Brownwater News, September 2016

Coast Guard issues final rule for electronic TWIC readers

The Coast Guard has issued a final rule requiring owners and operators of certain vessels and facilities regulated by the Coast Guard to conduct electronic inspections of Transportation Worker Identification Credentials (TWIC) as an access control measure. The rule also implements recordkeeping requirements and security plan amendments that incorporate the TWIC requirements.

The rulemaking action builds on existing regulations designed to ensure that only individuals holding valid TWICs are granted unescorted access to secure areas of Coast Guard-regulated vessels and facilities. The Coast Guard and the Transportation Security Administration have already put regulations into force pursuant to the Maritime Transportation Security Act that requires mariners and other individuals to hold a TWIC prior to gaining unescorted access to a secure area. By requiring certain high-risk vessels and facilities (Risk Group A) to perform electronic TWIC inspections, the Coast Guard said, the rule enhances security at those locations. The rule also implements electronic reader requirements in the Security and Accountability for Every Port Act of 2006.

High-risk vessels are those carrying certain dangerous cargo in bulk or “certificated to carry more than 1,000 passengers” and more than 20 crewmembers. The Coast Guard said that while ‘‘visual TWIC inspection’’ provides some benefits, it does not address all security concerns, nor does it make full use of the security features contained in the TWIC.

The Coast Guard said the final rule allows owners and operators to fully integrate electronic TWIC inspection and biometric matching into a new or existing physical access control system (PACS); clarifies that the final rule only affects Risk Group A vessels and facilities; and clarifies that for Risk Group A facilities, electronic TWIC inspection is required each time a person is granted unescorted access to a secure area (a limited exception is permitted for recurring unescorted access, or RUA). For Risk Group A vessels, electronic TWIC inspection is only required when boarding the vessel, even if only parts of it are considered secure areas.

The final rule eliminates the special requirement that barge fleeting facilities that handle or receive barges carrying certain dangerous cargoes (CDC) in bulk be classified as Risk Group A. Barge fleeting facilities are instead classified the same as all other facilities.

The Coast Guard said benefits of the final rule governing electronic inspection of TWIC cards include the enhancement of the security of vessels, ports and other facilities by ensuring that only individuals who hold TWICs are granted unescorted access to secure areas at those locations. The main benefit of this regulation — decreased risk of a transportation security incident (TSI) — cannot be quantified given current data limitations, the Coast Guard said.

Port advocate Helen Delich Bentley dies at 92

Helen Delich Bentley, who died Aug. 6 in Timonium, Md., at age 92, is remembered by the port and maritime industry as one of its most ardent supporters. Jean Godwin, executive vice president and general counsel of the American Association of Port Authorities, said that although Bentley is best remembered by many for her work as a journalist, Federal Maritime Commission chairwoman and U.S. representative in Congress, "we at AAPA acknowledge her strong advocacy for ports, particularly the Port of Baltimore.”

“We are greatly saddened by the loss of Mrs. Bentley, who devoted her life to making a positive, indelible mark on the seaport industry and its issues," Godwin said. "This was her passion and her pride. Her insights on port operations and public policy made her a very effective spokesperson for national port issues as well. Her expertise will be sorely missed in Washington.”

Bentley, chairwoman of the FMC from 1969 to 1975, won a House seat in 1984 and vacated it in 1994 to seek the Republican nomination for Maryland's governorship. She lost to Ellen Sauerbrey, the minority leader in the House of Delegates. In 2006, then-Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. renamed the Port of Baltimore in Bentley's honor.

FMC Chairman Mario Cordero said Bentley was “a pioneer in many different fields and industries, but she will forever be remembered for her work on maritime matters. From the newsroom to the Baltimore waterfront, from the halls of Congress to the chair of the Federal Maritime Commission, she distinguished herself in each and every endeavor she undertook.”

Dalton named Corps’ director of civil works

James Dalton, chief of engineering and construction for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has been selected as the Corps’ new director of civil works. Dalton succeeds Steve Stockton, who retired.

Previous positions held by Dalton include regional business director for the South Atlantic Division in Atlanta; director of business management for the Gulf Region Division in Baghdad, Iraq; and deputy district engineer for programs and project management in the Alaska district in Anchorage.

Coast Guard issues new fire protection rules for vessels, ports

The Coast Guard has issued a final rule for certain design and approval standards for fire protection, detection, extinguishing equipment and materials on inspected and uninspected vessels, Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) facilities, deepwater ports and mobile offshore drilling units (MODU).

The rule harmonizes Coast Guard approval processes for fire detection and alarm systems, and revises Coast Guard regulations for other types of equipment, materials and components. The rule ensures Coast Guard regulations remain current and addresses advances in technology.

For additional details on the final rule, see the July 22 issue of the Federal Register or contact Laurence E. Fisher at (202) 372-1447.

FMC increasing some user fees, reducing others

Effective Oct. 1, the Federal Maritime Commission is amending its user fees to more accurately align them with the costs associated with each service provided by the commission.

Specifically, the commission is increasing fees for filing complaints and certain petitions; records searches, document copying and admissions to practice; paper filing of ocean transportation intermediary (OTI) applications; filing applications for special permission; and filing agreements.

The commission also is lowering fees for reviewing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, revising clerical errors on service contracts, revising clerical errors on non-vessel-operating common carrier service arrangements, and commission services to passenger vessel operators.

The commission is repealing existing fees for adding interested parties to a specific docket mailing list, the Regulated Persons Index database, database reports on carrier agreements and filing petitions for rulemaking.

The commission said that since current user fees have not been updated since 2005, they no longer represent the commission’s actual costs for providing services. The commission is adjusting its user fees based on fiscal year 2015 costs assessed through a new methodology.

Free replacement MMCs available for flood victims

The National Maritime Center advises mariners that federal regulations allow the issuance of duplicate Merchant Mariner Credentials (MMCs) free of charge to mariners whose credentials were lost or destroyed as a result of recent flooding in Louisiana and neighboring states.

For more information about duplicate credentials, call (888) 427-5662.

Two advisory committees seek new members

The National Maritime Security Advisory Committee is seeking applicants to fill nine positions that will become open on Dec. 31. Another committee, the Commercial Fishing Safety Advisory Committee, is seeking applicants for membership by Oct. 18.

The Coast Guard will consider applications for five positions on the commercial fishing committee that will become open in May 2017. Committee members appointed as special government employees are required to complete confidential financial disclosure reports that may not be released to the public except under an order issued by a federal court or as otherwise provided under the Privacy Act. For more information, contact Jack Kemerer at (202) 372-8377.

Completed applications for membership on the security committee should reach the Coast Guard by Oct. 24. For more information on the security committee’s request, contact Ryan Owens at (202) 372-1108.

By Professional Mariner Staff