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USCG approves ITOW as third party organization under Subchapter M

The US Coast Guard has approved Inland Towing Operators Working Together (ITOW) as a third-party organization (TPO) to carry out certain functions in accordance with Subchapter M, the Towing Vessel National Center of Expertise (TVNCOE) announced on 5 August. 

USCG publishes updated guidance for TSMS option vessels

USCG’s Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance published its updated ‘Towing Vessel COI Inspections under TSMS Option.’ According to the coast guard, the updates are not limited to adding annual and renewal Certificate of Inspection guidance for Towing Safety Management System (TSMS) option vessels inspected under 46 CFR Subchapter M.

Inexperienced pilot the cause of fatal towing vessel sinking

NTSB published its report on the capsizing and sinking of the towing vessel Natalie Jean, on March 12, 2018, on the Lower Mississippi River near New Orleans, Louisiana. Two of the three crewmembers on board the towboat died in the accident. The NTSB determined that the probable cause of the capsizing and sinking of the Natalie Jean was the company’s decision to place an inadequately vetted pilot on board the vessel.

USCG: Guidance on fixed fire pumps for towing vessels

The USCG issued guidance on the use of fixed fire pumps in lieu of portable fire pumps on Subchapter C and Subchapter M towing vessels, 65 feet or less. The guidance comes with the Policy Letter 01-19: ‘Equivalency Determination – Fire Pumps for Subchapter C and Subchapter M Towing Vessels’.

Remotely operated line catcher prototype to be tested

Svitzer announced that it has started sea trials of a new ‘industry-first’ remotely operated line catching technology prototype. The new mechanism is being trialled on the vessel Svitzer Trym, aiming to improve safety standards and reduce risks for crews during the process of connecting with other vessels.

Subcharter M towing vessels should implement health and safety plan

According to the USCG, the Towing Vessel National Centre of Expertise launched a bulletin to remind towing vessel owners and operators of a 46 CFR Subchapter M implementation milestone that is quickly approaching. There is no requirement to issue to the USCG or TPO the HSP for approval; Yet, the plan is to be reviewed during inspections and audits. 

Towboat hits Eads Bridge in St. Louis

A towboat hit St. Louis’ Eads Bridge on May 3, possibly because of increasing flood waters. According to USCG officials, the tugboat was damaged to its pilot house but there were no injuries. The bridge was not harmed neither. After the accident, USCG closed a part of the Mississippi to all ship traffic from mile marker 179 to 184,

USCG: Few days left to schedule inspections under Subchapter M

USCG reminded owners and operators of towing vessels to ensure that 25% of their fleet has received a Certificate of Inspection before 22 July 2019, under Subchapter M. They must also schedule a vessel’s inspection before 22 April 2019 if the COI is expected to be received in the first year.

Lessons learned: Crew injury while securing a tow

In the latest publication of its ‘Lessons Learned’ series, the UK P&I Club described a serious eye injury of a crew member while securing a tow. The Club noted that three crew members were probably not enough to safely manage an operation of this nature.

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