FMC beefs up its enforcement apparatus

Written by Marine Log Staff
FMC Chairman Maffei comments on FMC civil penalties

FMC Chairman Daniel B. Maffei: The civil penalty agreements "send a clear message to international shipping community that ocean carriers must fully comply with the U.S. legal obligations.”

Flexing its muscle after enactment of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, Federal Maritime Commission is reorganizing its investigative and prosecution functions by consolidating them into a newly created Bureau of Enforcement, Investigations, and Compliance (BEIC), effective immediately.

The newly established bureau will be headed by an attorney in the Senior Executive Service with regulatory, prosecutorial, and investigatory experience. The Commission’s managing director, Lucille Marvin, will also serve as acting director until a permanent director is hired.

“Robust enforcement of the Shipping Act is absolutely key to the effectiveness of the Federal Maritime Commission. This reorganization has the support of all five Commissioners and creates a structure better suited to meeting the mandate the President and Congress have given this agency to prioritize enforcement. Specifically, it enhances FMC’s capacity to closely scrutinize the conduct of the ocean carrier companies and marine terminal operators to ensure compliance with the law and fairness for American importers and exporters,” said FMC Chairman Daniel Maffei.

The BEIC will be divided into three sections: the Office of Enforcement, the Office of Investigations, and the Office of Compliance. These offices will each be led by an office director. The BEIC Director will supervise and manage the activities of the three offices and will be supported by a Deputy Director who will assist with program management. The BEIC Director will report to the Managing Director.

The reorganization was initiated following an internal examination undertaken to identify how to increase the effectiveness of Commission enforcement and compliance activities. The review determined a restructuring and merging of enforcement and compliance programs would result in a more efficient, coordinated, and responsive operation from initiation to conclusion of an investigation.

As part of the reorganization, the Commission is converting the positions of Area Representatives to Investigators, placing them in the Office of Investigations. Additionally, the Commission will increase the number of investigators it has on staff. Investigators will now focus exclusively on enforcement activity and the public outreach function formerly handled by the Area Representative role will be handled by the Commission’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Dispute Resolution Services as part of their broader public assistance work.

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