[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 40 (Thursday, February 28, 2013)]
[Pages 13691-13692]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-04732]



Coast Guard

[Docket No. USCG-2011-1156]

Guidance Regarding Inspection and Certification of Vessels Under 
the Maritime Security Program

AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The Coast Guard announces the availability of Navigation and 
Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) 01-13, ``Inspection and Certification 
of Vessels Under the Maritime Security Program (MSP).'' The MSP serves 
as a means for establishing a fleet of commercially viable and 
militarily useful vessels to meet national defense as well as other 
security requirements. NVIC 01-13 sets forth the Coast Guard's policies 
and procedures regarding the inspection and certification of vessels 
under the MSP. NVIC 01-13 provides a comprehensive approach to the MSP 
inspection process through the establishment of two levels of MSP 
inspection and oversight.

DATES: NVIC 01-13 is effective as of February 28, 2013.

ADDRESSES: To view the documents mentioned in this notice, go to http://www.regulations.gov and use ``USCG-2012-1156'' as your search term. 
Locate this notice in the search results, and use the filters on the 
left side of the page to locate specific documents by type. If you do 
not have access to the Internet, you may view the docket online by 
visiting the Docket Management Facility in Room W12-140 on the ground 
floor of the Department of Transportation West Building, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., 
Monday through

[[Page 13692]]

Friday, except Federal holidays. We have an agreement with the 
Department of Transportation to use the Docket Management Facility.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions on this notice, 
call or email Mr. John Hannon, Domestic Vessels Division, U.S. Coast 
Guard; telephone 202-372-1222, email [email protected]. If you 
have questions on viewing material in the docket, call Docket 
Operations at 202-366-9826.

    Viewing the NVIC and other documents: To view NVIC 01-13 and 
related documents, go to http://www.regulations.gov, use ``USCG-2011-
1156'' as your search term, and follow the instructions in the 
ADDRESSES section above.

Background and Purpose

    Title VI of the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, as amended by the 
Maritime Security Act of 1996 (MSA) (Pub. L. 104-239), authorized the 
establishment of a Maritime Security Fleet under the Maritime Security 
Program (MSP). The MSP serves as a means for establishing a fleet of 
commercially viable and militarily useful vessels to meet national 
defense as well as other security requirements.
    The U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) Office of Sealift Support 
is the lead governmental office responsible for administration of the 
MSP. MARAD, in coordination with the Department of Defense, established 
a program whereby certain categories of militarily useful commercial 
vessels may be designated for emergency service to carry military cargo 
in time of war, national emergency, or military contingency. Some 
vessels enrolled in the MSP may receive a payment as part of their 
enrollment. Alternatively, vessels may enroll in other voluntary 
sealift support programs established by MARAD.
    Section 53102(e) of Title 46 U.S.C. established standards for 
issuance of a Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection (COI) to a 
previously foreign-flagged vessel transitioning to U.S.-flagged once 
eligibility for the MSP has been established by MARAD and the Coast 
Guard. The statute does not specify the scope or manner of the 
inspections to be carried out by the Coast Guard to verify that MSP 
vessels fulfill requirements necessary to receive and maintain a COI.
    The purpose of NVIC 01-13 is to provide the marine industry and 
Coast Guard personnel with uniform guidance regarding the MSP. Vessels 
that meet MSP enrollment criteria may obtain a COI by following the 
processes outlined in NVIC 01-13.
    On January 19, 2012, the Coast Guard published a notice in the 
Federal Register announcing the availability of a draft NVIC 01-13 and 
requesting public comments on the draft (See 77 FR 2741). The Coast 
Guard recognized the need to avoid the inconsistent application of 
inspection procedures under the MSP. Accordingly, draft NVIC 01-13 
outlined the inspection process for vessels transitioning from foreign-
flag to U.S.-flag to obtain initial and ongoing certification under the 
MSP. To promote consistency and standardization of Coast Guard policies 
and procedures, draft NVIC 01-13 set forth a comprehensive approach to 
the MSP inspection process through the establishment of two levels of 
MSP inspection and oversight: (1) MSP (Regular); and (2) MSP Select. 
This two-level approach would enable the Coast Guard to apply 
traditional inspection methods to newly reflagged vessels, while at the 
same time apply a less stringent level of oversight to vessels that 
have consistently demonstrated satisfactory performance and substantial 
compliance with applicable rules. Newly enrolled MSP vessels would 
continue to be inspected by the Coast Guard in a manner similar to 
traditional Coast Guard inspections. After a period of evaluation, MSP 
vessels would be eligible to seek enrollment under MSP Select. MSP 
Select vessel oversight would consist of risk-based vessel 
examinations, periodic oversight, and evaluations of Authorized Class 
Society (ACS) survey activities.
    We received eight public comment letters in response to the January 
19, 2012 Federal Register notice. These comment letters contained a 
total of approximately 60 specific recommendations, suggestions, and 
other comments. We have created a document that provides a summary of 
each comment and the corresponding Coast Guard response. A copy of this 
public comment matrix is available for viewing in the public docket for 
this notice. You may access the docket going to http://www.regulations.gov, using ``USCG-2011-1156'' as your search term, and 
following the instructions in the ADDRESSES section above.
    The basic framework of draft NVIC 01-13 described above is retained 
in the final version. The Coast Guard has made some changes from the 
draft version of NVIC 01-13 to the final version based on the public 
comments. A brief discussion of the most important changes is provided 
below. For more detailed information, please consult the actual public 
comment letters and public comment matrix in the docket.
    (1) One commenter requested that we relax the standards for 
enrollment into the MSP Select Program by evaluating the ship operating 
company's regulatory compliance record over the most recent 5-year 
period. The commenter suggested that if the operator is found to be 
fully compliant during that period, all of its vessels should be 
permitted to enroll in MSP Select. We disagree. We believe that a 
vessel-specific approach is more appropriate for sufficiently and 
effectively evaluating regulatory compliance. While we disagree with 
the commenter's approach, we have decided to reduce the performance 
verification period from 5 years to 3 years in order to lessen the 
burden on vessel operators.
    (2) In response to a commenter's request, we provided more detail 
regarding Marine Inspector requirements, requisite qualifications, and 
duties associated with the MSP. We have added the requested language in 
Sections 2.2.1. and 2.2.2. of NVIC 01-13.
    (3) We received a number of comments pertaining to engine 
automation, the applicability of Engine International Air Pollution 
Prevention (EIAPP) certificates, and the procedures for underwater 
survey in lieu of drydocking (UWILD). In response to these comments, we 
provided additional clarification regarding vessel automation approval, 
EIAPP certification, and UWILD procedures.
    This notice is issued under authority of 5 U.S.C. 552(a), 46 U.S.C. 
53102(e), and Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1(1).

    Dated: February 22, 2013.
Paul F. Thomas,
Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Director, Inspections and Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2013-04732 Filed 2-27-13; 8:45 am]