Coast Guard ensures safety of motor vessel
Posted by PA3 Jonathan Lally, Friday, May 25, 2012
The Coast Guard is tasked with search and rescue, law enforcement and other missions. Among those missions the Coast Guard is tasked with enforcing U.S. maritime regulations and they do this in part through port state control examinations.
The mission of the port state control program is to stop substandard vessels from U.S. trade. The U.S. Coast Guard implements procedures related to risk-based targeting, reporting, examination, and control of foreign-flagged vessels in accordance with the international and domestic regulations for maritime safety and security, and environmental protection.
Coast Guard units screen these vessels prior to arrival at the first U.S. port of call to determine the security, safety and environmental compliance threats a vessel pose to the U.S.
“The risk factor that determine if a vessel exam is required include ship management, flag state, recognized security organization, classification society, safety and security compliance history, vessel type, and last ports of call,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffry Crews, a marine safety technician with Marine Safety Detachment Kodiak. “These exams are aimed to ensure the vessels, equipment and crews falling in line with international and domestic regulations, keeping our waterways safe.”
Crews and other MSD Kodiak personnel conducted at port state control exam of the 510-foot Panamanian-flagged cargo vessel Siva Emerald during the last week of May. Crews explained that a port state control exam typically begins with admittance to the vessel’s terminal facility for security and a dockside walk along the pier. The walk is to note the vessel’s appearance in the water checking for damage, condition of paintwork, corrosion or pitting and the overall structural stability of the vessel.
“Once aboard the lead port state control officer will introduce themselves to the ship’s master and officers discussing the scope of inspection and review pertinent vessel documents, license and certifications to operate the vessel,” said Lt. Matthew Zinn, supervisor for MSD Kodiak. “An exam consists of a walkthrough of the vessel’s machinery spaces, bridge, crew quarters, galley and sickbay. The inspection team also conducts operational tests of life saving gear, navigational equipment steering systems and other various equipment.”
Crews heavily emphasized the importance of the team inspecting the lifesaving gear, rescue boats, liferafts and other associated gear.
“Every port state control exam includes the team witnessing an abandon ship and fire drill to evaluate the crew’s ability to respond to emergencies,” said Crews. “The team ensures crewmembers are familiar with ship procedures, duties and proper use of the ship’s lifesaving and firefighting equipment to demonstrate competency. After the inspection and drills are complete the team will once again meet with the ship’s master and officers to discuss the inspection with them and inform them if there are any deficiencies that need to be taken care of.”
The safety of mariners is a high priority of Coast Guardsmen around the country. Members of marine safety detachment and other units ensure mariners are prepared with emergency and safety gear in case of emergencies.
To view more photos of the port state control exam click here.