- § 15.701 - Officers Competency Certificates Convention, 1936.
- § 15.705 - Watches.
- § 15.710 - Working hours.
- § 15.715 - Automated vessels.
- § 15.720 - Use of non-U.S.-credentialed personnel.
- § 15.725 - Sailing short.
- § 15.730 - Language requirements.
§ 15.701 - Officers Competency Certificates Convention, 1936.
(a) This section implements the Officers Competency Certificates Convention, 1936 (see 46 U.S.C. 8304), and applies to each vessel documented under the laws of the United States navigating seaward of the Boundary Lines in part 7 of this chapter, except:
(1) A public vessel;
(2) A wooden vessel of primitive build, such as a dhow or junk;
(3) A barge; and
(4) A vessel of less than 200 gross tons.
(b) The master, mates and engineers on any vessel to which this section applies must hold a license or MMC officer endorsement to serve in that capacity issued by the Coast Guard under parts 10 and 11 of this subchapter.
(c) A vessel to which this section applies, or a foreign flag vessel to which the Officers Competency Certificates Convention applies, may be detained by a designated official until that official is satisfied that the vessel is in compliance with the Convention. Designated official includes Coast Guard officers, Coast Guard petty officers and officers or employees of the Customs and Border Protection Service.
(d) Whenever a vessel is detained, the owner, charterer, managing operator, agent, master, or individual in charge may appeal the detention within 5 days under the provisions of § 2.01-70 of this chapter.
§ 15.705 - Watches.
(a) Title 46 U.S.C. 8104 applies to the establishment of watches aboard certain U.S. vessels. The establishment of adequate watches is the responsibility of the vessel's master. The Coast Guard interprets the term “watch” to be the direct performance of vessel operations, whether deck or engine, where such operations would routinely be controlled and performed in a scheduled and fixed rotation. The performance of maintenance or work necessary to the vessel's safe operation on a daily basis does not in itself constitute the establishment of a watch. The minimum safe manning levels specified in a vessel's COI or other safe manning document take into consideration routine maintenance requirements and ability of the crew to perform all operational evolutions, including emergencies, as well as those functions which may be assigned to persons in watches.
(b) Subject to exceptions, 46 U.S.C. 8104 requires that when a master of a seagoing vessel of more than 100 GRT establishes watches for the officers, sailors, and oilers, “the personnel shall be divided, when at sea, into at least three watches and shall be kept on duty successively to perform ordinary work incidental to the operation and management of the vessel.” Solely for the purposes of this part, the Coast Guard interprets “sailors” to mean those members of the deck department other than officers, whose duties involve the mechanics of conducting the ship on its voyage, such as helmsman (wheelsman), lookout, etc., and which are necessary to the maintenance of a continuous watch. The term “sailors” is not interpreted to include able seamen and ordinary seamen not performing these duties.
(c)(1) Subject to exceptions, 46 U.S.C. 8104(g) permits the officers and crew members to be divided into two watches when at sea and engaged on a voyage of less than 600 miles on the following categories of vessels -
(i) Towing vessel;
(ii) Offshore supply vessels, except as provided by paragraph (c)(2) of this section; or
(2) Paragraph (c)(1) of this section applies to an OSV of at least 6,000 GT ITC (500 GRT if GT ITC is not assigned), as defined in § 125.160 of this chapter, if the individuals engaged on the vessel are in compliance with the work hours and rest period requirements in § 15.1111 of this part.
(d) Subject to exceptions, 46 U.S.C. 8104(h) permits a master or mate (pilot) operating a towing vessel that is at least 8 meters (26 feet) in length measured from end to end over the deck (excluding sheer) to work not more than 12 hours in a consecutive 24-hour period except in an emergency. The Coast Guard interprets this, in conjunction with other provisions of the law, to permit masters or mates (pilots) serving as operators of towing vessels that are not subject to the provisions of the Officers' Competency Certificates Convention, 1936 (see 46 U.S.C. 8304), to be divided into two watches regardless of the length of the voyage.
(e) Fish processing vessels are subject to various provisions of 46 U.S.C. 8104 concerning watches, including -
(1) For fish processing vessels that entered into service before January 1, 1988, the following watch requirements apply to the officers and deck crew:
(i) If more than 5,000 GRT - three watches.
(ii) If more than 1,600 GRT and not more than 5,000 GRT - two watches.
(iii) If not more than 1,600 GRT - no watch division specified; or
(2) For fish processing vessels that entered into service after December 31, 1987, the following watch requirements apply to the officers and deck crew:
(i) If more than 5,000 GRT - three watches.
(ii) If not more than 5,000 GRT and having more than 16 individuals onboard, primarily employed in the preparation of fish or fish products - two watches.
(iii) If not more than 5,000 GRT and having not more than 16 individuals onboard, primarily employed in the preparation of fish or fish products - no watch division specified.
(f) Properly manned uninspected passenger vessels of at least 100 GRT -
(1) Which are underway for no more than 12 hours in any 24-hour period, and which are adequately moored, anchored, or otherwise secured in a harbor of safe refuge for the remainder of that 24-hour period, may operate with one navigational watch;
(2) Which are underway more than 12 hours in any 24-hour period, must provide a minimum of a two-watch system;
(3) In no case may the crew of any watch work more than 12 hours in any 24-hour period, except in an emergency.
§ 15.710 - Working hours.
In addition to prescribing watch requirements, 46 U.S.C. 8104 sets limitations on the working hours of credentialed officers and crew members, prescribes certain rest periods, and prohibits unnecessary work on Sundays and certain holidays when the vessel is in a safe harbor. It is the responsibility of the master or person in charge to ensure that these limitations are met. However, under 46 U.S.C. 8104(f), the master or other credentialed officer can require any part of the crew to work when, in his or her judgment, they are needed for:
(a) Maneuvering, shifting berth, mooring, unmooring;
(b) Performing work necessary for the safety of the vessel, or the vessel's passengers, crew, or cargo;
(c) Saving of life onboard another vessel in jeopardy; or,
(d) Performing fire, lifeboat, or other drills in port or at sea.
§ 15.715 - Automated vessels.
(a) Coast Guard acceptance of automated systems to replace specific personnel or to reduce overall crew requirements is predicated upon the capabilities of the system, the system's demonstrated and continuing reliability, and a planned maintenance program that ensures continued safe operation of the vessel.
(b) The OCMI considers the capabilities of an automated system in establishing initial manning levels; however, until the system is proven reliable, a manning level adequate to operate in a continuously attended mode will be specified on a vessel's COI. It remains the responsibility of the vessel's master to determine when a continuous watch is necessary.
§ 15.720 - Use of non-U.S.-credentialed personnel.
(a) United States vessels which need to replace one or more persons while on a foreign voyage and outside the jurisdiction of the United States, in order to meet manning requirements, may use non-U.S. credentialed personnel without a TWIC, except for the positions of master and radio officer, until the vessel returns to a port at which in the most expeditious manner replacements who are citizens of the United States can be obtained.
(b) The citizenship requirements of 46 U.S.C. 8103(a) and (b) and the TWIC requirement of 46 U.S.C. 70105 are waived, except for the requirement that the master must be a U.S. citizen holding a TWIC, with respect to the following vessels:
(1) A U.S.-documented offshore supply vessel (OSV) (as that term is defined in 46 U.S.C. 2101(19)) that is operating from a foreign port; and
(2) A U.S.-documented mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU) (as that term is defined in 46 U.S.C. 2101(15a)) that is operating beyond the water above the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.
(c) The waiver provided in paragraph (b) of this section does not apply to any vessel operating in water above the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (as that term is defined in 43 U.S.C. 1331(a)).
(d) The master must assure that any replacements of crewmembers by non-U.S. citizens made in accordance with this section will be with an individual who holds a credential that required experience, training, and other qualifications equivalent to the U.S. credential required for the position and that the person possesses or will possess the training required to communicate to the extent required by § 15.730 of this part.
(e) Non-U.S.-credentialed officers serving onboard vessels subject to STCW must hold a “Certificate attesting recognition” in accordance with part 11, subpart J of this subchapter. A mariner may serve for a period not to exceed 3 months onboard the vessel while the Coast Guard is processing his or her application for such a certificate.
§ 15.725 - Sailing short.
Whenever a vessel is deprived of the service of a member of its complement, and the master or person in charge is unable to find appropriate credentialed personnel to man the vessel, the master or person in charge may proceed on the voyage, having determined the vessel is sufficiently manned for the voyage. A report of sailing short must be filed with the OCMI having cognizance for inspection in the area in which the vessel is operating, or the OCMI within whose jurisdiction the voyage is completed. The report must explain the cause of each deficiency and be submitted within 12 hours after arrival at the next port. The actions of the master or person in charge in such instances are subject to review and it must be shown the vacancy was not due to the consent, fault or collusion of the master or other individuals specified in 46 U.S.C. 8101(e). A civil penalty may be assessed against the master or person in charge for failure to submit the report.
§ 15.730 - Language requirements.
(a) The provisions of 46 U.S.C. 8702 relating to language apply generally to vessels of at least 100 GRT except:
(1) Vessels operating on rivers and lakes except the Great Lakes;
(2) A manned barge except a seagoing barge or a barge to which chapter 37 of 46 U.S.C. applies;
(3) A fishing vessel, fish tender vessel, whaling vessel, or yacht;
(4) A sailing school vessel with respect to sailing school instructors and sailing school students;
(5) An oceanographic research vessel with respect to scientific personnel;
(6) A fish processing vessel which entered into service before January 1, 1988, and is not more than 1,600 GRT or which entered into service after December 31, 1987, and has not more than 16 individuals onboard primarily employed in the preparation of fish or fish products; and
(7) All fish processing vessels with respect to those personnel primarily employed in the preparation of fish or fish products or in a support position not related to navigation.
(b) 46 U.S.C. 8702(b) requires that onboard vessels departing U.S. ports 75 percent of the crew in each department onboard is able to understand any order spoken by the officers.
(c) The words able to understand any order spoken by the officers relates to any order to a member of the crew when directing the performance of that person's duties and orders relating to emergency situations such as used for response to a fire or in using lifesaving equipment. It is not expected that a member of the deck department understand terminology normally used only in the engineroom or vice versa.
(d) Whenever information is presented to the Coast Guard that a vessel fails to comply with the specified language requirements the Coast Guard investigates the allegation to determine its validity. In determining if an allegation is factual, the Coast Guard may require a demonstration by the officers and crew that appropriate orders are understood. The demonstration will require that orders be spoken to the individual members of the crew by the officers in the language ordinarily and customarily used by the officers. The orders must be spoken directly by the officer to the crew member and not through an interpreter. Signs, gestures, or signals may not be used in the test. The Coast Guard representative will specify the orders to be given and will include not only daily routine but orders involving emergencies, either of a departmental or of a general nature. This test will be conducted, if possible, at a time reasonably in advance of the vessel's departure, to avoid delays.