To carry out this part and to secure the safety of individuals and property on board vessels subject to inspection, the Secretary shall prescribe necessary regulations to ensure the proper execution of, and to carry out, this part in the most effective manner for—
the design, construction, alteration, repair, and operation of those vessels, including superstructures, hulls, fittings, equipment, appliances, propulsion machinery, auxiliary machinery, boilers, unfired pressure vessels, piping, electric installations, and accommodations for passengers and crew, sailing school instructors, and sailing school students;
lifesaving equipment and its use;
firefighting equipment, its use, and precautionary measures to guard against fire;
inspections and tests related to paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of this subsection; and
the use of vessel stores and other supplies of a dangerous nature.
Equipment and material subject to regulation under this section may not be used on any vessel without prior approval of the Secretary.
Except with respect to use on a public vessel, the Secretary may treat an approval of equipment or materials by a foreign government as approval by the Secretary for purposes of paragraph (1) if the Secretary determines that—
the design standards and testing procedures used by that government meet the requirements of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974;
the approval of the equipment or material by the foreign government will secure the safety of individuals and property on board vessels subject to inspection; and
for lifesaving equipment, the foreign government—
has given equivalent treatment to approvals of lifesaving equipment by the Secretary; and
otherwise ensures that lifesaving equipment approved by the Secretary may be used on vessels that are documented and subject to inspection under the laws of that country.
In prescribing regulations for sailing school vessels, the Secretary shall consult with representatives of the private sector having experience in the operation of vessels likely to be certificated as sailing school vessels. The regulations shall—
reflect the specialized nature of sailing school vessel operations, and the character, design, and construction of vessels operating as sailing school vessels; and
include requirements for notice to sailing school instructors and sailing school students about the specialized nature of sailing school vessels and applicable safety regulations.
In prescribing regulations for nautical school vessels operated by the United States Merchant Marine Academy or by a State maritime academy (as defined in section 51102 of this title), the Secretary shall consider the function, purpose, and operation of the vessels, their routes, and the number of individuals who may be carried on the vessels.
When the Secretary finds it in the public interest, the Secretary may suspend or grant exemptions from the requirements of a regulation prescribed under this section related to lifesaving and firefighting equipment, muster lists, ground tackle and hawsers, and bilge systems.
In prescribing regulations for offshore supply vessels, the Secretary shall consider the characteristics, methods of operation, and the nature of the service of offshore supply vessels.
In prescribing regulations for fish processing or fish tender vessels, the Secretary shall consult with representatives of the private sector having experience in the operation of these vessels. The regulations shall reflect the specialized nature and economics of fish processing or fish tender vessel operations and the character, design, and construction of fish processing or fish tender vessels.
The Secretary shall establish appropriate structural fire protection, manning, operating, and equipment requirements for vessels of at least 100 gross tons but less than 300 gross tons as measured under section 14502 of this title, or an alternate tonnage measured under section 14302 of this title as prescribed by the Secretary under section 14104 of this title carrying not more than 150 passengers on domestic voyages, which meet the eligibility criteria of section 2113(4) of this title.
The Secretary shall establish appropriate structural fire protection, manning, operating, and equipment requirements for former public vessels of the United States of at least 100 gross tons but less that 500 gross tons as measured under section 14502 of this title, or an alternate tonnage measured under section 14302 of this title as prescribed by the Secretary under section 14104 of this title carrying not more than 150 passengers on domestic voyages, which meet the eligibility criteria of section 2113(4) of this title.
The Secretary may establish by regulation a safety management system appropriate for the characteristics, methods of operation, and nature of service of towing vessels.
Each vessel of the United States that is constructed under a contract entered into after the date of enactment of the Maritime Safety Act of 2010, or that is delivered after January 1, 2011, with an aggregate capacity of 600 cubic meters or more of oil fuel, shall comply with the requirements of Regulation 12A under Annex I to the Protocol of 1978 relating to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, entitled “Oil Fuel Tank Protection”.
The Secretary may prescribe regulations to apply the requirements described in Regulation 12A to vessels described in paragraph (1) that are not otherwise subject to that convention. Any such regulation shall be considered to be an interpretive rule for the purposes of section 553 of title 5.
In this subsection the term “oil fuel” means any oil used as fuel in connection with the propulsion and auxiliary machinery of the vessel in which such oil is carried.
The Secretary shall require that a freight vessel inspected under this chapter be outfitted with distress signaling and location technology for the higher of—
the minimum complement of officers and crew specified on the certificate of inspection for such vessel; or
the number of persons onboard the vessel; and
the requirement described in paragraph (1) shall not apply to vessels operating within the baseline from which the territorial sea of the United States is measured.
The Secretary shall promulgate regulations requiring companies to maintain records of all incremental weight changes made to freight vessels inspected under this chapter, and to track weight changes over time to facilitate rapid determination of the aggregate total.
Records maintained under paragraph (1) shall be stored, in paper or electronic form, onboard such vessels for not less than 3 years and shoreside for the life of the vessel.
(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 513; Pub. L. 98–364, title IV, § 402(5), July 17, 1984, 98 Stat. 446; Pub. L. 103–206, title V, § 512(a), Dec. 20, 1993, 107 Stat. 2442; Pub. L. 104–324, title VI, § 604(a), (c), title VII, § 712, Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3930, 3931, 3936; Pub. L. 108–293, title IV, § 415(b), Aug. 9, 2004, 118 Stat. 1047; Pub. L. 109–304, § 15(12), Oct. 6, 2006, 120 Stat. 1703; Pub. L. 111–281, title VI, § 612, Oct. 15, 2010, 124 Stat. 2970; Pub. L. 115–232, div. C, title XXXV, § 3542(b), Aug. 13, 2018, 132 Stat. 2324; Pub. L. 115–265, title II, § 206(a)(1), Oct. 11, 2018, 132 Stat. 3746.)