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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Maritime Security - USCG concludes its public meetings – INTERTANKO Statement

INTERTANKO was represented at the public meeting on 11 February in New York City and commented particularly on the treatment of ships’ crews in some US ports and the difficulties likely to be experienced in meeting the 1 July deadline for installing AIS.

As part of the Federal rulemaking process, the USCG held a number of Public Meetings between 27 January, in New Orleans, and 11 February, in New York City. The rulemaking process was triggered by the US Maritime Transportation Security Act 2002 (MTSA) and by the International Maritime Organisation’s new maritime security regulations. The next steps in the US regulatory process are: 28 February - deadline for comments to an USCG Notice of Public Meetings; 1 July - issuance of an Interim Final Rule; 25 November - deadline for public comments to the Interim Final Rule; December 2003 - issuance of a Final Rule.


The Public Meeting in New York was attended by several hundreds of people, many of whom provided a variety of comments. Concern was expressed regarding the adequacy of IMO regulations on the non-SOLAS ships (exclusive US trade), the confidentiality of information provided by cargo and ship owners to authorities vs. the Federal and State Freedom of Information Act, the situation of both US and foreign seafarers not being allowed shore leave, the development of standards for certification/licensing of security service providers and security certification bodies, and the need for training programmes for shore and ship personnel, etc.


INTERTANKO was represented by Dragos Rauta, whose comments concerned firstly the Seafarer’s Identification Criteria Requirements and the hardships being created for ships crews and operators by measures being taken in certain US ports. Secondly, with regard to the Automatic Identification System, concern was expressed about the practicality of meeting the 1 July 2003 deadline. Details of the comments can be viewed here.

With regard to our interventions, INTERTANKO was requested to give concrete examples of terminals whose security plans request tankers to leave the berth when taking stores and when bunkering, measures in excess of the USCG port security plan models. The audience was also requested to give concrete examples of seafarers having been unfairly treated at US ports. We will also invite our US members to seek membership of the Port Security Committees. In response to INTERTANKO’s and some other comments with regard to membership of these Committees, RADM Hereth, the newly appointed USCG Director of Port Security, who conducted the Public Meeting, stated that membership of Port Security Committees was open and basically “inclusive” rather than “exclusive”. Vessel operators, owners of small boats and seafarers’ representatives are urged to seek membership.


INTERTANKO will submit more detailed comments for the public record by end February. Those interested in commenting and participating can access the Coast Guard sequence of questions from the Notice of Public Meetings 

Gunnar Knudsen,