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Monday, October 15, 2018

GENERIC APPEAL LETTER TO THE USCG REGARDING PSC INSPECTIONS

Following a US Coast Guard inspection, a ship master may find that his vessel is subject to a so-called Coast Guard intervention. An intervention is effectively an administrative finding of a breach of the regulations on the part of the vessel.

The relevance of this to chartering is that a tanker on time charter could be declared offhire due to a detention caused by a breach of the regulations. However, time lost merely due to an inspection by the authorities may not give rise to an offhire. So, an unjustified detention due to an intervention could give rise to an offhire claim. More importantly, an intervention by the Coast Guard could lead to the vessel and other vessels owned or operated by the same owner/operator getting a higher rating on the Coast Guard’s vessel targeting list.

INTERTANKO has considerable confidence in the US Coast Guard and their inspectors but, as vessel inspections and the determination of whether or not regulations are breached are sometimes difficult to assess objectively and because regulations sometimes can be interpreted in more than one manner, there is still a chance that errors can occur. The US Coast Guard has, therefore, instituted a right whereby owners are able to request that an intervention be reconsidered. However, this right may not be well known. Also a tanker master has many other tasks to attend to besides drafting letters which include the right legal phrases in an attempt to secure a reconsideration of an intervention. To assist companies in seeking the reconsideration of an intervention, INTERTANKO has prepared the following draft letter which may be used for this purpose:

QUOTE

Date

Captain of the Port

US Coast Guard

Request for Reconsideration

Dear Sir/Madam

On (date) the vessel (name/IMO Number) was the subject of an intervention by the Coast Guard in the port of (name of port).

It is our position that this intervention was in error.  Consequently, in accordance with the provisions of Title 46 of the US Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1.03-20 and Title 33 CFR Part 160.7, we request that you reconsider the intervention decision.

We are currently preparing materials to support this request for the intervention decision be set aside. We will forward these materials to you as soon as they are completed.

If you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact (name of person and contact details). It is further requested that any response regarding this request be rendered in writing.

Sincerely

UNQUOTE

For further information, please contact robert.bishop@intertanko.com  or LegalandDocumentary@intertanko.com