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Strengthening U.S. Coast Guard Oversight and Support of Recognized Organizations: The Case of the Alternative Compliance Program (2021)

Chapter:2 Background of the U.S. Flag Fleet and Alternate Compliance Program

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Suggested Citation:"2 Background of the U.S. Flag Fleet and Alternate Compliance Program." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Strengthening U.S. Coast Guard Oversight and Support of Recognized Organizations: The Case of the Alternative Compliance Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26450.
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Suggested Citation:"2 Background of the U.S. Flag Fleet and Alternate Compliance Program." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Strengthening U.S. Coast Guard Oversight and Support of Recognized Organizations: The Case of the Alternative Compliance Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26450.
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Suggested Citation:"2 Background of the U.S. Flag Fleet and Alternate Compliance Program." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Strengthening U.S. Coast Guard Oversight and Support of Recognized Organizations: The Case of the Alternative Compliance Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26450.
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Suggested Citation:"2 Background of the U.S. Flag Fleet and Alternate Compliance Program." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Strengthening U.S. Coast Guard Oversight and Support of Recognized Organizations: The Case of the Alternative Compliance Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26450.
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Suggested Citation:"2 Background of the U.S. Flag Fleet and Alternate Compliance Program." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Strengthening U.S. Coast Guard Oversight and Support of Recognized Organizations: The Case of the Alternative Compliance Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26450.
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Suggested Citation:"2 Background of the U.S. Flag Fleet and Alternate Compliance Program." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Strengthening U.S. Coast Guard Oversight and Support of Recognized Organizations: The Case of the Alternative Compliance Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26450.
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Suggested Citation:"2 Background of the U.S. Flag Fleet and Alternate Compliance Program." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Strengthening U.S. Coast Guard Oversight and Support of Recognized Organizations: The Case of the Alternative Compliance Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26450.
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Suggested Citation:"2 Background of the U.S. Flag Fleet and Alternate Compliance Program." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Strengthening U.S. Coast Guard Oversight and Support of Recognized Organizations: The Case of the Alternative Compliance Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26450.
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Suggested Citation:"2 Background of the U.S. Flag Fleet and Alternate Compliance Program." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Strengthening U.S. Coast Guard Oversight and Support of Recognized Organizations: The Case of the Alternative Compliance Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26450.
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Suggested Citation:"2 Background of the U.S. Flag Fleet and Alternate Compliance Program." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Strengthening U.S. Coast Guard Oversight and Support of Recognized Organizations: The Case of the Alternative Compliance Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26450.
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Suggested Citation:"2 Background of the U.S. Flag Fleet and Alternate Compliance Program." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Strengthening U.S. Coast Guard Oversight and Support of Recognized Organizations: The Case of the Alternative Compliance Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26450.
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Suggested Citation:"2 Background of the U.S. Flag Fleet and Alternate Compliance Program." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Strengthening U.S. Coast Guard Oversight and Support of Recognized Organizations: The Case of the Alternative Compliance Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26450.
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Suggested Citation:"2 Background of the U.S. Flag Fleet and Alternate Compliance Program." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Strengthening U.S. Coast Guard Oversight and Support of Recognized Organizations: The Case of the Alternative Compliance Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26450.
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Suggested Citation:"2 Background of the U.S. Flag Fleet and Alternate Compliance Program." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Strengthening U.S. Coast Guard Oversight and Support of Recognized Organizations: The Case of the Alternative Compliance Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26450.
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Suggested Citation:"2 Background of the U.S. Flag Fleet and Alternate Compliance Program." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Strengthening U.S. Coast Guard Oversight and Support of Recognized Organizations: The Case of the Alternative Compliance Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26450.
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Suggested Citation:"2 Background of the U.S. Flag Fleet and Alternate Compliance Program." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Strengthening U.S. Coast Guard Oversight and Support of Recognized Organizations: The Case of the Alternative Compliance Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26450.
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Suggested Citation:"2 Background of the U.S. Flag Fleet and Alternate Compliance Program." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Strengthening U.S. Coast Guard Oversight and Support of Recognized Organizations: The Case of the Alternative Compliance Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26450.
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Suggested Citation:"2 Background of the U.S. Flag Fleet and Alternate Compliance Program." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Strengthening U.S. Coast Guard Oversight and Support of Recognized Organizations: The Case of the Alternative Compliance Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26450.
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Suggested Citation:"2 Background of the U.S. Flag Fleet and Alternate Compliance Program." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Strengthening U.S. Coast Guard Oversight and Support of Recognized Organizations: The Case of the Alternative Compliance Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26450.
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Suggested Citation:"2 Background of the U.S. Flag Fleet and Alternate Compliance Program." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Strengthening U.S. Coast Guard Oversight and Support of Recognized Organizations: The Case of the Alternative Compliance Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26450.
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27 This chapter provides an overview of the types of vessels in the U.S. flag fleet, their governing regulations, technical oversight, and their inspection requirements to verify regulatory compliance. Different requirements apply to different segments of the fleet, and in some cases, third parties verify compliance on behalf of the U.S. Coast Guard (Coast Guard). The chapter begins by introducing the Marine Safety Center’s (MSC’s) role in oversee- ing the technical work of recognized organizations (ROs) and the process of data sharing between MSC and ROs. The role of the Officer in Charge, Marine Inspections (OCMI) in issuing and endorsing an inspected vessel’s Certificate of Inspection (COI) is then described. Additional background is then provided on the origins, evolution, and design of the Alternate Com- pliance Program (ACP). The chapter concludes with a profile of the vessels enrolled in the ACP as well as vessels enrolled in the Maritime Security Select Program, which also delegates functions to ROs in a manner similar to that of ACP. TECHNICAL OVERSIGHT PROGRAM As noted above, the Coast Guard delegates certain plan reviews and other technical work to ROs (also referred to as authorized classification societies) to perform on its behalf. The Coast Guard’s MSC is responsible for performing the technical support and oversight of ROs on work such as ACP design plan reviews on new construction, vessel modifications (including major conversions), and vessel re-flags. After technical work items performed on behalf of the Coast Guard are finalized, the RO will 2 Background of the U.S. Flag Fleet and Alternate Compliance Program

28 STRENGTHENING U.S. COAST GUARD OVERSIGHT AND SUPPORT OF ROs contact MSC with an email listing activities performed. The exchange of information will include Excel spreadsheets, e-mails with attachments, or through an authorized file exchange protocol method. MSC reviews the RO notifications, does a risk-based selection of work items for review, and e-mails the RO requesting associated documentation for work items selected for review. After the RO supplies requested documentation, MSC reviews it and provides feedback and findings on each oversight result, generally within 30 days, in a formal letter sent directly to RO management with copies to the Coast Guard Office of Commercial Vehicle Compliance (CVC) and the cognizant OCMI, as appropriate. MSC maintains local copies of all letters and findings, which are not entered into the Marine Information for Safety and Law Enforcement (MISLE), and then tracks and follows up on any required corrective actions. MSC also will meet with ROs on a regular schedule to review oversight results, lessons learned, best practices, and areas for improvement.1 The process of information and data sharing between MSC and RO for work items is shown in Figure 2-1. MSC oversight findings are recorded as observations, nonconformities, or major nonconformities with definitions similar to those in the Interna- tional Safety Management (ISM) Code. MSC documents the findings for each RO, which are reported quarterly and annually to CVC. These find- ings provide the primary quantitative measure of RO performance, includ- ing qualitative information, along with recommendations that may require action at the CVC level. RO oversight data are summarized in Table 2-1. Because many work items vary in scope and nature and require different levels of effort, the number of reported work items in Table 2-1 is not used as a measure of the level of work effort. Other than the technical informa- tion and work data exchanged and shared as described in the previous sections, there is no data integration between the MSC and RO databases. U.S. FLAG FLEET REGULATION AND INSPECTION PROGRAMS In 2020, the U.S. flag fleet contained 19,398 active vessels subject to vari- ous forms of inspection and certification by the Coast Guard for regulatory compliance.2 This fleet consisted of 6,608 towing vessels, 6,556 passenger vessels, 5,086 barges, 570 cargo vessels, 522 outer-continental shelf vessels 1 USCG. 2021. Marine Technical Note (MTN) 04-03, Technical Support and Oversight of Authorized Classification Societies. https://www.dco.uscg.mil/Portals/9/MSC/MTN/MTN.04- 03.CH-4.2021.04.06.Technical%20Support%20and%20Oversight%20of%20Authorized%20 Classification%20Societies.pdf. 2 Fleet statistics are from USCG. 2020. Flag State Control in the United States 2020 Domes- tic Annual Report, p. 4. https://www.dco.uscg.mil/Portals/9/DCO%20Documents/5p/CG-5PC/ CG-CVC/CVC1/AnnualRpt/2020%20Flag%20State%20Control%20Annual%20Report.pdf.

BACKGROUND OF THE U.S. FLAG FLEET AND ACP 29 FIGURE 2-1 Information and data flow between the Marine Safety Center and recognized organizations. NOTE: “No Marine Safety Center review” means that an oversight activity was closed with no review for administrative reasons (i.e., the work was not yet com- plete or miscategorized (see MTN No. 04-03, CH-4). SOURCE: Adapted from MTN No. 04-03, CH-4 and LCDR L. Woodman, Coast Guard, presentation to the committee, January 2021. (e.g., offshore supply vessels), and 56 research and school vessels. It does not include the country’s 55,000 to 60,000 commercial fishing vessels, most of which are not subject to Coast Guard inspection. Title 46 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) contains the federal regulations for U.S. flag vessels. Depending on vessel type and service, different inspection requirements apply along with methods for verifying compliance. For instance, most of the country’s towing vessels are inspected for compliance with 46 CFR Parts 136–144, Subchapter M. Depending on their size and service, passenger vessels are inspected for compliance with Subchapters T (small passenger vessels under 100 gross tons), H (passenger vessels), or K (small passenger vessels carrying more than 150 passengers

30 STRENGTHENING U.S. COAST GUARD OVERSIGHT AND SUPPORT OF ROs TABLE 2-1 Summary of Marine Safety Center Oversight of Recognized Organizations, 2016–2020 Notifications MSC Completed Reviews Number of Findings (each review can have more than one finding) Calendar Year Number of RO Work Items Notified Number of Work Items Selected, MSC Oversight Number of Total Reviews Number of Reviews with Findings Obs NCs Major NC 2016 6,729 346 256 13 5 7 0 2017 19,753 410 290 18 3 13 0 2018 20,238 429 241 16 2 12 0 2019 19,567 226 252 10 1 15 1 2020 18,902 535 223 6 2 4 0 NOTE: MSC = Marine Safety Center; NC = nonconformity; Obs = Observations; RO = rec- ognized organization. SOURCE: Based on information requested from the Coast Guard, Marine Safety Center, March 15, 2021. or with overnight accommodations for more than 49 passengers). Some barges transporting general cargoes are subject to Subchapter I (cargo and miscellaneous vessels) but those carrying flammable, combustible, and other hazardous commodities are subject to the requirements of Subchapters D and O. Among the U.S. flag fleet’s 570 cargo ships, the majority are ocean- going merchant vessels that carry bulk freight, general dry cargo, and roll- on–roll-off vehicles. They are inspected in accordance with Subchapter I, but tank ships that carry flammable and combustible commodities are also inspected under Subchapters D and O. For most vessels in the U.S. flag fleet, participation in the ACP is not an option because other inspection regimes apply or because the program is not relevant to the vessel’s service type. Vessels registered for domestic ser- vice only are not subject to the international Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention, whose requirements are considered equivalent to many Coast Guard regulations. For a vessel to be eligible for the ACP it must com- ply with SOLAS, as certified by an international classification society. The Coast Guard has established other programs that delegate inspection responsibilities that apply to vessels not subject to SOLAS. For example, towing vessels subject to Chapter M can be inspected by authorized third- party organizations in accordance with the Coast Guard’s Towing Safety Management System (TSMS) option. In the case of unmanned barge vessels,

BACKGROUND OF THE U.S. FLAG FLEET AND ACP 31 which are used in domestic service only, they are subject to annual inspec- tions by the Coast Guard, but some are enrolled in a Streamlined Inspection Program (SIP). This program permits the company that owns or operates the vessel to designate personnel to perform inspections according to Coast Guard–approved requirements and procedures. Coast Guard marine inspec- tors will then conduct an annual inspection to check critical vessel systems and review the company’s and vessel’s records of SIP implementation.3 The Coast Guard has established individual SIPs for vessels that must comply with Subchapter I (barges and other vessels in cargo and miscellaneous service), Subchapters D and O (tankships and tank barges), Subchapter H (passenger vessels), Subchapters K and T (small passenger vessels), and Subchapter L (offshore supply vessels). Vessels that are not eligible for these inspection programs, or whose owners and operators are not interested in participating, will undergo traditional full inspections by the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard administers its marine safety field activities, includ- ing inspection programs, under the superintendence and direction of each of the Coast Guard’s nine District Commanders. Each district contains 4 to 12 marine sectors (shoreside inspection and port zones) led by a Sector Commander, usually at the rank of Captain.4 OCMI is usually one of the responsibilities of the Sector Commander, along with Captain of the Port, Federal Maritime Security Coordinator, Search and Rescue Mission Coor- dinator, and maritime Federal On-Scene Coordinator. As OCMI, the Sec- tor Commander is responsible for overseeing marine inspectors and other prevention personnel in the sector, including all vessel inspection programs. It is the OCMI’s responsibility, aided by assigned marine safety personnel and reports from marine inspectors, to determine an inspected vessel’s fitness for the services for which it is intended and to verify com- pliance with applicable statutes, regulations, and standards. Issuance of compliance documentation is therefore the responsibility of the OCMI, in- cluding each vessel’s COI (valid for 5 years for most non-passenger vessels) and their annual endorsements. In overseeing and assigning Coast Guard marine inspectors to vessels, the OCMI will consider a number of factors, including the vessel’s type and enrollment in the various Coast Guard– approved inspection programs. For smaller vessels such as tank barges, seagoing barges, or small passenger ships, the OCMI may assign only one inspector (either deck or engineering), whereas multiple inspectors may be assigned to larger vessels or those requiring an accelerated inspection. 3 See https://www.dco.uscg.mil/Our-Organization/Assistant-Commandant-for-Prevention- Policy-CG-5P/Inspections-Compliance-CG-5PC-/Commercial-Vessel-Compliance/Flag-State- Control-Division/Streamlined-Inspection-Program. 4 See https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CFR-2003-title33-vol1/pdf/CFR-2003-title33- vol1-part3-toc-id97.pdf.

32 STRENGTHENING U.S. COAST GUARD OVERSIGHT AND SUPPORT OF ROs When carrying out an inspection, Coast Guard field inspectors will gener- ally follow an outline as provided in a job aid, known as a CG-840 book, that applies to individual vessel types (e.g., barge, small passenger K and T, and tankship) as well as for vessels enrolled in specific inspection programs, such as ACP, SIPs, and TSMS.5 Before boarding the vessel ( normally at a predeter- mined time and place), the inspector will usually consult the vessel’s previous inspection records and the history of the vessel’s and owner’s compliance and safety record. Once on board, the inspector will usually review the applicable paperwork, including existing vessel certificates such as the class certificate and international convention certificates. The CG-840 provides guidance on inspection items pertinent to the requirements of applicable statutes and regulations for navigation safety and pollution prevention. The items in the checklist will differ for vessels enrolled in specific inspection programs, for instance, to avoid duplication of a program’s third-party inspections. Upon completion of the inspection, the field inspector must be satisfied that the vessel can be operated safely in the proposed service for the period covered by the COI, and that it otherwise complies with the applicable laws and regulations. At the conclusion of the inspection, if all items are found to be in order, the marine inspector, as a representative of the OCMI, can either issue or endorse the vessel’s COI. Before turning to a discussion of ACP, it is important to emphasize that the OCMI’s issuance and endorsement of a COI does not guarantee that a vessel will be operated safely, because all marine safety regulations are con- ditioned on the ship owner and operator having primary responsibility for ensuring seaworthiness and safe operations. The Coast Guard’s inspections, including any delegated to third parties, are intended to verify that a vessel complies with regulations that are intended to lessen the probability of a casualty and adverse consequences. Because there will be risk factors that only the owner and operator of an individual vessel can know, the process of inspecting for regulatory compliance is not intended to substitute for vessel owners and operators being vigilant in eliminating and controlling these specific risks. ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND ON THE ALTERNATE COMPLIANCE PROGRAM Although only a small percentage of the vessels in the U.S. flag fleet are enrolled in the ACP, the program has become popular among owners of larger cargo ships, and particularly those ocean-going vessels registered for 5 See https://www.dco.uscg.mil/Our-Organization/Assistant-Commandant-for-Prevention- Policy-CG-5P/Inspections-Compliance-CG-5PC-/Commercial-Vessel-Compliance/Domestic- Compliance-Division/Tools.

BACKGROUND OF THE U.S. FLAG FLEET AND ACP 33 foreign trade and subject to international convention requirements. In the sections that follow, some additional background is provided on the ori- gins, evolution, and design of the ACP, followed by a profile of the enrolled fleet as of early 2021. While the introduction of the ACP, and its initial structure, were described in Chapter 1, this additional background on the program’s evolution over the past 25 years is helpful for understanding some of the concerns raised by investigators following the El Faro casualty and the Coast Guard’s response to them. Along with profiling the ACP fleet, an additional profile is provided of a subset of vessels in the Maritime Security Program (MSP) fleet. At about the same time as the creation of the ACP, the Maritime Security Act of 1996 established the MSP, which provides a stipend to owners of U.S. flag vessels in exchange for making their vessels available during times of need by the U.S. Department of Defense. The subset of vessels profiled in the MSP fleet consists of those vessels enrolled in the “Select” program. They are profiled because they use ROs in the same manner as the ACP, whereby authorized classification societies perform many of the inspections that would otherwise have been conducted by the Coast Guard. Other vessels in the MSP Regular fleet, which do not use ROs for such broader purposes, are not profiled. Advent and Evolution of the Alternate Compliance Program As discussed in Chapter 1, ACP began as a pilot program in 1995. The Coast Guard and the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) entered into an arrangement to allow tank and cargo vessels inspected by ABS for compli- ance with its classification rules and international conventions to also be inspected for compliance with U.S.-specific regulations (i.e., under 46 CFR Chapter I, Subchapter I) or their safety equivalents. Before instituting the program, ABS and the Coast Guard reviewed all applicable U.S. regula- tions, ABS rules, and international convention requirements. On the basis of this review, ABS developed a “U.S. Supplement” to account for those regulatory requirements not satisfied by compliance with ABS rules and international standards. The Coast Guard deemed the requirements in the U.S. Supplement to be consistent with the goal of achieving a level of safety equivalent to that achieved through compliance with all of its relevant regulations. Vessels enrolled in the pilot ACP would be examined by an ABS surveyor to determine compliance with the U.S. Supplement along with ABS rules and international convention requirements. Under the terms of the agreement, the Coast Guard would accept surveys performed by the ABS as equivalent to tests and examinations required for initial and in- service inspections for certification, periodic reexamination, and drydock

34 STRENGTHENING U.S. COAST GUARD OVERSIGHT AND SUPPORT OF ROs examinations. Following verification by a Coast Guard marine inspector that all required international and classification certificates were valid, a review of the reports submitted by the ABS surveyor, and a determination that the vessel was properly manned and maintained by the operator, the OCMI could then issue a COI for the enrolled vessel. After piloting the program for several months, the Coast Guard made the ACP permanent and issued a Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC 2-95) in June 1995 defining the program. The circular provided an overall description of the ACP, identified the conditions for enrollment, and described the duties and responsibilities of participating vessel owners and operators, ABS, and the Coast Guard. Because the U.S. Supplement was developed for cargo ships and tankships surveyed for international voyages, only those vessels (if classed by ABS) were eligible for the pilot program; however, NVIC 2-95 expanded eligibility to include plan reviews for new constructions and flag conversions and noted that more vessels could be- come eligible in the future. Vessel owners and operators with a history of recurring marine casualties, oil spills, civil penalties, or poor maintenance could be involuntarily disenrolled. The circular reiterated that a key pur- pose of the program, in addition to reducing duplicate regulatory burdens on vessel owners, was to allow the Coast Guard to place more emphasis on evaluating the human factors elements in maritime safety and to shift resources to port-state control (i.e., enforcement of regulations pertaining to foreign vessels operat ing in U.S. waters) without diminishing the level of safety of U.S. vessels. NVIC 2-95 provided program guidance for each level of the Coast Guard’s marine inspection program from headquarters to the OCMI, in- cluding the responsibilities of inspection personnel. In addition to outlining the requirements for the OCMI to conduct administrative reviews of ABS reports and a Coast Guard manning and fit-for-service inspection before issu ing the COI, the circular stated that ships enrolled in the program would be subject to annual Coast Guard oversight examinations having a scope comparable to a port-state control vessel examination of a foreign ship. Owners and operators of enrolled ships would be responsible for scheduling drydock examinations and internal structural examinations by ABS at intervals required in the regulations, with the potential for Coast Guard involvement depending on factors such as vessel type, age, route, service, deficiency record, and pollution and casualty history. NVIC 2-95 also outlined other Coast Guard responsibilities for oversight by stating that oversight would consist of cumulative evaluations of the activi ties delegated to the ABS through record reviews and administrative audits and by monitoring survey results and the compliance record of ACP vessels subject to annual oversight examinations. ABS was required to report to the Coast Guard any violations discovered during its vessel surveys and

BACKGROUND OF THE U.S. FLAG FLEET AND ACP 35 it had to allow the Coast Guard unrestricted access to all records, reports, and certificates issued as an authorized RO. Furthermore, the circular stated that ABS would establish a liaison with the Coast Guard to promote effec- tive communication and facilitate the sharing of information on vessels in the program. U.S. ship owners, who had advocated for the piloting of the ACP to reduce duplicate inspections and increase competitiveness with foreign vessels, strongly supported the decision to make the program permanent. They also favored its expansion to include other vessel types and the par- ticipation of more of the major classification societies in addition to ABS. Indeed, Congress had passed a provision in the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 1996 that allowed the Coast Guard to expand its delegations to third parties, including classification societies from outside the United States. By this time, several major international classification societies had been expanding their service offerings to include the conduct of inspections on behalf of national maritime administrations. While increasing third-party delegations to more classification societies, the new law also required that organizations acting on behalf of the Coast Guard meet minimum standards, to be determined by the Coast Guard, for certain organizational characteristics and historical levels of performance. To develop these standards, the Coast Guard reviewed various international standards governing the expected quality and capabilities of a classifica- tion society. So informed, the Coast Guard instituted its own criteria for assess ing performance, including the records of deficiencies found in foreign vessels during Coast Guard port-state control inspections. Classification societies whose vessels did not perform well during these inspections would not be considered candidates for participation in the ACP. Furthermore, to be authorized to serve as an RO in the ACP, the classification society would need to work with the Coast Guard to prepare, and keep updated, a U.S. Supplement to its rules in the same manner as ABS. Since its inception more than 25 years ago, ACP has been modified in other ways. Significantly, offshore supply vessels (OSVs, serving the offshore oil and gas industry) were not originally included in the program because they were not intended or needed for international trade. In 2001 the Coast Guard included certain OSVs in the program because many were being used in international waters and constructed to international standards, including the 1974 Convention for the International Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). During this period, additions and changes to international conventions also expanded the role of classification societies as ROs, both for vessels in the ACP and for other vessels involved in international trade. Among the most significant developments was the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO’s) decision to make the ISM Code mandatory for compliance with

36 STRENGTHENING U.S. COAST GUARD OVERSIGHT AND SUPPORT OF ROs SOLAS Convention, effective July 1998. Verification of vessel and company compliance with the ISM Code, which was described in Box 1-1, would be handled largely by international classification societies on behalf of maritime administrations. In turn, the expanding role of classi fication societies in performing such services to verify compliance with international standards prompted the IMO to adopt the International RO Code in 2013. A purpose of the RO Code is to ensure consistent assessments of the qualifications of organizations to serve as authorized ROs, clarify RO responsibilities, and bring about more consistent flag-state oversight of ROs. Accordingly, the code contains guidance for quality control of ROs and oversight of their per- formance. It emphasizes the importance of having personnel with sufficient knowledge of applicable rules and regulations as well as adequate resources for monitoring and communicating with the ROs. It also emphasizes the im- portance of conducting audits and addi tional ship inspections to verify that the RO is meeting the requirements of the code and to verify that the quality management system is adequate and being followed. The classification societies serving as ROs for vessels enrolled in the ACP were expected to perform the compliance verifications for the ISM Code and other international requirements as they did for many other U.S. flag vessels in international service that were not enrolled in the program. The Coast Guard, however, made a clear distinction between ROs autho- rized to perform in the ACP and those that are only authorized to perform these other international certifications and services. Twenty years after the ACP was first piloted, the El Faro investigations raised concerns about the performance of an authorized RO in fulfilling the specific requirements of the ACP. It is important to emphasize, however, that some of the con- cerns were not specific to the ACP but related instead to the RO’s perfor- mance in verifying compliance with international standards (i.e., the ISM Code). The investigations’ calls for more effective Coast Guard oversight of ROs were thus intended to extend to all Coast Guard–approved ROs and not only those authorized for the ACP. Current Status of Classification Society Recognition of Recognized Organizations by the Coast Guard Table 2-2 shows the status in 2021 of classification society recognition by the Coast Guard, including authorization to participate in the ACP and to perform other delegated functions pertaining to international standards. Seven classification societies are recognized by the Coast Guard. ABS, Det Norske Veritas (DNV),6 Lloyd’s Register (LR), and Nippon Kaiji Kyokai 6 In 2013, the German classification society Germanischer Lloyd merged with Det Norske Veritas to become DNV GL; in 2021, the company changed its name to DNV.

BACKGROUND OF THE U.S. FLAG FLEET AND ACP 37 (Class NK) are authorized to participate in the ACP. Bureau Veritas (BV), the Indian Register of Shipping (IRClass), and Registro Italiano Navale (RINA) are approved for other services and functions, as listed in Table 2-2. Current ACP guidance can be found in the Marine Safety Manual, Vol. II, Sec. B, Chapter 9;7 Coast Guard Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures: Alternate Compliance Program (CGTTP 3-72.9A), December 30, 2019;8 and NVIC 2-95, Change 3,9 issued October 2, 2018—the third update of this circular. Of the four ROs authorized for ACP, ABS serves most vessels in the fleet, as detailed below. ABS is also the predominant RO for all other U.S. flag vessels registered for international trade and subject to international convention requirements. The other three ACP-authorized ROs, however, have had to develop their own U.S. Supplements, a time-consuming process that requires line-by-line regulatory reviews and comparisons with classifi- cation society rules and international requirements. The El Faro investiga- tions raised specific concerns about the ACP’s reliance on U.S. Supplements. These concerns stemmed not only from the complexities the supplements created for Coast Guard inspectors trying to account for differences among each RO, but also because of evidence that the supplements were not being kept current due to the burdens involved. Investigators recommended the creation of a single U.S. Supplement, which the Coast Guard introduced in 2021 as one of the reforms made to ACP after the El Faro casualty. The updated NVIC 2-95 and other reforms to the program and policies and procedures for RO oversight are discussed in Chapter 3. PROFILE OF THE ALTERNATE COMPLIANCE PROGRAM AND MARITIME SECURITY PROGRAM SELECT FLEETS Because enrollment in ACP is voluntary, there are other inspection options available for owners and operators of U.S.-flagged vessels that are otherwise eligible for the program. As noted above, they can opt for the standard inspection regime whereby Coast Guard marine inspectors board the ships for all required regulatory inspections, while another option is the SIPs that apply to different vessel types. Nevertheless, ACP has been widely used by 7 USCG. 2016. Ch-2 to Marine Safety Manual, Volume II, COMDTINST M16000.7B. https://media.defense.gov/2020/Feb/11/2002247589/-1/-1/0/CIM_16000_7B.PDF. 8 USCG. 2019. Alternate Compliance Program (ACP): Tactics, Techniques, and Proce- dures (TTP). CGTTP 3-72.9A. https://www.dco.uscg.mil/Portals/9/DCO%20Documents/5p/ LGCNCOE/docs/LNGF-ACP-TTP-2019.pdf?ver=2020-01-09-153139-677. 9 USCG. 2006. Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular No. 02-95 Change-2: The Alternate Compliance Program (ACP). https://www.dco.uscg.mil/Portals/9/DCO%20Documents/5p/5ps/ NVIC/1995/n2-95ch2.pdf.

38 T A B L E 2 -2 C ur re nt ( 20 21 ) St at us o f C la ss ifi ca ti on S oc ie ty R ec og ni ti on , A lt er na te C om pl ia nc e Pr og ra m Pa rt ic ip at io n, a nd A ut ho ri za ti on s D el eg at ed b y th e C oa st G ua rd C la ss S oc ie ty S ta tu s A B S B V C la ss N K D N V L R R IN A IR C L A SS R ec og ni ze d (4 6 C FR p ar t 8, s ub pa rt B ) * * * * * * * A lt er na te C om pl ia nc e Pr og ra m ( A C P) ( 46 C FR p ar t 8, s ub pa rt D ) * + * + * + * + C la ss ifi ca ti on S oc ie ty A ct iv it ie s (4 6 C FR p ar t 2, s ub pa rt 2 .4 5) * * * * * * * A ut ho ri za ti on s A B S B V C la ss N K D N V L R R IN A IR C L A SS In te rn at io na l C on ve nt io n on L oa d L in es , 19 66 , as m od ifi ed b y th e 19 88 P ro to co l, as am en de d (I C L L 66 /8 8) In te rn at io na l L oa d L in e C er ti fic at e (L L P ro to co l) * * * * * * * To nn ag e IT C ( 46 C FR 6 9, s ub pa rt B ) * * * * * * * U .S . R eg ul at or y (4 6 C FR 6 9, s ub pa rt s C & D ) * * * * * * * In te rn at io na l C on ve nt io n fo r th e Sa fe ty o f L if e at S ea , 19 74 , an d Pr ot oc ol s of 1 97 8 & 19 88 , as a m en de d (S O L A S 74 /7 8) C ar go S hi p Sa fe ty C on st ru ct io n C er ti fic at e (S O L A S) * * * * * * * C ar go S hi p Sa fe ty E qu ip m en t C er ti fic at e (S O L A S) * * * * * * * Pa ss en ge r Sh ip S af et y C er ti fic at e (S O L A S) * * * * D oc um en t of C om pl ia nc e fo r Sh ip s C ar ry in g D an ge ro us G oo ds ( IM SB C C od e) (S O L A S re gu la ti on I I- 2/ 19 ) * * * * * * * C ar go S ec ur in g M an ua l A pp ro va l (3 3 C FR 9 7. 30 0) * * * * * * * In te rn at io na l C er ti fic at e of F it ne ss f or t he C ar ri ag e of D an ge ro us C he m ic al s in B ul k (I B C C od e) * * * * * * * In te rn at io na l C er ti fic at e of F it ne ss f or t he C ar ri ag e of L iq ue fie d G as se s in B ul k (I G C C od e) * * * * * * * D oc um en t of C om pl ia nc e C er ti fic at e an d In te ri m C er ti fic at e (I SM C od e) * * * * * Sa fe ty M an ag em en t C er ti fic at e an d In te ri m C er ti fic at e (I SM C od e) * * * * * A ut ho ri ze s er vi ce p ro vi de rs f or l if es av in g ap pl ia nc es ( L SA s) a cc or di ng t o M SC .4 02 (9 6) * * * * C on du ct p er io di c au di ts o n au th or iz ed s er vi ce p ro vi de rs f or L SA a cc or di ng t o M SC .4 02 (9 6) * * * * In te rn at io na l C on ve nt io n fo r th e Pr ev en ti on o f Po llu ti on f ro m S hi ps , 19 73 , as m od ifi ed b y th e Pr ot oc ol o f 19 78 , as a m en de d (M A R PO L 7 3/ 78 ) In te rn at io na l O il Po llu ti on P re ve nt io n C er ti fic at e (M A R PO L 7 3/ 78 , A nn ex I ) * * * * * * * In te rn at io na l Po llu ti on P re ve nt io n C er ti fic at e fo r th e C ar ri ag e of N ox io us L iq ui d Su bs ta nc es i n B ul k (N L S C er ti fic at e) ( M A R PO L 7 3/ 78 A nn ex I I) * * * * * * * V er ifi ca ti on o f C om pl ia nc e w it h M A R PO L 7 3/ 78 A nn ex I II ( Pa ck ag ed H ar m fu l Su bs ta nc es ) * * * * * * * In te rn at io na l Se w ag e Po llu ti on P re ve nt io n St at em en t of V ol un ta ry C om pl ia nc e (S O V C ) (M A R PO L 7 3/ 78 A nn ex I V ) * * * * * * * V er ifi ca ti on o f C om pl ia nc e w it h M A R PO L 7 3/ 78 A nn ex V ( G ar ba ge ) * * * * * * * In te rn at io na l E ne rg y E ffi ci en cy C er ti fic at e (I E E ) (M A R PO L 7 3/ 78 , A nn ex V I) * * * * * * * V er ifi ca ti on o f C om pl ia nc e of S hi p Fu el O il C on su m pt io n D at a (M A R PO L 7 3/ 78 , A nn ex V I) * * * * * * * In te rn at io na l A ir P ol lu ti on P re ve nt io n C er ti fic at e (M A R PO L 7 3/ 78 , A nn ex V I) * * * * * * * In te rn at io na l C on ve nt io n on t he C on tr ol o f H ar m fu l A nt i- fo ul in g Sy st em s on S hi ps (A FS ) In te rn at io na l A nt i- Fo ul in g Sy st em C er ti fic at e (I A FS ) * * * * * * *

39 T A B L E 2 -2 C ur re nt ( 20 21 ) St at us o f C la ss ifi ca ti on S oc ie ty R ec og ni ti on , A lt er na te C om pl ia nc e Pr og ra m Pa rt ic ip at io n, a nd A ut ho ri za ti on s D el eg at ed b y th e C oa st G ua rd C la ss S oc ie ty S ta tu s A B S B V C la ss N K D N V L R R IN A IR C L A SS R ec og ni ze d (4 6 C FR p ar t 8, s ub pa rt B ) * * * * * * * A lt er na te C om pl ia nc e Pr og ra m ( A C P) ( 46 C FR p ar t 8, s ub pa rt D ) * + * + * + * + C la ss ifi ca ti on S oc ie ty A ct iv it ie s (4 6 C FR p ar t 2, s ub pa rt 2 .4 5) * * * * * * * A ut ho ri za ti on s A B S B V C la ss N K D N V L R R IN A IR C L A SS In te rn at io na l C on ve nt io n on L oa d L in es , 19 66 , as m od ifi ed b y th e 19 88 P ro to co l, as am en de d (I C L L 66 /8 8) In te rn at io na l L oa d L in e C er ti fic at e (L L P ro to co l) * * * * * * * To nn ag e IT C ( 46 C FR 6 9, s ub pa rt B ) * * * * * * * U .S . R eg ul at or y (4 6 C FR 6 9, s ub pa rt s C & D ) * * * * * * * In te rn at io na l C on ve nt io n fo r th e Sa fe ty o f L if e at S ea , 19 74 , an d Pr ot oc ol s of 1 97 8 & 19 88 , as a m en de d (S O L A S 74 /7 8) C ar go S hi p Sa fe ty C on st ru ct io n C er ti fic at e (S O L A S) * * * * * * * C ar go S hi p Sa fe ty E qu ip m en t C er ti fic at e (S O L A S) * * * * * * * Pa ss en ge r Sh ip S af et y C er ti fic at e (S O L A S) * * * * D oc um en t of C om pl ia nc e fo r Sh ip s C ar ry in g D an ge ro us G oo ds ( IM SB C C od e) (S O L A S re gu la ti on I I- 2/ 19 ) * * * * * * * C ar go S ec ur in g M an ua l A pp ro va l (3 3 C FR 9 7. 30 0) * * * * * * * In te rn at io na l C er ti fic at e of F it ne ss f or t he C ar ri ag e of D an ge ro us C he m ic al s in B ul k (I B C C od e) * * * * * * * In te rn at io na l C er ti fic at e of F it ne ss f or t he C ar ri ag e of L iq ue fie d G as se s in B ul k (I G C C od e) * * * * * * * D oc um en t of C om pl ia nc e C er ti fic at e an d In te ri m C er ti fic at e (I SM C od e) * * * * * Sa fe ty M an ag em en t C er ti fic at e an d In te ri m C er ti fic at e (I SM C od e) * * * * * A ut ho ri ze s er vi ce p ro vi de rs f or l if es av in g ap pl ia nc es ( L SA s) a cc or di ng t o M SC .4 02 (9 6) * * * * C on du ct p er io di c au di ts o n au th or iz ed s er vi ce p ro vi de rs f or L SA a cc or di ng t o M SC .4 02 (9 6) * * * * In te rn at io na l C on ve nt io n fo r th e Pr ev en ti on o f Po llu ti on f ro m S hi ps , 19 73 , as m od ifi ed b y th e Pr ot oc ol o f 19 78 , as a m en de d (M A R PO L 7 3/ 78 ) In te rn at io na l O il Po llu ti on P re ve nt io n C er ti fic at e (M A R PO L 7 3/ 78 , A nn ex I ) * * * * * * * In te rn at io na l Po llu ti on P re ve nt io n C er ti fic at e fo r th e C ar ri ag e of N ox io us L iq ui d Su bs ta nc es i n B ul k (N L S C er ti fic at e) ( M A R PO L 7 3/ 78 A nn ex I I) * * * * * * * V er ifi ca ti on o f C om pl ia nc e w it h M A R PO L 7 3/ 78 A nn ex I II ( Pa ck ag ed H ar m fu l Su bs ta nc es ) * * * * * * * In te rn at io na l Se w ag e Po llu ti on P re ve nt io n St at em en t of V ol un ta ry C om pl ia nc e (S O V C ) (M A R PO L 7 3/ 78 A nn ex I V ) * * * * * * * V er ifi ca ti on o f C om pl ia nc e w it h M A R PO L 7 3/ 78 A nn ex V ( G ar ba ge ) * * * * * * * In te rn at io na l E ne rg y E ffi ci en cy C er ti fic at e (I E E ) (M A R PO L 7 3/ 78 , A nn ex V I) * * * * * * * V er ifi ca ti on o f C om pl ia nc e of S hi p Fu el O il C on su m pt io n D at a (M A R PO L 7 3/ 78 , A nn ex V I) * * * * * * * In te rn at io na l A ir P ol lu ti on P re ve nt io n C er ti fic at e (M A R PO L 7 3/ 78 , A nn ex V I) * * * * * * * In te rn at io na l C on ve nt io n on t he C on tr ol o f H ar m fu l A nt i- fo ul in g Sy st em s on S hi ps (A FS ) In te rn at io na l A nt i- Fo ul in g Sy st em C er ti fic at e (I A FS ) * * * * * * * c on ti nu ed

40 O th er C on ve nt io ns , C od es , an d G ui de lin es Po la r Sh ip C er ti fic at e ac co rd in g to t he I nt er na ti on al C od e fo r Sh ip s O pe ra ti ng i n Po la r W at er s (P ol ar C od e) * * * * * M ob ile O ff sh or e D ri lli ng U ni t Sa fe ty C er ti fic at e (M O D U C od e) * * * * C er ti fic at e of F it ne ss f or t he T ra ns po rt a nd H an dl in g of L im it ed A m ou nt s of H az ar do us a nd N ox io us L iq ui d Su bs ta nc es i n B ul k on O ff sh or e Su pp or t V es se ls (r es ol ut io n A .6 73 (1 6) , as a m en de d) * * * St at em en t of V ol un ta ry C om pl ia nc e (S O V C ) w it h B al la st W at er M an ag em en t C on ve nt io n * * * * * * * D oc um en t of C om pl ia nc e fo r O ff sh or e Su pp ly V es se l ac co rd in g to I M O R es ol ut io n M SC .2 35 (8 2) * * * C ar go G ea r C er ti fic at es a nd R eg is te rs ( 46 C FR P ar ts 3 1. 10 -1 6 & 9 1. 25 -2 5) * * * * * * * N O T E S: * = a ut ho ri ze d; + = A C P ve ss el s on ly . C la ss ifi ca ti on S oc ie ty A bb re vi at io ns : A B S = A m er ic an B ur ea u of S hi pp in g; B V = B ur ea u V er it as ; C la ss N K = N ip po n K ai ji K yo ka i; D N V = D et N or sk e V er it as ; L R = L lo yd ’s R eg is te r; I R C L A SS = I nd ia n R eg is te r of S hi pp in g; R IN A ( cr ea te d by t he R eg is tr o It al ia no N av al e) . SO U R C E : S ee h tt ps :// w w w .d co .u sc g. m il/ Po rt al s/ 9/ D C O % 20 D oc um en ts /5 p/ C G -5 PC /C G -C V C /C V C 4/ C la ss So ci et yA ut hs .p df . D at a as o f J un e 3, 2 02 0. T A B L E 2 -2 C on ti nu ed

BACKGROUND OF THE U.S. FLAG FLEET AND ACP 41 U.S.-flagged ships that are eligible and subject to international convention requirements. To understand the use of ACP within the U.S. flag fleet, and the charac- teristics of the enrolled vessels, the study committee asked the Coast Guard to tabulate relevant data from MISLE. The information requested included enrollment profiles that could not be tabulated by the committee using the public-facing version of MISLE (Port State Information Exchange, or PSIX), including the number and types of vessels and those with current COIs. The committee also asked for data on vessels that are eligible but not enrolled in ACP (these data are presented later). In addition, the Coast Guard provided data on those vessels enrolled in the MSP, including those enrolled as MSP Select, which, as noted earlier, employs ROs in a manner similar to the ACP. Table 2-3 shows the total number of vessel in the ACP and the MSP Select fleets, distinguishing between vessels that had “issued and effective” COIs from those that had “draft/under review” COIs, as of April 23, 2021. In the case of ACP, its 350 enrolled vessels represent more than 46 percent of the otherwise eligible U.S. flag fleet of 747 vessels. There are 78 vessels in the MSP fleet, but only about half (37) are enrolled in MSP Select. Table 2-4 shows ACP-enrolled vessels by type of service and according to the sub- chapter under which they are inspected (keeping in mind that a vessel may have a Coast Guard–assigned service type that differs from the subchapter). Most of the 350 vessels in the ACP fleet are inspected under Sub- chapter I (cargo and miscellaneous vessels), L (offshore supply vessels [OSVs]), and D (tank vessels). However, among these vessels, 117 are cat- egorized as “Offshore” under vessel type in Table 2-4 while the two others that are categorized as “Miscellaneous” are also identified as being subject TABLE 2-3 Active Vessels Enrolled in the Alternate Compliance Program (ACP) and the Maritime Security Program (MSP) Select Program Enrolled Vessels with “Issued and Effective” COIs Total Active Enrolled Vessels with “Issued and Effective” or “Draft and Awaiting Review” COIs ACPa 336 350 MSP Selectb 35 37 NOTE: Discrepancies in tables are due to inconsistencies in the raw MISLE data, such as missing or incorrect entries. a The Coast Guard reports 448 total vessels on the ACP group list, but this number includes vessels that were previously enrolled. Of the 448, only 350 are active, those with an “issued and effective” Certificate of Inspection (COI) or a “draft and awaiting review” COI. b The Coast Guard reports 76 active vessels (those with a current COI) in the MSP fleet; however, only those in the MSP Select program (37) are subject to recognized organization (RO) oversight. The remaining 39 MSP vessels do not have RO oversight. SOURCE: MISLE data as of April 23, 2021, provided by the Coast Guard.

42 T A B L E 2 -4 V es se ls E nr ol le d in t he A lt er na te C om pl ia nc e Pr og ra m b y Se rv ic e Ty pe a nd I ns pe ct io n Su bc ha pt er In sp ec ti on S ub ch ap te r V es se l S er vi ce T yp e D , T an k V es se ls H , P as se ng er V es se ls ( 10 0 or m or e G T ) I, C ar go a nd M is c. V es se ls IA , M ob ile O ff sh or e D ri lli ng U ni ts L , O ff sh or e Su pp ly V es se ls O D , C om bi na ti on of O & D a U , R es ea rc h V es se ls T ot al B ul k ca rr ie r 4 4 G en er al d ry c ar go s hi p 6 1 6 1 M is ce lla ne ou s 1 8 2 2 0 O ff sh or e 3 3 1 83 11 7 Pa ss en ge r sh ip 1 1 R es ea rc h sh ip 7 6 R ol l- on –r ol l- of f 4 3 4 3 Ta nk sh ip 44 24 6 8 To w in g V es se l 1 5 1 5 W ar sh ip 1 4 1 4 To ta l 44 1 18 8 1 85 24 7 35 0 N O T E : D is cr ep an ci es i n ta bl es a re d ue t o in co ns is te nc ie s in t he r aw M IS L E d at a, s uc h as m is si ng o r in co rr ec t en tr ie s. a Ta nk sh ip s an d ta nk b ar ge s SO U R C E : M IS L E d at a as o f A pr il 23 , 20 21 , pr ov id ed b y th e C oa st G ua rd .

BACKGROUND OF THE U.S. FLAG FLEET AND ACP 43 to the Subchapter L regulations that apply to OSVs. For reasons given next, in the remaining tables the ACP fleet is separated into “offshore” and “non- offshore” vessel groups. A reason to distinguish between offshore and non-offshore vessels is apparent in Tables 2-5 and 2-6, which show the age of each group’s en- rolled vessels. The average age of non-offshore vessels is 24 years, and the oldest vessels tend to be the cargo ships regulated under Subchapter I. While there is evidence of fleet renewal in most categories, as newer ships are be- ing added according to the latest “year of build,” some of the Subchapter I cargo ships are more than 50 years old. By comparison, the fleet of offshore vessels has an average age of only 9 years due to more fleet renewal. TABLE 2-5 Age Profile of Alternate Compliance Program Non-Offshore Vessels Inspection Subchapter Number of Vessels Earliest Year of Build Latest Year of Build Average Age D, Tank vessels 44 1986 2017 18 H, Passenger vessels (100 or more GT) 1 2005 2005 16 I, Cargo & miscellaneous vessels 155 1965 2020 27 OD, Combination of O and D (tankships and tank barges) 24 1981 2017 13 U, Oceanographic research vessels 7 1994 2015 21 Total 231 1965 2020 24 NOTE: Discrepancies in tables are due to inconsistencies in the raw MISLE data, such as missing or incorrect entries. SOURCE: MISLE data as of April 23, 2021, provided by the Coast Guard TABLE 2-6 Age Profile of Alternate Compliance Program Offshore Vessels Inspection Subchapter Number of Vessels Earliest Year of Build Latest Year of Build Average Age I, Cargo and miscellaneous vessels 33 2006 2019 7 IA, Mobile offshore drilling units 1 2002 2002 19 L, Offshore supply vessels 85 1998 2018 10 Total 119 1998 2019 9 NOTE: Discrepancies in tables are due to inconsistencies in the raw MISLE data, such as missing or incorrect entries. SOURCE: MISLE data as of April 23, 2021, provided by the Coast Guard.

44 STRENGTHENING U.S. COAST GUARD OVERSIGHT AND SUPPORT OF ROs The MISLE database, which was used for these comparisons, has some shortcomings, which are discussed in more detail later in the report. One notable shortcoming of using MISLE for monitoring RO performance is that the RO for the vessels enrolled in the ACP is not always identified in its records. Of the 231 vessels in the non-offshore group, MISLE records indicate that 170 use ABS, 11 use DNV, and 1 uses LR. The remaining 49 vessels list “null” as the RO. However, by checking other sources,10 it was possible to verify that all 49 are ABS-classed. Accordingly, ABS is the RO for 219 of the 231, or about 95 percent, of the non-offshore vessels enrolled in ACP. Of the 119 active vessels in the offshore group, ABS is listed in MISLE as the RO for 103 vessels, while LR is listed for 11 and DNV for 2. Three vessels having null in the RO listing were determined to be classed with ABS based on a review of other publicly available records. Thus, for all 350 ACP-enrolled vessels, ABS is the RO for 325, or about 93 percent. The 37 vessels in the MSP Select fleet are profiled in Tables 2-7 and 2-8. As might be expected due to their designated role for military sustainability sealift, nearly all of the vessels inspected in the fleet are cargo ships and tankships, and thus inspected under Subchapters I, D, and O. One vessel is a vehicle carrier that could be categorized as Subchapter I. The older average age of vessels in the ACP fleet can be understood in the context of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, known as the Jones Act, which requires that vessels carrying goods between two domestic points be U.S. made and U.S. flagged. While the Jones Act’s stated purpose is to en- courage a strong U.S. merchant marine for economic security and national defense, it has contributed to an aged U.S. flag cargo fleet due to the limited commercial shipbuilding in the United States.11 Notably, the El Faro was built in 1975, and as evident from the statistics above, some commercial ships that are even older continue to operate in the ACP fleet. A consideration that is relevant to the higher average age of vessels in the ACP fleet is that older vessels are not subject to all of the safety regula- tions that apply to newer vessels. For example, in its investigation of the El Faro, the NTSB raised a concern that the ship was required to have only open lifeboats rather than the closed lifeboats with auto launchers required on ships built since 1983. Significant IMO regulations typically incorpo- rate a “grandfather” clause, exempting vessels that were built prior to the adoption or implementation of the new regulation. This is a long-standing 10 The committee referenced ABS Record, MarineTraffic.com, and other Internet sources including vessel data provided by owners’ own websites. 11 CRS (Congressional Research Service). 2019. Shipping Under the Jones Act: Legisla- tive and Regulatory Background, November 21, pp. 16–17. https://crsreports.congress.gov/ product/pdf/R/R45725.

BACKGROUND OF THE U.S. FLAG FLEET AND ACP 45 TABLE 2-7 Vessels Enrolled in the Maritime Security Program Select by Service Type and Inspection Subchapter Inspection Subchapter Vessel Type I, Cargo and Misc. Vessels OD, Combination of O and D Total Bulk carrier General dry cargo ship 24 24 Roll-on–roll-off cargo ship 11 11 Tankship 2 2 Total 35 2 37 NOTE: Discrepancies in tables are due to inconsistencies in the raw MISLE data, such as missing or incorrect entries. SOURCE: MISLE data as of April 23, 2021, provided by the Coast Guard. TABLE 2-8 Age Profile of Active Vessels Enrolled in the Maritime Security Program Select Inspection Subchapter Number of Vessels Earliest Year of Build Latest Year of Build Average Age D, Tank vessels I, Cargo and miscellaneous vessels 35 1994 2015 17 OD, Combination of O and D 2 2010 2010 11 Unspecified NA NA Total 37 1994 2015 16 NOTE: Discrepancies in tables are due to inconsistencies in the raw MISLE data, such as missing or incorrect entries. SOURCE: MISLE data as of as of April 23, 2021, provided by the Coast Guard. practice, first utilized in the 1929 SOLAS Convention related to subdivision of ships, which recognizes the impracticality of retroactively implementing regulations requiring major changes to existing ships’ arrangement, struc- ture, or equipment.12 As a consequence of grandfathering, older vessels such as the El Faro are allowed to remain in compliance with the standard that was in effect at that the time they were built, not to the same design 12 Over the past few decades, grandfathering has been excluded from some IMO regula- tions that are considered particularly critical to environmental performance and safety of life. Examples include the double hull provisions in MARPOL 73/78 adopted following the Exxon Valdez casualty and 1994 amendments to SOLAS related to subdivision of roll-on–roll-off passenger vessels following the Estonia capsize.

46 STRENGTHENING U.S. COAST GUARD OVERSIGHT AND SUPPORT OF ROs standards as modern vessels. Corrosion of steel and wear on equipment also create challenges in maintaining older vessels. The result is that these ships are more likely to have deficiencies and structural or equipment failures if not rigorously maintained. For this reason, some flag registries such as the Marshal Island Registry (as discussed later) do not accept older vessels that are determined to be a higher risk. The Coast Guard does not have the option of declining registry due to concerns of age, provided the vessel complies with applicable regulatory requirements. As noted in the next chapter, the Coast Guard acknowledges this concern by including ship age as a factor when determining the scope and frequency of annual ACP vessel oversight examinations (in its “ACP Targeted Vessel List”). In its investigation of the El Faro, the NTSB raised a concern about Coast Guard marine inspectors and ABS surveyors not having the ability to accurately assess some vessel conditions, especially for older vessels that do not meet all current standards and employ older technologies. The Coast Guard machinery inspector, for instance, lacked steam qualifications and experience inspecting these legacy systems found mainly in older vessels. These concerns were considerations by the NTSB in recommending that the Coast Guard conduct a complete review of the ACP and enhance training of marine inspectors and RO surveyors. In the next chapter, the findings from the El Faro investigations that pertain to the Coast Guard’s support for and oversight of the ACP and the ROs that perform delegated functions are discussed in detail along with the actions agreed to by the Coast Guard’s Commandant in response to them and the steps taken to implement them.

Next: 3 Coast Guard Actions to Support and Oversee Recognized Organizations and the Alternate Compliance Program »
Strengthening U.S. Coast Guard Oversight and Support of Recognized Organizations: The Case of the Alternative Compliance Program Get This Book
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Partly in response to a 2015 cargo ship sinking, the U.S. Coast Guard has put in place and proceeded to implement a well-conceived organizational and procedural framework for supporting and overseeing “recognized organizations,” particularly those in the Coast Guard’s Alternative Compliance Program.

TRB Special Report 343: Strengthening U.S. Coast Guard Oversight and Support of Recognized Organizations: The Case of the Alternative Compliance Program recommends a series of steps the Coast Guard should take to strengthen its support for and monitoring of third-party organizations that conduct vessel inspections on its behalf. The study committee concluded that Coast Guard has made significant strides in introducing a comprehensive oversight framework, but that its long-term effectiveness will depend on more pronounced and sustained progress in improving data systems and communications and coordination among Coast Guard and third-party inspection personnel.

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