USCG issues hazardous substances guidelines

The US Coast Guard’s Office of Design Engineering Standards has released a policy letter entitled Implementation of IMO Resolution A.673(16), Guidelines for the Transport and Handling of Noxious Liquid Substances in Bulk on Offshore Support Vessels, For New and Existing US Offshore Supply Vessels, which summarizes the forthcoming requirements for US-flagged offshore supply vessels (OSVs).

The policy update provides guidance on the implementation of revisions to MARPOL Annexe II guidelines and the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (the IBC Code) with reference to new and existing US flagged OSVs.

The policy letter is intended to guide voluntary compliance until such time as the new international standards are more fully incorporated in the applicable US regulations.

Put briefly, before the expiration of a vessel’s certificate of fitness (COF), a plan must be proposed to the USCG’s Hazardous Materials Division (CG-ENG-5) to meet the updated requirements for affected products, or with proposed equivalencies to specific requirements.

Once a plan is approved, the modifications will be required by the vessel’s next drydock date.

In the interim, vessel companies have been granted extensions to their COFs between the effective date of the amendments and the publishing of the updated policy letter. Those extensions currently have been granted until December 31st 2022.