“If the TSMS prescribes the internal survey be conducted as a single event, then the survey shall be based on the anniversary date of the COI and may take place within a six-month window, between 90 days prior to and 90 days after the anniversary date. However, surveys for renewal, which occur every five years, must be completed within 90 days before the expiration date of the COI.” – Excerpt from CG-CVC Policy Letter 17-04 CH-2 – dated 12/31/2019.
In late November, just before Thanksgiving, TVIB submitted an appeal to the USCGs interpretation of the timing for annual surveys performed under an internal survey program. The TVNCOE had interpreted that annual surveys performed under an internal survey program must be performed within 12 months of the previous annual internal survey. This interpretation was upheld by CG-CVC. TVIB contended that the regulations were silent on the timing for annual surveys performed as a single event and therefor held that the timeline stated for those same surveys performed under an external survey program would be subject to the 90-days before or 90-days after the anniversary date of the COI. We felt that there we no risks to the safety profile of the vessel by allowing the same time frame for annual surveys under an internal or external survey program. Further, to hold a vessel to their interpretation would create a form of “creep” where an operator would lose time each year in order to ensure the survey was completed on time.
TVIB was notified on 12/31/2019 that the USCG had reviewed the appeal and determined the following: “we find it appropriate to extend a similar compliance schedule for a single event internal survey to that outlined for the external survey program. Therefore, if the owner or managing operator chooses to conduct the internal survey in 46 CFR 137.210, as one event, then the survey must be conducted within 3 months of the anniversary date of the COI (+ or – 3 months).” This finding resulted in a policy change which can be found in CG-CVC Policy Letter 17-04 CH-2, dated 12/31/2019. This was a positive result for the industry and we wish to thank the USCG for their careful consideration of TVIBs appeal on this matter. Further, we have updated our original blog post from 09/30/2019 to remove language related to “unless otherwise prescribed” in reference to this matter.