The US Coast Guard (USCG) has issued inspection guidance for Officers in Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI), Chiefs of Inspection Division (CID), and Marine Inspectors for the small passenger vessels (SPV) risk-based inspection program.
USCG continues to conduct statutory inspections on the SPV fleet in accordance with 46 U.S. Code § 3301; however, data analytics provide a new tool and modernized approach to the marine inspection program to prioritize marine inspection resources. Using various computational methods, machine learning-enabled software, and a database of deficiency and casualty information, the Coast Guard developed a model to categorize SPVs based on potential risk for an undesirable outcome.
The CVC-WI-028 “Small Passenger Vessel Risk Based Inspection Program” issued by the USCG Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance (CVC) on 14 June says:
1. The Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance will annually evaluate the output of the risk model and provide a list of vessels and their tier level to internal Coast Guard users on an annual basis. Since a follow-on inspection is associated with a Tier I vessel, CG-CVC will notify owners if their vessel is a Tier I vessel and will only provide further notification in subsequent years if there is a change to the vessel Tier assignment. Each vessel will fall into one of three categories, Tier I, II, or III. An OCMI may recommend to CG-CVC, via a memo through District and Area, that a vessel be moved to a lower tier.
2. OCMIs shall ensure that the appropriate MI is assigned to the vessel based upon the tier level and inspection required. The OCMI may continue and is encouraged to use their discretion to identify vessels that should receive an expanded annual inspection. The designated OCMI shall be briefed on the annual inspection results on each Tier I vessel. Initial and re-issuance COIs issued to Tier I vessels under Subpart D of references (a) and (b) shall be signed by the designated OCMI.
3. Inspection Types and Marine Inspector Attendance: The OCMI shall select the appropriate MI based on the vessel Tier (enclosure 1). Further, every vessel, regardless of tier assignment, should be inspected by an experienced MI at least once during a COI five-year cycle to provide a consistent baseline for regulatory compliance. This should occur at the COI renewal inspection. Other inspection requirements, including hull, internal structure exams, and deficiency checks, remain unchanged. The OCMI may conduct additional inspections to increase the frequency of MI attendance or to focus on a particular system at their discretion. The OCMI may expand the scope of the inspection to verify the vessel does not pose a threat to people, property, or the environment.
Read the inspection guidance in full: USCG-Small-Passenger-Vessel-Risk-Based-Inspection-Program
Read another USCG related article: How USCG plan to enforce MARPOL Annex VI Regulation