President Biden Lauds American Maritime, Jones Act in Visit to Philly Shipyard.
On July 20, President Joe Biden visited Philly Shipyard, Inc.
to celebrate the start of construction on Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company, LLC
’s new rock installation vessel to support the offshore wind industry. In his remarks
, he praised the Jones Act and emphasized the importance of American maritime, mariners, and shipbuilding. “There are some content to rely on ships built overseas, without American crews to operate them. Again, not on my watch!” President Biden emphasized. A video
of the President’s full remarks is available online.
AWO Meets with Coast Guard, Congress to Discuss Path Forward on Harassment Reporting.
AWO staff and member leaders have begun a series of meetings with the Coast Guard and Congress urging a practical approach to new statutory requirements to report complaints or incidents of harassment, sexual harassment and sexual assault to the Coast Guard. On July 19, AWO Chair Rick Iuliucci of The Vane Brothers Company and Vice Chair Kelly Teichman of T&T Marine Salvage, Inc., along with President & CEO Jennifer Carpenter and Vice President – Regulatory Affairs Caitlyn Stewart, met with Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy RDML Wayne Arguin and his team to discuss the agency’s interpretation and implementation of the statute and identify ways to clarify the reporting procedures. RDML Arguin confirmed that, per the statute, responsible entities of a commercial vessel – owners, masters, or managing operators – are obliged to report complaints or incidents of harassment if they are determined to violate company policy or law
. RDML Arguin also committed to further discussion with AWO’s Executive Committee at the upcoming Coast Guard-AWO Safety Partnership National Quality Steering Committee on August 8. Separately, AWO has met with House Transportation and Infrastructure and Senate Commerce Committee staff to discuss the challenges posed by the undefined term “harassment” in the statute. For more information, please contact Caitlyn Stewart
Coast Guard Updates Guidance on Design and Operation of ATBs.
The Coast Guard has published NVIC 02-81, Ch-2
to provide marine inspectors and the maritime industry with guidance for the inspection of integrated and articulated tug-barge combinations. The effort to update NVIC 02-81, which was first published in 1981, originated in the Coast Guard-AWO Safety Partnership in 2015 when it became clear that the prevalence, design, and operation of ATBs had changed considerably since the guidance was initially developed. The NVIC now recognizes the evolution of ATBs, includes a definition of ATB, and, in Enclosure (1), addresses aspects of ATB inspection and certification that are not covered by Subchapter M or manning and credentialing regulations. Enclosure (2) of the NVIC incorporates guidance for the issuance of conditional occupancy endorsements to unmanned ATB barges that was previously contained in the now-canceled CG-CVC Policy Letter 16-04. AWO will be working with members that operate ATBs to ensure the guidance, particularly the requirements for lifesaving equipment, are clear and practicable.
Coast Guard Revises Work Instruction on Drydock Examination and Drydock Extension Policy Clarifications.
The Coast Guard Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance has updated CVC-WI-029(3)
to clarify that for vessels subject to drydock examinations under an international convention or class certificate from an authorized classification society, the “Next Exam” date should align with the drydock examination due date assigned by the organization that issued the certificate. AWO has advocated for this clarification so as to simplify compliance for operators whose vessels are classed or hold International Load Line Certificates. The Coast Guard has also removed out-of-date information related to the Subchapter M COI phase-in period and is relocating information about underwater surveys in lieu of drydocking (UWILD) to a new work instruction now under development.
Coast Guard Publishes New Guidance on Electronic Charts Carriage.
The Coast Guard Office of Navigation Systems has issued Policy Letter 01-23
to provide guidance on chart carriage requirements during the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s sunsetting of its traditional paper and raster nautical chart products. The policy letter provides that paper charts derived from the online NOAA Custom Chart application, which enables users to create customized nautical charts, may meet carriage requirements if they are printed to a large scale, preferably by a NOAA-certified print-on-demand agent, and if the print date is within six months of the date of inspection or currently corrected for the transit of the vessel. Although AWO has advocated for the Coast Guard to permit vessels operating on domestic voyages outside of the territorial sea baseline to use software-based, platform-independent electronic chart systems (ECS) in lieu of paper charts, the policy letter reiterates that, as per NVIC 01-16, Ch-2
, such vessels must use an RTCM Class A or Class B ECS in order to meet chart carriage requirements with electronic charts. AWO is working with our Electronic Charts Working Group to determine whether additional action is needed to ensure members can practically comply with chart carriage requirements as the NOAA sunsetting process continues.
RiverWorks Discovery Launches Career FAQs Webpage with AWO, Industry Collaboration.
RiverWorks Discovery, an outreach program educating students and communities about the importance of the inland waterways, recently launched a new careers webpage
that answers 14 key questions for individuals considering a career in the inland towing industry. AWO Director – Safety & Sustainability Mike Breslin and members Marquette Transportation Company, Ingram Barge Company, and Kirby Corporation contributed to this important resource to help grow interest in maritime careers.
AWO Releases Video Highlighting Industry Sustainability Leadership.
Earlier this month, AWO released a video, The Tugboat, Towboat and Barge Industry: A Sustainability Leader Today, And Tomorrow
, as part of our work to implement the Board-approved recommendations of the CEO Sustainability Task Force. Using real-world images as well as animated graphics, the video highlights our industry’s natural environmental advantages and commitment to sustainability leadership moving forward.
We encourage you to share it on your social media channels and within your companies and communities.
IMO Adopts More Stringent GHG Emissions Reduction Goals.
The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) recently adopted
the 2023 IMO Strategy on Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGs) from Ships. The new, non-binding strategy calls for the international shipping industry to reach net-zero GHG emissions by 2050, which supersedes the IMO’s previous target of reducing GHG emissions by 50% in that timeframe. The strategy calls for improving the energy efficiency of new ships, reducing emissions per instance of transport work, and taking up low and zero-emission fuels and technologies, as well as setting more aggressive mid-term measures and committing to reduce GHG emissions from international shipping by at least 20% by 2030 and by at least 70% by 2040 (compared to 2008 levels). These targets will place the ambitions for decarbonizing international shipping in line with the global Paris Agreement’s GHG reduction targets.
MARAD Offering Funding for Low Carbon Vessel Demonstration Project.
The Maritime Administration (MARAD) has issued a request for proposals
through its Maritime Environmental and Technical Assistance program for projects to demonstrate low carbon technologies for domestic commercial vessels. MARAD is offering up to $1.5 million for one or more projects to be completed within a three-year timeframe. The deadline to submit proposals is August 28.
Coast Guard Clarifies Designated Examiner Requirements.
The National Maritime Center recently released a new bulletin clarifying the requirements for new and renewal Designated Examiner applications.
In particular, the bulletin recognizes that mariners can meet the regulatory requirements to qualify as a Designated Examiner (DE) while holding either a Mate (Pilot) of Towing Vessels endorsement or a Master of Towing Vessels endorsement with at least 12 months of service on the route requested.
The NMC had previously required applicants to hold and serve under the authority of a Master of Towing Vessels endorsement for 12 months. AWO had raised concerns about this with NMC leadership at the most recent National Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (N-MERPAC). Going forward, AWO will work with the NMC to further clarify several concerns that AWO members have raised with the new bulletin.
AWO Comments on Rice’s Whales Rulemaking Petition.
A recent petition, submitted jointly by several environmental organizations, urges the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to implement speed restrictions and prohibitions on nighttime transits to protect endangered Rice’s whales in the Gulf of Mexico. AWO submitted comments
in response, emphasizing that the petition lacks data to justify the proposed restrictions and that prohibitions on nighttime transits would disrupt the efficient flow of maritime commerce. AWO also urged NOAA to work with all impacted stakeholders to develop a more practical solution. If you have any questions, please contact Adila Fathallah
N-MEDMAC to Meet in September; Seeks to Fill Two Open Seats.
The Coast Guard recently announced that the National Merchant Mariner Medical Advisory Committee (N-MEDMAC) will meet virtually on September 12-13. Additionally, the Coast Guard is accepting applications through September 12
to fill two open membership seats on the committee. One seat is reserved for a healthcare professional and the other for a professional mariner. N-MEDMAC is an important federal advisory committee with which AWO engages on matters of medical standards and certification of mariners. Additional member engagement can help to ensure the tugboat, towboat and barge industry is represented in the committee’s recommendations to the Coast Guard.
AWO PAC Corner
AWO and Inside Elections.
AWO PAC has partnered with Inside Elections
for another special edition
, featuring insights on elections from around the country.
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.
Corps Requests Project Proposals for Small or Disadvantaged Communities.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has issued a Request for Project Proposals
for Section 165 of the Water Resources Development Act of 2020, a pilot program for Continuing Authority Program (CAP) projects in small or disadvantaged communities. Allowed CAP projects, which do not require specific Congressional authorization, include navigation improvements and sediment removal. This pilot program will carry out 20 projects at 100% federal cost. The Corps will consider proposals submitted by August 21, 2023.
California Expands Access to Funding for Vessel Repowers.
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has proposed revisions
to the Carl Moyer Memorial Air Quality Standards Attainment Program Guidelines. Under these changes, any vessel regulated under the Commercial Harbor Craft or At Berth rule can receive project funding for up to 85 percent of the cost. The proposal would also decrease the lead time requirement from three years to one and include new language to allow companies to keep project funding if the work extends beyond the compliance deadline. CARB will host a webinar on the proposed changes on July 28 at 11:00 am Pacific time. Click here
Seattle Mayor Signs Law Updating Seattle Maritime, Industrial Strategy. On July 25, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell signed into law updates to Seattle’s industrial and maritime strategy. The package, 16 years in the making, was previously approved by the Seattle City Council on July 18 and ensures that industrial lands throughout Seattle will not be handed over to developers for hotels and other hospitality options. AWO attended the signing at the Port of Seattle, during which Mayor Harrell highlighted member Western Towboat Company and explained the importance of these land-use protections.
Sector Columbia River Hosts Lunch for AWO Members. CAPT Justin Noggle, who began his three-year term as Commander of Coast Guard Sector Columbia River in May, welcomed AWO members to the Coast Guard facility on July 13. Members and Coast Guard personnel had the opportunity to discuss important issues including the Lower Snake River dams and vessel inspections.
Congressional Staffers Tour Foss Columbia River Fleet Monitoring Center. On July 14, staff from the offices of Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-WA) and Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR) discussed the importance of the Jones Act and infrastructure grants, improvements needed with permitting timelines, and the importance of industrial land for maritime trade in a visit to Foss Maritime’s Columbia River Fleet Monitoring Center. The visit concluded with a trip on the river aboard a Foss vessel.
AWO, McAllister Host Tugboat Tour in Jacksonville. On June 26, McAllister Towing hosted a tugboat tour on the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, FL. Staff for both federal and state lawmakers attended, giving AWO an opportunity to highlight the safety and sustainability of the towing industry and the importance of the Jones Act to the U.S. economy and national security. Many thanks to Captains Chuck Runnion and Sean Hammock for hosting the tour.
Please Join Us at an AWO Summer Event!
Register today to join the AWO staff and member colleagues for one or more of our upcoming events. Registration is now open on your AWO Member Dashboard
, or contact AWO Meetings
All employees of AWO member companies are warmly welcome to attend – company executives, operations managers, safety professionals, port captains, mariners, you name it. Your AWO membership benefits all your teammates!
August 1 – Pacific Region Roundtable, San Francisco, CA
August 3 – Midwest Region Roundtable, Chicago, IL
August 16-17 – Safety Committees' Summer Meeting, St. Louis, MO
August 23 – Atlantic Region Roundtable, Staten Island, NY
Register for the Summer AWO Safety Meeting.
Join us on August 16 & 17 for the AWO Safety Committees’ Summer Meeting in St. Louis. We have a fantastic slate of subject matter experts and speakers lined up to discuss advances in industry technologies and current safety issues impacting your business. Speaker bios and more details to come! Register today on your AWO Member Dashboard