The Alternate Compliance Program came into effect in 1997. These regulations allow eligible ship owners and operators to have their vessels inspected by classification societies that are specifically authorized to act on behalf of the Coast Guard. This option was proved to be cost effective for many owners and afforded them a greater degree of flexibility in scheduling examinations. The Coast Guard retains an oversight role to ensure that safety standards are correctly applied and that safe conditions are maintained.
Through these amendments, the Coast Guard is updating the list of international certificates the Coast Guard issues and for which authority can be delegated. The amendments also detail the Coast Guard eligibility requirements for clasification societies seeking authorization under the Alternate Compliance Program and expand the Alternate Compliance Program to include oceanographic research vessels, which were previously ineligible.
This final rule follows consideration of public comments on its potential impact. The public comments were supportive of expanding the program. The final rule and its related materials can be viewed at http://www.regulations.gov, docket number: USCG-2004-19823.