News Archives from 10-9-2013 to 2-04-2014

AIS Aids to Navigation to be Tested . . . February 4, 2014

The USCG Navigation Center advised on February 4, 2014, that in the near future, the Coast Guard and other authorized agencies and the Marine Exchange of Alaska  will begin transmitting Automated Identification System (AIS) aids to navigation (ATON) messages and marine safety information via AIS for testing and evaluation. The exact content, location, and times of these broadcasts will be announced in future Local Notices to Mariners. (2/4/14). Additional information and details are provided in the notice linked below.

AIS Aids to Navigation Notice

STCW Convention Amendments Adopted . . . December 24, 2013

On December 24, 2013, the Coast Guard published a final rule implementing the amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). The purpose of the final rule is to fully harmonize and incorporate the requirements for national licenses with those of the STCW Convention. Complete details are in the final rule linked below.

STCW Convention Amendments Final Rule

In June 2014 the Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies (MITAGS) published a 20 page guide to the 218 page Coast Guard rulemaking referenced above. The guide is linked below. Good luck to any seafarer required to comply with this set of rules.

MITAGS Guide to STCW Amendments

Cargo Securing Manuals Proposed . . . November 15, 2013

The Coast Guard proposes requiring cargo securing manuals (CSMs) on vessels of 500 gross tons or more traveling on international voyages and carrying cargo that is other than solid or liquid bulk cargo. The proposed regulations would authorize recognized classification societies or other approval authorities to review and approve CSMs on behalf of the Coast Guard. Complete details are in the Federal Register linked below.

Federal Register Cargo Securing Manuals

NOAA to Cease Printing Charts . . . October 24, 2013

NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey has announced major changes ahead for mariners and others who use nautical charts. Starting April 13, 2014, the federal government will no longer print traditional lithographic (paper) nautical charts .  NOAA will continue to provide other forms of nautical charts, including Print-on-Demand paper charts as well as electronic and digital formats. Since 1862, those lithographic nautical charts -- available in marine shops and other stores -- have been printed by the U.S. government and sold to the public by commercial vendors. The decision to stop production is based on several factors: the declining demand for lithographic charts, the increasing use of digital and electronic charts, and federal budget realities. NOAA will continue to create and maintain other forms of nautical charts, including the increasingly popular Print on Demand (POD) charts , updated paper charts available from NOAA-certified printers. NOAA electronic navigational charts (NOAA ENC®) and raster navigational charts (NOAA RNC®), used in a variety of electronic charting systems, are also updated weekly and are available for free download from the Coast Survey website. NOAA announced a new product as well: full-scale PDF (Portable Digital Format) nautical charts, available for download on a trial basis. Note: Although NOAA will cease printing paper charts, the Marine Exchange of Alaska will continue to be a source for NOAA’s Print on Demand Paper Charts.

Merchant Mariner Credential Renewal During Government Shutdown. . . October 10, 2013

On October 9, 2013, the U.S. Coast Guard National Maritime Center and the Inspections and Compliance Directorate issued a Marine Safety Information Bulletin concerning procedures to be used by merchant mariners whose mariner credentials are expiring during the time of the present government shutdown. Complete details on the procedures to be followed are provided in the Marine Safety Information Bulletin linked below.

Marine Safety Information Bulletin Extension of Expiring Merchant Marine Credentials