All seagoing vessels are subject to various requirements for documenting their ownership, occupation, and safety. These requirements, as indicated below, vary greatly, depending on the size and type of vessel, its employment, the area of operations, etc. The language used herein is chosen to convey the sense of the regulations; for the actual legal wording, reference is made to the pertinent parts of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), the United States Code (USC), or other sources. References to the CFR and USC generally are cited as the Title Number (e.g. 46) Source (e.g. CFR or USC) and Part Number (e.g. 189) such that 46 CFR 188 would be the reference for the beginning of the regulations regarding Oceanographic Research Vessels.
33 CFR - Navigation and Navigable Waters
33 CFR 101 and 104 - International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS)
33 CFR 138, 33 USC 2702 to 2761 - Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90)
33 CFR 151 and 155.70 - International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships 1973 (MARPOL)
46 CFR - Shipping
46 CFR 188 – 196 Subchapter U - Oceanographic Research Vessels
46 CFR 10 and 15 - International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch standing for Seafarers (STCW-95)
46 CFR 15.701 - The Seaman’s Competency Act and Officer’s Competency Certificates Convention 1936
46 CFR 15.705 and 46 CFR 15.1111 - respectively - Watches and Rest Periods
46 CFR 188.05-10 - International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS)
46 USC 41 - Motorboat Act
46 USC App 688a - Jones Act
46 USC 32, 33 CFR 96.100 et seq. - International Management Code for the Safe Operations of Ships and Pollution Prevention (ISM)
46 USC 43, 46 CFR 24 - 27 - Federal Boat Safety Act of 1971
46 USC 51 and 46 CFR 42 et seq. - International Load Line Act
Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circulars (NVIC) - Informational material published by the USCG.
NVIC 8-83 - MARPOL 73/78 Annex I, Regulation 9 and 26
NVIC 11-93 Ch. 3 - Applicability Of Tonnage Measurement Systems To U.S. Flag Vessels
Impact of NVIC 11-93, Change 3, on New Horizon – Report by Glosten Associates on tonnage applications for intermediate size vessels available on the UNOLS website at:
AMERICAN BUREAU OF SHIPPING (ABS): A non-profit organization authorized by the Coast Guard to ensure compliance with load line regulations and other related safety factors. The organization provides inspection services to operators for a fee. ABS documents and publications (including Rules for Shipbuilding) are available online at http://www.eagle.org.
AMERICAN BOAT AND YACHT COUNCIL (ABYC): This organization is primarily concerned with private pleasure craft and sets standards for small vessel construction. Some of their standards are referenced in portions of these safety standards and some are incorporated by reference in Coast Guard regulations concerning small craft and commercial fishing vessels. ABYC standards and technical reports are available at http://www.abycinc.org/index.cfm.
U.S. COAST GUARD (USCG): The Federal agency charged with enforcement of many laws and regulations concerning ships and seagoing operations. Information and inspection services are provided either from headquarters in Washington or from several district offices around the country. Operators should always check with their local Coast Guard Sector Office or Officer in Charge of Marine Inspection (OCMI) for interpretation of laws and regulations. For information use the website located at: http://homeport.uscg.mil/mycg/portal/ep/home.do.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION (FCC): Federal agency charged with the regulation of radio communications, including those to, from and between ships. (47 CFR) Contact FCC at http://www.fcc.gov/searchtools.html.
INTERNATIONAL MARITIME ORGANIZATION (IMO): Established during a 1948 United Nations conference, IMO is an international body devoted exclusively to maritime matters. Headquartered in London, IMO consists of various committees and subcommittees. The Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) is the senior committee that carries out the organizations technical work. At a 1960 conference, IMO adopted the International Convention on Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). SOLAS is the basic international instrument dealing with matters of marine safety. SOLAS has been amended several times. These amendments cover a variety of issues such as vessel construction and fire safety, Roll On – Roll Off (RO-RO) passenger ship safety, passenger ship safety, GMDSS, tonnage admeasurements, traffic separation schemes, INMARSAT, fishing boat safety, STCW, etc. IMO conventions have also led to adoption of oil pollution policies. These include the 1973 International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) and the 1990 International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness Response and Cooperation (OPRC). IMO can be contacted at http://www.imo.org.
INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF STANDARDIZATION (ISO): ISO is a non-government organization that develops various international standards for business, government and society. ISO standards distill an international consensus for standards from a broad base of stakeholders. It is recognized worldwide. Two management systems exist, ISO 9000, which deals with quality management, and ISO 14000, which deals with environmental management. ISO 9000 is the standard that certified auditors for ISM code are trained to meet. To implement ISO 9000, ISO 9001 was developed. It is a series of documents that define the requirements for a Quality Management Safety Standard. Certification under ISO 9001 meets the certification requirements for ISM provided that an alcohol & drug abuse/misuse policy and the handling of contingencies are added to the ISO 9001 standards. ISO does not perform certifications nor are their standards compulsory. However, following ISO 9001 standards as closely as possible will ease the certification process under ISM. Information regarding the standards can be found at http://www.iso.org.
INSTITUTE OF ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC ENGINEERS (IEEE): A professional group, which develops standards in electrical and electronic practices. Many of these standards are incorporated as legal or prudent requirements for ships. Their standards are located at http://www.ieee.org.
UNERWRITERS LABORATORIES (UL): A testing and certification laboratory that provides standards and tests equipment for safety. Some of their standards are used in Coast Guard regulations by reference such as those for smoke detectors and commercial cooking exhaust hoods. UL can be contacted at http://www.ul.com.
NATIONAL FIRE PROTECTION ASSOCIATION (NFPA): A professional organization that sets standards for fire fighting equipment and standards for fire prevention. Some of their standards are included in Coast Guard regulations by reference such as those for a National Electrical Code and for pleasure and commercial motor craft. NFPA is available online at http://www.nfpa.org.
SEAFARERS HEALTH IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM (SHIP): A collaborative group with membership from ship owners/operators, seafarers, shipping associations, U.S. Public Health Service, U.S. Maritime Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard. See NVIC 3-83 for more information. http://www.uscg.mil/hq/g-m/nvic/3_83/n3-83.pdf
Other than weight as in displacement, discussed below, other forms of tons and tonnages are arcane descriptors of ship size that may readily be traced back to the Magna Carta and beyond. The numbers so derived are used to determine fees and applicability of national and international regulations. For officially determining which version and formula applies and calculating tonnage the services of a professional Naval Architect are required.
REGISTERED TONS: A “registered ton” is a measure of volume, in which one registered ton = 100 ft 3. There are two types of registered tonnages: “Gross” and “Net”. Gross Registered Tonnage (GRT) is the total enclosed volume of the vessel, minus certain exempted spaces. Net Registered Tonnage (NRT) is the GRT minus certain deducted spaces. Exempted and deducted spaces are determined according to measurement regulations for U.S., Panama, and Suez tonnage. Tonnage certificates, to the extent required by the vessel’s operations, are carried on board with GRT and NRT being permanently affixed to the vessel. (46 CFR 69.107)
CONVENTION TONNAGE: This is tonnage as determined under the International Convention on Tonnage Measurement of Ships, 1969. New documented vessels and new vessels engaged on a foreign voyage that are 79 feet or over are required to be measured under the Convention Measurement system. Existing vessels that undergo a change that substantially affects the gross tonnage and are otherwise required would have to be measured under the Convention Tonnage system. After July 1994 all existing vessels over 79 feet that engage in a foreign voyage have to be measured under the Convention Tonnage System as well as the existing system. (46 CFR 69.11)
NVIC 11-93 Change 3 provides guidelines on applying tonnage measurements to U.S. Vessels and helps to determine how this affects the application of U.S. and International regulations. Convention Tonnage when used to determine application of regulations and treaties will be referred to as Gross Tonnage (GT). Domestic tonnage measurements used for the application of regulations will be referred to as Gross Registered Tonnage (GRT) or Net Registered Tonnage (NRT) as defined above.
DISPLACEMENT: Displacement is the weight of water displaced by a vessel and is equal to the vessel’s actual weight. Displacement is used in stability calculations. A “displacement ton” is a measure of weight stated in long tons of 2,240 pounds/ton.
DEADWEIGHT: The “deadweight” of a vessel is its total weight when floating at the load waterline, minus its “lightship weight”. Lightship weight includes the vessel’s structure, machinery, permanent outfit and so forth. Deadweight may be subdivided into “operating deadweight” and “payload.” Operating deadweight includes all items required to operate the vessel, including crew and effects, fuel, lube oil, fresh water and stores. Payload includes all items of deadweight not directly concerned with operations, including non-crew personnel and effects, equipment other than that considered part of the ship, instrumentation not concerned with ship operations, and cargo.
Note that the variations of displacement provide an accurate “weight” of the ship, and are to be used in calculations involving stability, loading, and the like. Registered tonnages are to a large extent artificialities, but they are those, which are involved in many licensing and documenting procedures, rather than the actual displacements.
VESSEL: Any watercraft, other than a seaplane, used as a means of transportation.
SHIP: Often used interchangeably with “vessel,” the preferred legal term.
MOTOR VESSEL: A vessel more than 65 feet in length, which is equipped with propulsion machinery. (46 CFR 24.10-1)
MOTOR BOAT: Motorboat includes every vessel propelled by machinery and not more than 65 ft. Excluded are tugboats and towboats propelled by steam, tank vessels, cargo and miscellaneous vessels, and research vessels. Motorboats are classed as; Class A -- less than 16 ft; Class 1 -- 16 ft - 26 ft; Class 2 -- 26 ft - 40 ft; Class 3 -- 40 ft - 65 ft. (46 USC 526 and 46 CFR 24.10-1)
DOCUMENTED VESSEL: A vessel of greater than 5 net tons, which is registered, enrolled or licensed as a “vessel of the United States.” This is a requirement for engaging in “trade or commerce.” UNOLS research vessels are not ordinarily engaged in “trade or commerce;” commercial vessels ordinarily are.
UNDOCUMENTED VESSEL: Any vessel, which is not required to, and does not, have a marine document issued by the USCG. (46 CFR 188.10-75)
INSPECTED VESSEL: Is one that is inspected and certificated by the USCG. Motor vessels, tank vessels, and the majority of other non-public vessels over 300 GRT are required to be inspected. 46 CFR Table 188.05-1(a) identifies vessels to which the inspection laws apply.
UNINSPECTED VESSEL: A vessel not certificated under the inspection laws or subjected to regular inspections by the USCG. Fishing vessels, recreational motorboats, and oceanographic research vessels less than 300 GRT are examples. Uninspected vessels, however, are still subject to rules about safety and, in some cases, licensed personnel. (46 CFR Subchapter C, 24 et seq.)
VESSEL IN CLASS: A vessel is said to be “in class” when it holds a current certificate of classification issued by a recognized classification society, such as American Bureau of Shipping, Lloyds, Bureau Veritas, and other members of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS). The certificate of classification signifies conformity with prescribed standards of structural strength, machinery, and equipment, providing for seaworthiness and safety in connection with marine insurance.
OCEANOGRAPHIC RESEARCH VESSEL: A vessel, which the USCG determines is being employed only in instruction in oceanography or limnology, or both, or only in oceanographic or limnological research, including those studies about the sea such as seismic, gravity meter, and magnetic exploration and other marine geophysical or geological surveys, atmospheric research, and biological research. This is a formal designation in writing by the cognizant Coast Guard Marine Safety Office (MSO). (46 CFR 188.10-53, 46 USC 2101(18) and 2113)
NUMBERED VESSEL: A vessel that is numbered under the provisions of the Federal Boat Safety Act of 1971. Oceanographic research vessels not engaged in commerce are not required to be documented, and may therefore become numbered vessels (except for certain federal and state owned vessels). (46 CFR 188.10-49)
PUBLIC VESSEL: Under federal shipping laws (46 USC 2101(24)), a public vessel means a vessel that is owned, or chartered, and operated by the U.S. Government and is not engaged in commercial service. Examples would be USCG and NOAA research vessels.
NAUTICAL MILE (nm): The internationally agreed standard sea mile, of 6,076 feet, this is commonly used in laws, regulations and treaties for specifying distance at sea or offshore.
RESEARCH CRUISE: Cruise by vessel primarily for the purpose of conducting marine research at sea. This is commonly defined as commencing on the day of departure, and terminating on the day of return to a port.
TRANSIT: Voyage of a vessel during which little or no research is being carried out; primarily for the purpose of going from one port to another, or to/from a port and an area of research.
LAY DAYS: Days in homeport for purposes of fitting out, cruise preparation, crew rest, and upkeep. May, in rare cases, include similar periods in other ports.
MAINTENANCE DAYS: Days undergoing overhauls, dry-docking, or other scheduled or unscheduled repairs during which the ship is not available for service.
OPERATING DAYS: All days away from homeport in an operating status incident to the scientific mission.
DAYS AT SEA: All days actually at sea incident to the scientific mission.
DAYS OUT OF SERVICE: Periods in which a ship is laid up out of service for an extended period for reasons of economy, unemployment, or unfitness for service.
OCEAN: Used to describe an operating area or route in any ocean or the Gulf of Mexico, more than 20 nm offshore. (46 CFR 188.10-51)
NEAR COASTAL: “The term near coastal means ocean waters not more than 200 nautical miles off a US shore.” (46 CFR 10.103)
NEAR COASTAL AS PER STCW REG I/1: “STCW defines near coastal as a voyage in the vicinity of a signatory party. Each signatory party defines its own boundary for near coastal waters. It may not be consistent with 46 CFR 10.103.
COASTWISE: Used to describe a route or operating area, which is not more than 20 nm offshore, on any ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Alaska, and such other waters as may be designated. (46 CFR 188.10-15)
DOMESTIC SERVICE: “Domestic Service means a vessel used in trade from one U.S port to another U.S. port, or a voyage to nowhere that returns to the originating port.” (NVIC 7-00)
BOUNDARY LINES: “Boundary lines are lines drawn following the general trend of the seaward, high-water shorelines and lines continuing the general trend of the seaward, high-water shorelines across entrances to small bays, inlets, and rivers.” (NVIC 7-00 and 46 CFR 7)
INTERNATIONAL VOYAGE: A sea voyage, by a mechanically propelled vessel of 500 gross tons or more, from a country to which SOLAS applies, to a port outside that country, or conversely. Within Subchapter U of 46 CFR, the USCG treats voyages between the continental United States, Hawaii and Alaska as international voyages. NOTE: State numbered vessels in accordance with the Federal Boating Safety Act of 1971, or vessels holding a special exemption issued by the Coast Guard need not comply with regulations applicable to vessels on an international voyage. Such voyages are therefore termed “foreign voyages.” (46 CFR 188.05-10, 46 CFR 188.10-35)
FOREIGN VOYAGE: A voyage between two countries or between two territories or possessions of the U.S, by a vessel which is not subject to the SOLAS provisions because of its size, propulsion, or documentation. Vessels engaged in such voyages, if 150 gross tons or over that were built before July 21, 1968 or if 79 feet or greater in length and built on or after July 21, 1968, must comply with load line requirements. After July 1984 existing vessels over 79 feet in length, and engaged in a foreign voyage, must be admeasured under the convention measurement system. (46 CFR 42.03-5, 46 CFR 69.9 & 69.11)
COLREGS: The Rules of the Road - International Regulations for Avoiding Collisions at Sea as well as the Inland Rules for U.S. waters. (USCG COMDTINST M16672.2D)
CREW: Personnel involved exclusively or primarily in the navigation and operation of a vessel.
PASSENGER: Every person other than the crew or other persons engaged on board a vessel in the business of the vessel. However, on oceanographic research vessels scientific personnel are not considered to be passengers. Research vessels may not carry passengers for hire, since this would constitute engaging in “trade or commerce.” (46 CFR 24.10)
SCIENTIFIC PERSONNEL: “Scientific personnel on oceanographic research vessels are not considered to be seamen or passengers, but are considered as persons when requirements are based on total persons on board.” and “Scientific Personnel - This term means those persons who are aboard an oceanographic research vessel solely for the purpose of engaging in scientific research, or in instructing, or receiving instruction, in oceanography or limnology, and shall not be considered seamen under the provisions of Title 46, United States Code.” (46 CFR 188.10-71 and 46 CFR 188.05-33)
MASTER: The designated member of the crew of a vessel who is in legal overall charge of the entire operation of the vessel. See section on “Manning“ for further discussion. The term “captain” is used almost interchangeably.
CHIEF SCIENTIST: The designated member of the scientific personnel who is in overall charge of the research operations on board ship. See section on “Manning“ for further discussion.
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (PI): The individual in charge of a research grant that is being supported on a research cruise. Research cruises often support more than one PI making it necessary to coordinate cruise planning, safety procedures and science operations for several groups with different goals and from different institutions. This is usually coordinated through the Chief Scientist who may or may not be one of the PIs.
MARINE TECHNICIAN: An employee or representative of the ship operator responsible for at sea operation of oceanographic instrumentation and onboard laboratory facilities. These individuals are legally part of the science party, but are in fact an integral part of the research vessel operator’s shipboard personnel supporting the science mission. They are responsible for helping to ensure safety in the laboratories and on deck during science operations and often have key responsibilities during emergency procedures. They serve as a primary point of contact between the scientific party and the ship’s crew. Marine Technicians can also be referred to as Resident Technicians, Marine Science Technician or other similar titles.
EXPEDITION LEADER: This is a term that is often applied to the leader of a submersible crew deployed on a research vessel. This individual is responsible for the safe operation of Human Occupied Vehicles (HOV), Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) or other submersibles. They are legally part of the science party on a research vessel, but have a key role in helping to ensure the safe operations of submersibles. Other similar titles may be used for this position.
CREDENTIALS FOR MARINERS: Under Title 46 USC, the US Coast Guard is the domestic authority for promulgating requirements and issuing credentials for mariners. Each marine credential has specific requirements as to age, citizenship, physical condition, character, qualifying sea service, assessment and specialized training. The Coast Guard issues credentials in the form of licenses for deck, engineering and radio officers; Certificate of Registry (CORs) for staff officers; and Merchant Mariner Documents (MMDs) for unlicensed ratings of shipboard deck, engineering and steward departments. Any credential may contain limitations as to vessel type, tonnage, propulsion, horsepower, or water upon which service is authorized. MMDs are issued to unlicensed personnel who support ship operations. Unqualified rating documents are issued to entry-level persons who have little or no sea service. These are ordinary seaman (deck department), wipers (engineering department), or food handler (steward department). Additionally, qualified rating documents are issued based on previous sea service or specialized service, Deck department qualified ratings are able seaman and bosun; for engineering the qualified rating is Qualified Member of the Engineering Department (QMED). Various endorsements or rating are also issued on MMDs to qualified individuals. These include oiler, junior engineer, pumpman, lifeboat man, tankerman, GMDSS at sea maintainer, etc. To serve aboard inspected vessels, an individual must possess a credential but must also hold an STCW certificate. This is a separate document from the credential.
INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION ON STANDARDS OF TRAINING, CERTIFICATION AND WATCHSTANDING FOR SEAFARERS (STCW-95): The convention initially held in 1978 was amended in 1995. It requires comprehensive training and assessment of a mariner’s practical skills. These standards were adopted by the USA under 46 CFR Parts 10 and 15 and the STCW code. To obtain an STCW certification, a seafarer must meet the requirements set forth in the regulations. A license or MMD will not be issued if the STCW certification is not presented when applying.
OFFICER COMPETENCY CERTIFICATES AND CONVENTION OF 1936 (46 CFR 15.701): Provisions of the Officer Certificates Convention of 1936 are incorporated into US regulations in this part of the CFRs. It applies to documented vessels 200 GRT and over navigating outside of the boundary line. Public vessels and undocumented vessels less then 300 GRT are exempted. The convention requires masters, mates and engineers to hold licenses.
Certification and documentation in the various forms is not in itself a safety standard. Rather, it defines categories of vessels to which certain safety rules and standards apply. In most instances certification and documentation are dictated by the pertinent laws and regulations, with which the operator must comply. In a few cases, there is a choice, owing to the unique nature of research vessel operation. In general the standards set by each category of certification will be adequate for ordinary operations, but prudent operators will often go beyond the legal minimums. Examples of this would be in the case of additional fire extinguishers, or lifesaving equipment. UNOLS operators are urged to recognize the legal requirements as minimums, and take additional steps as the situation may justify in each case.
DOCUMENTATION: Certificates of registry, enrollment, or license are Federal maritime documents required by vessels engaged in trade or commerce. Oceanographic research vessels under 46 USC 2101(18) are not required to be documented, but may be at the option of the operator. If documented, however, the certification should clearly define the vessel’s service as “Oceanographic Research.” No special advantages accrue, nor are restrictions avoided, by documentation, insofar as research vessel safety is concerned. (46 USC 121 and 46 CFR 67)
NUMBERING: Undocumented research vessels are usually numbered in accordance with the Federal Boat Safety Act (excepting certain federal- or state-owned vessels). Thus, the state-issued “Award of Number” becomes the official certificate identifying the vessel. Most state certificates do not have a routine box to check for “research,” and it is important for the operator to see that this special use is clearly indicated.
OWNER’S CERTIFICATE: The unique and sometimes confusing role of marine research in the context of the U.S. shipping laws and regulations makes it advisable that all research vessels carry a letter, certificate, or plaque stating that the vessel is operated in oceanographic research under the laws of the U.S. This should include an affirmative statement that the vessel is complying with the provisions of 46 USC 2101(18). Such certification will help to avoid difficulties both in the U.S. and abroad.
USCG LETTER OF DESIGNATION AS OCEANOGRAPHIC RESEARCH VESSEL: 46 CFR 3 establishes US Coast Guard procedures for a designation as oceanographic research vessels. The designation is voluntary and is for the purpose of providing relief from otherwise applicable vessel inspection and the “Employment of Seamen” requirements. Such designation is necessary for the vessel to benefit from the exemptions of Subchapter U (46 CFR 188). Without this letter of designation, scientific personnel on board must be considered either crew or passengers. To be designated, a written request should be made to the local USCG officer in charge of marine inspection. The request must contain the information specified by 46 CFR 3.10-1. If the vessel is found to be employed exclusively in oceanographic or limnological research and/or instruction, a designation will usually be granted. For inspected research vessels, designation will be indicated on the certificate of inspection and is valid for the duration of the certificate. For uninspected research vessels a letter of designation will be issued. This letter of designation, which is valid for two years, must be requested by mail 60 days in advance of expiration.
INSPECTION CERTIFICATE: Oceanographic Research Vessels 300 GRT or greater are usually required to be inspected and certificated by the USCG. (46 CFR Subchapter U; 46 CFR 188.05-1)
ABS CLASSIFICATION: ABS classification of both hull and machinery is a detailed survey of the material condition of the vessel. This is not directly safety-related, but obviously bears heavily on the basic safety and operability of the vessel. In most matters of insurance and equity, ABS classification is attractive, and unless there is some strong reason to the contrary, it is recommended.
COURTESY INSPECTION OR UNINSPECTED VESSEL EXAMINATION: The USCG Auxiliary offers courtesy motorboat inspections for vessels that are moored as well as underway. The USCG may board and inspect any U.S. vessel at any time while underway. The annual sticker that is issued by the auxiliary as a result of a satisfactory inspection will be recognized by the USCG as showing the vessel as in compliance with the Boating Safety Act of 1971. Uninspected vessels may request an “Uninspected Vessel Examination” from a local USCG Marine Inspection Office. This service, which is advisory rather than regulatory, depends on the availability of USCG personnel and is not available from all offices. Neither of these “inspections” are mandatory but it is recommended that vessels under 65 ft undergo an auxiliary inspection and large vessels undergo the uninspected vessel examination, if available.
INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION FOR THE PREVENTION OF POLLUTION FROM SHIPS 1973 (33 CFR 151.59 and 33 CFR 155.700) (MARPOL): The provisions of MARPOL and its 1978 modified protocol are incorporated into the US regulations under these CFRs. Designed to minimize pollution of the high seas including the dumping of oil and exhaust pollutions. It contains six annexes. Each addresses a separate area of pollution. Annex 1 - Oil, Annex II - Noxious Liquid Substances carried in bulk, Annex III - Harmful Substances carried in bulk, Annex IV - Sewage, Annex V - Garbage, and Annex VI - Air. Annex I and II are obligatory to parties to the agreement. Annex III to VI are voluntary.
CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS (CFR): A compilation of the rules and regulations made by Federal executive departments and agencies, pursuant to the authority of a Federal law. Most material concerning shipping is contained in Title 46 of the CFR. This is divided into chapters and subchapters, of which Subchapter U contains rules for oceanographic vessels. For example, “46 CFR 192” means Part 192 of Title 46 of the CFR. Not all CFRs apply to all vessels but those that do apply must be followed.
UNITED STATES CODE (USC): A compilation of the laws of the U.S., generally arranged by subject matter under “Titles.” Shipping laws are primarily contained in Title 46 of the code, which contains the Oceanographic Vessels Acts of 1964. Note that the USC contains actual laws from Congress; the CFR contains agency generated regulations. Like the CFRs not all code applies to all vessels but those that do apply must be followed.
INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION FOR THE SAFETY OF LIFE AT SEA (SOLAS): An international treaty, periodically modified, concerning safety at sea. The U.S. follows the provisions of the treaty and incorporates them in U.S. laws and regulations. Undocumented vessels, fishing vessels, vessels under 500 GT and certain others are not subject to the general SOLAS rules. (46 CFR 188.05-10)
JONES ACT (46 USC App 688a): The Jones Act was written to protect seamen injured while working. Under the Jones Act, a seaman is entitled to recover damages if he is injured during employment and they can elect a jury trial to recover damages. If a seaman is killed, a personal representative may bring a Jones Act suit to recover damages. The statue of limitations for a maritime injury suit under the Jones Act is three years. However, the courts have applied either the “time of event” rule or also the “discovery” rule in establishing the start of the statute of limitation. Historically, a Jones Act case has provided a very high cash settlement, compared to Workers Compensation, when either the slightest appearance of negligence or un-seaworthiness of the vessel could be demonstrated. Scientists are not considered seaman for the purposes of the Jones Act. The term seaman as defined by the Jones Act historically has been interpreted broadly. UNOLS vessels must be aware of this when embarking persons who are not part of a science party. (See Workers Compensation below.)
WORKERS COMPENSATION: Workers compensation is a State program that varies widely from state to state. It is traditionally designed to provide medical care, disability payments, and income benefits to employees hurt on the job. Workers Compensation settlements usually provide for lost wages and medical bills. Death benefits generally provide payment for life to a surviving spouse. While some court decisions have ruled that workers compensation may apply in lieu of a Jones Act settlement, this does not prohibit a seaman covered under workers comp from also bringing a Jones Act suit to collect damages nor does it mean he will not receive compensation under the Jones Act. (See Jones Act above.)
IEEE 45: A Standard issued by IEEE titled “Recommended Practices for Electrical Installations on Shipboard.” As revised, it is a widely accepted standard for shipboard electrical systems.
46 CFR Subchapter U - Oceanographic Research Vessels. This subchapter defines the regulations for research vessels of 300 GRT or more. They are not all inclusive and further applicable regulations may be found in other parts of the CFRs.
INTERNATIONAL SHIP AND PORT FACILITY SECURITY CODE (ISPS): In the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the USA, the ISPS code was developed as part of SOLAS. ISPS is a comprehensive set of measures to cope with perceived threats to enhance the security of ships and port facilities. The purpose of the code is to provide a standardized, consistent framework for evaluating risk, enabling Governments to offset changes in threats with changes in vulnerability for ships and port facilities by determining appropriate security levels and corresponding security measures. It has three different security levels based on threats that contracting countries may implement. It requires facilities and ports to assess the threat and evaluate the risk of potential unlawful acts. Measures to minimize and combat these threats must be developed in a security plan and the plan approved by the contracting state’s ISPS certification authority. If a ship’s security plan is approved, the ship will be issued an International Ship Security Certificate. Ships not holding a valid security certificate may be detained in port until a certificate is received, may be expelled from a port, or may be refused entry. All ships that visit other ports particularly foreign ports should develop a security plan and obtain a ship security certificate In addition, Automated Information System (AIS), a broadcasting device similar to an aircrafts Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) is required. A Ship Security Alert System (SSAS), an alert system designed to raise the alarm ashore in reaction to security treats or incidents, is being investigated and may become a future requirement.
In the USA, the US Coast Guard reviews and approves ISPS security assessments and plans. It issues security certificates and ensures compliance. It does so under 33 CFR 101 and 104. ISPS code applies to vessels subject to 46 CFR Chapter I Subchapter L. In addition, the Coast Guard enforces the provisions of the Maritime Transport Safety Act of 2003 (MTSA). For this reason, the ISPS code is frequently referred to as ISPS/MTSA. NVIC 04-03 provides guidance in implementing the ISPS/MTSA provisions. Under 33 CFR 401.20 an AIS is required for all commercial vessels over 200 GT and with a length over all of 20 meters or more.
INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION ON STANDARDS OF TRAINING, CERTIFICATION AND WATCHSTANDING FOR SEAFARERS (STCW-95): With few exceptions, STCW applies to mariners employed on vessels 200 GRT or 500 GT that operate seaward of the boundary line specified in 46 CFR 7. Vessels specifically exempted from having STCW qualified mariners aboard are uninspected passenger vessels defined in 46 USC 2101(42), fishing vessels (46 USC 2101(11) 9(a) and (b), and vessels operating exclusively on the Great Lakes.
46 CFR SUBCHAPTER U - OCEANOGRAPHIC RESEARCH VESSELS: This subchapter defines the regulations for research vessels of 300 GRT or more. They are not all inclusive and further regulations that apply may be found in other parts of the CFRs.
MARPOL 73/78 ANNEX I, REGULATION 9 AND 26: Contains requirements for maintaining an oil record log for all vessels over 400 GT, specifies the requirements for maintaining a shipboard oil pollution plan and oil transfer procedures (see NVIC 2-93 change 1 for more information).
OIL POLLUTION ACT OF 1990 (OPA 90) (33 CFR 138, 33 CFR 155.1010, NVIC 03-06/ US MARINE TRANSPORTATION ACT OF 2004 (NVIC 01-05)): The act established the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. It also requires vessels over 400 gross tons to have an Oil Spill Response Plan that is approved by the US Coast Guard in order to sail and vessels over 300 GT to establish and maintain evidence of financial responsibility in the form of a Certificate of Financial Responsibility (COFR) issued by the US Coast Guard.
OIL SPILL REMOVAL ORGANIZATION (OSRO): A major feature of the National Response System and Marine Transportation Act of 1970 is that vessels over 400 GT are required to ensure the US Coast Guard the availability of response resources to meet their maximum, most probable and worse case discharge of oil into US waters. These resource requirements can be met by private contracts. This requires US Coast Guard approval of the vessel response plan and organization. This requirement is still resolving, however, certain States require these plans when transiting their waters. NVIC 01-05 provides guidance for submission and US Coast Guard approval of these plans.
INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT CODE FOR THE SAFE OPERATIONS OF SHIPS AND POLLUTION PREVENTION (International Safety Management (ISM) Code) (46 USC 32, 33 CFR 96.100 et seq.): Adopted by IMO in 1978 and amended in 1995, this convention outlines training requirements for personnel serving as crewmembers aboard vessels in order for them to qualify for the required STCW certification. The ISM code establishes safety management objectives and requires a formal, written Safety Management System (SMS) to be implemented onboard certain vessels and at the management company which assumes responsibility for operating these ships. ISM code also requires every vessel over 500 GT to be issued a safety management certificate (SMC) that verifies the company and its shipboard management operate in accordance with the approved safety management system. To obtain and maintain the SMC, the ISM code requires that a US Coast Guard approved external auditing agent approve the initial SMS and that an annual external audit be conducted. It also requires internal audits be conducted. The ISM code also established a new position, the Designated Person Ashore (DPA), and the distinct responsibilities of this person are delineated. The DPA is designated in writing by the company and must have direct access to the company’s highest level of management. The DPA will ensure the safe operation of the vessel and provide a link between the company and those on board. The DPA must have the responsibility and authority to monitor all safety and pollution prevention aspects of vessel operations and ensure that adequate resources and shore-based support are supplied. It is the responsibility of the company to identify the best candidate to fill the role of the DPA. Within the UNOLS fleet, the Institution operating the vessel is the company and in most instances the Institute will designate its Marine Superintendent as the DPA. This is a new concept in the marine industry where responsibility for safety is now shared between the DPA and vessel’s Master. This concept of shared responsibility has yet to be fully tested by the courts.
MOTORBOAT ACT: A federal law enacted originally in 1940 and subsequently amended, which covers many aspects of safety for small craft. (46 USC 41)
FEDERAL BOAT SAFETY ACT OF 1971: Act setting forth certain requirements concerning documentation and safety, principally applicable to small craft (46 USC 43, 46 CFR 24-27). Safety for recreational vessels is contained in 33 CFR Subchapter S, 173 et seq.
INTERNATIONAL LOAD LINE ACT (46 USC 71 and 46 CFR 42 et seq.): This act concerns stability standards and inspections. It is applicable to certain vessels sailing beyond the Boundary Line. This certificate is issued by ABS for U.S. vessels and is required for most vessels on foreign or international voyages.
SAFETY STANDARDS FOR SMALL CRAFT: Standards issued by the ABYC concerning safety of small craft (e.g. ABYC E-1-1972).
LOAD LINE CERTIFICATE: Uninspected research vessels, which do not engage in international voyages, are not required to have a load line certificate, but unless there is some strong reason to the contrary, it is recommended.
46 CFR SUBCHAPTER U - OCEANOGRAPHIC RESEARCH VESSELS: While applicable to vessels of 300 GRT or larger, it is prudent for uninspected vessels to comply with these regulations to the maximum extent possible.