Coast Guard scheduled to begin Phase 2 of Towing Vessel Bridging Program

8th Coast Guard District NewsNEW ORLEANS — The Coast Guard is scheduled to begin Phase Two of the Towing Vessel Bridging Program, July 1, conducting prioritized examinations aboard towing vessels that have not undergone voluntary examination during Phase One.

To date, 2,887 towing vessels operating in the Coast Guard’s Eighth District waters, or approximately75% of the towing vessels, have participated in the program thus far. Coast Guard examiners have issued more than 2,400 safety decals, conducted more than 3,000 examinations and verified corrective action on more than 1,600 deficiencies.

“Our goal is 100% participation,” said Michael White, towing vessel specialist for the Eighth Coast Guard District who oversees all the Coast Guard’s towing vessel activities for 26 states, 1,200 miles of coastline and 10,300 miles of inland navigable waterways. “We will be aggressively seeking out vessels who have not received an examination during Phase Two of this program.”

There are more than 900 vessels operating in the District’s area of responsibility that have not yet participated in the program.

On June 12, 2009, the Coast Guard partnered with the towing vessel industry and American Waterways Operators to develop and initiate the TVBP. Its primary purpose is to better prepare both the Coast Guard and the towing vessel industry for a new inspections regime under pending Subchapter M regulations.

“These changes to inspection standards for the industry will help improve the safety of towing vessel operations on our nation’s waterways and protect life, property and the marine environment,” said White.

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