New Proposed Rule: Seafarers’ Access to Maritime Facilities

by | Monday, January 12, 2015 |

On December 29th, the Federal Register published a new notice of proposed rulemaking, implementing section 811 of USCG Authorization Act of 2010.

The proposed rule would set up clear regulatory requirements for every facility operator or owner to provide mariners who are associated with a vessel moored at that facility access between their vessel and the facility gate without “unreasonable delay”, and with no cost to the mariner or other individual.

Passing through a facility is generally the only way that a mariner can get from shore to any point beyond the facility to utilize shore-side businesses and services, or to meet with family or other personnel who don’t have a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC).

The proposed rule would also give facility owners and operators the flexibility to create a system to provide mariners access tailored to each individual facility. The facility operators and owners would be required to adjust and document current access procedures in their United States Coast Guard (USCG)-approved facility security plans no later than one year from the final rule’s publication.

Currently, the USCG is seeking comment on the following points:

  • Is one year the right timeframe to implement the system?
  • Does the proposed rule provide an appropriately-inclusive list of people who should be allowed access to a vessel?
  • Does the approach provide enough flexibility for a diverse, regulated population to provide for reasonably timely access?
  • Does the proposed rule allow an appropriately-inclusive list of ways to provide access?
  • The USCG’s estimated non-compliance rate of MTSA-regulated facilities with regard to providing access.
  • Are the cost estimates for Facility Security Plan amendments and changes to operations to implement the proposed rule's provisions appropriate?

To read the final rule in its entirety, please see this link.

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