Today’s deadline for 100% COI compliance signals full implementation of the Subchapter M towing vessel safety regulations, the product of a nearly 20-year partnership between the tugboat, towboat and barge industry and the U.S. Coast Guard to raise standards industry-wide and promote safer waterways for mariners, the public and the marine environment.
AWO President and CEO Jennifer Carpenter stated: “July 19 is a historic day for transportation safety in the largest segment of America’s domestic maritime industry. Our arrival at today’s certification milestone has been driven by our industry’s deep commitment to elevating safety as we transport our nation’s vital cargo as a critical part of the American supply chain. We commend the men and women of the tugboat, towboat and barge industry and the U.S. Coast Guard for the bold vision and hard work that have made this achievement possible. Maritime commerce is vital to America’s economy, security, environment, and quality of life, and we are proud of our industry’s role in keeping our nation moving safely.”
Rear Adm. W.R. Arguin USCG, Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy, made a post on the Coast Guard Maritime Commons blog marking the end of the four-year Certificate of Inspection phase-in of the Subchapter M program. In it, he said: “It is with extreme enthusiasm that I announce the conclusion of the Subchapter M: Towing Vessel, four year Certificate of Inspection (COI) phase-in period, and welcome a fleet of more than 5,000 towing vessels into U. S. domestic inspected status! “ That’s how Rear Admiral W.R. Arguin USCG, Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy, begins a post on the Coast Guard Maritime Commons blog marking the end of the four-year Certificate of Inspection phase-in of the Subchapter M program.
“This is a historic occasion for both the commercial towing industry and the Coast Guard as we have been working toward this moment since the 2004 Authorization Act which added towing vessels as an inspected class,” writes Arguin. “Per 46 CFR 136.202, by July 19, 2022, 100% of towing vessels must have valid COIs on board in order to operate commercially.
“Today marks the conclusion of almost two decades of work with our industry partners. 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.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the members of the National Towing Safety Advisory Committee (NTSAC), American Waterways Operators (AWO), Third Party Organizations (TPO), Recognized Organizations (RO), Coast Guard Area, District, Sector Towing Vessel Coordinators; Coast Guard Marine Inspectors, Towing Vessel National Center of Expertise, owner and managing operators, and all mariners and members of the towing vessel community who helped to ensure these regulations came to realization and successful implementation.
“These past four years have been challenging with devastating hurricanes, a global pandemic, and ever increasing pressure on our Marine Transportation System, but jointly with a goal to have a systemic approach for managing safety risks in operations, we have met these obstacles and persevered. While the four year phase-in time period has ended, it is the beginning of the new life cycle for the towing vessel fleet. The Coast Guard looks forward to working with you in the future and maximizing the potential of our waterways while maintaining safety and security.