US Coast Guard eases the burden of marine casualty reporting

Gard has noted that fewer casualty reports and crew members completing drug and alcohol testing could be expected in the US from April 18th as the US Coast Guard has increased the monetary property damage threshold amounts for reporting marine casualties.

The USCG published its final rule on March 19th, amending the monetary property damage threshold amounts for reporting a marine casualty and for reporting a “serious marine incident” (SMI).

The new rule increases the reportable marine casualty property damage threshold amount in 46 CFR 4.05-1(a)(7) from $25,000 to $75,000. It also changes the SMI property damage threshold in 46 CFR 4.03-2(a)(3) from $100,000 to $200,000.

Mandatory drug and alcohol testing will still be required if the property damage meets the amended monetary threshold amounts of those marine casualties in excess of $200,000.

Other marine casualties such as groundings, bridge strikes, losses resulting in reduced vessel manoeuvrability, impacts on vessel seaworthiness or fitness for service or route, loss of life, injury requiring professional medical treatment, or significant harm to the environment, must still be reported – regardless of the property damage cost involved.

Gard recommended that members and clients with US-flag vessels and vessels operating in US waters should review the final rule to determine how the new reporting thresholds and drugs and alcohol testing requirement impact on their operations, and they should revise their policies and procedures accordingly.

Additional guidance and interpretation can be downloaded via USCG Operations Home: following the menu path: Our Organization > Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy (CG-5P) > Inspections and Compliance (CG-5PC) > Office of Investigations & Casualty Analysis.