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Port State Control Division (CG-CVC-2)

Safety Policy

IMO Requirements for MSDS
USCG interpretation of IMO instruments regarding the carriage of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) aboard certain types of vessels. Questions can be directed to the Coast Guard's Hazardous Materials Division (CG-ENG-5) at 202-372-1420. 
Related Documents:

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 Port State Control Targeting

Changes to the Port State Control Targeting Program

The Coast Guard updated its Port State Control (PSC) targeting program for foreign vessels on January 15, 2020.  Established in 1994, the PSC program has markedly reduced substandard foreign vessels operating in U.S. waters.  During the 25-year history of the program, detention ratios decreased from a high of nearly 8% to approximately 1% since 2006.  In recent years, two-thirds of PSC exams conducted by the Coast Guard resulted in no deficiencies issued to the vessels.  Accordingly, the program was updated to “facilitate lawful trade and travel on secure waterways”, per the United States Coast Guard Maritime Commerce Strategic Outlook.


The intent of the updates to the PSC targeting program is to focus limited Coast Guard resources on the foreign vessels posing the greatest perceived risks, while reducing time spent aboard compliant vessels. This intent will be accomplished by changes to foreign vessel targeting procedures for PSC examination, accompanied by changes to PSC examination types.


  • Updated targeting criteria: U.S. exam history; association with targeted flag states, recognized organizations, classification societies, and ship management; ship particulars; and compliance history will continue to be evaluated during vessel targeting. Additionally, U.S. deficiency history and foreign detentions by parties to the Paris or Tokyo Memorandum of Understanding on PSC will be evaluated.


  • New PSC exam types: Previous PSC and ISPS exam types (PI, PII, NPV, ISPSI, ISPSII, and ISPSIII) are now obsolete, and no longer apply. They were replaced with three PSC exam types (PSC A, PSC B and PSC C) which denote the frequency and scope of the exam.

More information about the changes to the PSC targeting program is available in the Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance (CG-CVC) Mission Management System Work Instruction, titled “Targeting of Foreign Vessels for Port State Control (PSC) Examination, CVC-WI-021”. This document is available under the “Policy and Guidance” tab on this website. Other documents related to the Coast Guard’s PSC program are available under the “Port State Control” tab.  



 Classification Society Approvals


The 2010 Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act amended 46 U.S.C. 3316(c). This statute requires that a Classification Society may not review, examine, survey, or certify the construction, repair, or alteration of a vessel in the United States unless it is:

1) Approved by the Coast Guard.

The following is quoted from the Act (with respect to the original language from the 2004 Authorization Act):

SEC. 622. Delegation of Authority
(b) REVIEW AND APPROVAL OF CLASSIFICATION SOCIETY REQUIRED-Section 3316 (c) of Title 46, United States Code, is amended by striking so much as precedes paragraph (2) and inserting the following:

“(c)(1) A classification society (including an employee or agent of that Society) may not review, examine, survey or certify the construction, repair or alteration of a vessel in the United States unless the society has applied for approval under this subsection and the Secretary has reviewed and approved that society with respect to the conduct of that society under paragraph (2)."

In order to provide Classification Societies with guidance on how they may apply for approval under this statute, the Coast Guard published a Notice of Policy in the Federal Register on November 2, 2004 (69 FR 63548). This Notice detailed the requirements that a Classification Society needs to meet in order to be approved in accordance with the statute. The Notice lists nine (9) specific items that should be included with each Classification Society's application. The Notice is available through the following link: Click Here


IACS Members
The following classification societies are full members of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS):

  • American Bureau of Shipping (ABS)
  • Bureau Veritas (BV)
  • China Classification Society (CCS)
  • Det Norske Veritas (DNV)
  • Germanischer Lloyd (GL)
  • Korean Register of Shipping (KRS)
  • Lloyd's Register of Shipping (LR)
  • Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (NK)
  • Registro Italiano Navale (RINA)
  • Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS)
  • Further information may be obtained from the IACS website: Click Here

Approved Classification Societies
The following classification societies have submitted applications that have been reviewed in accordance with the Notice of Policy. The Coast Guard has determined that the following classification societies satisfy the requirements of 46 U.S.C. 3316(c)(2) and have been approved to review, examine, survey, or certify the construction, repair, or alteration of a vessel in the United States.  

Classification Societies Not Approved
The following classifications societies are not approved to review, examine, survey, or certify the construction, repair, or alteration of a vessel of any flag in the United States.