The National Maritime Center posted a bulletin to alert mariners that due to a continued backlog of credential applications and increased net processing time of both mariner credential applications and medical certificate applications caused by the lapse in appropriations and shutdown of National Maritime Center operations, the following updated actions are being taken:
Merchant mariner credentials (MMC) and medical certificates (national endorsements only) that expire in December 2018, January 2019, February 2019, March 2019, April 2019, May 2019, June 2019, or July 2019 are extended as valid until August 31, 2019. Mariners who are actively working on expired credentials that meet the expiration criteria must carry the expired credential with a copy of the attached letter.
This extension does not change the time frame during which a credential may be renewed. A credential may be renewed at any time during its validity and for 1 year after expiration based on the expiration date printed on the credential.
If you have questions, visit the NMC website, or contact the NMC Customer Service Center by using the NMC online chat system, by e-mailing IASKNMC@uscg.mil, or by calling 1-888-IASKNMC (427-5662).
An Inspected Towing Vessel (ITV) pushing a loaded tank barge experienced a loss of steering and subsequently ran aground, Sept. 25, 2018. The marine casualty investigation determined the initiating event to be the port shaft propeller nut wedged into the rudder, which prevented the free and full movement of the steering gear. (Figure 1)
Contributing Factors and Analysis.
The investigation identified the initiating event causal factors to be a material failure of the port shaft propeller nuts locking strap (missing), the lack of a secondary securing mechanism (second nut/cotter pin) on the port propeller nut, and an inadequate corrosion mitigation preventative maintenance program. Visual analysis of the starboard shaft locking strap noted significant deterioration of the locking mechanism (Figure 2), requiring immediate replacement. Based on the analysis of this casualty, marine inspectors inspected the locking nut straps of several other ITV’s during scheduled dry-dock exams, which showed similar corrosion issues.
The Coast Guard recommends the following preventative measures:
Review company corrosion prevention systems/programs. If necessary, engage with a corrosion specialist from the American Boat and Yacht Council and/or National Association of Corrosion Engineers.
Ensure adequate primary and secondary propeller shaft securing devices (cotter pins, double nut, locking strap, etc.) are in place at all times, with consideration given to vessel operations and environmental conditions.
Inspect propeller fasteners routinely/during every dry-docking and replace in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.
The Coast Guard issues findings of concern to disseminate information related to unsafe conditions identified as causal factors in a marine casualty and that may cause a similar casualty on other vessels. Findings of concern are intended to educate the public, state, or local agencies about the conditions discovered so they may address the findings with an appropriate voluntary action or highlight existing applicable company policies or state/local regulations.
These findings of concern are provided for informational purpose only and do not relieve any domestic or international safety, operational, or material requirements. For any questions or comments please contact Marine Safety Unit Lake Charles Investigations Division by phone at (337) 491-7811 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Towing Vessel National Center of Expertise (TVNCOE) reports that approximately 750 COIs have been issued with another 450 currently in the queue. They believe this represents approximately 22% of the 25% of the fleet towing vessels needing COIs in by July 22, 2019 (year one of the four-year phase-in).
They estimate that 219 companies have received a TSMS certificate/DOC and are using an SMS for compliance that those companies represent roughly 3,250 towing vessels.