The Subchapter M regulations provide minimum safety, lifesaving, construction, machinery, electrical, and operational requirements for US towing vessels. All applicable towing vessels must be in compliance with the Subchapter M regulations by 20 July 2018. The initial inspection activities and issuance of COIs will be phased-in over a four year period.
The Crown Point is a 98 foot, 4480 horsepower towing vessel that pushes barges between Lewiston, Idaho and Vancouver, servicing 1,243 miles of the Columbia-Snake River System. There are 130 towing vessels currently operating on the Columbia-Snake River System, and over 5,000 US-flagged towing vessels subject to inspection under Subchapter M.
Capt. Tom Griffitts, commanding officer MSU Portland, noted:
The Columbia and Snake River Systems move 24 billion dollars of cargo on an annual basis and the towing vessels that fall under the regulations listed under Subchapter M are an integral part of this economically valuable marine transportation system. The Subchapter M regulations will provide safer vessel movement, safer working conditions for crewmembers, reduce marine casualties, and will help avoid environmental and property damage.
In late April, the USCG issued the first ever Certificate of Inspection (COI), under Subchapter M, to the towing vessel 'Endeavor' of Marine Towing of Tampa.