Abide by Federal Record-Keeping Regulations for Specialized Ships

by | Saturday, December 28, 2013 |

As a ship owner, you are well aware that the United States Coast Guard (USCG) implements hundreds of regulations that ship owners are expected to follow. If you operate a specialized vessel, the requirements can get even more complicated. You will be expected to follow a plethora of mandates, including rules for issues such as ship design, purpose, safety procedures and logging requirements.

What is a specialized ship?

Specialized vessels have unique purposes, components and needs. The USCG has different requirements for each vessel type. For instance, a few categories the USCG has partitioned vessels into include:

  • Tugboats – These small, powerful vessels tow or push other vessels, such as ships in narrow canals, oil platforms and barges.
  • Cable-laying vessels – These deep-sea vessels assist the telecommunication, electric and other industries by laying cable on the ocean floor.
  • Anchor-handling tug supply vessels – These ships are used for anchor handling, towing and sometimes for rescue purposes in emergency type situations.
  • Marine firefighting vessels – These are vessels whose purpose is to fight fires on ships, as well as occasional shore-based fires.
  • Pipelayer – Pipelaying vessels lay pipes on the ocean floor, mostly for the gas and oil industries.

Other types of specialized vessels include ships specifically used for purposes such as:

  • drilling;
  • ice breaking;
  • seismic studies;
  • subsea welling;
  • carrying oil;
  • carrying liquefied gases and chemicals;
  • carrying passengers;
  • carrying containers;
  • carrying vehicles; and
  • oil spill recovery.

Knowing which category your vessel falls under is vital because it will determine exactly what your specialized vessel’s requirements are. As a ship owner or operator, it will be your responsibly to learn what is required for your vessel and to ensure your vessel and crew meet those regulations.

Abiding by Logging Requirements for Specialized Vessels

It’s important know what records you’re required to keep and keep detailed, accurate, up-to-date and USCG-approved logs to avoid hefty fines and penalties.

The USCG has stringent vessel-specific regulations for record keeping. For instance, cargo ships carrying noxious liquid substances in bulk are required to keep a record book that is in accordance with MARPOL 73/78, ANNEX II, REGULATION 9 and 46 CFR 153.909. Some of the information these vessel operators are required to keep include:

  • loading details (place, tank identity, substance, category and quantity);
  • identifying internal cargo transfers;
  • unloading details (place of unloading, cargo temperature, prewash requirements, etc.);
  • detailed washing methods logs;
  • time of ballasting of cargo tanks; and
  • details regarding discharging of washing and ballast water into the sea.

As stated, these requirements are only a partial list, and they only pertain to ships carrying noxious liquid. You’ll want to learn and study the rules specific to your vessel.

Determining What Records You Need to Keep for Your Specialized Ship

My Vessel Logs has been supplying the maritime industry for over four decades. We have an in-depth understanding of ship owners’ needs and know how to help them abide by strict government logging requirements.

To determine exactly what logbooks your vessel might need, download our FREE Logbook Quick Reference Guide. For more information or to place your order, call MyVesselLogs, a division of Marine Education Textbooks, Inc., today at (888) 229-5857.

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