TVIB News TVIB Talks

COVID-19: ALL TVIB Staff Working Remotely Effective Immediately

TPO Customers are reminded to call the 24-hour Response Line when reporting CG-835Vs/Marine Casualties/Major Non-Conformities/Unsafe Conditions. Utilizing the 24-hour response line will ensure you are directed to the appropriate on-call staff member.

24-Hour Response Line – 888-983-TVIB (8842)

To our industry partners and friends, we wish you well and urge you to listen to directives from your local, state and federal officials throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. At 0815 this morning Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced a stay-at-home order for Harris County, Texas, which includes unincorporated areas of the county where our main office is located and most of our local staff reside. The order goes into effect at midnight tonight and continues through April 3rd. This time frame will be closely monitored and evaluated by city, county and state officials. We will continue to keep you updated with any developments that could impact our operation or the greater maritime community we serve.

We are closing the main office immediately and all staff will be working remotely. Our main phone number of 832-323-3992 will be answered using an automated attendant that will present the caller with choices to route the call to the appropriate staff member. You can still contact each staff member directly by calling their direct line which can be found on the “Our Staff” page on our website. The majority of our staff routinely work remotely at central locations throughout the inland river system and we are prepared to maintain continuity of services.

Be well, be safe and stay sanitized.

TVIB TALKS: Factors to Consider in TPO Selection

Final Installment – At the 2017 International WorkBoat Show last December, Chris Parsonage, TVIB President, presented on a panel discussing the TSMS option versus the U.S. Coast Guard Inspection option for Subchapter M compliance.  Following is the fourth and final in a series of posts from that presentation.

Factors to consider in TPO selection:

  • What are the major costs that should be considered?
    • What does the TPO charge?
    • What happens after the introductory special disappears?
  • Is my TPO committed to the Commercial Towing Market?
    • Will the TPO be less responsive when the oil industry rebounds?
  • Can the TPO meet our schedules?
    • Can the TPO perform multiple compliance audits within one audit so that it will meet other audit requirements such as AWO RCP?
    • What is the anticipated vessel downtime waiting for inspections or audits to be completed?
  • Will the TPO work to understand my operation?
    • Will the TPO provide guidance to help answer compliance questions unique to my company?
    • Does the TPO offer training for employees of companies selecting the Internal Survey Option?
  • Does the TPO have an adequate number of trained auditors and surveyors?
    • Will there be auditors and surveyors in all the locations where my vessels operate, or will they need to travel a long distance to perform the services?
    • Auditor and surveyor travel costs can amount to 25-40% of the cost of this work.
  • Will the auditors and surveyors be familiar with commercial towing vessels and related regulatory requirements for the specific vessel, and their route and service?
  • How is the TPO going to interpret equipment repair or replacement?

TVIB TALKS: Coast Guard Option – Reasons You Should Think Twice

Installment 3 – At the 2017 International WorkBoat Show last December, Chris Parsonage, TVIB President, presented on a panel discussing the TSMS option versus the U.S. Coast Guard Inspection option for Subchapter M compliance.  Following is the third in a series of posts from that presentation.

Coast Guard Option – Reasons to Think Twice

Questions to consider before going down the path of selecting the Coast Guard Option over the TSMS Option

  • Availability of qualified Coast Guard Marine Inspectors
    • Does Coast Guard have enough qualified personnel to perform inspections?
    • Uncertainty on the availability of Coast Guard marine inspectors to meet demand if industry chooses Coast Guard option.
    • Much discussion surrounding their current staffing levels and whether or not they will have the ability to keep up with additional workloads of inspecting towing vessels.
  • Cost of Coast Guard Inspection
    • $1,030 per year for all vessels but may increase for Coast Guard inspected vessels after completion of pending rulemaking to review charges.
  • The Coast Guard has not determined how they will deal with the audit portion of annual inspections to verify companies have Health and Safety plans that meet requirements.
    • Does Coast Guard have enough trained personnel to perform audits of required Health and Safety Plans?
  • How will an operator schedule the annual COI inspection for linehaul vessels that pass thru multiple OCMI zones when they do not know where the vessel will be 30 days in advance?
  • Will COI inspections be impacted by shifting Coast Guard priorities?
    • Interruptions due to Coast Guard Resources required for other priorities such as natural disaster recovery (hurricanes, floods, etc.).
  • Coast Guard Marine Inspectors may be lacking experience and knowledge of towing vessels.
    • Recent UTV exams for renewal stickers have created concerns with threatened Captain of the Port Orders for items that aren’t required or were arbitrary.

Be sure to check out our upcoming courses: (click on the course name for information and registration)