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Dynamic Positioning Systems Information and Guidance

The table below lists U.S. Coast Guard policy and guidance related to Dynamic Positioning Systems on units or vessels subject to USCG oversight.

Use the tabs above to view additional guidance from the Marine Technology Society (MTS) and guidelines from the International Maritime Organization (IMO).


Click on the document number to open the document (opens in a new window).

Document Number Date Issued Subject
PL 77 FR 26562 19Jun2013 CG-5PC Policy Letter: Voluntary Reporting of Dynamic Positioning (DP) Incidents on Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (MODUs)
77 FR 26562 04May2012 Federal Register Notice: MODU Dynamic Positioning Guidance (Recommended Interim Voluntary Guidance)
77 FR 62247 12Oct2012 Federal Register Notice: Dynamic positioning Operations Guidance for Vessels other than MODUs Operating on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (Recommended Interim Voluntary Guidance)
77 FR 26562 Checklist 06Sep2012 MODU DP Guidance Inspector Checklist (initially utilized for metrics and awareness; no longer used and included as a historical reference only)
MTN 02-11, CH-1 11Dec2020 Marine Safety Center Technical Note 02-11, CH-1, Review of Vital System Automation and Dynamic Positioning System Plans
PRG E2-24 10Nov2011 Marine Safety Center Plan Review Guidance E2-24, MSC Guidelines for Review of Dynamic Positioning Systems

 

Marine Technology Society (MTS) Guidance

The table below lists MTS guidance related to Dynamic Positioning Systems on units or vessels subject to USCG oversight.

Please note that the guidance below was referenced in FR Notices 77 FR 26562 (MODUs) and 77 FR 62247 (non-MODU vessels). Updated guidance is available on MTS' Dynamic Positioning Committee website.


Click on the document name to open the document (opens in a new window).

Marine Technology Society Guidance
MTS DP Vessel Design Philosophy Guidelines, Part 1
MTS DP Vessel Design Philosophy Guidelines, Part 2
MTS DP Operations Guidance, Part 1
MTS DP Operations Guidance, Part 2, Appendix 1 (DP MODUs)
MTS DP Operations Guidance, Part 2, Appendix 2, (DP Project/Construction Vessels)
MTS DP Operations Guidance, Part 2, Appendix 3 (DP Logistics Vessels)
MTS DP Technical and Operational Guidance (TECHOP; Power Plant Common Cause Failures)
MTS DP Technical and Operational Guidance (TECHOP; Defining Critical Activities Requiring Selection of Critical Activity Mode)

 

IMO Guidelines for Vessel Operations with DP Systems

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has developed guidance for vessels operating with DP Systems that is detailed in IMO Circulars MSC/Circ. 645, MSC.1/Circ. 1580 and MSC.1/Circ. 738 Rev.2.

Although the USCG has not developed regulations requiring compliance with these IMO DP Circulars, these circulars have been used as the standard guidance for plan review and approval, and are used by industry, ACS/RO’s and even the Marine Safety Center (see USCG MSC MTN 02-11, CH-1) for DP systems.


IMO MSC/Circ.645 (issued 06Jun1994):

  • Approved by the IMO’s MSC 63 in May of 1994 to provide an international standard for dynamic positioning systems on all types of vessels.
  • Applies to dynamically positioned units or vessels, the keel of which is laid, or which is at a similar stage of construction on or after 01Jul1994.
  • Recommends design criteria, necessary equipment, operating requirements and testing and recommended documentation system for dynamic positioning systems to reduce the risk to personnel, equipment and the environment, while performing operations under dynamic positioning control.

IMO MSC.1/Circ. 1580 (issued 16Jun2017):

  • This circular recommends the design criteria, equipment, operating provisions and testing as well as a documentation regime for DP systems in order to reduce the risk to personnel, equipment and the environment, while performing operations under dynamic positioning control.
  • IMO recommends that the current guidelines in this circular be applied to vessels and units constructed on or after 09Jun2017.
  • It was developed for new vessels and units constructed after 09Jun2017 with dynamic positioning systems to provide an amended standard reflecting the current industry practice and DP technology advancements since 1994.
  • For vessels and units constructed on or after 01Jul1994 but before 09Jun2017, the previous version of the Guidelines (IMO MSC.1/Circ.645) may continue to be applied, however it is recommended that section 4 (Operational Requirements) of the present Guidelines be applied to all new and existing vessels and units, as appropriate.

IMO MSC.1/Circ. 738, Rev. 2 (issued 16Jun2017):

  • The IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee noted that the IMCA M 117 Rev. 1 Training and Experience of Key DP Personnel was updated to IMCA M 117 Rev. 2.
  • The IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee also approved the revised circular and requested Member States to bring it to the attention of all parties concerned.
  • Other than those changes, everything in MSC.1/Circ.738, Rev.1 remains the same.
  • IMO MSC.1/Circ. 738 Rev. 2 revokes MSC.1/Circ.738, Rev. 1.