U.S. Coast Guard Prepares for Phase Two of TVBP
The Coast Guard is preparing for Phase Two of the Towing Vessel Bridging Program (TVBP) which begins July 1, 2012. Phase Two will focus on uninspected towing vessels that have not undergone a voluntary industry initiated examination during Phase One.
On June 12, 2009, the U.S. Coast Guard partnered with American Waterways Operators and the towing vessel industry to develop and initiate the TVBP. The intent behind the Bridging Program was to better prepare both the Coast Guard and the towing vessel industry for a new inspections regime under pending Subchapter M regulations.
“The proposed regulations contained within Subchapter M of 46 Code of Federal Regulations will help protect the public, mariners, and the marine environment and improve the safety of the towing vessel industry,” said LT Kevin Miller, the First Coast Guard District’s Towing Vessel Coordinator.
To date, approximately 225 (55%) of the 415 towing vessels operating in the First Coast Guard District have participated in the outreach program. Coast Guard towing vessel examiners have issued more than 175 safety decals, conducted more than 300 voluntary examinations and verified corrective action on more than 400 deficiencies.
“The overriding goal of the Towing Vessel Bridging Program is to introduce the uninspected towing vessel industry to the Coast Guard inspection process in anticipation of the implementation of Subchapter M regulations. Our goal during Phase Two is to examine the remaining towing vessels within the fleet that have not undergone a voluntary exam,” said LT Miller.
There are more than 180 vessels operating in the District’s area of responsibility that have not yet participated in the program.
Upon completion of the inspection, towing vessels may receive a Coast Guard Towing Vessel Exam decal that will remain valid for three years based on successful compliance with already existing Subchapter C & D regulations.
Naval Today Staff, May 30, 2012