The US Coast Guard reminded US flag towing vessel owners and operators that their vessels must possess the appropriate certificates and endorsements for the intended voyage.
MSIB 06-21, “Towing Vessel International Certificates Requirements and Certificate of Inspection Routes”, the USCG Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance reminded that international certificates and certain equipment is required prior to embarking on international voyages including voyages to Canada and Mexico.n the
Failure to present valid international certificates and demonstrate operation of equipment may lead to a PSC detention, schedule delays, and additional costs to owners and operators.
In general, the key international conventions are:
- International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974, as amended
- International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the protocol of 1978 relating thereto and by the Protocol of 1997 (MARPOL)
- International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) as amended, including the 1995 and 2010 Manila Amendments
CG-CVC recommends using CG-FM-003, Inspected Towing Vessel (ITV) International Addendum, to assist towing vessel owners and operators in determining which certificates and equipment are required for towing vessels on international voyages.
Additionally, owners and operators are highly encouraged to use the Towing Vessel National Center of Expertise (TVNCOE) TugSafe International Addendum and Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) No. 11-93, Change 3, Applicability Of Tonnage Measurement Systems To US Flag Vessels, to ensure the correct tonnage scheme is applied when embarking on international voyages.
For domestic voyages, Section 8402 of the 2020 Coast Guard Authorization Act provides an interim exemption for towing vessels that are conducting response operations and are identified as response assets on vessel response plans (VRP). This exemption permits applicable vessels to engage in response activities without additional requirements that would result from solely operating outside the boundary line (e.g. loadline, manning, and certain equipment).
The Coast Guard encourages owners and operators of towing vessels not identified on a VRP to request a route on the vessel’s Certificate of Inspection (COI) that covers potential response areas.