Archive for February, 2009

I called again today and found out that the previously announced and posted policy regarding TWIC issues was indeed corrected and re-issued as of 2/25/09.

As per the conversation I had with the TSA today; If (like me) you created a PIN when you activated the card and remember said PIN, so far you’ve got no problem. If the only thing you ever used it for was a photo ID or if you’ve successfully used it with your PIN, cancel the re-issue, it’s unnecessary.

If you didn’t create a PIN when the card was issued, go to your issuing TSA office and create one for your present card.

If your card was issued prior to 10/21/08 and you’ve tried to use your card gaining entry to a controlled facility and messed up your PIN 3 times, the card will lock. NOW you need a new card.

Here’s how to do that;

1. Call 866-347-8942.
2. When the prompts begin, press 3.

When you get to that menu, press 2. That will get you in touch with a real live person.
3. Tell them you are calling because your T.W.I.C. was issued prior to October 21, 2008.
They will need the following information:
Date of Birth
A telephone Number where they can leave a message that a new T.W.I.C. is ready for pick up, and the location of T.W.I.C. Center where you got your card.

4. Receive a ticket number – it is a 6 digit tracking number. Write the number down for future reference.

It didn’t take terribly long (it took me 5 min after I got a human being on the phone) I would suggest everyone do this as soon as possible. You will be notified when your new card is ready (there is no time frame on replacements). Your card will still be used as a verification by your picture. You just return your old card.

There is no fee as long as you return your old card. If you do not have it, you will be charged the lost card fee – $60.

Read this from the Master of Towing Vessel Association.

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Looking toward the Battery

Looking toward the Battery, Dan Russell Photography 2009 all rights reserved

Dan Russell Photography

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No one does anything new in an emergency, there’s no magic bullet, and clicking your heels together 3 times won’t do more than provide counterpoint to the sound of steel screeching along a poorly approached and perhaps rapidly splintering berth.

He said; "I think I'll claim the fifth...."

It’s not the easiest thing to do and it shouldn’t be.  The skills required to safely pilot a tug and tow take a good deal of time to acquire under the best of circumstances.  Among the many difficulties the wheelhouse hopeful may encounter  while attempting this endeavor is finding the means to get on as many different towing vessels as possible to become familiar, and if possible, fluent in their operational procedures.  It can take as little as 2 years to as long as 5 years depending on the availabilities of openings for a trainee.   In spite of all the wishing and hoping, the one thing that can’t be done at this point is specialize the T.O.A.R. to allow a limited towing endorsement with regard to AT/B’s.

This is not what I would consider a bad thing.  The idea for completing a T.O.A.R. is to prove that one is capable of safely performing ALL the skills that will get the job done right.  The idea of creating a limited ticket for AT/B’s is abhorrent to me since I believe there isn’t any particular value in learning half the job.  The skills that may be drawn upon during an AT/B’s operation are no different than any conventional tug and barge.  Eventually, there will be a need to draw on a skill-set not normally utilized in the day to day operations of an AT/B and the operator will need to be able to perform that evolution.  We’re not necessarily paid for what we do, we’re paid for what we CAN do.

If a limited  T.O.A.R. is created, there will be little motivation for including the skill-sets beyond standing a sea watch, tuning the radar, and utilizing an assist boat at every turn.  The shortage of qualified people is not a good, or an especially prudent reason to “dumb down” the standard.

The experience one accrues during their training period is just the tip of the professional iceberg when it comes to the next phase of their career.  The completed T.O.A.R. means you’ve met the minimum requirements to be allowed to stand a watch,  it’s a milestone not the end of the road.  It’s your diploma and your ticket to the rest of your career.  Whether you’re an ace or  just scraping by with the bare minimum, you’re going to get the same endorsement.  Once the requirements are met, one’s skills need to be tempered with time and experience.  Half-measures are not what’s called for when you’re earning this credential.

The sheer lunacy and end result of the limited endorsement idea is that it creates an operator that will be the half-baked version of his colleagues on traditional tugboats.  It is guaranteed that he will be ill-equipped when the time comes that he’ll need to draw on a bag of tricks in an emergency and not have at his beck and call the necessary experience, judgment, or skill to pull the whole mess out of the fire.  I find little merit in the idea, and I don’t believe it to be a prudent method to alleviate the manpower shortage at this point.

There are any number of analogies I could use, but the one that comes to mind would be flying.

U.S. Airways had the good fortune of having a pilot and co-pilot with almost 40,000 hours of combined flight time at the controls of Flight 1549 last month. In the interviews that followed that incredible event, both Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and Co-pilot Jeff Skiles had each said that neither of them had ever suffered a double engine failure except in simulator-training.  That training and their experience prepared them for the day when it might happen.  But consider that if they had never trained for it, there would be a very different story surrounding that flight, 155 different stories. Sully went on to say in subsequent interviews how the sum total of his years of experience  coalesced at the precise moment he needed it.  It was there to draw upon.

It’s perfectly reasonable for the T.O.A.R. candidate to climb this hill.  Getting to ride all the boats you’ll need to complete your T.O.A.R. is daunting but it’s been done countless times by thousands of others.  There are still plenty of conventional tugs available to accomplish the task, it just takes a focused effort that includes a company’s personnel department and a corporate mindset dedicated to training and promoting people when they’re fully qualified.

So if the prospect of working the necessary variety of towing vessels has you thinking it’s too hard, step aside and let those among you who have the guts to keep at it play through.  We’re waiting for them.

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During the last 5 years, I’ve been fortunate enough to take part in a development that promises to influence the petroleum transport/tug and barge industry on a grand scale. Specifically, the move by transporters on the coastal and  inland waterways (including my employer) of adopting the ISM code and its tenets.

My initial reaction as I was presented with this idea was, “Christ, more paperwork.” All I anticipated was a confusing and overwhelming learning curve being heaped on me as I dealt with the kind of administrative work that was more suited to a ship than a tugboat.  But, the last 5 years have convinced me of the great benefit to be had by following this course.

It turns out that the curve wasn’t nearly as steep as I expected and the training necessary to bring the crew and vessel into compliance was a golden opportunity to really get things in order  the way I always thought they should be.  I could see a marked improvement in the crew and company over the term of our preparation for the ISM audit by ABS.  I would characterize it as a greater “mindfulness” of our work environment, to borrow the phrase. 

If your outfit decides to go the ISM/ISO route, here’s a general overview of what you can expect;

The first thing that one should realize as they are presented with the prospect of earning the ISM certifications titled S.Q. and E. is that its a good thing.

The quick explanations for the designations are; “S” stands for operational safety, “Q” is for Quality control, and “E” is for environmental aspects regarding hazardous materials handling, recycling, and the like, that will meet the International standards for compliance.

To begin with, the company manuals must all meet the international standard of addressing all concerns regarding the vessel and its support network.  Shore-side personnel are expected to document their interactions as well as keep a vessel history regarding maintenance items.  Operational concerns, chain of command, dealing with emergencies, maintenance, training, are all articulated by the company manual and charter in concert with the ISM/ISO code.  Anything and everything used for the safe navigation of the vessel must have a proper provenance, no bootleg copies of “Cap’n for Windows” allowed.  Proper and up to date publications on hand, the latest corrections entered on the charts and a record of those corrections.  If it’s a navigation program, it must be an approved, registered, and updated program since it’s to be used on the vessel for the navigation and voyage planning of any trip.

Following the creation (and A.B.S. approval) of a policy guide that meets the international standard, the company and vessel are subjected to an audit conducted by A.B.S. to earn the certificate by demonstrating their understanding, execution, and documentation of their newly aligned policies.

The audit on the vessel is conducted by an inspector from A.B.S. who interviews every member of the crew and quizzes them on their knowledge of policy, safety procedures, drills, maintenance items, and general items regarding the company’s policy with regard to duties and training.  The listings below are by no means complete, but they are a good indication of what to expect.

The Captain has to provide any record requested and show how they are maintained in accordance with policy.  Crew member orientations, drills, voyage plans, trash logs, incident reports, company memos, etc.  There must be proof that all documents are up to date, the proper licenses and certificates required are available for display, and all company documents are completed as designed (no blank or unused spaces).  Night order books, lock-out procedures, chart catalog updates, publications, records of office correspondence.  The list is extensive and thorough.

The Chief Mate/Pilot will need to explain his duties, show proof that his pubs and charts are up to date and kept according to policy, that he can reference the policies regarding non-conformance issues,  demonstrate his awareness his duties and responsibilities, as well as the crew’s responsibilities.  His knowledge of navigation equipment on-board will be queried and he will be asked to demonstrate the functions of that equipment.

The Chief Engineer will show his maintenance records, oil transfer log, repairs and pending issues on board.  He will need to describe  the function and limitation of any piece of equipment the auditor wishes to choose.  The fire plan will need to be accurate and properly displayed and labeled.  If policy requires it, pipeline color codes must be compliance with international convention and clearly indicated on all systems.  Everything the engineer can be responsible for is fair game in the audit.

The Deckhand will have to articulate when asked, who the DPA is, who is the VSO, what are his duties in a drill (pick one).  He’ll need to demonstrate proficiency with the SCBA if on-board.  The locations and functions of fire extinguishers, the locations of all the safety gear aboard.  Everything.

Any shortcomings found  are dealt with by the ABS auditor issuing a Non Conformance Report for each item that was either missing or lacking.  The NCR’s will need to be cleared with follow-up action as necessary and once proof is provided they have been properly addressed, the temporary Safety Management Certificate can be re-issued as a full 5 year certificate.

Follow up internal audits and a midterm ABS audit insure the standards are being maintained and the SMC certificate is valid.  The vessel master conducts an annual audit called  a “Master’s Review”, rating the cooperation he is receiving from his shore-side support and comments on any issues regarding the system in general.  This is part of the documentation that the ABS auditor will examine at the mid-term and 5 year marks.

The Mission Statement is one of the key documents along with the Quality and safety goals.  There are at least a dozen acronyms referring to job titles and reports.  DPA, NCR, QMA, VSO, CSO, QI,…….It can be overwhelming at first, but as the team gets familiar with the program it comes easier.

The most impressive document of all is the N.C.R.  The “non-conformance report” is one of the most useful documents you can find in the system.  It’s the way the system is put into action should something appear to be falling through the cracks.  An item that requires attention but isn’t getting any.

The N.C.R. is a report anyone can file, from the Captain on down to the Ordinary.  It means that a procedure or operation is not being executed in accordance with the approved and stated company policy.  It could refer to a repair item, a training issue, or procedure that is specifically articulated by a written policy or law.

If there is a problem that hasn’t been addressed in a reasonable amount of time, the N.C.R. can be used to kick-start the issue in the right direction by referring it to the DPA or Designated Person Ashore.  This person is the appointed gatekeeper of the Safety Management System should something require a helping hand.  He has the ear of the President of the company if necessary to accomplish the dictates of the policies in place.

For Example: The Captain has reported to Maintenance and Repair that the weather-deck fore-peak hatch needs a new spring loaded hinge.  It’s been reported as a safety issue, since without the spring, it is too heavy to be safely handled single-handed by the deckhand for simple access. Additionally, it’s part of the equipment necessary to secure for sea.

The item has been ignored for 2 hitches so the Captain accesses the N.C.R. document on the company computer and fills out the form according to the directions.

Citing Chapter 1 section A: Company policy states that any item concerning the seaworthiness of the vessel will be a priority item.

The one thing to keep in mind is that the form must be completed correctly and cite chapter and verse of the policy that’s being quoted as “not in conformance”.

The DPA receives the NCR and acknowledges it in writing.  He then passes the NCR to the appropriate desk , (in this case the Maintenance and Repair office) and seeks a reason why the item hasn’t been addressed.  M&R will have to respond in writing and schedule the repair ASAP in keeping with the company’s stated policy, or the vessel will be taken out of service until the repair is effected since we’re talking about a “seaworthiness” issue.  The Captain has a copy of the DPA’s signature and proof  that M&R has been notified officially. Once completed the repair would be documented as such and the NCR “closed” in writing, and CC’ed to everyone concerned.

Here, the example of the Captain filing the NCR is proof that the system addresses safety in a realistic fashion according to the stated policy of the company.  The issue was addressed in writing so there was proof the system was utilized properly and in accordance with international agreements.

By the same token, if the office has determined that the vessel has failed to comply with a written policy it will issue it’s own NCR to the vessel and seek redress of the issue through the DPA.  It goes both ways.

The hardest part of this system to “get” is that it’s a dynamic process. Things are subject to improvement and frequent review so that it becomes a practicable policy, not just paragraphs of catchphrases and caveats. The idea is that if your manual says “this is how we do it”, then that is how you do it and prove that you are by having documentation to back it up.  The NCR is a powerful tool used to refine and correct shortcomings in the process.

The true nature of the program is without a doubt the best thing to happen to our industry since forever. The old way of doing things is out the window and the old fashioned mindset is fast becoming extinct. The idea that everyone is responsible is rather appealing when you get down to the nuts and bolts of it. The old days put those of us who had the most to lose on the line and solely at risk. Only our actions were subject to scrutiny regardless of the fact the office was either forgetting or ignoring our needs in getting the job done safely. It was common for “Operations Manuals” to be so much window dressing and seldom taken seriously by anyone until something really bad happened, then we’d be taken to task for ignoring policy.

The opportunity that the ISM code presents us is a dual edged sword. The accountability aspect goes both ways. There is a paper trail for everything and everyone’s actions regarding repairs, supplies, operational training, personnel orientations, safety equipment, and on and on. There is a certain comfort in knowing everyone has an equal amount of “skin” in the game. It a great motivator.

This isn’t new to the guys sailing deep sea, those of us working the inland and coastal fleets will need a little time to get up to speed.  But it’ll be worth it.

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Almost eleven years before the Eklof tug “Scandia” and their barge the “North Cape” made their ill-fated appearance on Rhode Island’s Moonstone Beach, I was eastbound on the tug Emily S. during one of the coldest winters that I can remember with a loaded 25k barrel gasoline barge named the Richard K. en route from NY to Providence.

The weather was typical for the month of February with a stiff westerly blowing and a clear sky as we headed past Stratford Middle Ground and across Eastern Long Island Sound during the last few hours of my afternoon watch. We were strung out with about 1000′ of our tow wire and a 9″ circ. x 75′ shock-line connecting us to the barge. The tanker-man was riding the tug for this trip since the company’s newly acquired “western rivers” style barge had yet to get living quarters fabricated and approved. Our crew consisted of the Captain Ed Redden, myself as mate, Rick Thompson as deckhand, Engineer Mike McKeon, and our tanker-man house-guest one Mr. Joe Tribilowicz

When Ed came up to the wheelhouse to relieve me at 1800, the weather was threatening to get a bit sloppier. I made my turnover and went below.  I had my dinner and turned in to get some rest. I fell off to sleep feeling the boat riding ahead of a building stern swell.  I was comfortably dreaming a couple of hours later as we were approaching Plum Island buoy, when the wind and current began to interact in a most unpleasant way. The current was flooding toward the west-southwest and the wind had increased in velocity veering from out of the southwest blowing in direct opposition to the flood current.  This has the unwelcome effect in the bottleneck of the eastern sound of causing the seas to step up substantially toward the narrowing confines of Eastern Long Island Sound and The Race.

Ed made the decision to render more cable in order to allow for the surge that we were beginning to feel. Normally this would have had the desired effect of moderating the ride and giving the tow a chance to get in step with the tug, but not this time. It would have worked if the shock-line held, but of course if that was the case, there’d be no story.  A short time after Ed had rendered what he thought was a decent amount of additional wire, the shock-line parted and the barge was on its own in a 12-15′ following sea.

Tug and tow are riding “in step” when they meet the seas at the same time.

I felt the towline part as I lay in my bunk and was getting dressed when Rick came down to tell me what I already knew. There’s no mistaking when the towline let’s go, the engine’s pitch changes as the load is released and she starts to run without all that weight behind her and the quality of the ride changes for the worse. I made my way up to the wheelhouse and began the work of fixing the approximate position of where we lost the barge and reporting this info to the U.S.C.G. Group Long Island Sound as we attempted to find our lost charge.

The Captain had managed to recover the tow wire and what was left of the shock-line as I was trying to pick the barge out of a deteriorating radar picture. Things were getting too crazy. Without the tow to help stabilize the tug we were at the mercy of an increasingly steep and slightly confused sea.   Bringing the tug head up into the seas was not helping.  On an 85′ tug in these conditions even though we were secured for sea, things you’d never expect to move were flying everywhere and it was getting difficult to manage our situation when the Captain finally made the call to head for safe haven in New London, CT.

The fact that we lost the barge was a tough break (no pun intended). The attempts to find it in the building wind and seas were fruitless. The idea that 25k barrels of gasoline were floating around without a tug was really a serious situation for the entire eastern end of Long Island and Connecticut. No one was happy.

We  made it safely into New London Harbor and were allowed to put in at Fort Trumbull Coast Guard Station .  As we were approaching the dock we saw that a U.S.C.G. 91 footer had been dispatched to try and locate and track the barge. As we passed each other we heard one of their crew yell,”that boat’s coming in and we’re going out?”

Oh no, not a happy camper.  The ride they were in for was going to be an all-night roller coaster affair with no break until they were relieved by a larger unit or the weather moderated.

The Emily was a new-built just the year before and had a tow wire but not a proper towing machine, meaning it was not the kind that would render and recover wire as the strain reached a set point. The twin screw 1800 bhp of the Emily was more than adequate for her needs but she wasn’t very well suited to the task of recovering the barge in such conditions.  No amount of effort in the existing conditions would have warranted any further attempts, it was too dangerous for the crew.  There weren’t that many of us to start with and no one was on the barge to take a line or assist reconnecting the tow wire.

After we secured, I headed for the Duty Officer’s desk to compare notes, update, and convey our ill tidings to the Boss.  Needless to say it was a tough phone call to make or receive.  The Captain was busy with the authorities and the paperwork that always accompanies these things.

The time in the Coast Guard office was spent trying to come up with a plan to recover the barge.  We had the spare gear, we just needed to find the barge and be able to get someone aboard to clear the bridles of the old shock-line and shackle the new one in.  In due course a plan involving helicopters and tug crew was settled on.

My deckhand Rick Thompson  and I would fly out in a Coast Guard Rescue Helicopter over the barge come daylight and be lowered down to the deck with the necessary gear and take the tug’s line and reconnect the towline.  All we had to do was drop onto the slippery deck on a thin little thread of a wire.  I had never been in a helicopter much less dropped out of one, and I had no way of knowing until after the fact that Rick was scared to death of flying.  He never mentioned it until the whole affair was over, he said afterwards that even with that being the case he wasn’t letting me do it alone.

So, with daylight approaching and the winds moderating we set off in a CG van for Groton airfield while the tug got underway.   We dragged our new shock-line, shackle, and tagline into the aircraft and were suited up in Mustang suits and headsets.  I brought my camera, zoom lens and all, determined not to miss documenting this adventure.  We sat on the runway and waited as the pilot and crew prepared for takeoff, I had no idea how really noisy helicopters were.  You could barely hear yourself think much less converse without the headsets.  We taxied and then lifted off the tarmac and hovered a couple of meters off the ground for a few minutes.  I guess everything needed to warm up before we got too much altitude.  The crew chief was really upbeat and everywhere at once.  He checked everything twice, including me and Rick.

He asked if we were ok with going down on the wire and with a little more bravado than brains I said “Let’s f*****g do it”.  He tossed a big thumbs up at me and probably had a good laugh thinking about how big my eyes were going to be when I was being dropped out of the aircraft into the down-blast of the main rotor and toward a heaving deck.

We cruised at about 500′ and I could see the pilots console with every dial and button you could imagine.  The ride was noisier than I expected and a bit like a roller coaster.  I snapped as many photos as I could manage from my seat as we flew out towards Block Island Sound. The barge had managed to negotiate the Race by itself and into the Block Island Sound.  It was now Block Island’s turn to be worried, the prevailing wind and currents had put the “Great Salt Pond” squarely in the cross-hairs.

The “on-scene commander” was aboard the 91 footer we had passed on our way in, and was “in sight” of the barge calling the shots.  As we approached the scene, the helo commander’s voice came over the headset and said that on-scene command was concerned the conditions were too slick and we’d have to call off the intended deployment of men and material.  Another option was being discussed, but at that point, I wasn’t privy to it.

I felt the helo bank east and we were on our way to Otis Airfield on Cape Cod but not before we took a tour of a beached fishing boat along the south shore of the Cape.  We landed at Otis and were escorted to the galley on base.  The rec room nearby had a pool table and dartboard and plenty of hot coffee.  Until that trip I was a comfortable non-smoker having been successful at quitting the damn things about 2 years before.  It was odd that as I was walking past the cigarette machine that I reached for a couple of bills and selected my brand, opened the pack, and began to light one up. Rick took a moment to remind me that I didn’t need a cigarette, I remember clearly thinking that I earned it.  He and I shared a couple of smokes, a game of pool, and some idle conversation.

We were informed after being there a couple of hours or so that we were to be transported back to our boat, which was underway and had reacquired the tow without us.  Sonuvabitch, he caught the tow without us! The original idea was for the tug to rendezvous with the CG cutter and barge and after we were lowered to the deck the tug would re-attach and take us aboard, conditions permitting.  No one had even given thought to trying to recover the tow with so few men.  There were only three guys on the tug and one of them had to run the boat while the other two caught and connected the bridle.  This was so not the plan that was discussed.

We re-boarded the helo and went through the same preflight two-step as we got underway for Point Judith Coast Guard Station.  Just before the helo dropped our gear and us at Point Judith they took us on an overflight of the tug and tow allowing me to get some really great shots.  We landed and they waved us goodbye leaving us to drag everything onto a 35′ cutter and get underway for the Emily, which was just approaching the point eastbound.  The cutter took us to the Providence Towboat, Tug Reliance, just outside the Harbor of Refuge which ran us to the Emily where we boarded and settled back in.  I went to the pilothouse to relieve Ed who was as exhausted as I was.  We were all exhausted.

Ed would’ve been brought to task for not following the plan had his attempt failed and injured someone. But, the circumstances changed quicker than the plan could be modified, moving him to act.  The risk of injury with the tug being so shorthanded was no small consideration but the benefit gained from acting on changing circumstances and conditions saved a bad situation from getting worse.  It was a bit of good fortune that the opportunity presented itself to reacquire the tow and testament to the guts of the guys who did it.  The job got done, Ed deserved the credit for recognizing and acting on a serendipitous change of circumstance.  Rick and I were tweaked that we didn’t get to help, but it all worked out for the best.

The lesson learned brought home the point that a shockline is not always a smart addition to your towing gear.  If the shockline is too short, as it proved to be in this case, there’s no real point in putting one out.   The normal gear used these days is a large and heavy chain bridle attached to a large diameter wire pennant, permanently attached to the barge and a good length of wire set for the prevailing conditions.

“Wire to wire” with a proper length to start with would have satisfied the needs of the tow, even if it meant slowing down.  Risking a recovery with so few crew could’ve been a deadly situation but the man in charge was able to pick the right moment to take a shot at getting the barge under control and succeed.

The good folks of Block Island were breathing easier and all was right with the world. We made it into the Narragansett Bay East Passage and picked up the barge without further incident and made our delivery about 12 hours later than anticipated.  The many photos I took were lost when I thoughtlessly opened the back of the camera without rewinding the damn film.  I was so tired, I had completely forgotten that small technical part.

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In the past like many of us, I sat for the radar renewal and submitted the certificate with my application and would have been out-of-sync.  In that case, when renewal  time approached, I would have expected to renew radar first and then submit my renewal package as I always did.

But, when I upgraded my present license in the middle of my radar endorsement’s term I was granted the one time 2 year extension which had me syncing my radar with my new license’s expiration date. They expire on the same day.

Now, I don’t wish to beat the subject to death, but this pissing match between the REC’s and the Maritime Center is getting ridiculous. In trying to get a definitive answer to the endorsement question for myself and others, and all I’ve come up against is contradictory information left and right.

This is an excerpt from my note to the National Maritime Center;

“Please clarify the policy that is in effect regarding radar endorsements being printed on the license. The final rule published in September of 2008 was clear there would no longer be a radar endorsement printed on the license. What has changed and why? This has put me in the position of possibly delaying the processing of my credentials since I can’t sit for the radar renewal until March 6th 2009, I hold a current endorsement that expires at the end of my present license’s term in late May of this year. I started my renewal process on Jan. 15th, my fingerprints have been received by the REC Boston and I thought my file had been sent to The Maritime Center. Has there been a change made in the published rule? When was the change made? Will this be a problem for my renewal time frame?”

The Maritime Center’s response; (almost verbatim from the final rule)

“The expiration date for the radar-observer endorsement may be different from the expiration date of the license itself, causing confusion as to the validity of the license. A license is valid for a five-year period from the date it is issued by the Coast Guard. A radar-observer endorsement is also valid for five years, but that period begins after the month in which the certificate of training is issued.

Mariners will still be required to keep their radar-observer training current, but the expiration date will not appear on the license. You will still be required to hold current radar training certificates to man vessels equipped with radar, as specified in 46 CFR 15.815, and will have up to 48 hours to produce a copy of your certificate upon request of the Coast Guard.

To answer your questions regarding whether you need to provide a current radar certification; the answer is no. Since you applied for your renewal before your expiration and the radar endorsement is current they will not request the radar re-certification. If your radar endorsement was already expired at the time you submitted your application you would be required to submit the radar re-certification.”

I don’t think it can be much clearer, but that just makes too much sense. If you’re coming up against the same issue I am, it would be to your benefit to get the facts straight regarding your status well before you’ll need to submit your renewal application.

Allowing local REC’s the latitude to assist the new Maritime Center is a good idea, when they start disseminating contrary and confusing policy statements in direct opposition to a published final rule, it’s a bad idea.  If so much supervisory talent is available, the REC’s should be sending those folks down to West Virginia to help with the mess, not start the turf battle that puts mariners in the middle.  The Center was supposed to make things better, not worse.  Did these guys miss the memo?

When I’ll be holding my freshly renewed credential is unknown, I can always hope it’ll be soon.

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