724 - 11/10 - Ban on Substandard Foreign Vessels - USA

On November 2, 2010, the U. S. Coast Guard announced the release of CG Policy Letter 10-03, Banning of Foreign Vessels.  This policy letter outlines U.S. Coast Guard procedures for denying certain foreign flagged commercial vessels into any port or place in the U.S. as a result of the vessel’s history of operating in a continuous substandard condition in waters subject to U.S. jurisdiction.  This policy became effective on September 1, 2010.
“The U.S. Coast Guard will continue to screen, prioritize, and coordinate all foreign vessel exams in accordance with existing policies.  When a vessel has been repeatedly detained (meaning three or more detentions within twelve months) and it is determined by the U.S. Coast Guard’s Foreign and Offshore Vessels Division (CG-5432) that failure to effectively implement the SMS was a contributing factor for the substandard condition(s) that led to the detentions, the vessel will be denied entry into any port or place in the United States in compliance with 33 U.S.C. 1228 and 1223 (b) until specified actions are completed to the satisfaction of the Coast Guard.”

Once all of the requirements set forth in the Letter of Denial are satisfied, the Coast Guard will issue a Letter of Acceptance allowing the vessel to enter into U.S. waters again.  Upon receipt of the Letter of Acceptance, the vessel must still undergo a Priority I port-state exam prior to entering a U.S. port.  Should the vessel continue to have deficiencies or major non-conformities the vessel will be detained again.  If the vessel passes the port-state control inspection, it may proceed to the U.S. port as planned.  Please be advised that the Coast Guard will monitor the vessel and review any detentions or deficiencies occurring within twelve months of the issuance of the Letter of Acceptance.

Members are encouraged to closely review this new policy and continuously ensure that their SMS is being implemented effectively. The Coast Guard encourages owners and operators to contact them with questions or concerns at (202) 372-1235. 

Source of information: 

Robert Shababb

Thomas Miller (Americas)



To aid prevention of Port State Control detentions see the new UK P&I ISM & ISPS pocket checklist


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