INTERTANKO support for Senate version of USCG Authorization Bill relating to security requirements of foreign flag vessels.

In a submission to Members of the House-Senate Conference on the Coast Guard Authorization bill, INTERTANKO, the American Chemistry Council, the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Petroleum Institute, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber of Shipping of America and the World Shipping Council expressed their strong support for the provision in the Senate version of the U.S. Coast Guard Authorization bill (H.R. 2443) relating to the security requirements of foreign flag vessels.

The Senate version of this provision (section 326) would allow the Coast Guard to deem vessels to be in compliance with the MTSA if they meet the requirements of the U.S.-backed International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS Convention), the International Code for the Security of Ships and Port Facilities (ISPS Code) and carry onboard an International Ship Security Certificate (ISSC). Most importantly, under the Senate provision, the Coast Guard would retain all enforcement authority to board and deny entry into port to any suspicious vessel.

However, under Section 415 of the House bill, the Coast Guard would have to disregard the multilateral security regimen for foreign flag vessels under SOLAS and the ISPS Code. This would expand the number of vessels filing plans under current Coast Guard operations, which require security plan submissions from all U.S. vessels and all foreign vessels not in compliance with the ISPS Code.

INTERTANKO’s support for the Senate provision arises out of concern that the House version of this provision (section 415) would disrupt ongoing Coast Guard security operations under the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) and actually hinder rather then enhance the maritime security posture for several reasons.

Click here to view the joint submission giving details of these concerns.

Contact: Dragos Rauta