- § 139.100 - Purpose.
- § 139.110 - Organizations not subject to further approval.
- § 139.115 - General.
- § 139.120 - Application for approval as a TPO.
- § 139.125 - Approval of TPO.
- § 139.130 - Qualifications of auditors and surveyors.
- § 139.135 - Addition and removal of auditors and surveyors.
- § 139.140 - Renewal of TPO approval.
- § 139.145 - Suspension of approval.
- § 139.150 - Revocation of approval.
- § 139.155 - Appeals of suspension or revocation of approval.
- § 139.160 - Coast Guard oversight activities.
- § 139.165 - Documentation.
§ 139.100 - Purpose.
(a) This part states the requirements applicable to third-party organizations (TPOs) that conduct audits and surveys for towing vessels as required by this subchapter.
(b) The Commandant delegates to the Towing Vessel National Center of Expertise (TVNCOE) the authority to carry out the functions of this part associated with approval of TPOs, including revocation and suspension of approval.
§ 139.110 - Organizations not subject to further approval.
(a) A recognized classification society, which has satisfied the requirements in 46 CFR 8.230, meets the requirements of a TPO for the purposes of this part and may perform the work as a third-party auditor.
(b) An authorized classification society, which has been authorized under 46 CFR part 8, subpart C or D, meets the requirements of a TPO for the purposes of this part and may perform the work as a third-party surveyor.
(c) The organizations qualifying as TPOs under paragraph (a) or (b) of this section must ensure that employees providing services under this part hold proper qualifications for the particular type of service being performed.
§ 139.115 - General.
(a) The Coast Guard approves TPOs to carry out functions related to ensuring that towing vessels comply with provisions of this subchapter. Organizations may be approved to:
(1) Conduct audits of a Towing Safety Management System (TSMS), and the vessels to which the TSMS applies, to verify compliance with the applicable provisions of this subchapter;
(2) Issue TSMS certificates to the owner or managing operator who is in compliance with part 138 of this subchapter;
(3) Conduct surveys of towing vessels to verify compliance with the applicable provisions of this subchapter; and
(4) Issue survey reports detailing the results of surveys, carried out in compliance with part 137 of this subchapter.
(b) An organization seeking approval under this part must provide objective evidence to the Coast Guard that its program:
(1) Is independent of the owner or managing operator and vessels that it audits or surveys;
(2) Operates within a quality management system acceptable to the Coast Guard;
(3) Ensures its auditors and surveyors are qualified and maintain continued competence;
(4) Demonstrates the ability to carry out the responsibilities of approval; and
(5) Meets all other requirements of this part.
(c) A list of TPOs will be maintained by the Coast Guard, and made available upon request.
§ 139.120 - Application for approval as a TPO.
An organization, which may include a business entity or an association, desiring to be approved as a TPO under this part must submit a written request to the Towing Vessel National Center of Expertise, 504 Broadway St Suite 101, Paducah, KY 42001. The organization must provide the following information:
(a) A description of the organization, including the ownership, structure, and organizational components.
(b) A general description of the clients being served or intended to be served.
(c) A description of the types of work performed by the organization or by the principals of the organization in the past, noting the amount and extent of such work performed within the previous 3 years.
(d) Objective evidence of an internal quality system based on ANSI/ISO/ASQ Q9001-2000 (incorporated by reference, see § 136.112 of this subchapter) or an equivalent quality standard.
(e) Organization procedures and supporting documentation that describe processes used to perform an audit and records to show system effectiveness.
(f) Copies of checklists, forms, or other tools to be used as guides or for recording the results of audits and/or surveys.
(g) Organization procedures for appeals and grievances.
(h) The organization's code of ethics applicable to the organization and its auditors and/or surveyors.
(i) A list of the organization's auditors and/or surveyors who meet the requirements of § 139.130. This list must include the experience, background, and qualifications for each auditor and/or surveyor.
(j) A description of the organization's means of assuring continued competence of its personnel.
(k) The organization's procedures for terminating or removing auditors and/or surveyors.
(l) A description of the organization's means of assuring the availability of its personnel to meet the needs of the towing companies for conducting audits and surveys within the intervals established in this subchapter.
(m) A description of the organization's apprentice or associate program for auditors and/or surveyors.
(n) A statement that the Coast Guard may inspect the organization's facilities and records and may accompany auditors and/or surveyors in the performance of duties related to the requested approval.
(o) Disclosure of any potential conflicts of interest.
(p) A statement that the organization, its managers, and employees engaged in audits and/or surveys are not, and will not be involved in any activities which could result in a conflict of interest or otherwise limit the independent judgment of the auditor and/or surveyor or organization.
(q) Any additional information that the applicant deems pertinent.
§ 139.125 - Approval of TPO.
(a) The Commandant delegates to the Towing Vessel National Center of Expertise (TVNCOE) the authority to carry out the review and approval described in this section, and the related authority to suspend and revoke approval.
(b) The Coast Guard will review the request and notify the organization in writing whether their request is granted.
(c) If a request for approval is denied, the Coast Guard will inform the organization of the reasons for the denial and will describe what corrections are required for an approval to be granted.
(d) An approval for a TPO that meets the requirements of this part will expire:
(1) Five years after the last day of the month in which it is granted;
(2) When the TPO gives notice that it will no longer offer towing vessel audit and/or survey services;
(3) When revoked by the Coast Guard in accordance with § 139.150; or
(4) On the date of a change in ownership, as defined in § 136.110, of the TPO for which approval was granted.
§ 139.130 - Qualifications of auditors and surveyors.
(a) A prospective auditor or surveyor must have the skills and experience necessary to assess compliance with all requirements of this subchapter.
(b) Auditors must meet the following qualifications:
(1) High school diploma or equivalent.
(2) Four years of working on towing vessels or other relevant marine experience such as Coast Guard marine inspector, licensed mariner, military personnel with relevant maritime experience, or marine surveyor.
(3) Successful completion of an ANSI/ISO/ASQ Q9001-2000 or ISO 9001:2008(E) (incorporated by reference, see § 136.112 of this subchapter) lead auditor/assessor course or Coast Guard recognized equivalent.
(4) Successful completion of a training course for the auditing of a TSMS.
(5) Audit experience, as demonstrated by:
(i) Documented experience in auditing the ISM Code or the American Waterways Operators Responsible Carrier Program, consisting of at least two management audits and six vessel audits within the past 5 years; or
(ii) Successful completion of an auditor apprenticeship, consisting of at least one management audit and three vessel audits under the direction of a lead auditor.
(c) Surveyors must meet the following qualifications:
(1) High school diploma or equivalent.
(2) At least one of the following:
(i) Four years of experience working on towing vessels as master, mate (pilot), or engineer; or
(ii) Other relevant marine experience such as Coast Guard marine inspector, military personnel with relevant maritime experience, marine surveyor, accredited marine surveyor, experience on vessels of similar operating and physical characteristics.
§ 139.135 - Addition and removal of auditors and surveyors.
(a) A TPO must maintain a list of current and former auditors and surveyors.
(b) To add an auditor or surveyor, the TPO must submit that person's experience, background, and qualifications to the TVNCOE.
(c) The TVNCOE must be notified when an auditor or surveyor is removed from employment.
§ 139.140 - Renewal of TPO approval.
(a) To renew an approval, a TPO must submit a written request to the TVNCOE at the address listed in § 139.120.
(b) For the request to be approved, the Coast Guard must be satisfied that the applicant continues to fully meet approval criteria.
(c) The Coast Guard may request any additional information necessary to properly evaluate the request.
§ 139.145 - Suspension of approval.
(a) The Coast Guard may suspend the approval of a TPO approved under this part whenever the Coast Guard determines that the TPO does not comply with the provisions of this part. The Coast Guard must:
(1) Notify the TPO in writing of the intention to suspend the approval;
(2) Provide the details of the TPO's failure to comply with this part; and
(3) Advise the TPO of the time period, not to exceed 60 days, within which the TPO must correct its failure to comply with this part. If the TPO fails to correct its failure to comply with this part within the time period allowed, the approval will be suspended.
(b) The Coast Guard may also partially suspend the approval of a TPO, using the process described in paragraph (a) of this section. This may include suspension of an individual auditor or surveyor or suspension of the authority of the TPO to carry out specific duties whenever the Coast Guard determines that the provisions of this part are not complied with.
§ 139.150 - Revocation of approval.
(a) The Coast Guard may revoke the approval of a TPO if the organization has demonstrated a pattern or history of:
(1) Failure to comply with this part;
(2) Substantial deviations from the terms of the approval granted under this part; or
(3) Failures, including ethical violations, conflicts of interest, or inadequate performance, that indicate to the Coast Guard that the TPO is no longer capable of carrying out its duties as a TPO.
(b) If the Coast Guard seeks to revoke the approval of a TPO, it must:
(1) Notify the TPO in writing of the intention to revoke the approval;
(2) Provide the details of the TPO's demonstrated pattern or history of actions described in paragraph (a) of this section; and
(3) Advise the TPO that it may appeal this decision to the Coast Guard in accordance with the provisions of 46 CFR subpart 1.03.
§ 139.155 - Appeals of suspension or revocation of approval.
Anyone directly affected by a decision to suspend or revoke an approval granted under this part may appeal the decision to the Coast Guard in accordance with the provisions of 46 CFR subpart 1.03.
§ 139.160 - Coast Guard oversight activities.
(a) The Coast Guard will provide notice to the TPO 48 hours in advance of any site visit, unless the visit is in response to a complaint or other evidence of regulatory non-compliance. During the visit, the Coast Guard may:
(1) Inspect a TPO's records;
(2) Conduct interviews of auditors or surveyors to aid in the evaluation of the organization; and
(3) Observe audits or surveys.
(b) The Coast Guard may require that the owner or managing operator make available a copy of the TSMS upon request.
(c) The Coast Guard may require a revision of a previously approved TSMS if it is determined that requirements of this subchapter are not met.
§ 139.165 - Documentation.
(a) Each TPO must retain the results of each survey or audit conducted under its approval, including:
(1) The names of the auditors and/or surveyors;
(2) The results of each audit or survey conducted; and
(3) Documentation showing continuing actions relative to an audit or survey, such as resolution of deficiencies and non-conformities.
(b) Each TPO must also retain the results of audits of their organization conducted by the Coast Guard.
(c) Records required by this part must be retained for a period of 5 years.