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Preventing or Mitigating Vessel Cargo Loss is Aim of Updated Coast Guard Proposal

Friday, November 15, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Coast Guard is accepting comments through Feb. 13 on a supplemental proposed rule that it says could help prevent or mitigate the consequences of vessel cargo loss. These changes would align the Coast Guard’s regulations with revisions to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea that were adopted in 1994.

The Coast Guard initially proposed to amend its regulations in accordance with the SOLAS changes in December 2000, and this supplemental proposal reflects public comments on that rule as well as the Coast Guard’s further review of the issues involved.

- Cargo securing manuals would be required on vessels of 500 gross tons or more traveling on international voyages and carrying cargo other than solid or liquid bulk cargo. This requirement would not apply to coastwise voyages due to the relatively low rate of cargo loss in that environment. The Coast Guard notes that all existing vessels to which this requirement would apply are already in compliance and that most foreign countries already enforce this requirement on their vessels.

- Any container vessel subject to SOLAS whose keel is laid on or after Jan. 1, 2015, would need to include a cargo safe access plan, which provides detailed information on safe access for persons stowing and securing cargo on container ships specifically designed and fitted for the purpose of carrying containers.

- Recognized classification societies or other approval authorities would be authorized to review and approve CSMs on behalf of the Coast Guard.

- Additional language would be added to (a) clarify that any loss or jettisoning of cargo at sea is considered a hazardous condition that must immediately be notified to the Coast Guard and (b) prescribe specific information to be included in any such notification.

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