This instruction provides policy for Coast Guard Officers In Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMIs) when inspecting Floating OCS Facilities (FOFs) that are not considered vessels as defined in 1 U.S.C. § 3.
OCMIs must refer to this guidance during inspection activities for non-vessel FOFs.
Relevant sections from reference (a) have been included in this policy, making it the most current reference for inspecting such facilities.
Established procedures for conventional vessel inspections and OCMI-specific guidance may also supplement these procedures.
The definition of a "floating OCS facility" is provided in 33 CFR § 140.10. Some FOFs may not be considered vessels under federal law, as determined by court cases like Stewart v. Dutra Const. Co., 543 U.S. 481 (2005) and Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, 568 U.S. 115 (2013).
This instruction clarifies the applicable regulations and oversight for non-vessel FOFs.
OCMIs should use procedures from reference (b) to determine if a FOF is a vessel for regulatory purposes.
The OCMI will issue a Floating OCS Facility Determination Letter (Enclosure (1) in reference b) to document this decision, which remains valid during the non-vessel FOF's operation at its location.
The authority to inspect all facilities on the Outer Continental Shelf comes from the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), codified at 43 U.S.C. Chapter 29, Subchapter III.
The USCG, in coordination with the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), is responsible for ensuring OCS activities' safety and environmental protection.
Non-vessel FOFs must comply with the specified requirements, including various CFR subchapters on Outer Continental Shelf activities, design, equipment, engineering, electrical engineering, subdivision and stability, aids to navigation, maritime security, and pollution prevention.
As an alternative, reference (c) may be used, provided it offers a level of safety equal to or higher than 33 CFR § 143.120(a) and (b).
The owner/operator of each FOF must submit plans for Coast Guard approval according to 33 CFR § 143.120(a) and 46 CFR Part 107, Subpart C.
Discrepancies may require correction before the facility's operation. Significant modifications or repairs must be forwarded to the Marine Safety Center (MSC) per 30 CFR § 250.905, and BSEE may also require permits or approvals for certain changes.
FOF Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection
Non-vessel FOFs will no longer receive a Coast Guard vessel Certificate of Inspection (COI).
Instead, the OCMI will issue a Floating OCS Facility Certificate of Inspection (FOF COI) via Coast Guard letter to demonstrate compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
The FOF COI is permanent unless the facility no longer complies with relevant requirements or conditions change, requiring updates.
The Coast Guard will conduct annual inspections to verify non-vessel FOF compliance with applicable requirements, including documentation, health and safety, lifesaving and fire safety equipment, machinery and electrical installations, structural integrity, pollution prevention, and crew familiarity with emergency procedures.
The OCMI must report hazards and deficiencies to the FOF owner/operator.
Deficiencies should be documented and entered into MISLE. The OCMI may require immediate corrective action for significant deficiencies or may rescind or not issue the FOF COI if serious deficiencies are not corrected within the specified time frame.
Accepted Alternate Arrangements
FOFs may deviate from prescriptive regulations in specific cases, subject to approval.
Several common alternate arrangements, such as guardrails and helicopter facilities, are discussed in this section.
The section addresses specific points related to firefighting and lifesaving requirements, emergency equipment maintenance and testing, manning, hull structure and inspection, service life extension, and security for FOFs.
Marine inspectors should be familiar with these clarifications during their inspections.