Q1: What is the significance of MSC Resolutions 402(96) and 404(96), and NVIC 03-19?
A1: Resolution MSC.404(96) amended SOLAS Chapter III to incorporate requirements for maintenance, thorough examination, operational testing, overhaul and repair of lifeboats and rescue boats, launching appliances and release gear, adopted by the Maritime Safety Committee by resolution MSC.402(96). NVIC 03-19 was published to provide the U.S. Coast Guard’s recommendations with complying with the amendments to SOLAS III and resolution MSC.402(96). These resolutions apply to vessels subject to SOLAS, including those vessels enrolled in the Alternate Compliance Program (ACP) and/or the Maritime Security Program. For those vessels that are not subject to the requirements of SOLAS, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) recommends they also follow the guidance in NVIC 03-19 when servicing their lifesaving equipment. (See paragraph 5 of NVIC 03-19).
Q2: What do these Resolutions and NVIC update or replace?
A2: MSC.402(96) replaces MSC.1/Circ.1206/Rev.1 and MSC.1/Circ.1277. NVIC 03-19 cancels and replaces NVIC 04-07.
Q3: Who is the intended audience of NVIC 03-19?
A3: US Flag Vessel owners and operators, USCG marine inspectors, class societies authorized under USCG’s ACP, lifesaving equipment manufacturers, servicing and repair facilities, and associated personnel.
Q4: Do these Requirements apply to fixed or floating platforms?
A4: MSC.402(96) and NVIC 03-19 are not required for fixed/floating platforms, however, the USCG recommends that all vessels and platforms that have equipment holding approval under series 160.115, 160.132, 160.133, 160.135, 160.156, and 160.170 conduct the maintenance outlined in MSC.402(96) according to the guidance in NVIC 03-19.
Q5: How does the USCG define “make” and “type”?
A5: The USCG definitions of make and type are outlined in Enclosure 3 of NVIC 03-19. The USCG considers the “make” to refer to the equipment manufacturer. The USCG considers the “type” to refer to the US Coast Guard approval series for the equipment, e.g., 160.135. An Authorized Service Provider (ASP) authorized to work on a type of LSA is therefore authorized to work on any equipment under that approval series. See also Q&A in the section below on “AUTHORIZED SERVICE PROVIDERS”.
Q6: How do I provide feedback to USCG about their implementation?
A6: In order to provide supporting documentation for future discussions concerning the application of IMO Resolution MSC.402(96), you are encouraged to inform the Commandant (CG-ENG-4) of any practical problems encountered in the implementation of its provisions, particularly with regard to availability of Authorized Service Providers. (see paragraph 6.f. of NVIC 03-19). This feedback should be submitted to TypeApproval@uscg.mil.
Q7: How do I find an Authorized Service Provider for my vessel?
A7: According to paragraph 6.c(5) of NVIC 03-19, Authorized Class Societies (ACS) should maintain a list of authorized service providers that is available to vessel owners and operators. You will need to individually check the class society websites for these lists. The USCG maintains a list of ACS on the Flag State Control Division website at https://www.dco.uscg.mil/Our-Organization/Assistant-Commandantfor-Prevention-Policy-CG-5P/Inspections-Compliance-CG-5PC-/Commercial-Vessel-Compliance/FlagState-Control-Division/AltComp/.
Q8: I am a US Flag vessel owner/operator and cannot find a USCG ASP in my area for my required maintenance/servicing/overhaul. How do I remain compliant?
A8: Issues involving the unavailability of an equipment manufacturer or ASP will be handled on a caseby-case basis. If the original equipment manufacturer is unavailable and there is no ASP available to conduct the required servicing or testing, the vessel owner or operator should contact Commandant (CG-ENG-4), Lifesaving and Fire Safety Division at TypeApproval@uscg.mil. (see also paragraph 6.e(3)(c) of NVIC 03-19).
Q9: The Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) of my equipment is no longer in business or providing technical support for my equipment. How will I find an ASP?
A9: The ACS may authorize service providers for USCG equipment on the basis of prior authorization for the equipment and/or long-term experience and demonstrated expertise as an authorized service provider.
AUTHORIZED SERVICE PROVIDERS
Q10: Who can be an ASP?
A10: “Authorized service provider means an entity authorized by the Administration in accordance with section 3 and section 7” (MSC.402(96)). Per NVIC 03-19, this function is performed by Authorized Class Societies (ACS) according to 46 CFR 8.420. MSC.402(96) Section 7.1 outlines everything that IMO requires must be taken into account for authorizing service providers. A service provider may be either an original equipment manufacturer or a third party service provider. Components of lifeboat and launching systems are generally of common and conventional designs for which service and repair do not necessarily require manufacturer-specific expertise.
Q11: Do third party servicers need to be authorized by the OEM to work on their particular equipment?
A11: Unlike with USCG-approved liferaft servicing facilities that require both authorization by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and the OCMI, service providers for the LSA in the referenced SOLAS amendments are authorized entirely by Administrations; in the US, that is the USCG.
Q12: I am a third party service provider. I have been authorized by RO #1, RO #2, and RO #3 in accordance with IMO Res. MSC 402(96). However, RO #4 is requiring me to be certified by the OEM. May I service USCG approved equipment on US flag ships?
A12: If any of the ROs (#1, #2, or #3) are ACS according to 46 CFR 8.420, or have otherwise been permitted to authorize service providers for USCG approved LSA, then you are an authorized service provider for USCG approved LSA, and may service any USCG approved LSA within the scope of your authorization. It is not necessary to be authorized by multiple ACS recognized by the USCG.
Q13: What if my customers are classed by a different ACS than the ACS that authorized me as an ASP?
A13: The US Coast Guard has no control over the requirements that a class society invokes as a condition of class. However, authorization of LSA service providers is a function of the Administration. While the function is performed by an ACS, who also happens to be a classification society, there is no regulatory requirement for a US flag vessel to have their LSA serviced by a service provider authorized by the same ACS that serves as that vessel’s class society.
Q14: ISO PAS 23678, Parts 1-4 have been published. Are authorized service providers required to comply with this ISO PAS series?
A14: ISO/PAS 23678 (series) is an international voluntary consensus specification that ASPs may use to train and certify personnel while working towards compliance with the Requirements. While ACSs and ASPs may find it useful in ensuring that servicing technicians achieve the necessary competencies, it is not mandatory.
Q15: I don’t agree with a decision the ACS made when evaluating me as an ASP. How do I appeal this?
A15: The USCG appeals process is outlined in 46 CFR 1.03. Note that requests for appeals must be made within 30 days after the ACS decision is rendered or the action is taken. (46 CFR 1.03-15).
AUTHORIZED CLASS SOCIETIES
Q16: What are the ACS looking for in order to authorize service providers? A16: At a minimum, an ASP training program recognized by national, international or industry standard; competent individuals trained and experienced as ASP to service the particular manufacturer’s release mechanisms and lifeboats; access to latest maintenance manuals, service bulletins and alerts; necessary tools to service; and a certified quality system. The ASP should be able to perform the required service in Resolution MSC.402(96) to maintain the equipment in its as-approved condition.
ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURERS
Q17: I am an OEM and think that my equipment is so unique that our individual approved models require specific competencies above and beyond those being verified by USCG ACS. How do I communicate this to the USCG?
A17: Where a lifesaving appliance manufacturer believes that a particular model requires certified servicing personnel to have additional competencies, those competencies should be identified during the equipment approval process and will be listed on the USCG Certificate of Approval for that model. (see paragraph 6.d(4) of NVIC 03-19). OEMs must submit their reasoning and data including engineering designs and manuals so that CG-ENG-4 can make a determination of whether or not to modify the COA. To demonstrate special characteristics, the OEM’s reasoning should include a comparison between the model under consideration and the other USCG approved models manufactured by the OEM. Submissions should be sent to TypeApproval@uscg.mil.