The U.S. Coast Guard announced the conclusion of the certificate of inspection phase-in period under Subchapter M towing vessel regulations.
he Subchapter M regulation went into effect in July 2016 establishing new requirements for the design, construction, onboard equipment and operation of U.S.-flag towing vessels.
Existing towing vessels were given two years to comply with the regulations, while a phased-in period gave owners and operators until July 19, 2022 to have 100% of their fleets with a valid Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection (COI) ensuring compliance.
The end of the COI phase-in period means more than 5,000 towing vessels have now received U.S. Domestic inspected status.
Per 46 CFR 136.202, by July 19, 2022, 100% of towing vessels must have valid COIs on board in order to operate commercially
stated RDML W. R. Arguin, U. S. Coast Guard Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy.
He also added that “it is also the first time the Coast Guard successfully implemented a dual inspection subchapter, which includes a new comprehensive safety management system for both company and vessel compliance.”
Under the rule, vessel operators were given a choice of two inspection options: the traditional Coast Guard inspection option and a new Towing Safety Management System (TSMS) option.
Under the TSMS option, routine audits and surveys of towing vessels can be performed by Coast Guard-approved third-party organizations, including certain classification societies, using an established framework for oversight and audits.