Following the rule's implementation, on June 13 2019, the Frequently Asked Questions came to boost and assist with its compliance.

Under the terms of the rule, each owner or operator of a maritime facility is required to implement a system providing seafarers, pilots, and representatives of seamen’s welfare and labour organisations access between vessels moored at the facility and the facility gate, in a timely manner and at no cost to the seafarer or other individuals.

The USCG's latest additions are listed herebelow:

Q13.  Does the Seafarers’ Access to Maritime Facilities regulation apply to all seafarers or just foreign seafarers on foreign flagged or SOLAS applicable vessels?

Seafarers shore access rule (33 CFR 105.237) applies to all seafarers, including U.S. mariners on domestic voyages, who must be allowed access through MTSA-regulated facilities for the purpose of shore leave or crew changes, free of charge to the seafarer.  The facility security plan (FSP) needs to address access for mariners that are not already included or covered under the plan such as facility or company employees.  Foreign seafarers’ that do not have proper paperwork/credentials may be denied access to shore leave by Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Q14.  Do facilities or terminals, based on their Facility Security Plan (FSP) or Alternative Security Program (ASP), that have already addressed access or utilize Public Access Areas (33 CFR 105.106) need a separate “system” to address seafarers’ shore access?

Security Plans need to address a system for mariner access but if a plan already has a no-cost means for mariner access such as Public Access Areas (33 CFR 105.106); or the facility receives only its own mariners or employees covered by their plan such as small passenger vessel crews; a separate system need not be re-documented in the plan and plan amendments do not need to be re-submitted to the cognizant COTP.

A defined public access area within a facility is open to all persons and provides a public pathway through the facility from public thoroughfares to the vessel. U.S. mariners with or without a TWIC may transit the facility through the public access area without escort. This process does not apply to cruise ship terminals or any facility interfacing with foreign flagged vessels.

Important dates associated with the regulation:

  • A system for seafarers’ shore access must be documented in your Facility Security Plan (FSP) on or before 3 February 2020.
  • The facility owner/operator must implement their USCG-approved seafarers’ access system by 1st June 2020.
  • Coast Guard enforcement of the Seafarers’ Access to Maritime Facilities Final Rule begins 1st June 2020.

See also the previously published FAQS

USCG: FAQS on Seafarers’ Access to Maritime Facilities