Editor’s note: Professional Mariner received the following correspondence from Kevin Miller, the U.S. Coast Guard’s First District towing vessel coordinator, in response to a story in the December/January 2013 edition (PM #164) reporting that the proposed Subchapter M towing vessel regulators have been delayed while the Coast Guard addresses the possible need for rules governing structural fire protection:
Statements I made regarding a Coast Guard rulemaking that were reported in the November 8, 2012 article entitled "Inspection requirements for tugs delayed by engine-fire concerns" do not reflect the Coast Guard's position.
The Coast Guard is currently reviewing hundreds of comments submitted in response to the Inspection of Towing Vessel notice of proposed rulemaking. An official determination has yet to be made as to what the next regulatory action will be.
At the Towing Safety Advisory Committee meeting in September 2012, the Coast Guard introduced tasking to the committee to review recent vessel casualty data to make sensible recommendations on the development of operational fire prevention and containment standards. These recommendations may be used in the future for the development of regulations, policy or guidance.
The Coast Guard is moving forward on the Inspection of Towing Vessels rulemaking and states the status of this rulemaking twice a year in the Unified Agenda available via www.reginfo.gov. As with the notice of proposed rulemaking, any future rulemaking document will be published in the Federal Register. Readers may visit the online docket for this rulemaking, USCG-2006-24412, via www.regulations.gov and sign up for E-Mail Alerts when the next rulemaking document is published or something is added to the docket.
If readers have any questions about the Inspection of Towing Vessels rulemaking, they should e-mail or call Mr. Patrick Mannion, Office of Operating and Environmental Standards, U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters at Patrick.J.Mannion@uscg.mil or (202) 372-1439.