On November 21 the U.S. Coast Guard formally accepted the AWO Responsible Carrier Program as an existing Safety Management System that complies with the requirements of Subchapter M. In a letter conveying the acceptance, RADM Paul Thomas, Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy, wrote, “This is a significant milestone in the implementation of Subchapter M and . . . your staff and your members are to be commended on this remarkable achievement. This is an important first step in instilling a culture of safety across the towing industry.”
Subchapter M is the most important rulemaking ever to affect the tugboat, towboat and barge industry, and the American Waterways Operators is committed to helping all members successfully navigate the transition to towing vessel inspection. AWO’s Board of Directors has also asked the association to serve as an information resource for the entire industry, including tugboat and towboat companies that do not belong to AWO, so that the rule’s promise of improved marine safety and environmental stewardship industry-wide can be achieved.