Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Top 10 Towing Vessel Deficiencies—Part I

Excerpted from “Top Ten Deficiencies Found on Vessels.” Full text available on http://homeport.uscg.mil/. Navigate to missions/investigations/safety reports.

The U.S. Coast Guard Office of Investigations and Analysis recently examined vessel deficiencies in various vessel classes to identify the 10 most common deficiencies in each class.
We share these so that owners can take corrective action, rectify problems prior to scheduling the next Coast Guard examination, and ensure continual compliance with safety and environmental requirements.

General Alarm 46 CFR 27.201
Missing alarm placards and visual indicators as well as inoperable audible indicators are frequent deficiencies on towing vessels.

Running Lights Inoperable or Defective 46 CFR 25.10-3
Many towing vessels are found to have inoperable stern, masthead, and sidelights. In some instances the installation of these lights conflicts with the International and Inland Navigation Rules.

Owner/operator checklist:
  • Inspect running lights periodically, paying particular attention to the condition of the lenses, wattage, and focal height of the light bulbs.
  • The bulb’s filament must be at the same height as the middle portion of the lens.
  • Household bulbs are not acceptable.
    Remote Fuel Shut-off Valves 46 CFR 27.207
    Any fuel line that supplies fuel directly to a diesel engine must have a shut-off valve that can be remotely operated from outside the space.

    Owner/operator checklist:
    • All mechanical linkages for the valve must be kept clean and lubricated.
    • The valve control must be labeled in one-inch letters. Instructions should be posted in the vicinity of the emergency fuel shut-off valve control.

    Fire Detecting Control Panel 46 CFR 27.203
    Owner/operator checklist:

    • Ensure all of the control panel’s required features function properly, including power-available indicator light, audible alarm, visible indication of the zone (or zones) of the fire’s origin, means to silence the audible alarm, and a circuit fault detector test switch.
    • Labels for all switches and indicators must be in place.
    • Documentation that the system was certified (by a registered professional engineer or a recognized classification society) should be on board.
    • Be prepared to demonstrate proper operation during each examination or boarding.

    Life Buoys SOLAS, Ch. III, Reg. 31, 46 CFR 160.050-6
    Owner/operator checklist:
    • Life buoys on UTVs are not required to be marked with the name of the vessel and the vessel’s hailing port, but the information on the manufacturer’s label must be readable.
    • For UTVs operating under SOLAS, life buoy stowage positions should be marked with “life buoy” or with IMO’s life buoy symbol.
    • Owners/operators should check that the required number of life buoys are equipped with self-igniting lights, self-activated smoke signals, and that the buoyant line is not oxidized.
    The list continues in part 2.