TVIB News News and Updates

SAFETY ALERT-Suspect and Counterfeit Items


Excerpt from Safety Alert Number 03-17 published 04/06/2017

The USCG issued a Safety Alert regarding potential suspect and counterfeit items. Such items lack the quality and capabilities of authentic ones and can lead to marine casualties and unsafe conditions. Stakeholders should implement policies to ensure that items purchased are authentic.

Suspect / Counterfeit Items (S/CIs) are products represented as meeting specified manufacturing and quality requirements when, in fact, they do not. S/CIs have been a known problem to industry and the government since the early 1980s. This concern initially focused on fasteners and over time has been expanded to include many items, both electrical and mechanical. The Coast Guard is routinely made aware of various types of counterfeit equipment and products in the marine industry. Oftentimes, such items are lifesaving products and fire-fighting equipment, which represent an extreme hazard. S/CIs can cause:

  • marine casualties causing extensive damage to equipment, vessels and the environment;
  • unsafe conditions that put people at risk of injury or death; and
  • delays that impact vessel schedules and create additional operating costs.

Click here to review and download the full document.

TVIB at the Inland Waterways Conference and Upcoming Classes

We invite you to stop by our booth next week at the Inland Waterways Conference being hosted at the Hyatt Regency in Cincinnati.  If you have fellow industry friends with questions or prospective TPO customers bring them by and let’s have a conversation. We encourage our auditor and surveyor members to stop by the booth to catch up on all that’s been happening in your organization.

TVIB will be represented on a panel Tuesday morning titled “Special Forum: Sub Chapter M: The Changing Face of Coast Guard Inspections.”  There will be industry representatives from towing companies, Third Party Organizations, and USCG representatives on this panel. Click here to download the agenda for the conference.  Thank you all for your continued support of TVIB, we look forward to seeing you next week. Please make sure to stop by visit with us a bit.

Not a member yet?  Been thinking about joining TVIB? Stop by next week and let’s talk.

Don’t forget we have two upcoming classes open for registration:

Marine Internal Lead Auditor (MILA) – March 21-22 in Houston, TX – Click here for more information

Surveyor of Inspected Towing Vessels (SITV) – April 3-7 in Mandeville, LA – Click here for more information

Click here to view all course offerings from TVIB.

TVIB Approved by U.S. Coast Guard as a Third-Party Organization (TPO)

The U.S. Coast Guard Towing Vessel National Center of Expertise (TVNCOE) has approved the Towing Vessel Inspection Bureau (TVIB) as a Third-Party Organization (TPO) in accordance with 46 CFR Part 139.

As a TPO, TVIB is approved to perform the following functions for towing vessel operators: (1) Conduct audits of a Towing Safety Management System (TSMS), and the vessels to which the TSMS applies, to verify compliance with the applicable sections of 46 CFR Subchapter M; (2) Issue TSMS certificates to an owner or managing operator who is in compliance with 46 CFR Part 138; (3) Conduct surveys of towing vessels to verify compliance with Subchapter M; and (4) Issue survey reports detailing the results of surveys, carried out in compliance with 46 CFR Part 137.

TVIB has a well-known process in place for providing AWO RCP audits that will be modified to meet the additional requirements under Subchapter M. Since 2014, TVIB auditors have conducted more than 250 towing safety management system audits and 500 audits of towing vessels operating under those safety management systems to verify compliance with AWO’s RCP. TVIB will be working with client companies to provide a smooth transition from the RCP audit environment to Subchapter M compliance, including options for implementing the external or internal survey program.

TVIB is excited about the opportunity to help even more towing vessel operators of all sizes chart their own course to regulatory compliance through its new role as a TPO. The U.S. Coast Guard’s approval reinforces TVIB’s position as the recognized professional trade organization of marine auditors and surveyors possessing solid industry knowledge and extensive experience. TVIB has trained more than 100 auditors and surveyors who are spread across the country and have practical operational knowledge about all segments of the towing industry.

TVIB is prepared to continue its objective to provide consistent, objective and independent audits and surveys for the industry as the “TPO You Know and Trust.”

About TVIB: Towing Vessel Inspection Bureau was founded in 2010 as a 501(c)(6) nonprofit professional trade organization of marine auditors and surveyors. We have a broad network of operators throughout the U.S. TVIB educates, develops audit and survey tools and certifies marine auditors and surveyors to perform audits and surveys for Subchapter M and the American Waterways Operators’ Responsible Carrier Program (RCP). TVIB is an ISO 9001:2008 Certified Organization. This standard indicates the efficacy of our quality management system and its impact on the organization’s ability to meet both member needs and regulatory requirements while enhancing our position in the marketplace. Our members provide marine audit and survey services to inland, coastal and ocean-going towing operators across the country. Visit for more information.

For Further Information Contact:

Chris Parsonage, Executive Director

Tava S. Foret, Director of Audit and Survey Services