National trade association American Waterways Operators (AWO) has approved an audit of its Responsible Carrier Programme (RCP) by the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS).
The RCP is a safety management system for tugboat, towboat and barge companies.
It requires AWO member groups to undergo periodic management and vessel audits conducted by an independent third party.
Towing vessel operators in inland waterways, coasts and harbours are exploring ways to ensure their fleets' compliance with new US Coast Guard safety and inspection regulations.
Vessel owners and operators are required to either undergo annual Coast Guard inspections or adopt a towing safety management system (TSMS).
AWO has already submitted an RCP for Coast Guard acceptance as a TSMS, which is expected to receive final approval this year.
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American Waterways Operators president and CEO Tom Allegretti said: “This agreement with ABS expands the pool of well-qualified, well-trained third-party auditors who can conduct RCP / TSMS audits.
“This is consistent with AWO’s longstanding goal of facilitating member compliance with Subchapter M and raising standards of safety and environmental stewardship throughout the tugboat, towboat and barge industry.”
With presence in every major port city in the US, ABS currently guides vessel owners and operators to develop customised compliance plans.
Earlier this month, ABS secured a two-year research contract from the Maritime Security Center to find ways to enhance cyber-security for the maritime industry.
Image: ABS and American Waterways Operators representatives. Photo: courtesy of ABS.