Continuing Impacts of United States Government Shutdown
The partial shutdown of the United States Government caused by conflicts over budgetary appropriations is continuing to impact the operations of federal institutions relevant to shipping, such as the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
A Marine Safety Information Bulletin was issued by the USCG on 24 January 2019. For Members trading into the United States the primary issue would appear to be obtaining a Certificate of Financial Responsibility (COFR), since COFR applications are not currently being processed. Any Member with a vessel on its way to the United States who requires a COFR or has an issue with their current COFR is advised to contact their QI and the USCG Captain of the Port for their intended destination. Vessel response plans are however continuing to be processed as normal at the present time.
U.S. seafarers are also being impacted and Members who employ U.S. crew are advised to take note of the guidance provided in the MSIB as well as an update from the National Maritime Center.
The impact on the EPA is helpfully summarised in a Client Advisory from the QI company Gallagher Marine Systems. Members will note that support for any issues with user accounts and Notice of Intent filings or VGP Annual Reporting is not currently available.