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Towing Vessel National Center of Expertise (TVNCOE)

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What We Can Do For You

  • Gather, organize and provide statistical information.
  • Foster dialog between the Coast Guard and industry - Events.
  • Research towing vessel issues - FAQs.
  • Help ensure high level of consistency through training and policy guidance - Courses.
  • Train towing vessel examiners - Courses.
  • Provide onsite assistance - Contact Us.

What's New

NEWThe Coast Guard has issued two new Lessons Learned. Lesson Learned 01-14 is a reminder to owner operators that sometimes it is the most seemingly minor thing such as a mechanical part or electrical component that can lead to a catastrophe. Lesson Learned 02-14 is a reminder for vessel owner operators and all mariners to use only the proper replacement parts for Emergency Equipment. The safety alert can be found in the Safety Alert section within Policy and Guidance.

NEWThe US Coast Guard Research and Development Center has announced a joint Coast Guard and Army Corp of Engineers Automatic Identification System (AIS) meeting to inform local operators along the Ohio River about a planned electronic navigation demonstration and to begin to identify vessel pilots, towboat companies, and vessels that will participate in the demonstration. The meeting will take place in Paducah, KY on July 29, 2014.

There is a new Marine Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB 011-14) that provides information about changes to the approval process for multi-breasted tandem loading requests. The MSIB can be found in the MSIB section within Policy and Guidance.

The Coast Guard has issued Marine Inspection Notice 01-14. The Maritime Authorities of the Caribbean Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control will launch a joint Concentrated Inspection Campaign with the purpose of ensuring compliance with SOLAS Chapter II 2 and the International Code for Fire Safety Systems. The inspection campaign will run from 1 September through 30 November.

The Coast Guard has issued a new safety alert that addresses inadequate snaphooks on lifejackets Revere models 198RT & 160RT. The safety alert can be found in the Safety Alert section within Policy and Guidance.

A new FAQ has been posted regarding fuel shut-off valve remote operators. The FAQ can be found under FAQs in the “Fire Fighting, Protection & Suppression Equipment” section.

The Coast Guard has issued a new safety alert as a reminder to vessel owners/operators and fire safety equipment servicing companies to use caution when replacing components on hand portable fire extinguishers. The safety alert can be found in the Safety Alert section within Policy and Guidance.

The Coast Guard will hold a public workshop in Washington, D.C. on the development of the International Maritime Organization's International Code for Ships Using Gases or Other Low-Flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code). Various safety topics will be discussed including design, equipment, operational and training requirements. The workshop is open to the public and will be held on April 1, 2014 beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at 4 p.m. Eastern Time at the U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Conference Center, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington, DC 20590-0001.

The Towing Safety Advisory Committee (TSAC) and its subcommittees will meet on March 19 and 20, 2014, in New Orleans, LA to review and discuss recommendations from its subcommittees and to receive briefs on various topics. The meetings will be open to the public. Towing and Barge companies are encouraged to attend and participate in the subcommittees and public commentary on topics and issues of interest. TSAC subcommittees will meet Wednesday, March 19, 2014, from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The full TSAC committee will meet Thursday, March 20, 2014, from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please note that the meeting may close early if the committee has completed its business. The Committee Management; Notice of Federal Advisory Committee Meeting was published in the Federal Register on March 3, 2014.

There is a new Marine Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB 003-14) that provides procedural clarification, which should be followed when submitting reports in accordance with Clause 3.1 of the International Safety Management (ISM) Code to the U.S. Coast Guard. The MSIB can be found in the MSIB section within Policy and Guidance.

The Coast Guard announced the availability of two draft policy letters. The first draft policy letter provides voluntary guidance for liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel transfer operations on vessels using natural gas as fuel in U.S. waters, and training of personnel on those vessels. The second draft policy letter discusses voluntary guidance and existing regulations applicable to vessels and waterfront facilities conducting LNG marine fuel transfer (bunkering) operations. The Coast Guard requests your comments on these draft policy letters before signature and public release.

The Towing Safety Advisory Committee (TSAC) will meet via teleconference to present and discuss its final report on Recommendations for the Improvement of Automatic Identification System Encoding for Towing Vessels, receive status reports from nine TSAC subcommittees, and consider topics of interest to the committee. This meeting will be open to the public. The teleconference will take place on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST. The Notice of teleconference meeting was published in the Federal Register on February 4, 2014.

The National Maritime Center has issued guidance for mariners issued short duration medical certificates with STCW endorsements.

The Coast Guard has issued MSIB 01 14 which provides policies about recreational and medicinal Marijuana use by maritime transportation workers.

The US Coast Guard has announced the availability of draft guidance in the form of a Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular entitled ‘‘Title 46, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 4 Marine Casualty Reporting Procedures Guide with Associated Standard Interpretations’’ in 79 FR 2466. The draft NVIC will assist regulated maritime industry stakeholders in determining if certain occurrences are reportable or not reportable to the Coast Guard. This notice requests public comment on the impacts that the interpretations and policies contained in the draft NVIC would have upon vessel owners and operators or other affected parties. Comments must be received by the Coast Guard on or before April 14, 2014.

The Coast Guard published a Final Rule (FR) entitled, “Implementation of the Amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978 (STCW), as Amended, and Changes to National Endorsements.” This FR incorporates the 2010 Amendments to STCW into U.S. regulations and, it also makes other necessary changes to the regulations for the purposes of reorganization, clarification and needed updates. The new regulations will be applicable to all mariners who begin service or training towards an endorsement, on or after March 24, 2014. Additional guidance can be found in CG-CVC letter 16721 dated December 24, 2013.

The Coast Guard is seeking public comment on a petition that requests the Coast Guard to initiate a rulemaking to address the problem of overhead clearance (air-draft) accidents in the Federal Register – 78 FR 77027.

The Coast Guard has issued MSIB 042/13 which provides guidance and is a reminder about the implementation date for Nontank Vessel Response Plans.

The Towing Safety Advisory Committee (TSAC) has active subcommittees working on a wide range of topics and issues related to the towing industry. All subcommittees are open to the public for participation. Towing and Barge companies are encouraged to participate in the subcommittees on topics and issues of interest. Additional industry participation is desired and requested to help these subcommittees make the best informed recommendations to the Coast Guard.

Phillips Healthcare has issued a Medical Device Safety Notice for certain AEDs they manufactured.

The Coast Guard has issued a set of FAQs relating to the Nontank Vessel Response Plan Final Rule published in 78 FR 60100. Additional guidance can be found in Marine Safety Information Bulletin 38-13.

The Coast Guard has issued Marine Safety Information Bulletin 36-13 which provides information regarding the lapse of appropriations and the subsequent impacts on renewal of mariner credentials between October 1 and November 30, 2013.

The Courses page has been updated with dates and locations for the fiscal year 2014 UTV course.

The Coast Guard has issued Marine Inspection Notice 04-13. The Maritime Authorities of the Caribbean Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) on Port State Control (PSC) will launch a joint Concentrated Inspection Campaign (CIC) with the purpose to ensure compliance with MARPOL Annex I, Regulation 14. The scope of the CIC is to investigate the operability of oil filtering equipment systems and the arrangements for handling sludge. Special attention will be given to oil filtering equipment, IOPP Certificates, Oil Record Books (Part I – Machinery Space Operations), maintenance records, and other applicable documentation. This inspection campaign will be held for three months, 1 September 2013 through 30 November 2013.

The US Coast Guard has provided interim guidance for issuing safe manning documents to address the Canadian personnel regulations on U.S. vessels.

The US Coast Guard has announced proposed changes to Marine Safety Manual (MSM) Volume III in the Federal Register - 78 FR 48696. MSM Volume III provides information and interpretations on international conventions and U.S. statutory and regulatory issues relating to marine industry personnel. The Coast Guard seeks and will consider comments on the change notice and draft MSM Volume III changes before issuing a final version of this manual. Comments must be received by the Coast Guard on or before October 8, 2013.

The Towing Safety Advisory Committee (TSAC) and its subcommittees will meet on September 4 through 6, 2013, in Chicago, Illinois to discuss issues related to shallow draft inland, coastal waterway navigation and towing safety. The meetings will be open to the public. Towing and Barge companies are encouraged to attend and participate in the subcommittees and public commentary on topics and issues of interest. TSAC subcommittees will meet Wednesday, September 4, 2013, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The full TSAC committee will meet Thursday, September 5, 2013, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Friday, September 6, 2013, from 8 a.m. to 12 noon. Please note that the meeting may close early if the committee has completed its business. The Committee Management; Notice of Federal Advisory Committee Meeting is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on August 14, 2013.

The Coast Guard has issued Marine Inspection Notice 02-13. The Maritime Authorities of the Paris, Black Sea, and Tokyo Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) on Port State Control (PSC) will launch a joint Concentrated Inspection Campaign (CIC) with the purpose to ensure compliance with SOLAS Chapter II-1. The scope of the CIC is the safety of propulsion and auxiliary machinery, especially the working order and maintenance of the main engines, auxiliary engines, auxiliary equipment and their related alarm systems. Special attention will be given to familiarity of the crew with safety and emergency procedures with regard to these systems. This inspection campaign will be held for three months, 1 September 2013 through 30 November 2013.

The US Coast Guard proposes to amend its regulations to require uninspected commercial barges and sailing vessels to carry lifesaving devices even when those vessels are not carrying passengers for hire.

The NTSB has issued a safety alert to help mariners improve their chances of survival when abandoning ship. This safety alert stems from the investigation report "Personal Abandonment of Weather-Damaged US Liftboat Trinity II, with Loss of Life, Bay of Campeche, Gulf of Mexico on September 8, 2011." The safety alert can be found in the Safety Alert section within Policy and Guidance.

The Coast Guard has issued a new safety alert that addresses inappropriate navigation lights that fail to meet the criteria for use onboard any vessel. The safety alert can be found in the Safety Alert section within Policy and Guidance.

The Coast Guard extended the comment period for the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) published March 22, 2013, entitled ‘‘Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC)—Reader Requirements’’. 78 FR 27335 extends the comment period 30 days. Comments and related material must now be submitted to the docket by June 20, 2013.

The ten most frequently observed towing vessel deficiencies has been posted on the "Handouts" page in the "Outreach" section.

The Coast Guard has issued a correction with additional information for Marine Safety Alert 03-13 that addresses the use of surge protective devices onboard vessels. The Marine Safety Alert can be found in the Safety Alert section within Policy and Guidance.

A new FAQ have been posted regarding the course of action that should be taken if a non-documented UTV is suspected of being at least five net tons. The FAQ can be found under FAQs in the “Credentials, Documents & Records” section.

The 2012 TVNCOE Snapshot brochure has been posted on the "Handouts" page in the "Outreach" section.

Federal Register on Friday April 05, 2013 (78 FR 20684) seeking applications from qualified candidates seeking consideration for appointment as public members to the Towing Safety Advisory Committee (TSAC). TSAC advises the Coast Guard on matters relating to shallow-draft inland and coastal waterway navigation and towing safety.

The Coast Guard has issued a new safety alert that addresses counterfeit portable fire extinguishers. The safety alert can be found in the Safety Alert section within Policy and Guidance.

The Coast Guard has issued a new safety alert that addresses bow riding in heavey weather. The safety alert can be found in the Safety Alert section within Policy and Guidance.

The Designated Federal Officer for the Towing Safety Advisory Committee (TSAC) has issued a TSAC Fact Sheet, a list of current task statements being worked on by TSAC and a Federal Register listing TSAC committee meetings. All TSAC subcommittees are open and available for any and all members of the public and industry to participate on. Interested parties are encouraged to simply send their name and contact info to the respective subcommittee Chair and request to be included on meeting notifications, e-mail discussions, etc. Public review and comment is desired on any work products of the TSAC committee. The next TSAC meeting is in New York City next week, March 20-22, 2013. Additional information is available on USCG Homeport.

78 FR 13073 announced the availability of Coast Guard CG-CVC Policy Letter 13–01, ‘‘Interim Guidance for Revised MARPOL Annex V Implementation.’’ The policy letter has been posted in the Policy Letter section within Policy and Guidance.

The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has issued a press release and guidance for detecting counterfeit versions of its Admiralty charts and publications which can pose a risk to vessels, crew, and cargo safety.

New FAQs have been posted regarding assistance towing vessels and the Coast Guard’s Towing Vessel Bridging Program. The FAQs can be found under FAQs in the “Other” section.

A Coast Guard policy letter regarding guidance for ballast water regulations has been posted in the Policy Letter section within Policy and Guidance.

A FAQ has been posted regarding applicability of Stability Letter operational conditions on UTVs. The FAQ can be found under FAQs in the Credentials, Documents & Records section.

The Coast Guard has issued a policy letter that provides guidance on granting 30 day unescorted access extensions to individuals awaiting issuance and activation of a TWIC. The policy letter can be found in the Policy Letter section within Policy and Guidance.

The Coast Guard has issued a new safety alert that addresses the location of fire suppression system pressure switches aboard vessels. The safety alert can be found in the Safety Alert section within Policy and Guidance.

A FAQ has been posted regarding fire hoses and nozzles. The FAQ can be found under FAQs in the Fire Fighting, Protection & Suppression Equipment section.

The National Maritime Center has issued revised policy guidance for issuance of STCW endorsements as Chief Engineer to qualifying DDEs. The policy guidance also contains information on a separate, yet related issue regarding compliance with Canadian Marine Personnel Regulations. The policy guidance can be found in the Policy Letter section within Policy and Guidance.

There is a new Marine Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB 021-12) about mandatory compliance with Canadian maritime personnel regulations that are applicable to all U.S. documented vessels (unless otherwise exempted) operating in Canadian waters. These regulations impact to towing vessels. The MSIB can be found in the MSIB section within Policy and Guidance.

The Coast Guard has issued a policy letter that provides guidance on implementing the international convention on the control of harmful anti-fouling systems which is applicable to certain towing vessels on international voyages. The policy letter can be found in the Policy Letter section within Policy and Guidance.

The Coast Guard has issued three policy letters providing guidance to vessels and mariners subject to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended (STCW) that provide guidance on hours of rest, security endorsements, issuing endorsements other than security endorsements and approving training. The policy letters can be found in the Policy Letter section within Policy and Guidance.

A FAQ has been posted regarding Expiration of UTV Examination Decals. The FAQ can be found under FAQs in the Vessel Particulars section.

Revised MARPOL Annex V will enter into force January 1, 2013. Resolution MEPC.201(62) and a simplified overview can be found on IMOs website.

Mustang Survival has issued a new safety alert for certain Hydrostatic Inflatable PFDs they manufactured during April and May 2012. The safety alert can be found in the Safety Alert section within Policy and Guidance.

The Coast Guard has issued a new policy letter to clarify the implementation requirements for lock-out valves and odorizing units on new or altered installations of total flooding carbon dioxide systems. The policy letter can be found in the Policy Letter section within Policy and Guidance.

The Courses page has been updated and now contains the fiscal year (FY) 2013 Uninspected Towing Vessel Examiner Course dates.

The Examiner & Boarding Officer Tools page has been updated with the latest edition of the United States Coast Guard Requirements for Uninspected Towing Vessels guidebook which is Change 3 and dated July 2012.

A FAQ has been posted regarding reissuance of an uninspected towing vessel examination decal after a re-exam. The FAQ can be found under FAQs in the Vessel Particulars section.

The 43 Maritime Authorities of the Paris and the Tokyo Memoranda of Understanding on Port State Control will launch a joint Concentrated Inspection Campaign with the purpose to ensure compliance with SOLAS Chapter II-2/ Construction - fire protection, fire detection and fire extinction arrangements on board vessels. This inspection campaign will be held for three months, 1 September 2012 through 30 November 2012. Further details can be found in Marine Inspection Notice 06-12.

A FAQ has been posted regarding decal removal requirements after selling an uninspected towing vessel. The FAQ can be found under FAQs in the Vessel Particulars section.

Sector Upper Mississippi River has issued a new Marine Safety Information Bulletin titled "Phase 2 Towing Vessel Bridging Program Announcement." The MSIB can be found in the MSIB section within Policy and Guidance.

The Coast Guard has issued a new policy letter about design criteria for natural gas fuel systems design. The policy letter can be found in the Policy Letter section within Policy and Guidance.

The Coast Guard is seeking applications from towing safety professionals and the public to fill five vacancies on the Towing Safety Advisory Committee (TSAC) that expire or become vacant on September 30, 2012.

The TVNCOE has issued two Towing Vessel Safety Notices which discuss servicing of shipboard CO2 fire suppression systems and moving hazards aboard uninspected towing vessels.

You can now receive email notifications from the Coast Guard Towing Vessel National Center of Expertise by subscribing to our mailing list which is hosted on the Coast Guard List Server (CGLS). We will use this mailing list to send out information that would be of interest to the owners and operators of Coast Guard regulated towing vessels and Coast Guard members who conduct towing vessel examinations and inspections. Items posted will include safety information, regulatory updates, updates to the TVNCOE website, etc. To subscribe you will need to fill out a short electronic form. If you prefer to go to the CGLS to subscribe you can do so by going to cgls.uscg.mil. Once you have read the warning statement click on the agree button and you will be taken to the homepage for the CGLS. On the CGLS homepage click on the “Hosted Groups” tab located towards the top of the page then click on the “Marine Safety” hyperlink. Scroll down until you see the list titled “Coast Guard Towing Vessel National Center of Expertise” and you will see a hyperlink titled “Subscribe/Unsubscribe” below the title. Clicking on that hyperlink will take you to the electronic form used to subscribe to the email list.

The Eight Coast Guard District has issued a press release regarding the schedule to begin phase 2 of the Towing Vessel Bridging Program.

Furuno Service Advisory #07-10T, dated June 9, 2010, which list Furuno radars compliant with 2010 USCG/DOT Regulations for towing vessels under 300 Gross Tons has been added to the Examiner & Boarding Officer Tools page.

The Courses page has been updated and now contains the procedure to request a convening of an exportable UTV Examiner course in your area.

The 8th Coast Guard District has issued Policy Letter 03-2011 providing interim guidance for managing work site exclusions and work boats. The policy letter can be found in the Policy Letter section within Policy and Guidance.

There is a new Marine Safety Information Bulletin about employment of non-U.S. credentialed personnel onboard certain U.S. documented Vessels. The MSIB can be found in the MSIB section within Policy and Guidance.

There is a new Fequently Asked Question about issuing a Captain of the Port Order and or a CG-835 to a towing vessel. The guidance can be found on the “FAQs” page in the "Notes, Recommendations, and/or Descrepancies" section.

There is a new policy letter about visual examination in lieu of hydrostatic testing for clean agent pre-engineered fixed fire supression system cylinders posted on the "Policy Letters" page in the "Policy & Guidance" section.

The 2011 TVNCOE Snapshot brochure has been posted on the "Handouts" page in the "Outreach" section.

A new page has been added to the website called "Comments/Feedback." It is a form which allows customers to communicate directly with the TVNCOE. The form allows submissions to be made anonymously or contact information can be left if the submitter would like to be contacted by a TVNCOE representative.

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Last Modified 7/17/2014