4/28/2016: Additional information on Coast Guard determinations about container weight requirements, verified gross mass

From the desk of Rear Adm. Paul Thomas, assistant commandant for prevention policy

Today, the Coast Guard filed an equivalency with the International Maritime Organization, and released marine safety information bulletin 009/16 that provides additional information on the Coast Guard’s determinations about container weight requirements found in the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, SOLAS.

Both documents are intended to minimize confusion over the SOLAS regulation VI-2 amendments that come into effect on July 1, 2016, also known as the “Container Weight” or “VGM” Amendments. The equivalency and MSIB are available on the Coast Guard website.

The Coast Guard filed this equivalency due to apparent misunderstandings about the sufficient flexibility in the SOLAS regulation to allow for various methods of calculating, verifying and communicating verified gross mass, VGM. It is the Coast Guard’s desire to put at ease carriers who have voiced concerns regarding the SOLAS amendments and the associated voluntary implementation guidelines.

The IMO equivalency communicates the U.S. position with regard to the flexibility in how VGM is calculated and communicated. The Coast Guard’s position allows maximum flexibility to this dynamic industry to develop compliance strategies for the safe loading and operation of ships based on best business practices

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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