According to the USCG:
During this National emergency for COVID-19 it is paramount that the Coast Guard safeguards the continued operation of the MTS to ensure our domestic supply chain continues uninterrupted.
In fact, the regulations outlined throughout 33 and 46 Code of Federal Regulations remain in force, and maritime operators are expected to continue to comply with these requirements.
However, when compliance with these regulations cannot reasonably be met as aresult of COVID-19, the Coast Guard will exercise flexibility to prevent undue delays.
Maritime Facilities and Vessels:
TWIC Readers: The Coast Guard is not changing or delaying the TWIC Reader Rule implementation date of June 7, 2020 for facilities that receive vessels certificated to carry more than 1,000 passengers and vessels certificated to carry more than 1,000 passengers. However, the Coast Guard will delay enforcement until April 30, 2021.
Applicable facilities and vessels are not required to update facility security plans (FSP)/vessel security plans (VSP) or install readers until the revised enforcement date.
Escort Ratios: Escort ratios for secure and restricted areas of a facility are provided in Navigation and Inspection Circular (NVIC) 03-07. To provide flexibility due to COVID-19 related health impacts, the escort ratio may be adjusted to meet employee shortages or other demands.
This would constitute a change to the FSP or require Captain of the Port approval via noncompliance (discussed below and in MSIB 07-20).
New Hires: After enrollment has been completed and a new hire has presented an acceptable form of identification per 33 CFR 101.515(a) to the vessel security officer or facility security officer, that new hire may be allowed access to secure or restricted areas where another person(s) is present who holds a TWIC and can provide reasonable monitoring.
The side-by-side escorting required in 33 CFR 101.105 for restricted areas will not be enforced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional compliance options for new hires can be found in 33 CFR 104.267 and 105.257 or via noncompliance.
Alternative Security Program (ASP): Local users who are unable to comply with the requirements in an approved ASP may pursue temporary relief via noncompliance (discussed below) or an amendment can be submitted to cover the entire ASP via submission to CG-FAC.
Merchant Mariner Credentials: The Coast Guard is providing flexibility with regard to requirements to have a TWIC when applying for a credential or when serving under the authority of a credential.
To date, the processing of submitted TWIC enrollments has not been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, and there is no delay in vetting, card production, and issuance. However, TSA and the Coast Guard recognize that this is an evolving public health situation and enrollment centers closures or processing delays will impact applicants for a merchant mariner credential.
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