Flag State Control Division (CG-CVC-4)

Maritime Security Program

The Maritime Security Act of 1996 (MSA) authorized the establishment of a Maritime Security Fleet under the Maritime Security Program (MSP), which maintains a fleet of commercially viable, militarily useful merchant ships active in international trade. The MSP fleet is available to support U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) sustainment sealift requirements during times of conflict or in other national emergencies. The program also provides DoD access to MSP participants’ global intermodal transportation network of terminals, facilities, logistic management services, and U.S. citizen merchant mariners.

The U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration (MARAD) office of Sealift Support administers the enrollment process for authorizing vessels to enter MSP. You can find more information at: Maritime Security Program (MSP) | MARAD (dot.gov)

Separate legislation in the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 1996 (PL 104-324) provides that reflagged MSP vessels only need to comply with a Coast Guard Authorized Classification Society class rules accepted by the Coast Guard and international convention requirements if the vessel meets the eligibility conditions discussed in the following paragraphs.

Eligibility conditions for reflag under MSP

The Coast Guard may accept previously conducted class society surveys and previously issued international certificates in lieu of establishing equivalency to U.S. regulations for all vessel equipment and systems, provided that:

  1. The vessel is classed by and designed in accordance with the rules of the ABS or another classification society accepted by the Coast Guard;
  2. The vessel complies with applicable international agreements and associated guidelines, as determined by the country in which the vessel was documented immediately before becoming a U.S. documented vessel; and
  3. That the country under which the vessel is currently flagged has not been identified by the Coast Guard as inadequately enforcing international vessel regulations on the vessel making application for certification

INSPECTION AND CERTIFICATION OF VESSELS UNDER THE MARITIME SECURITY PROGRAM (MSP) NVIC 01-13, (Series) provides guidance on the policies and procedures to enroll vessels into MSP.

For questions on the Administration of MSP contact MARAD’s office of Sealift Support.

For questions on the Inspection and Certification of MSP vessels contact FlagStateControl@uscg.mil