INITIATING A REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION OF A USCG INTERVENTION FROM THE SHIP

Following a USCG inspection a vessel may be subject to a so-called intervention by the US Coast Guard. An unjustified detention due to an intervention could give rise to an off-hire claim. It could also lead to the vessel being given a higher rating on the USCG’s vessel targeting list.

Following a USCG inspection a Master may find that his vessel is subject to a so-called intervention by the US Coast Guard. An intervention is effectively an administrative finding of a breach of regulation on the part of the vessel. What has this to do with chartering? Immediately not much, but there is some relevance. A tanker on time charter could, for example, be declared off-hire due to a detention caused by a breach of regulation while time lost merely due to an inspection by authorities may not give rise to an off-hire. So an unjustified detention due to an intervention could give rise to an off-hire claim.

More importantly, an intervention by the Coast Guard could lead to the vessel, or other vessels owned or operated by the same owner/operator, being given a higher rating on the Coast Guard’s vessel targeting list.

We have a lot of confidence in the US Coast Guard and their inspectors, but as it may be difficult to assess objectively whether regulations have been breached and because regulations sometimes can be interpreted in more than one way, there is still a chance that errors may occur. The US Coast Guard has therefore instituted a right for owners to request a reconsideration of an intervention. This right may not be well known and the Master on board a tanker may not be aware of the right legal phrases to trigger a reconsideration of an intervention. We have therefore drafted a letter which may be used for this purpose:

“Insert: Date
Captain of the Port
U.S. 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 .............. .

It is our position that this intervention was in error. Consequently, in accordance with the provisions of Title 46, 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 to be set aside. We will forward these materials to you as soon as they have been completed.

If you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact ......... . It is further requested that any response regarding this request be rendered in writing.

Sincerely,”

For further information please contact Capt.Howard Snaith, on e-mail howard.snaith@intertanko.com