[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 12 (Thursday, January 19, 2012)]
[Pages 2741-2743]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-1004]



Coast Guard

[Docket No. USCG-2011-1156]

Draft Guidance Regarding Inspection and Certification of Vessels 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

AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION: Notice of availability and request for comments.


SUMMARY: The Coast Guard announces the availability of a draft 
Navigation and Inspection Circular (NVIC) that sets forth the Coast 
Guard's policies and procedures regarding the inspection and 
certification of vessels under the

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Maritime Security Program (MSP). The draft NVIC provides a 
comprehensive approach to the MSP inspection process through the 
establishment of two levels of MSP inspection and oversight. This 
notice solicits public comment on the impacts that the policies and 
procedures contained in this draft NVIC would have on applicable 
vessels and other affected parties.

DATES: Comments and related material must either be submitted to our 
online docket via http://www.regulations.gov on or before March 19, 
2012 or reach the Docket Management Facility by that date.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-
2011-1156 using any one of the following methods:
    (1) Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
    (2) Fax: (202) 493-2251.
    (3) Mail: Docket Management Facility (M-30), U.S. Department of 
Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.
    (4) Hand delivery: Same as mail address above, between 9 a.m. and 5 
p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone 
number is (202) 366-9329.
    To avoid duplication, please use only one of these four methods. 
See the ``Public Participation and Request for Comments'' portion of 
the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below for instructions on 
submitting comments.

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 or submitting material to the docket, call 
Ms. Renee V. Wright, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 
(202) 366-9826.


Public Participation and Request for Comments

    We encourage you to submit comments and related material on the 
draft NVIC on Inspection and Certification of Vessels Under the 
Maritime Security Program. All comments received will be posted, 
without change, to http://www.regulations.gov and will include any 
personal information you have provided.
    Submitting comments: If you submit a comment, please include the 
docket number for this notice (USCG-2011-1156) and provide a reason for 
each suggestion or recommendation. You may submit your comments and 
material online, or by fax, mail or hand delivery, but please use only 
one of these means. We recommend that you include your name and a 
mailing address, an email address, or a telephone number in the body of 
your document so that we can contact you if we have questions regarding 
your submission.
    To submit your comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov, 
click on the ``submit a comment'' box, which will then become 
highlighted in blue. In the ``Document Type'' drop down menu, select 
``Notices'' and insert ``USCG-2011-1156'' in the ``Keyword'' box. Click 
``Search'' then click on the balloon shape in the ``Actions'' column. 
If you submit your comments by mail or hand delivery, submit them in an 
unbound format, no larger than 8\1/2\ by 11 inches, suitable for 
copying and electronic filing. If you submit them by mail and would 
like to know that they reached the Facility, please enclose a stamped, 
self-addressed postcard or envelope. We will consider all comments and 
material received during the comment period.
    Viewing the comments and draft NVIC: To view the comments and draft 
NVIC, go to http://www.regulations.gov, click on the ``read comments'' 
box, which will then become highlighted in blue. In the ``Keyword'' box 
insert ``USCG-2011-1156'' and click ``Search.'' 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 Friday, 
except Federal holidays. We have an agreement with the Department of 
Transportation to use the Docket Management Facility.
    Privacy Act: Anyone can search the electronic form of comments 
received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual 
submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf 
of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review a 
Privacy Act, system of records notice regarding our public dockets in 
the January 17, 2008, issue of the Federal Register (73 FR 3316).

Background and Purpose

    Title VI of the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 was amended by passage 
of the Maritime Security Act of 1996 (MSA), which authorized the 
establishment of a Maritime Security Fleet under the Maritime Security 
Program (MSP), which serves as a means for establishing a fleet of 
commercially viable and military useful vessels to meet national 
defense as well as other security requirements. The purpose of this 
draft Navigation and Inspection Circular (NVIC) is to provide the 
marine industry and Coast Guard personnel with uniform guidance 
regarding the MSP.
    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. Both groups of vessels 
would utilize the process outlined in this draft NVIC to obtain a Coast 
Guard Certificate of Inspection (COI), provided they otherwise meet MSP 
enrollment criteria.
    The MSA established standards for issuance of a COI to a previous 
foreign flag vessel transitioning to U.S. Flag once eligibility for the 
MSP has been established by MARAD and the Coast Guard (46 U.S.C. 
53102(e)). 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. 
To avoid the inconsistent application of inspection procedures under 
the MSP, this draft NVIC outlines the inspection process for such 
transitioning foreign flag vessels to obtain initial and ongoing 
certification under the MSP.
    To promote consistency and standardization of Coast Guard policies 
and procedures, this draft NVIC provides 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

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Select. MSP Select vessel oversight would consist of risk-based vessel 
examinations, periodic oversight, and evaluations of Authorized Class 
Society (ACS) survey activities.
    We request comments from all interested parties to ensure that the 
full range and significance of issues related to the Coast Guard's MSP 
inspection process are identified.
    This notice is issued under authority of 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 33 CFR 

    Dated: January 12, 2012.
Paul F. Thomas,
Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Acting Director, Prevention Policy.
[FR Doc. 2012-1004 Filed 1-18-12; 8:45 am]