The USCG Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance published Work Instruction CVC-WI-018(1), “Laid up Inspected/Examined Vessels”, outlining the process of laying up inspected/examined vessels (commercial) to provide greater consistency and continuity between Captain of the Port Zones.
The purpose of this work instruction (WI) is to establish guidance for Captains of the Port (COTP), Officers in Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI), Marine Inspectors (MI) and Port State Control Officers (PSCO) placing a vessel into a laid up or inactive status, and returning those vessels back to service.
Entering laid up status
a. In accordance with 46 CFR § 2.01-3, if an owner or managing operator wants to enter a domestic vessel into a laid up status they must notify the local OCMI.
b. If the owner of a U.S. flagged vessel surrenders its COI or the owner of a foreign-flagged vessel surrenders its COC (while in a U.S. waters) and requests the vessel be placed in a laid up status under this policy, the OCMI will change the vessel status in MISLE and follow the appropriate guidance within this WI.
c. In accordance with reference (b), a vessel is not restricted in its ability to transit, nor required to contact the local OCMI about movement, as long as:
– The vessel is not operating in a manner which would require a Coast Guard COI (for example, carrying cargo or passengers), and
– It is in a safe condition (i.e. no hazardous condition present per 33 CFR 160.111), and
– If the intended route does not require a load line certificate or other international documents, per applicable conventions (for example, SOLAS, Load line, or the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL)).
d. If necessary, the OCMI may consider options including, but not limited to, Load Line exemption request, SOLAS exemption request, or a Deadship Tow Permit to facilitate the transit.
OCMIs shall verify accurate company contact information is documented in the MISLE vessel file prior to the vessel entering laid up status to ensure the owner or operator may be contacted in case of emergency. This information should be verified annually by the local OCMI.
Once the vessel has arrived at its laid up location and watches are broken, the Master should make an entry in the vessel’s logbook stating the vessel is in laid up status. The Master should log that the vessel has instituted security measures per the Vessel Security Plan (VSP) or Alternate Security Program (ASP), if applicable, as a laid up vessel.
The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 requires that an owner provide evidence of financial responsibility or compliance. To meet this requirement, the owner must provide suitable liability insurance OR a Certificate of Financial Responsibility (COFR), per 33 CFR Part 138, for each vessel.
Vessel Inspection Fees
Vessel inspection fees should be paid in full up to the date of the notification of the vessel going into a laid up status. Annual vessel inspection fees will not be charged or billed while the vessel is laid up.
Oil as Cargo and VRP
While the vessel itself is not subject to vessel inspection regulations, the requirements of 33 CFR part 155, Oil or Hazardous Material Pollution Prevention Regulations for Vessels, may still be applicable. For example, if the vessel is in laid up status and does not store or carry oil in bulk as cargo or oil cargo residue, the vessel no longer requires a Tank Vessel Response Plan (TVRP).
However, the vessel may still be required to have a Non-tank Vessel Response Plan (NTVRP) under 33 CFR § 155.5015. The vessel may elect to keep a TVRP in lieu of switching to a NTVRP, if the vessel plans to carry oil in bulk as cargo or oil cargo residue in the future. For purposes of 33 CFR 155 requirements only, if the vessel is an “inactive vessel” as defined in 33 CFR § 155.5020, the vessel is not required to have a non-tank vessel response plan.
Owners or managing operators should provide assurance to the OCMI that all hazardous cargo tanks, pump rooms, cargo piping systems, and cargo venting arrangements are thoroughly clean and gas-free. The OCMI or COTP may require submission of a gas-free certificate provided by a qualified marine chemist as verification of this condition. Such situations include:
a. A vessel inspected under 46 CFR Subchapter D prior to entering a laid up status, shall provide objective evidence that the vessel is cleaned of all cargo residue and maintained in a gas free condition, per 46 CFR § 31.01-1(b), or
b. If the COTP can articulate a hazardous condition on board the vessel, a gas free certificate may be justified under the Ports and Waterways Safety Authority (PWSA) per 33 CFR § 160.111, or
c. In accordance with 33 CFR § 126.30, when requests are made for hot work to be performed on the vessel at a waterfront facility.
The vessel should not load any new fuel while laid up, other than the fuel or consumables required to operate the vessel’s main and auxiliary machinery.
Mooring and Navigation Lights
a. For a vessel moored to a waterfront facility: the owner or operator will provide the local OCMI assurances that the mooring arrangement (for example, number, size, and arrangement) will be maintained in good condition. The mooring system shall be capable of holding the vessel securely, taking into account the vessel’s freeboard, draft, and any extreme climatic, tidal and current conditions in the area.
b. For vessels at anchor: in accordance with 33 CFR § 164.19, if applicable, the master or person in charge shall ensure an anchor watch and procedures are followed to detect a dragging anchor. The owner or operator will also provide assurance to the local OCMI that the vessel’s anchoring arrangement will be maintained in good condition; the fittings will be capable of holding the vessel securely, taking into account the vessel’s freeboard, draft, and any extreme climatic, tidal and current conditions in the area and that the prescribed navigation lights and shapes shall be exhibited.
Recognized Organization (RO) approval
Vessels with statutory certificates issued pursuant to applicable international convention to include Domestic or International Load Line Certificates, are required to meet all applicable regulations and standards. If the vessel has also requested a laid up status with an RO, the owner and operator should ensure that the vessel meets the RO’s requirements in addition to any Coast Guard requirements. A vessel that is in a laid up status with an RO does not constitute a laid up status with the Coast Guard. It is owner or managing operator’s responsible to notify the RO and the Coast Guard of a change in vessel status.
Read the work instruction from USCG for laid up inspected and/or examined vessels: USCG-Work-instruction
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