to twelve in 2018.

View the report and learn more about E-Zero by clicking here.

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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