[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 211 (Tuesday, November 2, 2010)]
[Pages 67386-67387]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-27592]



Coast Guard

[Docket No. USCG-2010-0947]

Policy for Banning of Foreign Vessels From Entry into United 
States Ports

AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION: Notice of policy.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Coast Guard announces release of policy letter 10-03, 
Banning of Foreign Vessels. This policy letter outlines U.S. Coast 
Guard procedures for denying entry of certain foreign flagged 
commercial vessels into any port or place in the United States as a 
result of the vessel's history of operating in a continuous substandard 
condition in waters subject to United States jurisdiction.

DATES: This policy became effective on September 1, 2010.

ADDRESSES: This notice and the policy letter described within it are 
available in the docket and can be viewed by going to http://www.regulations.gov, inserting USCG-2010-0947 in the ``Keyword'' box, 
and then clicking ``Search.'' This policy letter is also available at 
http://www.homeport.uscg.mil under the Port State Control tab; Foreign 
Vessel Safety; Banning of Foreign Vessels.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions on this notice 
or the policy, call or e-mail Lieutenant Commander Charles Fluke, 
Foreign and Offshore Vessels Division (CG-5432), U.S. Coast Guard, 
telephone 202-372-1235. If you have questions on viewing material in 
the docket, call Renee V. Wright, Program Manager, Docket Operations, 
telephone 202-366-9826.


Background and Purpose

    The U.S. Coast Guard Port State Control (PSC) program began in the 
United States when Congress, through the 1994 Department of 
Transportation Appropriations Bill, required the U.S. Coast Guard to 
change its approach to foreign vessel examinations. The bill required 
the U.S. Coast Guard to hold those most responsible for substandard 
ships accountable, including owners, classification societies, and flag 
    Title 33 of the United States Code provides tools and authority for 
the U.S. Coast Guard to meet this mandate. 33 U.S.C. 1228 prohibits 
vessels from operating in the navigable waters of the United States or 
transferring cargo or residue in any port or place under the 
jurisdiction of the United States if such vessels: Have a history of 
accidents, pollution incidents, or serious repair problems; fail to 
comply with applicable regulations, laws, or treaties; discharges oil 
or hazardous material in violation of law or treaty; or fails to comply 
with vessel traffic service, manning, and language requirements.
    In addition, 33 U.S.C. 1223(b) grants the authority to order any 
vessel in a port or place subject to the jurisdiction of the United 
States or in the navigable waters of the United States to operate or 
anchor as directed if: such vessel does not comply with applicable 
regulations, law, or treaty; the vessel does not satisfy the conditions 
for port entry as set out in 33 U.S.C. 1228; or in the interest of 
    In 1997, the U.S. Coast Guard published regulations to enforce 
International Maritime Organization (IMO) Resolution A.741 (18), titled 
``International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and for 
Pollution Prevention (International Safe Management [ISM] Code)''. The 
U.S. Coast Guard also published the Navigation and Vessel Inspection 
Circular (NVIC) 04-05, titled, ``Port State Control Guidelines for the 
Enforcement of Management for the Safe Operation of Ships (ISM) Code,'' 
to provide guidance to both Coast Guard and industry personnel 
concerning compliance with the requirements of the International 
Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974, Chapter IX and 
the ISM Code.
    The cornerstone for ensuring a vessel is compliant with 
international standards, laws, and regulations is a well written and 
properly implemented Safety Management System (SMS). Commitment by top 
level company management and continuous improvement are two fundamental 
objectives of an effective SMS. Companies that do not embrace a safety 
culture and that repeatedly operate vessels in a substandard condition 
have failed to recognize the importance of complying with international 
conventions and standards and put their crews, vessels, and the marine 
environment at risk.
    Occasionally, the U.S. Coast Guard intercepts vessels arriving into 
United States waters that consistently demonstrate a substandard 
condition and, thus, fail to comply with the requirements found in 
international conventions and domestic regulations. Previously, there 
was no mechanism in place to effectively and consistently respond to 
repeat offenders. The U.S. Coast Guard's Banning of Foreign Vessels 
policy should provide a systematic approach to addressing these 
vessels. This policy aligns the U.S. Coast Guard with other SOLAS 
signatory flag States who currently have policies and procedures in 
place for processing vessels that repeatedly operate in a substandard 

Policy Implementation

    The U.S. Coast Guard will continue to screen, prioritize, and 
coordinate all foreign vessel exams in accordance with existing 
policies. When a vessel has been repeatedly detained (meaning three or 
more detentions within twelve months) and it is determined by the U.S. 
Coast Guard's Foreign and Offshore Vessels Division (CG-5432) that 
failure to effectively implement the SMS was a contributing factor for 
the substandard condition(s) that led to the detentions, the vessel 
will be denied entry into any port or place in the United States in 
compliance with 33 U.S.C. 1228 and 1223(b) until specified actions are 
completed to the satisfaction of the Coast Guard.

[[Page 67387]]

    Authority: This notice is issued under authority of 5 U.S.C. 
552, 33 U.S.C. 1223(b), and 33 U.S.C. 1228.

    Dated: October 25, 2010.
Kevin S. Cook,
Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Director of Prevention Policy.
[FR Doc. 2010-27592 Filed 11-1-10; 8:45 am]