AWO Letter - April 9, 2024

AWO Welcomes Three New Members. Please join AWO in giving a warm welcome to our newest members:
  • First Citizens Bank provides maritime financial services, including vessel loans and charters.
  • Palmer Johnson Power Systems offers applications and service support to the marine industry and has ten sales and service branches across North America.
  • WireCo Synthetics supplies steel ropes and synthetic ropes to the tugboat, towboat, and barge industry.
For more information, please contact Caitlin Kidd.
AWO Releases Updated Statement on Baltimore Bridge Collapse. On March 29, AWO released an updated statement on the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore. In the statement, AWO emphasizes that the association “shares the public’s interest” in investigating the allision and understanding how to prevent future such incidents.
AWO will continue to monitor the situation in Baltimore and ensure that the industry is positioned to help guide any policy or operational responses to this tragic incident. Please continue to check the AWO website and our social media channels for updated statements.
AWO President & CEO Jennifer Carpenter recently spoke with WorkBoat about the complex factors that need to be considered as decisionmakers weigh potential tug escort requirements going forward. “We must ask what do we want the tugs to do, what is the added margin of safety that they will provide? What size and capacity should they be?” she explained. “Tug escort is a complicated maneuver.”
Patrick Sutton Nominated as Next AWO Vice Chairman. The AWO Executive Committee has unanimously approved the nomination of Patrick Sutton, Chief Operating Officer of American Commercial Barge Line and current AWO Ohio Valley Region Chairman, as AWO’s next Vice Chairman of the Board. Patrick’s nomination will be considered by the full membership at AWO’s Annual Membership and Board of Directors Meeting on May 14 in conjunction with the Spring Convention and Barge-In in Washington, D.C.
New members of the AWO Board of Directors who were elected at the annual meetings of the AWO regions in February and March will be formally enrolled and take their seats at the May meeting, along with AWO’s national and regional affiliate members of the Board who, as provided by the AWO Constitution, were elected by the Executive Committee. The incoming 2024-2025 Board of Directors list is available here.
Coast Guard Confirms Master Key Control System Requirement Does Not Require Installation of Locks. CAPT Mark Neeland, Chief of the Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance, has advised AWO in writing that “if a vessel does not currently have locks onboard, there is no requirement that locks be installed” in order to comply with the statutory requirement for certain commercial vessels to establish a master key control system (46 U.S.C. §3106). CAPT Neeland has committed to discuss this issue on the next regular conference call of Chiefs, Inspection Division (CIDs), and AWO has requested that the relevant FAQs in MSIB 13-23, Ch. 1, be revised to clarify this point.
2023 U.S. Coast Guard Port State Control Annual Report Released. The Coast Guard released its 2023 Port State Control Annual Report summarizing the enforcement of international conventions on foreign vessels trading in U.S. ports. Per the report, the Coast Guard conducted 8,278 Port State Control examinations and detained a total of 101 ships for environmental protection, safety, and security-related deficiencies in 2023. The 2023 detention rate of 1.22% is an increase over previous years, which the agency identifies as a global trend and a possible indicator of long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which examinations were reduced and maintenance was delayed or deferred. The Coast Guard’s 2023 Flag State Control Annual Report on the U.S. inspected fleet is forthcoming.
NMSAC and NCTSAC Accepting Membership Applications. The National Maritime Security Advisory Committee (NMSAC) and National Chemical Transportation Safety Advisory Committee (NCTSAC) are soliciting applications to fill multiple vacancies. This includes, for NMSAC, representatives of the maritime industry, vessel owners/operators, facility owners/operators; and, for NCTSAC, entities involved in marine handling or transportation of chemicals and marine safety. NMSAC is a Congressionally authorized Federal Advisory Committee (FAC) that advises the Coast Guard on topics related to national maritime security, focusing on enhancing cybersecurity information-sharing across public and private stakeholders and assessing security risks of autonomous systems, while NCTSAC is a FAC that advises the Coast Guard on matters relating to the safe and secure marine transportation of hazardous materials. Both committees are valuable forums for the private sector and the public to collaborate directly with federal agencies on regulatory matters that are otherwise off-limits. Applications for NMSAC are due May 28 and applications for NCTSAC are due June 3.
Garbage Record Book Requirements to Apply to All Vessels 100 GT and Above. The Coast Guard has published MSIB 03-24 to notify the maritime industry that, as a result of amendments to MARPOL Annex V Regulation 10, all U.S.-flag vessels of 100 gross tons and above will be required to carry and make entries in a garbage record book as of May 1, 2024. Garbage record books document the discharge (into the sea or to a reception facility) or incineration of garbage, and there are many templates commercially available. Please contact Caitlyn Stewart with any questions or concerns.
Senator Manchin Speaks in Support of Inland Waterways Workers Safety on Senate Floor. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced a resolution to declare March 22, 2024 as National Inland Waterways Workers Safety Awareness Day. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) also joined Sen. Manchin in supporting the resolution, which honors Gabe White, who died in a barge accident in 2023.
“Our resolution recognizes the need to continue to improve the safe transportation of domestic cargo, and above all else, to reduce transportation vessel and shipyard-related incidents, fatalities, and injuries, so that another family like Gabe’s does not have to endure such a tragic loss,” Sen. Manchin explained.
The resolution also recognizes the American Waterways Operators, the Coast Guard, and other stakeholders that are working to improve towing vessel safety.
AWO PAC Corner
AWO PAC and Inside Elections. AWO PAC has partnered with Inside Elections for another special edition, featuring an overview of House elections from across the country.
AWO PAC is the connected political action committee for The American Waterways Operators and serves as the trade association's separate segregated fund. As a trade association, AWO is prohibited from using general treasury funds or membership dues to make federal contributions. AWO is one of the most effective advocacy associations in Washington, DC, and relies on voluntary personal contributions to fund AWO PAC.
AWO PAC supports federal candidates who are champions of the U.S. tugboat, towboat and barge industry and who are leaders on issues important to our industry. AWO PAC is dedicated to protecting AWO members' investments in the safest, most environmentally responsible and most economical mode of freight transportation and safeguarding the integrity of the Jones Act to protect the bottom lines of our members.
AWO PAC may solicit contributions from individuals of a member company once the member representative gives AWO written prior approval.
AWO Holds Pennsylvania Barge-In. On March 26 and 27, AWO staff and members visited Harrisburg, PA to meet with key lawmakers about important maritime issues as part of a Pennsylvania advocacy day. AWO members Nathan Hauser of Moran Towing Corporation, Larry Strohm of Hays Tug and Launch Services, and Ray Pollum of Campbell Transportation Company, Inc. joined AWO Senior Manager – Midcontinent Office Justin Lampert, State Advocacy Director Kyle Burleson, and Vice President – Atlantic Region Brian Vahey in meetings with, among others, the House Transportation Committee chairman, Commerce Committee chairman, Ports Subcommittee chairman, and several cosponsors and the chief sponsor of the anti-Jones Act resolution in the PA house. Topics of conversation included the Jones Act, workforce development issues, and the impact of the maritime industry in the state.
Many thanks to Nathan, Larry, and Ray for joining our efforts and helping to make a real impact with legislators.
AWO Holds Coast Guard Luncheon in Romeoville, IL. On April 2, AWO members including Illinois Marine Towing, Inc., Middle River Marine, LLC, Northern Marine, LLC, ARTCO, Port City Marine Services, Inc., and Holcim took part in a luncheon discussion with Coast Guard MSU Chicago. Attendees discussed topics including recreational boater safety, cybersecurity, Subchapter M, SASH reporting, and the Brandon Road Project. These luncheons are held to improve dialogue between industry and the Coast Guard. Thank you to all who attended!
AWO Attends Change of Command for Sector LA/LB. On March 29, CAPT Ryan Manning handed over Sector Los Angeles/Long Beach command duties to CAPT Stacey Crecy in a two-hour ceremony that concluded with CAPT Manning’s retirement. RADM Andrew M. Sugimoto, 11th District Commander, emceed the ceremony, heralding CAPT Manning’s long Coast Guard career and highlighting CAPT Crecy’s expertise in oil spill response. Previously, CAPT Crecy served as deputy commander of Sector LA/LB. CAPT Manning will be staying in Southern California as Director of Port Security for the Port of Long Beach.
USCG Hosts Industry Day in Sector Boston. On March 27, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Boston hosted an industry day in Boston, MA. The Coast Guard organized the event to encourage coordination between the Coast Guard and port stakeholders and facilitate information sharing between groups. The event was opened by RADM John Mauger, District 1 Commander, and CAPT Kailie Benson, Sector Commander, and included presentations from the Boston Harbor Safety Committee, MassPort, Boston Duck Tours, and City Experiences. AWO Vice President – Atlantic Region Brian Vahey attended and spoke about the towing industry’s advocacy priorities, safety initiatives, and the importance of a strong partnership between the Coast Guard and industry.
AWO Partners with Reuters Offshore Wind USA 2024. AWO President & CEO Jennifer Carpenter will host a panel on the Jones Act and building out a U.S. fleet of vessels to serve the offshore wind industry, and deliver a featured presentation on the Jones Act, during Reuters’ Offshore Wind USA 2024, set for June 17-18 in Boston, MA. The conference will feature a select group of 500+ policymakers, developers, suppliers and more in the offshore wind industry, including the White House National Climate Advisor and leading industry players like Avangrid, Ørsted, Equinor, and Shell.
Learn more and register online.
Navigating to Zero – March 2024 Recap. The latest edition of AWO's Navigating to Zero Safety and Sustainability Newsletter features articles on the newly implemented Safety Statistics Reporting Program improvements and new SSRP Manual; the new AWO Safety Video; recent American Waterways HERO Award recipients; and the inaugural meeting of the AWO-OCIMF SIRE working group. The March NTZ also includes member-submitted high value near misses and lessons learned from recent USCG and NTSB investigation reports and the Safety Professional Focus featuring Maureen Hwang of Metropolitan Marine.
Read these stories and more in the March NTZ and please be sure to send in your SSRP reports for the 1st quarter. and your High Value Near Misses, and recognize your crew's HEROic acts!
Register Now for Spring Convention and Barge-In! AWO Spring Convention and Barge-In is around the corner! Register now and book your room at the Westin Hotel DC Downtown, which will close on April 22 or when the room block is full.
Registration link: AWO Member Dashboard
Hotel reservation link: The Westin Washington, DC Downtown
Visit the AWO Events Calendar to learn more about Spring Convention and all other upcoming AWO Events.